Office Life / Cold Front

My office has a serious Crumbl cookie addiction. As well as donut addiction. If you want to get something into the hands of leadership quickly, we can be bribed. Everyone has a price!

Speaking of office stuff, when the going gets tough, I remind myself of an instance where I helped a stranger get into their master’s program. Well, it was a miniscule part but I played it. Seeing as how it was several years ago, I imagine they have since graduated. Pretty proud!

Again, on the office theme, I have encountered some really beautiful sunrises lately. The only problem is I’m usually driving and too lazy to pull over. Being punctual is my thing. Although my phone doesn’t take the best sun photos, you get the idea. I adore the mornings. There’s just something about a new day, waking up before others, the quiet stillness of the world early in the day. Before life gets crazy. Before the sun starts boiling me alive. The days are getting shorter hence the darkness is lasting longer. Bring on Fall!

We’re getting closer to the closing of Hell’s Gate aka end of summer in Tejas. Not close enough. Sadly I missed the opportunity to run last week when it was a blizzard-like 59°. Break out the parkas, folks. I’ll get my cold weather running gear. It’s a party!

Alas, a day later, it was 99° outside and 78° in the office. Have I mentioned I miss teleworking?

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I ask you –

Does your office have a particular addiction?

What are the average daily temperatures where you live?

Tell me an office skill you’re not proud to be good at! I’m getting good at work order requests.

Day(s) in Photos, pt 29

Finally found a huge pretzel! It’s not pretzel bites, but it will do for the time being.

When I have time on my hands, I attempt to decorate them.

Beer shoes?!? Brooks outdid themselves this time. I feel like these shoes speak volumes to runner’s priorities.

Although I love the below list of words, I feel as if it’s missing one: whackadoo!

Credit: @hardcorecomedy2.0 via Instagram

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – ta da!!! 2 years of Gummies netted me a whole hour of unlimited line boosts. I was super excited by this prize until I realized it was not the same as a whole hour of unlimited lives. So in approximately 12 mins I was out of lives and had to wait 10+ mins to get another life, repeat, etc.

I really need to get help.

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I ask you –

On a scale of 1 to no longer being my friend, how much do you love huge pretzels?

What word is missing from the list?

Honest opinions only: is my Gummy addiction out of control?

An Open Letter

…to the pretzel shop in our rather dismal, dying mall.

Dear Pretzel Peoples, I really needed you to come through for me. Let me explain: my kindergartner just finished her first full week of school. Earlier in the week, this child (my child) who rarely asks for anything, asked – politely – if we could go to the mall this weekend to get pretzel bites. As any proud mom would do, I smiled and replied affirmative. The weekend came. After many other unexplainable events of which were not her fault, we arrived at said mall to purchase said pretzel bites. “The ones that are all buttery and delicious”, she said. Unbeknownst to us, your pretzel bite location was closed. To my shock, I read the posted sign detailing your legal and financial woes. As my young child stared in horror at the darkened heat lamps and noticeable lack of “buttery pretzel bite” smell, the realization began to sink in. There would be no pretzel bites for her today. And, according to the date in March 2021, there had not been any pretzel bites in quite some time. I hope you understand this: I get it. Times are hard, the economy is a rollercoaster, the list goes on. But I made a promise to a young lady who had her heart set on pretzel bites. Yes, the buttery, delicious ones. Of which you let me down. You, pretzel people, did not hold up your end of the bargain. Therefore, I had a sad, disappointed, mildly angry child to explain to, in an age-appropriate way, why there would be no pretzel bites today. I SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN IN THIS SITUATION! You should be ashamed of the second-best option I presented to her. Sure, cookies and smoothies and coffee are some of her favorite things. To be honest, they are some of my favorite things, as well. However, they were not pretzel bites! They were not what I promised. You should make this right. Sincerely, the mother of a pretzel bite-loving girl.

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I ask you –

Have you ever made a promise you couldn’t fulfill but which was completely out of your control?

Do you enjoy pretzel bites?

Please pass this on to anyone you may know whom owns a pretzel bite business. They need to know how important this business is to at least one young girl.

