2022

9 October 2022

I know very well why I did not post a mid-month update in September. Life got a little crazy when my daughter sprained her ankle badly enough to need crutches and then developed a cold, which she so generously shared with the rest of us in turn. Sooo, yeah. Some months are like that, right?

The year is now a little more than 75% complete. I'll admit to being a little behind on my workout goals as I had to take the last week of September off due to the aforementioned cold. After doing an extra walk yesterday, I should be caught up with the walking/running part of my goal by the end of the week or early next week. The biking will take a little more work but it is still very much possible to reach my goal on time.

10 of 30 days

1740 kms done

The weather is unseasonably warm and sunny for the Portland area. Most days over the last few weeks, I've worked at least part of my day from our picnic table outside while the dog basks in the sun nearby. Soon enough the rainy season will start and I will miss my daily dose of Vitamin D but for now, I'm enjoying it while it's here. The dog seems to enjoy it as well, as she'll come whine at me if she thinks it's time to move outside.

31 August 2022

What? I didn't do a mid-month update? Guess I was busy. Or forgot. Either one works.

The family returned safely from Europe, having worn themselves out in service in Ukraine and Poland. Except for the week they were quarantined as two of them got COVID. All three have obviously developed a love of the people there and have a continued desire to help. If given the choice, I think all three would return in a heartbeat.

Meanwhile, Cody and I had a pretty good time in their absence. We played video games and frisbee golf, went to a baseball game, spent time with friends and went to Wings and Waves. After the family returned, we did a quick getaway to Newport, just so we'd have a little vacation too. We went to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, the Oregon Aquarium -- and the beach. Mostly the beach. :-)

The year is ~67% complete. I'm 65% done with my biking goal (so slightly under) but 73% done with my jogging goal. Actually, I'm about 5 miles ahead of the "stretch" goal I set for jogging, which is awesome in my view. I'm averaging 100 miles/month which should put me at 1200 miles for the year. WOW!

17 of 31 days

1612 kms done

1 August 2022

I did better in July in terms of run/walk miles -- but mostly because I did a lot of walking. There were some days when it was very warm here so I either needed to do the miles early in the day or take a lot of water with me. Somehow, though, I got to the 700 mile mark which means I'm still averaging 100 miles/month. I was so busy walking that I didn't get to do many biking miles so I'll have to do some work to get caught up with that in August.

14 of 31 days

1369 kms done

1 July 2022

2022 is officially halfway done. Summer is in full swing, evidenced by the fact I'm writing this while sitting in the sun on our catio and the kids are out of school. The husband took the teenagers to Poland/Ukraine for six weeks to offer whatever service they can to that war-torn area of the world, so I'm enjoying the peace and quiet at home with the 10-year-old, four cats and a dog.

June was a tough month in terms of getting out and doing my miles. Sometimes work was just too busy during the day and I was too tired after work. A kid was sick for a few days as well. Other days, it was just hard to find the motivation, especially once the thermometer really started turning red. It happens from time to time to all of us and is fine as long as that doesn't become the new normal. So, I ended up doing more long walks instead which actually felt like a rather nice change of pace. Maybe I just needed some variety. Anyway, I didn't quite hit 100 running miles for June but I did hit the 600th running mile, which means I'm still on track to hit my stretch goal of 1200 running miles this year. The actual goal is 1100 miles running (54.85% complete) and 300 miles biking (46.43% complete) for an overall total of 53.04% complete. Not bad at all. I'll try to do a few extra bike rides in July to pick up some miles there as that's slightly below where it should be currently. I'm proud of myself.

13 of 30 days

1195 kms done

1 June 2022

"I will [run] 500 miles and I will [run] 500 more..."

Yeah, I passed the 500 running mile mark. It's so weird to think I'm averaging just over 100 running miles/month so far this year. That's CRAZY for someone who is working full time AND a mom too! But I love it. The temperatures are getting warmer though it's still tolerable. It won't be long, though, before I'll have to try to do my runs first thing in the morning to beat the heat. Only problems with that are the late-night meetings I have some nights and the early-morning meetings I have some mornings. Still, where there's a will, there's a way. Counting the biking, I'm at 1009 kms done, though the picture is only of the first 1000. Just didn't see a point in taking a picture of 9 kms on the second page.

