Note:

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Development of a Cold

The Beginning: That burning sensation - that you can literally point at on the throat, that starts on one side (left or right).

Progression: As the day progresses, it slowly morphs to the middle, then to the other side so that the entire throat is now burning. And we call that a "sore throat". So much more painful than a sore... The time I really know that I am sick? When I have no appetite...that does NOT happen.

More Progression: Soon, the headache begins. A dull, again, point-to-the-spot-on-your-head spot that reminds you that the "cold" is taking over.

End of Day One: a little panic: trying to find blame, who is responsible for this? Why me? Why now? Mind over matter will work! Echinacea? Tylenol? Water, water everywhere!! Hot liquids!! Try to fight this thing off...

Day Two Begins: wake up, forgetting that anything is wrong with me, rush to the door to let animals out of girls' bedroom and then it hits me: uggggghhhh...I don't feel so good. Oh yeah. I was getting sick! My throat feels yucky and I am woozy. Great. This doesn't feel like it is improving.

Attempt to go back to sleep but the mind won't stop thinking. CANCEL ALL MY APPOINTMENTS! I am done for the day (and it's only 5:15 AM).

Currently close to 11 AM and still feel pitiful. Tim sent me a link to an article on "Should You Run When Your Sick", which certainly will NOT happen today. I'll be lucky to get out and go to the bathroom. So far, everything ailing is above the next except for lack of appetite (isn't that in the brain?) and the slight burning sensation in the middle of my chest.

Let's see how the rest of Day Two progresses. I still have two days before race day. Perhaps I can rush the symptoms and get them over with before then (yeah, right) or at the very least, temper the symptoms enough to wait until after the race...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Great Timing

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. I felt the scratchiness between snooze and being awake and fully realizing what that really meant.

I have been so, so, so fortunate to be "safe" from the ailments that have occurred around me. For months, people in around me have gotten something and yet, I seem to get around it.

And yet now, I feel that scratchiness, which has gradually worsened throughout the day. And that yucky "i-don't-want-to-eat-a-thing" feeling comes and goes and as I type this out, the sniffles make an appearance.

This, of course, is the best time to get sick because I am merely three days away from my big race. And I always worry about this time of the year, with this race.

But I'm going to do something: rest, drink fluids that, sadly, will not include wine, and I even made a stop at Whole Foods for some echinacea, as recommended by one of my facebook pals.

Here's hoping for a fast recovery for a great race on Sunday...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Micro-Blogging

Also known as twittering or status updating on Facebook. I heard a bit about this on The Early Show on CBS this morning. I find it interesting as my enthusiasm for following -- and being followed -- on twitter grows. I'll be soon looking forward to upgrading my phone to one that keeps me connected to my tweets...


Watch CBS Videos Online

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Readless In Raleigh

I am a strange bird. I love books. And I have a butt-load of books that are waiting to be read. In fact, just about four weeks ago, I packed a big plastic bag FULL of books for $5. So I have plenty to choose from for my next read...

But instead, I wait patiently for a book to arrive, in my name, at the Wake County Library. I want to read _that_ book...not any of the zillion books I have readily available. So for the past two days...now three...I have been dependent on my crossword puzzle book as my substitute to the pages of words that take me to another world...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Going Up?

My office building has seven floors: B for basement, then floors 1 through 6. My office is on the sixth floor and despite the fact that I work out nearly every day, I rarely take the stairs. I could blame it on my fear of heights but it's really because I'm just plain lazy.

I found something particular odd and funny today. It is only worth mentioning because it involved the same person.

When I get to work, I'm on the first floor. I select the UP button and wait for the elevator. I notice that the elevator is on the basement level. One floor below 1 and seven floors below the sixth floor.

When the elevator goes up ONE floor -- again, from the basement to the first floor -- I walk into the elevator cab. There is a woman already there who attempts to walk out, as though she has reached her floor. I turn to push the number "6" for my floor when I notice that it is already selected. The sole passenger who attempted to walk out after just one floor is, in fact, going to the sixth floor.

This happened for the first time last week. Same person. Same absent-minded maneuver to leave the elevator after reaching the first floor from the basement. I found it funny last week because I thought "how did you think or even feel that you just went up seven floors? that was a short ride!" But when it happened AGAIN today?! I found it plain odd, in a weird sort of way...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Book Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

This book is my October month's book club choice and is also part of my RIP challenge. And yet, another long read: 619 pages. This seems to be the norm for me lately.

I was unsure of this one. I have been greatly interested in reading Meyer's Twilight series. I sort of thought this was in the same genre but my friend Kerry mentioned it was not. It was more sci-fi...which is nowhere near the kind of stuff I like to read. Sure, I'm trying other things that are atypical of my preferences, but this one would be even way outside the outside rings of what I would want to read.

If you don't want to know anything about this book because you want to read it, do not read any further. Read the book and then come back and read my review and compare notes. I would LOVE that. :-)

So The Host is about aliens taking over the world. And it starts with Melanie Stryker and The Wanderer, who is the alien that gets implanted into Melanie's body.

Melanie, we learn, is a very strong human who has survived the 'invasion' of the alien beings into Earth. She fought hard to escape The Seekers, who are a brood of aliens who hunt for humans as hosts to their alien beings. When she discovered she would not be able to escape, she attempted to commit suicide by jumping into an empty elevator shaft.

But the alien species are way beyond the human technology for healing and they heal Melanie Stryker's body. They heal it well enough to put The Wanderer into her body. The Wanderer had chosen an older 'host' (Melanie is 21) vs. someone who is younger. It is difficult, according to the aliens, to take over the mind of an older host.

And we soon find that The Wanderer does have a difficult time. Melanie's memories are very vivid to The Wanderer. We learn a lot about how Melanie survived the invasion; how she has a younger brother Jamie; and more importantly, how there is the love of her life, Jared.

The Wanderer believes humans to be horrific creatures. We learn about how she has read articles about pedophiles, rape, murder, etc. This is what the aliens believe humans to be capable of and that what they are doing, using human bodies as their hosts to live out in this world, is a good thing.

These aliens have lived in other worlds. In The Wanderer's case, she has lived in about seven other worlds: the Bat word, the See Weed world (correct spelling), etc. She is an experienced alien and now, being in Melanie's body, she is having problems 'shoving' Melanie's persona back and taking over her, entirely.

From this brief introduction of the world of The Host, the story leads to Melanie's life and how The Wanderer is able to penetrate this life: a small sect of human survivors from the alien invasion. She becomes "Wanda" after she slowly becomes accepted into this encampment of survivors. Jamie and Jared are there, as well as her Uncle Jeb. They know what she is and eventually, they come to understand and believe that Melanie is still alive within this alien-embedded human body.

We read about Wanda's life, adapting to humans. She finds them kind -- not like what she expected or believed after all the cruelness she had learned to believe humans were. Eventually, she shares THE secret...the one secret that the humans needed to know to take back their world.