Childhood Favorites

“Hot Jello Water” – the process of drinking the jello before you ever put it in the refrigerator to solidify. To be fair, as kids we called it Hot Jello, but mini coined it Hot Jello Water so here we are. HJW was a childhood staple/treat whenever we were sick. I think mom found a way to get calories and sugar inside our little bodies. Fun fact: my little human doesn’t like jello. Really, I didn’t know this was possible. But she loves some hot jello water!

I don’t have a photo for this next item. Even if I did, the photo would do it no justice. My mom’s famous – only to me – Mexican Casserole. Think layers of corn tortillas, cheese, and a ground beef/green chili mixture. I realize the simplicity of these ingredients, but for some reason whenever I try to recreate this dish it just isn’t “right”. Whenever I hear the words Mexican casserole, this meal immediately comes to mind but no one makes it like mom does.

Mini doesn’t know it yet but this final food will become a staple at all sleepovers and girls’ nights we ever host. The most clever name my sister and I ever came up with was “Frozen Banana Things”. To hear my mom tell the story, her mother would make these when she (my mom) and her siblings were young. Basically, you stab a single, sliced banana piece with a toothpick, top with a marashino cherry, (one banana slice, one cherry per toothpick) and assemble banana-down on a rimmed baking sheet. Then, you pour lemon juice in the baking dish until the banana slices are almost covered. Freeze the entire baking sheet until bananas are frozen. To eat, break apart (if necessary) each frozen banana thing.

Missing: cherries

According to my childhood friends, they’re addictive; a perfect sweet, sour treat. I haven’t had them in years, but I still remember the joy of making and sharing these late at night. Soon enough, the pitter patter of little feet sneaking them from the freezer will be heard. But first, rest!

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I ask you –

What childhood dishes did you enjoy?

Is there another name for the Mexican casserole I mentioned? It’s similar to King Ranch Chicken Casserole.

Share ideas for ingredients that don’t seem to go together but work well! Lemon juice and bananas!

RoF – Caffeine Injected!

Lately, I’ve had the privilege of exploring new (to me) coffee shops in the surrounding area. From South Padre Island (Cafe Karma) to my favorite food truck (Chicka D’s) to our local coffee house (Smash House), the best coffee can be found in locally-owned businesses. My goal is to make this a Friday special feature; please give me your feedback as we get started!

As part of my new series, Caffeine Injected, I’m paying homage to and featuring small coffee shops with the best customer service and coffee, of course!

217 Coffee

Meet Addie and Cailyn, the sweetest young women I met while passing through Nocona, TX. Both ladies provided conversation, excellent customer service, and barista knowledge in helping us order exactly what we wanted. Located at 217 Clay St in downtown Nocona, 217 Coffee opened in summer 2020 and I can’t imagine it was quiet for long! They are conveniently located near the Classic Car Museum, too!

Tons of seating

I ordered an Iced Latte made with heavy cream and sugar free brown sugar cinnamon syrup. Mini had a Iced Chai Latte and my other half ordered 2 fancy pigs in a blanket, which 217 Coffee calls “Pig Oh’s”. Every item had rave reviews, including mini who said it was the best chai latte she’d ever had. I was given the option of my iced latte being made with either cold brew coffee or shots of espresso, but I vetoed the latter in anticipation of cake later in the day.

You can find our more about 217 Coffee on Facebook or Instagram. If you’re ever in the area, please stop by and tell them Running on Fumes sent you!

Want to See More?

If you or someone you know owns or frequents a favorite coffee establishment and you’d like to be featured (or nominate them to be featured), please comment below!

Cheers to the Caffeine Injected series!

How to Vacation and Why People Suck at it

Alternative title option: How to try to vacation and why most people generally suck at it. But, I once read something about how concise titles draw more attention.

Briefly I considered the 1,000+ emails that were surely awaiting me upon return from my beach vacation. So I drowned out the thought with ice cream sandwiches and the like.

