Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Sighting

I came upon this mattress sighting after my run. This was I40 West, approaching the exit to Edwards Mill Road. I did the best I could do with my new phone:



And the best I could do with a side view, as I take the exit:

The Bad Run

So today was a not-so-great run day.

I started around 10 AM at Umstead. I was pretty psyched for it but once I started, well, here comes a stitch. I thought I could outrun the stitch but it was really bad from the get-go. So barely three five minutes into my run, I had to stop to walk; the stitch was extremely painful. It wasn't those kind of stitches that you can belly breath through...it was the 'uh-oh, this is not going away' kind of stitch.

I had a seven mile run planned and starting out this way was not good.

I tried belly-breathing (during my walk), inhaling and exhaling big breaths, 'changing' my pace, etc. I would try to jog and I would feel the pain immediately. I did this a couple of times during the first mile and it was just bad...so I decided, screw it! just walk a bit.

At the two mile mark, I couldn't feel the stitch as bad as the initial run, so I started to run. The pain was vague, but it was there. I kept my abs tight and just hoped for the best. And at about 2.5 miles in, no pain. The stitch was gone.

How does that happen? To go from crippling pain that one thinks will stay with you for the rest of the day to, well, zero pain. Go figure.

So my plan was: run 4 miles out so that I don't have to run UP half mile hill at the end of my long run. My positive outlook was that my run would be up and up and up for the first half and the last half would be down, down, down.

But my body could only take so much of the up, up. I did great with the first 100 hills but at 101, my body was like "okay, this is getting ridiculous". At that point, I thought: well, I don't want to do _any_ uphills at the end, let me get it done now' and went 4.25 miles out before I turned back.

The heat was killing me. I had to really pressure myself to stop at the water fountain (after the 4.25 mile turn-around) and soak my feet with water and re-fill my piddly ass water bottles. I took a good two minute walk before I FORCED myself to start running.

I kept moving and didn't stop but as soon as my watch hit five miles, I was done.

But my calculation was WAY OFF, to say the least. It ended up that I was still 1.5 miles away from my car, so I walked a mile and then ran-walked the last half just to get to my freaking car.

As it felt last week, today was one of the longest runs ever. I know now -- my fault. I need to run as soon as I get up. 10 AM was just TOO LATE to get out there and endure the humidity.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

To Pact Or Not To Pact

I just saw the headline that the principal, from that Massachusetts high school with 17 pregnant teens, is defending his comments regarding his use of the word "pact", in relation to this surge of pregnancies.

WTF? Who gives a shit whether he used the word "pact" or not? Hello? There were SEVENTEEN FREAKING PREGNANCIES in ONE HIGH SCHOOL at nearly the same time. Why the hell are we focused on what the principal said? Who freaking cares?

Call me silly, but I don't know, shouldn't the bigger question be WHY THERE ARE 17 GIRLS -- at one school -- PREGNANT?

What ignoramus is steering this media hijacking of this subject matter? Whoever you are, the lot of you, YOU ARE MORONS. Leave the principal alone. We need to now what the fuck these girls are doing, missing, whatever, to end up in this situation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Sour Cream Incident

Today after my fantastic track workout (I rocked!), I was stretching and an old acquaintance passed by me. I gave an eager 'hi! how've you been?!' to which she replied 'pretty good'. I was expecting her to then ask me about my beautiful daughters, to which is often what she asks me about.

Nope, instead I was blindsided by her recounting of the sour cream incident: 'I was just telling my friend about the sour cream...'

I could feel my face fall and I thought to myself, I haven't seen you in ages and you bring that story up? Is that something you really want to greet me with?

So I guess, I will recount my story of "The Sour Cream Incident".

Many moons ago, I often had lunch with a friend of mine, Vikram. On one particular day, we headed off to one of our work cafes and stood in line for grub.

As I waited my turn, I suddenly felt something hit me on the top of my head. I looked around and saw several people, including the aforementioned acquaintance, with their mouths agape. They looked as though something horrific had just happened and were frozen with panic.

But not my friend Vikram, who was standing next to me, looking atop of my head, laughing uncontrollably.

I reach atop my head, feel slime, look at my hand, and I have a handful of white stuff.

Huh?

I look around and see a small case of sour cream splattered across the floor -- who knew those little things held so much?

I looked up at the second floor eating area and saw a woman with a similar horrified look, staring straight down at me and mouthing "I am so sorry".

So there I am, with all eyes on me, with a big blob of sour cream on top of my head. How does one play that off? Do I curtsy? Do I bow and tell everyone "Thank you! Thank you! I'm here all week!"

In my mind, I think "Why does this kind of odd shit always, ALWAYS happen to me??" Really, why can't I be the one with their mouth agape vs. the victim of some cruel, humiliating prank by ?

I had no help. The 'others' stared in stunned silence and Vikram is cackling, about to pee in his pants. I then sternly tell him "Help me clean my head!!" and he finds napkins to HAND TO ME to clean my own head, as if I were suddenly a leper.

I managed to keep my dignity and walked confidently to the bathroom, wiped my head with a watered-down-paper-towels, then walked back out, grabbed a lunch, and sat down with Vikram, who was still crying uncontrollably from laughter.

And while I do think it was funny, I just feel it would have been so much funnier had it happened to someone other than me. I mean, the tresses victimized by the sour cream were rock hard stiff for the rest of the day. I can only imagine what I must have looked like from behind.

So the exact statement by my acquaintance this morning was "I was just telling someone about the time that sour cream landed on your head! It was so funny! But I guess, not for you."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Three Wheels Keep On Turnin'

It took awhile for me to get these photos from my cell phone. I took them a couple weeks ago and my cell just would not send them my way. Fortunately, they were mailed on the day that my phone was stolen...ironic, huh?

Anyway, this three wheeler was parked in my work's parking lot and me and a co-worker were wowed by it. My co-worker is a car freak and quite knowledgeable...and said it must be a Bombardier, who apparently is the maker of Sea-Doo, which is how I had any clue about what the brand name was.

This thing is freaking cool looking though. I got a couple of photos with my phone and then found some information about it:



The article: Bombardiers new BRP Can-Am Spyder Grand Sport Roadster is a three-wheeled motorcycle.

read more | digg story

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Picture for Kerry

Not a mattress sighting, but an unusual ladder sighting. Although I am not collecting ladder sightings --- there's just way too many --- I thought getting a shot of this one was worth a post. And I knew Kerry would get a kick out of it since she's been counting laddered vehicles lately.

Book Review: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon is the author of one of my all-time favorites The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The book club I am a part of suggested this one for July (so I'm early for once).

I was a bit nervous about reading it because I didn't want this book to ruin Mark Haddon for me. I was concerned about a sophomoric curse (although he's written more, so it would be 'sophomoric' for me).

Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about that. Mark is an amazing storyteller of a different genre...you know, dealing with madness!

Where The Curious Incident...dealt with autism, this one deals with a mental illness. It is never revealed what the mental illness is and only alludes to, perhaps, a lingering mental illness, but it is a pretty intense account.

George is truly the main character although we do meet, in first person, George's family: Jamie, his gay son; Katie, his daughter who is debating her impending marriage; and his cheating wife, Jean.

And then what transpires can be considered quite comedic if it wasn't for the fact that there's alway question as to what George will do next. His mental delusions are way out there and at some point in the book, he attempts to remove 'a spot of bother' which was one of the most difficult thing I've ever read in my entire life...and that's just reading it NOT SEEING it.