This book was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I find Meyer's writing style brilliant, vivid, and simple. Simple in that: I knew exactly who the characters were without having to remember who was who, or who did what, and when. I could keep pace with the story line and did not find any point boring or overdone. When I finished, I thought: did I really read 619 pages? What could have been the fodder for all these pages when I didn't feel overwhelmed?

What I found to be really fascinating was, while Wanda was trying to decide if her human counterparts could be trusted, she thought of how the world was with aliens. No violence. No hate. Nothing but peace. People-with-aliens-in-them got up and went to work each day, trusted each other because they have no way of comprehending how to be violent (except The Seekers).

There was no money needed. People-with-aliens-in-them would simply go into a store, get only the things that they needed, and walked right out. 100% trust.

And yet, I wasn't sure if that sounded perfect or not. A world of "Stepford Wives" type living? Peaceful, non-violent? Versus personalities..."souls" for humans who are different in every sense of the world but not peaceful.

I never quite figured out what the right way should be...but Wanda had taught the humans enough to make sure that they could get their world back.

Ode To Mark

I failed to mention in my last post that "Mark" had paced Tim during his record-breaking PR run at the Second Empire 5K.

Mark is the same guy who paced me for my 5K PR last year.

I knew Melisa (Mark's wife) would be there so after we got the numbers and stuff, I looked for her. Once I found her, I found out that Mark was going to pace Tim. Tim was going for a sub-24 minute 5K pace...which his PR was set last year at the same race I PR'd: 25:47.

And Tim did it. He ended up somewhere in the early 23s. And he says he couldn't have done it without Mark pushing him along.

And Mark is faster that THAT. To think he paced my 25:30 a year and a half ago, and to do something like that today for Tim, well, I don't have the words. It's one of those "what a great thing to do for someone else" emotion that means so much more than those words.

So Mark, thank you. You are one hell of a friend. You'll be one hell of a dad to that beautiful baby your wife, one of my BFFs, is carrying for you.

The Week of Runs In Review

I still had a lot of running to do this week, despite having my Neuse River Bridge race the previous Saturday.

First run was Monday -- an easy three miler. Well, easy it did not feel. I felt like my legs were lead into the first mile and it really didn't improve afterwards. I kept the momentum going for 3.39 miles (we runners like our precision) but had to keep thinking 'this is what it feels like at the end of my race...get used to it'.

Second run came along the very next day: Tuesday Track Workout. I knew I had four 800s to do at 3:50 each. I didn't try to calculate what that pace was. For some reason, I felt like I had done these before. I checked my running logs and didn't see it (after my run) so that may explain why it felt so hard.

Well, it felt hard because my legs were still pretty tired from the race and now, Monday's run. But unbelievably, I was able to keep my times close. The only one that went over (3:57) was the first run, which didn't feel easy but certainly didn't feel as tough as the next three.

BTW, those times: 3:57, 3:49, 3:48 and 3:39, are in the sevens. For the non-runners in ya: seven minute miles. I was sooooo impressed with myself when I figured the math out...

Wednesday - I did not run but I did Back to the Core, which is a class devoted to core workouts. Not just sit-ups or crunches, but moves to strengthen the back and the abs, for core strength and great balance. It was not an easy workout this week.

Thursday was an easy four mile run. This was great, as I was able to run with $Bill, Vivian and Frank, so we had a nice group of us to chat during the run. This always makes the run feel easy. This was my best run of the week physically.

Friday was my swim day but I was sooooo tired that I gave myself a day off.

Saturday was a six miler. This one I would do solo. The forecast for the morning was supposed to be dreary but it really turned out okay for me. I didn't run until 11AM and just went to the lake by my house. I decided to shoot for a 10K run and see how it felt compared to last week's race.

I can tell you how it felt: very similar to my race at six minutes slower than my race pace. I felt tired and pushed myself to keep a quick pace, despite having it listed as an 'easy' day. The last mile was tough and I decided to make myself think that I was at the end of my 13 mile race and try to mentally keep going to finish. Actually, the last 0.2 was hardest...the ticks on my GPS were soooo slow. I did run it in 59:52, which isn't too bad for a training run. I stopped half way around the lake, which is a bit of a walk back to my house. So my cool down was nearly 1 1/2 miles...

Sunday was race day for Tim and the girls. They were running the Second Empire 5K in downtown Raleigh. This was a race I PR'd in, in 2004. It is a fast race but one has to run fast to make it a fast race. Tim did that: he beat his PR for a 5K by over 2:30, which is incredible in that short of a race. I didn't think he could do it but I wanted him to do it...and boy, I was ecstatic that he did. He had challenged me to beat me in a 5K this year, which I quickly dropped from this challenge after his time. I can get faster, but not _THAT_ fast...this year. :-)

Tim and Mi-Mi did the 100 yard dash. That is always so cute to watch because it's all these itty-bitty creatures running with smiles and grins on their faces as they cross the finish. No where near what us big people look like when we finish!

And then...it was CJ's turn at the one mile fun run. She did this with Tim in July and did it in ~9 minutes. I was sooooooo happy then and I was going to pace her for this one. I had no expectation until this morning, when she actually had a goal: to beat her friend's time. I asked what that time was and she said "seven minutes". Um...I told her...I might be running behind you for that one.

And behind her I did run. We took off and then she took off. I told her that I was right behind her and to keep going. She did. She looked great. Very athletic and comfortable. My girl has some long, lithe and limber legs. Perfect for running. She slowed down just a hair around Saint Mary's Street (if you are a Raleigh-ite, you'd know this one), which was just about a block and a half from the turn-around. I caught up with her and told her to inch closer to the turn around and not take it wide. After the turn-around, she took off again.

The whole time I am running, I am thinking "why am I doing this on my day off?" And "why does this hurt so much?" I was trying to figure out why my legs were feeling the way they did...my patterned breathing...and how I would love to just walk right about now. But as soon as we were within feet of the finish, I knew why. The clock said "7:21". Holy crap! She has me running fast too!

She crossed at 7:53, but I think even earlier than that because I veered off the finish (I didn't register, so I didn't cross) at 7:57 and there's no way I was only four seconds behind her.

Incredible. I was sooooooooooo happy for her again. Tim was happier for her than his phenomenal time and it made me so proud. I told her that I could NOT keep up with her...no way. So she was really in that speed zone and I am really hoping I have a track star waiting to come out of her shell.

Now it's a taper week for me. No run tomorrow and a few shorter ones in the week. My big race, the crux of my running year, is Sunday. My half marathon. And yes, I'm anxious. I have no idea how I'll do. And I am getting a lot of advice. I'm trying to play it cool and just adopt my goal, believe in it, know it will be hard, and do it. Just do it! Oh wait...that's what Nike says...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Andy Griffith Is Our Man!

Living in NC, well, Andy Griffith is an icon.

I love Andy Griffith and yet, I did not grow up here. But I fit right in with the sentiment that he is *the* Andy Griffith from the show. And I try to support him, although I did not watch Matlock. But, I did see him in "Waitress"...

