30 December 2021

I did it!!! I completed my workout goal!! I wanted to do 2021 kilometers (1256 miles). I broke it down into 1000 miles walk/run and 256 miles biking. I'm SOOO stoked that I did it!!

Tracker showing 2021 kms complete

And here is the medal! This was a unique medal in that I could color in the spaces on the back (each space worth 25 kms) for the first 2000 kilometers and then add the magnetic bar on the front when it was completed.

Medal that says 'Invincible 2021 KM Conquered'

Back of medal with filled in circles

Bring on next year's challenge!

26 December 2021

Work has been incredibly busy of late, but even so, I really should have found time to update this blog before now.

As of the end of November, I'd completed 1862 kms of my running/biking challenge. That's a little behind where I wanted to be but still within striking distance of 2021 kms by the end of the year, especially considering that I'm taking some time off from work during the holidays. I have to admit that I'm *really* liking being on the back page of the tracker. It goes by so much faster because the dots are bigger. Makes it feel like I'm making rapid progress!!

Tracker showing 1862 kms complete

6 November 2021

Dang! Why is it so hard for me to remember to update this page on a regular basis? Perhaps it's because there's not much exciting happening. Or because the main audience is my mother and I chat with her weekly on Skype so there isn't much left to day? Who knows.

For my running/biking update: It was a little tough to be motivated this last month. There were a few days I deliberately chose to bike rather than run (trying to beat the rainy season) but even so, the number of workouts was less this month. Part of it was related to needing to be at the condo several days while some repair work was happening. Cody was sick for a few days as well, but I did sneak off and do some runs that week anyway since he's now old enough to be left home alone.

First page of tracker completely full

Tracker showing 1682 kms complete

October: 1682 kms done

So, what all has been going on? The kids were in online school last year (except a few weeks when Jake was specially invited to 'Limited In-Person Instruction' due to grades). So, it was a relief to all of us (except maybe their dad) when this school year was announced as being in person. So far, they've all been doing just fine with it, though none of them are fans of wearing face masks all day. Still, they do it so they can be with their friends again. Good job kids.

In August, I went on a solo vacation, which I very much earned and desperately needed. I would like to put some pictures in an album on this site before too long -- maybe when I add the some albums for this year I can do that. Not sure how I haven't done any of those yet... Anyway, the vacation was completely awesome. I often think back to certain events or days of that trip and just allow myself to get lost in the happy memories. It was such a nice trip... (getting lost in memories...)

1 October 2021

Here are the September running numbers. With the rainy season approaching, I made sure to do some bike rides to work on getting those miles as I'm not all that keen on bike riding in the rain. I mean, I can but I'd rather run in the rain than bike in the rain. Maybe I'm weird that way.

Tracker showing 1525 kms complete

September: 1525 kms done

2 September 2021

And now I can post the August numbers. August was interesting, I have to admit. Between some very hot days, an insane amount of stuff to do at work and a vacation, I'm astounded I was able to get this much. Granted, far more of this month's miles were from walking rather than running but that's fine. I'll take it.

Tracker showing 1352 kms complete

August: 1352 kms done

1 September 2021

Wow. The last two months have been incredibly busy, especially with work. I completely failed to notice that I hadn't uploaded my July mileage, though I did at least take the picture on the right day!! Well, no time like the present to post it!

Tracker showing 1198 kms complete

July: 1198 kms done

1 July 2021

1043 kilometers done!! That's more than halfway to the goal of 2021 kms!! Admittedly, June was my lightest month so far in terms of running, but that's just the way it works. A few spells of hundred-degree weather, which is NOT normal for this time of year, certainly kept me indoors -- and I don't currently have access to a treadmill. Other times, other responsibilities got in the way. That's all just part of life and why it's important to build up some buffer when possible.

Tracker showing 1043 kms complete

June: 1043 kms done

4 June 2021

903 kms done as of May 31st! On June 1st, I completed my 500th running/walking mile, which means I'm well ahead of the pace needed to achieve 1000 miles this year!! That thought brings me such satisfaction. I know the next few months will be the toughest as the summer heat makes it hard to run but that's just part of the deal I guess. Gotta take what the weather gives us, be it sun, rain or snow.

