Friday, November 25, 2005

Wedding Day!

Today is the day! I can't believe it's already here. I don't know if it will feel real until it's over; it just doesn't seem possible. It's like Christmas when you're a kid; you wait for it for so long that when the day actually arrives, it feels a bit unreal. How could the sun shine like it does on any other ordinary day?

In twenty minutes I have to head out the door and begin the long morning of getting ready. I'm getting my nails done, then coming home and having my hair and make-up done. Then, we zip on the dress and head out around 1 pm. The ceremony isn't until 4:30, but we need time to get there and get lots of pictures taken (thus the painstaking measures taken for my hair, make-up, etc). I'm a little nervous for the day, but I think I'm ready for the marriage part. Scary, huh? Earlier in my life I wasn't sure if I would ever be ready, but I actually feel absolutely certain about my husband-to-be, and I think that's what counts on a day like this.

I slept well last night -- I was exhausted after the Thanksgiving extravaganza -- and I only woke up a few times from dreams about the wedding. Nothing bad (no visions of black wedding dresses or late bridesmaids). Of course, I've been up since early this morning pacing around, eating my cereal, staring out the window.

So this is it, the big day. No running today (I'll be dancing my legs off later anyway). I wonder if the day will be as great as the day our power was restored? Can anything be so wonderful?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey Trot Cont'd

I trotted the shit out of that turkey!

It was a good race, not the best for me, but it felt good, and I think that's what counts. The weather was perfect this morning: nice and cool, but not so cold that I might freeze (although my fingers were a bit chilled at first), and the sun was nice and clear -- it provided just the right kind of warmth. I think it will be a lovely Thanksgiving here in Ft. Lauderdale.

My time, not great, was 33 minutes flat. But that's fine with me. I average 11 minute miles anyway, and like I said yesterday, I wasn't going to concern myself with time. I think that might be a wise idea: helps you stay focused on just running as best as you can. As they repeat at yoga: you're not in competition with anyone, not even yourself.

Anyhoo, I need to take a shower and start preparing that turkey, so I'll say "adieux"! Happy Turkey Day to everyone out there! Have a great Holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Turkey Trot

I went for a run this morning, and there were signs up along my route notifying residents that the street would be closed tomorrow because of the "Turkey Trot," a 5K race right outside my door! I didn't even know. So, while I regularly run that path, I also want to run the race (I haven't raced since the last disaster in August -- think back to "extreme heat" and "locked my keys in the car"). So, I have decided to rise early tomorrow and run the 5K.

Sure, I have a wedding on Friday and 20 guests for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, but I think I should add one more thing to my plate. Why not?

Actually, I think the run would be really good. That way, I will have my mind off other things that need to be done around the house and with the wedding, and I can relax and just focus on running those 3.1 miles. I'm not even going to care about time. I'm just going to run and enjoy the morning (it's been so cool lately that this morning I was actually cold for the first mile or so). Plus, it might come in handy to burn an extra 300 calories before the big feasting day has begun; I am currently baking four pumpkin pies -- mmmmm, I LOVE pumpkin pie with a shitload of cool whip on top. Yummy.

And then, I'll be done with the race by eight, and I'll have a good start to the busy day and I'll feel loads better.

I'll report back on how the run goes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Winter in Florida

Thankfully, it appears that Gamma will not pose any kind of threat to South Florida, or Florida at all for that matter. However, the cold front that pushed Gamma away from us brought with it some chilly weather, and we are getting some high winds today as well. Cold weather for Floridians is anything that dips below 70 degrees, and this morning it was 63 when I left the house at 7 am, and I honestly put the heat on in my car. Brrrrr. Hope it warms up some by Friday for the wedding.

Today is my last day of class before I take off for the wedding and our honeymoon, so I'm busy trying to tie up some lose ends, and to ensure that the instructors who are subbing are prepped with the needed materials. It's hard leaving your students in the hands of another -- I imagine that it's similiar to leaving children in the care of a babysitter. So, I'll be working all day and then, when I get home this evening, friends are arriving from out of town; the first wave of wedding guests. We've been spending the past few days entertaining guests who arrived on Saturday, and yesterday we drove up to Kennedy Space Center -- a long drive and lengthy touring; the trip lasted all day.