I heard on the morning news that he has not only endorsed Obama, but made a little commercial about it as well. Upon searching YouTube for it, I found that it is really Opie, I mean, Ron Howard, who has created his own commercial for endorsing Obama. It's cute and I think it's great to see an old curmudgeon like Andy Griffith give his nod to the young whippersnapper Obama.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Early Voting

The early voting location near my house opened up today for, well, early voting. I decided to do my civic duty and cast my vote.

A few weeks ago, I was torn about voting early and taking in the Election Day ambience. But the morbidity of my personality came up with this thought: what if I die before election day? And thus, I was convinced to go early and make it count while I could. No procrastination.

I took Mi-Mi and CJ along, after their piano lessons. On the way to the building, CJ bellowed at the cars with McCain stickers. I was quite proud.

There were several political folks handing out fliers outside of the building. One young man had a stapled document that he asked me to read while I wait. I never did although I gleaned through it when I got home. I was impressed. A personal manifesto about our health care system and why he thought Obama's was better. I admired the young man for expressing his views enough to write, print, and hand out to voters.

And just so I show some non-partisanship, I took the GOP handouts too. I respect the volunteers who stand out there for their cause, whether I believe them or not.

The line was outside but moved very quickly to the indoors. Once indoors, I had to deal with Mi-Mi's fear of grates and heights. This would be the grated wall that separates the second floor from the stairs to the first floor. She is deathly afraid of it. But she wouldn't come to me after I passed the grated wall, which would entail her walking alongside the _other_ side and just coming to me. So, as I played "chicken": I'm going to keep going my own way and ignore her whining...her whines became louder and louder and more desperate...so I caved as usual and grabbed her hand and hauled her little but over to where I left the line.

Finally, we all three make it in and I get my ballot. Now I am standing in line for a voting booth. I hear the volunteer say that we can use the table, if we are comfortable with voting without privacy. No one in the line budged.

Why? Are they afraid I'm going to peek and steal their answers? So I made my statement by plowing through and sitting my butt down right in the middle of two other folks and colored in my little ovals (no electronic voting in our city...the capital city of North Carolina).

I showed CJ Obama's name. And quickly picked my straight party ticket and then headed over to side two to select my non-partisan officials. I had my cheat sheet with the names of the people I read about and liked. As I wrapped up my ballot, Mi-Mi says "where is obama's name?" so I flipped the ballot over to show it to her. She smiled and I felt great. My girls, yes, influenced by Tim and I, know Obama's name...can read it...and root for him.

As we left the building, I told my girls how I couldn't wait to register to vote when I turned 18. I told them that I had voted for George Bush. CJ looked at me like "WTF was your problem?" I explained that this was not Dubya, but Dubya's dad. And that at 18, I knew nothing and how I was so glad that I actually learned right from wrong since then.

Kids Say The Darndest Things VI

This morning, I told CJ that Obama's grandmother was ailing and not doing very well and that Obama was on his way to visit her. She took the information in...looked very sad...and said "ohhhh..." Then within seconds, she said "But the good thing is that maybe people will feel bad for him and will vote for him..."

This evening, the hellion (Mi-Mi) was again, rambunctious and crazy. She was being scolded for not going to the bathroom to brush her teeth. I told Tim: her head is harder than yours (and it is...she can beat us at the game of chicken). Anyway, she refused to go without someone going with her...which was the battle: no one is going with you. So Tim said to her "Do you want me to count to three?!?" and she replied "No, I want you to count to 100." And Tim glared at her and she countered with "How about 99?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Branding At Its Best

What I have found to be an interesting tidbit about the Obama campaign is it's branding. Specifically...the logo:


Very early on in the campaign, I noticed the logo as a bumper sticker. No words. Nothing. Just the logo. And I knew exactly what it stood for.

Do you readers know how freaking amazing that is? To create a logo, to brand your company, and in this case, your NAME, your philosophy, your candidacy for President of the freakin' U S of A that is recognizable...in just a matter of months? This is extremely unusual in the business world, let alone for one man.

And I don't recall, offhand with very little research, seeing this kind of branding take place in any of the last several elections. To me, this speaks millions for the people who work with Obama's campaign.

Innovative. Young. Technology-driven. Artistic. Serious. Refreshing. Intelligent.

All from that simple picture that represents the USA: red, white and blue and well, the "O" for Obama. Genuis!!

BTW, here is McCain's logo for comparison. Simple, but certainly not creative nor original:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

66.7 Miles And Nowhere To Go

Today was supposed to be a casually fun day.

My plan: head out to Chapel Hill in the AM to watch strong women compete in a triathlon, Ramblin' Rose. My BFF Sam, Jen and Beckie were competing and I wanted to see them finish.

Sam especially since I have witnessed an amazing transformation in her over the past few months...and really, we are new friends. A special bond that seemed instantaneous once we gave each other a chance. This was a big moment for her and I wanted to be there at the end to see and feel the experience with her.

Jen because we are also new friends. And she has been balancing a busier schedule than I boggle: school (with neurology-like classes), two young sons, one big kid (her hubby Frank, who is training for his second marathon), and training for this triathlon. She has been joining Sam and I for our Saturday runs so we are also bonding - especially in politics, which makes it more powerful and enjoyable :-).

I completely forgot that Beckie was doing the triathlon until she mentioned it on Facebook. And truly, she has been the inspiration for me explaining to Jen and Sam how amazing this triathlon can be for someone. Beckie was so transformed by her first race (last year) that she had a tri-tattoo etched on her. I have recounted my take of her race to Sam and Jen, because she inspires me and I wanted to transform that inspiration to them.

But, as any mom knows...kids antics get in the way. There was a bit of a problem in the early morning hours that involved someone not sharing the toilet and the other having to end up peeing in the shower. There was a lot of crying then yelling from me at how insane it was for forcing someone to pee in the shower, and then why wouldn't the pee-ee go to the other bathroom in the house instead of peeing in the shower? Exasperation...

But the calmness came back, especially when CJ gave me a -- either "get-over-this" or "apologetic" -- hug and I was all better.

But because I also am a slow-moving-morning person, we ended up missing my BFFs finish their race. I tried to catch them in their glow of the after race, but apparently, I was that late.

So the plan was to meet them for brunch at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro. About .80 miles away from the place -- according to my GPS -- CJ started throwing up in the car. Our of nowhere! I felt soooo bad for her and on top of that, she start crying and apologizing to me "I'm so sorry mommy!"

Everything becomes faded and my priority is my baby. I tell her not to worry and I pull over right away, grab some paper towels and try to tell her not to worry about anything. Her nose is bleeding -- which on the inside, freaks me out because I'm thinking 'she's throwing up and her nose is bleeding! this can't be good! what's the number to 911???' But on the outside, I'm as cool as a cucumber and telling her that everything's okay...not to worry about the brunch...I was taking her home...and it was no big deal.

She was still apologizing. She said she wanted to go so bad. She said her nose was bleeding in the AM (which I remembered Mi-Mi alerting this to me and well, mother of the year blew it off because of the whole toilet fiasco...CJ is a nose-bleeder anyway, so I didn't give it much thought). She said her tummy felt bad in the morning but she didn't think it was a big deal and she wanted to come with me, so she didn't tell me about it!!

