Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Recently, someone was introducing me to a friend. For whatever delightful reason, this person (the 'introducer') always finds a way to not only introduce you but share something about you at the same time.

"This is Bob, he's an architect and cross country skis with the blind on weekends."

"This is Doris, she's a singer and owns a small cabin outside of Telluride."

"This is Doug, he's my friend from college and is in town promoting his new line of pet clothes."

I think this is a brilliant way of introducing people, and really should be the only way. What's better than to meet someone for the first time and yet, feel like you already know them?

When I was introduced the other day, the words that followed X, meet Y, Y, meet X, etc. sort of stopped time for me. "She works with Steve. She's a good one. The real deal."

The real deal.

Forget for a moment that we were in an extremely high-pressure, high-profile situation (for the two of them, anyway, not so much for me- I find it hard to feel like anything is that big a deal these days) and I think those words could probably be enough to keep me going for a very, very long time. As hard as we try to be what and who we want to be, I think mostly, we want to be perceived as authentic. I am friendly, outgoing, open and honest but mostly, I'm just trying to be me. No b.s., no skirting around issues, and no worrying that everyone likes me or what I'm doing. It's good to know that sometimes, that's what actually comes through.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Toast will only make it better for a while

Last night was intended to be the night where I'd arrive home from a productive day at work, get laundry finished, catch up on some emails, eat a quick dinner and turn in early. It was appropriate for a rest day after a long run, I thought. Instead, what last night turned into was a night where the laundry got moved from the washer to the dryer and not much further, I ate a dinner that I heated in the microwave, went to bed at 6:00 p.m. and then woke up two hours later and proceeded to eat the entire contents of my house.

Seriously, and while I know this is about as boring as blog fodder can get, I ate a LOT. I was in the mood for something comforting and with nothing to blame but who I am and the occasional unpredictability of my mood, I made toast. Lots and lots of toast. It's one of my favorite foods (I was not kidding about that bread thing) and even more, warm toast straight out of the toaster makes me feel like I'm under a warm blanket on a cool but not-too-cold evening. And when I thought I'd had enough toast, I had a glass of milk. And then another piece of toast.

While most people would consider a carb over load combined with a "splurge" to be more along the lines of cookies or cake (both of which I also enjoy) I stuck with my toast. Of course, it helps to have a place to lay the blame so I'm going to attribute it to the increase in running mileage over the last few days. I ran more in the last four days than I'd run in the previous fourteen. The math is easy: I hadn't eaten enough (which is a shock within itself) and I was using last night to make up for it. Running can really do strange things to your body's pattern. But finally, after the toaster popped up and down several times, I felt full.

Then, as if I wanted my own version of a horror movie, before I headed back to bed, I stepped on the bathroom scale. Yes, because I wanted to see what half a loaf of whole wheat bread weighed. Duh, right? Did I mention in three weeks I'm headed to a beach on the East coast in which a beach house is being rented where things like "hot tubbing" are done? Oh, I didn't mention that? Well, silly me.

But balance, right? Balance. Which is entirely how the next few weeks and my approach to getting back to a regular running routine ought to be summed up. I've forgotten how important that aspect is to a healthy training schedule. Which probably explains why I wanted to fill the feeling of recovering from ten miles on Sunday with multiple slices of whole grain tastiness. Or not, I'm not sure.

But it's something to reach for. It's a plan and if there's anything I love, it's that. A goal, something to remember. Something to remind me. Don't have too much, don't have to little. Work hard, rest hard. Balance.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

When everything starts reminding you of Summer

Yeah, it's no secret, I'm ready for Summer. Dying for it to get here, actually, which became quite apparent to me when I was cooking this weekend and started having memories of last summer. Food memories, which explains the asparagus. I haven't had asparagus since last summer which is not really significant except I'm reaching for just about anything I can right now.

Along with the asparagus, I also made turkey meatballs and whole wheat pasta with chipotle cream sauce made from this recipe. If I may be demanding for a moment, TRY THIS SAUCE. Be ye not afraid of sautee and puree, it's not difficult and it's entirely worth it . So worth it, in fact, that it was used on both the pasta and the aspargus and while I won't go so far as to call myself any sort of supercook, there were certainly no complaints from the eaters.

Anyway, so Summer. Yeah, I'm ready. And anything that reminds me of Summer, or makes me feel that it's near is welcome, anytime. (Hear that, 40 m.p.h. windgusts? You are NOT welcome.) As the wind gusted on Saturday, bellies full of good food, I sat down to go through some 2006 travel photos. I'm finally getting around to organizing them into some sort of non-digital format. I'm nothing if not eventual, I tell you.

