yeesh…

…nearly 48 years old and I’m starting a Tumblr page: http://carolelaine25.tumblr.com/.

Whether or not anything is done with it remains to be seen. But hey! It’s something new! That’s got to be exciting, right?

Yeah, yeah, whatever.

Also, I’ll be making changes to a few things on this site. All of my “Writing” pages are currently password protected. If you want to read something there, email me at funfair[@]gmail[.]com and I’ll send you the password. Probably. But remember to remove the brackets in the email address or it’ll bounce back!

a real, honest-to-goodness hike?

Yes, I’m a bad blog mommy. I’ve long been a bad blog mommy. This should be no surprise to anyone. Hell, many of the links on the right are almost a decade old. I really should update them. Anywho. Moving on.

So after many years of not hiking (unless one wants to count urban hiking, i.e. walking around the city – which I do), last year I went on a hike with my friend Sarriah (who is my usual weekend urban hiking buddy). I couldn’t quite finish the Eaton Canyon hike to the falls due to slippery rocks, but we got pretty close before we had to turn back.Unfortunately, I have no photos to commemorate the day, unlike the hike I took with my friend Boychik on this past Saturday, this time on the Bear Canyon Loop Trail, not far from Lake Elsinore. Again, we couldn’t finish, but this time was due to time constraints – we started a little too late, it was a challenging hike, even for Boychik, and we didn’t want to risk being out there when night fell. We got in about 2.5 miles, so that was fine. (Just as well, as I’d already run 3.72 miles earlier that day due to my Zombies, Run! 5K training app.)

This time, however, I got some photos!

This is the wide part of the trail.

This is the wide part of the trail.


This part of the trail is a bit more narrow. And there are rocks.

This part of the trail is a bit more narrow. And there are rocks.


Lookit my dirty shoes perched on a rock! I need new shoes.

Lookit my dirty shoes perched on a rock! I need new shoes.


Moar Rocks!

Moar Rocks!


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Setting sun shining on the mountains.

Setting sun shining on the mountains.

Slowly setting sun.

Slowly setting sun.


Sun almost gone! Looks like a sand painting.

Sun almost gone! Looks like a sand painting.

The next day Sarriah and I embarked on our almost-weekly urban hike. Our goal each week is to find a coffee shop we’ve never tried before, hopefully in an unfamiliar part of the city. We then agree to meet somewhere about 1-2 miles away from the coffee place and walk there, then walk back. Sometimes we take the MetroRail, sometimes we each drive to our meeting place, and sometimes we’re just lazy/tired from a long week and decide to stick close to either of our homes. Most of the time we try to be adventurous. We swap weeks as to who finds the place and decides where to meet, which helps to vary the places we find, since I tend to find stuff in the San Gabriel Valley or near Metro Gold Line stops (what with me living in Pasadena), whereas she will often find places near her close-to-downtown-LA neighborhood or in Hollywood, Koreatown, etc.

This week she chose the Beachwood Cafe, a place we’d walked by before, but had never been to. We met at her place, drove to the northern part of Los Feliz, then walked up Beachwood Drive. It made for a nice – and somewhat steep, but not as steep as the hike the previous day – walk, lasting over five miles total.

This is the view from Beachwood Drive. And no, you can't get to the sign from this road. It takes some serious hiking to get to the sign.

This is the view from Beachwood Drive. And no, you can’t get to the sign from this road. It takes some serious hiking to get to the sign.


Welcome to Hollywoodland!

Welcome to Hollywoodland!


This is the original Hollywoodland Real Estate office. It is currently owned by Hollywoodland Realty.

This is the original Hollywoodland Real Estate office. It is currently owned by Hollywoodland Realty.


Beachwood Cafe Menu. Aren't you excited?

Beachwood Cafe Menu. Aren’t you excited?

Pretty good meal, but I had to ask for a second piece of toast. What?

Pretty good meal, but I had to ask for a second piece of toast. What?

Butterflies in the window of Beachwood Cafe.

Butterflies in the window of Beachwood Cafe.


This is ye olde timey time switch. I have no idea what that is, but I liked the look of it.

This is ye olde timey time switch. I have no idea what that is, but I liked the look of it.

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And when returning back to Sarriah's car, we ducked into a used everything shop. CDs, DVDs, books, LPs. There may have been cassettes and 8 track tapes somewhere, but it wasn't obvious.

And when returning back to Sarriah’s car, we ducked into a used everything shop. CDs, DVDs, books, LPs. There may have been cassettes and 8 track tapes somewhere, but it wasn’t obvious.

Sunday was finished with hanging out with CuteFilmNerd and Boychik, showing CFN how to use Outlook to its fullest potential in preparation of a new job assignment, introducing him to The Slaw Dogs and getting dessert at Real Food Daily. A very busy – yet physically productive – weekend, all told.

check her for a concussion…

Seriously, that’s got to be the only explanation for my recent foray into 5K training.

