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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recipe of Me

CJ will KILL ME if she finds out I have posted this...but I live on the edge.

I spent most of the morning purging the pantry: throwing out all the expired stuff and anything else I didn't do anything with all year long.

As I did this, I found this "Recipe of Me" that CJ did earlier in the year. I love it and thought I would share her work.

The "recipe":

2 cups of sarcastic
1/2 cup of caring
1 cup dark
1 gallon of athletic
4 cups smart
5 teaspoons of friendly
10 gallons of happy
100 cups of fun

Combine 2 cups of sarcastic and 10 gallons of happy. Mix all ingredients into the two other ingredients in a movie theater watching a horror movie. Put bowl of mixed ingredients in the sun and wait 2 hours while texting, playing with your friends, and begging your parents for a new phone. After 2 hours in the sun, you will find a short, athletic, smart, 11 year old 6th grader name CJ.

The drawings:

Change Is Good

Every year, I make sure to change out my bumper stickers on my car. Mainly because they fade but also because there are so many good stickers to display! So out with the old and in with the new:

Support local:

Looks can be deceiving:

And for the rest:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Family

One of my blogging goals, that I have begun, is to share some of my kids' stories, anecdotes, paintings, drawings, etc. I have a few that I blogged about with of my favorites is her drawing of me and Lance Armstrong kissing with Tim in the background holding a hammer.

Along with blogging, my goal in 2010 (starting now) is to get my pictures and videos organized. I started doing that and I am coming across some great videos that my kids have made. Here's one that I enjoyed, created in April this past year. It's CJ reading Mi-Mi's handmade book about her family.

2010 Fitness Goals

I haven't figured out my running goals entirely yet. I'm still recovering from the stress fracture and burn out from all the running and racing I did, especially these past few months.

I can honestly say that the first half of the year will have me race less. Maybe I'll hit the Fall Road Race series again but I'm slowing down racing every other weekend for the first part of the year.

I was seriously contemplating the Roanoke Canal Half Marathon, scheduled in March. I'm now leaning towards not racing in it. Instead, I am leaning towards building a running plan with CJ and Mi-Mi. This may mean doing things separately with them. I haven't fully decided on that, but I would rather concentrate on running with them and building a 5K for CJ to run.

A half can wait. Sure. Some of you think "hey, you can do both!" Um, no. I can't. I get semi-obsessed with my running goals...

P90X will continue. It's so freaking hard but it freaking works.

Forget losing weight. My new numbers that I will monitor are: my heart rate, blood pressure and a few of my body measurements.

A great article from Runner's World came out (Weight Loss by the Numbers for Runners at Runner's World) that I will use for my basis in the New Year. Of course, none of this is new information. Body measurements have been recommended by most fitness programs for years. But, typically, "we" tend to focus on the weight vs. the other numbers.

My weight dropped only a few pounds this past year but my clothes were dropping off of me. This made me very happy. :)

So the other numbers I will be paying more attention to are my measurements: waist, hip and thigh measurements will be monitored more regularly than before.

My heart rate will continued to be monitored although I'd like to get the 411 on my max heart rate. The article above states not to compare my heart rate to others but when my max heart rate reaches 207, I start to worry. I plan to talk to my doc in the New Year about it and how to determine if this is normal or not.

I'll keep tabs on my resting heart rate too.

My blood pressure is good except for the occasion that I had a prescription that increased it beyond normal. But I need to make sure I keep tabs on it so I can rule out any heart problems with the head episodes that I have been getting.

I plan to swim more. Yes. It's true. I am going to incorporate swimming into my fitness plan. This does not mean I will be doing a triathlon yet. But I am less weird about swimming than I was a year and a half ago, so I need to take advantage of it and 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming'.

More wallyball. :) I had planned to play at least once a week before our winter break at work but when the foot thing came to play, my plan went down the drain. I played once with the foot pain and I managed but, as it was with running, it wasn't easy.

I hope Carlos and I can bring back a great finish in this year's Mixed Doubles League. We played with the 'big dogs' this year and didn't make the big wins but we did pretty well.

So this is it for now. Nothing major, IMO. But enough to keep me busy and happy.

How Did I Do? Part Two

Here is how I fared with my 2009 fitness goals:

Get Faster - I did. I PR'd five distances this year: 1 mile, 5K, 8K, 10 miles and a 20K. It was painful and I'm still dealing with running through pain (but not a when pain is a broken foot!) - the mental aspect of it!

One of my specific Get Faster goals was to break 25 minutes in a 5K. I stated "I'd like to do a sub 25 minute 5K. If that means 24:59, then I'll take it." That's exactly what I got at the Run for Healthier Babies 5K in October.

I didn't get the 1:50 goal time for a half marathon. I'm not sure I could have done that with my intended Run to Victory Half (that I missed this month due to my stress fracture) but this may be a 'carry over' to next year's goals.

Lose 15 pounds - this did not happen. I gave up when I was working out like crazy, being in the best physical shape I've ever been in, in my life, and I was not losing pounds. I decided that I would no longer concentrate on the numbers on the scale.

Get a P90X body - not really but I am pleased with what took shape (pun intended) during my workouts. As stated above, I have been in the best physical shape ever. Sure, when I was a teenager and in my 20s I was thinner and I could eat anything and still have a flat stomach. But I didn't workout regularly, I didn't eat healthy and I smoked.

Running Coach for CJ and Sarah - I didn't do this. I intended to but after the holidays, we didn't pick it back up.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

This has been on my "must read" list for several years. But when I read Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, I had all but sworn off Jon Krakauer. His writing and take on Pat Tillman's life was over-dramatic and I felt he was doing a disservice to this man's legacy.

But my friend Ann recommend that I give this particular novel a try and I decided to go for it and requested it from the library.

I'm glad I did.

While the Pat Tillman story left me frustrated and annoyed, Into Thin Air kept me in suspense and informed. I will say that Krakauer's style of providing background on his subject matter is extremely appreciated. It is the one thing I could enjoy about the Tillman story; I just couldn't stomach the rest.

But to learn about Mt. Everest, sirdars, sherpas, how thin the air is, HAPE and HACE was educational, to say the least. I have no desire to ever mountain climb, nor did I care to know anything about this extreme sport, but I welcomed the knowledge and felt I knew the lingo and logistics enough to relate to the events of May 10 and thereafter.

I was very, VERY cynical about this whole thing. 65K to "buy" your way to the summit. I found this to be an elitist activity that had very little to do with what I imagined (in my own naive mind) the mystique of Everest. If you had enough money and time, then you could do it; skill set didn't seem to be of importance. But fame and fortune did.

I also knew about the recent controversy surrounding the quest to make it to the summit that I found very upsetting: walking over the dead and dying, in the effort to make it to the top. This seems to go against the core of morality and being a kind human; bad karma.

My cynicism dwindled a bit and I became empathetic to the plight of all these men and women. It's heartbreaking. I can't stop thinking about Yasuko Namba and Beck Weathers, what they went through (miraculously, and I didn't know this while reading it, Beck Weathers survived).

The thought of Rob Hall dying near the summit, talking via radio to everyone, including his wife in New Zealand. I remember hearing about this soon after '96 and was heartbroken at the tidbit of news that reported it. But this time, I "knew" more about Rob Hall and the build up to his phone call and his death. It's disturbing.

I can honestly say that I have no idea why anyone would want to do this, especially someone like Doug Hansen, who was a postal worker and worked to earn enough money to do this climb, climb #2 for him. He attempted and failed to make it to the summit a year before. He made it this time but unfortunately, disappeared during the descent.

But the preparation beforehand is unbelievably and excruciatingly uncomfortable and most times, painful. Migraines, dry hacking coughs that seem to not go away, GI issues...all this before even making it to base camp and becoming acclimated to the air. Once they start acclimating, there are even more issues: more coughing, burning lungs while breathing, potty issues (try going #2 off the side of a mountain; one guy did and fell down the mountainside), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), hypothermia, and a slew of other horrible conditions that I can't imagine ever wanting to experience.

But that's me and apparently, there is something in certain people that find a need to do this. I can't find fault in that and hence, my empathy grew for the people who were about to die on this mountain.

A sad, sad story with amazing story-telling by Krakauer. I plan to read The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, the guide from Scott Fisher's team who was also involved in this climbing disaster. He died a year later in an avalanche at a different climb.

I also plan to watch the IMAX movie Everest IMAX, who were also there and part of the rescue effort in '96.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How Did I Do?

I decided to reflect on the 2009 goals I laid out for myself last year.

My first take were my blogging goals. It looks like I didn't fare so well.

* I bagged the mattress sightings. The last one I posted about was in April. I just didn't have the desire to keep up with it anymore. I saw some funky ones too. I still find it fascinating to see mattresses in weird places amongst moving vehicles so if one is truly out of the ordinary, I may sneak one in. But it's no longer a keeper.