The family is quirky at best but in so many ways, very relatable to my family experiences...or stories of friends' family experiences. Kind of scary when fiction becomes more and more the reality these days...

Well, That Sucked!

This is what I said to the only other person I met, stranded in the middle of Saturday's thunderstorm. There we were, under the Millbrook bridge, right by Shelley Lake, watching the water rage beside us.

I knew it was supposed to t'storm sometime Saturday. I knew this well because we had CJ's birthday party planned for the early afternoon...a POOL party. The last thing we would need for that was rain and fortunately, it was one of the best days for a pool party. SUCCESS.

But since our morning and afternoon were filled with hoopla, I had forgone my Saturday five mile run. But around 3:30 PM, I started convincing myself that I did have the energy to go run...and what better way than to run off the hotdog, burger, and cake I had for lunch. :-)

So I got ready and waved goodbye to all and mentioned that I would be at Shelley Lake. I drove over thinking about how flat my course would be (yay!) and that I could probably make my sub-10 mn/mile pace for five miles. I had already broken it down: run out for 2 1/2 (no problem) then back for 2 1/2 (again, shouldn't be a problem).

It was raining on and off for a little bit, so I wasn't worried. And with meteorologists in this area, they cannot be relied upon so I figured I'd run in some showers but wasn't concerned about anything else happening.

So I parked in a nice spot at the lower parking lot of Shelley, which is adjacent to Millbrook Road -- a very busy Raleigh road. There were a good many cars in the parking lot so there were still folks taking in the park at that time of day.

I took off on Crabtree Trail, which takes you out to, where else, Crabtree Valley Mall, alongside Crabtree Creek. For a good while, I passed no one and then there were more folks coming out of the woodwork.

I decided that I wanted to run three miles out so that I could stop to walk once I reached my five miles after turning back around. And I was soooo looking forward to that walk because I was pushing my pace to be sub-10.

I actually turned around about 2.75, once I reached the end of the trail that goes under Edwards Mill Road. I didn't want to turn around and have to run UP the trail...but I knew I'd still have a bit of time to walk back to my car.

The weather turned about 3.75 miles into my run, on my way back to my starting point. I was stranded. And there was not a single soul around me. Lighting and thunder all around me and all I could think of was that it shouldn't be too long for me to get back to the car.

But it felt like forever. It was just downpouring on me and I had no shelter to go to. For a brief second, I thought I could take the long upward trail to North Hills park and hang out there, but I felt like that would be trying to get there and also, it's out of my way. I really believed the storm would stop soon and I could 'run it out'.

But no...the trail was flooded. I was soaked to the bone. And I was nervous that lightning would hit close by because, well, I was running in flooded waters.

At one point in the trail, a tree was knocked down. I swear that tree was not down when I passed it the first time. It blocked the entire trail except for where one foot could pace after the other. I would have remembered that but I convinced myself that it had to be there because there was no smoke coming out of the base of the trunk. I needed to believe that to suppress my panic.

I couldn't believe how freaking long this trail was. I run this trail a zillion times and I know it inside-out and yet this day, I was running an endless trail to make it back to my car.

Finally, I make it to the first underground tunnel under Millbrook. Again, I pass NO ONE and no one passes me. I feel like I'm the only one in the world stupid enough to run in a thunderstorm. I take a break to catch my breath and move on to the next tunnel, with the morbid thought that I would get struck by lightning as I ventured into the small opening between tunnel one and tunnel two.

In tunnel two, I fully expected to see a horde of people ducking out from the rain but no, only one lone male biker. I stopped and said 'well that sucked!' and he also shared the sentiment, defending his choice of biking by stating that he checked the radar before heading out and it was clear. I sort of doubted it since, well, it had been raining on and off for the past 30 minutes. I bid the lone biker farewell and good luck as I sprinted towards my car.

Once I got to my car, I noticed that my driver's side window was shattered. For a brief moment, I thought "Did lightning strike my car?" and when I looked in, I noticed that my purse, that I thought I had concealed so nicely, was GONE. My car had been broken into during the thundershower. And I looked around the parking lot, which was entirely empty except for two other cars that were empty.

I then went into 'do-not-panic' mode which is not actually a calm mode, but more a survival method in getting home. I swooshed the glass from my seat, oblivious to getting any cuts on me. I wanted to call Tim but my phone was in my purse. I panicked about my car keys because I remembered, before leaving the car, that I had my FOB in hand and wondered where I should put my car keys. Because I was too lazy to remove the purse from its concealed location, I dropped them into the bin in the center of the car. Smart move because I would have been really stranded without a phone and keys...

I shut the door only to have more glass crash onto me...whatever was left on the window...and noticed I couldn't see dick in front of me. My windows were so fogged over. I tried the wipers then realized I needed defrost. So you can see, I am not in a clear state of mind but I'm also not wigging out...or maybe I am, just quietly?

I start driving and I try not to think too much about what my losses are...but I do realize that I had emptied most of my stuff out...and pretty much the only reason I took the purse was that it had my phone and my driver's license. But now I'm kicking myself for taking my purse...I was only going for a run!!! Whatever. What's done is done.

I noticed that I am bleeding on both hands. Well, my left wrist -- and it looks pretty bad -- and my right fingers are just dripping with blood. I don't think about it because if I do, I'll pass out.

The trip home -- which is about 2 1/2 miles -- felt as long as it did while running in the t'storm.

But I made it home, rushed in and told my story. We've stopped credit cards, canceled the phone and called the cops.

My wounds are minor -- scrapes on my fingers from swooshing the glass off and my wrist has the worst of it but fortunately, coagulated pretty quickly. That, I believe, came from the falling glass that hit me when I shut my door.

So I find it ironic that I have a post, just the one before this, that talks about a good day and I follow-up with this event. I guess there has to be the yin and the yang, with regards to the good and the bad.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Good Day

I'm not a morning person. I _want_ to be a morning person but the problem for me is that I *am* a night person. So my night person likes to stay up late and thus, doesn't want me to get up early to be the morning person.

But since the weather has been warm in the afternoon, and I usually have something conflicting in the afternoon, I have been running in the mornings. It's not easy getting up because of that damn night owl, but somehow, my morning person is fighting to come out.

My morning runs are usually at Lake Lynn. And today I ran and saw at least two familiar faces from my previous runs last week. There are some regulars out there.

What is superbly nice about running there in the morning is that it feels like there is just a select group of us out there. It _feels_ like it's early morning - before the day really begins - and there are a few of us who are taking advantage of the peacefulness of the lake before it's attacked by the non-morning people.

For the past two weeks, every morning I meet a rabbit or two. Today, I saw three.

Also for the past two weeks, there are ducks who set at the same spot, in the middle of the trail, every time I run. I remember this because initially, I fear that they will chase me down and peck at me. So far, so good.

Today was especially cool, not because of the three rabbits on the way over but because I saw one guy yelling across part of a 'piece' of the lake. I thought he was yelling at his wife to come over to where he was, you know, leaving her behind because she was too damn slow to keep up with him...but instead, as I ran across the bridge, I saw a dog (looked like a yellow lab), deep in the water, holding a kong-like toy in its mouth, swimming over to the yelling-guy.

That, by far, was the most adorable thing I saw and made my run even better (which I needed, as it was a hard run for me). I smiled and passed a woman who was looking at the dog and smiling. To see something like that, well, you just can't help BUT smile!