The photos of a Vancouver trip seemed to be better than I'd remembered. It was such a whirlwind trip of quick sight seeing and driving, that I'd nearly forgotten the days I was able to soak up everything around me. In particular, I remember feeling very summery during a visit to Granville Island Market.

On a sunny day, under a very pretty Summer sky, we pedaled borrowed mountain bikes over to the ferry, hopped on and rode across the water to the market.

I know it's really not going to be a shock to see that I had to take pictures of everything. But really, how much better does food look and taste when you're in some far off place, padding around in sandals in warm weather with a light ocean breeze? A lot better, I think.

The fruit was all particularly beautiful. It's possible it might have been sweeter than normal fruit, too. Or maybe it was just the entire day.

I'm also nothing if not a sucker for foods arranged in a manner pleasing to the eye, especially vegetables. Those tomatoes? Went on some burgers later that were the kind of burger that makes you want to unbotton your pants so you can eat that one last bite. Of course, that might also be the way we grilled them outside and and ate them on the patio, while drinking homemade beer.

Also, the bread. Oh my Heaven and Earth, the bread! I think, if I were to allow myself, I could go on for a good eight to ten paragraphs easily about my love for bread. I will never, ever go on a no carb diet. Never. And if you were to take bread away from me, well there would be a lot of hostility. Let's just leave it at that.

Let's not forget dessert. Mass quantities of reasonably priced, beautifully arranged desserts is about all I needed to get down on one knee (okay, two) right there and ask the woman behind the case to please, marry me and if she wasn't the baker could she please find him or her so that I might marry him/her, handcuff them to me, and drag them back across the border and home to Colorado. Because then, I might be happy forever.
Thank goodness we'd biked twenty miles there and back and I was able to a) come down off my high and b) get it out of my head that marrying someone who would get up at 3:00 a.m. to make cheesecake for breakfast would actually be the answer to all my prayers.

We all know that is silly. They would also have to have a boat.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Looking for the Pony

Last month, I posted about a run I was just grateful to have. It may have been the sun, or that I could actually put in some miles without pain, I'm not sure. I just know that those moments and experiences where gratitude is actually tangible, well I have to make something of them. And as I get older, I realize quite literally, the opportunities are everywhere.

Several years ago, I sat at the funeral of a phenomenal woman. I woman that, if everyone in the room would have been rated on how well they knew her on a scale from one to one hundred, I would have fallen somewhere between 5 and 10. However, had they measured with that same scale how much everyone in the room admired her, I would have broken the scale with the 100 mark appearing only as a faint spec. At the time, I don't think I even completly understood why I admired her so much. It's only lately, looking back with some more life under my belt, I can begin to see it. She was incredibly grateful.

She embodied the feeling and effortlessly made obvious to everyone around her that she was grateful for her life. She was grateful for her family, her husband and children. She was grateful for her beautiful home, her lime green Volkswagon Beetle and her diving certification. She was grateful for her dog, her dark-rimmed reading glasses and early morning tea. She spent most of her time with a smile on her face, an Ace up her sleeve and a joke in her pocket, in case someone might need it. She was completely who she was, flaws and all and yet, still able to put forth a rather contagious attitude, lacking almost all worry and panic.

She was most definitely, more so than I could be accused of at this point in my life, looking for the pony amongst a box of crap.

Sitting at her funeral, those years ago, I remember so many feelings flooding through me. Seeing how her family gathered together, seeing the pain in her husband's face and knowing the love they'd shared. And I found myself envious of this woman who'd lost her life thinking, selfishly, about how they were lucky to have that love; wondering, more selfishly, if I'd ever know it. That feeling, though, was mostly fear. And the fear came over me a little that day, as I began to cry. It was such a great loss. And not just to me, or the people in the room, but to the world. I wondered what logic this dreadful path had followed, trying so hard to make any sense of it. It was cancer that took her and though it won the war, it did not beat her. She lived every bit of life the way it ought to be lived. She used it. "She fought the good fight," her husband said at the service, and he would know best. I think that statement applied to her entire life. What I didn't know then is that it was a message to me, too. I know that now, of course. I've learned that now.

