About Me

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My real life is a lot like THS (True Hollywood Story) except there's no fame, fortune, or drug addiction. Instead, I'm happily married, have two children, and a dog who's prone to barfing at 3 am. I love them all, but I also have to run away from them every day. I always run back, though.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day Weeked Pool Party and BBQ

Yesterday, our friends hosted their annual Labor Day Weekend Pool Party and BBQ, and we got to enjoy lots of good food, beer, friends, the pool, some horse shoes, and plenty of laughs. It wasn't a real warm day (by FL standards), and we had a mostly gray day with occasional rain and wind (with Gustav churning in the Gulf, South Florida is feeling the side effects of the giant storm); however, it was still warm enough to enjoy the pool, and that we did. Here's the Jer-Bear and I: Here's Jerry and Baby Miller: Well, "Flying Baby Miller" -- here you only get to see a little baby butt.
As the afternoon gave way to evening, we kept plugging away at the beer and then the shenanigans really got started. People started piling back in the pool, and there were many belly flops and cannon balls. Here I am laughing along with rest:
Eventually, I got back in the pool as well. I was persuaded by the fact that I had already been soaked by the boys' cannon balls, and figured I may as well just get my suit back on and join in the fun. Besides, night or day. It doesn't matter. Floating with a beer is awesome either way.
Lastly, one of the funniest events of the night was the hula hooping competition. See, Crystal uses a weighted hula hoop for exercise, and if you've ever read her blog, you'll note that she can hula hoop for a long time! And not just that, but she's able to read a book while hula hooping! Anyway, the hula hoop drew the attention of some of the men who thought the could easily do it. Turned out, it wasn't as easy as they thought it was, and we had a lot of laughs watching them give it a go. Jerry actually did it pretty well, but then he just got cocky (see below) and it slipped around his knees and he lost it.
All in all, it was a good time and a great party. Now, we get to spend the rest of the weekend chillin. Right now it's kinda stormy out, which makes me think I should either go run now, or just go curl up with a book. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chores and then Fun

This morning, I went and got my hair trimmed. It looks okay. I'm never all that ecstatic about haircuts, and the only part I really like about going is when they wash my hair. Feels good to have them rub my head.

Then I went and got my eyebrows waxed. Should be a simple thing. 5 minutes. But the girl I had today was clearly new, and she was not only slow, but she also managed to get wax in my hair and on my shirt. In the years (years!) I have been going to salons and getting my eyebrows waxed, I have never had someone get wax on me. Not even at a beauty school. I hope that washes out.

Last stop at the mall was Old Navy. Their jeans are on sale, and I picked up a new pair (only $26.50 -- seems like last place in the world where jeans cost less than $30).

On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items, so I decided to simply stop into the "old people" store. No, not owned by old people. Over-populated by old people. I hate that particular Publix: It's too small, it's got too much stuff in the aisles, making it hard to navigate, and it is elderly central. I stood in the "express" line for 10 full minutes; in part because the cashier wasn't real concerned about the sea of people in her line, but also in part because every old person on the planet feels as though they must dig around in their purse or wallet for exact change. I nearly paid for the lady in front of me just to get her moving!

So, this morning was kind of a busy series of tasks, but the rest of the afternoon should be relaxing and enjoyable. We're going to a friend's for a BBQ and pool party, so I plan on sitting in their pool with a beer and a plate of kabobs. Sweeeeet.

P.S. I think my car (1998 Honda Civic, aka "The Green Hornet") may finally be approaching its deathbed. It's been making a weird noise when it starts. *Sigh* It may finally be time to start looking for a new car...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Working Hard

Do you ever have a run where you feel as though you're just laboring through the entire thing? And, have you ever had an entire week's worth of runs feel like that?

That's how this past week has felt, and was especially true for this evening's 3 miler (29:42).

I think this is due to several reasons; one of them being that teaching just plain wore me out this week. So, I originally intended to do my week's long run tomorrow morning, but now I think I will take the day off running tomorrow, and maybe a day's rest will help between now and Sunday.

Thank god this is a long weekend. I'm really looking forward to sleeping in some.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Runnin' Instead of Bowlin'

Tonight is the first Thursday in about 3 months where I could be found out running at 9 pm instead of chillin' in the bowling alley bar.

The change was a bit disconcerting.

But it is nice to have a couple of weeks off of bowling before we resume with league on Sept 8th, and who are we kidding, the liver could use the vacay. Plus, it was good to get a 5 miler in. Time wasn't great (51:03), but I will blame the heat, as always and feel satisfied that I got the digits in.

So...now that I am faced with a Thursday evening without a pitcher of beer and a run through the Taco Hell drive-thru, I don't quite know what to do with myself. I would say that I could watch some TV on my new, shiny HD set, but Jerry is in the midst of freaking himself out while playing Bioshock, so I guess I'll go watch "Mad Men" in the bedroom.

