Thursday, March 31, 2011

To goal or not to goal

Josh and I's long run was yesterday and we did it!  It was the first time we fully completed a long run...except when 3 miles was the long run.  This one was 7 miles.  Here it is detail by excited detail-

We started out driving to the work out room, but it was in use.  It was very cold out and

Yuck.  I just bored myself to death.  let just say we ran it outside, 7 laps around the complex and it did hurt until the last lap.  Just like Nathan, my brother, said would happen.  Today it hurts all over.  My ankles, my knees, the fronts of my thighs. My mind is exhausted too.  I fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with Josh this morning.

Heather, a friend, gave me an old spider net truck bed cover she no longer needs.  My truck is now complete, and my life has been fulfilled.  Almost all life goals have been accomplished.  Sounds good right? Wrong.  'Cause now what am I going to do?  I'm going to have to set new goals without the naivety of a teenager who thinks it's all possible and doesn't see the American dream as an evil.  I'm going to have to set realistic rational goals...and there's nothing more boring than that.  How can I reach and grow with simple goals?

Here's A List of My Irrational Goals:
1.  Go into space for 1 month or more
2.  Climb Mt. Everest
3.  Descend into the volcano that has a volcanic lake at the bottom in Africa
4.  See a pyroclastic flow
5.  Be in a flood
6.  Take a camel ride around the pyramids
7.  Learn Arabic
8.  Spend time in the Antarctic
9.  Make national geograpic or Nova videos
10.  Get one of those cable tv shows where Josh and I travel and it's documented and we get paid for it
11.  Live off the grid in the forests of Hawaii
12.  Own a house built underground or into a hill
13.  Sail a sail boat around the world and never be afraid of pirates
14.  Explore one of those awesome caves that's not commercialized for the public
15.  Hike the Appellation Trail
16.  Join the Peace Corp
17.  As a volcanologist near a volcano
18.  Spend time as a horse nomad in Mongolia
19.  Grow, shear, card, spin and knit my own wool sweater
20.  Own 15 kitties, maybe start a cat shelter/sanctuary
21.  Go viral on the internet for something not embarrassing and make a lot of easy money
22.  Meet Conan O'Brian
23.  Whittle something other than a toothpick
24.  Own a monster truck
25.  Live in Tokyo - but not for very long, maybe 6 months

Okay that's enough for now.  That's really fun.  I haven't thought of or listed many of those things in a formal fashion before.  I DO have goals and their not impossible.  I just have to choose them...or become beyond famous and buy a flight into space.  Which is not the same as become an astronaut!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saying Things

What should I say?

I ate left over Mexican and it was more delicious the second time. 

I had my job review today.  It went well. :)

Josh and I discussed Dragon Ball Z...I'm still not that interested.

I remembered that Josh's mom got us a wine stopper thing with handmade wood top and used it.  Then I drank all the wine and it's no longer being used.

I lost at racket ball, again.  This time it was closer than ever...18-21.  Soon I will win.

I do not like losing at racket ball.

I liked my apartment tonight.  Moving is going to be a pain in my ass when it happens.  That's all I can think about I'm going to have to pack everything up.

That's it.  Time to get off.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quick List of Things

1.  Need coffee
2.  Not satisfied with life currently...
3.  Going to see Jonathan Coulton
4.  Ran 5 miles yesterday, today I have off!
5.  Have bittersweet relationship with insurance companies
6.  Figured out where my money is going....$300/month in health insurance!  It all makes sense now, and I hate it.  But all I have to do is reach down and feel the platinum screws inserted with gold drill bits in my ankle to know that I love insurance really.
7.  Watched Grandma's Boy again...still LOVE it
8.  Knitted, on round 8 of 56
9.  A woman from the IHS saw the Lions sticker on my (SWEET) truck and had to come inside and meet me and introduce herself because she grew up in Michigan.
10.  Life is better

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Attack of the Binder Machine

I finished an in-depth how-to manual for the the database and data sharing software I've been working with. It's finished just in time for training of the Cherokee on how to use it. 

I  tried to use the binding machine to bind the 69 pages of magnificent manual.  The binding machine is a low tech electrical machine that punches rectangular holes all down the side of paper and then splits apart the plastic side things so you can put the paper in them, and then when the plastic side things close...whala! Bound document.

Like those, only our binder is slightly less high tech.

Instead of binding my paper it ate some of it and ignored the rest.  Then it started binding and eating all on it's own without me pressing the button!  I'm not a fan of low-tech office supplies gaining artificial intelligence, so I turned it off and put a "broke" note on it.

