Tag Archives: pug

A look back on 2018

7 Jan

It’s that time of year again, friends. That time when I reflect on the past year and completely ignore the fact that I’ve neglected the blog for the majority of it.

As an adult I’ve come to realize days, weeks, months, and years all tend to melt together, but I have to say 2018 was a pretty great year. I kept two of my resolutions — I didn’t eat meat at all in 2018 (aside from fish) and I learned calligraphy. I didn’t manage to run a half marathon in 2018, but I just registered for a half marathon in March, so that’s my 2018 resolution sorted in 2019.

A look back on 2018:

-We renovated our living room, a project we’d been talking about for over a year and finally got done. It took approximately three months even though it was supposed to take 2 weeks, but we feel like we’re living in a palace now.
-I fell head over heels in love with calligraphy, particularly brush lettering and pointed pen. I amassed over 1,200 followers on my calligraphy Instagram account. I am by no means a calligraphy master, but my work looks a lot better than it did on day one!
-I got to visit my friends in Chicago and Milwaukee not once, but twice!
-I attended Milwaukee Pug Fest with my best friend
-I got really into skincare and spent a small fortune on it, but I was able to reduce some of the sun damage on my face caused by running outside. Always wear sunscreen, kids! Even in England in the winter.
-I ran a 5K race with Cherry in 90+ degree heat (well, I ran it, she walked it)
-I voted in my first U.S. primary and midterm elections and vowed to never not vote again
-I went to New York City and saw two Broadway shows (Come From Away and The Donna Summer Musical)
-I was in the studio audience for a taping of The Daily Show
-I survived the worst heat wave in UK history, but not without complaining every 5 minutes about it
-I reached level 40 on Pokemon Go, which is the highest level. I wish I could say I quit the game then, but I still play daily, though not as obsessively
-We traveled to Croatia, where we fed wild peacocks and bunnies, explored Game of Thrones filming locations, and learned the hard way that we are not cut out for sea kayaking
-I went home for Halloween and made Cherry a Wonder Bread costume
-I got a 10K personal best in the Thanksgiving Day Race
-We traveled to Tenerife in the Canary Islands where we fed monkeys and guinea pigs, saw dolphins and whales, and went on an epic buggy safari through Teide National Park
-I got a Vitamix blender for my birthday, something I should have done years ago
-I saw 9 West End shows, which was not a record, but still an impressive and enjoyable feat

2019 is already starting on the right foot. We spent New Year’s Day stripping wallpaper in preparation for our bedroom renovation. I pray once we get the builders in the job really does only take two weeks! Then maybe we can focus on the kitchen, which started as “Let’s just repaint and add some more cupboards” but has evolved to “let’s just completely gut it!” Gulp. Meanwhile I just finished week 2 of my half marathon training plan and crushed my 5-mile “long run,” so at least that’s going well. Ask me again once the long runs get longer than 6 miles though! I’m also still working on my calligraphy and want to try new things like iPad digital art with Procreate and making process videos. Maybe this will be the year I get off the proverbial bench and start selling my work and services(!). Addressing all 30 of our Christmas cards made me think I might be able to do envelopes and place cards for a wedding one day… a small wedding, at least!

doug the pug 2019

Image courtesy Doug the Pug

Here’s to 2019!

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I’m getting old and may be losing my mind

30 Oct

pug sleepingI completely forgot about the time change yesterday. I don’t mean I woke up, saw the time on my phone and clock were different and got confused, I mean I woke up, went about my day as normal, and it was only when we were at lunch with friends and one of them mentioned the time change that I found out about it.

“You mean I lost an hour of sleep without even knowing it?” I exclaimed.

“No. You got an extra hour of sleep without knowing it,” our friend clarified.

When I lamented my misstep to my mom over text, she said I’m either getting old or lead a relaxing life with no time restrictions. It’s probably a bit of both. Though it’s because my phone and Fitbit automatically adjusted that I didn’t realize the change, and was not an hour early to lunch. Back in the day there were always a handful of people who showed up an hour late or early to church or other events on the Sunday after the time change. Now, thanks to technology, we can completely forget about the time change and not be all that affected.

