Well then.

Yes, I know it’s been a while. Ok, so it’s been 11 months.

I’ve been busy! I’ve also been blogging in more than one spot too. Although, since I started this job, I’ve been blogging less. It figures that once I started making and fixing WordPress, I didn’t have any time/energy to USE it. :D

Terrible problems that I have, I know. In order to catch you up, I’m going to ask myself a few questions.

“You signed up for a race series? With a half marathon? Are you insane?”

“How did your half marathon training go?”

“How did your half marathon go?”

“What are you doing next?”

For the race series, I kinda go into detail into it here. So go read that and I’ll answer the half marathon training question instead.

(And read all the posts on that blog to get caught up even more on what’s been going on.)

It started out well, then it went to shit.

With my job, I get the opportunity to travel a lot – which I love! Since my last update on this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to go to:

  • Montreal (Canada)
  • San Francisco (CA) twice!
  • Santa Cruz (CA)
  • San Juan (Puerto Rico)
  • Austin (TX) for the SXSW Festival
  • Christ Church (Barbados)
  • Portland (OR)
  • Philadelphia (PA)

Gorgeous day in Philly. #latergram

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

All this travel is fantastic. However, it also throws a wrench into my normal routine which includes my training routine. I could have a long run scheduled on a travel day and I think “oh, I’ll just do it the next day!” then I get mired in being in a new place with people I’m not normally around and usually dealing with weather I’m not totally used to. You don’t realize how much a sudden 30 degree change in temperature or being at a different altitude can wreck your fitness goals.

Thus, a week where I was supposed to have run close to 18 miles, I only squeezed in 5. The next week, I was sick with a combination head cold and spring allergies. Do not recommend.

Time was ticking away to the half marathon date and I was woefully undertrained. I started planning on running a Galloway-style of speed intervals. For my half, I was going to do a 3min run/1min walk then adjust as necessary. Given the fact that my long run was only 9 miles and that was BEFORE the trips/sickness, I was in a slight panic.

Which brings us to the next question: how did my half go?

Well, it didn’t.

See, this post for that story.

Which leads us to what am I up to now?

Well, first off, I have to miss the last race in my race series! But it’s because of an awesome reason: I’M MOVING!

It’s no secret that winter and I don’t get along. Well, this past winter broke me and Tim and I made the decision to move to the West Coast. After some deliberation and a visit, we decided on the Portland, OR area.

The question I get all the time since we made the decision was “Why Portland?” Well, we’ve always loved the Pacific NW, and upon doing the research, it fits all our desires:

Changes of seasons. While Portland has distinct seasons, it rarely gets above 90 degrees even in the hottest part of the summer and in winter it rarely gets below freezing. It might snow and stick around for a few days, but it’s gone shortly thereafter. I can still wear sweaters/boots – but I won’t want to hole up in my house for 5 months and curse every time it snows because I have to shovel. Some people have said “but it’s cloudy and rainy”. I’ll fucking take it.

And the summers there get warm – and they don’t need air conditioning. SIGN ME UP.

Liberal leaning. Oregon is consistently a blue state. I don’t think I could even live in a red state, to be honest.

Tech community. I have a number of coworkers that are already in Portland, there’s a ton of tech giants and startups, and I can get FIOS internet for half of what I’m paying now for Comcast’s meager offerings. Hell. Yes.

Outdoor activities. I love hiking, biking, and running outdoors. With Portland’s weather, I can run outside year-round (unless it drops below 40 degrees). Where we’re going to live (outside of Portland proper), we’re an hour from the beach, an hour from the mountains, and an hour from wine country. Sounds pretty damn good to me.

Cost of living. The Portland area’s cost of living is very similar to Minneapolis. Seattle and San Francisco were much higher. Not needing to change our standard of living = awesome.

I could keep going on, but I’ll just leave it there. We love the Portland area.

Really the only stress point I have about the whole thing is moving the cats. Twenty-two hundred miles with three cats who hate the car? OMG SEND ALL THE BOOZE.

Since we’re driving both vehicles out, my sister is going to come and ride along with me so I’m not alone with the yowling. Well, I think Chester will be fine, and I think Pixel will chill out eventually, but Roxy will lose her shit.

The battle of stubbornness has begun. #friday #alwayswatching

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

The vet has some pheromone stuff that should help – they highly recommended to NOT tranquilize them because it stresses everyone out. I tend to agree.