Many days, life can seem like a fight. We ought fight it well. And when you're presented with every little (or gigantic) box of crap along the way, dig and dig and dig through until you find the pony. I'm going to keep doing that, I'm going to keep being grateful for moments of sun and little runs around the neighborhood. I'm going to keep being grateful for the fluff in my hair on a particular day, and my neighbor that waves to me every afternoon. I'm going to keep being grateful for cards in the mail, the price of gas going down a cent and a good-fitting snorkel mask. There's no reason not to. And the ponies, once you commit to digging, are everywhere.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Will Need the Built-In Snot Wipers*

I think tomorrow might be the day. The day I run again, that is. Since getting this cold five days ago, I've barely been able to hold my head upright, much less propel my entire body at anything that might be considered a rate of speed.

I haven't run since Sunday, when I pushed a jogger stroller and baby weighing a good eight-hundred pounds (okay, maybe forty) up and down the hills of La Crescenta, California. I don't know if you've ever been to that area of the country but summing up the terrain is pretty simple: steep uphill, steep downhill. Those are the only two options. You are either working your calves and hamstrings (and your behind, ahem!) or your shins and quads. To death.

I am not kidding, the next day after my first run on those hills I was more sore than after any race I've ever done. After any 20 miler, after any weight training session, ever. Sad, isn't it? And frightening, too (to me, anyway). There is a silver lining, though, and one I didn't think would come. Certainly not from hill work, anyway. My knee feels better and stronger than it has in months.

I suppose it all makes sense. It's logical that working those muscles out on a couple runs, albeit small in mileage but so very, very huge in incline, might actually encourage those muscles to be stronger. I just didn't think I was ready, but I've been wrong before.

And so tomorrow is the day. Although it's still a little tough to breathe, I'll get through it. I will pound the pavement (read: trail; because I am no dummy, I want my knee to stay good) and I am sure it will be a struggle but if I come out of the entire thing with no pain and both lungs intact, I'll consider it a success.

* Also known around here as gloves.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Exploiting cute on the internet, with permission from his mother

A boy more cute than any other I'll ever know.

Time for Something

Sitting back at work for the second day in a row with a box of bricks for a head, I'm sort of realizing it's getting near time for a change. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm sick, frustrated that I can't think clearly and have watched one too many beach breaks, but something just feels off. Of course, it also could be the fact that nothing smells good, tastes good or sounds good right now, either. You could put a bacon cheeseburger buffet (four out of five of my favorite things) in front of me right now and I'd be only mildly impressed.

I've been accused before of being a planner- always thinking about and plotting the next step before the current one is complete. Right now, though, I'm less in the mood to plan and more in the mood to do. No doubt I will be just as anal as ever about it, but that feeling of accomplishment might actually push me a little further than just thinking about it. Imagine that.

The little "business" a friend and I sort of started a couple months back is just that: little. It's a fun hobby that brings in extra cash but I feel now just as I did soon after we started, it's not going to be the main event. But maybe that's it, maybe there is no one "main" event. The common thread in anything I have done, do, or will do is ME. So somehow, I need to get a handle on that. I know what I want to do, and what I'd like to do, but can I do it? Can I keep the wheels turning? Can I take steps I've never taken before?

The short answer, I think, is yes. But not because stars are aligned (though that would help) or magic is happening (also helpful) but because I'm willing to do it. I'm willing to do the work. It's different now, at least I hope it is. I think my expectations are real, and my heart is in it. Sure, I'd still like to go back to school or fill my time with doing crafty-type things (as several of my blog readers and I have shared with one another in the past) but now, I want to concentrate on a real shift. A real move toward something different.*

*I don't actually plan on physically moving at all. For now.



Help me, please. If you fancy yourself at all a smarty or blog superstar, I could really use some info. I will repay in cookies- promise.

Did anyone, when switching from old to new blogger have issues with their sitemeter or statcounter? Where did you put the code in the new format? Am I missing something or am I just slow? 'Cause it ain't workin' for me.
Thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My head is a box of bricks

Oh, L.A., you gave me so much.

First, I learned that the term "breast aug" is common. Doctors use it in commercials. Forget that it's actual surgery, with actual anesthesia and actual risks. We need to save a few syllables to conserve commercial time. Also, the first 80 callers get a "free limo ride to and from surgery." Oh, boy. Thank you for reminding me I'm happy with what I have.

Second, I can drive like a maniac. I try not to but sticking me in the middle of traffic like that and asking me to mind my manners might be like throwing me in a pool and asking me not to kick. Thank you for giving me my attitude back.

Third, I must always look like I didn't pay a bit of attention to the outfit I assembled today although a) I totally agonized for hours and b) it costs more than a mortgage payment. Such a cliche, I know. Thank you for reminding me I'm cheap.