* Local restaurant reviews didn't quite go as I planned. The key is to have partners willing to eat at these establishments with me. I have one picky eater and one picky restaurant chooser. I may have to make "date night" with my one open-minded, non-picky eater to try out the places I want to try. Or try them for lunch with the work bunch, but that requires me giving up gym/run time and I'm not sure I'll be willing to do that, that often.

I did hit a few places this past year though:
- Waraji - In hindsight, it was just OK. Maybe I'll try it again for something other than sushi, since I am a simpleton at that.

- Chubby's Tacos - One of my favorite finds of the year. The tacos and guac are spicy, so not for the timid palates (which includes the familia) so it becomes a lunch target. The chips are fresh made and to me, every bit worth going to this place just for them! But the prices are excellent and despite the crazy line that forms to order, worth its wait!

- The Old Bar @ Goodnight's - One word, two syllables: CAH-RAP. This is a money-making venture and nothing less. Cheap ingredients, cheap food, at high price. Is it worth saving money to see a comedy show? Perhaps. If you don't give a shit about eating even mediocre food just to get good ticket seats. It's sort of like the feeling that you pimp yourself out. If you have no scruples, then yes, it's worth it.

- Seoul Garden - Great service, good food but so out of the way that I probably will not return.

I've tried other places; just haven't blogged about them.

* Posting funny mug shots didn't pan out so well either. It seemed, if I looked for them, they weren't funny or scary. I found one, which still cracks me up. I saw others over the past year but by then, I had also bagged this goal. Sometimes the story behind the mugshot wasn't as funny as the mugshot itself...

* Lastly, keeping track of the Oscar-nominated movies also did not pan out well. Time was my biggest factor. I just didn't have enough time to make the time. I did catch two movies, The Wrestler and Tropic Thunder. Have the Golden Globe nominations been announced? Maybe I have a chance for redemption in 2010?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This was a book that CJ talked about often these past few months. She read it for her English class, which amazingly, is one of her favorite classes.

The movie version of this is coming out in early 2010, so I had more incentive to read it...besides CJ telling me over and over to read it.

I started on Assassination Vacation but my book request for this one came in sooner than I expected. Note: I also got The Help, finally, but 'declined' it since I have two other books (including Assassination Vacation) waiting to be read.

I really enjoyed this although I would say I read it 'casually', meaning, slowly during the before-bedtime hours. It's not my type of genre. I'm not a fantasy loving book reader *but* I found this entertaining enough to read the rest of the series.

The hero of the book is Perseus Jackson, AKA Percy Jackson. He has trouble in school and can't seem to stay out of trouble in school. His mom has sent him to a private 'reform' type school, where he tried to stay out of trouble.

His best friend is Grover and he seems to have a connection with his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner.

However, Mrs. Dodds is not the teacher he connects well with and on a field trip, Mrs. Dodds shows her true colors and turns into shriveled bat-like creature. This is the point where we know that Percy Jackson is not a normal 12-year old boy, but in fact, a demigod...son of one of the Greek gods.

The adventure will soon begin and we learn a lot about Greek Mythology. This is why this book is so popular with teachers and educators: it incorporates Greek Mythology into this novel. Someone has stolen Zeus' thunderbolt and Percy, Grover (who turns out to be a satyr) and Annabeth, a fellow demigod (well, demigoddess), go on a quest to find the bolt and return it to its rightful owner.

CJ really enjoyed this book and I am really glad to see her read novels like these: very inventive, mixing education with adventure, in characters that we (yes, even an old fogey like me) can relate to.

Who Do You Adore?

I came across this article via Twitter. I have heard similar sentiments when Michael Jordan was "our" sports hero.

I was a Tiger Woods fan but not for his golf playing ability.

Seriously. Can't anyone be a good golfer? Can we really say golf is a sport? How many times have you heard of people getting injured during golf, except some out of shape, polo-shirt wearing doofus pulling a muscle during a swing? Or perhaps getting hit by the golf ball or something like that? Golf-elbow? Golfer's knee? Anyone heard of that? I didn't think so.

I wrote a pretty hilarious commentary in one of my college creative writing classes about golf. My dad loves watching golf and I did a very sarcastic paper on it, as I was just SICK of watching it (and yes, I have played it a handful of times). I still remember writing it, sitting around my peers at a table, and we all laughed with tears as the words flowed from my hand to the paper. I wish I still had that piece...I was a pretty funny MFer back then.

Anyway, the reason I liked Tiger was because he came from a mixed race background...just like me. My childhood is filled with growing up with similar folks: black-and-filipino, black-and-thai (like Tiger), white-and-filipino, white-and-korean. This was the norm. And back in my days, it was hard to fill out forms that asked what nationality you were: Black, White, Other. I always picked Other.

And I went back and forth on what nationality I was "loyal" to: proud to be Filipino was pretty much my dominant side but so much so that I could become anti-White (I always root for the underdog).

I remember a lot of the flack that Tiger got came because he wouldn't embrace his black heritage. I really felt I understood this dilemma and it wasn't because he was dissing his black background, but being faithful to his mom's heritage. At least that's the story I made up in my head.

But when I read about the spat he and his wife had, I could care less about the situation with a mistress (now mistresses). What bothered me most was the fact that he crashed an Escalade, outside of his multi-million dollar mansion, but was going to retreat to his private yacht in Fort Lauderdale.

But not to worry, he had a spare Escalade at his mansion, along with a Porsche. And lest we not forget that he pimps ads for Tag Heur?

That superficial, pompous, materialistic crap is what is disenchanting. But I thought this guy outlined a good opinion about Tiger that "we" should apply anytime "we" decide to put someone up on a pedestal:

Tiger Woods: Worse than Tony Soprano

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Last night, I read Patrice's (KATG gossip goddess) Hell and Heartaches blog about the upcoming The Runaways movie.

The Runaways is about an all-girls' rock band from the 70s. Joan Jett and Lita Ford being the two big rock chicks that were in the band.

Oh yeah. And I heard about the movie from CJ, who told me Kristen Stewart is in it. She hates her. All that Twilight-Edward-now-Jacob-envy.

Anyways...the point of this is that, in Patrice's blog, she mentions that the director of the movie is the director of many fine music videos; one being The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson.

Well, not only do I love that song, but Manson is one of my all-time favorite bands. I also love this album, which has been on my to-do list to blog about and one of my all-time favorite albums. I wanted *this* album (titled Antichrist Superstar for the non-Manson's) to be played while in labor with *both* my children. During my pregnancies, I played the shit out of both although I chose not to play it during my labor, out of respect to the fine medical personnel who would not appreciate hearing
The beautiful people, the beautiful people
It's all relative to the size of your steeple
You can't see the forest for the trees
You can't smell your own shit on your knees

There's no time to discriminate,
Hate every motherfucker
That's in your way
So I watched The Beautiful People again last night. And it is an amazing, albeit disturbing, video. Mi-Mi was watching over my shoulder and at every instance that my heart stopped, her eyes got wide. She told me several times that it was scary.

At the 5th or 6th time of telling me "This is too scary", I told her "Well, stop watching it." To which she replied, "But it's fascinating."

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 Race Review

I didn't get too torn up about missing my planned half marathon earlier this month after thinking back to my past year of racing.

I did pretty well! I ran a total of eleven races and PR'd five of them:
* a 20K (PR)
* 2 10 Milers (PR'd one of them)
* a 10K
* an 8K (PR)
* 5 5Ks (PR'd one of them)
* a 1 miler (PR)

I logged over 923 miles for the year, which equates to over 157 hours of running. That is *a lot* of running.

I look forward to my time off now and I don't feel one single bit of guilt about it. My foot is feeling so much better; still tender as I can still feel some soreness, but I am no longer limping.

I look forward to starting back to my running regiment in 2010 and am already planning 2010's race plan.

Dear Santa

Mi-Mi had an assignment to write a thank you note to Santa. Here it is:

Dear Santa

Thank you for all my present! How do you fit throgh my chimeny? How do you get to every persons house in one night?

thank you!

It's Offiicial...

I am now going to be one of *those* moms:

CJ made AB honor roll at her school. YAY!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Best Christmas Card

I tell my girls all the time that I prefer their homemade cards and gifts to store-bought crap. There is something more meaningful to taking time out to make something, no matter how simple it may seem.

What a wonderful surprise when we received this card in the mail:

The detail of putting these pieces of paper together to build a send out to your friends. I felt incredibly privileged to be the recipient of this wonderful card.

The inside of the card has this "and the children say he could laugh and play just the same as you and me oh frosty the". With Happy Holidays from my dear friend and her man.