I can't even begin to tell you the strain on my heart and soul to hear my baby tell me this...and to see her continue throwing up. It's probably one of the worst things for a parent to see because, well, we all know what throwing up _feels_ like and it's the last thing I want my girls to go through.

But she is such a trooper and calmed down. I assured her everything was fine and I called Samantha to let her know what happened. CJ seemed to feel assured that everyone on the other end was okay.

Of course, even though I am calm on the outside...I'm still freaked. I end up setting the alarm off my car after starting it in the odd sequence that you are NOT supposed to do. I somehow managed to shut the alarm off, not knowing how I did it since I just kept pushing buttons.

I head back and I ask CJ if she needs anything...was she hungry?...did we need to stop at the hospital? She said she was hungry so my next search was for dinero.

Couldn't find a freaking ATM or bank anywhere. I guess the people of Chapel Hill never need to get cash. I eventually turn off towards Southpoint Mall, knowing there had to be ATMs/Banks in the vicinity (yes, my GPS can pick these points up but I wanted something in my direction, not out of my way). Um, I didn't find a single bank until the end of the block, pass the mall.

So I pull in and enter all the info to grab $40. My transaction does not go through. I had a feeling this would happen because I had just activated this particular ATM card.

Well, maybe "quick cash" won't work so I go through the 'pick your amount' flow and request $20. Nope, same message. Great.

This day is going so well. I'm 20 miles away from home and I can't even provide food for my sick child! Sounds like I'm in the wilderness vs. a mini-van full of bumper stickers, GPS unit, at a drive-up ATM surrounded by one of the slickest, most advanced shopping area in the triangle.

So now I have to explain to my baby that mommy can't get money and I have to feed you when we get home. My little trooper accepts the news without frustration or agitation and once we get home, I pamper her with love, attention, rice, scrambled eggs (comfort food) and lots of cuddles in front of the TV.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Neuse River Bridge 10K Race Report

This race is the first of my two big races for the year (the other is The City of Oaks Half Marathon, in two weeks).

The race started at 8:30 AM. We were staying at the Comfort Inn, which was next to the race finish. It was a point-to-point race, where racers boarded a shuttle to the start. The last bus was leaving the race finish area (where the buses were lined up) at 7:30 AM. One would think this would be a no-brainer for us but we had to drop our girls off at Play Date, which was two miles away.

Again, seems easy enough but apparently, New Bern is undergoing a lot of renovations, including the roadways. Nothing was easy about traversing through downtown New Bern and my GPS was not handling it very well. Lucky for us, though, we got the girls squared away, as well as making it onto the bus.

Yesterday afternoon and evening, the cold front hit our area. Thus, this morning? Cold...with rain...and wind. When we walked out of the hotel with the girls (on the way to Play Date), Mi-Mi was like "oh my god it's soooooo cold!" and CJ was like "good luck with that run, mommy!" I retorted with "it's not _that_ cold" even though it was...

Normally, I OVERdress for slightly cooler than I care weather. Not this time... I had a pair of calf-length tights, a sports tank and a long sleeve tech shirt. This was not enough for 52 degree cool, windy, weather. I just knew that once I started running, it would be better...because now that I'm an 'athlete', I seem to heat up and sweat like men (yet another, embarrassing post)...but in the meantime, I would be miserably cold.

The bus finally leaves around 8:40 for Bridgeton, which is just over the Neuse River Bridge. Tim and I evaluated the number of hills we might have to contend with, which looked okay but at least one would be daunting.

We arrive at a Food Lion, where we see a bunch of runners huddled under the strip mall's eavement. I feel better because I see scantily clad runners (mostly those geeky running me with their really short shorts). Tim and I hang out with them for a bit, trying to bounce around and keep warm...the wind has picked up a bit and so has the rain.

We decided to see if we could find rain gear at Food Lion and lo-and-behold, we find rain ponchos. Others were buying trash cans to make ponchos, but we settled for vinyl ones, which amazingly, helped with the effects of the wind.

Tim and I warm up for about 12 minutes and then we were ready to line up. And at this particular race, we started off with the National Anthem. Very cool and quite rare.

Then we're off and I am feeling pretty darn good. My goal was to be in the nines. But when I talked to my coach? She said 'start out conservatively, like 8:45-9:00 and then at mile four, go for it if you feel good'. What? That's too fast!!! I called her to reconfirm and she felt like I was very capable. I was surprised but I actually believed her and felt somewhat confident that I could get close to that.

And I did... The first mile: 8:37. And for me, I felt like it was a brisk but safe pace. This is entirely on the road toward the bridge. After this split is called out, we are headed for the bridge.

The second mile was 15:xx. I had it memorized...it was actually my mantra. Instead of repeating "1, 2, 3, 4", I repeated the split "15 blah blah". But I absolutely forgot the next three mile splits called out to me (my GPS watch was screwing it up), even though each of those were my mantras. How does that happen?

The third mile was 24:xx. Still doing and feeling well. I realize that my split would have me having my 5K PR, so now I think how much better I might be able to do in a 5K. I am very happy about the fact that I have no pains in my calves and knees. I think my swim on Friday helped my legs.

It was around this mile that I had a stitch. It was not so much a problem for me to ignore it but I was concerned for a little bit that it may not go away and wondered how it would affect me later. By mile four, it was gone.

Mile four I was at 32:xx. I'm pretty thrilled because without really thinking about it, I felt like I was doing a good time. But it's around this time that my thumbs are sticking straight up from my fists. Once that happens, then I'm in 'push-beyond-my-limit' mode. I am feeling the intensity of my pace and trying to maintain it. It wasn't a problem to maintain it because it was still do-able...but now is when the mind game comes into play.

After mile four, we (Tim is right by my side mile 1-4) exit the bridge. This is where I'm beginning to start panicking...on the inside. I know only have two point two miles left, but I start thinking about how fast my legs are pumping and now, they are starting to feel rubbery. This is a feeling I get on the track so I try to keep myself from overly-panicking and visualize myself on the track.

There is a volunteer off the ramp that tells us "9:09 - make a right at the end". At first, I think she is telling me my minute per mile pace but I realize that there's no way she could know that. I figure she must have been telling me the time... But I notice Tim picking the pace up and I think he's heeding Brennan's advice by kicking it in after mile four. But because I was already scared of myself, I attempted to pace behind him then decided to let him run his race.

He flew...and later, he told me that he thought that was the mile five split.

The last two point two miles were long and mentally struggling for me. I was ready to be done. I didn't like this at all. Why the hell did I do this and why the hell did I sign up for 13.1 miles just two weeks later? I am NOT GOING TO RUN THIS FAST IN MY NEXT RACE. I swear. And where the hell is the finish?

In my head, I know where I am and how far away I am from our hotel, and the finish. Mile five I had no split called out to me because there were two teeny-bopper volunteers making hugs and kisses...they did cheer me on though.

I did say the last two point two were long but the last mile was THE longest of all. I knew I had 1600 left on the track...and I just couldn't convince myself that it wasn't that bad. I did get some loud cheers from a group of girls at one last water-like stop and that picked me up...and then running through downtown I got a few cheers, so that was a good pick-me-up.