Well, I guess that’s enough catching up for now! Stay tuned for my next post a year from now. :D

Otherwise, see my WordPress.com blog linked to above or my other standalone site at carolynsonnek.com for future updates.

Dirty Girl

Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

I just had to laugh at this post by The T-Rex runner about how sick they are of seeing all the posts in social media about paleo, gluten-free, vegan, et al.

I’m right there with them.

I love a nice cold beer on a hot day. I savor an amazing slice of coal-fired pizza. (Especially if it’s from Black Sheep Pizza – also pictured above.) Gluten-free, unless you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, is just a fad.

It’s fitting that I ran across that post today. I recently joined up at Lifetime Fitness because I needed something to break up the life monotony of being in my house all the time. For that same reason, I got a 1 day/week membership at Coco Minneapolis to get me out of the house on a workday – and so I can go to the food trucks. The best part is that it’s an amazing space:

Co-working at CoCo Mpls

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

Not a bad view while working.

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

Back when I worked downtown, I was OK doing my cross training workouts at home. Now, I’m *always* home and it’s slowly making me crazy. That combined with the desire to bump up my fitness level, I joined the gym. It’s close and they have great free group fitness classes*. Plus, my friend A who works for Lifetime tipped me off to a “free signup” weekend over the holiday weekend. No signup or processing fees – saved myself ~$150!

I did my free fitness assessment yesterday. A tool, I’m sure, to scare gullible people into purchasing personal training. When the nutritional part of the assessment came around, the trainer said that I don’t eat enough vegetables or protein and too many carbs and cheese.

No shit. I love cheese!

Yes, I can fit in more vegetables. In fact, that is one of my current goals. And protein? I’m pretty sure I don’t need as much as the trainer thinks I do – because their next point was to go down to the gym cafe/store and stock up on protein powders.

Um…no.

I think I also crushed the trainers happiness by telling her my goal was to improve my fitness and run times. “Not weight loss?” was the first thing out of her mouth after I said that. I said “sure, that would be great, but if I do the other things, the weight loss will naturally follow.” She then asked me if I “journaled my food” – i.e. calorie counting.

Sheesh.

I know I’m 40 and not skinny, but dieting/counting calories is the worst thing to do for someone who loves food. Because then I become obsessed with food and that’s all I can think about! Which makes me want to eat everything. EVERYTHING.

I’ll be more mindful of my portion sizes, because that is my downfall, but I’m not counting calories. Period.

Back to T-Rex’s post.

My favorite part of T-Rex’s post was this at the end:

So y’all, eat clean if you want. Be paleo. Don’t eat sugar by choice (GOD, WHY?). Go vegan. Only eat fish and things that are purple. I personally don’t care. But if you need me, I’ll be the girl with a craft beer in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other after every marathon, so don’t feel bad if you’re right there with me.

I know friends that have gone vegan and it was great for their health. I tried it, and couldn’t stick to it (cheese, y’all). For the most part, my goal is to eat vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, then dinner’s whatever I feel like making. If it’s a bacon cheeseburger or bratwurst, so be it.

So what I’m saying is: you eat what works for you and I’ll eat what works for me. Stop judging me! ;)

____
* – Did a kickboxing class on Monday. My arms FINALLY don’t hurt like a SOB. Goddamn. Now I’m taking an INSANITY class tonight…I think *I’M* insane! ;)

Spring? HAH!

Literally a sink full of asparagus. Thanks Mom!

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

I think Spring just skipped over Minnesota this year. We went from snow in the first part of May to seemingly non-stop rain the rest of May and into June.

All this rain has kept me out of my garden – which blows. I borrowed a tiller from one of our friends back in May and I haven’t been able to use it yet because of all the rain. I think I will be able to get in there tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

Then: PLANT ALL THE THINGS!

Well, I’m going to plant kale, summer squash and tomatillos for sure – I think it’s too late for peas and green beans.

The reason I’ve not been able to plant much is because I spent half of May traveling! I was in Santa Fe, NM for a week attending a work meetup with my awesome Happiness co-workers. The first half of the meetup was great, then I got the worst cold in my life and spent the rest of the meetup in my room eating ice cream and taking NyQuil.

Dinner.

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

Seriously, my throat hurt so bad ice cream was the only thing I could eat without wanting to cry. Even drinking water was painful!

Then the last week of May we went to San Francisco for fun! We got to go to a WordPress 10th anniversary party our first night in town, which was great. Got to meet the crew from Pownce finally, and we had an amazing time with our friends Jason and Vicky and their daughters.