As I made my second loop around the lake, I passed the yelling-guy with his best bud beside him, happiest dog in the world -- drenched and panting like crazy -- but if dogs can smile, that dog had one of the best.

I turned around to run back and again, I passed the yelling-guy and his trusty companion. The yelling guy was at the top of the path that parallels Lynn Road. He was motioning and yelling "to the right" and by golly, I looked down and saw the happiest-dog-in-the-world going right. The kong-thing was thrown into the rough that hits before the water and that dog was going to find it...and by indicating "left" or "right", it's yelling-guy master was providing the right clues.

Amazing. Again, that made me feel good. My run, after it was done, made me feel good. But most of all - the morning people of Lake Lynn: runners, walkers, yellers, dogs, ducks and rabbits, all made me feel good.

What a way to start off a day. I give thanks to my morning person for getting me out there...

Is He Trying To Lose?

Well, I'll give it to John McCain for not playing the 'politically correct' card, but really, he is making some pretty controversial choices right before election time.

Granted, he was never getting my vote -- so it doesn't matter to me that he's digging himself into a pit.

But recent news: McCain wants to lift the ban on offshore drilling.

I am not a die-hard environmentalist. I'm apparently quite ignorant as I suggested "corn" be the way to go (for ethanol) and for those who know more about the corn industry, it's as if I said "OJ is not guilty". Apparently, going corn is a controversial fuel alternative that leads me to believe that they believe offshore drilling is a better. I'm still trying to educate myself on this because, logically, it just doesn't make sense...and yes, I have read stuff on this and I still don't get it.

But back to oil: for the most part, we as a nation, are disgruntled about our dependence on oil. (Now, I'll try to speak for me, instead of we) so, I want to know what my alternatives are. I don't want to continue down this path of gas prices high or low and I certainly know, as a not-die-hard-environmentalist, that drilling for oil is NOT the way to go.

Maybe I'm out of line to say this but I think that most people might feel the same way.

The bigger item that I think could affect his campaign negatively is the thumbs down he gave to expanding the GI Bill. WHAT???!!!

One of his comments was that we needed non-commissioned officers (NCO - which I can proudly state was my hubby and mi papa) in the military. In other words, once you provide an education, you could lose your NCOs.

First, I agree that the NCOs are the foundation of the military -- did I mention that I am the daughter of a retired Chief Master Sergeant of 28 years in the Air Force, Vietnam Veteran? And I am married to an ex-NCO, who served in Desert Shield *and* Desert Storm *and* was forced to re-enlist during our time of war. And I am damn proud of them...officers tend to be like white collar people who think they're better than anyone else...like the douche bag.

But to deny expansion of education funds to them, ridiculous. Or at least, tell us what your plan is (apparently, there is one).

Um, the military NCOs make very little money. A lot of folks sign-on to _get_ an education due to the GI Bill. I'm not sure how much has changed with the GI Bill over the years, but with any thing related to the government, it is probably in need of good rehaul.

I am just surprised that he would say anything of the sort while campaigning. Sure, you want to do these things: wait until your president and do what you want to do, like his mentor, dubya.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Randy Pausch's Inspiring Charge

So I keep up with Randy Pausch's health updates and while his cancer is spreading -- and chemo is not faring well -- he is still alive. So alive, that he gave the "charge" at the end of graduation ceremonies for Carnegie Mellon grads last month.

I don't know what this man was like before his 'death sentence' but what an amazingly inspirational speaker he is. I have to believe he was just as amazing of a person -- with great insight towards life -- before his cancer was diagnosed.

But who better to listen to than someone who knows and understands his death is around the corner...we all are in the same boat...we're just in denial.

Randy Pausch's (yet again) inspirational charge:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jenna & Ethen Nielsen

Nearing the one year anniversary, we still have no idea who the asshole, or assholes, are that took the life away of an eight month pregnant woman. I can only hope that new media attention will bring a guilty conscious -- from the asshole or his asshole friends - to come forward and finally pay the price for their idiocy.

read more | digg story

Update to "Death to YOU, You Spineless Fucks" - Sketch released in case of 2 slain Okla. girls

Here is an update to the horrific murders of the two teenaged girls from Oklahoma. I hope those Okies find him and hang him...but make it a slow death...please.

read more | digg story

Seven Miles

I twittered that I ran seven miles with Keith, Chemda and BroLo. This would be the latest podcast from Keith and the Girl. I can't do without them during my runs. Music doesn't do it for me anymore. I need to hear their chatter. Sure - there are times where I tune out because I'm concentrating on my run, but today, they were with me all the way. I even heard myself answering their questions out loud...

I guess that is why next week is a recovery week for me...because I have just felt sluggish. I didn't think I did too much that would tire my legs out, but in retrospect, I'm sure I did: ran a 5K pretty fast (for me), but all in all, six miles total (with the 5K); somehow, I thought it would be a great idea to do a step class the next day; and then two rigorous wallyball games during the week...then there was back to the core, which didn't mess with my legs so much as it did with my arms. So I guess that's why running my seven today felt a little sluggish on my legs. Everything else felt fine.

The humidity didn't bother me too bad. I started around 9 at Umstead. It was a lot more hilly than I wanted for my tired legs. I noticed the big flies kamikaze-ing into my head.

The bug thing was pretty funny. I noticed these things hitting me but at some point, a girl running asked if I had any bug spray -- in desperation, as though she were searching for water in the desert. I told her "I'm sorry I don't" but I thought, is she delusional? I was in the middle of the park, with nothing but my clothes and my water bottles...where the heck am I going to put the bug spray?

And then suddenly, it started to look like a Easter procession: runners passing me with switches -- small leaved branches -- swatting their backs to and fro, like I used to see with those religious rituals during Lent.

I didn't resort to that. I managed to run slow enough that these suckers didn't bug me too much (pun intended).

Friday, June 13, 2008

My New Tattoo: Session 15

Wow. Fifteen sessions already. And it certainly does not feel like I just got this started yesterday.

Today Kat worked on a few of the clouds and darkened the existing clouds. So work was done on the upper part of my back *and* the lower part of my back. I won't lie (and I haven't thus far): OUCH. Very painful.

But what made this session special was talking to Kat about her personal life. We had a good chat about stuff going on in her life, which I enjoyed listening to. The icing on the cake was less time having that needle scratch my back.

And I talked with others in the shop: Jason was telling me how excited he was that Kat was working on a tattoo (or tattoos, depending on how one looks at it...for instance, am I 'just one' tattoo?) for him and that she had him down on the books for September (that's how long she's booked for thus far).

I asked him what she was going to do for him and he was getting both calves, from the knees to the ankle, done. Ouchie...but cool. He mentioned having two helmets on his knees... And BTW, it's probably the only place on his body (besides his face) that is cleared for tattooing.

Then Rachael came into the inking session and we talked about the work Kat would be doing on her starting in July. She was getting a full sleeve done on her right arm. I asked if she was excited, because Jason was, and she kind of said "eh...I'll be happy when it's two years later and it's done". My sentiment exactly -- I loved hearing it from someone else.

And William will be getting some work from Kat over the summer...everyone in the shop except Nathan and well, Kat herself. Kat mentioned how she felt really privileged that they all wanted her to work on them. That's cool she feels that way but I think we (the recipients) feel more privileged.

