Friday, October 28, 2011


Here's picture I've gotten used to the past couple of years...

My sweet husband studying last night for an exam he's taking right now...

Two and a half years ago he asked me if I ever thought I would want to go to grad school. I looked at him with eyebrows raised, "Of course not! I'd have to be crazy - I just finished school!". His response, "Well, um, I've been thinking about it for awhile now...". My retort, "Well, I don't know what's wrong with you, but right now, while we don't have kids, it'd be a good time."

Hence began the long journey or Jason going back to grad school while still working full-time. In the grand scheme of things, three years (the total it will take Jason to finish) is not that much time. But right now, while he's taking 1-2 classes every springs, summer, and fall - it's a long time! :-) We are very fortunate though - Baker Hughes pays for all of the expenses of graduate school (to which Jason would argue, "They don't pay for my parking pass!").

Jason is working towards a Master's in Petroleum Engineering (I knew I'd convince him that petroleum was better than mechanical! ;-) ). The program required him to take four introduction classes since he's Bachelor's was not in petroleum. (So that added a full year basically.) Now, with just one more semester left and one more class in the spring, we can both see the light at the end of the tunnel! I will be excited to have my hubby back and he will be excited to have free time again!

PS. Look for an announcement of a GIANT graduation party next spring. With a keg. I might even do a keg stand because I'll be so excited. ;-)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Garden Tastings!

We are overly excited about our garden (as probably evident in the amount of time I spend talking about it on this blog...). Well last weekend we got a chance to try some of the fruits (err, veggies, err, I mean herbs) of our labor.

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than with a mojito! Made with fresh mint from your garden! Mmm, delicious!

The crucial ingredients...

The final product!
Jason enjoying the tasty mojito!
**Note: Jason is fully warned when making these faces that I intend to post the pictures on this blog. He still makes them.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Not What I Was Hoping... (Half Marathon Recap)

Today was my first half-marathon. (*Note the lack of an exclamation point.) I ran the Houston Marathon in 2010, but have been struggling to get back into running since then. Even during that training series I never actually raced a half marathon because I was out of town when the race happened so even though I've run 13.1 miles, it's not the same. So I was excited! Was.

Everything seemed to be starting fine - I woke up early, had my usual breakfast, made it to the Katy Fit tent with an hour to spare and made sure to get into the portos before a line formed. Then I realized I forgot my Garmin. No big deal in the grand scheme, but it still rattled me. And it was humid. A lot more humid than most of us were anticipating. Still I felt good overall and ready to run.
I started with my usual running group, but noticed that I was starting to fall behind around mile 6-7. An unexpected need to pee and I lost 3-4 minutes waiting in the porto line and ended up alone since let's be honest, everyone needs to run their own race. And I never recovered after that. Whether it was the break, the heat, possibly didn't hydrate enough this week, maybe didn't cargo load like I needed - who knows. I finally had to walk at mile 10 and mentally knew I was finished. I couldn't find any energy - I was drained.

They say the battle in a race is won depending on your mental state - it really does impact you more than you realize. And despite telling myself to run, to stop walking, to finish strong, I hobbled between a walk/run for the next 3.1 miles beating myself up on why I was so stupid - why I thought I could run with my usual group anymore, why I thought I could run another marathon next January, why in the h*ll was I asked to speak at work on Life Changes when I obviously haven't been able to accomplish them considering I can't run this race and I have definitely gained weight since my knee surgery that I just can't seem to shake. Did I mention that I was running alone too since the bathroom break so I had no one and nothing to break me out of this phunk? Not that I would have been great running company anyhow at this point...

My sweet husband hugged me (and trust me he gets major kudos for that one since I was dripping by this point) and reassured me that I am not a failure. He even scolded me a few minutes ago when I tried to title this post "Epic Fail". Mentally, I know I need to shake this. I know that I need to believe in myself and trust in the training that I am doing towards the marathon. I need to accept that everyone has bad runs and races and that it doesn't make or break you - unless you let it. I KNOW where I need to be - it's just the getting there that's hard right now.

Did I mention I take FABULOUS running-action shots?!? (*Note - HEAVY sarcasm intended here.)
(This shows how incredibly desperate I felt...)

And here's when I realized Jason was taking pictures and I put on a good face. I did run in the last 0.6 miles with Doc Scott, the coordinator of Katy Fit, who kept me going and pushed me to sprint at the end. Too bad he wasn't there at mile 10! ;-)
(I promise to work on the midriff top was the fuel belt though. It's taking the blame on this one.)

And here's the finishers medal and shirt - not that I am a big fan of the reminder right now...


Halloween Party!

It was our rotation to host the Sizzlin' Saturday gathering for the month of October and naturally, we made it a Halloween costume party! It inconveniently took place the night before the half marathon, but since most of our friends have little ones, making a 9:00 pm stop time wasn't an issue and I had everything ready to go for the next day so I went straight to bed!

We did a Mexican fiesta theme for the food - easy, do-it-yourself fajitas and yummy homemade salsa from a good friend at work. We prepped the meats by making a tasty marinade recipe we found here

Jason grilled the delicious chicken, shrimp, and beef for us!