It can’t have anything to do with my new awesome app Zombies, Run! 5K Training by the cool folks over at Zombies, Run!. This app – which, again, has nothing to do with my sudden desire to move faster than a saunter – has a story built into the 8 week training. One that you can only unveil, bit by bit, as you complete the missions (aka training sessions).

Nor can this weird need to keep up the running (or, in my case, rather slow jog) have anything to do with the endorphins that flood my system (kinda like they did back when I was training for a half-marathon, before the days of too many injuries and the onset of asthma).

Nope, I must’ve hit my head recently and, due to the trauma, can’t remember doing so. It’s the only explanation. You should probably take me to the hospital immediately.

Or, you know, maybe in about 8 weeks. I’m sure I’ll be okay until then.

numfar! do the dance of joy!

A day after deeply disappointing all sane Americans by effectively gutting the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court of the United States has sent down two key decisions helping along marriage equality: striking down DOMA and declining to uphold the bigoted Prop. 8, allowing same-sex marriages to resume in California.

It’s not surprising that SCOTUS chose to sidestep marriage equality on a Federal level, but after the huge backward step of Prop. 8, it’s another step in the right direction. And, truth be told, as heinous as Prop. 8 is, I firmly believe that the huge national media coverage it (and its out-of-state backers) received helped to move marriage equality forward in other states. It – and the subsequent lawsuits – brought marriage equality to the foreground in a way that nothing else had.

So today, my friends, I join Numfar in the Dance of Joy!

like an old friend in a new (to me) dress…

Much as I love listening to music while working out, sometimes I can get a wee bit bored of it. This morning I tried something new: listening to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I had never heard the radio series before. I’m so glad I am now.

While I am very familiar with the novel, I’ve played the the video game and I was one of maybe three people who enjoyed the movie (it was my first real exposure to Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell and Bill Nighy — all of whom I adore, so I can never really diss it), it’s so wonderful to hear where it all began.

If you love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and you haven’t heard the genesis of Douglas Adams’ brilliant series, I highly recommend that you pick it up. You will not be sorry.

i’ve got a goal…

…of sorts.

Regarding my whole “striving towards fitness” thing I’ve got going, I mean.

Sure, I want to be stronger and healthier. I’m looking forward to continuing the increased stamina I’m experiencing and hoping that I’ll be able to participate in stair walks around the city. These are my primary reasons for working my ass off (figuratively speaking, of course; an ass this large and shapely will never go away entirely — for that, I am grateful).

But I’d be lying if I said I had no concept of what I want to look like when I reach my goal. I have a very clear visual of the body I’m aiming to achieve:

The Stunning Christina Hendricks

Or…

The Always Beautiful Queen Latifah

I mean…damn! Those are some fine looking women.

I have no desire to be skinny. Even if it were possible (my bone structure precludes me getting down to a size 0 or 2 or 4), I just don’t think it’s a look that would work for me.

But I would like to rediscover my hourglass figure. One that has significantly less sand in the bottom than the one I have now.

I recently realized that I was actually happy with most of my body — except for my rather prominent tummy. However, since it’s absolutely impossible to spot reduce without liposuction (not to mention that whole strength and stamina thing I’m aiming for), I’m doing cardio and strength training to strengthen my core and endeavoring to eat better to lose some of my fat. I’ll be happy at 200 lbs – I have about 49 lbs to go.

And then, baby, my hourglass is gonna be stopping traffic and turning heads!

Christina-Hendricks-Turns_Heads

i’ve finally done it…

…I’ve taken the plunge and started New Rules of Lifting for Life.

I’ve had the book for almost two months. I read it cover to cover the night that I bought it. Within a few days I copied the exercises that I would be doing, as well as the blank training logs, and placed them in a pressboard three-ring binder so that I would have something easy to use to take with me to the gym in the basement of the building where I work.

And the binder sat on my desk at JPL for close to two months.

Oh, in that time I’ve been working out almost every day: walking, treadmill, elliptical. A couple of weeks ago I started using the weight machines. High weights, low reps. I definitely worked hard. Sweating and pushing myself. But I realized that, well, I wasn’t as sore the next day as I should’ve been.

Not that I enjoy being sore. I am no masochist. But having been a bit of a gym rat in my 20s  – and going through spurts of activity in the 20+ years since, including a failed training for a half-marathon that left me with injured ankles due to crappy shoes – I knew that I should be pretty sore for at least 12-24 hours afterwards.

Monday (6/3/13) was my first Pilates class, taken through our fitness classes at work (JPL is a big believer in promoting wellness). It was tough because parts of me just don’t stretch and bend like that (yet), but I made it through. I felt better for it.

I tried to do NRoL4L yesterday during my usual lunchtime workout, but I just didn’t have the time, so I started again after work. Though there were times I really, really wanted to stop, I pressed on and finished the workout.

I am certainly feeling it today. So very sore, but not to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed. And not to the point where I couldn’t walk my usual mile from my car to my work building. It’s the good kind of sore – the kind where my terribly underused muscles got the wake-up call they desperately needed.

