Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Kind of Amusement Park

Last Saturday, we headed out to the U.S. Whitewater Center near Charlotte NC. This place is actually used as a training center for the Olympic whitewater slalom racing team. They have an artificial canal there, that they can switch from rapid 2 to 4 in what seems minutes.

The canal is open for the public for rafting and kayaking as well, but for that, we'll come back when it's a little warmer. We decided to get the CoolSport pass, which included everything except the whitewater rafting/ kayaking.

So we did....

Awesome butt picture at the climbing wall.
I completely underestimated how tough rock climbing is! ;-)

Just posing... What a wonderful sunny and chilly day we picked!

On the adventure course.... Hanging on for dear life! ;-)

Still hanging...

On the entrance for the short zip line.
The mega zip was closed unfortunately for maintenance.

Climbing up to the little zip.

3, 2, 1.... GOOOOOOO! ;-)


This time we were just spectators... Next time, we'll be on the canal.

 We also went mountain biking on their easiest loop there.
They do have several trails there that can be used for biking, hiking and trail running.
There is a trail running series on the premises.

Our last activity was flat water kayaking on the Catawba River right next to the park.
There, we saw this crane hunting for lunch.

After the kayaking we were toast and ready to go.
We also had wet bottoms, but fortunately also a change of clothes in the car.

This was a lot of bang for the buck and all of the equipment rentals are included in the price... mtn bikes, kayaks etc. On top of that, the equipment was in really good shape. With it being Thanksgiving weekend and off-season and pretty cold, the park was fairly empty and we practically, didn't have any line anywhere. 

I can only recommend going... It's a ton of fun for active people, but if you want to take grandma and grandpa along, they can get in the park without paying admission and just watch the kids doing their thing. There is no fence around the property, so if you have your own mtn bike or you want to go trail running, you just have to pay parking and then you can use the trail.


One quick reminder: Today is the last day to vote for the Swamp Rabbit Trail on Pepsi Refresh... Just click on the link in the sidebar.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Gobble Gooble Weekend

I am a slacker in the blogging department these days, but I only feel a tiny little bit guilty about it. Now it's Monday again and that means a 4-day-mini-vacation over the Thanksgiving holidays is over. The only good thing about the weekend being over is that my next vacation is getting closer.... :-)

So how did I spent my mini vacation?

On Thanksgiving Day (last Thursday - for my German friends) we slept in.... At least it was sleeping in for us. Then my awesome hubby cooked pancakes... The obvious choice of course, since Thanksgiving is a eating holiday and you have to start off the day in the right manner. For the next couple of hours, we did some extreme couching and watched the preparation for the Thanksgiving parade and a "Burn Notice" marathon. After a long deliberation, I finally managed to roll off the couch and brave the elements on a pre-turkey bike ride. We ended up doing close to 25 miles at a decent speed and the only reason why we didn't stay out longer were my frozen toes. With that, I had officially the first frozen toes of the season and you can rest assured, that I won't leave the house without my toasty toes ever again as soon as temps going under 60 degrees... Seriously!

After that we went out (shocking!) for Thanksgiving lunch. We stuffed our bellies with the good stuff... No cooking, preparation and cleaning up required from our side. Yes, it maybe is a little weird that we decided to do Thanksgiving this year like that, but we just wanted to relax and cooking for several hours, hosting a bunch of people and then cleaning for several hours is just not really relaxing. Funny enough, in the meantime I talked to so many people that did exactly the same thing... Not so shocking after all hmmm? ;-)

The rest of the day was spent on the couch continuing the "Burn Notice" marathon until the belly was yelling for more.... I sure got the eating part of this holiday down like nobody's business!

On Black Friday (major shopping day here - for my German friends) Terry had to work... BOOOOOOH! I didn't feel like getting up early to make my usual Friday morning yoga class, so I slept two more hours and then did a Pilates class. I think that was my first Pilates class ever and it sure kicked my butt! After that, into the pool for a solid hour swim and by 11am, I was done with my workouts for the day. The remainders of the day was spent shopping (of course) and visiting my friend up in NC to finally meet her new baby... oooohing and awwwing you know? ;-)

Saturday we went to the U.S. Whitewater Center in Charlotte NC for the day.... I will give that one a separate post as soon as I have downloaded all the pictures. So much for now: It was a fun day and totally worth the drive and I am sure we'll be back for more in the future.