Here are some pictures of the setup and our Halloween decorations. Naturally, all of the decorations had to be purchased the past few weeks because I owned NOTHING Halloween!
Party time!
And a cute shot of the little ones! Aren't they adorable!? (*Note this is the most kids that will ever grace that sofa at one time...)
And of course Jason and I didn't get a picture together with our costumes. That's okay though - we recycled it from three years ago. It still works just as well. ;-)


Saturday, October 22, 2011

We've Converted to Apple...Not Sure How That Happened...

As I sit here and type this post it's on a new computer - a new iMac computer to be exact. I have always been a Windows user. I love my pink Sony laptop, but it's starting to be outdated (or maybe even ancient since it's from college almost four years ago...). Anywho - I swore when I met Jason (an avid Apple user) that I would not be an Apple user ever. (Sometimes I just pick things to be stubborn about for no reason in particular - this is one of those examples.)

So how did I end up typing on this new computer you say? I don't know. First it started with an iPhone. Our contract was up almost two years ago and we were weighing the choice between a Blackberry and a iPhone. Financially, it made sense to go with w Blackberry - a small fraction of the cost of iPhones (even just the 3G at the time). I left the decision to Jason and we went with iPhones. I've loved using it, but it knows I'm a Windows user and hates me. Yes, the inatimate object hates me. I even took my iPhone 3G to the Apple store where they could find nothing wrong with it, but admitted it wasn't working and gave me a free iPhone 3Gs. Talk about great customer service!

The iPhone was the beginning... then came the iPad. A cool toy that we could use to read books with multiple apps (Nook, Kindle, etc.) and take with us easier than a laptop. I was sold when I played with one. And I LOVE it!

Then came the computer... since both our laptops are being outdated and as a student Jason gets a discount with Apple, he somehow convinced me that we should look into a new family computer investment before he graduated. I agreed to go and look at them. Next thing I know Jason's saying, "Yep, we'll take this one. And go ahead and throw on Apple TV while you're at it." Um, what? "It's okay, it's good Darcy - [to the cashier] yes, go ahead and add it." He's sneaky! ":-)

I jumped on board when I discovered that we could maximize our discounts by using my ConocoPhillips discount on the computer itself (lower price than the student discount) AND use Jason's student discount on the Apple Protection Plan (since my corporate discount does not work for that). Double savings?!? Heck yes!

And so here I sit having watched numerous videos on how to use an Apple, after having a close friend sit down with me and show both Jason and I some extensive features on connecting our iPad, iPhone, iMac, and Apple TV together. And I love it! I'm sold! Yet still confused how just five years later Jason got his way without ever actually arguing with me about converting to an Apple, he's good. ;-)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

24 Hours of Lemons

This past weekend was the 24 Hours of Lemons. What is that you ask? It's a hilarious and enjoyable junk car race that you can read about here. This is the fourth time that Jason has participated in the race with his team - Automotive Engineering Outcasts.

This is the second time that I've been able to watch Jason drive a race car and let me tell you, I sure do love it!! It's wonderful to be able to support Jason in something he's passionate about. He does an amazing job supporting me in all of my racing efforts (although a totaly different kind) and it's a nice change to be a spectator cheering on my hubby.

Look at how handsome this race car driver is!! :-)

In 2010, Jason and three of his friends invested in a Nissan Sentra SER that had participated in the race previously and already had a lot of the safety specifications required for the race. The stipulation of the race is that the car needs to worth less than $500 total (not including safety requirements). The team has to keep track of all the expenses/modifications added to the car and prove to the judges that they have remained within the "junk car" category.

Here's the team's car:

The past two races I was able to make the team some themed treats - car cookies and Cars 2 cakes. Unfortunately I didn't have time to make a themed dessert for this race, but I hope they still enjoyed their peanut buter cookies and brownies! :-)

The weekend got off to a rocky start when Jason called me on Friday to tell me that their car's transmission was broken. They were working to fix it or find a new one. By Saturday morning they were able to find someone and I headed down after my Katy Fit run and arrived just in time to see them hit the track with only a few hours of race time sacrificed for repairs. There was just one catch to their fix - they only had 3rd gear!! All six of the team's drivers did great despite the challenge of one gear!

This is not a good way to start the race off...

This car had it caught on fire on the track! Fortunately, the driver quickly got out!!

Here's my handsome race car driver!! :-)

Here's the team on the track!

There were a couple minor glitches again on Sunday... (hey, it's a LEMONS race people - that's half the fun!). I saw a super quick (under 8 min) brake rotor change.

Time for a quick pit stop!

Uh-oh! That's not a round tire... the team had a super-quick tire change and got back on the track with just 15 min left to bank some more laps.

Here's the trophies for the winners:

On Sunday, the team got on the track once the race opened. Jason raced third that day and despite having the untimely bad luck of hitting yellow flags on the entire course (which happened to him Saturday too!), he still got some great lap times in and raced wonderfully!

Overall, their team did great! They placed 32nd overall and it was wonderful to see how passionate they all are about racing and what fun they have being on the track! We can't wait for the next Lemons race February 2012!

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