One of my coworkers of course didn't believe me that it was broke and thought I was just doing it wrong.  I let him figure it out on his own, and's broke.  That's cause I only look silly but in actuality, I'm quite well educated in knowing when things are broke.

No worries though, I chose not to be offended and annoyed at my coworker because I'm pretty sure I'd do the same thing to someone else.  Plus he said he would fix it tomorrow.  Tomorrow I'm just going to 3 hole punch it all and stick it into a binder.  No more of this fancy pancy stuff.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sleeping with Water

Last night I took an Ambien to help me sleep.  Actually I took 1/4 of one and it knocked me right out.  It was amazing.  Best sleep ever...until the allergies kicked in.  I have a small persistent cough from allergies here and the only thing that helps is just the smallest sip of water.  I always have water with me now because without that sip the cough will not stop and only gets worse.  Just ask Bob and the plane ride we took together.

The cough started in the middle of the night and I reached up to my dresser and grabbed my large slurpy cup of water and took a sip.  Then the Ambien retook a hold of me, and I rested the cup on my stomach/chest and fell back a sleep.  Of course I woke up with an entire cup of cold water pouring out onto me.  It soaked the blankets, and Josh didn't know what was going on.  I was still basically asleep and tried to grab the blankets and pull the wet part to the side of the bed.  I remember saying "I can't function!  What do I do!?!?!"  then I laid down and our memory foam pad splooshed b/c of all the water in it.  I got up and went to the couch and fell asleep instantly.

Josh was still so confused as to what was going on due to the fact that most of our conversation was occurring in my head and then I disappeared.  He got up found me and got me another blanket.  He's so sweet.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It was a good day.

Things have been busy over here in the Colombini household!  We've been running, spending time outside, cleaning, and cooking.  None of it as much as I would like too though.  I'm learning to do what I want instead of waiting to do the fun stuff until after the work is done.  Not in the sense that I am being lazy, but in that I have several projects going that will lead to a cleaner house, but if I wait until everything is perfect, I'll never get to them b/c my house will never be perfect.

For example, the other day I had time to either clean/pick stuff up or sew a bag hutch.  I chose to sew the bag hutch because it was wanted I really wanted to do and it would lead to the cupboard under the sink being a lot emptier and cleaner.

When we run at night, it's wears us out sooo much that we're too tired to cook and by the time we're done it's usually 8:00, too late to clean.  I try to do one or two things, and then forget about the rest of the house.  Someday there will be time, but it would be worse to worry about it now.  I can't wait until the marathon is over and I can get my life back!  Running 2 miles is nothing...but running 6 miles takes the entire evening or day!

I'm so happy that I can say running 2 miles is nothing!  It's one of those things I never ever thought I would say and I didn't even want to be able to.

We went to East Nashville with Tamara and her friend John yesterday.  It's such a nice area to hang out's the up and coming artist/hipster area of Nashville, but doesn't have the Belmont/Nashville hipster scene.  The Green Wagon was having a grand re-opening celebration.  I got a free makeover and I was prepared to spend some money on makeup, but once I was done, the makeover people completely ignored me!  I was like, Ummmmm...okay, and left because I didn't really want the makeup or have the money.  We also got to taste a new beer brewed by the Nashvillians.  It was just okay...a little hoppy for me.  The nut brown beer was pretty good though.  OH and the grilled cheese bus was there.  Josh waited in line for maybe 40 min. and got him and me the best grilled cheese of my life!  It had carmalized onions on the inside.  I was also able to stock up on local handmade soap, which we were out of, and on handmade, local, laundry detergent, which we were very close to being out of.  We bought 5 bags of the laundry detergent on Earth Day last year and it pretty much lasted until today.

We also got some handmade ice cream.  I got ginger lime flavor.  It was good but not amazing.  I'm not an ice cream connoisseur though and would have gotten vanilla if that was available, which it wasn't.  We got to sit outside in some trees on a nice whimsical table with little chairs.  I dislike the word whimsical, but that's the only way to describe it.

It was a good day.

Then Josh and I got home and took a nap.  We woke up and it was 8:30.  We tried to run 6 miles, but only got 2 done because Ackbar had scratched Josh foot from toe to heal in the morning and it was irritating him a lot.  We then had our own grilled cheese for dinner at 10:00 and left over veggies from a pork loin bake we made earlier this week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mardi Gras

Long time no update.