Too soon, it was Sunday and the last day of mini vacation. We went to church in the morning and then headed out for a 40 mile bike ride right after that. We did the "Happy Cow" loop that gets it's name from passing the "Happy Cow" Creamery in Pelzer on the way. We didn't stop there, but whenever you are in the area, it's totally worth checking out.. They have very yummie stuff. The ride was fun and the weather was nice, but cold. This time, I prepared better for it and was toasty throughout. What I didn't quite expect was all the hills that we encountered.... At least, it's good training and since I decided to sign up for particular race next year.... I need all the training I can get, but I'll save that for another day and another blog... Because I am sneaky like that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Running Until I Grow Webbing

... or my knee plays nice again.

This is not a full-blown injury yet, so it's time to take it easy for a while. My ITB is acting up again, but fortunately by far not as painful as I experienced it before my first relay in 2009. The timing is also much better this time around, because my next race is not scheduled until January (Resolution Half in TR).

I was supposed to do a track workout this morning, but after hobbling around all day yesterday it just didn't make sense so try to push myself through that workout and do more damage. Last night, after a swim and 20 minutes of foam rolling and still having lingering pain in my knee, I gave the coach a call and for the rest of the week I am not running... It's swimming and cycling now.

That's the beauty of triathlon... When one sport doesn't work out at that moment, we have two other sports to fall back on.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bad Case of the Mondays...

Goodness, this three day week is coming at just the right moment.

I haven't had such a bad case of the Mondays in weeks, if not months. I am cranky and tired (I fell asleep at 8.30 last night) and achy and just everything.

Some of this is due to a sucky long run yesterday... Some of it, is just because it's Monday.

But let's recap this weekend in workouts a little:


Getting out of bed, bright and early to meet up with a friend for an easy 30 mile bike ride. She had some other stuff going on that day, so we actually hit the road by 7.30am. It was COLD! I was layered up like an onion... Up top: base layer, short sleeve jersey, long sleeve jacket, mittens with hot hands. I actually didn't plan on riding with the jacket on, but I just didn't have the heart to take it off. On the bottom: cycling capris, leg warmers, wool socks, toasty toes, shoes and shoe covers. Since we took the ride extremely easy, that combination was perfect. I think, if we had pushed the pace more, those layers had been overkill, but since we chit-chatted more than doing anything else... it was just perfect.

After the ride, I stop at the Bavarian Pretzel Factory for some good old butter pretzels and coffee and then headed to the YMCA for an hour swim.

By the time I was back home, I was STARVING and of course, there was nothing in the fridge or at least nothing that was in any way appealing to me. Good thing, that we have a good Greek place down the road. The rest of the afternoon was spent with browsing bike stores and car dealerships... We didn't end up with a new car, but Terry finally made a decision on a new road bike*... EXCITING!!

*Christmas present and birthday present taken care off.... YIPPIE!


Yesterday, I had a 15-miler on tap. After having 13-mile long runs for the last couple of months, you would think 2 miles more are not a big deal. Well, this was one of the roughest runs I had ever. Normally, stomach issues determine, if I have a good or a bad run... This one was a completely different animal.

The run was broken out in 3 mile segments and the middle segment (mile 7-9) was supposed to be at race pace. I went out too fast and I dearly paid for it. The last 6 miles just HURT! Right from the get-go, my legs didn't really feel too good, but once I did the race pace effort they were just shot and in pain. The knee stuff that I mentioned last week didn't bother me at all during the run, but today I am back to hobbling around.

And if this wasn't enough, I also got dizzy after getting home and grabbing a shower. I just made out of the shower and laying down before passing out. I have no clue what happened. The last time, I had this dizziness going on, I knew that I was dehydrated, but this time, I am sure that hydration was not the issue. I had my Nathan race vest on and was taking water at least every mile. I think that maybe I took in too little calories during the run... Terry puts his money on blood sugar drops... Who knows.

Needless to say, that the rest of the day was done for me after that. I stayed on the couch.... Indulged in pizza hmmmm and ice cream*, watched TV, skyped with my parents and just relaxed.

*go figure that I am still battling those last 5 lbs... but I swear.... I was good ALL WEEK... I just felt so weak and dizzy and frustrated after the run.... jadi, jadi, jada....