I tell you, I feel pretty darn lucky to have gotten into her book as quickly as I did but man, oh man, I am ready to be done.

The pain yesterday was so bad that I had a hard time driving home. Not just because it hurt like hell to lay my back against the seat but I felt SO SLEEPY. There were a few times that I zoned out -- I did not nod off -- but it's that zoned out feeling that you could almost just lay your head down and sleep. I made it home but next time, I think I need to pull over and do something to wake myself up. It was pretty nerve-wracking for me.

And what happened when I got home? I zonked out for a good two hours. I think my pain just depleted everything in me.

But all that said, here is what everything looks like so far. You can see the new parts by the redness (look at the clouds):




When I go back in two weeks, it will be new sections to be drawn...

Book Review: Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen

This book was a fast read. Ninety-five pages and at least each page has a picture of a dog.

It took about an hour to read it and about an hour and a half to cry over it. The crying started on page eight and then gradually worsened by the end of the book, which took me 30 minutes before I could control the gasping.

It is a very sweet book about Anna Quindlen's family dog and how much, in his life until his death, her life was affected by him. It is so poignant: reviewing someone else's life in 'dog' years -- a span of about 14 years.

Her description of Beau aging brought memories of my own beloved dogs, Sugar, Zimba and Soc, all of whom lived beyond the average dog years and all three were with us from puppyhood to their crippling ages. And as Quindlen writes, it was difficult for me and Tim to see our puppies "be" old. And like Beau, we chose to put each one down, probably beyond the time they should have been.

Everything Quindlen wrote about, regarding the aging and the death of Beau, was almost exactly how I felt and the emotions just filled me. I remembered holding Zimba after her last breath; caressing Sugar as she left us, and crying uncontrollably. With Soc, well, I missed the opportunity to be with her in her last moments but I knew she couldn't have asked for anything more special than spending her last moments with Tim, the one she adored the most in our little abode.

Quindlen speaks of the pain of choosing the last day for Beau and we went through the same painful choice with Sugar. How do you put a date on the death of your pet? Two days and counting! Well, that just isn't right.

But neither is allowing your dog to suffer pain. I don't care what some folks say: your dog will let you know when they're ready. Ours did not. And if they did, we didn't understand or were too selfish to see it. Every time we looked at them, during those last few weeks, we still had wagging of tails and longing to be touched by us and yes, they still ate and drank.

And beyond the memories of her dog, Anna Quindlen reflects on the life she and her family had going on, alongside Beau's... This book is heartache, heartbreak, and full of love and the ultimate ode she could provide to a wonderful, lifelong friend, Beau.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ToMAYtoe, toMAHtoh

Thank you, media, for a job well done.

Scaring the shit out of people who only listen to you and now, our tomato farmers have no business.

< applaud > KUDOS FOR YOUR PULITZER PRIZE WINNING REPORTING! < /applaud > And yet again, with our shitty economy -- rising gas prices, slow real estate market, and rising food prices -- we can see even MORE people suffer in this depression (NOT A RECESSION).

And thank you, baa baa baaAmerica, for being stupid enough to not think for yourself and ban tomatoes from your diet.

I refuse to let the media tell me how to vote, who they want me to believe is guilty, let alone WHAT TO EAT. If I could have, I would have walked out of the Harris Teeter today with a cart full of tomatoes. Anything I can do to help those farmers out.

I dared -- and lived (so far) -- to eat a TOMATO RAW and you know what? It tasted SO GOOD. So good, that by golly, I'm having more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What Is Wrong With Me?

How does one (me) write a post about a White Trash Revival, then turns around and becomes 'afraid' to cancel a hair appointment? WTF is wrong with me?

After our trip to Amsterdam, I decided to try a different stylist. So I made my appointment, had my hair trimmed one day, then colored the next day.

The hair cut was AMAZING. Okay. Maybe not the haircut itself, but the way it was styled. I couldn't believe how amazing it looked.

The color was fine. But it took FIVE HOURS to do it. And when it was done -- which means, after the color was rinsed out -- they were done with me.

My color appointment apparently did not include DRYING MY HAIR after rinsing the color out. Literally, I was sitting up by the rinse basin and the guy who did my hair told the rinsing girl "i don't have her down for a dry".

What? I have to walk out of here with a wet head? What good is my color if I can't see what it looks like when it's dry? I was totally flabbergasted because, well, this guy is NOT CHEAP. In fact, he is well above what I would even consider paying for a leather full-length coat, designer shoes, jewelry, or even an old car...let alone MY FUCKING HAIR!

But I tried to accept it. Don't ask me why. I was trying to buy into the whole "you pay for good hair". Whatever the fuck that means.

I did get my hair dry that day, but by someone else. Up until that point, I had a good experience although, after paying for it, I don't know if I would have left thinking that way.

I had booked another appointment to retouch my hair. At the time, I hadn't absorbed all that had happened and was still relishing the good experience aspect.

But as the weeks passed and I thought about the appointment, and my upcoming one, I thought: you know, I don't think I should go back. I just can't afford him. I don't WANT to afford him.

But I felt like I was being rash and I should give him another chance. Maybe touch-ups would be cheaper.

But a week or so ago I thought, Nope, I'm not going back. I'll have to start with someone new. I don't want to go back to this pricey guy and I just can't go back to the girl that did my hair before...I can't face dissing her.

So everyday, I looked at the phone number for his salon and dreaded calling to cancel. Why? I don't know!! I just felt a huge knot in my tummy thinking about telling them "cancel my appointment".

In fact, on Friday, I answered a call to remind me of my appointment on Wednesday. For days, my to-do list included "Cancel Hair Appt." And now I had my opportunity: I had a salon rep on the phone and when she reminded me of my time and date, I replied with "Thank you!" and hung up.

WTF is wrong with me?

I recited stories in my head: um, I will be out of town; I'm in class; or even worse, I blank and have nothing to say.

I dialed yesterday (Monday) and the phone rang and rang and then I saw they were closed on Mondays, so I hung up and didn't try to leave a message. Worse, I actually thought the guy would be there and answer it and I just couldn't face him. I knew, if he answered on any day I called, I was going to hang up.

And the whole time I am chastising myself for being an idiot. It's MY MONEY. It's MY HAIR. It's MY CHOICE. And yet, I am concerned about THEIR reaction. They don't even remember who the hell I am!!!

But I finally did it today... exactly ONE DAY BEFORE the appointment. Also known as, YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO CANCEL NOW. I ran out of days to blow off. It was cancel, or become a no-show (which brings one bad karma, IMO) or pay out of my ass for another hair do.

And they didn't question me, other than "would you like to reschedule?" And pat me on the back, I did NOT reschedule...:-)

Death To YOU, You Spineless Fucks!

There often comes a horrific crime that makes me incredibly sick...and reminds me that there is no way there is a hell because WE ARE IN IT.

The recent news about the two young girls from Oklahoma is one of those horrific events:


read more | digg story

Why on earth would anyone do such a thing? And I hope -- and if there is a just god, then I pray -- that the motherfuckers responsible for this insanity will die the most horrific and slowest death ever recorded in this world. They do not deserve anything other than extreme torture and I think I could hang up my good-two-shoes-bleeding-heart emotions to take party to fucking these assholes up.

When shit like this happens, I realize that we eat, live and breath IN HELL.

Monday, June 09, 2008

STOP THE CLOCK!