The back of the card is really cute too. Not much there but the bottom of the card has "Thumpity Thump Thump Greetings © 2009".

Thank you AudreyPodrey for making my holiday.

A Seashell Contest

This is a story that Mi-Mi wrote in her class last week. What is amazing, to me, is that she made this whole thing up.

The exercise was:
Pick 4 small stickers and 1 BIG sticker. Decorate the box below with the stickers and crayons. Write a story about your pictures and create a title for your story.

This is what she wrote:
One day there was a seashell contest. Two people signed up. The day the contest was here everyone came. The one who got less was 25 and the other got *100*! Every one clapped exsept the other!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I have a recent appreciation for Pinot Noir.

My memory of it, before last Wednesday, was a watery tasting red. But my BFF Sam had had The Four Graces Pinot Noir before and recommended it. I was hesitant, but since others (OK, the one other person that was early for our department lunch) was impartial to what to order, I threw caution to the wind and said "Let's have it!"

And boy, I am sooooooo glad I did. It was one of the most fabulous wines I've had in awhile. In my short repertoire of wine tasting notes, the only word I could think of was: juicy.

And the aroma? Heaven sent. I can't describe it in words (yet) but one of the most important things to me about wine is being able to smell a wondrous fragrance from the wine. I have yet to meet a wine that tastes bad when it smells so good.

So when I got the bad news about my foot on Friday, I stopped at a new local wine shop on the way home to pick up a cheap-but-tasty-and-hopefully "juicy" Pinot Noir.

Let me also add that I believe I have been calling it a PEE-nyo-nwar: the eñe "n" in Spanish. I don't recall saying it that way but the way the lady at the local wine store looked at me (slight but noticeable to me), I figured I said it wrong. To be fair, it is not completely out of ignorance that I pronounce it that way; if no one is saying "Pee-not"it just seemed to be a natural way of saying it *to me*.

So while I enjoyed the PEE-no-nwar that the wine shop person recommended (Redtree for $7.99 - a great buy!), I didn't like the assumption that I was not a wine connoisseur.

Although I'm not (yet) quite an expert, I am a comfortable-novice. I won't dis her totally; she was nice. And I support local. And while I haven't supported local wine stores, my new goal is to do that as I was able to find this one for $7.99...and there was another Pinot Noir she had for $5.99!

Sunkist's Wish List

CJ put together Sunkist's (the cat) wish list for Christmas:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stress Fractured

My left foot has been bothering me for a good while. In fact, I noticed a blog posting on October 10, my Autism 5K race, notes that my foot was hurting even then.

It wouldn't hurt while I ran. But walking caused me to limp. And most times, limp very badly. It has gotten progressively worse that last week, when I got ready to run, my friend Tom from the gym showed concern.

And my friend Bill even shared his concern with me...noting that I have been complaining about my foot.

And well, I've been concerned because, well, it hurts! And I thought that this pain, whatever it was, would be gone awhile ago...and if it's getting worse, then it's not going away.

About two weeks ago, I decided it would be best to see a professional about it. So I found a place, made an appointment that met my dates, which pushed it out to today.

Today. Two days before my half marathon.

I told Bill, after he expressed concern, that I had an appointment. What's the worse that could happen?

At the appointment today, they x-rayed my left foot and my elbow. I threw in the elbow since I was seeing an ortho doc (when I made the appointment. When the doc walked into the room, he said "So you have a bunion, huh?"

"Um, yes. But that's not what's bothering me." I was confused as every piece of document I had filled out was pretty specific about the pain being "the top of my left foot".

So he pushed on the top of my foot and asked if it hurt.

YES. IT'S A BIT TENDER (THANKYOUVERYMUCH). The parentheses was my inner sarcasm speaking to the doc.

He then said "One second" and left to take a peek back at the x-rays. He came back in and said "You have a stress fracture!"

He seemed excited.

I was in shock. It never crossed my mind. I thought possible bruising but never evidence to prove something was really wrong. I always have to play "let's guess what's wrong with me" with the doctor's. There's never something blatant.

So in my shock I said "What about running?"

He was writing in his report, not looking at my astonished face, and said "not for at least two to three weeks".

But, but, but...I have a race on Sunday.

He stopped writing. "How many miles?"

Before I answered, I already knew how silly that question was...and how stupid my answer would be: "Thirteen?"

He laughed. He shook his head. And he said "You can do what you want, but I would advise NO."

He continued to express that he couldn't believe I had been running. I agreed. I knew my foot hurt, dad-nab-it!

He laughed again and said "You know, I usually have patients come in and it's really nothing. You come in, thinking it's nothing, and you have a broken foot."

Did he just say "broken foot"? My foot is broken? I thought you said it was a stress fracture???

Oh. And the elbow? It is tennis elbow, AKA tendinitis.

He asked, again, excitedly "Want a cortisone shot?"

No. I've had this pain longer than the foot pain. TODAY I can hold up a glass of water. How is a shot going to help with that TODAY?

Alas. I am told that tendinitis lasts up to a year to a year-and-a-half. Really? I say, exasperated. Really, he says...quite knowingly smug.

So my race plans for Sunday are out. I called Tim first, to bring him the bad news (he seemed OK with it); then Coach B, who was really sympathetic for me. At the time of the call, I was just fine with it. No worries. No more mental battles.

But only five minutes later, on the drive back to work, it all kind of hit me and my eyes even watered.


This whole month?

Fuck the race. I need to run! I want to run!! I can't eat all this food and not run!! I need my Keith and the Girl podcast! I need to feel the cold on my skin! I need to complain about running!!! I ran 14 miles two weeks ago! Three weeks off will put me back to the start.

So I am bummed. Very bummed. Not at all about the race. I'm done with racing for the year. Not racing is GREAT. I ran four races on a broken foot. But not running is not the same as not racing, and for that, I am very, very sad.

But I will follow the advice of the doctor, who said, not just two to three weeks to recover, but listen to the pain. If I'm in pain, I'm not ready.

I didn't do that for the past several months. I consider myself lucky that the bone is healing, according to Dr. Bones. But I have been in a lot of pain and it's not worth it.

Besides. I want to run again. And very, very, very soon. Without a healed foot.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Three Days and Counting

So Run to Victory is in three days. My half marathon for the year. And as usual, I feel vulnerable to failure.

And what is failure for me?

I have no idea.

Which makes me frustrated that I ruminate over this.

I have a twitter friend who is running a marathon on Sunday. He says he has no goal time, just for fun.

First, I don't believe him. :)

Second, I want to feel the same way but I don't. I mean, I'm not _that_ stressed about it, but I am stressed about it.

Run for fun is not in my book because of that.

I have a goal. The goal is not to do worse than my last half. Notice I don't say 'do better than last half'. I mean NOT WORSE. And even more so, my goal is to not do worse than my first half!!

My first half? Why have I brought up the past?

I read a couple of blurbs on this particular route. And what I read is "challenging course", "hilly course". That just sends bad butterflies into my tummy when I read that.

We shall see. I never know how I'll react on race day. I just hope to surprise myself. But it seems that I can't get away from fretting about it beforehand.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Being Thankful

Mi-Mi amazes me with her sentences in writing. I can't believe the stuff she writes, how she writes, etc. She's only six! And I sometimes think the writing is done by her teacher in technique and in tone. But most of all, her writing is honest and pure. It just gives me chills.

I was amazed when I read this exercise from class...apparently a writing exercise to state what they are thankful for. There were several things she wrote for Thanksgiving but this one I recently read (post-Thanksgiving) and was really curious as to what brought her sentiment...since we don't generally "teach" this at home.

What it says:
I am thankful for my family. They are helpful to me and their funny and fun. I love my family so much! I am thankful for my food. I am thankful for god. I love my food and god.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's One of THOSE Days...

The good news is that I made it into work OK.

When I got to the gym to get ready for my track workout, I "found" out that I forgot a sports bra. Great. "Oh well." I thought to myself. Count me lucky for being small chested as running "free" will not affect me too bad.

But it's mighty cold outside and, well, I didn't want to fret about my headlights showing. So I was fortunate enough to wear a bra with a camisole and a shirt. So the bra could go for a run and I would still be OK without it.

Oh. Let me preface that with the fact that I realized that I forgot my Garmin watch! The track is not wear one wants to be watchless, so I grabbed a stopwatch from the gym to use.

This sucks as I have to rely on my not-so-keen memory because the splits aren't saved. Why it has a split button, I don't know. I'm not _that_ old school.

And I forgot a jacket. It turned out to be OK but it was fricking cold and I was thinking: what the hell else can I forget?

I didn't forget gloves, albeit brown, cotton gloves that were made for something like Shrek, because they are for someone with short, fat fingers. Whatever. It's all I have.

And I remembered to bring one of those things that covers your ears while you run...the headband thingy.