I was glad to see on my training plan that my long run this Sunday is only 5 miles... On top of that, we have other fun stuff lined up for the long holiday weekend. It's not going to be all training and it certainly is not all going to be all eating. I am looking for a good mix in activities. Lately, life has been very training and racing heavy, so it's time to change it up a little.

How did your weekend shape up?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Sometimes, I think I am the only person being so crazy to get up at 4.30am (several days in a row) to get a workout or two in before work.

I know, I am not...

But still, when I left for the Y a little before 5am today, I found it reassuring, that I already drove by two runners being out and about in the Cherrydale area... And I saw another group of three while driving through downtown. Of course, I wasn't the first person at the YMCA (actually, Terry left the house a little earlier than I did) and when I took off for my run in the subdivision between Cleveland Street and Augusta Road, I felt anything but alone. As I said... It's reassuring, that other people doing this stuff too...

So what has been going on this week? Not much... That's why things have been so silent around here.

The recovery from last Saturday's half marathon is coming along alright. My legs still felt pretty crappy in yesterday's spin class, but I believe that has more to do with me neglecting my cycling fitness over the last couple of weeks than with the half. This morning, I knocked out a 7 mile run that included 4x 800's and except for the first 800, I hit my goal pace.... Even though, I did those intervals on the road and not an the track.

"Funny" enough, during my cool down miles, my right knee started to yell at me and I am still hobbling around. Hopefully tomorrow morning's yoga class and the chiro appointment in the afternoon are going to take care of things... And maybe just a little R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress and elevate) for good measure.

I am in no mood for injury (who is... ever in the mood for injuries), so I'll keep my eye on this one.

What else? One of my best friends had a baby yesterday and so I am planning to drive up to NC on Saturday for some oohhhh-ing and awwwww-ing.

Other than that, there is nothing going on.... I am very excited to be able to travel to Germany, but it's still a month out.... Bugger.

Gotta go.

One more thing:
I just noticed on the Pepsi Refresh site, that the Swamp Rabbit Trail idea is currently on rank 84. It jumped up around 40 ranks in the last 10 or so days. This is GREAT and if everyone keeps voting every day for the rest of the month, we'll be in good shape. Only the top two ideas are going to get funding, so it's important to go back every day and vote... Why are you still here? Click here to vote for our Swamp Rabbit Trail!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Inaugural Camp Croft Trail 1/2 Marathon

Results (based on Guntime):
2h 30m 17s (11:28 min per mile average)

Age Group (30-39) 6/12
Overall 88/111


Got up way too early! The dog is still not adjusted to the time change and was whining at around 4.30am. Then Terry was getting ready for his super early run with the Fleet Feet group, needless to say, I was wide awake by the time he left.

Oh well, since I didn't prep anything ahead of time, I got my stuff together for the day. Decided on an outfit (purple of course... three races in a row), put a change of clothes in the bag and prepped my race vest with water and food.

The drive up to Spartanburg went off without a hitch and I was there with a lot of time to spare. Package pick-up, check-in, chatting with Brian and some of the tri girls... Got rid of the extra layers, lined up at the start line and off we went!


It started out on a dirt road, but we turned on a double track within the first half mile. Shortly after that we were on single tracks through the woods. The first couple of miles ticked by fast and I was in a small group of women. The group changed around a little as we went, but I actually ended up with two of them right ahead of me and two of them right behind me at the end. I enjoyed having people around me, because this was complete new terrain for me and having people ahead of me meant, that I didn't have to watch so hard for route markers. The course was very well marked, but it's easier to just follow the feet ahead of you instead of looking around for pink ribbons. Of course, this tactic can go wrong too, but it worked out yesterday.

The first aid station was at around mile four and I ran right through it as I did with all the other aid stations... With my race vest, I was completely self supported and really saved a lot of time compared to all the people that stopped, slowed down there.

The terrain seemed to be getting easier after the first aid station. It went from single track to a double track again and I was in a good rhythm and just kept plugging along. Pretty early, I started to hike the steeper hills and I was able to keep up with the people around me even though they ran the whole course. My nutrition strategy was to pop one shot blok per mile and I stuck to it until maybe mile 7 when I felt nauseous, so I stopped eating until mile 11. Drinking was going well the whole time and I ran straight through the second aid station at mile 8?