I am getting old, though. The other day I had a “senior moment” in Tesco. I brought my shopping trolley because I was planning on buying some heavy items. I wheeled it around the store in one hand, and wheeled a shopping basket in the other. When it was time to checkout, I got in the queue and figured I should remove my tote bag from my trolley to make it easier to pack. Then panic struck. Where was my trolley? It was gone. I was only wheeling my shopping basket. Had I even brought it with me? Yes, I remembered wheeling it into the store. But where did it go? I jumped out of the queue and ran through every aisle. Luckily even the bigger Tesco Metros are still tiny compared to an American supermarket, and I only had to gaze down 4 aisles before I saw my trolley abandoned by the bananas. I had absolutely no recollection of leaving it there. Aren’t I too young for “sometimers” moments? The only thing I can think is that muscle memory kicked in — since I wheeled the trolley all the way to the store, my body was used to wheeling something behind me in one hand, so when I wheeled my shopping basket around, that felt like the trolley. It does feel unnatural to wheel things in each hand, which is what I have to do with a trolley and basket.

If getting older means experiencing more and more of these moments, I am not looking forward to it!

When a (wo)man is tired of London…

19 Apr

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m tired of London, but it’s certainly grinding on me lately. The crowds of tourists have been giving me a mean case of pedestrian road rage (yes, that’s a thing), and it’s taken everything I’ve got not to body slam a group of Spanish high school students blocking the entire pavement in the park whilst I’m running. Things that used to be a happy coincidence — like just happening to catch the Horseguards changing of the guards when trying to get to St. James Park have become a huge nuisance. There’s always something going on near our flat in central London, whether it be Mary Poppins filming or an alt right protest (and anti-alt right protest and a huge police presence just in case the two protests clashed).

So while those crowds of tourists who walk at a snail’s pace and stop sporadically for selfies couldn’t be more chuffed to be in London, I am so looking forward to heading to America tomorrow. I’m looking forward to driving again, to running in my parent’s subdivision with no chance of getting trapped behind tour groups and slow walkers, and, of course, seeing family and friends. I’m starting in Milwaukee, then heading to Chicago, then finally to Cincinnati via my old pal Megabus (please no explosions this time!).

I just checked in online for my flight and was surprised when Delta informed me the second leg of my trip might be overbooked and asked me if I’d be willing to accept a voucher to go on a different flight. (A new process in light of the recent United fiasco, perhaps?) The kicker is they asked me to bid with the voucher amount I’d be willing to accept — $200, $300, $400, or $500. I opted out since I have a non refundable hotel reservation to make, but I wonder what kind of person bids $300? Whoever bids the least will be the first to be bumped. Presumably someone who for one reason or another doesn’t really want to take the flight will bid $200, but anyone who’s smart would go for the max. Who bids $300 or $400? I’d really love to know.

Here’s hoping for smooth traveling (I’m flying Delta, but wearing leggings) and as mild a case of jetlag as possible!

london pug bus

At least I saw a pug bus today!

A look back on 2016

1 Jan

pug-new-year

 

 

Ah, 2016. Celebrities die every year, but the year that took away David Bowie, Prince and George Michael seemed particularly cruel. Then there was that little Brexit debacle and American election. But on a personal level, 2016 wasn’t all that bad. Dare I say it was actually quite good.