Although this article is more about a process for implementation (thus, promoting a book about this process), there are some tidbits in here that I think apply to most worker bees. The term "sludge" is what I gained out of this. I don't know if all applies, but I've heard people -- MANAGERS -- say to peers/workers "You don't look sick", when one comes into work after a sick day.Managers: most of them SUCK because they feel like they need to "parent" their workers. Of course, it's because they have a small dick, or little intelligence.

read more | digg story

Granny Panties

Us ladies, we all have them. Those Granny Panties.

You know, the big ones that are comfy...holds a pad well during those, well, "special" times.

Okay, maybe I'm only speaking for ME but I have several pair. I wear these when I go night-night, or when I don't think it will be noticed.

But alas, I have one pair that always gets me. My big blue pair that hug me just the way I like.

These are from Victoria Secret, so they're not big, cotton briefs that make me feel, um, unappealing, but they aren't pretty with low-riding pants...because spectators of said Victoria Secret sexy underwear cannot see how sexy this pair can be...they just see big blue Granny Panties.

And these particular pair were apparently made before every clothing manufacturer decided to make pants and shorts hit at the hip line.

I "forgot" to change out of these comfy blue undies last year at -- of all places -- a freaking NINE INCH NAILS concert. I think I'm cool, with my cool black capris that make me look casually hip...sat on the lawn (of Walnut Creek) for at least an hour before I stretched back, my hands caressing my back and "bam", I feel my underwear, which in this day and age, feels as though it's reaching up by my bra.

GREAT -- everyone behind me now knows how uncool I am AND that I'm too stupid to care that my undies are there for the world to see. Looking back, I could have been mistaken for those stupid men at the Buffett concert that think it's cool for your underwear to hang out.

That was not my intention...I have special thongs for said occasions.

And then today...I do it again.

I wore a dress today, so I felt relatively safe making a conscious choice to wear my granny panties. Sure, I don't like panty lines even in dresses, but this time, it was relatively loose around the hips, hence, hiding any panty lines no matter what undies I wore...so I chose my big blue Victoria Secret ones.

All was good today, until THE VERY END, at the cool down portion, of my Step class (45 minutes long) and again, my hands come down and BAM! there are my big granny panties for the world to see. My shorts hit right at the hips; the undies hit to the upper-lower portion of my back, and my tank hits the upper-upper portion of my back. I was doing my groovy step moves -- feeling cocky and overly confident about myself -- with my granny panties just hanging out for the world to see.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What A Match

NOT!

Oh how disappointing the men's final of the French Open was...Federer was just...awful. How could this happen? As Tim said, it looked like he was paid off.

I was expecting something better. But I get a week's break before it's time to turn on to Wimbledon.

In Search of a Great Meatball

I am looking for a great meatball recipe. I have tried many, and while I have not found a bad meatball, I certainly haven't found one that knocks my socks off.

I like meatballs -- and not the ginormous ones. I like mine bite-sized. And when I want a meaty spaghetti sauce, I want meatballs that MAKE the spaghetti sauce wondrous.

My mom makes great meatballs but I can't recreate them. And I like to experiment and try others and one day, I'll have my own.

The closest to 'out-of-this-world' meatballs I have gotten are the meatballs that are part of the Dinners At Home franchise in Raleigh. This is similar to Super Suppers, where you make your own meals with their ingredients. They have a meatball lasagna that is amazing.

But again, this isn't my recipe. I want one to make in my own home...to be used in spaghetti, or to be used as an appetizer.

Anyone got one they want to share with me? All I ask is that it doesn't fall outside of the common meats: only beef, pork, turkey, chicken...not interested in veal, lamb, venison, squirrel, and its likes.

Oh, and if you know of a place to dine at that has great meatballs, I'd be interested in that too.

Bon Appetit!

White Trash Revival

This is a post that will not go over well, but whatever, it's my blog.

Tim and I went to the Jimmy Buffett concert last night. And as the title suggests, it did feel like we were at some For-Whitey-Only revival -- a cult of people who applauded this man's every word.

It was a well-intended effort on our part: to hang out with friends for one friend's birthday (which will actually be in July). And I say "well-intended" because, well, we are not Buffett fans.

In fact, and I will only speak for myself: I am the very OPPOSITE of a Buffett fan. But I thought I could hang up my bias for just a few hours for a good friend. Not looking for martyrdom here, just a lead up to why I thought it would be a good idea for me to waste my money on two tickets to a one-trick pony balladeer.

I was trying to keep a good attitude about the whole thing and I felt pretty good about enjoying the evening with friends, even if there was shitty music in the background. But I think I knew, deep inside, that this was just never going to work.

And it didn't. I never got to see the birthday girl and the social gathering went kaplunk. But Tim and I had each other and I had a sickening blast making fun of the fools around me.

I have a stereotype of buffett fans. They are the whitest of the whitest of the whitest of people. As George Jefferson would say "They're Honkies". They go nuts over the amazing tunes of "Let's Get Drunk and Screw" and sing along, with silly-grins on their faces, as though this is the most naughtiest song ever created and boy, they are really pulling one over on conservative ears.

These are the same people that go nuts over AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long". God, how I HATE white Americanos go nuts over that song. Girls start shaking their hips and singing to one another as though they were the only ones that know the gist of the song. I can't describe my animosity towards this type of reaction to this particular song...I've seen it since high school and it hasn't changed.

And yes, this particular song was played before the concert began. Let my cringing begin.

Let's see...where do I begin?

Parking: long lines everywhere. We parked somewhere out in Timbuktu and had a long walk to the amphitheater. This allowed us to see all the drunks who tailgated the entire day, of 99 degree muggy, humid weather, literally hang and balance on their two feet but their cars, trucks, SUVs and yes, RVs.

And of course, you must dress appropriately for this event: straw hats with the center cut out of the head, shark fins on top of their heads, coconut bras (on men too) and grass skirts.

Let me first say that most of these people should not wear what they wore until they looked in the mirror and then booked a gig on the biggest loser...

We passed one chick who was slurring "jello shots! jello shots!" and I could not tell who she was looking at...actually, I don't believe she could focus on anyone... But Tim partook in a shot as she complained "Ahm trhying to geeeve aht jello shots..." Not a southern accent, but a slurring of letters to make words...

I can't even explain the amount of crap I saw on the way over. These are the same people, I think, who feel like a 5 star vacation is somewhere in Myrtle Beach...or even an RV park.

Yes, I DO have a holier than thou attitude here.

We passed by a table full of, I guess what was supposed to appear as "food": a mess of some sausage-like chunks, corn, and lots of water...or grease...I couldn't tell. The old dude, who I didn't think was drunk, was trying to get people to grab a handful as they walked by. I heard one guy ask "What is it" (to which I replied "Food Poisoning) and the old dude said "Whatever you want it to be!" And by golly, the stupid fucker grabbed a handful and ate it.

Next: a line to enter the amphitheater. And it wasn't a line, it was just a crowd of loud, obnoxious, buttheads. And you just can't have claustrophobia in this crowd...these people just LOVE crowding into your personal space.

I heard yelling behind me...as two men started arguing. As I turned, I saw a tall drunk doofus yelling into a short, stocky guy. At first I thought they were friends and then the short, stocky guy grabbed the tall drunk doofus' face with one hand...kind of like what people do with kids "you are so cute" as they grab their face and gently shake it with adoration...only the short, stocky guy was not gentle and not full of adoration.

