Old School Blogging: 5 Random Things

I can’t focus on anything right now. I have a half dozen posts sitting half-finished in my draft folder, but I can’t seem to concentrate enough to complete any of them. My mind is all wrapped up in half marathon training and car hunting. So rather than struggle through a well-researched post on a useful topic, I decided to go old school and just write a random update on my life at the moment. Of course, I can’t be TOO old school . . . gotta have an image with every blog post, dontchaknow.

Old School Blogging

1. Yes, I said car hunting. My beloved Volvo XC-90 turned out to be a money trap, and we have decided to go back to our 2nd choice when we were buying that and get a Honda Pilot. We’re huge fans of Hondas for their reliability; my husband’s 2006 Accord is still going strong. And the Pilot has more room than our Volvo, which we need anyway. We’re always piling 4 and 5 and 6 kids into my car, even though only 3 are our own. So I’m busy researching and negotiating and my OCD is in overdrive. No pun intended, haha!!

2. Beyond that, I’m spending all remaining energy babying my feet and legs, trying to make it through this half marathon on Sunday. I was really feeling dragged down and beaten up, but I’m finally beginning to see the benefits of the “taper” as I close in on the weekend of the race. Today I have more energy than I’ve had in a while, although my foot is still sore and tight. I think I’ll make it through, but I’m going to need some major recovery when it’s all over.

3. I had to back out on the Fashion Forward Conference yesterday, and I was so bummed to miss it. Everyone looked and sounded like they were having so much fun. And I’m about due for anther NYC fix. But I knew that a long day of travel, and a lot of standing on my sore foot would be a really bad idea this close to Race Day so I decided to do the smart thing and stay put. I think it was the wise choice. I’m really starting to feel like I have 13 miles in me! I didn’t feel like that a few days ago.

4. Today I’m meeting with my friend Darla and we are getting started on our Back To School organizing project that I teased you with a few weeks ago. I CANNOT WAIT. I’ve actually been doing a great job keeping our house picked up and fairly organized lately. My husband and I went through and did some major purging over Labor Day weekend. So now I feel like I have a clean slate to work with. I desperately need a good “command center” and we are going to make over my laundry room. WAHOO!!!!

5. Oh and one more fun thing I’m looking forward to . . . last week I dusted off my violin and took it to a luthier to have it restored. I get to pick it up on Saturday, and for some reason I’m ridiculously excited. I have been helping my daughter with her violin lessons, and I started itching to play again. WHAT?! It’s only been 23 years! I know, crazy, right? But it’s amazing how it comes back. So I’m going to start practicing regularly and see what happens.

So that’s pretty much it for me. What say you??

These random life updates used to be my most popular posts, and nowadays a post like this usually garners only a few comments. But I have no problem resorting to begging. Throw me a bone, and leave me a comment. Tell me . . .

What is going on in your life?

Are you sick of hearing about this half marathon?

Do you enjoy negotiating new cars, or do you dread it?

What would you like me to write more about? Less about?

Do you play an instrument? Did you ever?

What is your best organizing tip?

Wanna do a 5 Random Things post? Feel free to grab the button and leave a link to your post in the comments so I can visit.


  1. Susan says

    1. I thought you bought something else a few years ago when you were car shopping. I have a deep maroon Pilot (Gig ‘Em AGGIES!) and love love love my car. I take such good care of it except I am still a horrible backer outer.
    2. Love that you are going back to the violin. My daughter is now in high school and plays violin and loves it. I wouldn’t say she is passionate enough to practice agazillion hours a day but she likes it. Our public school system here has an AMAZING fine arts program. In high school there are SIX levels of orchestra and 4 full-time instructors. Seriously…it’s one of the main reasons we don’t go private!
    3. Good luck on your marathon! I admire you for seeing a goal through!

    • says

      Nope. It was the Volvo. Honestly I love it, but it is small, and it is costly to maintain.

      We also love our public school’s fine arts program. Isn’t it such a blessing in this day and age of cut backs!?

  2. Mandy S says

    I never heard the word luthier before. Thanks for broadening my vocabulary. I love words and, NERD ALERT, used to read the dictionary and encyclopedia just to have something to read. So it thrills me to find new words that I have never heard or seen.
    Have fun with your half marathon this weekend. I can’t wait to see the picture of you smiling at the finish line because you did it! :-)

  3. says

    I hope you are in tip top shape for your marathon…best of luck (you can do it!!).
    I myself dread car shopping – good luck with that one!!
    Love that you can share in the violin experience with your daughter (my daughter takes it as well and I am clueless!!)

  4. says

    I have no marathons in me, of that I am sure. Considering my post yesterday, the one that left me face down in a pool of sweat, everyone else is certain I don’t have 13 miles (or probably even two) in me either. I’m cheering for you though and I very much admire your dedication.

    I’m on a painting kick. I have a love hate relationship with paint. I love the results, but hate the work and it seems like I am always painting. I jumped on the chalkboard paint kick (finally) and after moving some rooms around in our house, I painted an entire wall in the new playroom/office. I love it.


  5. Lee Ann says

    Going on in my life right now? We have been in school for 15 days now, and my life has once again become crazy with scheduling, new teacher evaluations with tons of paperwork and assessing, lesson plans, past 2 days of 95 degrees and no air conditioning in school… then throw in my daughter’s struggles with school and studying. Doesn’t feel like we had a summer break so I’m ready for a vacation! :)

    I played flute in school and still have it in my closet, collecting dust, and the piano sits in the living room, silent. Speaking of marathons, we volunteered for the Revolution 3 triathlon last weekend when it was in our area. I give a lot of credit to the racers!

  6. Jenny says

    My parents just gave us their piano (the one I grew up playing on) and I’m getting back to playing after a 16 year hiatus . It really is amazing how quickly it comes back!!!

  7. says

    I love posts like this. Although, in general, your posts and event recaps give me a pretty good idea of what you’ve got going on, sometimes it’s nice to read a straightforward post like this one where you share successes, fears, and failures. It’s posts like this that got me into blog reading and writing in the first place.

    Ugh! I have an XC 90 also. We are planning on unloading it next fall. Hoping it makes it until then without costing us a dime. Good luck with the violin. You’ll have to post a video of your playing it once you get back into it!

    • says

      Yeah, good luck with that! (The volvo part.) LOL. In 2 years, this car has left me stranded 3 times. It is really a fun drive, and it is so pretty. But I don’t know how many more unexpected $1000 mechanic bills I can stomach, paid off or not!

  8. KellyinPA says

    I am impressed by both the marathon AND the violin! My kids are musical but they get that from their father, not me. And I’m a drop-out walker, never mind running. My husband does the wheeling and dealing for our vehicles, but I’m interested in your research. When our 2005 Town and Country van finally goes, the Honda Pilot might be on our radar. I love the post, Jo-Lynne. Kind of like just catching up with a friend you haven’t talked with in awhile:) Best wishes on the marathon, glad you are planning on dinner out. THAT might motivate me to the finish line:)

  9. says

    Your 5 random things are great! Speaking of NYC, I’m going to a Better Homes and Gardens party there on Thursday. I’m looking forward to being in the city again. I’m always up for a trip there, let me know if you want to go up with me and we can play in NYC for a day and celebrate your half marathon! (hello, massages, anyone?!)

  10. says

    I will reply today because I read every day and rarely do.

    I’m so proud of you for doing the half marathon. A few months ago some friends and I started running. Man, I hated it. I’m all for walking every day…just got back in fact, but running isn’t my cup of tea. I am in awe of you for running that far. Take care of your feet and legs. You were probably smart to stay home yesterday.

    Shopping for a car is the most frustrating thing ever. My husband rocks at it though so we always walk in the door educated and ready to negotiate. Good luck with that.

  11. DonnaS says

    I love this type of post–please do more! Car shopping makes me tired, but it will be so worth it in the end. We are a three Honda family. My daughter still drives our 1997 Accord, and it runs great! Good luck with your half marathon!

  12. Emily E says

    aww- I’m sad to hear you aren’t happy with your XC-90. It’s on our short-list for the next car (not that that will be anytime soon though.) I HATE the car buying process. It just takes. so. dang. long. We bought my husband a little pickup truck recently and it took forever to do all the paperwork- and we were paying cash! Thankfully the dealership had a kids playroom for the kids and I to retreat to while all the paperwork and waiting was going on.

    • says

      It’s a really cute car, nice to drive, and I feel SO safe in it. But it’s costly to maintain. I would really recommend looking around some before investing in an XC-90. I have the V8 sport model which is especially sweet. I’m sad to part with it, but I think I’ll be happier in the long run with the Pilot.

  13. Julie S. says

    Well, I’ll comment since you begged and all. :) Really excited for you for your race this weekend! I mean, as much as one can be, one virtual stranger to another (the blogger/reader relationship is slightly more than that, right??). haha. But after reading that it’s this weekend, I got really excited for you and vicariously felt your nerves/itchy energy of an upcoming big race! Cannot wait to hear your rundown of the whole thing. Rest, rest, rest and sleep, sleep, sleep. Get to that starting line raring to go – but don’t start off too fast (you know that already!) Have a GREAT race and we’ll be anxiously awaiting to the results!

  14. Cheryl says

    I got a new Honda CR-V last fall and did NO negotiating…in person, that is. We emailed all of the dealerships we were willing to drive to and said, “This is the car we’re looking for (spelled out all options) and whichever dealership gives us the best quote gets our business.” Worked great – we got a really good deal and we were able to walk into the dealership and do the deal without an ounce of stress. BTW, we got the best deal from Mainline Honda in Ardmore. Our salesman was Bill Mears and he was awesome…didn’t try to sell us a single add-on, etc. My husband said it was the best, smoothest car purchase ever.

  15. sara says

    I’m sorry your Volvo ended up being a money pit. I have always liked those cars. We went for a used Mazda CX9 three years ago because it offers the third row and is a bit smaller than the pilot. My mom has a pilot and it always feels like such a monster where the CX9 drives and feels a little more like a car. Good luck with the negotiations, it is miserable, isn’t it?

    • says

      I drove the CX9 too. It’s a great car, but we needed more room. The Volvo had more than the CX9 but we are outgrowing that now. My kids and their friends are getting big!

      I kind of enjoy the negotiations, in a sick way. 😉

  16. says

    I’m still processing the information that you’re a violinist — for some odd reason, you don’t strike me as a musician, but I’m wrong!! :) I’m a pianist. I was a piano major, and although I’ve never done anything impressive with it, I’ve taught piano lessons on and off, and somehow I seem to end up accompanying the worship service in just about every church we’ve attended. It’s good for me. You should think about playing in church sometime!
    We always, always have some sort of car debacle going on. Now we have a 1986 Jaguar that hardly runs. Having a Jaguar sounds swanky (just like a Volvo, which we used to have also), but actually these foreign cars are a pain. Give me a dinky Ford Focus any day. I hate car hunting b/c it’s a massive expense, and it drives me crazy that I might spend that kind of money on a LEMON. Eek!

    • says

      Oh I’m much more musical than I am athletic! I took violin for 10 years, and I always played in our church orchestra. I plan to play in church again once I get myself back up to par. And I took voice lessons and was in my high school and college concert choirs. I miss singing in a choir. Our church is too small to have one.

      Yeah, cars are a pain. I’m sticking with Hondas and Toyotas from now on!

  17. Megan says

    I am a Honda and Toyota loyalist. I have a Sequoia that our nanny drives the kids around in all week. I drive a 2005 CRV and actually love it. I wish it had some “modern” conveniences like GPS or Bluetooth but it has well over 100K miles and runs perfectly every single day. Perfect for tooling around town. TK drives an Avalon with almost 200K miles. Can you tell we keep cars forever? It bears a car payment. Ha!

    Can’t wait to hear about Sunday. TK is running as me. :) Can’t let the registration go to waste. I did get out there and do 3.8 miles today though (40 mins – slow, but I’m being nice to myself). Let’s try to run together again this fall! I could do an early Saturday!

  18. Linda says

    I love the “what’s going on in my life” posts. Good luck in the race. I’m sure you will do great.
    You are prepared.
    I hate car shopping, too.

  19. Nancy M says

    Since you asked……

    Life – After being a SAHM for 3 years, I am adjusting to a new job as a Vision Screening Asst in our school district. Two days a week I help one screener at her school, then I spend the next two days helping another screener at her school. I miss not being able to read my favorite blogs each day but get really excited when I have some time to catch up. I am thankful for the health and nutrition tips I’ve gained from various blogs (many from you or linked to by you — ex. Kelly the Kitchen Kop). Hopefully that will keep me healthy as I visit 38 different schools in the months ahead.

    Marathon – Though I have no aspirations of running any type of marathon, I enjoy reading about your efforts to heal your feet. My 91 yo mother was visiting just before school started and her feet/knees/hips are in horrible shape. I don’t want to experience your pain or have feet that look like my mothers so I picked up Katy Bowman’s book so that I can take preventative measures with my feet as my new job requires lots of standing.

    New Cars – I loathe shopping for new cars! I told hubs what our budget would allow for his last new car and sent him shopping alone. For my last new vehicle (it’s a Toyota pickup), I gave hubs a list of vehicles that I was willing to consider and sent him shopping. He checked out the Toyota first as it was at the top of the list. He test drove it, thought I might like it so he asked to drive it to our house (10 miles from dealership). I test drove it for a few miles, liked it, then sent hubs back to dealership with a budget. 😉

    Instrument – I took piano lessons for about 8 years when I was a kid. I haven’t played much as an adult. Since my daughter started taking lessons, I sometimes feel inspired to try out one of her songs or pull out some of my old music.

    • says

      Isn’t Katy’s book interesting!?

      I hope you stay well working in the schools. That can be really hard the first year. :-)

      See, my husband sends ME to the car dealer with a budget, haha!!

  20. Rachel says

    I took piano lessons when I was around 9 and I played clarinet in sixth grade band. We had a different band director the next year and he switched me to bass clarinet! I quit after Christmas break!

  21. says

    Ha! When I saw the title of this post I thought it was going to be five old-school tips on blogging… And even though there are a gazillions posts out there about improving your blog and traffic, there’s still nothing like getting some tips from a trusted source like you have become for me (ESP for recipes too!)
    Good luck on the half! I did it last year and it was a great atmosphere. My training was not up to snuff and I suffered a bad recovery. This past Sunday I completed my first half-ironman and feel ten times better! So the lesson learned is, trust your training and I know you have been following it to a T!

    • says

      THanks for the encouragement! I’ve been doing so little this week that I’m feeling worried that I’ve lost some stamina. I hope it all goes well on Sunday!!

      Meanwhile, I’m always happy to give blogging tips. But yeah, I guess there are plenty of those types of posts out there. :-)

  22. Sarah says

    Fun post! I like this 5 random things topic and think you should do posts like this more often. I check out this site daily but never have much time to comment. Meanwhile, I will live vicariously through you with the half marathon…even if I wasn’t big and pregnant, I could never do it! Good luck!

  23. Barb @ A Life in Balance says

    I’ll be rooting for you this weekend! I know you can do this!

    I can’t wait to hear about your project that you’re doing with Darla. I asked her to work with me on rethinking how we use our home now that the kids are getting older.

    That’s so cool that you still have your violin. My flute from high school has been sitting under our bed. I keep thinking about getting it out. Maybe now that the kids are in school….

  24. says

    These are my favorite kinds of posts–newsy and a little bit vulnerable. I’m glad you wrote it!

    Me? I’m teaching again this fall and juggling my high schooler’s busy schedule. My husband is in his busiest season EVER with work, so I’m just trying to keep things as staus quo as possible at home. Lots going on here.

    Good luck on the race this weekend!

  25. says

    Good Luck Jo Lynne!!! You will do great!

    Heard nothing but great things about the Pilot. We looked at it as well last year, but I fell in love with the acadia

  26. Kim says

    I hope the Honda pilot works out for you. We were both car shopping at the same time. We ended up with the Mazda CX-9. At the time I knew nothing about Mazdas. I had a Lexus SUV, my husband a Lincoln Navigator. We have three kids and they don’t like to touch each other…LOL so that is what drove our search and the fact that I refused to drive a mini van. 80% of the time I drive I am by myself or with one of the three kids. Only 10% of the time are the three kids, my husband, and myself in the car. Hence my reason for not getting a mini van. I love that the Mazda CX-9 has a third backseat for those times when we need it (aka going to church on Sunday so the kids don’t have to touch each other) and the rest of the time I put the seats down and it has the same amount of room that my lexus suv had. We looked at the Honda Pilot but with three teenagers needed just a little more room in the back. Can’t wait to see what you end up with:) If you are not dead set on a Honda….check out the Mazda CX-9

  27. says

    My lifelong dream is to play a French horn. I’ve never picked one up. My husband tells me I am not allowed because it’s too painful to listen to a beginner play.

    But one of these days … soon … I need to just start.

  28. says

    I love these types of posts! So many bloggers just post “informational” posts, which of course is awesome but I love “random” posts like this too. Make me feel like I know you a bit more. :)

    I never get sick of hearing you talk about running. Maybe you could come to OK and drag my butt out to the road!

    I am currently shopping for a new to me car myself….the process was FUN the first week. It’s been 2 months now and I’m sick of waiting for the right one to come along!

    I used to play the clarinet – for one year in band. Then I took piano lessons for 3-4 years but I’m not sure I can play anymore. :(

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