 

Here’s a little reflection of what went down over the past year:

-Stephen and I celebrated 10 years together
-I went to the Cadbury Creme Egg cafe
-I completed the Great Walk of London, which involved walking 16.35 miles around London solely for the Fitbit steps
-I got to be maid of hono[u]r in my best friend’s wedding in Milwaukee
-I spent Fourth of July in Chicago with good friends
-All the cousins on my dad’s side of the family were reunited for the first time in 9 years
-I started playing Pokemon Go, let it take over my life, completed my Pokedex and for some reason still continue to play
-I did gymnastics for the first time in 16 years with my other best friend and survived with only minor aches and injuries
-I traveled to China with Stephen — twice
-I complete my first half marathon
-I went to my first Cincinnati Bengals game, which happened to be in London
-I got to meet Meat Loaf, my musical idol since high school
-We bought a flat
-I saw 9 West End shows, somehow tying my record from 2015, 2014 and 2013 (maybe my 2017 resolution should be to see 10 shows!)
-I traveled to Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic with my parents and got to visit the house my great great grandfather built in Sweden in 1903 (link missing because I still need to make a blog post about this!)
-I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in London for the first time. We watched the NYE fireworks from the roof of our building and it was beyond spectacular (the most spectacular part being we got to avoid the massive crowds)
-I got to eat at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Versailles for my 30th birthday. We had an amazing little last minute getaway, until we almost got stuck in Paris because all flights to London were grounded. Thank god for the Eurostar train!

Here’s to 2017! I haven’t made any resolutions, but I hope it is filled with good travel, theatre, food, running, friends and family.

I’m already nostalgic and we haven’t even moved yet

16 Nov

On Monday I made my last trek to Aldi. It was dark, cloudy and rainy and I was tempted to hop on a bus, but knew I had to walk. I somehow figured if my last grocery trip from this flat was long and miserable, perhaps I’d feel less nostalgic for it once we move. I’m not sure it worked.

This week I’ve been hitting up all my favorite running spots around here since they’ll be farther away after the move. I told myself I could always run to Regent’s Park and Primose Hill from our new place, it would just be a long run. Though I don’t think I’ve run more than 5 miles at a time since my half 2 months ago. But if I get word there are good Pokemon in these parts, you know I’ll be back.

regents park autumn.png

autumn in regents park.png

paddington rec ground autumn.png(Photos of Regent’s Park and Paddington Recreation Ground I took on my runs this month)

We hired movers to do our packing, but I still spent a lot of today organizing and packing things. We’re just moving a couple miles away, but I’ve got it in my mind that I will never see my belongings again — like when we made the initial move out here and our stuff was out at sea for 6 weeks. I’ve packed my suitcase for my European trip with my parents even though we don’t leave until Black Friday (9 days from now). Surely I will have unpacked the flat at least a little by then, but I convinced myself that if I don’t pack the selfie stick and travel adapters now, they will disappear in some box and I will never see them again. That is the downside of having someone else pack for you — you have no idea what’s in every box. But the way I’m acting lately, it’s like we won’t be able to open any of the boxes.

They always say moving is a good way to purge all those unnecessary items that don’t bring you joy, which is probably one of the reasons I hate moving so much. I hate getting rid of things, even if it is things I no longer use or haven’t touched since we last moved. Though I am getting better and — dare I say — even enjoyed a bit of the purging I’ve been doing. Please remind me of this when you find me curled up in a ball in a month lamenting about the new flat’s lack of storage space. I can do this!

corgi box.gif

pug-puppies-box

(What I wish my moving boxes contained)

Summer is the worst

7 Jun

Have I mentioned that I hate summer? Specifically running in the summer? I found this handy chart that explains how heat affects your running goals:

running temperatures.png

When I set out today at 1pm it was 79 degrees (26C), which according to the chart is “extremely oppressive” and I probably should have skipped the run. But instead I decided to just lower my mileage. Instead of my normal Tuesday long run, I’d do a “short” long run of 6 miles. I stopped in my usual spot to stretch and get my audio book started before I set off. I’ve been listening to audio books on my long runs to help me pass the time and power through. Right now I’m listening to Game Change, which is all about the 2008 US presidential election. I was looking forward to today’s listen because I had finally gotten to the Palin chapters. But when I opened up iBooks, Game Change was gone. So were all my other audio books. I hadn’t updated my operating system or synced my phone, so I couldn’t figure out why they disappeared when they were there yesterday. I clicked on a bunch of tabs and finally opened up the music app, thinking maybe they somehow got moved. That’s when I realized all my music was missing too! Apparently all my audio files on my phone can just magically disappear without touching anything.
not even mad amazingSo it was not a good start to my run. Luckily I had just reactivated my Spotify Premium subscription this morning, so I listened to Tegan and Sara’s new album as I plodded along. The heat and humidity were oppressive though, and my “I’ll just do 6 miles” turned into “I will be lucky it I can do 4 and not die.” 4 is still better than none though!