Things got pretty blurry for me after that... There was a stream crossing where I ended up sticking my right foot into the creek to get it nicely soaked. I was so happy when I saw the last aid station, especially because somebody said the course is really easy after that. Yeah right.... It certainly went downhill for me from there. I was hurting and those last couple of miles felt longer that the first 2/3 of the race.... I just kept dragging along. At one point, I heard this guy yelling and he basically showed the last turn, yelling at us to push push push over the last hill and that the finish line is just 4 minutes out. I got all excited, but then I actually saw the hill and all the excitement vanished instantly! Fortunately, it flattened out a little again and then went downhill to the finish line.


Brian was right at the finish line, so we chatted a little and traded some race stories. After that, I was on the look-out for some solid food. Walked around a little while and then ran into Lindsay, a local blogger. We chatted a while and then waited around for the raffle.... And I actually won something. SWEET.

After the raffle, I took off, since I knew my chances to place were pretty much non existent and I wanted to catch up with me relay goons on the way home.

The rest of the day was very low key.... read lazy... I was hurting and I am still hurting. I did an easy swim today to shake things out a little and I think it sorta kinda worked. Let's see how tomorrow feels.

Race Review:

I think the Spartanburg Running Club did an excellent job with this race. From the package pick-up over the race course, the volunteers, the finish line activities... Great! Of course the location in itself is already so beautiful... There is a good chance, that I'll be coming back for more next year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stopping By At the Hope Relay

Ouch! I am hurting from today's trail half. Turns out, I didn't have the longest 13 miles of my life. Just the last couple of miles felt like they were going on forever. So much for that at the moment, race report is to come... Maybe by tomorrow! If Brian* sends me the pics? Maybe? Pretty please!

* He actually already has is race report online! Check it out! And there are also the pictures, so I guess I don't have any excuses not to post report! ;-)

On my way back, I called in at team "Do Not (Partially) Resuscitate" that were out and about in the Greenville area at the Hope Relay. I joined them at exchange zone 5/6 and was able to catch up with my peeps a little bit.

When we originally talked about this relay, I joked that I would be able to participate as runner 5 for the team, if I really hurry up with the half. Technically, it would actually have been possible, but in reality... OUCH, that would have been a stupid thing to do. Besides, there were enough D.N.(P.)R. runners there, to make a team.

It was funny to be out there and not participate... Relay just look so much fun, you just want to jump in.

From what they said, it was very well organized and they had water/Gatorade and food at every exchange zone. SWEET! Hopefully, next year I will be able to join for this relay! If it doesn't clash with the trail half... Because that one was pretty sweet too.... But here some pics from the relay!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ready for Take-Off

The flights are booked,
we are ready to go....


Yes, you might have guessed it: After I got really really frustrated a couple of weeks ago about how slow my paperwork is being processed, I got an e-mail last Monday stating that my work permit finally has been approved. That was the missing link for me to be able to leave the country right now. It's not all done an over with, but things should move faster now... Or not... There is no telling. But right now, I don't care, because I am allowed to travel and we have our e-tickets already!

Now we just need a game plan for this year's visit... Since things didn't look to good for this trip, I didn't want to really think about what we would do, if we end up going.

There are the Christmas markets to visit, the family and friends to spend time with... The FOOD and the Gluehwein! We will go on a little trip up North most likely, since we went to Bavaria last year... Do our runs directly from my parent's doorstep through the vineyards to the next village....

Can you tell that I am excited?

I have a to do list thiiiiiiiis long until then, but it's a lot of fun stuff, so you won't hear me complain.


Until then, I have my second half marathon on tap for tomorrow.... It's on a trail... The race director makes it sound really scary! By now, I have the sneaking suspicion, that tomorrow, I am going to run the longest 13 miles of my life.


One more thing before I let you off the hook: Please vote here for the Swamp Rabbit Trail!

Happy early weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I *heart* My Trail

If you read this blog any amount of time, you know that I <3 the Swamp Rabbit trail. I think it's a great addition to the outdoor activities that we enjoy in and around Greenville anyways.

This trail is buzzing! Tons of people (I know, very scientific measurement!) are using this trail every day. It's cheap for it's users, because it's for free and people appreciate this free resource.