At this point, I am following two girls and a guy that I passed walking. They were distracting...as is always the case at this point. One, the pink shirt girl, was too close for me to enjoy running behind, but just a little too fast for my scared self.

As we turn and I can finally see the finish, one of the girls, the gray shirt girl, started picking up. It just didn't look like the finish was that close for me to sprint. I was right. In the end, I sprinted to the end and passed the gray shirt, pink shirt girls, and the walking guy. I saw Tim waiting at the finish for me, trying to take a picture of me crossing the finish and I could hear the announcer tell me I can beat 54 minutes.

I crossed and I was done and elated. There were Pepsi folks all over the place and boy, at 9:30 AM I was ready for a pepsi. But no, none available. Just water and energy drinks.

In the end, my official time was 53:05. I am tickled as my PR was 58:18 from 2004 -- a year that I feel I was in my best running shape. A whopping 5:13 off my time!

But the one thing that I am disappointed in is that my registration apparently did not list me as female. Active.com has my age but not my gender...which if it was correct, I would have placed third in my age group. Just my luck. The only time I could ever place in a race like this, and I can't even place. I am soooooo bummed about that...to say the least.

But I'll get over it. And now, I have a race that I can finally use to update my PRs (bottom of this blog) and have something else to strive for next year.

Friday, October 17, 2008

On the Road to the River

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 18th, is my 10K race in New Bern.

Actually, I am writing from New Bern now.

New Bern is a beautiful, podunk town. It is next to an inlet that goes into the Pamlico Sound and eventually, into the Atlantic. It happens to be a place that Tim and I have ventured to several times, before children. Which is very cool, because for the most part, no one that I know _now_ has ever heard of New Bern.

Heading down to New Bern took us back down the path of our old "digs". Tim and I were Air Force people -- me the brat and now brat-wife; Tim, the actual GI. We lived in Goldsboro from 1989-1991. First, in a double-wide trailer off of a byroad off of Hwy70 -- very close to the best BBQ place ever, Wilbur's...then eventually, finding our way to base housing at Seymour Johnson AFB, where Tim was stationed at.

The double-wide was a blessing. We could not, for the life of us, find any housing that would allow our children at the time, our two dogs Zimba (my chihuahua) and Sugar (our dobie-mixed mutt). But one guy gave us this place, at a whopping $400 a month. A lot of fricking money for us back then. The place was awesome -- humongous.

But I still remember the day Tim came to my work place, Seymour Johnson Federal Credit Union. I was working there as a bank teller while taking classes at various colleges (Mount Olive, Wayne County Community, etc.) when Tim came in and gave me the best news ever: we had a home on-base.

Now, for you civilians out there, base housing is where you want to be. Free room-and-board. Almost my entire life was spent on base housing. It's the only housing I know. I could only feel safe and complete living on the base.

We lived at 812 Lufbery Drive at Seymour Johnson. The duplex was a scat 900 square feet; possibly less. It was a two bedroom, 1 bath place where Tim put up a chain link fence all by his lonesome self -- just for our dogs. And by golly, two years later, when we left that house, he took that fence down because the next tenant wouldn't pay for any amount of that fence, thinking we would just leave it up...

Anyway, life at Lufbery was grand. Until the Gulf stuff began. And just FYI: we were all for the invasion of Kuwait and doing to Iraq whatever we needed to do. That all changed as soon as it affected us: Tim had to go over there when it was Desert Shield, and he continued to stay there through Desert Storm. When did we find out? Just a few short weeks before Christmas. I spent my christmas alone and I kept the tree up until he came back, which was in May of the following year.

But, enough of that...I'll delve into that for another blog posting...

Back to New Bern...in 1992 we moved to Greenville, NC. For a year before moving to Greenville, I commuted daily to ECU from Lufbery. A good hour drive on a good day. Eastern NC is very familiar to me...

When we moved to G'ville, Tim commuted from G'ville to Seymour Johnson.

While in G'ville, we frequented New Bern for their Ghost Walks during the month of October. And on at least one occasion, we went out there for wakeboarding. I don't think I tried it...I'm not a big water sports person, but it was fun hanging out in the sound on a boat, flying around there.

I recognize some of the parts here but man, it's been a loooonnng time. But it was super cool to have flash backs to a different time of our lives and trying to relive what we were doing at that time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Being Watched

At least that's what the following e-mail states.

It's junk e-mail and I usually never pay no mind to these, but for some odd reason, I read this one.

Please don't tell anyone. Apparently I'll get terminated if you do...

-----Original Message-----
From: Malloch Stern [mailto:mallochstern@f-mail.net]
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:51 AM
Subject: I am watching you close


This is the only way I could contact you for now,I want you to be very careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where I am from.I know this may sound very surprising to you but it's the situation. the problem is, if I dont KILL YOU somebody else will. I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer.It's someone I believe you call a friend, Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them,because I am watching you close, and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do, this is the 1st time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job. I took pity on you,that is why I have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.

Get back to me as soon as possible

Malloch


What happens when I get back to them? If they're going to kill me, why would I contact them?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And This Is The Downside to "Kid's Night"

This is what my genius 10 year old daughter said last night at Wildflour Boston Pizza.

Last night was school night at Wildflour for CJ and Mi-Mi's school. We try to support those nights, since proceeds go back to their school. I even ate at Chick-Fil-A, which is not one of my favorite places. But because I am a martyr, I will sacrifice for monies to go to my daughters' school.

And when we walked in...CHAOS.

Kids EVERYWHERE. Running all over the place. It was loud. And there was a small line of people waiting for a table.

It's not a huge place, so if one were to be claustrophobic, the kids and their dumb-ass parents would have freaked that one out.

CJ was like "why are they running around?" And Tim and I both said "because they have stupid parents".

They do.

Not only did these kids run around the place, but the parents-who-should-have-never-been-allowed-to-procreate would tap the waiter/waitresses for help. To me, ala "snap snap! cater to me!" The waiters and waitresses were young people, who, by my standard, were working pretty hard (unusual for the wait industry in these here parts) and being quite gracious. And service did not suffer do to this influx of buttheads. Food was good, prompt, and friendly.

And when the deadbeats with their brats left the restaurant? Complete mess of a table, chairs and floor vicinity of said table. It looked like a food-and-napkin bomb hit the area. Seriously? These are the kids, and their dumb-ass parents, of our future.

The creux-de-ta (is that a word?) was when these rabid boys decided to jump up on the wall and HIT THE WINDOW RIGHT NEXT TO OUR TABLE! They went outside and for some unknown reason other than too much ritalin in their system, three boys attempted spiderman like abilities by running-to-jumping up the wall that sets right next to our table, with a window, so all we could see were their mugs flying to and from our window.

WTF IS THAT?

No parent in sight. I went to the window to knock on it when Tim told me to sit back and let the little fuckers fall and bust their head open.

