1,000 what?

Random Olio is just a few weeks shy of its 4th birthday, and yet today is my 1,000th post. Shocking. I can hardly believe that I have found 1,000 different things to talk about in those 4 years. How is that possible? Of course I often have rants and ramblings about women’s issues, creativity, family, life, and of course books and food.

There are days when I get ideas for weeks full of blogs and others where I think: “I do not want to even try to think about formulating a sentence.” Other times I wonder who would ever care to read a specific post on a topic I might find odd, or a bit off the wall, and then I receive a heartfelt comment that makes me so glad I listened to my gut and put my fingers to the keyboard.

Chris has been incredibly patient through all 1000 blog posts. There are times when the last thing he wants to talk about is my blog. Or, I wrangle him in to make a “Random Recipe” (hey, he gets to enjoy the bi-product in his tummy). It has taken countless hours of our life to design and redesign the site, let alone writing all the content. Earlier this year, Chris asked me if he could be surprised with the post each morning like everyone else. However, with pregnancy brain I need him to point out my careless typos and tell me when something does not make sense.

I am not sure how Random Olio will unfold in the coming weeks and months and if motherhood will inspire me to write more or less. Regardless of the next stage of Random Olio — I appreciate each and every person that has read, contributed, shared, and been apart of the randomness.

HELP: Best site for eBooks?

Yesterday I wrote about my treadmill. I love it, with one exception it does not have a book holder. It has a tiny ledge that fits an iPad or eReader. Here is my dilemma: I am old school. I still check out books at my local library. I have investigated and most of the books that are on my list are not available on the eReader app available from my library. So I started the exploration of other paid eReader apps. Here is what I found:

Amazon: You have to own a Kindle ($59 and up), then you can pay $9.99 a month for their Kindle Unlimited Library, but most of the titles that I am looking for you must have an Amazon Prime account ($99 a year). However, you can only check out one book a month with Amazon Prime. If I am already paying $9.99 a month, and their better selection is with the Amazon Prime eBooks, then how is this a good deal at all? Here is a good recap of what they offer.

Oyster: I signed up for a free trial (caveat: their website says the free trial is 14 days, once I signed up the site emailed me and said my trial was only 2 days). It is $9.95 a month, but most of the titles I want to read are not available in their app.

OverDrive: Part of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium, it is free to me, but again the selection is slim to the list of books I want to read.

3M Cloud: Part of the Multnomah County Library, it is free to me, and the selection does not have the list of books I want to read.

I struggle with my dilemma. If I can go to the library and check out a book for free, why is it so hard to find a good selection of free eBooks? I have a hunch if I want to keep reading while I run, I will have to either have Chris rig some sort of book attachment, utilize at least 5 different eBook apps in order to find the book I want to read, or start to pay $$$ for each of the books I want to read. If I can find almost any song I want on Spotify for $10 a month, why is it so hard to do the same for eBooks?

What do you do? Do you have any ideas for me? My goal is to continue to read my average of 10 books a month, cheaply and easily, and potentially now on my iPad. Help!

Git-‘er-done + running + play

Gosh when I find a damn good book, I just want to tell everyone about it. I know some of you might not care about running, but open your ears… this book is worth reading. I had a week-long slump from my normal runs. Life got crazy, I felt slow, and it has made me a little cranky that my runs have been the thing to drop out of my life. For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you know that my run is my sanity. My closer friends and co-workers that know me, know that something is extremely off if I have not run in a week.

I will not go into the “why” of my crazy world, and the run, because at the moment that is not the point at all of this blog post. Today I tell you, read: “Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run” by Kristin Armstrong. She is a contributing editor for Runner’s World, and the woman RUNS. Do not worry if you are not a runner, her story will inspire you. Mile Markers is a compilation of her many blog posts for Runner’s World. They flow and connect and you feel like you are waking up with her, lacing on your shoes and going for a very long run (as her variety tends to be of the longer distance). You learn how she processes her life, how she stays up-to-date with her running partners, how she struggles and triumphs, and how running helps her to elevate others. This specific quote made me feel like she was talking to me:

