I finished a 5k!!!

I finished a 5k!!!

At the beginning of this year, I set two goals for myself. One was to write this blog. The other was to run a 5k. (For more on that, see my first official post on this blog, https://amydaynow.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/why-a-blog-2016-goals/). This weekend, I accomplished the goal of completing a 5k.

I chose to do a Color Run for a couple of reasons. One is that from what I had heard is that enough people choose to walk it, that it would be okay if I walked part of it too. I also chose a Color Run because I had heard that they are a lot of fun. (They tag themselves as “The Happiest 5k on the Planet”)

Saturday morning we got up early and drove to Dodger Stadium. We chose to pick up our packets there. We were in line a little over half an hour before our official start time of 8 am. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick the check-in line went. The shirt line after that took a little longer than I would have liked, but we were able to pick them up and get changed. We were out by the car, putting our stuff back when the first wave of runners was released onto the course.

The people running the race sent groups of around 50 runners onto the course every couple of minutes. There was music playing, and they were making a point of hyping the crowd, throwing T-shirts to people who were shouting/acting the most excited.

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Our group was released to the course about 8:45. Almost immediately the course took a slight uphill. Right after that, I realized that I was already out of breath. Chris could have taken that part (and the entire course) a little bit quicker than I could, but willingly went at my pace. We quickly settled into a pattern of walking on the uphill parts, and then something closer to a jog on the downhill parts.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of a Color Run, what they do is they throw colored powder (a mix of cornstarch and food dye) at you at intervals along the course. The registration fee includes a t-shirt which is mainly white, to show off the colors when you are done. However, the colors easily come out of any other clothing you desire. (We threw all our stuff into the washing machine right when we got home, ran it on a regular setting, and everything came out without a trace.)

The first color we came to was pink. I was somewhat surprised at how quickly it came. We had already finished a kilometer?  Getting some color kicked in a another wave of adrenaline and excitement. We continued on through the yellow and then the orange zones. As we were continuing on a bit after the orange zone, Chris pointed out the blue zone, which was visible ahead at the end of another loop. You could just see this giant blue cloud.

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When we got to the blue zone, we could tell why there had been such a cloud. The blue zone people were really going at it – throwing out blue powder left and right. There was such a layer of blue on the ground that Chris pointed out that one could roll in it. I did.

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After the blue zone, there was one final color zone at which all of the colors were present. I took it as an opportunity to get a little bit more pink, since much of that had come off while we were on the course.

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We were awarded medals and given extra pouches of colored powder as we crossed the finish line. Then, it was on to the finish festival, complete with free chocolate milk and ice cream.

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After that, we headed home. While en route, I Googled how to set the color in place.The most likely thing I found was to spray it with vinegar, and then iron it. I chose to add an additional step of throwing on extra color from our pouches, to make up for most of the color having already fallen off. The vinegar had a very strong smell. Thankfully, the tenants who live in our house offered the use of their ironing board, so I was able to do it outside. In the end, it took me about an hour to do both Chris and I’s shirts.

Overall, my Color Run 5k  experience was fun, and I hope to do it again sometime.

I told myself I wouldn’t do this…

I told myself I wouldn’t do this…

I told myself I wouldn’t do this. I wasn’t going to miss a post. It bugs me when content creators that I follow don’t stick to their schedule. Whether it is a missed post or upload, or just posting a day or two late, it bothers me. I feel like they have made a commitment to some particular schedule, and that they should stick to it. So, when I started this blog, I told myself that I was going to stick to my schedule. Every other Tuesday, like clockwork. I was going to think ahead as needed to make sure that I stuck to it. I was not going to miss a post, or post late. But life happens.

I missed a post.I knew yesterday morning that a post was due that day. I also knew that it wasn’t going to happen that day.So, here I am, on Thursday. Writing a post. Late, the way I promised myself I wasn’t going to do.

Life has been crazy the last couple of weeks. In my last post, I talked about my love/hate relationship with shipping projects. (The post should be below for those who haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet.) Well, my project that was supposed to ship is delayed,. Thus, the craziness that is associated with shipping the project isn’t over yet. Right now, it looks like shipping will be a week from Monday. So, hopefully in my next post (which I intend to be on time), I will be able to say that it shipped.

