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. 😀

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. 😀

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

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*

Your Daily Squee

*DIES*

I’d love to have a perpetually 3-week old tiger!

[insert high pitched squee noises and foot stomping here*]

* * * * *
BIG shout out to my friend Sande for RAWKING the Colorado Bar Exam! Let me know if you ever want to move to a big, evil corporation! 😉

And, it’s Friday! WOOO!
_________

* Ask Tim: whenever I see something squee-worthy, I squeal out loud and stomp my feet. Yes, I know I’m weird.

I Protest!

I imagine this is what is going through Pixel’s head when we give her a bath. Actually, it’s more of what Roxy would say, because Pixel is such a sweetie, but I’ve never decided that risking my life was worth trying to give Rox a bath. That’s just asking for horrible pain and/or death.

Lucky for us, she’s the most fastidiously clean kitten I’ve seen.

My Kingdom For A Pillow!

Chester likes video games.

I love that cat, but last night he was being such an asshole. I don’t know what he ate to make him act so damn naughty all night. I didn’t sleep at all from all the knocking things off of dressers and his need to stomp/snuggle all over me all night.

Also, thanks to Tim’s co-workers going to work sick and infecting him with their scurvy germs, I’m now coming down with a cold of some sort: headache, sneezing and general lethargy. Have we learned NOTHING from the Swine Flu?

STAY HOME IF YOU’RE SICK.

Two weeks and I’m on vacation – 10 straight days off. Bliss.

Going Green

Tims VCS in the grass
Tim's VCS in the grass

The above picture was taken by Tim yesterday to illustrate an article about how you can be a “Green Gamer.” Click the photo to go to the article if you’re interested in it.

However, this brings me to an update on my allergies. Or more specifically, the lack thereof.

Cottonwood FluffWhen I say “lack” I mean that all the years I’ve been on this earth, I thought I had hay fever. Mowing the grass caused me to be stuffed up for the rest of the day with a sinus headache. Harvest season and all the dust flying about caused congestion and sneezing. The time of Spring around here when the cottonwood trees would be pollinating and spreading their fluff around I would be miserable. If the cats got in my face, I would itch and feel like I was breaking out in a rash. If I was vacuuming and dusting, the sneezing fits that would ensue would be epic.

Cut to my appointment with the allergist on Tuesday. My eyes were red, itchy and puffy and I was experiencing the worst allergy season to date. I needed to find out what exactly I was allergic to so I could make my life better. I knew I didn’t have any food allergies, but I was so afraid that I was getting more allergic to the cats (which I always assumed I was allergic to) and getting rid of any of them would’ve killed me. Funny enough, we got Chester back because Kevin’s wife developed a bad allergy to their cats. I knew how hard it was on him to give the little dude up, but I know it eased his mind that Chester was going back to his mama. The little dude was always a mama’s boy, so it worked out. But I knew that nobody could take Chester, or the girls for that matter, that I would be OK with.

Back to the allergist. Turns out, what I was allergic to that was making my eyes puffy, red and itchy is another antibiotic. Tobramycin. Something I was given to treat a minor eye infection I had. I’m already allergic to penicillin and sulfa, so I’m not surprised. A few days with a hydrocortizone ointment, and my eyes are back to normal. Then I had the allergy test done and the results were shocking.

I’m not allergic to anything.

Well, that’s not entirely true, but I’m not allergic to anything in nature that would cause hay fever. Not allergic to grasses, trees, dust, pollen, mold or any animals. I was the human pincushion and I didn’t react to a damn thing. Oh, I did react to the control histamine spot they put down, but nothing else. So, they put shots in my arm to verify the results that were on my back. Again, nothing.

Turns out what I have is what they call “non-allergic rhinitis.” Hay fever is called “allergic rhinitis” and what I suffer from is the “non-allergic” variety. I know, this doesn’t make sense, as I am allergic to something – but it’s just not nature like I thought.

So what am I allergic to? Some chemical, fragrance or additive that’s in just about everything that you can buy in the marketplace. Looking back on it, now that I have a diagnosis, it makes sense. I can’t wear makeup anymore because it makes me break out. Certain body washes cause a rash when I use them. I have to use very specific face lotions and cleansers to also avoid breaking out. I’ve had a wicked metal allergy for years. I’m allergic to damn antibiotics! The stuff that’s supposed to heal you makes me sicker. Great, huh?

How does this fold into the “green” aspect? Well, for the longest time, I’ve used as many eco-friendly products around the house that I can. Mostly a combination of Method and Seventh Generation. The only non-eco-friendly things that I use currently are dryer sheets. Method used to make a great dryer sheet, then they changed to a moist version that just didn’t work as well as their old ones. I use their liquid fabric softener when I wash sheets and blankets, but for regular laundry, the dryer sheet works best.

I had been using the Bounce Free sheets, until the last time I ran out. There weren’t any of the Free ones available, so I bought an innocuous box of “Spring Fresh.” I can just about guarantee that is where the onset of my “miserable spring allergies” began. Yesterday, I went onto Drugstore.com and, since they were having a Earth Day sale of “up to 50% off eco-friendly products,” I ordered some Seventh Generation dryer sheets and laundry soap. I also bought a jug of the Method Free laundry soap because I really prefer the Method laundry stuff. I also picked up some (girl alert) feminine hygiene products from Seventh Generation. Why? Well (big time girl alert), this last month and other months prior, I had an irritation from the pads and panty shields, well, down there. Not quite a rash, but something was definitely not kosher either.

Now that I have an idea of what I’m allergic to, I’m going to attack all the irritants with ninja-like precision and eliminate them from my life. Hell, I might be able to stop taking an allergy medicine if I play my cards right!

However, above everything else, I’m just glad I don’t have to ever have to think about getting rid of the kitties again. That feels good.