And I know what you’re thinking — why don’t you just run earlier? That’s the obvious solution. Except it’s not easy. I like running, but I like sleeping even more, and I’m pretty sure getting a good night’s sleep is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I could run first thing after I wake up like a lot of people do, but I don’t like running on an empty stomach. I’ve got a good system going that involves waking up, eating my overnight oats, working for a few hours, and then running. Why you gotta try to mess it all up, summer weather?

I’m experimenting with my summer running kit and added two new items: a visor and wrist bands. I picked them both up in the golf section of Sports Direct. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I never understood the purpose of wrist bands until about two weeks ago. Sweat bands I get — they keep the sweat off your face, but wrist bands? Do they keep the sweat off your hands? Who gets sweaty wrists? But then I saw someone using them in a workout video and realized you use them to wipe away and absorb sweat from your face. Seems like a better idea than just using a tissue like I’ve been doing. I got the visor to protect my face from the sun. I always wear sunglasses and sunscreen, but lately I’ve been noticing more freckles and wrinkles on my face than I’d like and was hoping the visor would help. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of both my new kit items. The visor helps a little, but it also adds an additional layer to my already overheated head. The wrist bands work OK, but not with the visor as the brim prevents my wrist from reaching my sweaty forehead. They also got a little wonky when I put them in the washing machine even though I let them air dry. Alas.

pug exercise

(When I got home I synced my phone with my computer and all my audio files came back, which is good, but I’m still curious how it happened in the first place and worried that it could happen again. I’m also mad I lost my place in Game Change. I am blaming summer for all of this.)

Bloody no longer trusty running shoes

13 May

So my running shoes are stained with blood now. Before you panic, no, I did not get seriously injured nor step on some innocent creature. I’ve been wearing the same running shoes since January and have never had any problems with blisters or weird rubbing. But since yesterday was warm, I decided to wear thin socks. I’ve worn these socks before, but they’re not my go-to. About 2 miles into my run I felt something on my ankle. I stopped, thinking a rock or leaf had gotten into my shoe, but instead noticed the skin was peeling off and getting irritated from rubbing against the shoe. This is a problem I’m all too familiar with with flats and heels, and well, pretty much any shoe that is not my running shoe. But my trusty trainers have never let me down like this. I tried to push on, but the pain was starting to get to me. I ripped my sweat tissue in half (yes, I always carry a tissue in each pocket — one for sweat, one for snot. Gross, I know) and attempted to use it as a cushion between my ankle and my shoe, but it didn’t do much. I then tried to vary my gait by running on the tips of my toes. This relieved the pain, but seemed like a sprained ankle waiting to happen. That, and I looked feckin ridiculous. Like this pug:


I gave up and clicked “workout finished” on Mapmyrun then pseudo-limped the mile home. It seems I now need to add Band-aids to my emergency running kit (which so far just consists of a 20p coin in case I need to use the loo in the park. But considering how anti-paying-to-pee I am, it would have to be a super big emergency.)

I got home and drenched my bloody sock in Oxyclean, but didn’t bother to clean the back of my shoe. It feels like some strange badge of honor. But now I’m in a conundrum. Running shoes are supposed to be replaced every 500 miles, and so far I’ve put 334.99 on these ones (yes, that is the exact figure from Mapmyrun). I wasn’t planning on buying new shoes until I’m back in the US in July. So here’s hoping I can make these bloody shoes survive for the next 2 months with the right socks and Band-aids.