16 of 30 days

First 1000 kms done!

Shortly before my birthday, I started working on a Mario puzzle. The family helped and we got the edges, pipes and words in place fairly quickly. Then the kids lost interest, but my husband and I kept going, working our way through the brick walls so that only the black background remained. I didn't count but there were a few hundred black pieces. All the same shade of black. Nothing to point out that a certain piece should go where. No variation other than shape. Undaunted, we've been plugging away at it - a little here and a little there. We hit the point last Saturday where it was getting easier to find the matching pieces and the pace noticeably sped up. I went downstairs this morning to find that my husband had clearly been working on it last night and there were just 5 holes left -- maybe 50 pieces? I couldn't resist. When I had a break from work, I dashed down there and finished it up! Hooray!!! We did it! We did it!! Maybe the kids will have learned a thing or two about perseverance from watching us...? Probably not -- but we had fun and get to enjoy the feeling of success!

1000 piece Mario puzzle completed

25 May 2022

Yesterday, an 18-year-old entered a 4th grade classroom and murdered most (if not all, I'm not sure) of the kids and the two teachers who were in the room. Nineteen 4th graders were gunned down in their classroom, two days before summer vacation. It's -- appalling. Disgusting. Unfathomable. And a host of other words - yet none of them are adequate... not even when used together. Nineteen families are dealing with the sudden loss of a child to a senseless act of violence. Two other families are hurting for the loss of adult family members and a third is reeling from one of theirs shooting his grandmother, committing this heineous crime and losing his life. It's tragic for all involved. The victims. The families. The community. The kids around the country who, as they hear about this, wonder if they are safe at school. For their parents whose protective instincts are on high alert. Even the Ukranian President, who is fighting a literal war with Russia, acknowledged the tragedy.

I don't know the answer. Requiring background checks before purchasing firearms is reasonable but it's not going to solve the problem. If they are determined, they will wait the extra days or forge identification or buy the weapons underground. I have to assume that most, if not all, of the people who do things like this are dealing with some kind of mental illness. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to identify when someone is struggling, though the odds go up if you are close enough to see some of the warning signs. But even then, there's such a stigma about mental health issues that people don't want to admit they are struggling or ask for help -- so they hide it. They face it alone. If serious enough, thinking and one's sense of reality can be warped. If that's what happened here or not, I have no idea. It will not surprise me if, in a few days, evidence of mental health issues in the shooter come to light.

As for me, I have a 4th grader. If he were taken senselessly like this, I honestly don't know if I would ever recover from it. I'm grieving for the parents in Texas who suddenly find themselves trying to do just that. It's... heartbreaking. May God comfort and support those parents, families and community.

20 May 2022

While the rain which gave us the wettest April has mostly continued, there have been some days of sunshine. It was sunny when I came outside to work on my computer but now it has gone behind some clouds. It's actually been almost fascinating to watch how quickly the weather has been changing recently. In the span of an hour-long run, I'd see sunshine, clouds, rain, sunshine, hail, cloudy, rain. Crazy! Needless to say, there have been some runs that felt more like swims, but the miles are getting done anyway.

Mother's Day was a little underwhelming -- at least until a few days ago when, more than a week after Mother's Day, Marisol found a present that she'd hidden in her room. That she can find anything in there is amazing but I digress. It was a book of Harry Potter spiroglyphics. You start off with basically a picture of two spirals which meet in the middle. When color is added to the spirals, the slight differences in the thickness of the spirals in certain places makes a picture appear. Like magic! So - totally - cool!!

Blank spiroglyphic

Finished spiroglyphic showing a picture of Harry Potter

Just for fun, I took a picture after every loop and then took a screenshot of them. Didn't get all of them in the picture but enough to see the progression of how the picture appears.