Also in the mix is my big concert that I will be ringing bells in. I had rehearsals this evening and  another one Saturday. I already know that what is being done in Saturday’s rehearsal shouldn’t be humanly possible. The concert brings together three handbell choirs, vocal choirs, piano, organ, and an orchestra. Each of those groups has been practicing individually, and each has practiced with the piano. However, the first that all of the groups come together is the day before the concert. We have done this several times now in previous years, and somehow it always works. It is beautiful to see. Over the past couple of months of rehearsals, we have been imagining the other parts. It is one thing to say, “this is where the choir comes in,” but it is so much better to actually hear the choir come in instead. Then, on Sunday, we get the added component of an audience, and the excitement of the audience always helps me add just a little bit more energy into my performance.

If you are interested in coming, there are still tickets available for the 7 pm performance. (The 3 pm performance is sold out!) More information is available at: http://martene.org/springsation.html. If you mention the code “GoldStar” at the ticket booth, you can get half price tickets!

Well, I think that’s all for now. I’ll be back in two weeks!

My Love/Hate Relationship with Shipping Projects

My Love/Hate Relationship with Shipping Projects

I am going to try not to make this blog be about work too often. But, work is what is going on with me this week. I have a project shipping next week. This has caused me to be reminded of how I both love and hate shipping projects out at work.

For those of you who don’t know, I work as a Project Engineer. My company makes packaged compressor systems that are installed into power plants and oil refineries. My job includes customer communication, documentation creation and editing, and making sure that our final product meets the customer’s specifications. I generally work on two or three projects at a time. Each project lasts on average between a year and a year and a half. The end result of that is I ship a project a couple of times a year.

I love shipping projects. Shipping a project is the culmination of everything from the year or more since the customer issued a purchase order. All of the work, all of the frustration, all of the long hours, come together in a rush of emotion. Shipping the project means that you are done, at least for now. There will be other work. Documentation will need to be closed up, and starting the system will bring its own set of problems. Yet, there is something about seeing the system on the back of a truck, on its way to customer. It is a major milestone. The excitement is difficult to put into words. I love it.

At the same time, I hate shipping projects. It is frustrating. Somehow things just seem to go wrong at the last minute. Sometimes it is my fault. If my project needs 32 of a particular type of valve, and for some reason I miscount and only purchase 31, it will get caught when the shop reaches for the 32nd valve and find that it isn’t there. Sometimes it is the shop’s fault. One one of my previous projects, someone on the shop floor accidentally dropped one of the pressure gauges. Either way, it is still my issue to fix – to order the necessary part at the last minute. Sometimes the issue is easy to fix – the pressure gauge that they think they are missing was ordered on a separate purchase order and is sitting in Shipping and Receiving. Sometimes the issue is harder to fix – the lead time on the part is longer than the time left until shipping. Sometimes it requires bringing in a vendor to fix something that isn’t working right. Whatever the issue, there is always an urgency, often bordering on “we need this fixed yesterday.” Any delay in fixing an issue could result in a delivery delay. It is stressful.

So there you have it. I simultaneously love and hate shipping projects out. Once I get past shipment next week, the “love” feeling will probably win out. Unfortunately I have to get there first. For now, I have issues to solve.

Things I am Thankful For – April 2016

Things I am Thankful For – April 2016

When I started this blog, I said I was going to use it to remind myself of all the things that I am thankful for. In the two weeks since my latest post, there have been a few things for which I am thankful. None of them would really make a blog post by themselves, but together it should work. So, I bring you the first of a periodic series titled “Things I am Thankful For” – a collection of things I am thankful for at the time of writing.

Bells

I started ringing handbells when I was in elementary school. Since then, I have rung with choirs off and on. It is something that I really enjoy. I have been “off” of having a bell choir to ring with on a regular basis for several months. The choir I rang with most recently, the ARISE Joy Ringers, practices just a little bit too far away for me to be able to participate since I got married and moved. However, I have gotten to start ringing again. The choir I rang with before is doing a big concert called SpringSation in May. The concert features the Joy Ringers, plus a vocal choir, orchestra, drama, dance and two additional choirs joining on selected songs. I have been offered (and taken) the opportunity to ring in one of the additional choirs. We had our first rehearsal a little under two weeks ago, and it is a lot of fun to get to ring again. If you are interested in coming to the concert, more information and a ticket order form are available at http://martene.org/springsation.html.