Of course it's not free to actually build and maintain a trail. Especially in times when community funding is low to start with.

The "Refresh Everything" project from Pepsi provides funding for submitted community projects that have a positive impact. The Greater Greenville Parks Foundation submitted an idea for 250K to improve the trail and make it safer for the users.

In order to get these funds, people have to vote for the idea. A lot of people have to vote for the idea! This is were you come in!

Please vote here for the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Please vote here once a day for this idea for the rest of the month!

Please ask everyone you know, to vote here as well.

You have to create an account, but hey, since you are going to vote every day for the rest of the month anyways, that'll be worth setting up an account! I assume when you text them with your vote, you don't have to set-up an account. So if you don't want to do the account thing, please text to VOTE!!!

Share this on Facebook and your blogs.... PLEEEEEEEAAAAAAASE.

All my German friends.... Please vote too, so when you come visit, you can also use the trail... Okay, I am getting to dramatic now... ;-)


Monday, November 8, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Paris Mountain Trail 11K

Results (based on Guntime):
1h 25m (12:10 min per mile average)

Overall 127/165


Set the alarm for 6am, rolled over to switch off alarm, rolled back and something popped in my neck... Instant pain. That's a great way to start a day... Honestly, I felt like ditching the whole race right then. But of course (paid the entrance fee, part of a series... remember, you LOVE trail running!!!), I got up and got dressed... After consulting the weather forecast, I started digging into my pile with cold weather gear. Didn't need them thus far this year. Opened up the packaging for a pair of "Wollie Bullies" (woolen cycling socks) that I bought this spring at a winter clothing closeout... Go buy a pair for yourself NOW! Those things are AWESOME!

Got the doggie into her harness and geared up, because Terry decided last minute to be my sherpa and come along and this way, we got Karma's exercise for the day out of the way already too.

When we got to Paris Mountain State Park, it was still dark and needless to say, it was COLD. There actually was a line at the package pick-up, but it moved pretty fast. As soon as I got the package, we headed back to the car to stay warm.

Eventually, it was time to start!


Did I mentioned, that it was cold.... This was the first cold day of the year that I was out and about. My body sure wasn't used to that and let me know right from the start. I had slight difficulties breathing and probably should have warmed up some to avoid this. This time, we headed straight to the trail and didn't have to loop over the parking lot to string out the pack like we did in the 7K in August. The trail was a little wet in some spots, but overall it seemed to have less leaves on the ground than last year... That was good news and should make things a little easier.

I was extremely non aggressive in this race. Normally, I try to push the pace some in the first 2 miles before hitting Sulphur Springs Trail (steepest portion of the race), but this time, I just tucked in behind the person ahead of me and plugged along. I guess, I was a little too pre-occupied with finding a position were my neck and shoulders didn't hurt too much and also just hoping that breathing is going to get easier eventually... And it did.... Well, the breathing did, the neck... Oh well... It made a rough race - Nuff said.

Sulphur Springs Trail reminded me more than ever of a death march and it felt pretty hard that day again, but 18 something minutes for the second mile is actually not the worst I ever did on this piece of trail. Needless to say, I was very happy when I finally reached the top. The next mile would be fun! And it was, even though I was alone at times. I have no idea how that happened, since we have been one line of humanity snaking up Sulphur and a while after that, I didn't see anyone in front of me or anyone behind me. But before I was all alone, I actually was recognized by a fellow runner (Hi Beau!) that found my race report from last year when he was looking for some information about the race. We chatted a little bit, but at one point he took off looking strong!

Then it was time to run down on the other side of Sulphur again. This is also a very steep section and quite the ankle twister. Considering in how good of a shape my quads were the day after the race, I know, I didn't hammer down this piece as usual.... I guess, I was in full on "neck protection" mode.

Once we hit the bottom of Sulphur, I just tried to maintain a good pace and avoid to walk for the remainder of the race. Glad to see the finish line as usual, also if it bugged me a little that I was never able to catch that girl that was running a couple of hundred yards in front of me for most of the race.


After crossing the finish line, I was just instantly cold (felt fine during the race). This is the pancake run (they serve pancakes at the finish) and I didn't even want to wait in line for three minutes, but wanted to head out right away to grab a long hot shower.

Right before we left, I had the chance to quickly get caught up at friend's races (great jobs all around) and then we hightailed it home.