“I can be pretty serious about taking myself seriously. I accept responsibility with somber reverence, stuffing the weight of the world into my pack and shrugging my shoulders into the straps. What can I say? When I care about something, I don’t want to blow it. Whether it’s raising my kids, meeting a work deadline, paying a bill on time, training for a race, or being there for a family member or friend, I am a girl who gets up in the morning with the intention of being better than I was the day before. But it’s not easy to keep all the balls in the air, to juggle this master schedule called Aspects of My Life. I drop balls. They go thudding and bouncing and rolling away, and I skid and scramble to collect them and start over again, breathless. There are three things in my life that have saved me from myself, from turning into the most regimented, boring git-‘er-done kind of gal. They are my children, my friends, and running. Why? Because they remind me to play.” page 41

I am that woman who has that same intention of being better than I was the day before. I can usually hold the straps of that backpack and make things happen. Where do I fail and what saves me in the end? Chris. Friends/Family. Running. Playing. Dabbling in art. Laughter. They have all saved me from myself. Absolutely.

I am not even a third of the way through this book, and I had to write a post about it. I cannot put it down. Two nights ago, as I was reading while running (yes, crazy treadmill-running, book-reading me), I got so inspired. I wanted to text a co-worker and get her on board to start running with me once a week. I wanted to wrangle all my past running folks and get out there with them! Maybe it was the spark of sunshine and 65 degree weather yesterday, or maybe it is Daylight Savings Time, or maybe Armstrong can inspire you to get a move on it. More to come on this book!

Have you Spritzed yet?

Have you heard of Spritz? A new app and technology that allows you to speed read. Spritz, the company that invented “Spritzing” defines it as: “…reading text with Spritz Inc.’s patent-pending technology. When you’re spritzing, you’re reading text one word at a time in our “redicle,” a special visual frame we designed for reading.”

I have tried the examples and am interested, although I have to say it does make my head spin a bit. Your eyes do not have to move back and forth across the page, rather your eyes stay in the exact same place and the words move fast right in front of you. Allowing you to focus on the words and thus read faster. Elite Daily explains it well:

“The “Optimal Recognition Point” (ORP) is slightly left of the center of each word, and is the precise point at which our brain deciphers each jumble of letters. The unique aspect of Spritz is that it identifies the ORP of each word, makes that letter red and presents all of the ORPs at the same space on the screen. In this way, our eyes don’t move at all as we see the words, and we can therefore process information instantaneously rather than spend time decoding each word.”

You can try it for yourself on the Spritz website – just “click to Spritz” on the top right part of the page. Here is more Q + A on Spritzing. Currently this technology is only available on the Gear2 and S5 Samsung phones. I have to say it does sort of remind me of Chuck. Did you ever watch that TV show? He would put on these glasses to review intel that would go into his brain very, very fast, and sometimes it effected him for the worse. Are we to the place where we have to absorb words so fast we no longer “read?” Is curling up with a good book a thing of the past? 

What do you think about Spritz?

Unwind and abandon your funk

Do you ever have those days that start out all wrong? Your clothes feel tight, or nothing you want to wear is clean, and to top it off you are having a bad hair day? Sometimes your funk permeates your entire day and all you do is dream about doing a few things that will let you unwind and block out the rest of your day.

What would your list of favorite things be to unwind from a hellish day? Would it involve your kids, your spouse, or an empty, quiet house? Does it involve exercise, a massage, or gorging on amazing food? Does your list change based on your mood?

A list of my favorite things to do to unwind (in no specific order):

  • Going for a long run.
  • Taking a long HOT bath.
  • Hugs. Need I say more?
  • Finding a new journal, finishing a journal, starting a new journal.
  • Completing a shit-ton of items on my to-do list.
  • Snuggling with Chris during a movie, on a lazy Saturday morning…whenever I can cozy up with him.
  • Finishing a book I cannot put down.
  • Coming home to a clean house (knowing I do not have to clean it).
  • Salt. Anything with it, most often in the form of chips.

Some days I can come home and pick one of these items off my list, and the mere act of shifting my focus or pampering myself will change my outlook and let me forget my funk. Other times you just have to ride it out, crawl in bed, close your eyes and wake up freshly the next morning.

How about you? What do you do to unwind after a funky day?