And tall drunk doofus, who apparently is all talk and no play, just did the chest butt and then a friend of his "holds him back"...and I quote that because he wasn't really holding him back...just trying to save face (pun intended) for tall drunk doofus, who didn't fight back.

And although I thought highly of short stock guy for putting that tall drunk doofus in his place, if ANYONE did that to me (or generic you), I would beat the shit out of him. I may lose in the end, but I would have nails full of skin, clumps of hair clenched in my fists, and bruises on my feet, knees and elbows doing the best I could to fuck him up. NO ONE GRABS ANYONE'S FACE LIKE THAT AND GETS AWAY WITH IT. Unless you are tall, drunk doofus.

Next stop: beer.

Now, let me say upfront that drinking beer at the pavilion in the heat is not my idea of fun. Beer gets hot and well, it just doesn't taste good. And, it's hard to get good beer. We found a place with Corona IN A CAN...I didn't even know that was even available...and I got a lime! I was happy and life was looking good.

We found a nice spot way in the back, overlooking the extremely crowded amphitheater.


A bit spacious:


This is how far we are from the very back...which is "not very":

And by the time it started, we were part of the extremely crowded amphitheater:






The concert began and everyone stood up. I stayed down. I would stand up to try to take pictures of the ugly people: those who forgot to look in the mirror before they left for the day. I think there was divine intervention from the parrothead up in the heavens, because every time I was >thisclose< to getting a great shot, someone would get in my way.

I got a few though:

You'll have to look for the guy with the Bruce Lee muscle shirt...his buddy is standing next to him, with the little blond tail in his hair. These two dudes had me cracked up -- they walked around all slick-rick like, with their chests pumped out and their arms hanging off to the sides, like their biceps were too big to set next to their body.

I got a pic of Bruce-Lee, who caught me and then I'm quite sure for the rest of the evening, thought I wanted him:

This one is one of several men who thought it was cool for their underwear to hang out. They mistook themselves for URBAN YOUNG FOLK, who CAN get away with this...mainly because they are young and have a nice frame...but even the big urban dudes get away with it. Whitey: you cannot.

And this one was parrothead intervention: same dude as above...I had been trying all night to get his photo...and although this one is extremely blurry, you can see the outline of his belly. It's there, despite the fact that a blurred elbow enhances the belly, but it is important for me to show how bad this man appeared to me and how I had a sick fascination with capturing his physique (I'm telling you, this is quite eerie...blogger is giving me a hard time uploading this image! The gods-that-be are trying to suppress me!):

This is one of many chicks emulating bad choices by men. She had wrapped her shirt under her bra and let her entire belly hang out. I really didn't want to dis the women -- we should be proud of what we have -- but I'm not sure being proud means letting me throw up a little in my mouth:

We left at 9...it's all we could take. I was busy going through my phone pictures and sending them off to $Bill. The last swill I drank was a Bud Light -- again, just playing into the hands of my stereotypes of this place. BUD LIGHT? My taste buds deserve better.

I never met up with birthday girl and her entourage. It was probably best as I was never going to get as drunk as they were or I would have brought them down with my pessimism.

Lesson Learned.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Run the Quay and Then Some

"Quay" is pronounced "kway", not "kwhy" as I have been saying in my head.

The race was in Fuquay (hencem the "quay") and it was a race I decided to do last week, with advice from my coach, Coach B.

I was pretty content with doing this race. I felt like I could do better than the 5K I did just a few weeks ago. After all, I ran Thursday in the heat of the day...4.6 miles...and I was pretty darn proud of myself for that.

I warmed up a mile, which gave me a sneak preview of the first 1/2 mile (1/2 out, 1/2 back). Then I was ready to start...

And we're off! I'm at the top middle of the crowd. We all seem to be doing the same pace and about 1/4 into it, I look at my watch and I'm at around a 7-something pace.

Impossible, I think, since most of the folks around me don't, um, look like 7-something paced runners...and to me, it doesn't feel very fast.

It must be 'catching up', I think to myself, regarding my GPS watch.

But this becomes my "thing" for this first mile: constantly glancing down at my watch to see what the pace was. For this first mile I was doing great, topping around 8:12 but keeping it close to 8. I end up with an 8:07 time for my first mile. Cool, because that felt pretty do-able.

I spoke too soon as the second mile sucked. My feet started to get hot and if there's anything about me and running that I hate, it's when my feet are hot. I get angry, pissy and my mind just says "Screw this". Everything else is doing okay, well, my legs are pissed that there are hills but for the most part, that didn't bother me as much as HOW HOT MY FEET WERE.

And I'm wearing my shoes that I buy just to deal with this hot feet condition. I start thinking about "next time, I shouldn't wear socks" then I think, 'but I might get blisters'

Those thoughts distracted me for a second and the rest of this second mile, I am just trying to keep running. I dropped my pace well in to the 9s...around 9:25. I am not too torn up about it because, I think at this point, I don't give a crap about my time anymore. Just don't stop running...

Then I see the water stop and I again say "don't stop running...grab water and try your best to throw a drop into your mouth"...

I get my water and then I stop running and start walking. Hey, the girl in front of me did it! So why can't I? I pour water over my head and drink what I can then start running.

And actually, that felt good. I start out slow and think to myself, 'let the pace come to you'.

At that moment, I knew I was gold to finish because it's only a mile (and .1) left. I can do this and I'm NOT going to screw up my overall time. I pick up the pace and it feels like I'm running as fast as the first mile. I look at my watch and I'm in the 9s. What the hell?

The route takes us back to where we just ran the first mile, so I know where I'm at and even though I think the finish is still too far away, I am getting excited about finishing this hot-ass race. Unfortunately, when I get excited, my heart pumps up and I lose the patterned breathing I have tried to hold on to...

Unbelievably, I pick up my pace. I no longer look at my watch, so I may still be running 9s. The end reminds me of a race I did in Greenville a few years back...the feeling of taking forever to get to the end.

I see a minivan close to the finish and I think, I'll start booking it when I reach that van...well, it's like right in front of the finish. But I hear Coach B yelling "Go Cindy" and then "You can break 27!" and I run as fast as I can. I'm thinking "The clock must be around 26:55...run, run, run! You don't want 27 AT ALL!" and I find this pretty funny as I really didn't think about what I wanted to finish this thing in.

My watch said I ran 3.14 in 26:48...my unofficial time. This is more like it. This is where I was a couple of years ago. I was very happy with my time and Coach B was too, although I got a tsk...tsk...for my 8:07 time (going out too fast).

I _think_ I could have held on to a sub 8:30 pace if my feet didn't get hot. I just can't deal with hot feet. Throws my whole cosmic balance off.

And the first thing I did after I found water was take a sip, then pour some onto my hot feet...ahhhh! I was much better after that...

But my plan today included a two mile run afterwards. God I was ready to just go home. But I did it -- circling Fuquay neighborhoods to get my two miles in. And I found it hilarious that I ran the last two miles in 24:48.

I ran into a volunteer a few times, who was picking up signs. At one point, he said "you again" and I joked that I was stalking him, to which he replied "I wouldn't mind that at all." He looked like such a sweet, country dude...

But this race was really set up well. Extremely well-marked and despite the hills, it was a really nice route. It would have been better without the freaking heat, but I was pleasantly pleased with the route. Great southern hospitality too.

I enjoyed hearing the announcer, before the race, reciting announcements:
"Yooo mhust haaave a cheeep on yur shoooo. If yuh due nhot have a cheeeeep on yur shoooo, pleeese go inside and get yur cheeep."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stop the Madness!