It didn't happen (whether that is fortunate or unfortunate, that is a matter of opinion...) and despite the mania at Kid's Night, the food was quite decent and we enjoyed making fun of the assholes around us. After all, we aren't assholes...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Race Countdown

I signed up with a coach in May to train for two races: Neuse River Bridge Run 10K and City of Oaks Half Marathon. These races are now fast approaching.

This Saturday, October 18th, will be my 10K. Two weeks from that, on November 2nd, I will be doing the biggie: the half marathon.

So my training this week is not going well. And it's only Tuesday. My week of training begins on Monday.

I ran five miles yesterday and my legs felt odd. They were trying to figure out what this "running" thing is. Hello? What have we been doing for the past ten years???

I picked Black Creek Trail because it's the flattest two miles that we have in all of the triangle (if you know of any flat courses, besides the dreadmill and the track, let me know).

And with it being flat, my legs were still screaming. Especially my right calf. TIGHT as hell. I hoped that easing into the run would ease the tightness out. It did a little but there was a slight tightness throughout, just enough to remind me that it's 'there'.

So I'm trying to figure out what I did over the past few days that wore the suckers out. I haven't figured out anything unusual so I'm still befuddled.

But at the end, the right knee started feeling strange. Weak. As though it would give way anytime soon.

Then I remember that last week, I was at a meeting and as I stood up from the chair, my right knee gave way and I had to "refresh" my stand.

And shortly after finishing yesterday's run, after showering and heading back to the office, I noted that the knee gave in a couple more times on steps.

WTF is going on now? I'm just days away from one of my two races I've trained for and my knee wants to act up on me?

I did run about two miles today. I felt pretty good, although any hills made my legs feel tired. I think I'm thinking too much about it, of course. But overall, the run today was much better than yesterday and my coach actually recommended that I sit today out.

But it was sooooo nice out today...hot...with the sun blaring down on our piece of the world...but I just felt like a run. And $Bill was willing to have me invade his running time by joining him for a short jaunt around work.

It was lovely and I felt a little better about myself, fitness-wise. We'll see. I still have three days left to panic.

Genius!

I was bummed, and slightly flabbergasted, that my local Democratic Party office did not have any yard signs.

Actually, this is how the conversation went.

DPO: Hello. Wake County Democratic Party office.

Me: Hi, I'm calling to find out if you have yard signs?

DPO: For which candidate?

Me: Um, how about Kay Hagan and Obama?

DPO: um...hmmm...hang on.

< two minutes pass >

DPO: Ma'am? Hello?

Me: Yes!

DPO: We don't have those signs at this office.

Great.

So I tell this story to Tim and the girls. Tim suggests that we snag an Obama sign off the side of the road. Then CJ came up with the best idea ever.

She said "How about we just take a McCain sign and cross it out and put Obama on it?"

My girl is a genius. And by golly, there are plenty of McCain signs on the side of the road...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mattress Marathon

I was unable to get one great mattress-on-top-of-a-small-car shot :-(...but my lucky day (Saturday)...as I was able to get TWO mattress photos within 10 minutes of each other.

This one was on I40 West, right around the Walnut Creek Amphitheater vicinity.


Then shortly after, on I440, AKA the 'outer beltline', right at the approach to the Crabtree Valley Mall exit, I found this truck carrying it's mattress set WITH SHEEETS on them!!


Three mattress sightings in one day...wow...must have been a sale somewhere...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

...your foreign policy is POO!

Thank you to BlueNC.com (and while you visit BlueNC.com, please read "Weekend Woundup Wolcott Style") for sending a tweet out for this great video:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Two Day Bust

I had such a great week with my runs and workouts.

Saturday I ran 13 1/2 miles. The second long run I've done before my upcoming 10K and half marathon. The first long run, at 12.6 miles, was really good (and tough). This 13.1 (then a .4 cool down jog) was much more challenging than the 12.6 but I looked at it as practicing for the mental challenge that I'll endure during the race.

But my body felt it after the run...and well, that felt GOOD.

Monday was another four mile run which was difficult to do. I waited for an afternoon run vs. my usual morning run, but I really just wanted to sleep in. So my body was a little confused by the change and the weather, well, was just a little to warm than I would have liked. But I did it.

Tuesday, I had a very challenging workout. This was a track workout, after a mile and a half warm-up. Track was 1600, 1200, then 2x800, with each being faster than the other. And I pushed myself hard because it would be the last challenging workouts before my races.

Wednesday was Back to the Core where we worked hard on our core areas. I was feeling great at the soreness throughout my body. I was feeling GREAT.

Then hell broke loose.

One: allowing work to get into my head and interfere with my personal life.
Two: having a wacky-ass schedule where I need to fit in a five mile run, drop the kids off, have a three hour hair appointment, work, be home for the piano teacher, then turn around and get ready for a date, and by the way, stress out over work!
Three: PMS symptoms brings on, well, you know. Most likely why work is stressing me out.

So what ends up happening? I don't get my five mile run in.

And when I don't get my runs in, they make me cranky. And when I get cranky, I drink a lot of wine when I go out with my friends to enjoy myself.

Fridays, I swim in the morning. But because of #3, I wasn't going to go swimming.

So now, two of my important workouts, two days in a row, are out and I don't like it. I don't like missing my workouts.

But the silver lining is that I did play an hour of wallyball and was able to vent out my work frustrations. Well, until I started thinking about stuff and then suddenly, my neck stiffened up at the end of the fourth game. I did the right thing and stopped from playing a fifth game...and I had a great time and a great workout, so all was not lost.

But I still hate missing my workouts.

But I plan to start all over again tomorrow.

If I Only I Had Thought of That Earlier...

With all the McCain signs still poking up out of my ill-judged neighbors' yards, I thought about what these people are thinking, after seeing Palin in action.

I wish that I had my evil plan in place several weeks ago. It would have been this: put McCain/Palin signs in my yard. Then the day after the Palin/Biden debate, take them down, as if I kicked them in disgust, and put up Obama/Biden signs in their place.

Who Did This?

The other day Mi-Mi showed me something she did at school. She read it to me:

I like sunshine
I like trees
I like dancing
In the breeze
I turn orange
I turn brown
I go sailing
To the ground
I am crispy

I thought it was sweet and I asked where she got it from. She said "I did it".

I was like, "okay, but where did you copy it from?"

She starts getting quiet and says "i didn't copy it".

I'm befuddled. I think 'there's no way a five year old can write a rhyming poem, can they?' I'm trying to recall if CJ had done anything similar. WHAT DO FIVE YEAR OLDS DO???

So I had to explain: I'm not mad! I'm thrilled! I just can't believe you did that!

Finally, she realized I wasn't giving her the third degree and smiled.

But she had to go through the whole thing again when Tim got home and she read it to him...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Book Review: Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

This book was a book my 10 year old attempted to read. At some point, she felt it was starting to get too scary for her. So I decided to give this one a go.

First off, this book targets grades 4-7. I am 40 years old, so it wasn't meant for someone like me.

This would be the second book that I have read that my 10 year old decided to stop reading. The other, The Ghost's Grave, was a fun read. This one, however, was not so lucky for me.