Tracker showing 903 kms complete

May: 903 kms done

22 May 2021

What comes in dozens?
Eggs, flowers, donuts and pencils.
Twelve inches in a footlong sub.
And the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Tomorrow it's a dozen years since my twins were born.
And a dozen years since they died.
Though the sharpness of the pain has dimmed
there's still an ache inside.

I still don't have the answers.
Probably won't until I'm dead.
But when the grief flares up and is intense
I tell myself they've just gone on ahead.

When eventually the day comes
that I am called to die,
I hope they'll come escort me,
walking by my side.

Then we'll be together,
nevermore to part.
Then perhaps peace will finally
bind up my broken heart.

The above just sort of came to me when I sat down to do some web page updates today. I hadn't planned on writing any poetry. I'd never call myself a poet or even a decent writer. Still, I hope it expresses that I still miss my boys but am hopeful of a future reunion. It's weird to think they'd be twelve and likely in middle school. Whatever they are busy doing in the Spirit World, I hope they know how much I love them.

20 May 2021

Mother's Day was interesting this year. I'll admit in the days leading up to it, I wasn't feeling particularly keen on celebrating anything. Perhaps I'm just being too cynical but in recent years, Mother's Day has come to feel like an obligatory 'thank you' that doesn't mean much to me. I guess I feel that 'thank you' should be said frequently, not just because the calendar says it is due. I hope I've improved in recent years in expressing my love and gratitude to my parents as I've come to more fully appreciate just all they've done! Of course my own children haven't reached that point yet, which is fine. I just find it irritating that one kid in particular can be a royal pain most days and then proclaim undying love on this day each year. Perhaps that's some immaturity on my part but it's how I was feeling. The last few years have been very stressful and it hasn't had the best effect on my emotional health, so please try to be a little understanding as to why I feel this way. Anyway, I would just as soon have skipped the whole thing this year but the kids had been making comments in the week or two leading up to Mother's Day that they had something planned. Well, I can't squash my children's plans just because I'm feeling lousy now can I?

That morning, I got up to go run the Zoom meeting for Church. We can meet in person but with the last group of adults only approved for the vaccine in mid-April and approval for those twelve and older only coming last week, there are still many who don't feel comfortable coming in person yet. Cody got up to eat breakfast with me and it was obvious he did it because he wanted to show that I'm special to him. When I returned home after Church, I was allowed to change clothes and then handed another copy of the treasure map from my birthday. Since that treasure hunt had been lacking on the 'hunt', they decided to make me hunt for my Mother's Day presents. I was told each clue was in a plastic Easter egg and that the first was in the 'library' (the room in our house with all the books and computers). I looked and looked before being told to OPEN things. Who knew we have one of those hollow book things??

Clue #1: Teulthida

OK, so that didn't mean anything to me, so I googled it. Turns out it is a squid. Off to where the squid lives on the map. Turns out that's the 'Turn Around Tree', a tree near the end of our driveway that our children could reference as the point where they should to no closer to the road alone. Sure enough, there was an Easter egg there. By now, the kids have started taking turns reading the clues.

Me and my 3 children at the tree

Clue #2: Horus nullus nisi aureas
Christmas 2024
You will know the right way
Only with the right day:
Tuesday: The poor have it. The rich need it.
Wednesday: The gryphons hide the secret.
Thursday: If you eat it, you will die.

The references to time led us to the sun dial.

Sun dial

The bottom of the sun dial turns so one can figure out what day of the week a certain date falls on. Christmas 2024 is Wednesday. Turns out there are Gryffins at the bottom of the sun dial, so we carefully tipped it to find Easter egg underneath.

Figuring out the day

Clue #3: I'm always hungry and must be fed. The finger I touch will soon turn red.