And I’m such a shitty tourist. Traveling for nearly two weeks and I barely took a dozen photos!

The end of this month I’m going to WordCamp Montreal where I’ll be giving a presentation on podcasting with WordPress. That will eventually turn into a blog post over on my other blog. But first, I need to overcome my panic and get the damn presentation done!

(Easier said than done)

And no post on blogkitten.com would be complete without a cat photo.

I can still see you!

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

There we go!

Getting Older

Sunday snuggle time.

We found an amazing new vet through a referral from a good friend of mine: Caravan Vet. Instead of taking the kitties to the vet (whom over time we’ve grown to loathe) and making them unhappy with the car ride and subjecting them to the horrible vet, Dr. Christa comes to you! Worked out so well – and we got everyone checked out and up to date with their shots.

Well, except for Pixel, she doesn’t do well with the Distemper shot, so we skip those.

They took blood on all of them to make sure they were ok, and we got the results back a few days later.

Chester and Roxy? Other than some dental disease, they’re healthy as horses. Pixel, while having great teeth, was diagnosed with having hyperthyroidism. We were lucky enough to catch it before she got symptomatic. I had noticed she lost some weight over the past few months and her grooming habits had gone downhill to the point where we had to give her a bath every 2-3 weeks because she was getting dirty.

There’s a number of treatments – irradiation and surgery to name a couple – but we decided to give her medicine twice daily.

At first I was a bit freaked out – that’s my baby girl! I can’t stand that she’s sick! Combine that with the fact I’m terrible at giving the cats any medicine/Petromalt – this was going to be hard on me. Thank gawd Tim is amazing at being the kitty doctor, otherwise I don’t know what I’d do.

He gives Pixel her medicine twice a day and I’m on hand to give her treats for being a good girl. She didn’t like it at first, but now, she knows she has to do it and will begrudgingly take the medicine without any trouble. Such a good girl.

One of the things Dr. Christa told us might happen is that the medicine might make her sick or cause her kidney problems. Given Pixel’s track record with medicine giving her horrible allergic reactions, I was concerned. But, it’s had the opposite effect. She’s more healthy, her fur is back to its bunny-soft texture, and she’s put a little bit of weight back on! So far so good!

I have an appointment in a week and a half for Pixel’s checkup to see how her kidneys are doing and other tests to makes sure the medicine isn’t causing any other problems.

It’s hard realizing that your youngest cat is going to be 12 years old this year and seeing the effects of aging on all of them. It’s going to be so hard having to let them go when it’s their time.

For now, I’m thankful they’re healthy and happy. Makes the 2am “cats gotta snuggle” time easier to bear because there’ll be a time when I’m not being woken up by 13lbs of cat stomping over my body. And I’ll miss it.

Engineering Happiness

Our baby just hit 1000 miles. Sniff.

A lot has happened in the past few months!

You all know about my career transition plans and goals, but my goodness there’s been a lot going on since I last wrote about it. To make a long story short, I posted about it over on my other blog, carolynsonnek.com.

Go read it. I’ll wait. In the meantime, look at Chester hatching a giraffe:

This is how Chester shows love.

Cute, right?

Oh, you’re back! Pretty cool, eh? New awesome career -> acquired. :D

Since I have Awesome New Job, I finally quit Ye Olde Part Tyme Jobbe! With the travel opportunities that my new job offers in addition to the more demanding nature of the position, I need to have my full weekends back. Before, when I was slogging away in Cubicle Hell, I only needed a full day off to recharge. Now? I have much bigger plans!

We also bought a new car! We traded in the old 2003 Mazda Protegé for a 2013 Nissan Juke SL in Sapphire Black. She’s pretty. And fast. And awesome.

Next, I get to go to San Francisco for the first time in May – completely non-work related, funny enough. Our good friends Jason and Vicky (our only in-person guests at our wedding) from the UK are taking a California trip in May and we decided to meet up with them in SF for a few days. I’m very excited. Might have to get in touch with a few friends that live out there to meet for coffee or cocktails. I can’t wait!

Finally (I told you there were a lot of things!), I’m getting back into running and healthier eating after I saw myself in a fitting room mirror today. Who put my head on this fat body? I had been getting back to running on a more regular basis, but as always, I can’t run away a bad diet. The standing desk has really helped in my form and I’m not having as many hip issues like I used to. Score!