So Frank and I are off. The warm-up was GREAT. I felt awesome and the cold was not biting. It actually felt really good.

Then it was time to start the 4x1Ks. First one: I was off by :18 seconds. It didn't feel like I was pushing hard so I thought it was an OK way to start out.

Second one felt harder: :08 seconds off. Wow. I'm not even getting close to my goal time!

Third one: :03 seconds off. Fourth one: :04 seconds off! I didn't make my time on any of them!!!

And I really felt like I didn't care if I did. I was OK with it.

When we got done, Runner Rob asked if the gloves off to the side were mine. I said they were and asked: guess you were eyeing my big brown gloves! To which another responded "Rob was actually looking to snag a stopwatch". Great. Now they make fun of the technology I use.

The rest of the afternoon went by 1 million miles an hour. I had a jam packed afternoon after my run. I tried to scarf down my lunch in ~5 minutes but I missed my goal time by 2 minutes.

Then, when I had it all together...when I thought, I got this. I am in control of my day...I'm on my way to my 1PM meeting. I'm good. I'm good! I made it to the first floor of my building only to discover that I left my purse in my office.

And it didn't end there. I couldn't just shoot back up to the sixth floor...I had to go down to the basement, wait for new riders to jump on, before making it back to the sixth.

But at least I made it home OK. :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Running a Race is like Cramming for a Term Paper

I saw this article today and thought "Wow! I thought the same thing yesterday!" And for the life of me, I can't remember the connection that I had to 'last minute writing a term paper' to running my race this Sunday...but it was profound at the time and it was like 'that is *so* like me!!'

But I guess it doesn't matter that I can't make the's still a strange coincidence that someone else made the same attribution as I did.

From Endurance magazine, The Hardest Part is the Start.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I waited until today (Sunday) to do my long run vs my normally scheduled Saturday run. Yesterday was just awful with rain all day. Every time I checked the iTouch for the temperature -- thinking that I would run in the drizzle -- the temperature continued dropping. Forty-three degrees. OK. Let me wait until it gets closer to 46 degrees. Next check? Forty degrees!! What the heck? I finally bagged the decision to run yesterday around 2:30 PM, which helped stopped the crazy continued thinking of "Should I or shouldn't I".

So today I head out for my run and guess what the temp was? Thirty-nine degrees! ACK! But the day was SUNNY so I didn't have to run in the rain.

My plan was to run two miles out on Black Creek from Old Reedy Creek...this would give me four, out-and-back...then run two miles out into Umstead to get four out-and-back, for my total of eight planned. This plan would allow me to run less hills.

However, once I started, I noticed a muddy spot in which I almost slipped going around. Then there was "crud" that blocked a section of the trail, again from the rain. Then at the bottom of the hill, Lake Crabtree had overflowed onto the trail. Three times and you're out! I turned around and bagged running Black Creek and headed into Umstead for my eight.

Overall, I had a decent run. But if you know anything about Umstead, you know that it's very slanty and hilly. I really wasn't in the mood for these although I tried to keep myself mentally UP for it because it looks like my Run for Victory route is very hilly. $Bill just ran a hilly half route and he had mentioned the mental battle for getting it done.

Then the ruminations begin: how the hell am I going to run a hilly route? My legs are not liking it and I'm just mentally TIRED. I don't think I can get an aggressive pace, as I did for the Tar Heel 10 and Anna's Angels. I decided that I was going to fail...that I was setting myself up for failure.

I ended mentally crushed.

But I managed to get over myself while washing away my dirt, grime and sweat.

So my race plan is going to cover what I think can happen on race day.

Goal Plan: This would be to run around an 8:55 pace, which would get me around a 1:57 finish time. This would break my 2:00 PR. This, technically, would be a good, competitive pace and would get me sub-2, which would be my plan for this half.

Ideal Plan: This plan would be to run an 8:45 pace, roughly better than the Tar Heel 10 Miler I did this past April. This is a very aggressive, competitive pace, but it's my ideal race day plan. This would put me at a 1:54 finish time.

Worst Case Plan: Well, let me just say, the worst case plan is a DNF (did not finish). I think that goes without saying will be a plan I don't plan for :). So my worst case plan is to go 10 minute mile average pace, which would put me around 2:10. This is the time I did at my first half marathon and it was an aggressive pace to keep during that time. I think I can keep a 10 minute mile pace if I end up giving up mentally, or feeling really tired.

The route is supposedly hilly so I am anticipating a tough run mentally and physically...but my races this past year have not been flat and I've dealt with the mental battle at each race.

I know I can put in the miles. I have these past several weeks. It's just how much I can put forth on race day, based on how I feel that day, what the weather is like, and how bad those hills are.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Momentous Occasion

Well, sort of.

My car reached 100K last weekend. I have never owned a car long enough to get to that many miles. I am very happy and proud to have had this car, deemed "Goth Girl" by my girls, for this many miles.

Even if she's in a state of minor disrepair: my passenger window dropped over the summer and has been held up by a piece of cherry since. And her speakers aren't so hot, and she's kind of loud when she idles...and let's not forget that she shakes a bit going up a hill at 25 mph.

But we've been through a lot: the accident in 2007; the break-in at Shelley Lake; the Spring Break excursions I take my girls too in it. And how I've made it an extension of myself through the art of bumper stickers.

I hope she doesn't give up on me and that we have a great many more miles together. I just can't wait until I get that window fixed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Elitists Run Rampant

Why do these people exist? Why? They are just as bad as cockroaches. Why can't they just become extinct.

Don't misunderstand: I don't want to kill people off. I want this attitude to be gone with. Why can't people just enjoy their own lives without judging and admonishing others that do something different?

Why can't everyone just be like me? :)

I recently read a blog entry that was advertised on 30Threads. No, I'm not going to put it here and give it more weight. Suffice it to say, the post was about trying out cheap wines.

It started out really well: a description of the several types of wine purchased under $5. Description of the wine and how it tasted, etc. And there were good remarks and bad remarks and the blogger kept the writing to just information without any snootiness about drinking a 'cheap' wine.

I read the comments and they were pretty respectable...until the elitist decides to jump in with his asinine monologue on how $5 wine is to fine wine as McDonald's is to fine dining. This is truly a very short summary to his awful, arrogant, I'm-such-a-fucking-connoisseur comment.

Boy. Did that get my blood boiling. "ASSHOLE!" I yelled at my computer screen. I can't WAIT to read the comments after that, I said to myself. Someone's going to rip him a new one!!

And guess what?

No one said anything about that asshole's comment. What?

In fact, not only did they not counter him but the original blogger wrote another post APOLOGIZING for trying cheap wines! And quoted this motherfucker's entire comment in his blog!! Giving him WEIGHT FOR HIS COMMENT!!

And then out of the woodwork, other comments agreeing to the fact that cheap wines are yucky (my words).

I typed out several variations of comments only to stop and simply state: 'I can't relate to any of you.'

And I can't. I simply can't. I am no wine connoisseur nor do I pretend to be one...and if you talk like that MFer did, I only think you are a lip-synching wine-whore. I am not impressed.

But the elitists are everywhere. I can't get away from them, as hard as I try. I just read this article from Jeff Galloway. I loved it and he didn't hold back, although he used better, cleaner language than I do. In this article, he responds to an article in the NY Times about how slow runners have ruined the image of marathons.


There will always be slow runners in a marathon because not everyone can cross the finish at the same time.

Ah...but what's the definition of slow? There isn't one unless your a fucking elitist runner. Or you're a slow runner...because WE have no egos about our running ability.

No one can do anything anymore without someone out there pointing a finger with tsk! tsk! on their brains, as though they are the only ones who can decide who or what is worthy of their time.

Empathy, my dear ignoramuses, empathy. Look it up. And until you figure out what the hell that means and can fit that into the little space that's left in your pea-brain (because your ego has taken up a majority of it), stay the hell away from me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Getting Tired

It was hard to make the decision to run this morning. I tried to find an excuse not to:

* it rained a lot last night; Umstead trails will be flooded.
* I'll be all alone this early at Umstead
* I have a meeting that I will miss
* I can skip it; I ran Tuesday

But I knew I had to get it in...I really did _want_ to run. There is satisfaction when I fight through the excuses and get it in...and normally, once running, I enjoy it.

I made it in earlyish (7:30) as I had day two of a two day class that would begin at 9. I had six miles as my plan and I was going to do the 10K loop we have at work.

I started my run and felt pain in my left foot. I have felt this more and more the past week during my runs but at some point, I either can ignore it or it goes away.

Today was not one of those days. And on top of the pain in my left foot, my right ham/glute felt heavy. I think I am just wearing down and am ready to finish my training for the year and take a break.