So, I didn't run yesterday, and I don't know if I'll have any time to run tonight either, or if at all this week. I'd like to fit it in the next couple of mornings, but we all know how good I am about getting up early enough to do that. But I do want to get some exercise in this week. It will help relieve some stress from the wedding and from Thanksgiving dinner, and it would help me fit into that dress just a touch better, or at least make me feel better about fitting into it. At this point though, I'm just looking forward to getting to the honeymoon, where hopefully I'll have some free time to relax and rejuvenate. Then, when we return, I can resume a regular schedule -- well, as regular as a schedule can be through the end of a semester and with the fast-approaching holidays.

I can't say how frequent my posts will be for the rest of this week, and I don't know if I will get a chance to post while on my honeymoon, but I will make my best effort to stay current, and you'll have to be patient with me.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Gamma-Bamma

Last night, I managed to fit a run in after my cleaning, and at the gym I was watching the news, and guess what their top story was? Tropical Storm Gamma: that son of a bitch. So, Tropical Storm Gamma now looks like it may threaten our area this week. Some forecasters think it will take the same path as Wilma and that Gamma may even strengthen into a weak hurricane. Landfall in Florida could be on Monday.

Dammit.

Florida doesn't need this, and I definitely don't need this. Part of the reason we chose late November for our wedding date was because November 30th is supposed to mark the end of hurricane season, and it's highly irregular for Florida to see any hurricane activity after September (let alone hurricanes in late October and November), so we figured we'd be in the clear. But first Wilma throws that idea out the window, and some of the damage she caused sent our guests scrambling for new hotels, and our lives here came to a virtual two week standstill in the wake of the aftermath.

So, to see that spinning icon on the news screen this week completely pisses me off and it adds a touch to my stress. The only thing I can hope for at this point is that Gamma speeds up (less time for the storm to organize) and that it wobbles off track so it doesn't hit our area. And lastly, if it speeds up, it will hopefully blow through here on Monday, as predicted, so that our wedding will have good weather on Friday.

Oh well. Nothing I can do to control it. I am going to try to hit the gym this morning and run some errands, then I have more cleaning to do. Maybe if I don't think about the tempest, it will go away.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Countdown to Wedding Day

Post 101 doesn't quite feel like post 100, but I suppose I will write past the post-100 hype and continue to bless you, my readers, with something insightful.

Today marks exactly one week before my wedding day, and to put it calmly, I am freaking out. I'm not freaking out about marriage and the lifetime committment to one person (who I will wake up to every single day, every day, for the rest of my life); no, I'm flipping inside out over all the preparation. I feel as though the house must look perfect for when our guests arrive next week, especially since it will be the first time so many of them will get to see it. And it's very hard for our house to look good since we've been in a constant state of construction since we bought it last spring.

So, for one thing, there is dust coating every surface. For another, we have boxes piled up everywhere, and for another, we are not even halfway complete with our renovations, so the main part of our home still looks like it did when we moved; that means icky carpet, the wall of mirrors, and the crusty wallpaper. Not to mention the grody tile. Oh! And we have an old stove sitting in the office -- not such a great accent piece. So even though I've been cleaning like a weasal on crack, the house still is not that pretty. And I find myself doing things I normally would find absolutely crazy, like ironing the sheets and cleaning the window sills with a q-tip. Usually, I am a clean person, but I'm not manic, but for the past week I've felt pretty close to breaking into idiot-induced mumbles and banging my head against the wall.

No time to run, but on the plus side, I think this cleaning business is burning plenty of calories because I'm all sweaty in the pits (anything that makes you sweat is exercise in my book). But I have this bubble of air in my stomach -- I assume from the soda I just had -- and I feel as though you could push on me and I would deflate like a baloon. Maybe I just need to fart.

Would that clear all the dust away?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

100!

This post marks the one hundreth time I have posted crucial commentary on the human race. Oh wait, that's my other blog.

Just joking! Ha!

But, this is really is the one hundreth posting. Feels as though it should be more momentous. Perhaps when there is a DVD collection of my postings, this one will be noted, kinda like they do with TV shows. It would also be nice to have a little fanfare -- some ribbons, some ticker tape, a few kazoos, maybe a dancing monkey.

Perhaps it doesn't feel quite so fantastic because I haven't as of yet truly accomplished anything that I set out to accomplish. Sure, I'm still puffing away at the runs, and yes, they slowly get longer and more intense, but there are also so many days that I don't run at all, and I feed my addiction to Taco Bell, so I haven't really gained anything, and haven't really lost any weight. But before I feel sad about what I haven't done, I should pat myself on the back for what I have done: I have made a mental committment to running and I do go between four and five times a week. I have become more conscious of what it will take to achieve my running goals, and therefore have become more realistic about them. In many ways, that sort of realization takes me a long way.