My first thought on this were the roses because fingers that touch them bleed from the thorns. Then I thought of the blackberries, which not only involve cuts and scrapes but also staining one's hands. But the first part didn't seem to work about always needing to be fed. We eventually figured out it is a fire which needs constant fuel to burn and will blister a finger. Off to the fire pit! I lifted the log that was laying there -- and jumped back in surprise when there was an equally surprised mouse looking back at me. Fortunately, the Easter egg was under the other log!

Picking up the egg

Clue #4: Which came first, the Phoenix or the flame?

Being a family of Harry Potter nerds, we all knew the answer immediately: "A circle has no beginning." Off to the circle, which was up in the back yard somewhere. Did I mention that we don't mow back there very often because it's really steep and hard to mow? Fortunately, there was a path in the tall grass that led us most of the way there. A tree held the egg we sought.

Walking up the hill

Clue #5: (a specific set of letters and numbers that I don't want to post online)

Recognizing this instantly as my license plate, we headed down to the truck. Being told that the egg had been hidden the night before and knowing that I'd driven the truck to church, we figured it would be hidden in a location where it couldn't blow away. After checking the under-seat storage (husband: "There's storage under there?!?!"), the egg was discovered in the glove compartment. By the way, I love this shirt I was wearing -- very appropriate for a mom on Mother's Day, don't you think?

Shirt says 'I got dressed today. It's kind of a big deal.'

Clue #6: Look for me among the feline elite.
Find me in this cats' retreat.

That had to mean the catio. Praying that the egg wasn't hidden in the bottom section (dirt that the cats use as their toilet), I was relieved when everyone went to the top section. Knowing that the cats would have been out there already, I figured it had to be somewhere that wouldn't attract their attention. Wasn't in the dog kennel (why is that even out there??) or the cup holders of the camping chairs. I started feeling along the 'shelf' but was too short to look properly. Pulling out my phone, I tried to use it but the glare pretty much prevented that. Looking back at everyone else, they are all laughing their heads off. Wondering what was so funny, I'm given the suggestion to back up. From where they were standing, it was easy to see the egg on the shelf that I couldn't see from underneath it. I'll admit in this picture it looks as if I'm staring RIGHT AT the egg but I assure you I'm not.

Using phone to look at high shelf

Clue #7: To see how we love you heaps,
Now go to the place where Christmas sleeps.

Our Christmas stuff spends 10 months of the year in our attic storage. There I found some beautiful roses, a box of sugary cereal ALL FOR ME, and some new Zelda-themed t-shirts.

All in all, it was a lot of fun -- and it made me feel very special, for the second time in a month.

19 May 2021

Guess it would be fun to record some interesting happenings from the last month or so which haven't made it onto this blog yet.

Let's start with my birthday. In 2020, my birthday came around shortly after everything shut down due to COVID-19. Without going into details, suffice it to say that it was basically a non-event, except for what I did myself. It was okay but not great. So, imagine my surprise on my birthday when I got a text message asking if I was up for a treasure hunt because my presents were a buried treasure. I was sent a map of our property (mostly accurate -- not sure about the squid...).

Birds eye view of our property

Later, this picture came as the 'key'. I was able to figure it out by picking out the relevant words but it turns out that it's actually a 'sterogram', one of those pictures with a hidden 3D picture.

Picture of random words

Two quotes pop out: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly" and "What is essential is invisible to the eye." This seemed to point to the heart on the map. So, after dinner, we all went up into the woods to find the location specified. The 'heart' was more literal than I expected...

Twigs forming a heart shape on the dirt

So Cody and I started to dig. This picture shows only me but Cody was extremely excited to help me.


It turns out the twig heart was NOT directly over the treasure, as the ground beneath it was obviously not freshly-dug earth. We found the soft spot and found that the treasure chest was protected by wood planks on all sides (smart!) so it wouldn't get damaged by the digging. Finally, it was unearthed. Inside were a bunch of those gold-foil-covered chocolate coins, some real coins and most of my birthday presents.

Opening the treasure!

It was very well done and I enjoyed it immensely. It was wonderful to feel special.

30 April 2021

And... the numbers are in for April! I've run/walked 386 miles so far, which is an average of 96.5 miles/month. WAHOOO!!!