Fiddler on the Roof

The first weekend in April, Chris and I got to go see a production of Fiddler on the Roof out at The Masters College. The production was incredibly well done. Personally, I thought the guy who played Tevya was as good or better as the guy who played Tevya in the movie.

The show also offered another opportunity to spend time with family. We carpooled with my sister’s in-laws who are good friends and live near us, then met my sister and her husband at the school. Then, after the show, my brother who attends school there and lives on campus joined us for dinner

Atascadero

This past weekend, Chris and I went to Atascadero and spent time with his family who there. Atascadero is about a four hour drive from our home, which works out well. It is a far enough drive that nobody has (or probably will) tried to say that we should split a holiday and spend half a day with one side of the family and half a day with the other side of the family. But, at the same time, they are within fairly easy reach. We can fairly easily say “Mom has a birthday in April – let’s make a trip to visit for a weekend sometime in April.” I don’t even have to take time off – I come home from work Friday night, we eat dinner, and then we get on the road sometime about 7:30 or 8:00 pm. That gets us to his mom’s house usually a little bit before midnight.

Easter Week in the Day Family

Easter Week in the Day Family

This weekend marked Chris and I’s first Easter as a married couple.

Wednesday night we were with the Awana Cubbies (preschoolers) as usual. Our lesson was on the resurrection, and their memory verse was 1 Corinthians 15:4: “…and that he rose again, the third day, according to the Scriptures.” I told the kids that the lesson and verse were the most important lesson and verse of the entire year.

On Friday, Chris and I attended a Good Friday service at church. It turned out to be mostly a time of worship, and as such there was no childcare for the littler kids. Instead, they were in service with their parents. One of the Cubbies was sitting with his parents in the same pew as Chris and I. When a speaker giving a short message read the first part of 1 Corinthians 15, including verse 4, I leaned over to him and whispered “That was our verse from this week! I told you it was important!” After service, I saw a few other Cubbies and reinforced the importance of that week’s memory verse with them as well.

Saturday morning Chris and I got to help run a booth passing out gospel tracts at a city Easter Egg Hunt. Once that event finished, we headed over to my parents’ house. There we met with my sister and her husband, along with her husband’s parents and brother. Everybody brought snacks to share, and we watched the Peanuts movie. None of us had gotten to see it yet, and I thought it was really cute.

Sunday Chris and I were at church on Sunday morning. Then we headed over to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for Easter dinner. Pretty much all of my family on my Dad’s side was there, except for my brother who opted to stay on campus this weekend and do homework, and a cousin who has moved out of state. It was fun to get to spend time with family, especially extended family who I hadn’t gotten to see in a while.

Overall, it was a good week and I look forward to many Easter weeks to come for Chris and I.

Not just community service

Not just community service

Toward the end of last week, I was talking with a coworker about my plans for the weekend. My plans included helping paint the high school room at church. My coworker’s response was something about how he used to enjoy doing community service. It caught me off guard. Over my life, I have spent many hours of time doing what many people would consider “community service”. Yet somehow, I have never thought of it that way. As a believer, I think that what I do is so much more than community service.

Webster’s dictionary defines community service as “work that is done without pay to help people in a community.” For most people, their goal in “community service” is to serve the community by making it better.

For me as a Christian, though, there is a further goal. I want people to come to know, love, and serve my Lord. The service that I do is done to further that goal. If I am scorekeeping at an Awana event (as I will be doing this weekend), it is because I know that there will be a gospel presentation. I also know that there are parents and grandparents of the kids who are competing who might not ever set foot in a church, but who will come see their family member play games in a high school gym. Those people will hear a gospel presentation, and I get to be part of that.

This is not to say that Christians can not or should not do community service. However, for the Christian, the motivation still comes from Scripture and what Christ has done for us. Matthew 25: 37-40 says “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

Still, when a Christian does (or at least when I do) things that the world sees as “community service,” there is so more more to it. It is not just “community service.”

We went to Washington D.C.!

We went to Washington D.C.!

A week ago, Chris and I got to visit Washington D.C.!

Washington D.C. had been the top of my places-I-want-to-go-but-have-never-been list for something like 15 years. Chris’ brother Steven and his wife Bel live a short ways out of D.C., and they kindly let us stay with them for the week, and provided us with food and transportation back and forth everywhere. Staying with family also allowed Chris and I to meet our 3-1/2 month old niece for the first time. However, I think I need to work at this whole “aunt” thing, as I arrived home and realized that I did not take a single picture of her all week!