But, what has been the surprise success of this running endeavor is this little blog in and of itself. True, it's not attracting book deals or national headlines (any of you readers who have the power to make this happen can go ahead with my blessing and get started on either project), but it has built its own small following, and that makes me proud, and I believe it deserves a toot on a kazoo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Detox

Yesterday, when I was at the gym, I picked up a magazine called "Natural Health" to read while on the eliptical machine (can't run everyday), and I had never read this particular magazine before, but it was one of the few in the sparse selection the gym has to offer. (It was between that and a "People" from May, and I didn't need to relive the breaking coverage of Bragelina or TomKat.) Anyway, in this magazine there was an article that caught my eye: "How to Detox Your Life."

For a reason I can't explain I am always drawn to the word "detox"; I suppose it sounds like the good, thorough cleaning it's supposed to be; however, I always find that I am disappointed by the actual concept. And to be honest, I think it might be a bunch of hooey-balooey. What detox diets claim is that your body stores all kinds of toxins and this causes weight gain and health problems, but with simple detox drinks, vitamins, and foods, the body can flush those toxins and subsequently you can lose weight and feel great. In a sense I can buy this because we consume (or, I consume) many unhealthy products from food to car exhaust (not intentionally -- those days are behind me), so it seems like a good idea to get rid of these icky elements so the body can be clear and clean.

But on the other hand, I think it might just be a clever ploy to get me to drink nasty concoctions, chief of which is the infamous "master cleanser" that consists of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I don't know who thought of that combination, but it is terribly popular. I don't think I could choke such a drink down, but I can guess as to how it would react in my belly (thus, I assume the "master cleansing").

Disgusting drinks aren't the only thing detox promoters want you to ingest; no, they also have a whole host of vitamins and supplements that they advise you to take. In the featured article I read while working out, it suggested you take St. John's Wort (to relieve irritability during detox), vitamin E, linseed oil, ginseng, and ginko biloba. Not to mention all the other ingredients that are dumped into a multi-vitamin. By the time I summed up the article, I figured you would have to just scoop the supplements in with a rake to fulfill the requirements. But I guess you could wash them all down with the cayenne cocktail.

Aside from all varieties of odd things detox diets want me to consume (in order to rid my body of "unnecessary elements" -- hope you're picking up on the irony), I don't buy the fact that your body stores that much waste. From what I can rememeber of college biology, the body is actually pretty efficient at ridding itself of by-products. Isn't that what the liver is for? Isn't the liver like those scum sucking fish you see in aquariums? I think its job is to clean up your system. I also believe that to some degree that's what your kidneys, pancreas, and gallbladder do as well. So, while I'm not a doctor, it seems to me that the body is already pretty good at detoxifying itself. Do I really need linseed oil to help with that? Or maple syrup?

Like too many other dieting gimmicks, I think I have to categorize detoxifying as bogus, or at least, unnecessary. I don't know about you, but all I need is an apple on my way to work (it also helps to get stuck in traffic) to clean out the system. That, or a cup of coffee seems to do the trick.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Squished

I witnessed a disturning thing the other day when I was running: A smooshed cat! I couldn't help but look, and it's brains were all mushed out the side of its head it was very stinky. I kinda thought I might hurl.

I don't usually see that many dead animals alongside the road in these parts; sometimes I see a flattened raccoon or possum, but it's not like the carnage I used to witness in Minnesota. There are so many more roaming animals in Northern Minnesota than in South Florida, and often times when I used to walk my dog along the road in Minnesota, we would come across dead deer, raccoons, beavers, dogs and cats. And once, I am ashamed to admit, it was I who plowed an innocent raccoon down in the prime of his or her life.

I was driving a friend's car home late at night, and she and I were singin to the car radio when, from out of nowhere, a small body dashed out in front of me. Then, I heard a thud, and knew that I had murdered. It was a sickening feeling. That feeling only worsened when we got home and inspected the car to find the dent from a raccoon head and a small bit of fur stuck to the bumper. I felt truly terrible.

Since then, it has only been the accidental killing of lizards that have inadvertently jumped into my running path that have been my victims. And, well, I accidently smashed a lizard in the window sill right after the hurricane, but I didn't know he was sitting there. It was just like the guillotine. Poor fella.