My half marathon is now the one on the 13th vs. the original plan of running this Saturday's Mistletoe. I think my body is ready to be done. Remember, I have completed six races since September, so I am pretty much done with it...even though I wanted to end with a big one, the half. I'm not even in the mood to outline my 2010 race calendar because I'm just done with the idea of running anymore.

No worries. I will race in 2010. I just don't want to think about it right now.

So the pains continued and I took a nice long break, walking up half mile hill. I also cut the 10K to 5 1/2 miles as my legs couldn't bear it...and then there was the case of running out of time, as it was closing in on 8:30 and I take quite a bit of time to get ready after my runs.

I ended up deciding to wear my old running shoes to class vs. my dressy chunky heels with my nice business casual outfit. I'm thinking this may be the dress code for the next few days, until I hit race day.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Smelly Kat

Saturday was a 14 mile run for me. The longest I have ever done. It wasn't easy.

$Bill met me for most of his seven mile run. My left foot was aggravating me but once warmed up (but not really warm, because it was COLD), I forgot about it being a problem. As usual, we had great topics to chat about while our feet pounded the ground, mile after mile.

Bill and I parted ways at his six miles and I ran back into Umstead...after leaving him to finish on Black Creek greenway. It was a busy Umstead day: lots of runners, walkers and bikers. I like that. :)

As I tried to ignore the fact that I had about eight more miles to go, I noticed movement - peripherally - out of the corner of my left side. I decided to look over, assuming it was someone taking a potty break in the woods. But no, it was a guy, standing right by a tree close to the trail. He smiled at me and I smiled back. His smile, to me, was strange. And once I passed him, I understood why.

I passed and smelled COLOGNE. A LOT OF IT. And if you don't know about the Umstead fire trails, they have a pretty wide berth. So his cologne managed to span the area of the woods he stood in, then the span of the trail, up to my nose, and probably pass me to my right.

WTF? Who wears cologne on a run? And not just wear it, but THAT MUCH? Seriously, I've smelled women drenched in perfume but rarely, if ever, do I smell it on a man.

And that's why his smile was strange. He was smiling at me like "hey baby. You know you like me."


I forgot about cologne man after a bit. I made my run into Umstead stop at the top of Cemetery Hill. My legs were not cooperating and the thought of running up that hill was not good: it wouldn't happen. No way was I running up a hill. I COULDN'T run up a hill.

So I turned around and headed back, knowing that to reach 14 miles, I would have to run to the end of Black Creek and Dynasty, then head back to where I started. I'm really unhappy about that decision but less hills and I would have to find the motivation to get my 14 in. Thinking about $Bill doing his 14 the week before was my motivation: he did it so I should be able to too.

While I ruminate the miles in my head, I see a runner approaching me. The only reason why I notice him is because he has nothing on but shorts. It's not brrrr-cold for me right now because I have been running approximately nine miles, but it ain't that warm either. I just passed an elite runner I see often and he was in shorts and shirt. Who is this guy, boldly running with barely anything on???

I raise my hand to him, my runner's "hello" since I can't really talk anymore. I get no response back. But I know who he is after we pass: he's mr. cologne man because that's all I can smell.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Lunch Lady

Last week I promised Mi-Mi that I would meet her for lunch at her school. This week, as usual, was packed full of lunch time commitments that I chose to push my Monday run out for lunch with her (I am a martyr, yeah?).

I don't do 'this' kind of stuff: volunteer at the school, hang out with "room moms", etc. It's not my thing and I am not running for "look like I am mother of the year" awards. I'm not the best mom but I'm pretty darn good and I do it on my own terms, which makes me the pretty darn good mom that I am.

But I can't pretend to like to do things when I don't, and doing things at the school are one of those things. This is apparent when I came out to meet Mi-Mi's teacher for a parent-teacher conference last week: 1. I didn't know where the classroom was (I knew the vicinity) and B. I didn't recognize the teacher. I asked someone "I'm looking for Ms. O" and that someone replied "That's me."

*But* I *did* want to meet Mi-Mi for lunch. She had a great report from her teacher about how well she is doing at school - academically *and* behaviorally (really? I questioned the teacher). So I was happy for her and wanted to celebrate by meeting her at school for lunch.

So this took place yesterday. She wanted McDonald's (ugh) and was specific about Chicken McNuggets with *two& BBQ sauces. I had to send the Mickey D's lady back TWICE for two sauces...she came back with, my daughter is very specific...she wants TWO.

So I have a salad, hoping there isn't a bug in it (I found one in my salad from Lynnwood Grill last week...I ate about 99% of the salad before one of the last pieces had a ladybug appear (dead) before my eyes...BLECH!); she with her nuggets and BBQ sauces.

When I got there, I wasn't totally sure where to go. Ms. O said meet in the cafeteria but it's apparent there is assigned seating so I don't know where to sit. So I decide the best course of action was to get in line with Mi-Mi and her class. This is where I met "Taylor", a cute blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy, who took one look at me and wrapped his arms around my legs and said "Hello Mi-Mi's mom!"


And Taylor would end up sitting across from me at our table, along with four others.

Lunch topics were interesting: I can count by 10s. Then the challenger says: I can count by 5s...and then the other kid says, I can count by 5s too! And this goes on for a good while. Wow. I can't believe this keeps them engaged for as long as it does.

I also get introduced to Taylor's lunch: I have two of everything: see? you wanna see what kind of sandwich I have? [takes sandwich out and takes it apart] Ah, I say. PB&J. Yeah! GRAPE JELLY!!


I kid of course. Taylor is a cute kid and we talk about a lot of stuff, like how many chicken nuggets a person could eat. 9,999 Taylor suggests as a viable option. He also shows me how he bobs for chips and proceeds to put his fingers in his ears, bobs his head down to pick up a pringle with his mouth. This CRACKED ME UP. OMG. That was the cutest thing.

And then the next cutest thing? Taylor saying something like "this is interesting" or maybe I made it up in my head but he showed me in his little cute hand, a small chicklet. It was his TOOTH!!! His tooth fell out!!! I thought it was one of my luckiest days to be there when someone would lose his tooth. I was excited for him.

He proceeded to show me how his finger fit in the gap where his tooth fell out. He even let me hold the napkin that he wrapped his tooth in, so he wouldn't accidentally mistake it for trash while he cleaned up his mess. I asked him how many teeth he had lost so far...TWO. AWWWWWW...I was here to see his second tooth come out...I felt pretty privileged.

I don't do much but sit and smile and talk with quiet Mi-Mi and Taylor. But two of the kids at the table tell Mi-Mi that her mom is sooooo nice, which makes Mi-Mi smile proudly, as if she's responsible for me being nice (she is :)). I also think: if only they knew...

But one kid, who I know enough to enjoy her company AWAY from my house, hands me an orange and says "can you peel this for me?" I think: Um, I didn't come here to do any kind of labor. Aren't there people around to do this kind of stuff? What if I wasn't here?? Who would do this? So I stopped ruminating about being given a task to peel an orange and just peeled it for her. I would then find that this little girl shares the same oddity with me, which is to peel all the little stringy white things off, so I was tasked to do that as well. But I only did half of the orange.

When it was time for our table to throw the trash, I encountered another little kid who wanted me to scoop his mac-n-cheese into the trash. What do I look like here? The lunch lady? I didn't say that out loud (I can restrain myself sometimes) but I did look at the kid like "who do you think I am? your mother?" It would've been great had he been looking at me instead of helpless for someone to help him with the mac-n-cheese.

It wasn't me. I walked away. I had already peeled an orange. I was done with my hard labor for other kids for the day.

Perhaps I won't make mom-of-the-year in the eyes of the masses, but I don't care about that. As long as Mi-Mi is happy (and she was, as she asked me to come back :)) and *I'm* happy, that's all that matters.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Am I Losing It?

I have mentioned that I have had a couple of weird episodes where my right hand goes numb and then I have trouble articulating for the next 24 hours. I also had another episode where I felt like my legs weren't mine and then all the other weird things that happened with the hand numbness.

I did mention this before, haven't I?

So the past week, three things have me wondering if I am losing my mind: due to above mentioned ailment, senility, early warning signs of Alzheimer's, or just plain being a dingbat.

Number 1 dingbat incident: I was making another cup of coffee for myself. I opened the cupboard to grab a coffee mug and noticed the cream was in there. I had placed the cream in the cupboard vs. the refrigerator.

Number 2 dingbat incident: My Turkey Trot race...thinking I had only (nearly) four miles to run vs. five.

Number 3 dingbat incident: My run today. After $Bill and I split up for our different distances, I turned back to finish my miles and got my iTouch out...ready for some Keith and the Girl. No sound. I kept pushing the button up and wondered what the fuck was wrong with it now. About a week ago, it was stuck on headphones even without the headphones. I took the headphone plug out, stuck it back in. Still no sound. Until I realized, I hadn't put the headphones ON MY FRICKING HEAD.