Composite of 30 pictures of the same spiroglyph in various stages of completion

In work news, we had a big party on May 4th, Star Wars Day. It was basically the big "Welcome Back!" party as we are all now allowed to gather and work from the office. Most of us are working in a hybrid model where we are in the office part-time and working from home part-time. For me, it was SOOO GOOOOOD to get together and see people I haven't seen in a few years, and meet some new folks as well! While I'm not exactly a social butterfly, I do get some satisfaction from getting together. In this case, I got a LOT of satisfaction from helping to plan and run this event, where we raffled off more than 100 prizes, ate yummy food, had Star Wars themed games and just goofed off for a few hours. An unexpeted perk was that I got to bring home a Storm Trooper balloon. A lifesize Storm Trooper balloon. Marisol says she would be perfectly content to take something like that to prom -- something about it being simpler than going through the hassle of dealing with a date. As if she's ever been on a date...

Marisol dancing with life-size Storm Trooper balloon

1 May 2022

April was a pretty good month in my opinion. A little busy but that's nothing unusual.

The first thing to note was my birthday. Given it was on a Friday, I took the day off from work and started it off with a run. A long run. I hadn't done anything more than 8 miles or so yet this year but I ended up doing just shy of 13.5 miles. Yep, I ran a half marathon distance on my birthday -- just for the fun of it. I've mentioned it before but I really have no idea when I became the kind of person who would do something like that. I used to hate running! HATE IT! Despise it! Yet now I eagerly anticipate the chance to do a long run. (shakes head) Well, regardless of when or how that transformation happened, I don't think it's a particularly bad thing. Running has become a a wonderful outlet for me. Anyway, after that, I went to a movie completely on my own. It was fabulous. Then I let myself get lost in a bookstore for a while before meeting up with the rest of the family for dinner. While at the restaurant, the family gave me a crossword puzzle to solve, which turned out to list the places where my birthday presents were hidden. All in all, it was quite a good day.

Just after that, I caught a cold, which is why I didn't do an update here after my birthday. Fortunately, I was only out of commission for two days or so.

A few days later, Marisol and I had a Girls Day Out as we went to see Hamilton. She had seen it on Disney+ many times and was eagerly anticipating seeing it live, while I had never seen it. We both enjoyed it and then went out for pizza on our way to do the weekly grocery shopping. All in all, a very nice day.

Now, for the running numbers. With the year 33.33% done, I'm happy to say that I'm ahead of schedule, in spite of missing several workouts due to that stupid cold.

17 of 30 days in April

819 kms done

3 April 2022

The year is 25% completed. Fortunately, I'm ~27% complete with both my running and biking goals, so I'm slightly ahead of schedule. More importantly than the numbers, though, is just how much I'm enjoying watching the trees awake from their wintery slumber, soaking up some sun that isn't too hot, breathing the fresh air and taking some time out for myself on an (almost) daily basis. It's good for me, both body and soul. I did more bike rides this month than normal but was still able to get just over 100 running miles, which is just pretty darn cool!

22 of 31 days in March

622 kms done

19 March 2022

Teenage logic, or lack thereof, can be quite entertaining. One of my teenagers missed the ride to school this week. While bemoaning that they would be late for school, said teenager retreated to their room and sat there, refusing to head out to school. In effect, this child's actions made them more late for school than was strictly necessary. The other teenager tried to rationalize an unexcused tardy as the teacher simply not seeing them in the classroom. Yeah, right. I suspect it's because said child actually was not in the classroom. (eye roll)

This coming week is Spring Break for the kids. I'll still be working but I can take some time here and there to do things like eat lunch with them or something. Or if they decide to to do something fun, I could join in. But as the current plans mostly involve making improvements to the catio and doing gardening work, I think I'll save the vacation time by working now.