At home, I looked up my race time from last year at this race and saw that I ran it faster this year... a whopping 5 seconds.

I try not to be too disappointed about this... You know, the usual shoulda, coulda, whoulda... Too late now anyways.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What a different a week makes!

This is me last week at the half-marathon.

This is me yesterday at the 11K.

First, please observe my fancy of some purple in my outfits and then... Yes, it was pretty cold yesterday. It actually is pretty cold today still.

Well, I was supposed to go on a nice bike ride today, but I woke up yesterday morning with a messed up neck and it's not any better by today.... So the trainer it is... I guess.

And now, let me share some pictures from Friday night from the top of Paris Mountain.

I hope you all have a great Sunday and hopefully I'll have the race report up by tomorrow! ;-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lazy Girl's Cooking

This was supposed to go online last night... Not sure what happened... This way, it's going to be a TGIF post. Happy soon to be weekend everyone! ;-)

I am pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, but every now and then I make a little bit of an effort, especially now that I am trying to loose a couple of pounds again. Anyways, since time during the week is pretty sparse, I sometimes do a couple of hours of power cooking on Sundays that fills lots and lots of containers in the fridge and freezer to be warmed-up during the week.

Yesterday, I had a free evening for a change, because I already got all my workouts out of the way in the morning. SCORE! So I used that time to finally use up some produce purchases from weeks ago... At least some of them were from weeks ago... Potatos stay alright in the fridge forever! ;-)

Potatos, bell pepper, onion and brussels sprouts... Olive oil, salt and pepper in supportin roles.

And.... Spaghetti Squash.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even know of the existence of spaghetti squash... Until it was featured in Runner's World as the seasonal food... Funny enough, I found it right away at the local Bi-Lo.... No fancy grocery store whatsoever. To be honest, I had to read the sticker on in, because I really can't tell the difference between a pumkin and this one.

This the whole bunch after being chopped up and roasted in the oven for an hour*. The only thing left to do was now to cut open the spaghetti squash, scrape out the insides and mix it into the other stuff.

* Time I used to do laundry.... It's all about efficiency.

To fix lunch, I also took some black bean burger patties (made in one of my Sunday afternoon power cooking session) out of the freezer. While I throughoutly enjoyed the roasted veggies today for lunch... The black bean burger tasted off and I just had a couple of bites. Oh well. You win and you loose.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recovery, Preparation & Other Stuff

It's 4 days post first half marathon in my world... Is it okay for everyone, if I start my own calendar based off that date? Just kidding... REALLY!

Today can be described as:

4:45am wake-up call: NOT FUN!
Intervals during the spin class and after that in the pool: WHAT THE HECK!

Being done with both of my scheduled workouts for today by 7:30am: PRICELESS!!!

You see, I am already back at putting some serious workouts in and I feel fairly good doing it... Okay, that was a lie... The spin class didn't feel too great this morning. Either the resistance dial on my bike was seriously screwed up or my legs are completely shot still. Other than that, no major aches and pains since Monday. I hobbled around funny Sunday, but Terry looked even worse. Well, he did do a marathon, let's not forget that. Sunday was a good preview of the two of us, how we are going to look when we hobble down the street by the time we are 70! ;-)

Oh yes and you read correctly. I am already back on the training plan... Actually, I am back to being coached. Same coach I worked with to prepare for Myrtle Beach this year. I was really looking forward to get back training with her, but I have to say, if I were on my own for this week... I probably wouldn't have done half the stuff she had me do. This week and next week will be kind of a mix between recovery from the races and preparation for the next race. Yes, I am racing this Saturday (11K on trails) and the another half marathon on trails the following Saturday...


On a more life related note:

I am currently seeing the planned trip to Germany for Christmas slip through my fingers... I haven't even broken the news to my Mom yet, but she doesn't read the blog, so I have a little more time to prep my speech. There is no final decision yet, but if I don't receive confirmed paperwork regarding my immigration status soon, I won't be able to travel internationally in December.

Needless to say, I am very frustrated right now and wonder what is taking so long. I already called in and hope that things start to move a little faster now, but I doubt very much that everything will be done in time to book flights etc... Soooo.... I am thinking South Florida for Christmas... Eggnog under palm trees... Sounds like a perfect combination... Don't you think?? ;-)