Sunday, August 29, 2010



You see a lot of similar scenes in Tucson this time of year...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Review

Title: The Bean Trees
By: Barbara Kingsolver
Pages: 240

Book Description:
Meet Taylor Greer. Clear-eyed and spirited, she grew up poor in rural Kentucky with two goals: to avoid pregnancy and to get away. She succeeds on both counts when she buys a '55 Volkswagen and heads west. But by the time our plucky if unlikely heroine pulls up on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, at an auto repair shop called Jesus is Lord Used Tires that also happens to be a sanctuary for Central American refugees, she's "inherited" a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle.

What follows -- as Taylor meets the human condition head-on -- is as the heart of this memorable novel about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

My Thoughts:
I'm a little embarrassed to say I started this book back in May. I read it on the plane to Ohio, and also for my Indy visit in June and then picked it back up this week. I usually read books in a matter of weeks!

I really liked this book. The majority of it was set here in Tucson.... Because of that I could really relate to a lot of the landscape and weather descriptions. I have never read more beautiful and accurate description of the monsoon rains we get here. I found myself picturing what part of town they were in and everything. It was a book I could really put myself into.

Besides just being very relatable, I liked the story. It touched on a lot of things... responsibility, family, relationships, adoption, belonging... and also immigration/illegal immigrants and refugees. I found that last part to be very fitting and interesting, especially with all the heat Arizona is under with the immigration law they are trying to put through. The book kind of lets you see another perspective.

Overall a great read... It did lack the suspense and/or conflict that usually keeps me hooked to a book though (it took me 4 months to get around to finishing it). I think living here, in Tucson made me like it more though. If I had read this before living here I might not have likes it as much....

I did like it enough to be interested in the squeal. I will be checking out Pigs in Heaven from my local Library!

Click here for Other book Reviews by Erika Jean

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Noodle Necklace

Noodle Necklace

I like to do crafts with the little kids I watch. It gives us something to do and really helps pass the time. It also helps develop those "fine motor skills" everyone is always talking about.

Necklace Making

I didn't really know how to get the noodles all colorful.... so I did some Googling. You can paint them and even spray paint them, but I wanted a nicer look. I decided to go with the dying method. You can find good instructions here.

They turned out really nice!

Oodles of Noodles

I used the same neon food coloring I did on my Easter eggs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

C25k - Week 4 Report

  • Run 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Run 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Run 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Run 5 minutes
Day 1

I made it through the first 3 and 5 minute runs, but during the end of the 2nd 3 minute run I got a terrible... cramp? It could have been gas? I don't know what it was but it wasn't a side cramp like normal and I couldn't run or walk it off. It was right below my rib cage. Was hard to get a good deep breath. I felt a lot better when I was able to stop breathing heavily, but man it was brutal!

Bummed I didn't make it through the whole work out, but glad to know I CAN run 5 minutes straight.

Day 2 and Day 3

Well, the plan was to go back to week 3... but I think I wore myself out too much day one and another workout never materialized. I had a couple long work days too... one of them being 17.5 hrs straight. I was just off my game and lost all motivation :-( ....I did get a 1.66mile mostly straight up hill in thought on Sunday!

The Plan

Tomorrow I start Week 3 over again. I will do it a full week. Then I believe I need a "Week 3.5" I think the week 3 to week 4 jump is to drastic for me. We'll see though. I kind of want to see how this week goes before making any decisions.


Well, I wish I could say I did some awesome cache for #400... but it just didn't work out. I wanted to do a 5 mile hike (round trip) but didn't want to do it alone. I hadn't gone on a hike in a while, there was a threat of rain and then there were also the paranoid thoughts that a mountain lion or bear was going eat me for breakfast.

I was a little bummed I couldn't get anyone to go with me... but I still wanted to hit #400 this weekend. So, I decided I'd take on Tumamoc Hill.

Tumamoc Hill

I got half way up the "hillside" and decided to turn back. It was just too hot and the humidity was killing me. I would normally keep going anyway... but with each step I was getting farther and farther away from my inhaler. I had forgotten it in the car!

Tumamoc Hill

I do want try Tumamoc Hill again at some point. I think my next attempt will be in the middle of winter though!

Now, on to the caches I did get....

#399 was near home, before my Tumamoc attempt. This cache was a duct taped baggie, a favorite of the cache owner. These types of hides used to stump me, but now that I've gotten the hang of it....I walked right up to it.


#400 was cleverly hidden "members only" cache.


#401 was an Altoids tin in a park. Got a little dirty making these grab. It was wedged it its spot and needed some force put behind it to get to it.


I hope #500 is more adventurous!!!

Profile for ErikaJean
What is Geocaching? Answer here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

C25k - Week 3 Report

  • 5 Minute warm up.
  • Run for 90 seconds.
  • Walk for 90 seconds.
  • Run for 3 minutes.
  • Walk for 3 minutes.
  • Run for 90 seconds.
  • Walk for 90 seconds.
  • Run for 3 minutes.
  • Walk for 3 minutes.
  • Run for 1 Minute. (I added this step to = 30 min. total)
  • Walk for 1 Minute. (I added this step to = 30 min. total)
  • 5 Minute cool down.
Day 1
1.87 mi/00:30 - 16:02 pace
It was a rough day one but do-able.