It's because I've been super busy running.  I can't wait for the marathon to be over because it's taking up all my time!  I'm going to describe my amazing Mardi Gras trip by pasting a letter I wrote to my friends back home, it perfectly captures everything I wanted to say about the trip:

"I had a lot of fun this weekend!  It was one of the best vacations I've ever been on!  AND you girls will be surprised...I did not get a hangover because I didn't get stupid drunk.  Yeah...I's a clear sign I'm getting old.  I enjoyed not fooling poopy too.  I did drink...just not to excess.  We went with our friends Bob and Jacque and stayed with her parents.  I loved seeing Louisiana....which is bad, b/c now I've put another place on my list of where I want to live.  It was so freeing to go out and be with many people who didn't care what they looked like, what impressions they were making, or if they were drinking/smoking/naked and other people weren't.  I'm starting to realize Nashville is a very conservative city that places a very high importance on appearance and popularity.  I do not fit in here.

I caught over 70lbs of beads from the floats!  I made friends with the little girls catching the beads next to me and tried to get them the good beads, and commiserated on the annoyances of the people on the float when we didn't get the good beads.  Then one of them caught a bag right out of my hands.  When she turned around and saw that it was me...she just laughed and kept the bag.  It makes me happy b/c I would have done the exact same thing.  When you are out there it's a free for all and you MUST GET THAT SPECIFIC BEAD thrown at you no matter the age or sex or color of the person you are fighting for it.  And then, if you don't need it after you catch it, or if you catch two sweet beads, you give it away...even if the person is a stranger.  Everyone talks to everyone else and helps them out and gives away food.  It's like there's so much of everything there that everyone has enough and is more than willing to share.  I saw one guy without a shirt buy a sweatshirt from a guy (who was wearing it) for $20.  I thought that was awesome (the shirtless guy was also very drunk).  OH, and before the parade with the little girls started, there was loud music in the street and the Cuban Shuffle came on, and the girls started dancing to it.  There was a whole group of people doing it in the street farther along, but where we were it was the 2 even though I detest the song and dancing to directed songs like that...I went out there and joined them!  We got a whole group of people dancing with us.

Jacque's Dad also took us down a bayou to a river to the big lake there.  You can't see across that lake, like Lake Michigan.  One I could tell it was smaller...and I couldn't describe why to I'm just going to wait until she can see Lake Michigan for herself.  I loved seeing the bayou just as much as everything else combined.  I've always wanted to go boating down one almost exactly like we did, so I was able to cross a life goal off the list.  We were even able to get off the boat and have a beer in a restaurant we passed.

The weirdest part was that we were allowed to have open drinks anywhere.  We would get out of the car, in the parking garage, and pour our beers into our cups and then leave.  That was the strangest just didn't seem right.

Oh and there was King Cake.  That may have been my favorite part.  It was like a round cinnamon roll sorta with cream cheese filling and icing on top.  Good icing with sugar sprinkled thickly on it.  But it wasn't too sweet and it tasted real.  Real good!  Finally, there is also a baby in it.  A little plastic anatomically correct baby boy...possibly baby Jesus.  I'm not sure.  Whoever gets the baby has to throw the next party.

I did not flash anyone...  I didn't see a guy with beads worth it to flash for.  And there were always little kids around...Mardi Gras is actually a family event.  Who knew."

Thursday, March 3, 2011


On March 21st my Oma passed away unexpectedly at home.  She was almost 90 (April 4 is her birthday) and I think had a lot of back pain, which I can understand.

I want to write about her and about my family.  It's a pretty sweet family, and she was the head of it. 

She was born in the Netherlands 90 years ago.  I believe her grandparents were Cornelia and Cornelius, but maybe it was her parents.  One of my aunts made family history calendars with old pictures and names and dates on it, which is where I am getting most of this from, and I haven't looked at that particular calendar recently.  She went to cooking school, she lived on her own in an apartment, she took the train to visit her grandparents.  That's so little to know, but so awesome!  I find it so scary now to be an independent woman, and I have had a partner (Josh) next to me since I was 20, and she was able to do it back when women's rights were so much less than they are now.  Oh and her cooking was amazing!

Then she met Opa (William Straathof) and they got married.  She had two junior bridesmaids and a beautiful wedding dress.  As far as I can tell her hair has been the same since she was born.  Short and curly.  I don't know what color it was before it was white...the pictures are in black and white, but I think it was a light to medium brown.  Maybe it was a dirty blond? 