Those News Stories That Haunt You

I read about this accident yesterday, thinking about how awful it did it happen?

This part of the beltline is not far from my house, so I was curious. But when I read the article, I realized where the fatality came from:

Police: Man fell to death from Beltline after crash ::

And it brought back the memory of another similar fatality. It's one of those news items that generally gets overlooked by the majority...but for me, it hit me hard and whenever I pass that section, I think about the young man who, in 2005, fell to his death at the same section trying to be a good samaritan. And when I think about him and the way he died, it makes my soul fill up with pain -- you know, the way sad news makes the pit of your stomach ache?

In trying to assess this median as I pass it, I realize how misleading this thing can be, especially at night.

View I-440 closed due to wreck in a larger map

First: there are plants/trees/bushes that go down most of the median of the beltline. So for the most part, it can be assumed that this median is completely filled in all the way down. But at night, where both of these fatalities took place -- the latter being 7PM but I noticed it was quite dark at that time -- in all probability, there's no way to see that the darkness below leads to a 70 foot drop vs. a concrete bottom.

You can see this when you zoom in on the map above. You can even place yourself in front of the thing and see that, for the most part, it doesn't look like there is a gap between the two sections of the beltline. One side, the West side, has a fenced overhang over the gap, but the other side does not. I have no idea why someone would jump that fenced barrier but no matter, it doesn't "appear" to be a gap in the road.

It's sad because it is so senseless. Over a stupid design in the road. A random freak accident because, statistically, how many people will actually try to jump over this median? But we now have three (two deaths) on record and I hope that this will be MORE THAN ENOUGH to fix the damn thing and cover it up completely.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What A Gay Life!

I loved this bit that aired on The John Stewart Show last week (November 19th, to be exact). It's about William Phillips, a 10 year old boy who is refusing to stand up and say the pledge allegiance because there is no liberty and justice for all, specifically, gay people.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gaywatch - Peter Vadala & William Phillips
Daily Show
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What is great about this, is not just little Will standing up for something he believes in, but his *dad* sitting there, next to him, during his interview, supporting, smiling, being proud, of William and what he has done.

And quite honestly IMO, the dad doesn't look like a stereotypical "gay supporter". Nor does being from Arkansas fit the bill.

But that kid is so fricking smart. And I have to give a big THANK YOU to his family, who obviously helped him think like a man should think. Note: women too, but in this case, William is a male.

How do you teach a KID to stand up for what he believes in? Without fear of repercussions, which did happen by the very fact that his "peers" (not worthy of the name) called him a "gay-tard".

Sure. You can support it in the house, but it doesn't mean that you actually SAY anything to outside people!

Let me tell you: I still know people who refuse to say anything about their true colors for fear of reaction. And these are "adults". Whatever.

This news item lets me talk about why I love the show Glee so much.

It's cheesy, with it's cheesy vocals. But it's delightful and quirky. The cast of characters are interesting. Kurt Hummel is one of the characters who is a flamingly gay teenaged boy.

And while that's not so unusual, but what what makes his character, and the show, stand out the most is his dad (played by Mike O'Malley).

The dad is a stereotypical 'man's man': a mechanic, where's a hat, very gruff. But when Kurt comes out to his dad, his dad states that he's always known that since he was a little kid.

And thus, the surprise of the show after so many episodes, a not-so-typical-looking-acting-dad, who supports his son being gay. And doesn't try to change him. Nor does he hide it. In fact, in one episode, he goes to the principal, standing up for Kurt and his desire to sing a song that is typically sung by a woman.

KUDOS TO GLEE for bringing the dad character to the screen. I LOVE that they have done this and I'm so glad that the family enjoys watching this show together.

The other show that also embraces homosexuality *and* within a committed relationship is Modern Family.

Besides being one of the funniest TV sitcoms I have seen in a very looooongggg time, we have a gay couple, who have adopted a baby girl from China, who are accepted by their manly dad -- played by the king of the most homophobic, biased, sitcom dad of all-time, Al Bundy (AKA Ed O'Neill).

And yet another show that the family enjoys together. It's great to see these shows embrace a positive attitude about acceptance, with regard to homosexuality. And it's great to know that this isn't always just a fantasy for TV or movies...that there are real people like William Phillips and his family who feel the same way.

Inside-Out Sports Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 8K Race Report

First of all, I know what an 8K is.

I have done one before.

It is approximately 4.97 miles.

I KNOW that.

So make no mistake: I knew I was running 4.97 miles today.

I even told my husband this before the race.

However, while running the race, my brain fried and wandered into LA-LA land. So instead of KNOWING I was running 4.97 miles, I decided that I was running 3.97 miles.

Yes. I confused myself and expected to be close to done after my three mile alert went off. I thought I was running just past a 5K.

So when I heard my four mile alert go off on my watch, I was wondering why I didn't hear people cheering, see the finish, nothing.

And then it hit me. I KNOW IT'S CLOSER TO 5 MILES!!! SHIT!!!

And it hit me like a wall. I was deflated. I have one more mile to go? Really? What the hell was I thinking? What happened to my brain?

I don't know what happened but the end result is it happened. And I was shocked to the core. And I was sad and frustrated that I had one more mile to go. I lost it mentally. I wanted to tuck my tail in between my legs and go home.

But I bucked up and went forward. I really wanted to see Karen or Frank, friends I started at the line with, to find motivation to keep going.

And before my big mistake, I had an OK race. I was doing a pretty OK pace. Not what I wanted to do but I was managing. At the three mile split, I was in the zone. I felt great. My legs felt great. But at that time, I thought I only had less than a mile to go.

I saw Coach B & her hubby right at the turn to the finish, which I thought would never come soon enough. That last mile seemed to go on forever. Where is the fricking end???

I smiled at my coach sheepishly as they cheered me on. She's awesome.

And I heard Tim and saw Mi-Mi holding a sign she made for me cheering me on. It was all worth it when I saw them. I was still frustrated with my race but not as bad as I thought when I found out I another mile to go.

When I tried to explain what happened, there was confusion as most thought I thought that an 8K was 3.97 miles. THAT WAS NOT THE CASE. I know/knew how long I was running today. I just fucked it all up in my head once I started running.

Nonetheless, I still PR'd the race for that length. I hadn't run an 8K since 2004 and improved by 2:12.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I've read every book by this author. Both of them. :)

And they were amazing.

A new favorite author.

I added her fan page and her as a friend on Facebook. Let the stalking begin. JUST KIDDING.

This book was just as magical as The Sugar Queen. Claire is a 34 year old caterer, who has lived an old life. Her sister Sydney, on the other hand, decided to follow in their mother's footsteps and lead the wild life, living temporarily where ever she pleased.

But Sydney has Bay, her young daughter, and an abusive boyfriend. She flees back to where she was escaping all her life (like her mom): Bascom, NC.

Sydney and Claire then find a way to leave their baggage behind, deal with their mother, and all the strangeness that define them, such as the Apple tree in the backyard that throws apples at you.

It is such an amazing story, much like The Sugar Queen was: very quirky, taking town lore to the nth degree, like 'The Hopkins' are born old. That's why they have to marry older women.' And literally, the Hopkins men are much older than they are in the way they work, act and think.

Then there's the Clark women, who are known for their, um, sexual prowess and always married well.

And the Waverly's, Sydney & Claire, the strange ones with the magical garden...

My favorite character is Evanelle, who is an elderly cousin of Claire & Sydney's who has to give things to people. She doesn't know why, but the town has accepted this quirkiness because it always becomes useful. Evanelle will give someone something: a lighter, a ball of yarn, a mango splitter, etc. that eventually, will make sense to the giftee.

Then *the* apple tree, who has a life of its own. It throws apples at 'you'. If you eat one, though, the most amazing thing that will happen in your life will be revealed...and this doesn't always mean it's a good thing.

But it can throw apples far. It can roll apples to you. And it's branches can reach out to you.

A fascinating book that just brings a spirit to me, much like Jane Eyre did. Once I read it, I was spellbound and so was my world.

I look forward to Allen's new book which does not come out until March of next year!!! I need to find a widget to countdown this debut.

Thank you, Sarah Addison Allen, for these amazing stories.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I hated to do it but after several Viagra spam posts, I had to put word verification in for commenting.

I'm not much into censorship. And I don't like registering in order to comment. And if you want to be anonymous, that's OK with me!

But I also don't want irrelevant-repetitive-spam comments on my blog. I could care less if it's advertising. Just say "Hey! I can't believe I know someone else who has kite-o-phobia. Do you have erectile dysfunctions? If so, try Viagra."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where'd That Bubble Go?

I mentioned that I had an EEG a few weeks ago, to see if I am seizure-proned. I'm not, at least according the EEG results.

I had another similar "episode" on October 23rd. It was in the middle of a meeting. And I panicked for a split second, worried about whether I should say something to the two other people in the meeting, or call 911, or what! Then I semi-calmed down, finished the meeting hoping that it was going away and that I wasn't about to drop dead. And then? I texted Tim, emailed myself the episode details to relay to the dr. later and went to meet friends for lunch.

The next day, I went for a run. At the end of the run, on my cool down back to the hacienda, I had another one, but worse. I "lost" the feeling in my legs even though I was running. Again, thought I was going to collapse in the middle of the road. I walked the rest of the way home and told Tim 'i'm having one right now!'. It's a weird experience. An out of body kind of thing. The rest of the day and the day after, I have problems finding words to finish my sentences. This happened with the first episode.

So when I had my follow-up with the neuro and told him this, he sort of shrugged and said "I don't know".

I am sort of used to this response. I had a similar response, but not put so bluntly, several years ago during my "mysterious illness".

So in order to keep ruling out very serious illness and disorders, he ordered another test: an echocardiogram and bubble study.

The bubble study is simply injecting a saline solution into the bloodstream and seeing how it flows through the heart. Of course, that's the layman's description but essentially, they can see if I have a problem with my heart that may be causing the disruptions to my brain.

Everything I read about this study is how 'safe' this study is. I wasn't worried anyway. I have had lots of things poked and prodded in/out of me (no snickering please) that I just have this 'go with the flow' attitude. It includes assuming that nothing will be found. Which is strange because technically, I shouldn't want anything found with these tests.

I told Tim not to bother joining me - it was a 30 mn procedure, supposedly.

The initial echo went relatively well. There was a student and I was asked if it would be OK for her to observe and do some work. Of course! I love listening, and being a part of, to their learning experience.

I watched a little bit and then started getting sleepy. It's dark in that room...

When it was time for the bubble study, a nurse becomes part of the team. She inserts an IV which will allow her to "submit" bubbles into my vein.

The IV goes into the right arm. It's feeling a little painful but sometimes they do, sometimes they don't for me.

Then the echo tech says "we're ready".

And then I feel something really strange go into my arm, thinking it's the bubble going into my vein. But this hurts. And really bad. In fact, it's getting worse and I feel like I am going to pass out. I look at the screen, still curious to see what bubbles look like in my heart and the echo tech is like "did you do it?"

I then realize: the bubble did not go into my vein. I tell them that my arm is really hurting bad. A note that, I am not bragging or boasting, but I do have a very high tolerance for pain. This pain was one of the top five worst pains I've ever had.

I thought: hmm...this is great. A simple procedure. Safe for 99.9% of people. And I will die. And I told Tim not to come.

The pain lasted a good 15 minutes or so. My arm, around the bicep, was just feeling awful. They assured me that my body would just absorb it. And I accepted that.

But I think the incident shook everyone up in the room. And because I am such a cool cat, I tried to make light of the whole thing to ease their discomfort.

The nurse tried the left arm next, for the next IV. I was chit-chatting, talking about how I'm used to needles...about my tattoo on my back. But the nurse wasn't talking or responding so I asked "Is my vein giving you trouble". She nodded yes.

I told her to do my hand. I have veiny hands. I typically try to show Melisa my hands because she gets nauseous at the sight of veins.

The nurse commented that the hand is usually very painful for an IV...I reminded her of my tattoo. And typically, I have found that the hand IV goes more smoothly (for me) than anywhere else.

So she did the hand: #3 needle of the day. And the echo study continued and I saw bubbles flow through my heart.
When all was said and done, I had three women anxiously awaiting for a peek at my tattoo. Why get a tattoo if you can't show it off?? So there I am, lifting things, covering things, etc. to show off my artwork. And then the door opens and another worker looks in with the "WTF is going on in here look?" She must have been somebody as the three others quickly gathered their things to get out of the room.

Now it's the standard 5-7 business days of waiting to hear the results.

BTW, the dr. mentioned that this particular test has a lot of false negatives. Great!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


So after our Friday outing at Six Forks Cinema for New Moon, and dinner at MoJoe's, we returned home to a big jump on the door.

Um. That's not supposed to happen. Nothing should be jumping on the door from the inside because the cat can't make that big of a sound and Brenna the dog should be in the crate.

But she wasn't.

And as soon as we came in, we saw the turmoil that occurred in our absence.

The worst? A two-tier, chocolate frosted chocolate cake, which was almost fully uncut sans a small piece, GONE. The lid was in one location; the base somewhere else. And other trash strewn throughout the room.

First of all: chocolate is toxic to dogs.

Second of all: We lost an entire chocolate cake!! *We* didn't get to EAT the CAKE.

At the time, toxicity for the dog was not important after seeing the mess.

But after much thinking, we have concluded to the following:

1. It is our fault that we did not make sure the dog was crated. We assumed so, or forgot, because we were so excited about seeing New Moon.

2. The dog will live.

3. None of this ever, ever happened until the cat came into the picture.

There has been at least two other occasions in which food was taken DOWN from cabinetry and remnants of packaging scattered throughout the house.

Before Sunkist (the cat), Brenna (the dog) did not do this. Sure, she may have gotten into food that was within reach, but she is not a jumper or grabber.

The cat, however, has always knocked things down, crawled into cabinets and opened up cereal (Captain Crunch seems to be a favorite) and taken a snack or two to it. He does this when WE ARE HOME...vs. when we are gone.

But I think that when we are gone and we accidentally forget to put Brenna away, he gets more malicious.

Hey dog! Want some cake? I hear it's toxic, er, I mean, REALLY GOOD FOR YOU. Have some...I'll help knock it down for you. [Swat cakes to the floor.]

When the girls and I left the house yesterday for errands, the dog AND THE CAT were crated. The girls commented that Sunkist had a look of "What the heck are you doing? I am BENEATH being crated!!!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frank's Marathon Report

Today is a day to quote my BFF's blogs, I guess.

I can't stop laughing about my BFF Frank's blog report on his Richmond Marathon race report. I'm sorry Frank. But I have to copy your dream into my own post. This is just too funny.

Friday night before the race, I tried to go to bed a little early to get a good night sleep. I woke up at midnight after my first dream. I dreamed that the marathon was in a house. Each lap around the house was a mile. I started strong and finished my 26 laps. When I looked up at the microwave, which was the mile marker, I had run 3.1 miles. A 5K! I felt so defeated, I quit and didn't finish. You can obviously tell that no matter how positive I was trying to be, subconsciously, I was not feeling too good.

Of course, Frank was able to finish the actual marathon without major issues with the microwave. But I just can't stop thinking about this dream and how fricking HILARIOUS it is...I have to share. Thanks Frank!

Being Human

I love reading my BFF Audrey's blog. Especially the religious issues.

She is a unique person in my book: daughter of a minister who became an atheist. She keeps herself in tuned, however, to the religious fronts and I get a lot of good reads from her interests.

About a month ago (I just read it today), she posted about a Christian psychologist who, himself, posted an article about Christians NOT being decent to their fellow man, yet express their devotion to god. So essentially, it fits the stereotype that I have regarding religious folks: they are hypocritical MFers who have the nerve to feel that they have the sanctity to be better than anyone else.

And the funny thing? I am NOT an atheist. Nor am I agnostic. I am the only one in my house that actually says a prayer every night...and have since I was a young girl.

But I also have such animosity for religious groups that I side on the side of anti-religion.

So when I read her blog post about Experimental Theology, I got excited. YES! I thought to myself. But even more so, was the article she cited. We enjoyed different parts of it. You must read hers to understand her point of view, based on the article. But for me, this is what I LOVED LOVED LOVED. It spoke to me. And the whole irony is that it came from a man that I wouldn't typically have faith in...a Christian.

"Christianity" has essentially become a mechanism for allowing millions of people to replace being a decent human being with something else, an endorsed "spiritual" substitute. For example, rather than being a decent human being the following is a list of some commonly acceptable substitutes:

Going to church
Spiritual disciplines (e.g., fasting)
Bible study
Voting Republican
Going on spiritual retreats
Reading religious books
Arguing with evolutionists
Sending your child to a Christian school or providing education at home
Using religious language
Avoiding R-rated movies
Not reading Harry Potter.

The point is that one can fill a life full of spiritual activities without ever, actually, trying to become a more decent human being. Much of this activity can actually distract one from becoming a more decent human being. In fact, some of these activities make you worse, interpersonally speaking. Many churches are jerk factories.