So, I might need to take a different route this evening because I don't want to come across that cat carcas again. Maybe I'll go to the gym; there's no danger of roadkill there.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hurricane Weight

In the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, when no one had electricity, we were left with our largely chip and cracker based diet. Sure, we were able to grill some meats, and one night we had spaghetti, but fruits and veggies were sparse and hard to come by. So after two weeks of chip consumption, and the copious quantities of beer, my belly was sporting a mini-keg.

Excuse me, is sporting a mini-keg. IS.

That's not good since my wedding is two weeks away, and I'm a little concerned about how my dress is fitting. Yes, it still fits, and I can zip it up and everything, but I would be able to breath a whole lot better if I had just another inch of room in there.

I figure there are two possible courses of action: One, I can try to curb my eating and stay on the treadmill a little longer each day. Or two, I can just accept the fact that I may not breath all that easily for a day. It's only one day. Certainly a human can surrive on shallow intakes of air for one day? Half a day really.

Shallow breaths. That's all it takes. Maybe I'll practice them now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Overcrowding

You may think overpopulation is an issue strictly related to humankind's increasingly burdensome growth. However this problem may be detrimental to our environmental, our economy and our healthcare systems, it also appears to be a problem at the gym. Especially, at oh, say, 6:00 pm on any given week night. It's madness in there!

I made the mistake Tuesday night of reserving my run for the early evening, typically thought of as the dinner hour, but let me tell you, people are skipping dinner and are at the gym. When I got there, all but one treadmill was in use, so I quick hopped on before someone else could snatch it out from under my nose. Traditionally, I favor the back row of treadmills and prefer a corner one at that, but Tuesday was not a night to be picky. I was positioned front and center.

As the people who flanked me slowly left, two new people got on the two treadmills that surrounded me. I used to mind feeling cramped in, but I've grown used it, and generally it doesn't bother me, but that night it turned out that those two women knew one another and must have been there together. And they wanted to talk.

They didn't mind me; they just talked around me.

You have to talk pretty loud in the gym to be heard -- the hum of all the machines and the clinking of weights drowns out much of what people have to converse about, and when you're not standing right next to someone, conversation can be challenging -- these two women were up to the challenge. They were practically screaming back and forth to one another, and while the volume does indeed go pretty loud on my MP3 player, I do fear my loss of hearing, so I got the scoop on the kids, the neighbors, and the co-workers, not to mention the husbands and the mothers. In some ways, the conversation distracted me from focusing on the miniature red clock, but in in others, I prayed for the sweet release of death. I thought, perhaps, if I prayed hard enough, I would be swept up and gnarled by the treadmill and my ears would get a merciful rest from the mindless chatter.

I'm not against mindless chatter -- I don't want to call for any special legislation or anything; in fact, I love to engage in babble all the time -- however, I don't particularly like to sit on the sidelines of this kind of talk (I'm that way with sports too; I like to play, but hate to watch). So listening in, unless there was majorly juicy drama to get let in on, was largely just annoying.

I guess I learned my lesson. Do not go to the gym at peak hours. Stick to the middle of the day, very early in the morning, or late at night. Plus, then I'll be able to pick a prime treadmill.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Gummies!

Yesterday on TV, I saw that the Flinstone brand vitamins that I loved so much as a kid have developed a new twist: Now they are coming out in gummies! I was so excited after seeing the commercial that I practically ran right out and bought them. But alas, I was innertly watching TV (I discovered while my electricity was out for two weeks that I really didn't miss TV and I loved that I read so much, but since the moment the power went back on, I have been sucked in again to that evil box -- I'm so entranced by the moving pictures!), so I couldn't find the will to move my limbs at that moment. But to think, these could be the answer to the terrible taste of those vitamins. Will they taste just like gummi savers or gummi bears? Will I be able to enjoy a bit of candy but also get my essential vitamins and minerals? It's almost too good to be true. Once I get my hands on a some, I'll report back on the taste and texture.

My only worry concerning these gummies is that they will end up tasting just like their chalky siblings, but will be rendered even more inedible by taking the gummy form. If I buy them and consume them, will they ruin other gummi items? Will I hate them, and therefore, be unable to taste another gummi bear for fear that it will taste just like that icky Wilma or Dino? But I guess I won't know until I try.