Blue Bell Pecan Pralines and Cream

Circa 2020, when I took a similar beach vacation, I fielded no less than 4 phone calls and did some “telework”. I’d like to think it was because my job really needed me, but it was probably more like I didn’t set any boundaries. Lesson learned.

This year I ensured work was where I left it, approximately 12 hours away. With the instructions: don’t call me, I’ll call you. And I never called. If my coworker can go away for 2 weeks and leave incompetent me to hold down the fort, then she definitely doesn’t need me to help her. As my sister chatted away on another work call, I rolled my eyes and packed for another day oceanside.

Shell shocked

(I’m only sort of sorry these posts sometimes seem out of order because I jump around a lot.) I write like I talk – with many ideas swirling around at once. You should see what I deal with at work. Geez.

Anyway…people suck. I mean…suck at vacationing, getting away, unplugging, being around people. I love to fly. Because airplane mode is expected. Turning my phone off was my favorite part of being out to sea. And the battery lasts forever when only used as an alarm clock! Occasionally we’d get computer access to check email but optimal hours were midnight to 2am so choices had to be made. Sleep / no sleep.

Focus, Kel. How many cups of coffee have I had today? I can’t remember. Must be the lack of blood in my sugar stream. We found the cutest coffee shop, Cafe Karma, on the island. Apparently they got the memo for a book nook meets ice cream shop meets coffee house. And the chai tea latte was amazing! Good thing my small, local town also has a great coffee shop. And they’re super inexpensive!

Smash House Coffee

Really, I don’t know “how” to vacation; I just wing it. Eat all the food, drink all the drinks, and avoid any work-related thoughts. It can be tough to step away, but we all need time and space to recharge.

Next time, I’m leaving my phone at home.

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I ask you –

Do you think you know how to unplug?

On average, how much coffee do you drink daily?

Name one coffee shop requirement (not coffee)!

24 hrs Post-Island Life

Something about run streaking is so much fun to me. Maybe it’s the confidence builder qualities or the satisfaction of having a daily goal? Maybe all of it. I feel accomplished! Running is a huge leap of faith for me. Day 1 is tough – getting restarted, developing a habit, and believing somehow I’ll go from a nearly 12 min/mile to a 9:30 min/mile. This body is pretty amazing.

Photo credit: my sister

After my unscheduled running hiatus – thanks a lot – I’d only missed three weeks of the Garmin 10k training plan. So I’ve put it back on rotation and decided to start an August streak…which means I will (at the time of this posting) be running and “training” at the same time.

Granted it’s only a 10k but if you’ll recall there are hills in there. Cringe. Then I remembered the new DoD guidance concerning indoor mask wear and it’s still summer in Texas. Double cringe. You’d think after the super high humidity I’d be acclimated by now…alas, my trusty home treadmill is always available until it begins to cool down.

I did loosely plan to run while on the island. Instead I drank. And swam daily. Vacation, after all. Watched some Olympics, too, so that definitely counts as inspiration! Then I ate more fish, dessert, and attempted to sleep in. Damn internal alarm clock.

Back to work, I guess. And by work I really mean eating donuts with my office peoples.

dead battery = watch still on

Before I forget, I have a watch rave. The Garmin Forerunner battery life could be the best in its class: 8 days without charging. When I got home, it showed 0% but the watch face was still on. Check out my full review here.

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I ask you –

Am I the only one who keeps getting confused when I see Tokyo 2020? What year is this? Oh yeahhhhh.

How often do you take a vacation? Yearly? I would prefer quarterly!

Time to dust off my running shoes again!

Key Toe Lyfe Stile

Beyond every ad, article, self-promoting good doer, and television commercial is a person who wants to have the type of lifestyle that just “works” for them. Mine is keto. Before you go off on a tangent about high cholesterol and/or fat, bad genetics, or some version of the previous, I will disclaim I know only what works for me. Me. Ok? Yes, I cheat sometimes. Yes, I’ve fallen off the wagon and bounced awhile. But I keep coming back to it because it makes me feel my best.

Now that I’ve said all this – let me show you a little bit of what it looks like for me. There’s ice cream!