I abhor any organized anything that separates themselves from others. Or that think they can pray for others and think they are responsible for their well-being. Prayer should be done out of a relationship you have with your higher power and not for a pat on the back as to how good of a person you are for doing it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Race Dilemma

My 2009 race plan was to end the year with a half marathon. I have run a few long races this year: Coach Bubba's 20K, Tar Heel 10 Miler, and Anna's Angels 10 Miler. But it doesn't seem complete until I get that half in.

Originally I was set to go with the Mistletoe Half in Winston-Salem. A couple of friends of mine have run it and it fits the criteria of being a smaller race. I'm not a "big race crowd" runner. I like supporting the local ones. One of the best organized ones, IMO, was Run the Quay 5K in little ole Fuquay-Varina!.

I picked that race as a weekend getaway for the family and I...a quick trip with a nice run for me to do.

It wasn't until two weeks ago, as I looked at the family calendar in the kitchen, that it dawned on me the dilemma: CJ has a school dance that Friday before the race.

This may not seem to be a big deal for most folks but it was for me.

I wasn't going to make CJ miss her second school dance. That just wasn't going to happen.

And I didn't want to waste money on a hotel room for just me. As much as solitude appeared to be a wondrous thing, I really wanted to share the half experience with my family. Selfish, as they have to sit and wait for me for almost 2 hours.

Sidenote: Mi-Mi has been whining about my races lately as she says "Not again! You take so long to finish!!!"

So another choice was to drive the morning of the race, by myself most likely, and run it then. Ack! Too much stress: get up early, fuel well, figure out where to be, blah blah blah.

And lastly, skip the half all together. "Waste" all the miles I've been doing leading up to my half marathon race.

Since I ruminate such things, I was really in a stressful pickle.

Then, I looked back through my "2009 races to consider" spreadsheet and found a half marathon in Randleman, NC: Run to Victory. It was a week later *and* a start time of 10AM. So if I wanted to drive solo (1 1/2 hours away) to the race, it would be less stressful...more do-able.

So, dilemma solved! No more stress, other than running 13.1 miles. Tim has already said that he wants the family to go, so *I* am now happy...and that's what's important.

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

So I didn't finish this one. In fact, I didn't even make the first 100 pages! I just couldn't continue. And I am disappointed in this author, as his book Into Thin Air is on my wish list for reading and I am no longer interested based on this book.

What I liked about this book?

The parallels drawn with Pat Tillman being born and growing up, and the conflict that was happening in the Middle East. It is a great way to learn the history of what was going on because quite honestly, I don't know it.

He chronicles the war Afghanistan had with the Soviet Union and the whole mess the US government made then, which we are paying for now. He also introduces Osama bin Laden and how he managed to become the powerhouse he came to be.

And this, I enjoyed.

The part I didn't enjoy was his writing style. It is as if he had a thesauraus near by to put every rare word he could on paper. I was so turned off by this. I found it arrogant.

The other part I didn't like will sound bad but hear me out. Krakauer's description of Pat Tillman as a person is just so over the top. It's too much. He is a saint and has done no wrong...and when he did do wrong, Krakauer speaks for Tillman by explaining how remorseful he was and that it was not typical of him.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to take anything away from Pat Tillman *but* Krakauer, IMO, adds such a dimension of absurd idealism that it takes away from Tillman's life story and legacy. It's just an insult. And it makes me sick.

My next course of action, to learn about Pat Tillman, is to read the book his mother wrote Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman by Mary Tillman. If I want the history lesson, I'll got to wikipedia, as someone on Amazon suggested in their 1 star rating of this book.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A New Me

Well, not really. But there is a change in me that is significant to those who run with me.

I can now wear shorts in 50 degree weather.

The last few runs, I have overdressed in 50-degree weather and have gotten soooo hot that it makes my hard runs even more hard...and uncomfortable.

So I made my own rule that shorts in 50s.

My running buddies will be shocked (or, as $Bill, *is* shocked). After all these years, I have been a proponent of keeping very warm in running pants, long sleeve shirts, and fleece jackets...even in the 50s.

ALAS, NO MORE!!! I am a new woman now. Well, at least a new runner.

First Timers

Just thought I'd note a few "first times" for me this past week. They aren't significant in life, but they are things that were notable enough to stand out for me.

As I've mentioned before, I love love love wallyball. I play pretty well, especially with my partner in crime, Carlos. Truthfully, I think I play pretty well because he is such an amazing strategist...and somehow, I know how to be his assistant in his strategizing.

But all these years, I never serve overhand. I do to practice and see if I _can_. And it helps, IMO, when I hit. But I have a pretty kick-ass underhand serve, so I stick to that.

But last Wednesday, I decided, no matter what the score was, I would serve entirely overhand. Inspired by CJ's school's girls volleyball team, I did it. And I think I served two sloppy but despite the losing -- and feeling pretty cocky that if I just served underhand, we could win -- I kept going with the overhand.

But the next game I went with the underhands. :)

The next first was running the American Tobacco Trail this past Saturday. $Bill suggested we give the trail a try for our 13 miler. Well, technically, I had 12 and *he* had 13 but, as we said, 'what's one mile when you're running 12?'

I met him at one of the trailheads in Apex and off we went. Well, off meaning trudging along at a 10:30ish pace. In all actuality, I wasn't feeling that great at the start of the run. It wasn't that cold but my chest felt heavy and I wondered how the hell I was going to get 13 miles under my belt feeling like that. The heavy chest feeling is not a feeling I've had before, so it was unusual.

We pulled it through and at 6.6 miles, we had been doing pretty darn good. We had enough to talk about, which is always nice when you have about two hours to run. About nine miles, I think we were both feeling the pain of the long run. When we had two miles left, $Bill said something silly like running these in 8s and for some reason, we sped up. One was to finish this faster...two was, as we decided to say "for Brennan and Frank" who were running the Richmond Marathon that day...and three, BECAUSE WE COULD! So we ran the last two miles in 17 minutes, or something close to that.

I think it's cool that there are things still left for me to get excited about, in my growing old age. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Did You Know...

For those who read blogs, did you know that bloggers actually LOVE comments? We love seeing comments on our posts. It helps us know that we have readers. And what they think about what we just wrote. It gives us a feeling of "someone is really reading my blog" and a boost to our ego.

OK. So maybe I am speaking for myself, but I am sure there are fellow bloggers who would agree.

And if you are afraid to post a comment, don't be. Once you do one comment, you will find it isn't a scary thing to do.

The hard part of welcoming comments is when you disagree with me. But you know what? That's OK. We can debate or you can just accept the fact that I am right. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

There is nothing more amazing to have in life than that one good book that you can't stop thinking about, looking forward to when you are able to enter "that world" whenever possible.

That is what Jane Eyre was for me...The Pillars of the Earth...heck, even Twilight. That is also what The Sugar Queen did to me.

What was even better was I was blindsided: I had no idea how great this book was to be. I was even skeptical and thought about just tossing it back to the library and picking another time to read it. I thought the book cover was boring. A shallow reason not to read a book, but hey, I judge books by their covers!

But I am so glad I stuck it through because this is, by far, one of my favorite novels of the year. Sarah Addison Allen is also an NC native, so even more props for a novel so well written and unique in a very quirky way. Allen is a new favorite for me and I look forward to reading her other novel Garden Spells.

The Sugar Queen divides its chapters by candy: SweetTarts, Rock Candy, Sno Caps, etc. Josey Cirrini is 27 years old and loves candy. She stashes it within her secret place in her closet. But one day, she gets home to find Della Lee hiding out in her closet. The strangeness of the story begins as she _allows_ Della Lee, a known town flunkie, to stay in her closet temporarily.

Josey lives at home with her mother. A mother who is so demanding and has reared Josey to be the mother's keeper. There are the girls who are so pretty who leave home...and there are girls like Josey, who stay home with their mothers.

But Della Lee pushes Josey into a new direction and the transformation is amazingly entertaining. Allen is just ingenious with these characters...I loved them all...except for Margaret, Josey's mom.

It's such a lovely, lovely story that has so much fun in it, affection, quirkiness, and it surprised me with such delight, love, and sadness. I finished the last ~80 pages last night because I could not put it down. And as I smiled at one chapter, I turned the page (229, to be exact) and cried because what I read was so beautiful. I couldn't stop crying for a good five minutes after wards after thinking about it:

After Josey has her first kiss with the man of her dreams, she describes to Della Lee:
"It was the best first kiss in the history of first kisses. It was as sweet as sugar. And it was warm, as warm as pie. The whole world opened up and I fell inside. I didn't know where I was, but I didn't care. I didn't care because the only person who mattered was there with me."

There was a long silence. Josey had almost dozed off again when Della Lee said, "I think heaven will be like a first kiss."

Just beautiful and sweet...the Sugar Queen is one bewitching and beautiful novel that I will definitely read again.

Thank you for people like Sarah Addison Allen, to dream up something as wondrous as this.