Since I don’t have the temptation to eat out for lunch all the time like I used to when I worked downtown, I’m going to refocus my energies into eating healthier and dropping some of this winter coat I’ve acquired. A goal I can stick with!

Hell, if I can transform my work life in 6 months, I can transform my body…right?

So that’s the latest in the life of ye olde Blogkitten! Keep an eye on my other blog as that will be more focused on the tech things I get interested in. And a lot of my Instagram photos. :)

Happy blogging!

Come Stand Me Up!

So this happened…

Oh, and this happened on Saturday. Hell. Yes.

For my 40th birthday (at least that’s what I keep telling myself), my best friend Diane got tickets to the Soundgarden (SG) concert in Minneapolis on February 2nd and flew out here with her husband to celebrate my late birthday!

Little known fact – Diane and I met way back in 1999 on some SG bulletin board (REMEMBER THOSE?!) and over the years we’ve gotten up to some shenanigans and good times traveling to see various members of SG do their side and/or solo projects.

Another little known fact – as massive of fans that we are, we’ve never seen SG live. For me, I never had the chance to – work or other commitments always got in the way. For Diane, she became a huge fan *after* they broke up.

Fast forward to 2013.

We both warned our husbands that we would be going insane waiting for the show. Does this look like sanity to you?

Waiting for @soundgarden at the Orpheum. So. Excited. :-D

Long story short, it was AWESOME. They played the songs we wanted to hear – and none of the songs we didn’t (mainly “Black Hole Sun”….geh). We were on our feet for the entire 2.5 hour show dancing and screaming our hearts out singing along to these songs that we know so well. Songs that created a mutual bond, then a lasting friendship.

If someone says that music isn’t powerful – they’re either lying or they’re stupid. Music – and the shared love of it – can change your life.

It Are Mah Birfday!

birfday

Yes, today is my birthday.

Yes, I’m of an age that now has a zero as its last digit.

And you know what? I’m ok with that!

In the past 6 months, I’ve undergone the most amazing transformation of who I am and what I’m going to do with my life.

I’m on the cusp of the most amazing career ever – no worries, I’ll fill you all in once it becomes final. I can’t wait, though, as I truly love what I’m doing. But patience! :)

Had an amazing birthday dinner with my amazing husband. Nothing big, just the two of us. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. <3

Here’s to the next decade!

Winter Sucks

This weekend we got a winter storm of epic proportions. Although the “official” reports put the total around 10 inches, we got a lot more than that. We had to shovel the driveway three times on Sunday and I can tell you, there was more than a foot of snow! Here’s a picture from around 2pm that day:

Mid-way through the storm.
Mid-way through the storm.

Prior to that, we had NO SNOW.

As I get older, the more I dread winter. So much so that we’re seriously considering moving to the Pacific NW. Yes, it rains…but it’s not snow. Or the month of January when it’s below zero for weeks at a time.

I think Chester would approve.

Chester hates the snow too.
Chester hates the snow too.

Black Friday was a time to get some early Xmas gifts. Oh, who am I kidding, I bought the Vita for me because it was on sale and Persona 4 Golden finally came out.

My precioussss.....
My precioussss…..

Such a good game. They added enough new social links, scenes and a bunch of other stuff from the original PS2 version that it feels like a whole new game. Had so much fun so far…and there’s lots of game yet to be played!

Since Tim has a PlayStation+ account, he has access to a ton of free games every month. One such game we downloaded was Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack. What a fun little platformer! One of the graphics in one of the stages really cracked me the hell up:

I had to take a phone pic of this. So absurd.
I had to take a phone pic of this. So absurd.

If you’re not familiar with the YouTube video, there’s a part where they say “PORKCHOP SANDWICHES!” Never fails to crack me up.

“My god did that smell good!”

*dies laughing*

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

I just noticed that I’ve used this post title two other times (as referenced by the addition of “-3″ to the permalink of this post!)…well, so I’m a Go-Go’s fan. So sue me!

Earlier this month, Tim and I took a vacation to Vancouver, BC. Per our usual, we didn’t take many pictures. We always have grand plans of taking a bunch of pictures, then we’re too busy absorbing our surroundings and having fun to stop and take photos. But we did take a few!

Here’s me at the Olympic village in Whistler, BC.
Somewhere between Vancouver and Whistler on the “Sea to Sky Highway.”

We had such an amazing trip. That Sea to Sky Highway was an hour and forty-five minutes one way of us driving and gawking at the scenery. We thought about taking photos in the car, but knew they wouldn’t convey the majesty that we were seeing in front of us. Stunning.