Forth, I got a cold late yesterday and therefore this post along with the comments I've been leaving on other sites all morning probably make little to no sense. I suppose saying "I never get sick" just sounds whiny and pathetic right now. Thanks for taking my brains, in less than four days.

Fifth, I got some sun. And wore flip flops in February. That made it all worth it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New York City?! *

The super secret mission? Accomplished!

I'm now sitting in weather around 70 degrees (F) and no where near the snow (sorry, Northerners). My morning run this morning consisted of hills and roads somewhere between the Verdugo and San Gabriel mountain ranges.

But let's back up a little, shall we?

Last night I flew, slightly incognito, into LAX. Well, okay, not incognito because that's actually what a lot of people at LAX do. I was more "hiding" from one person. Around 7:30 p.m. last night, I walked into the house of my sister's in-laws and stood in front of my sister, who was somewhere between a heart attack and a one-woman parade when she saw me come in.

We'd been keeping the secret for weeks and since she is an occasional blog reader, well I couldn't really mention it here, either. And I really really wanted to because keeping a surprise from her is one of the hardest things I've had to do.

After she screamed, I screamed, we laughed (and, okay, cried a little too) we sat down to dinner. After all, surprises trump food but only for a little while.

And the nephew? He's perfect, and huge and strong and adorable and hilarious. Expect billions upon billions of pictures to come!

Oh, and running here? At thousands of feet lower than home? Well that's some darn good oxygen. Dare I say, hills are even easier.

*That's funny. I would love, of course, to go to New York but I would totally tell all of you because I WOULD BE SO DANG LOST THERE IT WOULDN'T EVEN BE FUNNY and therefore, I'd need all the help I could get.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I think I'm going to Katmandu

Well, the concert was a blast. It was the most ridiculous amount of fun and music and dancing I've had in a while. I'm not really one to not enjoy a concert- I love the music from where ever I am and am a big believer in the cheap seats. However, after being in the thirteenth row last night, I highly recommend it. It's almost like you forget about the 50,000 other people behind you. Almost.

And, I gotta say, I'm amazed by a sixty-one year old man that can pack an arena and rock out like that for over two hours, including two encores. That's worth my zombie-like state today, of this I'm certain.

I made friends, though, with a lot of the crowd around me. My friend and I (she ten years older than me) were the only people in sight under 40. For this we received a lot of ridicule. When the lady to my left pulled out her Bob Seger ticket stub from 1977, Toledo, Ohio and the lady to our right showed us her tour t-shirt from Summer 1986, we were both asked what we were doing in those years. My, you should have seen the looks when I said "well, in '77 I had yet to be conceived and in the summer of '86, I was basking in the glow of Kindergarten graduation."

They were seriously doubting I even knew how to spell Bob Seger, much less had any idea of what the music would be. I, of course, proved them wrong when three lines into Roll Me Away the lady to my left and I had one arm around one another and the other waving in the air together, singing along. Ah, the power of music!

Now I am more than sufficiently tired and, lo and behold, endlessly lucky because I'm taking off work early today on a SUPER secret mission. A mission so important and secret and confidential I can reveal not a detail. The only thing I can say is I'm not going to Katmandu. Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One of the Best Valentine's Dates I'll Ever Have

Would it be entirely cliche and annoying to say I don't really believe in Valentine's Day?

I do believe in love, though.

Like I said last year, I think the day is like any other and really ends up being what you make it. Whatever it may be. Funny how that works, isn't it?

My "it" this Valentine's Day?

Bob Seger.

And The Silver Bullet Band.

I ought to be sufficiently tired at work tomorrow, but it's worth it. Yes, it's Real Love.

Love somebody. Namely, yourself.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Garden of the Happy*

Last weekend the Front Range was finally graced with a couple days so sunny and beautiful, fifty degrees (F) began to make me actually believe that Summer might return this year. Instead of the Winter blues, I was doing some serious Summer dreamin'. And not just the oh-I-feel-the-sun-on-my-face-how-wonderful kind of dreaming but also the oh-I-should-start-bringing-out-the-summer-clothes-and-(insert jumping up and down here) the-flip-flops-too kind of dreaming.
One of the reasons I love warmer weather is because it gets me out. It relaxes me and allows me to appreciate everything around me more. It's not that I don't marvel at the beautiful place I get to live every day, but when I'm allowed to just sit and bask in it for a while, it makes me wonder why I ever pine for other places. Well, sort of anyway.

I feel like it's a gift to not only have beauty around me but have the ability to appreciate it.
Sometimes, I look around me and think "how can I not be happy?"