The story is about a family moving to the country, to an old Church ground. The family consists of a mom with her two children, Molly and Michael, and the father with his daughter, Heather.

The church has been transformed into a home but the grounds still house a burnt out house and < scary music begins > a graveyard!

The children, especially Molly and Heather, do not get along. There is really no explanation of the relationship between Molly and Heather but instead, becomes an instant HATE from Heather to Molly at the new home.

It is suspected, but never really stated, that Heather is possessed by a child ghost from the grounds. This girl, the ghost, is Helen. Molly sees Helen with Heather; Heather tells Molly about Helen. Molly tells everyone else about how kooky Heather is about this ghost and no one believes her. Oh, and because Heather tells everyone Molly's kookoo.

Rinse and repeat.

It all sews up nicely in the end but this book did not raise a hair on me. I just was dumbfounded that it took me as long as it did to finish it.

I was disappointed. Perhaps it just wasn't age appropriate for me but I expected something in there to at least make me *a little scared*.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things V

One from Mi-Mi:

We were being tailgated Sunday by granny moses in her Chevy Blazer. When the ole bag passed us. she had the most pissed off face that any god-fearing woman could ever present. It was like a bulldog, but less cute. We couldn't figure out why she was so pissed at us and Tim assumed she may have been offended by my bumper stickers.

Tim said 'i bet she loved 'hell was full so i came back'! And I said what about "the only bush I trust is my own?" Then Mi-Mi said "I bet it's the one with stinkyhead poophead" (that being "don't call me infantile you stinkybutt poophead".

Today, CJ and I were talking about the great book sale at Quail Ridge Books & Music. We purchased, I don't know, maybe 60 books for $15?

CJ was able to pick up a Scary Stories book. She loves these books. I said "i bet your heart skipped a beat when you found that treasure!" and she said she did.

I mentioned that the Wake County Book Sale will probably happen next month and it is similar, where you can fill up a box and pay $5 for it (something like that). Her eyes got big with excitement.

I said that it was much bigger than Quail Ridge's -- they hold it in a warehouse filled with books! Again...eyes just eager and big.

She said "i bet they'll have all of the scary stories books because I have seen them there".

I told her that they probably would and we would need to strategize a plan to find them. She replied with "I'll be sure to put my kicking shoes on".

Genius. Pure, evil, genius.

PSA #4: DON'T VOTE FOR SARAH PALIN

From NARAL Pro-Choice America...a video outlining McCain's ignorance on our health care system:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Definition of "Microwaveable"

Dear People-Who-Make-Microwaveable-Products,

What exactly is your definition of microwaveable?

Why do I ask? Because it appears to differ from mine.

I think of microwaving food as a quick way of getting something cooked and ready to eat within minutes. And as for the products that I purchase for microwaving, my expectation is to pop it in the microwave, select a fair number of minutes for zapping, then "ta-da!" instant food.

I have grown accustomed to peeling off the plastic on one end, but not the rest, then zapping it for x many minutes, peel over other section, and zap for x many minutes. Let cool. I don't like this because it doesn't follow my mental model for microwaving food: pop it in, zap x many minutes, "ta-da". Instead, I have to work a little bit more...

But to do anymore than that should be classified illegal in the microwaveable product world. This is from Jimmy Dean Biscuit Sandwiches:
Keep frozen unit ready to use. May be refrigerated overnight to thaw. Do not refrigerate longer than 7 days.

All heating instructions are based on a 1000 - watt microwave set on high. Due to differences in microwave ovens, heating times may vary.

Microwave Heating Instructions: From Frozen: 1. Remove from wrapper. Wrap in paper towel or napkin. 2. Defrost sandwich on defrost setting for 2 1/2 minutes. 3. Turn sandwich over; microwave on high for 50 seconds.

From Refrigerated: 1. Remove from wrapper. 2. Wrap in paper towel or napkin. 3. Microwave on high for 50 seconds. Caution: Product will be hot . Let cool one minute before eating. Enjoy!


I wouldn't have understood the complexity of this microwaveable product if it were not for the confused and frustrated look on my 10 year old's face, as she tried desperately to make this for herself. She looked at me and said "Can you help me with this?" As, in hindsight, I realized there were a mess of buttons being pushed, and beeps being heard. She had attempted to microwave it and yet, it was still not cooked.

I read the instructions and realized "no wonder! how the heck do i know if my fricking microwave is 1000 watts?" I started from scratch and followed the cooking from frozen directions, which still came out tepid...due to an already bad user experience. It wasn't going to taste good to her after struggling with the directions.

And it wasn't until yesterday that my husband went through the same thing. I saw him read, and read, and read. A series of buttons were pushed. A few beeps were heard (and that includes my husband's language use) and later in the day, his retelling of what a piece of shit the product was...it came out rubbery for him.

So, I'm not sure if you have anyone that actually does research at how people perceive their microwave to be, but as a starting data point, my household views it as a quick *and easy* way to put food in their mouth. This particular product, as quite a few others that have similar directions, was too complex for my microwave. I can make this just as quick as microwaving it and it would taste 100 times better.

I ask you: do your research, test your product, then strive to make a product that is actually microwaveable...perhaps even attempting to follow my own model for making a microwaveable product.

Sincerely,
Person-that-will-never-buy-those-Jimmy-Dean-Sausage-Biscuits-again

Girls Rule, Boys Drool

CJ is being evaluated for the AG (academically gifted) program at her school.

This happened while in second grade and she didn't get in, which was good for us back then. This time, however, she is striving for herself to get in (where as before, she didn't understand the concept), so Tim and I are rooting for her.

For the record, we are ambivalent about the whole thing. The amount of work this county does for their students NOW is by far more challenging than it was when Tim and I were in school. So adding to the challenges? I'm not really for that. CJ can stress herself out on her own and I don't necessarily want her to stress herself out more. But...I do want her to push herself to do more, if she is able.

I am extremely proud, though, of her quest to this challenge. She was extremely excited about the fact that she was being evaluated. And last week, her first test for the program came to play, and she was excited about that too.

She came home and said "I took my first test with Ms. AGTestLady". I asked her how it went. She said the questions were really easy. Great! I say.

I then asked if there were other people being tested and she said yes. I asked if any were her friends or classmates. First she shook her head no, then she said "Ted" was being tested too.

I know "Ted" from some of her conversations. I just can't remember if he was the weird one, or the one that makes her kind of smile upon relaying a story.

It doesn't matter because I then ask "Are there other girls in this program?" And she replied with "there are mainly boys".

Ah...now I'm getting my ruffles feathered, or feathered ruffles...I wasn't in the AG program in school...no wait, I was. It was called "Honors Program"...

I then tell her that I never understood why men seemed to do better in academics than women. I retold that when I was in school, it was the same: there were more boys in my honors, or advanced math classes, than girls. And I seemed to be one who worked hard to figure out answers, which seemed to easily come to them.

This did not change even in college, although I would find a sprinkle of smart girls. But the men overwhelmed women in my computer science and math classes. And it would seem that they would do very little in studying or in the projects, but could answer the questions much better than I would...or could.