My workouts are still well on track. Spring has definitely arrived, evidenced by the daffodils on the ground and buds and blossoms starting to appear on the trees. It's usually in the high 40s or low 50s when I run which I don't mind. I did finally do something I've been meaning to do for a while: run on a different part of the trail. Just to give a little variety, a few times I've driven to the next trailhead and done my run starting from there. From there to the next trailhead and back is just over 5.5 miles, with a 200 foot elevation gain. That makes for variety in both the scenery but also in the type of workout since the runs starting at my local trailhead are quite flat.

And here, for no real reason except I feel like this blog could use a picture, is Cosmo reminding us all to soak up the rays when the sun shines.

Black and white cat sleeping on sunny carpet

28 February 2022

Two months into 2022 and I am still ahead of pace for my workouts. That's fantastic since I know it'll be a lot.. no... A LOT harder to do 92 miles/month when it is hot outside. So, even though sometimes it is wet and perhaps a little miserable outside, it's a great time to collect some extra miles. That being said, there were certainly some runs this month when the sun was out, which felt great.

17 of 28 days in February

360 kms done

As the above shows, I did 181 kms in Febrary, for a total of 360 so far this year. That's a little more than 50kms past where I was this time last year, the difference being mostly the biking that I've done this year so far. I need to do more if I'm going to hit my goal of 300 biking miles.

I was wearing my sweatshirt again the other day, the one for the 2022 km challenge that I'm currently working towards. Cody reminded me that I haven't yet earned it. I assured him that I'm working on it but felt it was just fine to enjoy it now before it 'expires'. He looked at me in his serious way and proceeded to explain that what I'm *supposed* to do is work really hard to earn it during January - August or so ("when it is too warm for a sweatshirt anyway") and then wear it the rest of the year. I disagree and am wearing it proudly -- perhaps because I know it'll take me all year to really earn the thing!

14 February 2022

I cannot express how much I love watching the Olympics. Summer, winter -- doesn't really make a difference to me. I love how my children get exposed to other countries, in some small way at least, which hopefully helps teach them that we are more alike than different. Cody likes to learn to recognize the different flags so he can identify where a given athlete is from. While the Parade of Nations can be a little long for him, he does love it when the network shows a map of where each country is in the world as they are introduced. I love watching the comraderie and sportsmanship which often appears as well as the amazing feats of athleticism which always appear!

For the winter Olympics, my favorite events usually involve a snowboard but I will pretty much watch anything. Snowboardcross is my favorite. It's just so dang cool watching them zip down the course almost like NASCAR drivers. How they don't crash into each other more often given the front edge of one competitor's board is mere inches, if that, behind the back of another's board is astounding. The halfpipe is always fun to watch, as are the bobsledding and aerial events. OK, gotta mention the aerials a little more. The athlete skis straight down a steep hill, usually raising an arm as they shoot almost vertically off a ramp 50 feet into the air and do a bunch of gymnastics in the air before landing. Absolutely astounding.

Cody and I watched gleefully as, in one of the team biathlon events, the anchor for the Norwegian team was in 3rd place as he left the last shooting event 9.3 seconds behind the leaders... and managed to ski fast enough in just the short distance that remained that he made up the deficit and Norway won the gold!

Another exciting event was the Men's Figure Skating, with American Nathan Chen giving two amazing performances to win the gold. Watching Shaun White competing in the halfpipe was inspirational, even if he was unable to get on the podium. It'll be weird in four years when he isn't there competing. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me personally is how much Cody says he loves watching the ice curling events. It certainly requires far more strategy and light touches than athleticism and endurance. I assumed he would believe it to be boring but he's actually been quite intrigued. Guess that's why we shouldn't make assumptions...

I will say that I'm underwhelmed by the "cauldron" at these games. A single torch? Really??

31 January 2022

One month of 2022 done, from my workout perspective... and I am ahead of pace!! Wahoo!

17 of 31 days in January

The above is just a fun thing I picked up this year to mark off what days I worked out and what kind (short/medium/long distance or bike).