While walking around on Sunday, recovering from a great eight miler on Saturday, looking at beautiful things, appreciating things larger and more stunning than I have words for, the thought came to me: I am one of the happiest people I know. Yes, I might be a huge dork for saying so on my blog, but the best part of being happy (as well as the best part of being a dork) is you don't care. That's how good it is.

If that's not enough, it feels peaceful too. It feels like I can walk down the street and smile at people and not even have a reason why. And so I do, and I like it. It feels natural where as times in the past, it's been more difficult.

Who knows, it might just be a moment. A part of time when I get to take a look around, at the hills and rocks where I grew up and love it for everything I've always known it to be but also things I might never have seen before. It doesn't effect me the same way other places do; it has no high and low tide, it has no shore. I make an excellent beach bum, there is no doubt.

But it does have it's own rhythm and it's own way of comforting me when I need it.

That seems okay at times, too. With everything else life brings, the 99.99% of things you don't write about on your blog, living in a place that actually feels good and feels like home is really the best comfort you could hope for.
And if all else fails, I also have, quite possibly, the cutest dog on Earth. That also makes me pretty happy.

*The photos (except that of the dog) were taken at Garden of the Gods, CO.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Your five o'clock will come someday, young man

I try to spend as much time as I can with my young, full-of-questions, cousins. I used to think I could teach them but mostly, they teach me.

The older of the two, now nearly ten, and I tend to want to "research" and "discover" whenever we're together. We go on little hikes and when we're hanging out at home, we spend a lot of time on The Discovery Channel website. We've watched everything from stunts to emergency animal rescue and read articles on bridge engineering, crocodile breeding and the history of diamonds. I'm not kidding, we are professionals when it comes to finding information on the Internet.

Boy of nearly ten, though, seems to know something about everything. He knows what makes a suspension bridge stay, well, suspended. He knows that some female reptiles eat their mate (or at least try, or something like that). He knows the history of the Hope Diamond. Meanwhile, I usually sit next to him, staring at the screen stunned that there's anything else even on the Internet beside blogs, Wikipedia and YouTube. What more do you really need? Really?

On our latest adventure, though, my lack of ten-year-old knowledge was redeemed. Well, almost. We were reading this article by Bill Nye (yes, "The Science Guy." Do you know any other Bill Nye? Okay then.) about tides. Throughout the article, Bill explains the reason for tides, the sun, the moon, gravity and all. (Sidebar: I enjoy Bill especially because although he is THE science guy, he doesn't get all crazy sciency all the time and talk over one's head. It's actually quite attractive and if Bill were say, younger, single and possibly living across the street from me, I might find some time to bring some cookies over. Super smart sciency non-cocky guy is the new hot, you know).

Anyway, in the middle of the article, Bill gets into explaining the way Earth rotates and how that causes tides, particularly high tides, to always be occurring somewhere. Here's what Bill says: "As the saying goes, it's five o'clock somewhere. Well, the ocean is bulging high-tide-wise somewhere all the time as well--and on opposite sides of Earth."

"Oh, that makes sense," I say to my cousin. He agrees but has a strange look on his face. "What?" I ask, still not sure what he doesn't get.

"I've never heard of that saying."

"What? 'It's five o'clock somewhere'?"

"Yeah. What does that mean?"

"It just means that somewhere on Earth, no matter what time it is in your time zone, it can be five o'clock somewhere else."

"I don't think that's true. Would the math add up? Are there enough time zones for that to be possible."

"Well, I really don't know. But that's not really the important part of that saying."

"So what's the important part?"

"Ask me again in ten years."

"Ugh, I hate when you say that! I won't remember in ten years to ask you what 'It's five o'clock somewhere' means."

"Oh yes you will, trust me."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Caring for caring's sake

Somewhere, sometime, who knows when, my sister and I have switched roles. She's less often inclined to play the free-spirited adventurer role and I'm more inclined to seek experiences out. She used to be the one that would take risks while I'd be the one carefully calculating every move, lest I arrive somewhere five minutes late and end the very world as we know it.

I like to think, for the most part, we are equally there for each other on the advice front though. It's nice to have that dependable, caring voice of reason. Then again, sometimes that voice of reason is less than reasonable (albeit never less caring).

"So you just sail, out on the water with nothing around you for days and days?"

"Yes, that's partially the point."

"But what if something happens? What if the boat tips over?"

"The boats don't often 'tip over.' I mean, it could happen but they're generally made to not tip over."

"Well they have to rock back and forth to sail. They practically tip sideways, that's how they go."

"That is not how they go. They sail, with sails. And wind. It's not like the ski boat out on the lake like when we were kids, you know?"

"Of course not. But what about sharks? Have you seen that movie where a boat leaves those people out in the ocean and they drown or get eaten by sharks and die?"

"No, I didn't see that. But that was different, those people we diving and under water and... why am I even explaining this? It's completely different."

"What about whales? What if a whale jumps on the boat?"

"Are you kidding me?"

"Whales are big."

"When is the last time you picked up the paper and read about a boat sunken by an incredible jumping whale?"

"Alright, but I'm still skeptical."


You have to admit, having someone who loves you enough to fear things that aren't even possible, well that's pretty special.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Because a comment cracked me up

First, thanks for all the handbag advice. When something's on your mind, well, you know, you just want answers! The scariest part? Now I'm thinking I want a different purse altogether. Also, all day yesterday, all I could think about was how I wanted a cupcake and how I wasn't going to go home until I got one. I had a cupcake for dinner. Clearly the universe is out of whack this week and I didn't get the memo.

Now, I'm going to post my "Friday Random Ten" because JACC's* comment on my last post cracked me up. He is always saying I ought to do this but I never do. You'd think all the threats of zombie invasion and cellulite aliens would have pressured me. I love zombies and, someday, I'm sure I'll have to learn to love cellulite. Or was it aliens?

Here's what my little silver iMagician wants to play today:

1. Feels Good Don't It- Brooks and Dunn
2. Give Me All Your Love- Whitesnake
3. And So It Goes- Billy Joel
4. Jump- Van Halen
5. Don't Leave Me This Way- Thelma Houston
6. Always On Your Side- Sheryl Crow
7. When I Close My Eyes- Lizz Wright
8. Come Into My Life- Jimmy Cliff
9. Over The Rainbow- IZ
10. Fire and Rain- James Taylor

How is it that the little magician knows 10 people/bands I would give (or would have given) one of my kidneys to sing duets with? Amazing!

As for other things that crack me up, Dawn's post on proper pronounciation is great as is EB's post on "parenthood" and moms. More people ought to read these ladies, they're good.

*I know there's something else I'm supposed to do with this, but I'm not sure what. When I figure it out, I'll do it. UPDATE: I did it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

apropos of nothing...

UPDATE: Here is what the bag looks like. Sort of. I'm at work and therefore without said handbag or lovely camera. (Also, NOTE: I did not buy it and I am pretty sure that wasn't the price anyway. I love purses, but I love deals more.)

I agree with all those that said warm weather ought to make my decision. I'll be in Virgina Beach, which (apparently) can go either way so I suppose playing it by ear (and secretly planning on bringing whatever dang purse I want anyway) seems logical.

Funny the "dilemmas" a week can bring, eh?


I need help from all of you fashionistas and tasteful people out there.

Can I start carrying what would probably be perceived as a "Spring handbag" on March 15th? I'm traveling mid-March and want to bring my new purse, dang it.

(I'm totally and completely distracted but working on an update from my last post. The dream will not die though, you know me.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Carpe Diem?

I have an opportunity to seize the day. Fourteen of them, actually.

Over the next few years (or so), a friend of a friend of a friend will be circumnavigating the globe on a 65' Ketch he just purchased in early 2006. He's an accomplished skipper, has already got about the first two years planned out and is looking for friends to help crew. Not your standard "barefoot cruise," my friend. You have to participate.

Most of the legs are three or four weeks long but he's got a couple two week legs in there, too. Do I need to say it? Probably not. But there's one leg that works out quite perfectly for my calendar in early 2008. It's approximately a year from now. Sure, there was this other thing I'd like to do but sailing for two weeks at minimal cost (seriously affordable) might just have to take precedent.

The thing is, I just don't know. A year in advance is tough to plan. Jumping on a boat with people I've never met before is a little scary- okay, I've done it before but two weeks is a little more than your standard island hop. I'm trying to be logical. Last year, though, I read this book and when I finished it, I promised myself if I ever had the opportunity to do something even remotely close, I would take it.

I'm also overwhelmed with the thought of how great it could be and the amazing opportunity. Think of the experience, and learning about sailing; my gosh how I've wanted to do that! And the leg? It's perfect, it's one of the Caribbean legs (go ahead, act like you're not surprised I'd choose that one). It feels like a "sign" or something that this particular leg, in my preferred season, in my preferred sea, is being put in front of me right now.

I have some thinking to do.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Six Miles

Had some nice weather relief over the weekend. Never being one to let a nice day get away, I went out for six miles on Saturday. It was nice, but I struggled a bit through the last two miles. I felt like my pace and heart rate were all over the place and when I checked the handy Garmin, I was right.