We really didn’t want to come home and we’re making plans to return – once we go to Seattle, that is!

Scary.

Get better soon, Chester man. :-*

Had a huge scare last Thursday night.

Got home from work and was home for about a half-hour or so and noticed that Chester was nowhere to be found.

I eventually found him in the bedroom closet – where he had been all day.

Side note: We keep the cats out of bedroom closet because we don’t want to have cat hair all over all our clothes!

Now Chester is fourteen and a half years old, and he has a tendency to get dehydrated. When he gets dehydrated, he gets constipated. When he can’t go, it makes him throw up/dry heave. This happens when he hasn’t been locked in a closet all day.

I found him asleep on top of a pile of my sweaters (of course on the black one!); he sleepily blinked at me, jumped down and started high fiving and snuggling with me. Everything seemed fine!

Until he went downstairs to use the litter box.

He went from happy and energetic to lethargic, weak and dry heaving. And he started making these moaning noises…like he was in some serious pain…and it made my blood run cold.

I immediately (at 4:50pm!) called the vet and thankfully they were open until 6 and they told me to bring him in as soon as possible. I looked at my poor orange man limp on the floor and at the cat carrier in my hand and I thought “there’s no way I’m going to be able to shove him in there like this!”

As I’m doing that, I called Tim to see where he was – and he was less than 5 minutes from home. I told him to get his butt home ASAP because we have to take Chester to the vet. He asked me what was wrong, I said “I don’t have time to tell you – just get home!”

I felt bad for leaving him in suspense, but I didn’t have time to talk on the phone; I thought my cat was dying in front of me!

I went into the closet and emptied out the clothes basket (full of clean laundry that I was going to put away that evening), grabbed a few towels out of the hall closet, laid one on the bottom of the basket as a cushion, gently laid him on it and covered the basket with the other towel. I wasn’t worried he would jump out; he was in no way able to even move, much less jump out of a clothes basket.

I sat by the front door and waited for what seemed like an eternity for Tim to get home. The whole while I petted Chester’s head and told him to “hang in there” and that I wasn’t ready for him to leave me yet. :(

Tim finally got home. I ordered him around to help me get him in the car and answering his “what’s wrong?” questions with “I’ll tell you when we’re driving to the vet…I can’t focus on that right now.”

Again, I felt bad for making him wait…but I was so focused on getting on the road, I wasn’t wasting any time talking. I let him know what was going on once we started driving. He felt horrible as he was the last one home that morning. I said it was nobody’s fault. However, we have implemented a “cat check” before we go anywhere now.

Got to the vet, where after they weighed him (while on top of one of our heavy bath towels!) all we got was a constant lecture from the vet how he was “overweight” and kept harping on us that he was “too fat”.

For fuck’s sake, lady, my cat is DYING and all you can talk about is that he’s a couple pounds overweight?! (a lot of which was TOWEL?!)

Long story short, she finally focused on the issue at hand (after I yelled at her “fine, we get it…but we have bigger things to worry about right now!”) and said he probably had a UTI (and despite us telling her he was constipated). They brought in a litter box to see if he would go, and he immediately went to it and got into his “#2 stance”. She still insisted he was trying to pee.

Lady, I’ve seen my cat do both #1 and #2, and he wasn’t trying to pee.

After an x-ray (where it showed a normal-sized bladder, meaning no UTI), she finally admitted that he “might” be constipated.

Ya think?

We went home with some kitty painkillers (to calm him down and alleviate some of the pain), some wet food and a laxative. We also had to isolate him from the girls all night so we could be sure he was going to the bathroom normally again. Thankfully, he did both before we went to bed.

Zonked.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night worrying about the little dude. Friday and Saturday, he was still pretty lethargic…but by Sunday he was starting to be back to his old self again.

Got me thinking about how I picked up this naughty, six-month-old orange cat named “Mischief” from the Humane Society on Halloween back in 1998. Bottle-fed from the age of two weeks since his mama died, he was raised by people around a lot of other cats. The first three days we had him home, he never left my side (not even while I showered…he had to be in there with me). He wasn’t with me for about 5 years (he stayed with my ex), but one snowy day in February 2007, I met my ex in Mankato to pick up my orange man and take him home.

The worst thing about being a pet owner is that you will outlive your pet, no matter how much you love them.

I’m so thankful that I didn’t have to live that reality this past weekend. I’m not ready for that.

But, I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready.