Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love dressing up and taking my girls trick-or-treating, or scaring the trick-or-treaters while passing out candy. My favorite costume? Dressing up as anything: high school cheerleader, witch, 50s high school chick, etc. and painting a zombie face on myself. I love doing it to my kids, which was especially great when Mi-Mi was too young to care.

Well, this year I didn't force the zombie look on my kids. Probably not me either. Can a zombie nun look sexy? Yes, I'm going for the slutty look this year...just not sure the zombie part will create that appeal.

Anyway, this year was my year to take the girls trick-or-treating. I let CJ pick the route, which was down 'blow row' -- the row of McMansions built in my neighborhood. BTW, the McMansion folks give out the same amount of candy, and the same kind, as everyone else...

I observed a few things that I have since found irritate the shit out of me.

Number one: What the fk is wrong with these people that follow their kids in their cars? Their kids walk from house-to-house while they s-l-o-w-l-y drive along side the road WITH THEIR HEADLIGHTS ON. So if you are walking towards the vehicle, you have lights glaring in your eyes.

Number two: Where are the basic manners in these wild hoodlums today? My perfect girls waited patiently for their turn to get candy, when there were others waiting for their candy. Then these three, maybe ten year old, girls just barrelled their way to the front to get their candy. WTF? Who reared them? Joy from My Name is Earl?

Number three: Why the hell is Raleigh so damn hilly? Every frickin' house had an incline. If we weren't going up to the door, we were going up _from_ the door. And the number of steps *to* the door. Mi-Mi, after maybe two blocks, said "I have enough candy. I'm ready to go home." It's no wonder - she had to climb the equivalent of Mt. Everest to get the goods. Cerina made it another block, but not much more.

Number four: Nothing new here but the damn hoodlums that show up with a Kroger shopping bag and NOT DRESSED. What's up with that? What are you supposed to do? Well, Tim doesn't give them candy. I do, when it's my turn. I try to not make it a big deal and make it the 'halloween spirit' to give candy to everyone, but come on, THEY DON'T DESERVE IT! Draw a frickin' mustache...do _something_, ANYTHING except showing up in your jeans and t-shirt...

The Curse of 13

That would be 13.1, to be more precise. A half marathon. One of my favorite lengths in a race. When I did my first, I followed up with two more. Only one of which was, technically, an easy route -- flat. That one would be the one I hated the most and yet, I ended up with my PR.

Last fall, I started my half marathon training for the Inside Out Sports Classic Half. I don't think I was two weeks into training when I was hit with that mysterious virus. That illness put me out from August until December (which to this day, I have no idea what hit me).

I did, however, rebound slightly and ran Coach Bubba's 20K (in February of this year) and made my goal time. A very high moment after fearing the worst for the past year.

And now, here I am, four days from my half marathon race. The race I had been so excited about. The one I wanted everyone to support because it was a race that came back to Raleigh. I have already envisioned myself running through Raleigh. And here I am, afflicted with some mysterious ailment again...having to decide whether I should do my race that is FOUR DAYS away. I've been training for it since July.

It's not a total mystery. My blood pressure is high. Which could cause all the other shit I've been going through over the summer. For instance, the constant tiring of my legs into, what should be, a very fit pair of legs that have been running all freaking year.

Then there's the light-headiness. The last month or so, there's been mild confusion. All I had attributed to either old age, or the weather (running in the hot summer heat).

But my ego gets the best of me and I think I can still do the race. Tim is not as gung-ho about my assessment that I can do it. Well, I think we agree that I _could_ do it, but is it necessary at this point? No, it's not.

I don't know why I have such high blood pressure -- which, to me, hit me 'all of a sudden'. And 13.1 miles is a lot of miles to run (which is why I like the race) for someone who tires out early *and* that 160/104 bp.

There will be more races to run, as my hubby and my running friends remind me. I just need to get myself back into tip-top shape before I can do them.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Order Up

One of the best features of the Wake County Library System is the ability to 'order' a book. That is, if it's in the catalog, you can request the book.

It may take a day or two, depending on where the book is located, but if it's not lost or had a large queue, you'll get it. And it's delivered to the library of your choice, again, no matter where the book is located (within Wake County).

Once I discovered this feature, I have not turned back. You have to have a Wake County library card, a PIN number, and ta-da, you can do this on-line.

My method of madness is this: I add all the books that interest me into a list. I'm up to two lists now. The books I choose come from many places: stuff recommended to me by friends, reviews from various places on the net or written media. More often, my choices come fro the Wake County Library monthly newsletters on featured books of different genres. My other most often used media for choosing books is the Quail Ridge Books & Music e-mail list.

I read the basic premise of the book, maybe even look it up on Amazon. If it sounds good, it gets added to my book list. I have about 97 items that span two lists.

Then, I randomly choose a couple of books. It's hard to restrain myself to just two, but I can't read that fast. Well, I could, but it's finding the time to devote myself to the book that is hard.

The point is, I know that I have filtered a list of books into my own personal list of items that interest me. These books will span several areas -- from fiction to non, from mystery to whatever.

So when I request a book or two, it is somewhat random. Often I ask my kids for a letter in the alphabet or a number, and find a book that starts with the letter or count to the number -- and then those are the books that get requested.

This is fun for me because I don't really know what genre the book is until I start reading it. Sure, most of the time the book cover or the title is a giveaway, but not always.

And yes, this method has had me read quite a few books that just didn't do it for me, but for whatever warped reason, it doesn't sway me to modify this method, or from having somewhat enjoyment in the element of surprise.

But the one thing it has done that I do appreciate is that it has me venturing out of my usual 'comfort' zone of books, and authors, I usually hone in on to read.

Book Review: Winter's Child by Margaret Maron

I have a bad compulsion. The compulsion to finish a book, no matter if I'm getting any enjoyment out of it or not. Well, the one exception is the one book about adoptive parents. That one just pissed me off.

But this book, and unfortunately for me, quite a few before it, have just come up empty even though I continue to flip through the pages -- reading each and every word.

Why do I do this? I don't know. It could be the part of my brain that has me counting all the time.

So I'm sure by now it's understood that I did not enjoy this book. I didn't like it from the first few chapters, yet I continued. I couldn't wait to finish it so that I could do the "check!", it's complete! compulsion that I have.

This novel starts with something that happens near Raleigh, NC. A man gets killed while driving his truck in Colleton County. I haven't tried to figure out where Colleton County is, but I now recall that I was giving this book more leeway because of its North Carolina setting.

The investigation into this man's death becomes the crux of the novel. Or so I thought. Next thing I know, I'm reading a first person account -- the narrator of the novel -- and it's not the person who was investigating this murder. Instead, it's his wife.

So the narrator is not introduced until the second or third chapter. This confused me until I figured this 'style' later in the book.

The story turns into another crime, in another state, with a whole different set of people. And these two characters, the one who was investigating the NC crime *and* his wife, suddenly become investigators in *this* crime...the one outside of their jurisdiction.

That's the gist of the novel. There are no surprises here. It wasn't even the fact that it was so easy to figure out what happened to who, but that I didn't even care. There was just words to fill empty space that didn't do anything to throw me off, or even intrigue me, to the end.

Yet I finished it.

Please. Please! Let me read a book that does the Calgon thing and just, well, takes me away...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Off Week

I took the week off from running. It then ended up I took the week off from any kind of exercise. Oh well.

I really got into a funk about my blood pressure. I really felt OLD. High blood pressure happens to the OLD people. I am one of the OLD people.

I've been checking my pressure. I bought a blood pressure checking thing and probably day one of owning it, I was checking my bp every five minutes. It ran from 126 to 166. Quite a range.

But overall, my pressure is still high. I average around the 130s and 140s. I think I may have had one or two occasions in which my bp was anywhere in the 120s.

I am about 95% sure that the bp medicine makes my head spin. I had taken them at lunch, at work, two days in a row, only to find that within an hour, my head would spin and those brain shocks would hit me. On day one, I thought I was just having my occasional 'regular' brain zaps. Day two, however, I realized it must be the medicine. They both happened at the same time of day. Those will be taken at night now...

I plan to run this weekend. I hope it goes well. I need something to get me out of this pity-me-mode.

Girl's Night Out Part Two

Where's Part One, you ask? That will have to come another time. Today, I'll write about my night out with the girls.

The girls being my four year old and nine year old daughters.

Tim is out and about tonight, on boy's night out. Who knows what the hell kind of trouble those guys will be doing...ARE doing...tonight. Quite honestly, I really don't want to know.

But since they were out and I would be home with the girls, I decided to take them out on a date.

I tried to figure out a nice place to take them, nothing too upscale, but not a chili's type place either. I want these girls to know what good food is really like.

So I picked Prime Only. Yes, the same restaurant that had the flies buzzing around me...I wrote about that experience in this post.

This time, I picked the location on Strickland, since it's closer to my home. I looked at their website, perused the menu, and e-mailed them about whether there was a children's menu. I got a quick reply from the manager with a children's menu attached. I thought that was great service so I decided to make reservations.

This was maybe three or four days ago. I made them through Open Table for three. I mentioned in the reservation that I would have two young girls, my daughters, joining me.

When we got to the place, we walked in through the wrong door. Hmmm...bad design. I had to ask how to get to the front of the restaurant and was 'escorted' through the dining room. Ummm, that's really _bad_.

After getting to the "front", the hostess asked if we were looking to be seated. I told her that I had a reservation for three at 7:15 and gave her my name. The look of panic hit her face. She was looking at the computer screen, then her table layout, then the computer screen, then the layout. Then she said she had to go talk to her manager and brought the table layout with her.

We waited in the not-really-there-foyer. Mind you, we spent about 20 minutes putting make-up on. We spent 20 minutes getting our outfits picked out. We spent three days getting excited about this date. And the girls spent about two hours squealing about this date.

And here we are, standing around, waiting... After about, I don't know how many minutes, five maybe? I start getting pissed. Goddammit, I made reservations. I saw empty tables. WTF am I kept waiting?

Fortunately, my daughters are oblivious. But I probably should have just went somewhere else because I just couldn't get past the negative things of the evening.

The food was good. The waitress was fine. But I felt very slighted and I wasn't sure if it was because I had two young children with me.

In my mind, my warped, selfish, egotistical mind, I would have thought people would have been endeared to us -- three ladies out on the town. Nope. None of that.

Except, of course, on my end. My girls were gorgeous and fun. CJ got loose on her Shirley Temples. Mi-Mi just got loose. :-)

But the slights? Well, number one, I wasn't given the specials for the evening. I heard other tables get the specials. I had to ask our waitress for them. She quickly went through them and I later found out she omitted at least one of the specials.

Another slight was not getting any bread. I mentioned it to CJ and she was like "oh well". Good thinking. I knew I was making too much of it in my head.

It just wasn't a feeling of polish for me. The waitress was nice enough. I couldn't tell if maybe she was just not a great waitress, or if she was not happy with us.

But I am a good table. We order two appetizers -- I order the most expensive too. Oysters Rockefeller. Oh, and cheese fries for the kids. I thought that was cute when I ordered it, but no laughter from my waitress.

I order a glass of wine, a lemonade and a shirley temple.

Then we order meals and I get a damn piece of prime rib.

After all that, we share a piece of dessert.

How's that for a good table? And yet, I felt like I was intruding.

It didn't ruin the evening. At some point, I decided to screw being ms. polite/nice guy...because I am. Instead, I had fun with my girls. We giggled over silly pictures. Mia took pictures of everything and everyone. Then we filmed her singing and giggled over that. I got loose over 'just okay' service.

I paid the grossly overpriced bill and decided, you know, I gave it good effort but It's Prime Only? Sayonara. Me and my ladies will NOT be re-visiting this spot, nor the other, ever.

Watch out - girl's night three will be here soon!!

Heroes of the Day

The worst thing I could see and hear today happened.

I had just returned some books to the library bin on the way to work. I was sitting at a red light when I saw something up ahead in the road. It was flapping. It took a few seconds for me to realize, my god, it was a dog's tail.

My heart aches just describing the sight.

As soon as I realized it was a dog, I froze in my car. Stunned. Scared. Helpless. And heart-broken.

The dog lifted its head towards his tail, maybe his legs. And he was screaming. Screaming in pain. A sound that tore me up even more.

Through this horrific sight and sound, I noticed several cars that stopped. One in front of the dog, one to the left, and one to the right. I could see an older man get out, a bit hesitant, but he did it -- got out to see the pain this dog was suffering. Hero #1.

Hero #2 was the person who stopped to the right of the poor dog.

The man who stole my broken heart was the man who pulled his truck to the right of the dog. He swiftly stormed out of the truck, spoke to the older man, and went right to the dog and cradled it in his arms and gently placed him into the back of his truck.

Course, this only makes me feel thankful to him. It doesn't heal the ache in me when I review this event in my head.

I hope I don't ever have to hear or see anything like that again...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fit as a Fiddle

NOT!

Today I went to my primary care doctor. I've seen him for several months now, but he's new. After the mysterious illness last year -- then the car accident this year and having no real idea what my deal is with regard to the neck issues, mysterious illness, whiplash, and having different diagnosis from the wide variety of specialists I had seen...I decided it was time to find only ONE.

So far so good. I like this guy. He spent a lot of time listening to me go through my chronology of events from last year up to now. He has run so many tests on me that I know what I don't have and what I may have had in the past...no, not any STDs...thankyouverymuch.

But he listens...his nurse listens...and he grins (but not laughs) at my jokes. I think he laughs more at _me_ and my animated nature and somewhat, dinginess, of explaining my medical anomalies.

So today was supposed to be a follow-up from my last appointment in August. Just some blood work to verify some numbers, especially the cholesterol number, which was a bit high.

My cholesterol number has ALWAYS read high except once in my life. I border 200, give or take a few points. I'm used to this and I get the same spiel: cut out fats, eat more veggies, exercise.

I do, do this.

But whatever. I'm like the doctor -- I want to see it go down too.

So wasn't it a bit of a surprise when the nurse had to check my blood pressure FIVE times. The first time, she didn't even tell me the number...only that it was high and she was going to do it again.

The second time, it went down, but only a little bit. The third through fifth time was around the same number, which was still high. She asked if I had a family history of high blood pressure, to which I responded with "I'm not sure". To which she responded "What do you mean, 'you're not sure?'" Like, how the hell do you not know this info????

Then she asked if I had been dizzy lately and I first said no, but then my brain came back to normal and I changed my answer. Yes, I have been dizzy for awhile. Brain shocks, I call them. But they are dizzy spells that "shake my brain". This, I thought, was a side effect of some other prescriptions I had been taking.

When I saw the doctor, we reviewed the past few months. I then explained what the nurse mentioned. I also included the fact that my running has been a chore. I start well and then, BOOM! My legs feels like they've run 20 miles and have no strength to continue. It's been a constant complaint for several months.

He checked my blood pressure. It was high. 160/110. He checked the other side. It was high. 160/104.

Wow. I knew this number sounded high. I usually have numbers in the 120 range.

So, I've been prescribed a low dosage of blood pressure medicine. Great. I plead with him if this is absolutely necessary. Yes, it is.

I say...."I can still run, right?" And he's like "no, you need to break from that for awhile." Awhile? That's too long. So I tell him, um, I have a race in three weeks...to which he excitedly replies "Oh, the city of oaks marathon!!" and I correct him and tell him I'm only doing the half. And that was the end of that conversation...

So I say, "I *guess* I can take a break for running....for...a...week....?" And he doesn't reply, so that will be my plan...;-)

But, he states, this could explain why you are tired and why you are dizzy. Big symptoms of hypertension.

But he, as the nurse, and now me, were dumbfounded. I am, by the other numbers, 'fit as a fiddle'. I eat right. I count my calories. I have implemented new food management to include more fruit and portion out my other stuff. I cut out the fatty stuff, except for a celebration. I EXERCISE EVERY GD-DAY, for god's sake! WTF?

He states is probably hereditary, or stress-related. He asks if I'm stressed. Um, YEAH. That's what my life is...STRESS. But I'm not having a nervous breakdown...and well, I can handle it (apparently not).

He asks what new stresses entered my life recently. I respond with "school started".

So I go back again, in two weeks, to find out how the medicine worked. I also have to do more blood work -- check my iron, cholesterol, all that other stuff. We'll see.

I call my dad afterwards and ask if he has high blood pressure. He did, he states, but not anymore. But he still takes high blood pressure medicine. Ah. I tell him my story and he starts explaining how my lifestyle has been conducive to stress and that's probably what has happened. How do I fix that??? Take a pill everyday???

Yes, I am very stressed. It's my life and it's really no different than anyone else who works, volunteers, and does other things outside of work. Why has it hit me with the hypertensive stick?

We'll see. But I feel somewhat comforted, but not assured, that this may have been the cause of my crappy running experiences for the past few months. My blood pressure reading has been high in other offices but the technicians simply blow it off as a mucked up reading, because 'on paper', I don't fit the hypertension stereotype.

I will be checking my blood pressure more often. In fact, I did it right after my doc appointment. Seriously, I doubted their blood pressure taking techniques. I felt they may have exaggerated it...missed a sound somewhere and falsely checked my blood pressure seven times. At Eckerd's, I sat at the free blood pressure machine, just to see where it was at. When it finished, it read 158/104. Great.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday Run

Fortunately, my best gal pal Melisa had planned a ten mile run for herself for this past Sunday. I joined her because otherwise, I would not have gotten so many miles in.

We ran Umstead and did really well. I love all my running buddies, but my running buddies would tell you this much: running with Melisa is fun. She can keep the conversation going no matter what and her conversations are always, always interesting, to say the least.

The weather was wonderful. We had great conversations covering recent books we read, the news, and how we really do try not to run late for things. We met up with Mr. Melisa and Ed, who were running around 20 miles that day. We met them around their mile 13 and they were looking pretty fresh. Ed tried to explain that his legs were a bit tired from the 35 mile bike ride he did the day before --- which was also $Bill's 5K, in which Mr. Melisa and Ed won that race --- but Ed looked fine to me, so I had no idea what he was talking about...

Soon, the rigors of running at our slow pace was too hard for these athletes and Ed and Mr. M were soon out of sight. Good for us since we get to talk more about the things we like to talk about...and we could slow down since we picked up the pace with them.

The run went great. We ran by Coach Sarah, who is CJ's GOTR coach. I *knew* she was a long distance runner. She has the fit-figure for it.

We were stopped for directions right before half mile hill. I don't know if we confused the guy with his gal, but they seemed genuinely appreciative that we stopped to help them out.

Amazingly, Melisa and I ran up half mile hill. And when you're running it, you know why it's called half mile hill. The end seems to go further out until you finally reach it.

I felt pretty good. Sure, my legs were tired and without Melisa, I would have done more walking than we did. I feel fairly confident that my half marathon will go well, although I am throwing my time out the window.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Book Review: Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA

After the stylized novels I've read, my next read was a nonfiction story. The true story about a man who was wrongly convicted -- twice -- for the brutal rape and murder of a nine year old girl.

It was an odd transition from prose to 'straight-talk' writing. But the story is fascinating, in a not so fascinating way.

Kirk Bloodsworth was accused, tried, then convicted of this brutal crime. I'm not bringing any spoilers here, since this has been publicized so much.

After nine years in prison, two on death row, DNA resuts revealed that Kirk Bloodsworth could not have commited the crime. Unfortunately, it took another ten years for the real killer's DNA to be analyzed to reveal his identity.

The outline of events of how Kirk even entered the picture as a suspect is disturbing. The novel depicts how witness IDs are influenced by the media, and even by investigators. This case, in particular, shows how folks decide who their suspect is and wrap the evidence around that suspect.

It's a true horror story. An innocent man who is really, a nobody, in this world. The nobody has nobodies for friends. His alibi can't be corroborated...well, it can, but because it was decided that he was 'the man' -- his nobody friends corroboration was ignored.

Once arrested, he was deemed the most vile and evil criminal ever. Trial was set and even though there was no physical evidence pointing at him as the perpetrator, he was convicted and sentenced to death row. An appeals court came through at some point and Kirk Bloodsworth had a chance at a second trial...only to be convicted again. This time, however, instead of death row, it was life in prison.

The book elaborates on the injustice of a system that only wants to get their man and get it over with, no matter what the cost. In this case, an innocent man sent to prison. His family going broke, believing in him and doing what they could do get him out. And a child's killer, undiscovered for nearly twenty years after her horrendous rape and murder.

This book reveals how mucked up the system is. How the poor have no chance since decent lawyers will only speak to you for ~$100,000. Otherwise, your at the state's mercy with their public defenders. Why do our state public defenders have to be stereotyped to be the dregs of the legal system?

It's a hard read. Reading into someone's nightmare. Fortunately, for Kirk Bloodsworth, he made it out due to sheer luck at finding people who were willing to listen to him *and* believe in him...and most importantly, get him out of jail. It really makes me wonder how many other folks are in his shoes but unable to have that same luck that hit Kirk Bloodsworth.

Well, Under These Circumstances...


Thursday was a bad, bad day for traffic.

Some dumb motivational thing at the RBC Center backed up traffic for everyone heading towards it. For me, this covered all my routes. No matter what, I needed to go in the direction that also involved those who wanted to go to the motivational thing. I didn't know this thing was going on at the RBC center so I was going the way I normally go, which is via Edwards Mill Road onto Wade Avenue.

As you can see by the picture, Edwards Mill was bumper-to-bumper, going at a s-l-o-w pace. I decided my best bet was to hit Old Reedy Creek (ORC) to get to Cary, then hit the daycare in which MIMi goes to, to drop her off before hitting the ole office.

I could see the right turn onto ORC but I was way back in the traffic line. I think that's the worst place for any car in traffic -- being able to see your exit but you...just...can't...get...to...it.............yet. sigh.

Well, so I thought! How very stupid of me because right to the right of me was the BIKE LANE!!! This became the right turn lane for all those who had the same idea as me -- turn right at ORC.

But for some reason, I decided to be a bitch and thought, you know what? That is NOT a turn lane. It is a bike lane. It is for bikes and bikes only. And nothing pisses me off on any normal traffic day to see assholes use the bike lane to turn right. They do because they can't wait for a few GD seconds at the light to wait for one or two cars to cross it for them to turn right. Why not take the fricking bike lane??? It's big enough for their big-ass SUVs!

So, you can see it's a sore spot for me...which didn't change for major traffic day. I handled it well by yelling at a car, whose window was down, and told her "You're in a bike lane!" She turned a bit, hearing me yell but once the words registered, she turned back and kept going. The traffic flow was slow for the law-breaker as it was for me so everytime I got close to her, I would point out that she was, in fact, in a bike lane...not a right turn lane.

Eventually, a horde of vehicles decided to become sheep, as most people do, and decided to follow said-law-breaker...who actually, was following other idiots, so she wasn't the first sheep on the block.

I then decided to politely pull my car closer to the bike lane, in order to SAVE fellow bikers (when they eventually showed up) by slowing the irresponsible drivers down. This caused one well-dressed gentleman, in an SUV, to ask me if I was trying to turn right. I replied with "Yes, I am but you are in the bike lane. That is not a turn lane." To which he responded with the most intelligent justification for breaking the law, which was "Well, under these circumstances..." as he held his hand out, ala Vanna White, to show me what I already knew -- TRAFFIC.

I asked "What circumstances? Traffic? We're all in it. I'm waiting to turn right too. But _that_ is a bike lane; not a TURN lane." Well, the gentleman didn't like what I had to say, or maybe it was my tone, but he slowly pulled away from our conversation without even saying "thank you" for pointing out his misunderstanding of the picture painted on the road of a bike, or the bright yellow-green sign with bike rider on it. Must be a foreigner from some place that has never seen a bike...like maybe Antartica? That would explain why he was so pasty white...

Frustrated with these morons, I make a point to turn my right-turn signal on to show everyone going right that, hey! Ms. Law-abiding-road-rage-recoverer-know-it-all moi was going right too...and look at me, I am waiting my turn.

It didn't work. At least ten or so cars drove right past me, without even looking at me, and kept going...no matter how close they got to my car. I prayed for someone to hit me...please, hit me!!!

I saw flashing headlights in my rearview mirror. I see the dumb bitch in her acura waving me. She's being nice! She's letting me know that she will let me get in front of her -- in the bike lane -- to go right. This does not sway sympathy from me. I do nothing. She pulls up next to me and asks if I'm going right. I say yes. I say to her, you're in a bike lane. She looks at me with a deer-in-the-headlight look for a split second, then says as she points ahead "You can turn right right up there!" I say again, NO, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT IN A TURN LANE. She slows off (what's the opposite of 'speeds off') to follow the other sheep to turn right.

So I feel exasperated, frustrated, and truly, idiotic. I sit in traffic, not but a hop, skip and a jump away from my right turn...making a statement. About what?!? About the stupid bike lane??? Yes, gahddammit. The bike lane! Dammit. Our city is bad enough at not allowing a more pedestrian and bike-friendly (BTW, this morning, the lights were on flashing yellow at Glenwood, so when would the pedestrians I saw on the Crabtree and Marriott side ever cross???) place...and no wonder, we have ignorant assholes who probably haven't seen a bike since they were eight years old, driving through the bike lane as if it was their prerogative "under these circumstances".

Hmm...I did not get the memo that during "these circumstances", we are allowed to take the bike lanes (and shoulders) to go where we need to go. I must not be one of the VIPs that these flukwads think they are...to get the same memo.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Election Day

I made sure to get my vote in today. I brought Tim and the kids along. CJ and Mi-Mi did their duty with kid voting. They took a lot longer to consider their picks than Tim and I did.

We voted "Yes" for all the bond referendums. Our two votes for the at-large city council seat were for Russ Stephenson and Helen Tart. My first vote, of course, was for Helen Tart. My grassroots gal!

And that was it for us. Nothing else to worry about.

I was number 176 at my polling place, which I felt was not so bad for a non-primary election. It's kind of sad that no one would take their time to go out and vote on these issues, but hey, we're all pretty busy.

I made sure to send an e-mail out to my Raleigh friends with an encouragement to go out and vote and also, an e-mail including the folks I was supporting.

I truly believe in exercising your right to vote. I truly don't hold anyone liable for who they vote for. I may not like it and I may think they're off-their-rocker if they vote for anyone that isn't liberal, but I have an iota more respect for them than anyone else that agrees 100% with me. Exercising the right to vote is something no one, IMO, should pass up.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I'm BACK!

Well, I hope I can do better with my time managment skills and get my posts in here more frequently. I have a lot stored up in this little head of mine. Just making the time to do it is the hard part.

Hope you faithful readers don't abandon me. I have a whole lot of neuroticism to share!!!

I Am A Runner

I am. I really am. That's what I keep telling myself.

My legs want to disagree.

I ran eight miles yesterday morning. My original plan, that has since been abandoned, had me down for 15. HAHAHAHAHA! FIFTEEN?!? AS IF!

I decided, with the time I have left before the Raleigh Half Marathon, that eight this week was sufficient.

I have to back up to Thursday.

I ran with my friend Vivian. Vivian is a faster runner than me, but she's a graceful runner who will run at my pace -- if no one else around is faster.

We did well. I say "we" but really, *I* did well. Thursday's run was going to be th 5 1/2 mile loop we do from time-to-time.

I don't know how many miles we were into it, but those who know the loop, it was about 1/2 mile into Umstead that I asked if we could take a walk break.

I didn't really need to take the walk break, but I was confused. I thought this route would be hilly or slanty. I totally forgot that it isn't when we go counter-clockwise, which is what we always do. But my brain was on a huge fart and it totally slipped my mind so I was trying to gear myself up for the hills ahead, when there aren't any.

Well, there is half mile hill, but that was a ways down. I am 75% sure that I could have waited until half mile hill to start my walk break. Because I knew that I WOULD take a walk break at half mile hill. Which I did.

On the run back to work, I was so ready to just get there. I was hoping that the light at Harrison and I40 would be full of cars to give me more of a break. I was dog-tired.

Fortunately, there was a tourist who needed directions to 55 East (is there such a thing? I thought it was N/S?) right outside of the entrance to Umstead. I thought, as I walked to the driver side door, that he could be a serial killer and hesitated for a millisecond. I saw a woman beside him and then thought, I'm safe. No man *and* woman would try to kill us! And then eventually, when the brain fart actually dissipated from my brain, I noticed that there were two youngsters in the back.

I enjoyed the break. And then there was another short breat at Harrison and I40. But that wasn't enough for me. Once we got into the workplace, I told Vivian to go on without me. I was walking. This time I needed to. My thighs were just screaming STOP.

But I pushed through and started running back to the RFC. More about getting there quicker vs. an ego thing. I even ran up the damn hill to the RFC. Why do we have to have so many GD hills?

So now my Saturday run. I want to do eight. I wil go out four miles just so I am FORCED to come back four miles.

Tim takes the beloved minivan, and girls, out for donuts and stuff so I decide I'll just run from my house to Shelley Lake. It means I have to traverse some major intersections, but I am determined.

My run starts off extremely well. I decide to download and listen to Kanye West's "Stronger" thinking it would fire me up. It's a great fad song, but the lyrics are entirely about him...literally, HIM. Not about how we can all be stronger, just how he's getting stronger...

But it helps me through and I make it into Shelley just fine. I go well into Shelley to get my 40 minutes (estimating a 10 mn/mile) and turn around to head back. Well that's where the legs decided to tell me they were about to be done.

I make it out of Shelley and by the time I get to Lead Mine Road, I trip crossing the road. That was my sign that my legs were starting to go on strike. I walk a bit, run a little. I consider calling Tim to come pick me up and take me home. I wouldn't have cared so much if it weren't for the fact that I needed to get home SOON in order to get showered and go back out to Durham for my tattoo appointment. I'm still working on my time management skills...

But my ego won't let me. I'm close to home, for god's sake!

I am now on my side of Creedmoor, walking in the grass alongside Millbrook. I see Cerina's piano teacher pass me and think, hmmm...it sure would have been nice to hitch a ride home. I get into my 'hood, walk the hills and run back home. I actually make it back a few seconds over 1 hour 20 mn, which was what I intended. Either, a) I ran slower than 10 mn mile or b) ran faster. I'm going to go with b because it makes me feel better.

Can I blow off yet another disastrous run and still consider myself a runner? I'm not down and out yet, but I sure the hell ain't happy about these shitty runs.

My New Tattoo: Session 2

Yesterday was my second session on my tattoo.

I was a few minutes late, due in part to me _running_ late and then hitting Durham, where several stop lights were out. When I finally walked into the shop, Rachael said they were just about to call to figure out where the heck I was.

This session I didn't need to strip. Darn. I was mentally prepared for it. I worked out all week just to feel ready for it. Oh well.

This time, Kathryn went over the 'sketch' she did two weeks ago, filling it in and really lining it all up. The new addition, really, were some scales on the back of the neck.

Oh wait. I don't think I even mentioned the tattoo. It's a dragon of Asian-descent.

I have a dragon on my right back shoulder. That one was my first tattoo -- my gift after graduating college. It's smaller, but very nice. It has two Chinese letters underneath it.

You wonder, what do these Chinese letters signify? Love? Luck? Serenity? "I love Tim?"

No, they mean "to vomit". Those were the words I had chosen 14 years ago. Although NOW I am not as pleased that I chose those words, I still feel pretty good about them after telling people what they mean. The reaction is well, all worth it to me.

But over the years, the color has worn. It needs updating and well, it's now just too small compared to my Tiger and to what I really like. I love dragons and I wanted to replace it with another one. This will become my new tattoo - a dragon that will be bigger than me! Oh the drama. It'll be big...that's for sure.

So the fins on the back of the dragon's neck were the new additions. The rest was filling in what was drawn on me two weeks ago. It looks awesome. It hurts like hell.

Well, the actual needlework was fine. I thought to myself, this is what I was looking for at the first session. It's hard to describe but it's actually a pleasurable feeling (no, not in _that_ way). It's soothing, like a massage, just with more pain, and well, needles!

So this time, there were more nice moments than painful moments. There were still painful moments, but I did have to count so much this time.

Truly, if I didn't leave my eyes open, I probably could have fallen asleep. I was already tired from the eight mile run I had done that morning (more on that in another post).

But it is more painful after the fact than the first time. Mostly because she inked over places that were already inked.

Anyway, it's awesome. I am showing it off to everyone. So I guess I shouldn't have freaked out so much about standing half nude in her little room since I'm apparently hell-bent on showing my shit off to anyone that passes by.

Movie Review: Two Days in Paris

Website: Two Days in Paris

Since I review the books I read, I thought it would be better to actually review the movies I watch, instead of just listing them on the side. So here is my first movie review. And remember, I'll suck at this as much as I suck at doing a book review. I just don't want to give too much away...and reviews typically seem to want to do that.

This was a movie that Tim actually said he wanted to see when it was release in Raleigh. This made me very happy, since it wasn't a Hollywood flick. I am not against mainstream movies, but any chance to see a foreigh on indie flick is far more desirable by me. I'd rather take my kids to these movies so they can see what good storytelling is about...but I digress.

At the last minute, I was able to have a babysitter for the 'bebes' this past Saturday. I decided to pick a later time than usual, because I knew my day was going to be pretty busy and I needed time to recover.

I'm glad I did that, because it ended up that I was really, really tired and would have preferred to stay home.

We had dinner at Hayes Barton first. We ended up with our usual, which downplays the item, but the buckhead filet special. OH - MY - GOD. What do they put into that steak? What is in the potatoes? What is on the damn green beans? It's crack, I tell you. It can't be legal because it is TOO GOOD. And we all know that anything legal can't be _that_ good. Pure decadence. If you haven't been there yet -- SHAME ON YOU. Life is too short! You have to go!! Forget parachuting over the Swiss Alps, climbing Mt. Everest, GO TO HAYES BARTON AND EAT BEFORE YOU DIE.

Oh, wait, I'm doing a movie review...

Two Days was showing at The Colony, which is pretty cool because it's close to my house. There were only a handful of people watching which made me sad...but the movie has been out for a few weeks and these types of movies, well, they don't even come close to being a box-office hit.

The movie is written and directed by Julie Delpy. She is also one of the stars. The other is Adam Goldberg. Both, IMO, are not well-know, die-hard-to-see, actors, but established enough to be recognized. I'm not a follower of either of these actors, or perhaps more, Julie Delpy's work, but this was a very solid, wonderfully easy movie to watch.

Marion (Delpy) and Jack (Goldberg) are in a two year relationship. They travel to Europe and spend two weeks in Venice. The last two days are spent in Marion's home turf, Paris. Jack meets Marion's parents and sister, as well as her favorite cat (who is a natural scene-stealer). Most importantly, Jack meets many of Marion's ex-lovers and has a hell of a time dealing with it.

The clashing of American and French culture, at least in the worlds of Marion and Jack. This is what makes this movie so funny, along with the odd personalities of these two people.

If you get a chance, you should catch it and have a glass of wine or two while you watch. You can do this at The Colony. The movie is nice and may not be one that tops your favorite list, but is so refreshing and enjoyable to watch as opposed to what's showing at your commercial theatre...

Book Review: The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff

My first ghost story novel of the year.

I loved horror stories as a young child through my adult years. But as I've gotten older -- and remember, I just celebrated a birthday -- I haven't been as gung-ho about reading these horror stories. However, seeing this one, regarded as a 'ghost story', kind of softened the idealogy of a horror story, so I decided this would be ideal for my first one in a long time.

I have to say that this was a very good ghost story to read. This is the first book for the screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff. She writes so well. So descriptive is her writing that I envisioned every character, every room, every setting. I loved it. I don't recall being so engrossed with the 'environment' of a book from my previous reads as this one.

The story focuses on college student, Robin, an outsider, who stays behind during Thanksgiving break. Soon, other students emerge, who have also chosen to stay behind during the break, and then enter a Ouija board, and well, then the thrills begin.

Although I didn't get too wrapped up in being afraid -- there are moments that are pretty spooky -- the ultimate delight was just her writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the 'beat' of her book and look forward to the next one.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Missing In Action

I am still around -- just haven't made the time to post anything. Just like anyone else around, it's just been a hectic schedule:

drop kids off
work
pick kids up
cook
eat
laundry
read
surf
watch something
sleep

Throw in other things like appointments, school events, gymnastics, running, coaching, etc. and it just goes crazy. Most days I feel like I'm teetering on the edge (I fell off Monday night, but that's another story).