It's sort of a bummer that I've lost some cardio fitness over the last month, but what people keep telling me (and what I need to keep telling myself) is that I'll bouce back fast. I'm not sure about that, but I'm going to go with it.

My knee injury, which really now, in recovery, is my entire leg was pretty cooperative. I felt a little stiff the first mile or so but really seemed to loosen up and actually feel better at the end than when I'd started. I imagine, though there's some suffering to be had, that movement is actually better than none. I just have to concentrate so much more now than I used to. Not only have I had to alter the schedule (a LOT) but through PT I've actually had to retrain my muscles on how to "fire" or rather, in what order to fire. It is strange to reteach your body, it's a stubborn student; it thinks it already knows everything.

I'm loyal to the PT, at least 95% loyal anyway. The sight of me getting out of bed twenty minutes early in the morning to do stretches and strength training is not something of which I'm terribly proud. I have to do certain exercises in front of a mirror to ensure that I'm not compensating by leaning and the fact that I've only fallen twice and haven't injured myself at all at 4:30 in the morning is nothing short of a miracle. I don't have balance (read: grace) normally. At 4:30 a.m., there's no question.

It made for a good day, though, feeling like I'd done something by getting six miles in. Unfortunately, I have to give myself recovery days, which I've not had to do much of in the past (other than rest days). Yesterday, recovery translated into walking the dog and watching football. I also had a good share of food but I needed to restore glycogen. (FYI: There is a lot of glycogen in Cheddar Bacon Ranch dip.)

It's actually supposed to be above freezing for the better part of this week so it's going to be tough to keep the running reigned in. I'm hoping to get another six in midweek and then again on the weekend. I'll be best buddies with the elliptical on the other days- yay. Tough as they were, and as hard as it is to admit I struggled, those were a nice six miles. It's the most relaxed I've been in weeks.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Lots of linkage, less content

Friday night held plans of grand proportions, let me tell you. I was to attend a "party" with my mother in which women try to sell other women things they don't need that promise to inspire all things wonderful in one's life. While I'm not altogether against these types of things, I would not say I looked forward to it nearly as much as a bottle of wine I've been dying to try since it was given as a gift at Christmas and a travel book I've been trying to get through since, well, forever.
Somehow, the stars aligned a little (or possibly froze in place, thank you very much Groundhog Day of 2 degrees F) and the party was cancelled. I feel a little guilty, though, because [let's call her] Suzy, the party host, was involved in a fender bender and though everything is okay, she was too shaken up to host a party. There was also something about a husband's fancy car and some splainin' to do, but I didn't quite follow that. Blame the weather, Suzy, everyone else is.
Thankfully, I stayed home with books and wine and a fully functioning furnace (ahh, heat!). Part of me feels a little boring as I have booked a few Friday nights home in the past couple months but part of me also says, who cares, it's -7 degrees outside and the streets are icy. You would be crazy to go out there! Which also reminds me that I have plans tomorrow and sometimes two nights in a row is a bit much. The cold is also totally bringing out the Granny in me. Did I mention my joints actually hurt? Heh.
In addition, over the holidays I became the proud owner of one of these little buggers and I have yet to be able to actually use it since it's arrival. I am more than a little ready to take it out since I, though disliking math, love little things that do math and numbers for me. I have been known to be a little number obsessed, actually (see, Michelle, it's not just you) so Garmin and I are likely to be very happy together. Ever after, one might even say. Also, I hear it will tell you exactly how to get back to your starting point which will be infinitely helpful in situations like my North Carolina Woods Adventure 2006. Oh all the things the cold is keeping me from doing!
Which reminds me, all y'all (sorry, I spoke on the phone earlier to someone in Texas, it rubbed off, as usual) had all kinds of suggestions for getting over the Winter Blues. A couple of my favorite Minnesotan bloggers suggested special lights. Several suggested tanning beds, which I know we are all against but they are soooo warm and cozy and really, what else forces you to lay still and close your eyes for ten minutes straight? Josh, in his usual I-am-a-human-search-engine way, suggested a Bahamavention which is equally hilarious and disturbing. Really, go watch it. The intro is all average, albeit angry and stressed, folks who need a vacation and then the page itself is full of people that look like they went back and shopped at JCPenney in 1984 for their outfits. Though, I suppose if you've been "Bahamavened" you don't necessarily care what you're wearing because maybe it won't last long anyway; I have, after all, been to Senor Frogs. I kid, mostly. Just not about that tropical locale part because it was [let's call him] Mr. Anonymous that hit it on the head saying "A trip to STJ would probably help!." Yes, it would. And it's coming, I promise. Not soon enough but we all know 'soon' is relative.
I'm not quite sure how to end this so I'll just leave you with this:
(This is a scanned photo from actual film so it's a little pixelated because I stink at resizing stuff I guess, but I think you'll get the point anyway.)