They had 2 maybe 3 children...I can't remember the exact number...and World War II happened...maybe before the children and marriage?  The timeline is fuzzy for me.  But my dad told me once that the men had to hide in the outhouses when the soldiers came to recruit them.  I thought that was a silly hiding place when I was little, but now I think they were hiding in the hole below the outhouse...which is a better hiding place.  Opa must have had a hard time because he was really tall, and his hair was even taller.  :)  That's may favorite part about him, his super tall hair.  It was really thick and wavy and stuck straight up about 3 or 4 inches.  I think my brother could do it if he tried.  His hair was dark brown and he looks very much like my brother and my cousins Will and Eric, in my mind.

With the children they moved to New Mexico where they lived in a chicken coop.  I don't know if there were still chickens there.  They worked on a farm and with cows.  I saw the old "house", "barn"???  We went once on vacation.  It was very dry, very empty and not very welcoming.  The building looked very much like a shed that wasn't a barn or a house.  It confused me, like is the building I saw what was left and there was more? Or was that it?  If it was, they were very brave.  There they had 5 or 6 children total 8 kids.  My dad's job was to sit out with the truck and guard it from Mexicans all day.  He said it was scary, he was also very very young, probably younger than 10.  He also said once that there were Indians out there, and he was born in Indian country and that's why he likes the outdoors so much, he has the spirits of Indians in him.  Now you know where I get it from. Also, I have the spirits of Indians in me, they just don't know it yet.

Can you imagine?  No internet, no cellphones, not very many regular phones, no facebook, and she took a boat across the ocean to a land that didn't speak her language, to New Mexico of all places!  Did they take a train?  That state is apart of America, but the landscape is the opposite of most places I've seen and especially of Europe!  It's all red sand. It must have been such an adjustment and change.

Then, after 10 years, Opa moved to Hersey, Michigan and bought land and a farm.  He raised good cows and taught my dad (and his family) how to have a good strong farm.  When my Dad farmed he had registered holstiens, which I guess makes them worth more, and sold bulls to Japan for their sperms.  Once they had a barn raising party and built the barn in one day.  That night a tornado came through and destroyed the barn and they had to restart.

I know my 4 aunts were heartthrobs and attracted all the boys b/c many (at least 6) of my teachers at home went to high school with them and they always made a point to ask about my aunts and how they were doing.

Before my parents met and when Opa was 55, he passed away from a heart attack, and Oma became the sole leader of the Straathof clan.

Oma means grandma in Dutch and Opa means Grandpa.

Oma I think was the original hipster.  She lived on her own, knitted, road on an old fashion scooter!  Yes, she had a sweet scooter that she used to deliver her baked goods.  She never had a drivers license and talked in a mix of Dutch and English.  She made a soup with meatballs in it, and sandwiches that were rolls with butter and cheese cut into little squares.  That is my ultimate comfort food.  And somehow, as simple as it was, she did it better than my mom.  She also made her dutch salad, which I've made once and it always makes people nervous.  It's ground beef (cooked), green beans and mashed potatoes with dill pickles and the juice ground together in a meat grinder.  Then she mounds it up on a platter and covers it in a thick layer of mayonaise topped with slices of lettuce, tomato, pickles, and hard boiled eggs.  That's my favorite food of all time.  She also always brought me dutch favorite is Lyden which has caraway seeds in it.  And she gave out letters of dutch chocolate at Christmas to everyone.  You got a chocolate letter that was your first initial.  I always freeze them and eat them in July.  She also introduced me to dutch bisquets which are like bread cracker things that you put butter on then top with chocolate sprinkles!  Those are the best.  And Stroopenwafels which are delicious things that sandwiche caramel.  You can get them at whole foods and Trader Joe's.  I suggest it.  Oh and she would take left over steak and slice it really thin and fry it in butter.  That is my absolute favorite way to eat steak and I do it now for me and Josh when I can.

Whenever you came over she would get you something to drink and you had to say yes, otherwise she wouldn't relax until you did.  I would tell boyfriend's to accept a drink no matter what, even if they didn't want it...they better take it!  When I say boyfriend's, I mean only two and one I married.  She always looked forward to seeing them at holiday's too and would always always ask where "my friend" was if he didn't go.

She also line danced and did the macarana, and I'm pretty sure that's where my love of dance comes from...maybe.  My Grandma (see I had it good, I had Oma and Grandma), also LOVES to dance too, so I guess I had no chance at not dancing. :)

My Oma worked very hard in her life but I'm also pretty sure she played equally as hard.  I wish I could describe more and better about her and her life.  She had 26 grandchildren (though I think the count was made before Janelle was born, so it might be 27) and in each one she was excited to see their future.  She loved her grandchildren because we were her goal and future she dreamed of when moving to America. (I don't know for sure, but that's what I think anyways).

So.  Everyone has an amazing grandma, and so was she.