Screenshot of mileage tracker

April: 724 kms done (this includes some biking now that the weather hasn't been rainy!)

28 April 2021

I'll get caught up -- though it may take a little bit. Let's start with the 2020 workout goals:

Goal #1: Run/walk 800 miles. This was ACHIEVED!! Even had some time to spare so the last twelve miles or so were all done by taking walks with various family members. It was quite nice, especially since we'd do the walks in an area where we could stop and feed some goats, which the kids loved.

Goal #2: Bike the distance needed to achieve 2020 intentional kilometers for the year. The lack of biking at the beginning of the year made this a stretch goal at best and it was not achieved. However, I'm not disappointed by that. Between the 801 miles running and the 274 miles biking, I got 1730 kms -- which is way more than I've ever done in a year. I SHATTERED my previous 'best', so I have no reason whatsoever to be ashamed. I did take the lesson about biking more consistently through the year to heart and am using that in my 2021 goals.

Screenshot of mileage tracker

So, what's on deck for 2021 in terms of running/biking? Well, I'm going for 2021 kms (1256 miles)! Originally, I set a goal of running 850 miles but I've done so well the first 1/3 of the year that I've increased that goal to 1000 miles. Yeah, you read that right. I plan to walk/run 1000 miles. If I can do it, I'll shatter last year's record which is mind blowing to me. Obviously running so much means I'd only need to bike 256 miles, which is less than I did last year, but I expect I'll be able to beat that as well. For fun, here are some pictures showing the progress so far! I have it with the newest on top so it'll match with the rest of them as I post them later this year.

Screenshot of mileage tracker

March: 491 kms done

Screenshot of mileage tracker

February: 301 kms done

Screenshot of mileage tracker

January: 145 kms done

Leaving the workout topic, BYU pulled out a remarkable season considering how their schedule was completely destroyed by COVID-19. They were able to fill their schedule, including one game on the East Coast with very little lead time. I think they announced it Wednesday and played Saturday. Something like that.

Screenshot of BYU's 11-1 football season

My kids have spent the entire school year online. Their districts have recently enabled Hybrid, but our kids are staying home out of an abundance of caution. It's interesting to see how the kids have responded. Jake has pretty much disengaged and has commented that it's so much harder online than in person. Marisol goes through phases where she's working really hard and then phases where the lure of YouTube becomes too hard to resist. Cody goes to class most of the time but generally keeps his cameara off and only does the assigned work when the mood strikes him. I think all three of them will appreciate being back at school in person which should happen next school year.

I've been working remotely for a year now. Around October, the legs of my sit/stand desk arrived so I was able to put that together and let Jake use my old desk for school. All things considered, working from home isn't usually too bad -- and it does have its perks! Sometimes I haul the camping chair to the grassy area outside (where the wifi still reaches) and work while soaking up some sun - or sitting in the shade. Whatever strikes my fancy that day. At least once, I was able to work from the catio of the house, which was great -- though my interpreter was a little confused at first why I would be working in a cage.

The cats have continued to do well. It's hard to believe the kittens are almost a year old now! We've certainly gotten to know their different personalities and quirks. Sparks is most likely to be sleeping under the bed, though she has recently branched out to sleeping on a chair ... and once on the headboard of the bed which didn't look particularly comfortable. She's quite skittish but has learned (on some level at least) that we intend her no harm. She loves to be petted but it has to be on her terms. Burrow has turned into quite an adventurer, which is different from our original observations. She found the one weak spot in the catio and was able to squeeze through and get on the roof! Of the three 'new' cats, Burrow is the one who likes to be held the most. Potato has shown skill at hunting rodents that get into the house every once in a while. Her favorite napping place seems to be my bed so I've learned to look before laying down since she can sometimes blend in with the blankets.

21 April 2021

Boy did I get behind in these updates. I find that interesting actually given how people are talking about all the "free time" they've had due to COVID-19 shutdowns. I feel like my daily schedule is only different in that I'm working while trying to convince my 15-year-old to actually care about school (which is online). I'll have to get caught up on events another day but for now I can report that I added pictures for 2020 on the pictures page.

Read the 2020 entries