Because I promised ice cream –

one of my favorites
when ice cream for breakfast won’t do
Rebel brand – an expensive treat

I eat a lot of salad. Nearly every day actually. And eggs. Scrambled with as much butter as I desire. Never met a chicken I didn’t like either. Asparagus is always on the menu, along with deep fried Brussels or quick green beans. Truly, I don’t cut out any vegetables except potatoes and corn.

Yes, I eat bread. Yes, I know bread is mostly white flour. But there are several keto-friendly options and I’ve tried many until I found my favorite(s).

(L to R) Sola, Nature’s Own (sugar free), and Braum’s (carb watch)

Cost? I don’t think I spend any more money eating my way than I would if I ate out regularly. The real cost is time. Meal prep takes time. A lot of time. Purchase, thaw, prep vegetables, cook meats, assemble meals, etc etc etc. Eating out definitely has its merits. Steak and meat item prices have risen lately, but chicken is pretty stable for now. I can’t think of one thing that doesn’t have a suitable alternative for every price point. Frozen and canned vegetables are nearly as healthy as fresh ones. The above photo re: bread is comparable to other sliced bread – minus Sola; Sola is expensive for the very small loaf and small slices you get. The point is keto doesn’t have to be expensive.

I am not ever going to try to convince someone my way of life is for them. I know this. I’ve seen keto do amazing things for others (a friend of mine lost over 100 lbs), but please don’t be afraid to try something new if you’re looking for a change. All that’s required is for you to enjoy it, be able to live your life, and feel your best.

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I ask you –

Do you prefer Greek or other types of yogurt?

Have you ever tried a “lose weight quick” diet? How did it work out for you?

Tell me what foods you eat the most! (Yes, coffee does count!)

Outs / Abouts

Has anyone tried one of these? I NEED that pecan caramel cinnamon heavenly thing. Too bad for you other-than-Texas-and-Oklahoma people. Braum’s is ours!

I should just give in

Whilst on a leisurely downtown stroll, I came across this funniness. Red, preferably.

I do love me some wine

And, then, to complete the collection of owning nearly every type of Keurig created. Monopoly, much? I feel like once I’ve run out of these, I might be stuck. So far — Keurig: 3; Me: 1. Why don’t electronics love me like I love them?

Original to Supreme Plus to Elite

My colleagues know me well. I’ve been working very hard towards our new office mantra of “Be the best first impression!” Work early, stay late, big smile, lots of laughter. All the things! Granted, I think I’ve always had a great attitude and work ethic, but there were a few weeks where I was Negative Nancy, for sure. Have you met my friend, Crow? No amount of sugar can make crow taste good. So I got it together and got back to being cheerful.

coffee rewards

Sometimes it may take awhile, but remember there’s always someone else watching.

So laugh loudly and spell correctly!

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I ask you –

Have you been to a Braum’s? Tell me how much you love their ice cream!

What type of coffee maker do you use?

Name something you’re thankful for! Coffee, hugs, ice cream…shall I go on?

I’m a Pioneer!

I need friends. Running friends. Running friends who only run when it’s incredibly hot outside and I can’t go out there to run. Too much? So I joined Strava.

Find me on Strava!

Then I decided to channel my inner woman of the wild and become a canning master! Next up: living in a hut and churning my own butter. Right. I know.

As a writer, grammar and spelling are important to me, as well as consistent fonts across a document. It’s my job. I appreciate when someone’s email signature line is short, concise, and, most importantly, legible! You may be asking how an email could possibly be anything other than legible; rest assured, I’ve seen it all. It’s not pretty.

Full disclosure: I don’t believe everything I read on the internet. Tell me you don’t either. So I did my own research. Turns out it is true!

My dreamer mindset got a little excited, to tell the truth. But as for adding it to the bucket list? No thanks. The part that negated all my dreams was “The real-life walk would be grueling, filled with scary animals and diversely bad weather.” Nope, nope, and nope. Next, please.

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I ask you –

What’s your Strava information? Please comment below. I need friends!

Have you ever canned anything? What should I can next?

Tell me something on your bucket list!