179 kms done

I did 179k kms in January. Just because it's fun to mention, I did 145 kms in January 2021. Now that I typed that, I'm a little amazed at that. I know I need to be doing a little more each month this year compared to 2021 if I'm going to hit my elevated goal, but I'm still feeling a little impressed with myself. Yeah, I think I'll let myself enjoy this milestone. Nothing wrong with celebrating along the way, especially with a goal that will take all year to hit.

Actually, here's a funny about running that happened recently. I was proudly wearing my "2021 km challenge" shirt the other day. Cody commented that the shirt was for the wrong year. I pointed out that shirts don't expire, which only made him roll his eyes. A day or two later, I was wearing my "2022 in 2022" challenge hoodie, so I asked if that was the "right" shirt to wear. He said it was but that I hadn't earned it yet. Apparently, I'm only allowed to wear these shirts in that small window of time after I meet my goal and the end of the year. I think I like my way better and I will wear that hoodie with pride! I'm doing so in this picture, even if only part of the shirt is visible. This was me working outside one day when the sun was shining -- rare in the Portland area in January!

Me sitting at picnic table on sunny day

18 January 2022

We took down the Christmas decorations today. Sigh.

On the upside, I went for a long walk today -- 14.25 miles. It's good to be off to a good start towards my goal, even if the kids do roll their eyes a little when I say I'm going to go on a walk or run.

05 January 2022

20 years ago, I was starting my last semester at BYU. Approximately four months later, I would begin my full-time employment with Intel. Due to my internship the previous summer being credited towards my length of service, my official Intel start date is 5 January 2002 -- or 20 years ago today. I've seen this milestone coming for a while, especially as my team has celebrated the 20th and 25th anniversaries of a few folks, as well as the upcoming retirement of one of them, over the last year or two. I'll admit I've had some reflections about it. I'm sure none of this is too surprising and it certainly isn't philosophical, but here are my thoughts on it.

Twenty years sounds like a long time, and in some ways it is, but it doesn't feel like it was that long. Perhaps part of that is due to the fact I (usually) like my job. One benefit of working in such a big company is that it is possible to change things up from time to time. I started off as a design engineer and somehow migrated into a software engineer along the way -- and I believe I'm better for it. I like the coding side better for one thing but since my job is to support the tools that the designers use, the fact that I've been a designer is an asset. I've been in their shoes and remember some of the frustrations and hurdles. As long as I remember those learnings and apply them, I think it allows me to make better tools.

I've seen a number of people come and go in my time. Some went back to school to get advanced degrees, others just moved around the company and still others have left the company for one reason or another. I have wondered periodically if there are other opportunities out there I should pursue. Maybe there are, but I suspect I'm a lifer with Intel. It's hard to imagine a better setup than the one I have right now, with my interpreters, the challenging level of work, the awesome team and the support I've needed to provide the supervision my son has required for so long. Maybe I'm just comfortable in my routine but this is one that, for now at least, I don't want to change.

My boss wanted to send a small token of appreciation to share with the family, so we are happily munching our way through 12 different types of brownies!

12 different types of brownies!

03 January 2022

I'm still super stoked about actually achieving my crazy (?) goal of 2021 kms last year. I'm not 100% sure yet but I think my goal for this year will be 1400 miles (2253 kms), with 1100 of them run/walk miles (increase of 100 miles) and 300 of them biking (increase of 44). I know I won't be able to increase the distances by leaps and bounds each year but I think I can find 100 more running miles without too much difficulty and the biking is only 4 additional rides of my normal length. But it would be fun to do them on some new trail in the area.

Just because I can, as this is my website, here's a picture taken shortly after I completed my goal. My husband and daughter met me with a "finish line" to cross which was quite nice.

Me holding my medal while standing in the snow

Here's the comparison year-over-year (run/walking only). It's kind of funny to look back and remember when I thought hitting 400 miles in a year (which happens to be the year I ran the marathon) was really pushing it. I guess this shows that we do need to challenge ourselves, that we can do more than we think. At least, that's what I'm reminded when I've seen this chart build up over the last few years.

Chart showing miles run per year

Read the 2021 entries