I’m looking forward to Pilates today to stretch out those muscles. Then I’ll be ready for Round Two of NRoL4L tomorrow.

Bring it on.

music to kick ass by

Like many people, I find that I need music when doing damned near anything. I find it especially motivating when trying to do things around the house or dealing with intensely stressful and busy days at work (like this whole month, for instance).

Yesterday, I finally put together a playlist on my Android phone: Music to Kick Ass By.

For me, that just means music with a driving beat that always manages to get my ample butt in gear and, well, kick some productive ass.

The attached photos show the 37 songs I’ve placed in my playlist, mostly still just in alphabetical order for now (though “This is Gallifrey/Vale Decem” segues really well into “I Am The Doctor.”) I’ll take the time arrange them in a more aurally pleasing order when I get more than a moment to do so.

So tell me, dear readers, what music gets you motivated to kick ass? Are there any songs that you might think would be a fine addition to my playlist?

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new kitten alert…

So, in my last entry, I mentioned a new cat that I acquired in 2012. I wasn’t looking to get another cat, as Edison seemed to really enjoy being an only cat and HotScienceGuy and I were talking about me moving into his place. But fate had other ideas, and here’s what I wrote on Facebook in late July:

I have a new house guest – tiny calico kitten!

Long story how she came into my life: yesterday I was on my way to meet HotScienceGuy for our every other week Game Night with friends. When stopped at a light, several bystanders pointed at my car. I opened my window and they yelled, “There’s a cat on your wheel!”

Horrified, I thought they meant I had run over a cat, so I very slowly pulled over and got out. That’s when they said it was a kitten and she had been sitting on my tire. We didn’t see the kitten, so I popped my hood and there she was!

The two bystanders (much younger and quicker than me) were poised to catch the kitten, who exited my engine and was sitting next to my tire. I reached for her and she ran off – under a fence and under a City of L.A. Street Lighting Bureau truck, which was parked in a lot nearby. She refused to come out. I went to get some food and water and brought it back, where my new friends were still waiting. The kitten had climbed up into the truck and wasn’t coming out, dammit.

We all had to go off to our respective plans for the evening, but on my way home I stopped by the truck and she was still there, meowing up a storm. She hadn’t touched the water or food and there was no way I was going to be able to get her. I went on home, called animal control and they recommended I try in the morning, when they could send out a field officer.

Back out there this morning, I discovered she was still there. Luckily there was a security guard and her supervisor. I called Animal Control, waited for a long time while the supervisor tried catch the kitten. After an hour, I called AC again, but that’s when they told me that they were unable to send anyone out – the area field officer was responding to an injured deer call in the Hollywood Hills.

At that point the supervisor and security guard allowed me in the lot and with a lot of hard work, we were able to coax the kitten out of the tire that she had crawled into and I brought her home with me.

This afternoon HotScienceGuy and I will be taking her to my vet for an exam and vaccines if she’s old enough for them (she looks like she’s about six weeks old).

Edison knows she’s here – he’s seen her and heard her very loud meowing – but I’m not going to get them near each other until she’s checked out. Edison is living with cancer and heart disease right now (but his meds are keeping everything in check and he’s doing amazingly – he’s my strong, stubborn boy!) – I don’t want to risk any possible disease transmission.

So, yeah, it looks like I may have a new kitty…

The little kitten was determined to be about a month old when I took her to the vet that day and remarkably healthy, except for fleas and the attendant worms (which were all gotten rid of, of course). It took about a week before her name presented itself, thanks to HSG: Vin, from the Brandon Sanderson series. It just seemed to fit her (especially the street urchin part). It’s a name that confuses most people, but I’m okay with that – people seem to think Edison is named for Thomas Edison (as if!), wwhen he’s really named after Edison Carter.

She’s nearly seven months old now and quite the energetic little kitten. It’s the first time I’ve had either a calico or a female, but I’m up for the challenge (I think). And she really is an adorable sweetheart – when she’s sleepy and open to petting.

After this, though – no more cats. At least not for about five to seven years…

Kitten Vin, the day she came home.

Kitten Vin, the day she came home.

A recent photo of Hufflepuff & Vin in the new place.

A recent photo of Hufflepuff & Vin in the new place.

fickle cats…

When I moved in with HotScienceGuy, I brought two cats: grumpy old man Edison and energetic little kitten Vin (a story I must tell here soon). HSG has his own cats, so our feline household grew to a number which is manageable, but still a wee bit more than I’m used to dealing with.

The cats are, for the most part, tolerating each other, at the very least and, in Vin’s case, actually bonding with others, which is nice to see. She’s turning into that charming yet annoying little kid that you kind of wish would leave you alone, but you can’t help but be caught up in her enthusiasm.

The funny thing is, when HSG is hanging out on one level of the condo and I’m hanging out on the other level, his cats invariably end up staying with him and my cats stay with me.

We may be a combined household but, for the moment, we’re still not a blended household.

Vin, Loki, Hufflepuff and Edison

Vin, Loki, Hufflepuff and Edison