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

One Pretty Thing

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments and emails over the last couple days. The fact that you took enough time to share your thoughts, solutions and experiences around S.A.D., depression and lack of sunshine is truly touching.
For now, on to other things...
For a couple semesters in college I was enrolled in photography classes. I had this whole idea of an easy grade based on my "artistic" eye and rumors that the teacher was looking for a new job and therefore handed out A's like the dentist hands out toothbrushes.

I dug up an old Canon from the garage, bought some film and photo paper (and plenty of other supplies I would later sell mostly unused) and skipped off to the dream class that I was counting on to balance out Organic Chemistry- Easy A vs. Kill-me A. Do I use Organic Chemistry now? No, of course not. But I'll be darned if I wasn't getting an A anyway. You say obsessive, I say, okay, you're right but I could have totally justified it then.

Anyway, going into Photography 101, I knew absolutely nothing about anything. Hello, I was from the 80's and 90's- the Point-N-Shoot generation. What use did I have for lenses? Aperture? Exposure? Bah! Snapshots ruled! Needless to say, I was ill prepared.

That first semester was a little rough. I soon realized, photography was not going to be my game, much less, a profession. I mean, in addition to taking the photos there was all that darkroom work and I tell you, not one cute guy in the class. Also, I'm of the firm belief that you don't need to do much math to get through life if you don't want to and though I tried to block it out, I think math stuck it's little ornery nose in there a few times. I was already irritated enough that Organic Chemistry was nothing but math disguised as science, I didn't need to do math with my camera, too.

So a year later and a pile of black and whites I'd only show to people who already love me for other talents, I gave up my pursuit of photography. I also gave up all math disguised as science, but that's another story. Mostly.

A couple years ago, I got my first digital camera for my birthday. It was a non-fancy but perfectly capable little Kodak whose pictures I've shared with everyone I know, including right here on this blog. It's been everywhere with me and, as you might remember, even spent a good amount of time in a rental car at the SeaTac airport. Over the last couple years, I've had good fun with this camera and up until about six months ago, never thought I needed anything more. Then, I started looking around. People, some who are pros and some like me, are taking fantastic pictures out there. What's more, they're taking pictures of the exact places and things I am and they look about a thousand times better. It started to feel unfair. Though I knew I had a lack of interest in traditional photography, I was now exposed (heh) to the digital SLR world. Ahh, what a wonderful world it is.

So I started researching. And researching some more. And hitting up some photographer friends. And visiting camera shops. And asking other bloggers* about their cameras and, subsequently, they would write entire posts about it for me. (Okay, it wasn't really for me only but I'm going to pretend it was because it sounds better. It is my goal to always make things sound better because, after all, I can't do math.)

Finally, a few days ago, I made a decision. My new pretty is a Nikon D40. I made this choice for several reasons: one, I had no previous equipment so I needed more than just the camera body. Two, it just so happened I walked into my local camera shop on the day they were having a semi-secret two-day sale and got 25% off the little bugger. I got a deal and if anything makes me happier than getting something I want that's going to entertain me for hours, it's not paying retail for it.

Now, I'm your standard-level obsessed newbie photographer... and then some. Just ask my dog, she's super tired of all the posing. Apparently, it's inconvenient and interrupts the time she spends watching nothing out the window and then barking at that same nothing incessantly.

You know how it goes, though. Everything becomes subject. First, you start with things that no one will ever care to see.

Like a picture of your dinner:

And the obligatory eight hundred or so self portraits:

This isn't a good representation of me. In reality, I usually wear twice as much fleece.
Then, you move on to things in your house:

And other inanitmate things that you think are "cool":

Sometimes, you point the camera in a direction and think it's going to be perfect, and then it turns out just blah:

Other times, you just try too hard and cut off the top of a head:

And maybe once every hundred shots or so, you get lucky:

But not to worry, you're having fun. And sooner or later, it's just going to be one pretty thing...

Flowers at Grandma's house.
After another...

People bring her flowers quite often. If you met her, you'd know why.

*Thanks to Bre for her camera info and knowledge and thanks in advance to her for putting up with me in my future camera dork out moments!