Okay, just catching the end of today's French Open and yet again, I have to hear these fuckers go on and on about how "shocked" they are that Justine Henin retired.

Can we just move on?? I am SO enjoying watching Roland Garros WITHOUT HER (although I miss the Williams' sisters). I mean: I don't even think about her, that's how happy I am.

Then these assholes have to get on and start on and on about her and her retirement.

I guess I've got to grit my teeth because they won't stop for the rest of the year...

Locker Room Stories

Some odd things seem to occur while in the locker room.

Today, while I was recovering from my run in this death heat, I was attempting to 'cool down'...you know, drenched in sweat, feel as though I'm going to drop dead, just a miserable looking sight. I'm downing a gatorade and some girl squeals "WHAT AN AMAZING TATTOO!" I turned 180 degrees, and when I did, the girl's face did not quite match the excitement in her voice. Her face looked...stunned? Confused? I said 'thank you; I appreciate it!' and decided that she must have seen the tiger first then saw the back covered and was thrown off.

Then, another woman walks in and comments to the fact that it looks like I must have been running outside (I looked like I was standing UNDER a shower in real-time). A friend of her's comes in and they talk about their exercise regiment. The slightly overweight woman comments that she's there to do cardio -- she's trying to get back into a routine.

She then undresses, wraps a towel around her and heads off to the scale. About three minutes later, I finally head to the shower and usually, I like to weigh myself before jumping into the shower. But 'cardio woman' was STILL on the scale. A full three minutes! Still standing on that scale. She was very still as I passed her, as though she was willing the numbers to go down.

So I say to myself "yeah, i know how that feels...wanting those numbers to be different" and how I'll be able to weigh myself afterwards.

The shower is not far from the scale, so another five-plus minutes and I can hear 'cardio woman' still on the scale!! I can hear the metal sound of getting off, then on the scale. I thought: okay, I must be hearing lockers and it just sounds like it's the scale. Because it was a constant sounds of someone shifting on the scale, moving the weight on the scale, or getting off then back on.

I was incredulous. I wanted to jump out of the shower and see for myself that this woman was indeed STILL ON THE DAMN SCALE...and why? How much more will the number change?

Then I could hear her talk to her friend: "The scales not balanced!"

Yeah, that's what I like to say to myself most days after I see my weight...and I only need to be on there for about 10 seconds to figure out it's "broke".

Last but not least, an acquaintance first ignores me as I primp to leave; she primps to get started. She returns -- again, only wrapped in a towel (did she just workout? I thought she was going to work out) and instead of saying "Hi! Haven't seen you in awhile!" she comes up to me, into my personal space, and whispers "Can you believe how bad this place is?" indicating, what I assumed, was a mess of a locker room.

And it's not _that_ bad. Sure, water is trekked around but that's why I have flip-flops. And well, the showers get clogged with hair but overall, it's not that bad.

But still, she closes in, as though she's being bugged: "It was better when we had the other locker room". The "other" locker room would be the locker room that now houses only men in the original building. That particular locker room hasn't been a woman's locker room in, what, nine years?

This went on for a little bit: her whispers to me about the demise of our locker room...but I'm thinking: shouldn't she have moved past that by now?

I finally made it back to my car and got the hell out of dodge. I don't think this will be the end...just a new set of characters.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Wow. I enjoyed this book but it certainly took me a long time to read this thing.


And did I mentioned that I actually liked the book? It is a complete mystery as to why it felt, and took, so damn long for me to complete it. It felt like: I read 50 pages and would see what page number I was on and it would say "page 15"...

Anyway, a very intriguing book. To try to summarize: a 30-something year old woman leaves her marriage, then decides, to trek to Italy -- to learn Italian; India -- to meditate; then Indonesia -- to meet with a guru.

Elizabeth Gilbert is a great story-teller. And I don't mean fictional, this is a true story about her own journey and she recounts it well. The idea of someone allowing strangers to read her innermost feelings, tribulations, and pain, well, it's truly a privilege.

I found great inspiration in her writings -- she has a way of making amazing analogies or anecdotal tales that I could relate to. I found this subject matter poignant in my present state of mind. Day after day, I find it hard to face my world and wonder: what am I doing? Or rather, my favorite question: What do I want to be when I grow up?

And although Elizabeth's journey is primarily based on her divorce, then another break-up with a man post-divorce, I really could relate to the questions, the frustrations, the "what is this life about" ponderings that she had.

In the Italy section ("Eat"), she explains, actually before her journey to Italy, how it has been her "want" in life to learn Italian. She loves the language and has always wanted to learn. She decides, finally, that she will spend four months in Italy to learn the language. Her friends and family thinks she's crazy; she thinks she's crazy. After all, what the hell can one do with Italian? She wasn't planning to use it other than the desire to learn it. So as her friends question her, she says to herself 'i've been a good soldier all these years. I did what I was supposed to: paid my bills, did my job, etc. So why can't I just go and learn Italian?"

A great question for all of us? Why can't we just do the thing we want to do? Why do we question ourselves over our life's goals, no matter how 'impractical' they may be?

As for me, I haven't figured out what my "italian" is. But I know I have something in me that wants to do something that, well, means nothing to anyone but me. Well, actually, it maybe my tattoo but since I still have to endure painful sessions, I'm not ready to admit that yet.

Her journey to India was more spiritual, bordering on a religious finding. Even though I am not religious and tend to squirm at religious story-telling, her recounts did not bother me. Sure, I got bored with her on-and-on-and-on questions about spiritual guidance, but I was never envious or turned-off by her insights.

The India portion (pray) was not as exciting to me as Italy, but it was a great way to see how other cultures deal with their own spirituality. And since meditation and yoga dealt more about an individual's inner peace, it was pretty religion-neutral, so it made it easier (for me) that ALL religions were welcomed to this particular "Ashram" (sanctuary for prayer, meditation, and yoga traditions) vs. being spoon-fed a specific religion.

Her next and last journey was to Indonesia (love) - Bali, to be specific, to practice/learn/be enlightened by an elder medicine man...who four years earlier, read her palm and TOLD her that she must come back to Bali and live with him to learn. She did, and well, he sort of remembered.

But the crux of Bali, to me, is the friendships she develops with the medicine man, a medicine woman (Wayan) and then, Felippe, who becomes the LOVE based on the title.

There were so many profound 'things' she stated that moved me and inspired me. At one point, she mentions how her father was very critical about the men who would date his daughter: high standards, from a father's point of view. But at some point in her life, she failed to follow her father's standards for a 'mate' and wondered why? Shouldn't she care enough about what man is in her life as her father would? I need to remember this for my own girls.

Anyway, a great book that took me forever to read. I'm relieved to start new, but sad to see the end of this journey...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pay It Forward

This wasn't intentional. I wasn't set out to be a do-gooder. It all happened, actually, by accident.

So I'm waiting in a long-ass line at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for a Newcastle. The line was long, in part, because the 'hostess' was slow-as-shit serving beer and because the line included only foodies.

I waited way too long for a freaking Newcastle, but in the end, it was worth it because 1) I did something good (and that makes me feel good...and after all, it's all about me) and 2) the Newcastle was GOOD.

Oh, and I also got a free hat from the hot-looking Newcastle girls...wish I had gotten a picture taken with them.