Day 2
1.83 mi/00:30 - 16:23 pace
Ahh. Crappiest workout ever. Many contributing factors.... two day rest period, high-heels for a few hours on top of shin splints, heartburn, I forgot water to have with me at the treadmill... and other things I can't remember. It doesn't really matter though - just a bunch of excuses! I'm just glad I did it.

Day 3
1.86 mi/00:30 - 16:07 pace
Much better than day 2, still hard. Had the gym to myself when I got there... you bet I pointed that fan right at me! One guy came in while I was working out... but it was nice not to have a ton of people there. I shut all the TVs off on the machines when I left. There is no reason to leave them on people!

Random Thoughts
I kind of feel like I should do the week 3 workout a couple more days, just to get the hang of it better.... but then part of me thinks that I'm just holding back from moving on to the next week. Next week includes 5 minute runs, and I'm worried about it! I struggle with the 3 minute portions as it is!! Anyway, after some thinking about it, I'm going to try week 4 and see how it goes before I decide to repeat a week!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fabric Bead Necklace

I saw this craft featured on Crap I've Made and had to make it!

IMG_3795 IMG_3796 IMG_3797 IMG_3798 IMG_3799

I made this!

I love it!

You can find the Tutorial on Froo*gal, HERE.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's HOT

It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit today, but did I let that stop me? No way. I was in the mood for some caching!

In this heat, "Park and Grabs" are really the only option. You'd have to be crazy to go hiking in the middle of the desert... in the middle of the summer... in the middle of the day!

I started my day off with a P&G in a Domino's parking lot and then moved on to the grocery store. There I found two caches where only one should have been.


The description said something about the cache being muggled previously. So, I'm guessing either someone put it back or found it where it wasn't supposed to be. I picked one log and signed it. Hope it was the right one!

After heading into the grocery store for some batteries, I headed further up the road for more geocaching fun!

I about melted walking two-tenths of mile to this one. It was somewhere on this sign. 3 guess and the first two don't count. Hint: It was magnetic. And I realize I cut the "E" off. Oops.


Next, it was down the path for another one. I'd say another four-tenths of a mile. I could feel the hot hot sun beating down on me as I walked and searched.... I was looking the wrong direction for this one at first, but found it pretty quickly as soon as I turned around.


While walking back to my car I saw about 5 baby frogs hopping around...


They were so cute, about the size of my thumbnail. You really only see frogs here during monsoon season... but I still don't understand how they live here! That ground had to be hotttt.

I was getting tired, but wanted to grab one more cache... I went for a virtual at the park! Not a very fun one... but it counted ;-)



I'm four caches away from the big 4-0-0!

Profile for ErikaJean
What is Geocaching? Answer here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Postcrossing Sunday *Giveaway* - CLOSED

Today I'm giving away a 5 State Sampler! Here you see Ohio, New Mexico, Indiana, Virginia and Arizona represented.

To enter this postcard giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me about your favorite received postcard. What is it of and where is it from? Bonus points if you have a postcrossing or blog post link to it!

Next Sunday I will announce the randomly picked winner and there will be another 5-card giveaway! You can enter all 5 giveaways.

Since there were only two people that entered, I flipped a coin. Congrats Annie!

Also, since interest wasn't really big in this, I will not be doing the rest of the give always ;-(

Saturday, August 7, 2010

C25k - Week 2 Report

  • 5 min Brisk warm up walk
  • Alternate 90 seconds of running followed by 2 minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • 5 min. cool down
Day 1
1.85 mi / 00:30 - 16:12 pace
I gave myself an extra day of rest before this workout. I've been having killer shin splints. They hurt a little in the beginning of my run, and a little near the end. Overall I just tried not to push the running too hard/fast - I just ran.

I iced the shins immediately when I got home from the gym and that seemed to help a lot. I got side cramps at about 10 min. and again around 20... kept going though and they went away rather quickly.

Day 2
1.85 mi / 00:30 - 16:12 pace
Managed the same pace as my day 1 workout. Went into my workout with a more than usual positive attitude... Only got a cramp in my side once this time, around 17 min.

The shins hurt so bad after the workout, just stepping of the treadmill hurt. Stretched well, went for a swim, ibuprofen up and iced again. Like I said before - the icing and Ibuprofen soon after seems to really help - I really notice the difference the next day.

Day 3
1.86 mi / 00:30 - 16:07 pace
The workout went great. It's amazing how fast 30 min. blows by, but how long 90 seconds feels when you are watching the clock.

Random Thoughts
I think this is the longest anything I've ever stayed on! Yippeeeee! Now.... If I could just start eating right, I'd probably start loosing some weight...

I'm a little worried how running on the treadmill will compare to running on pavement. I'm sure the pavement running will be a little tougher.... but its still too damn hot out to figure that one out .... Oh how I dream of winter weather!

Bored Art

I came across Laura's blog "Forest Walk Art" and was inspired to press some flowers.... So I did.... But then I didn't know what to do with them...

This is what I came up with!


The Flower Tree


Monday, August 2, 2010

Status: Postcrossing Sunday

Just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a little break from postcrossing. I will still do the occasional private swap or RR. When I get back into it I'll start posting again.... Just trying to keep my self on a "budget" after a couple vacations ;-D

Keep your eye out for a postcard giveaways though (Sunday would be a good day to look for this)!! I have billion cards sitting here and a couple fun ones to give away :-)