Can't be any worse than that brownie this morning that tasted like olive oil and garlic (can't figure that one out -- was the pan not washed well? was the oil used in the baking tainted by sitting on the shelf next to the garlic salt? was there garlic residue on my fingers?).

Monday, November 07, 2005

Running in the Aftermath

Fitting a run in the day of a hurricane is difficult, unless you have an indoor track, or a treadmill and a generator, because around here, if someone sneezes hard enough, all the power goes out. So, during a hurricane, you are likely to be in the dark; plus, there is that looming tempest outside your door that pretty much halts your outdoor activities. Running is pretty much out of the question.

The day Wilma hit here in Broward County, I woke up early to the sound of the windows shaking and moaning. The winds were bending and snapping trees in half, and the rain was pounding the earth in sheets. By 9 am, the parking lot of my condo complex was a veritable lake. Our power had flickered off in the middle of the night, so my husband-to-be and I huddled around the battery-powered radio and listened to the weather. We discovered that the storm was passing straight over our area, and while it was expected that the eye would soon cruise above us, the backside of the storm, it was warned, would be much more intense.

During what we could conclude was the eye, the winds died down and the rain fell softly for about twenty or thirty minutes. I stepped outside to catch a glimpse at some of the early damage, but I was yanked back into the safety of our home before I could snoop around too much. And then the backside of the storm began to beat us. The winds shifted direction, and our windows rattled and spurt water. It was a mad dash for towels and the rest of the storm required constant vigilance to ensure that our new floors wouldn't be damaged from rain water.

By mid-afternoon, Wilma was done with our area, and while the winds slowed and the rain stopped, we stepped out to see what had happened. Trees were down everywhere; they blocked the roads, the lay on top of cars, they had crashed into the sides of house and fences, and had torn down signs and other structures. Large trees with extensive root systems had pulled up concrete sidewalks and had destroyed many man-made landscaping endeavors. Traffic signals had all been blown off, street signs and road signs were either missing or were mangled. Roofs were missing, siding had blown off, windows had shattered, car windows were smashed, and cars themselves lay under all kinds of debris.

We spent nearly all of the following week helping friends clean up the mess the hurricane had created in their own yards and homes. No one worked and there was no school. It was four days after the storm before I even tried to go for a run outside in the early morning (the good thing about that week following the hurricane was that the temperature dropped and the weather was actually very cool and pleasant). When I ran that first day, I had to run in the road because all the sidewalks were covered in debris and some parts were torn up from the aforementioned tree roots. I had to keep a sharp eye for down power lines and snakes that are said to hide in down shrubbery. It was an obstacle course that required leaping over branches and running around trees and bits of fencing.

A few days later, power was being restored to most areas, and the gym re-opened. I went in part to exercise, but also in part to see some TV and enjoy the air conditioning because our power still had not come on. I tried to re-establish my exercise routine, but with errands and work to catch up on, I let three days go between my last run and today. It's so difficult getting back to a normal schedule, and I think I won't feel completely back to normal until I return to class tomorrow. It's hard for a runner to lose his or her routine, and the upset of the storm and our two week loss of power stressed me out (I didn't even know how tense I felt until the power came back on and I felt so relieved). I hope to run later this afternoon, and I think this week will help us get back into the normal patterns we have.

This storm caused enough external damage; I don't need any more damage to my running.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Glory of Electricity

I haven't written a new entry in a full two weeks because Hurricane Wilma dashed our area to pieces and our power was out until about 20 minutes ago. That's right. I have been living the primitive life for a full fourteen days. Let me tell you briefly what that is like: Cold showers, no air conditioning (so, that means very sweaty sleep), no refrigerated products (that means I haven't had a cold drink of water for days, not to mention the wonder that is ice), no TV, no Internet, no lights to read by late at night (and holding that flashlight gets tiresome), and no outdoor lights to see your keys and the lock in the door.

This morning, we saw the power truck pull up and we literally watched with our fingers crossed as the technician worked outside. When the power came on we yelled and jumped up and down, and I thought I might cry. It was the happiest moment of my life. Birth of my future children? Nothing compared to getting the power back on. That "New York Times" bestseller? Does it make the refrigerator hum? Finally running that anticipated marathon? I don't think that moment will compare to the moment the air conditioning kicked on.

So, I have many stories about the hurricane, about the aftermath, about running, and about food, but because this is my first introduction back into the civilized world, I must continue on my quest to explore this shining world of lights and sound. Stay tuned.