So I told her, with a gleam in her own eye, that she should represent for girls, and hopefully, inspire more girls to do what she's doing.

For now, she is a hard working girl. Extremely independent about her school work and gets it done fast and with little-to-no help from mom and dad. She enjoys it and is even cocky about it "it's soooo easy". But she has our back, once those problems become less easy. If that means she doesn't get into the AG program, it will probably be CJ that is more disappointed than Tim or I will ever be, but we will be proud of her no matter what.

And as it happened before, the invitation to join can appear again in the future...

Kids Say the Darndest Things IV

Last night, Sunkist the kitty was playing with speaker wire from the TV. Tim can never remember the cat's name so he yells out "Cat! Leave that alone!" While Mi-Mi says "Sunshine....sunshine!!!" This was her ode to Tim sometimes calling the cat by that name.

CJ wasn't having any of it. She was like "Why does everyone call my cat everything but its name?" She then glared at Tim and said "How would you like it if I called you "human"?"

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Speaking of Keywords...

I thought I'd share some of the funny ones that find their way to my blog. Some are quite bizarre, to say the least. But that is the luxury of google and finding anything and everything with an olio of information. I have nearly 200 keyword entries, so I'll add the number that these come up within those 192. And yes, I skim through them, each page at a time...:-) The more, um, creative, the further down they show up.

#10 "white biker trash"
#11 "cheese night"
#30 "always pain in left foot"
#32 "austin bat tattoos"
#35 "big bump on the cheek bone from hit"
#66 "douche bag rum-runners raleigh"
#72 "friends showering in the locker room"
#81 "hot left foot"
#85 "i am an asshole and i should die"
#93 "introducing parakeets and cats"
#94 "is light headiness a side effect of blood pressure medicine"
#108 "light bulb phobia"
#110 "locker room shower etiquette"
#143 "puzzles on caring about my family"
#180 "vampire, birth control"

Book 'Em

I use google analytics just to see how my blog is doing in the "real" world, out there on 'da net'.

There's really cool information to see like my top content, keywords, locations throughout the world of people that hit it (doesn't mean they read it), etc.

For awhile now, my top content has been my book review posts. Cool! I think. Although I would have thought my more controversial political fare would have been hit more often, but those have not shown up in the top five overall.

Still, I think: neat that people are accessing my book reviews. There are so many out there, so even being targeted, well, I felt privileged to have someone read my thoughts.

Until a month or so ago. I realized, looking through my keywords, that perhaps, my reviews were not to see if someone agreed with my review or not, or whether to read the book...but to actually find out about the book...for...a...BOOK REPORT!

Two keyword searches I found: "book reports on a "spot of bother"" and "book report for the ghosts grave". There are more that could indicate this as well, such as "how does duma key end" or "tell me about the book ghosts grave by peg kehret".

Whatever. The more the merrier! I didn't have this kind of access to the crappy books required of me during school (and for the record, these books aren't too shabby if they are required reading...Ghost's Grave? One can read it in two hours!).

Lord knows I bullshitted many a book report WITHOUT CLIFFSNOTES. The funny thing about a few of those book reports - one being The Brothers Karamazov, a whopping 824 pages - is that I read not one lick...okay, with the Dostoesvky I read the first page...and ACED the report. So then, I knew, my teachers were not reading these books either...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Don't Hold Back...

Another video excerpt of Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin. It's actually Jack Cafferty that makes this "sweeeeet", so watch it to the end.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Am In Peril!

I found out about this challenge from Alexandra Sokoloff's facebook post about _her_ accepting the challenge. This was just too good to pass up.



The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

1. R.I.P. III runs from September 1st through October 31st, 2008.

2. Choose one of more of the perils listed below:
Peril the Firstt: Read Four books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that you choose.

Peril the Second: Read Two books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that you choose.

Peril the Third: Read One book of any length from one of the subgenres listed above.


3. Leave a comment here announcing your intention to join and a link to the post* on your site, if you have one and choose to post about R.I.P. III.

4. Post links to your reviews on the R.I.P.ing Yarns Review Site.

5. The most important thing: Have Fun!

I chose Peril the Second mainly because I *just* found out about it. Had I known earlier, I would have gone for the mack daddy Peril the Third.

If I can do more, I will, but as it stands, I have The Host to read, which is a whopping 619 pages.

Here's the pool of books I will choose from:
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley
Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Spirit by Graham Masterton
Ghosts by Noel Hynd
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Fortunately, I had already started on Wait Till Helen Comes, so I have a tough choice ahead of me after that one...

Book Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

I was excited that my book club selected this one for September meeting. Funny that I just finished this last evening, the last day of September. We discussed it this past Wednesday. I was far enough into it, though, that it really wasn't a problem to discuss.

I enjoyed the book. I think my favorite will always be my first introduction (Dress Your Family In Corduroy & Denim) but this one made me laugh out loud too.

Actually, the essay that was about his flight on the plane -- where he refuses to trade seats with the person at the "bulkhead" -- made me laugh so hard I was crying. I had to literally press the pause button, which in my case was to stop reading. I would start reading and start laughing hysterically, so I'd just "go" and laugh, then try again.

I LOVE THOSE MOMENTS. Nothing is more enjoyable in life than laughing uncontrollably. And David Sedaris never fails to make that happen.

This book covered more of his life with his man, Hugh, and the adventures they were on. A few anecdotes referred to Raleigh, but for the most part, it was his life as an adult.

He is an amazing writer -- being able to relay his experiences in such a funny way...and it's funny because I can relate to his line of thinking. He, in my opinion, is writing exactly what he is thinking in his head as things are happening.

In some small, itty-bitty way, I relate to that because I tend to walk around thinking "this would make a good blog post". I don't know if David really thinks that way, but he writes it as though he does.

I enjoyed reading that he quit smoking. I, too, used to smoke and it's one of those things, for YEARS, I wished I never started.

I imagine it is like starting heroin -- once you know it, you can't forget it. It's been a long time now, so I don't think about it often, but for years after quitting, I still missed that inhale with my coffee, that nice feeling of the smoke filling my lungs...then watching the smoke come out of my mouth. I liked holding my cigarette. I like flicking it when I was done. I enjoyed smacking my cigarette pack, packing all the tobacco in, before pulling out that first one from a fresh pack.

These are the thoughts that run through, I also imagine, smokers who quit. We forget that our mouth tastes awful, especially first thing in the morning. Or that when I flicked the cigarette, I almost set something ablaze. Or I did, because I flicked it out of my car window and it landed right back into the back of the car through the other window. Or that my chest felt heavy by the end of the day. And no cigarette tastes good when you are sick but I did it anyway. Or how expensive a pack, but most especially, a carton of cigarettes cost.

So reading Sedaris' 'diary' of his experience quitting reminded me of my old smoker self. And when he mentioned forcing himself to go swim, I was like "I'm doing that too!" Although not for the same reason.

I hear that it's worth listening to Sedaris' books on audio. Apparently, he reads his own work and it is worth reading the book, then listening to him read his own book to you.