I am sort of oblivious to my surroundings, as I am trying to figure out why the hell it is taking so god-damn long to get my beer. Tim and the girls had already purchased food and were at our seats...and here I am, standing in this god-awful-long-ass line, with so many people around me (I hate crowds)...and actually, we are really close to one another, standing in this line...so I have now allowed strangers to venture into my personal space...by standing and waiting for ONE beer.

I noticed a few of the people in front of me...and just a couple behind me, since we are SO CLOSE in proximity.

There were two teenaged boys at the very front of the line. One of the boys had gotten his food and moved horizontally to the condiments stand. As soon as he placed his food there, plop! His french fries fall all over the floor...and I mean ALL OF THEM. Not a single french fry survived the disaster.

And let me note, these are not just any french fries, but the kind that taste really good. The kind that are stood up and crowded in a big paper cup. The kind of fries you buy a hot dog to go with...really, it's the fries that star in the show...everything else is just supporting roles.

My first fleeting thought was: wow, that sucks for him. My second fleeting thought: well, that'll learn ya. You should have been paying attention (this is probably what I would tell my girls). And then my next thought was, man, he's gotta to be sad about losing his fries...he needs to re-order...

So he asked his good buddy, who was still in the front of the line, now waiting for his food, if he would get him another order of fries...and he hands him $3 to buy them. To my amazement, his buddy turned him down. WHAT???? WTF is your problem? You are dissing your friend for his fries?

I don't know why his friend wouldn't buy them. Afraid that he would piss the slow hostess off? I have no idea what goofy teenaged geeks think, but he would NOT BUY HIS FRIEND AN ORDER OF FRIES.

So now I'm getting a little peeved that he was dissed by his friend.

I notice the young man scooping up his fries off the filthy floor, which, BTW, is RIGHT UNDER the condiment section, so you know it is even more disgusting.

But he scoops up his fries and places them back into the paper cup.

My first thought is: no way -- you cannot EAT those. I start contemplating on how I am going to tell this boy that he CANNOT, SHOULD NOT, eat those fries.

But he tells his "buddy" that 'it's okay...i'll just eat 'em...no problem'...he's content in his thoughts to just suck it up and eat the damaged fries. So I think, well, he is young so he can probably survive any deadly bacteria those fries acquired during their horrific death.

So I re-focus myself on where I am in the line...thinking the boys were done and on their way to the game. I now have two men in front of me, who also received free Newcastle hats.

I'm checking them out: they both have big ass camera bags on them -- who carries these anymore? One is heavy and the other is not (but not skinny)...and they're both about my height.

My assessment of these guys is interrupted when young teenager approaches one of them and asks if he would allow him to order french fries in front of him, since he had dropped his.

And do you know what happened? The dude blew him off ENTIRELY! IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!!! IN FRONT OF ME!!! I was stunned! Does this really happen? One young man cannot re-order french fries without going back to the end of this LONG-ASS LINE?? What has happened to people, people???????!!!!

Did I mention that I was stunned? Although my blood is not boiling, I now determine that the two men in front of me are just doofus' that will never get laid in their entire lives...AND BY GOD THEY DESERVE IT.

So the kid is standing there, kind of in disbelief, but more like -- how am I going to get my french fries?

After a few seconds, I turn to him and I say, clear and loud "If these guys won't help you, you can get your fries before I place my order."

I was half-expecting them to change their mind but they didn't, so either they didn't hear me or they didn't care. I think it's the first one, because, you know, I can't be ignored.

It wouldn't matter to me though...even if they did change their mind, I had them in one of Dante's circles.

When we got to my turn, I decided to place the entire order because speedy-the-hostess was not working for me. "One regular fry, one Family Fry and one large Newcastle please."

I quickly received the regular fry and turned to the boy and gave them to him. He attempted to give me his $3 and said "Keep the change" (It was $2.75), to which I replied: nope, I got it. You lost you fries...keep your $3. He kept insisting, and instead, I did the "shoo" thing with my hands to leave and told him to use his $3 for something else.

I turned back to get my own fries and Newcastle and as I left the line, one of the men behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said "That was a very generous thing you did" and I gave him a curt 'thank you'...unintentional, but at that moment of do-goodness -- I was oblivious to everything around me and just had the intention of getting that boy his fries and me, my Newcastle.

BTW, those two morons in front of me that wouldn't give the time of day to this teenager? They really fucked up their karma because had they did something nice for that boy, they would have been able to go home with those Newcastle chicks and had the best lay they could ever ask for in their lifetime.

American Tobacco Historic District

Now this is what I am talking about!

A great city, or shall I say, a city that wants to be great, puts forth a vision and implements it and ta-da! You get something like the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham.

I've been here before over the past few years. And each time I go, I am awe-struck. It is just innovative and beautiful and it's like "I can't believe we have this!"-feeling.

One tends to get cynical when we see that we have no sheltered bus stations, or no bike lanes, or well, nothing really 'unique', in our city.

And while I primarily refer to Raleigh, Durham is close by that could pick up the 'bad-vision' virus from Raleigh. But as Durham has a reputation for, um, also being unique (in a slightly different way), it obviously has more depth to put together a very wonderful user experience for its visitors.

We went to the Durham Bulls game this past Friday. Apparently, this was a big game or more apparent, we just don't go to these often enough to realize how bad traffic is to _get_ to the game. I thought we were at the ugly RBC center...but it was too pretty around us to be the case...

We finally parked in one of the many parking garages and had to walk the length of the tobacco warehouse to get to the ball park.

But what a walk it was!

A stream follows us the entire walk. My youngest was just in heaven staring at the water and the waterfalls that occurred throughout. She was just enamored, as though she were at Disney World. Quite honestly, so was I. There's something about the sound of water that is soothing and I didn't even get mad at the walkers who stopped dead in the tracks, or walked to the LEFT instead of the right. You know, those ignorant, irritating bunch (which doesn't include me).

The office spaces we passed were nice-looking. For the most part, I couldn't tell what types of businesses we were passing. But some of them had busts (sculptures) in the window, and again, it made for a pleasant experience as we passed.

There is one particular place, during the walk by the stream, that is sort of cordoned off in a way that says "if you want to cross the stream on these rocks, you can, but you have to go around this way so that everyday idiot's do not accidentally fall in". So one has to consciously choose to cross the stream on these very large rocks, which would make it improbable for a sober person to fall in.

I've been to one of the restaurants housed in this warehouse, Tyler's Taproom. Great food, amazing selection of beers and as far as I know, home-grown (not a chain). There were a few other dining places that I had not heard of, which led me to believe that they too, were local.

So Raleigh, you don't have far to look to see how to do it right. I haven't been to the place in Wake Forest and Rocky Mount, but it sounds similar...someone else nearby is thinking "ahead" and Raleigh, you sure can find inspiration right around the corners...

Mattress Sighting

And this one isn't even from me!! I LOVE IT!

One of my best buddies Kerry was coming home from...well, let me let her say it:
On the way back from the movie theatre, I had a mattress sighting. I
said, "oh man, I wish I had my camera!" Gabe asked why and looked
confused when I frantically pulled out my cell phone and said "get a
picture of that mattress!"

It's not real clear (the top part was flapping around quite a bit),
but there ya go. Your first reader submission. :)



< cue creepy music >They're EVERYWHERE...< /cue creepy music >

And just so you know, the spaces are in the above tags on purpose...otherwise, it doesn't appear...