Sunday

After an overnight flight, we arrived into the Baltimore at something like 6 am. Leaving from the airport, we went to breakfast and then straight to Arlington National Cemetery. Our visit there included getting to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was pretty cool to see. It was also very cold – the high on Sunday was something like 18 F. After that, we went back to Steven and Bel’s house and pretty much crashed for the rest of the day. Our day ended with a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner cooked by the guys for the gals.

Monday

We woke up Monday morning to find a coating of SNOW on the ground, and it continued to snow all day. We didn’t let that stop us. Steven joined us as we rode the Big Bus around town and were able to see several things, including the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. The Lincoln Memorial was really neat to get to see. There were a lot of memorial wreaths in front of it, which may or may not have had something to do with our visit occurring on President’s Day. Our day ended a little early, as we were concerned that the snow would keep us from being able to get back to the house.

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Lincoln Memorial
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Washington Memorial

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A statue of Albert Eistein…no word on who put the googly eyes on him.

 

Tuesday

On Tuesday we had a second day of use out of our Big Bus tour. We used it to get us to a wax museum (which we got for free with our Big Bus tickets). It wasn’t something I would pay to go see again, but for free it was a fun thing to see while we were waiting for our timed entry into the Ford Theater. Standing in that theater, just feet from where President Lincoln was shot, was surreal. I felt that way about several things over the week. History really seemed to come alive. Across the street we saw the Peterson House (where Lincoln was taken after he was shot). After that we went to the Holocaust museum. Then, Steven picked us up and drove us by the Iwa Jima memorial on the way back to the house.

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Iwa Jima Memorial

Wednesday

On Wednesday morning we got to tour the east wing of the White House! It was really pretty. After that, we went to a museum called the Newseum. It had come highly recommended, but we didn’t fully know what to expect. It turned out to be a museum about American history, the news/media, and how they interact. For example, they had an exhibit on the Vietnam War, complete with artifacts and new articles, and explained the impact of the media on American perception of the war and ultimately the war itself. The most emotional part of the Newseum for me their exhibit on 9/11, which included a piece of the antenna which had been on the north tower of the World Trade Center.

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At the White House!
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The antenna from the North tower of the World Trade Center
 

Thursday

Thursday was by far our longest day. We started with a little bit more time to finish up at the Newseum (our tickets allowed a second day of entry). Then we went to the National Gallery of Art. I wrote a paper about “A Little Girl in a Blue Armchair” by Mary Cassatt as a junior in high school, and a pre-trip internet search had revealed that the original was on display in Washington D.C. The docent at the desk when we walked in was very helpful, looking up and telling us which gallery in the museum we wanted to go to, and then providing a map to show how to get there. Then we went to the Air and Space Museum for the rest of the morning/afternoon.

In the evening, a friend of Steven’s had been able to get us in to tour the West Wing of the White House. For the most part, pictures were not allowed, but I can say that it is really pretty. Our tour included getting to see the Oval Office.

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In the Press Room at the White House (the only part of our West Wing tour where pictures were allowed)

Friday

Friday had a simplest agenda of the week. We drove out to the Udvar Hazy Center, which is basically everything that the Air and Space Center has, that doesn’t fit in the Air and Space Museum. I think I would have enjoyed it more if we had not done it on back-to-back days with the Air and Space museum, but it was still interesting.

Saturday

On Saturday the name of the game was catch-up. Go see the things we weren’t able to see earlier in the week for one reason or another. We started at the National Archives, where we got to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. From there we went to the Capitol building, where the tour we had scheduled for Monday had gotten cancelled due to the snow. Even without reservations, we were able to get in to a tour starting just a few minutes after our arrival. A tunnel allowed us to move directly to the Library of Congress even allowing us to bypass the security line (a small plus after walking through metal detectors to walk into nearly every building all week). However, the Library prooved to be somewhat underwhelming, as the set-up didn’t allow us to see much. After that, our attention turned to the get-there-if-we-can list, starting with the Natural History museum. We ended up finishing there quicker than expected, and with our last hour and a half before the Smithsonian museums closed for the day, we went to the American History museum. The highlight for me there was getting to see the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the Star Spangled Banner.

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The cone of the Capitol building under construction

 

 

 

Overall, we had a fun week. There were things that we would have liked to have seen but weren’t able to. I guess those things will have to wait for another trip.