On the plus side, it's gonna feel glorious tomorrow to wake up and not feel the slightest bit hungover. Huh. I'm not sure how a Friday will feel if I'm entirely sober.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hump Day Rest Day

After 5 days of running in a row, my legs are toast. Yesterday, I foam rollered and did lots of stretching before my 3 miler, but today I think the recipe for their fatigue is simply rest.

It doesn't help that the nature of my job means that I'm standing and walking for the majority of the day, and my little feets are tired. Not to mention the fact that the students make my brain tired. Can it be that today is only Wednesday? Because I'm already pining for the long weekend.

Anyway, I think I'm just hanging out and relaxing tonight. Although, I hope the house elves get to the ironing; otherwise, Jess is wearing something wrinkly tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Slowskis No More

Ran 3 miles this evening. Time was 29:01.

But enough of that crap; more importantly: Comcast came today and installed our new HD cable and our new DVR! So, aside from the remote that looks like I need a degree in computer science to figure out, I'm excited about this new viewing endeavor, especially the DVR.

See, Jerry and I have TV-related-amnesia and excepting a few shows that we can remember the days and times for ("The Office" and "30 Rock" top the list), we can never remember what day, what time, or what channel any shows are on. For instance, Jerry really likes "Heroes," but because he could never remember when it was on, he ended up watching all of both seasons online. On my end, I know I like "The New Adventures of the Old Christine" as well as "How I Met Your Mother," but again, same issue. Except I didn't catch up with either online -- so I didn't see a single episode of the latter's 2nd season.

I blame my inability to truly care much about TV on many complex and emotionally frayed reasons.

By which I mean my mother.

She used to tell us that TV would "melt our brains" (which, doesn't that phrase immediately insert the image of the scene from "Indiana Jones and The Lost Ark" where the Nazis' eyes are melting after they open the ark? that's what I always pictured when my mother repeated her anti-TV-refrain), and she would frequently walk by the set as my brother and I were enjoying a little "Duck Tales" or "Transformers" and switch it off while issuing the command: "Go outside and play."

And the only grown-up show I can recall being allowed to watch as a child was "Cheers." I remember it was after my bedtime too, but I was allowed to stay up that extra half an hour each Thursday to watch it. (My bedtime when I was a kid -- except in summer -- was always 8 pm; however, I was allowed to stay awake as long as I wanted as long as I was in my bed and reading. So yeah, this is where a lifetime habit of reading before bed began. And why I have spent countless nights of little sleep to finish a particularly intriguing book.)

Where Jerry's inability to remember days and times for TV shows comes from is a mystery; in other words, he's just plain forgetful. (I mean, c'mon, the guy doesn't even know our home phone number!)

So, now that we have a DVR, I hear it does the remembering and caring for you. Sweet deal. But does this mean that I'm gonna have to spend more time watching TV? I don't know if I have room for that in my life!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Other Runners

I hardly ever see other runners on my routes. I don't know why, really, but for example, this evening for my 4 miler: I didn't pass a single other runner. In fact, the only other pedestrians I passed were two women who were walking together. However, there are a few regular runners in my area that I see with some measure of regularity and they each have their own irregularities.

Two, in particular, stand out.

Runner #1: "The Lady in Black"
This woman usually runs in the morning, so I don't see her very frequently since I rarely rouse myself early enough to get my runs done in the AM, but sometimes I also see her in the evenings. But no matter the time of day, I see her in the same outfit: Black pants and black t-shirt (sometimes it's even a long-sleeved tee!). I can't necessarily determine the fabric of either (it's not like I'm waving her down in order to check the tags), but to be honest, both look like cotton.

So, imagine: It's summer, it's FL, it's hot as hades, and she's running in A.) Pants, B.) Black, C.) Cotton. That combination right there is a recipe for overheating, chafing and discomfort. Yet, her uniform must not bother her much because it never varies -- maybe she's a robot who's immune to high temps and humidity. If so, I envy her.

Runner #2: "The Backwards Runner"
I see this guy every. single. night. of. the. week. He's about 80. Or, around there. I don't know, the elderly are hard in terms of exact age-guessing, but needless to say, he's old. And he wears varied outfits for running, but usually it's a standard pair of running shorts, a t-shirt and a headband.

So his clothing isn't what's odd.

It's his running.

All I ever see him run is east and west down the street that runs in front of our condo complex, but this is the truly strange part: While he's running west, he runs forward, in a normal manner; but, when he turns around and runs east, he, well, doesn't turn around. He just runs backward.

I don't know how far he runs each night, but the street is about .75 of a mile, and he goes back and forth several times -- one way going forward and one way running backward. If this isn't odd enough, he doesn't run on the sidewalk; instead, he runs in the street! Now, in some areas, this may be perfectly safe, but here in South Florida, most drivers would rather run you down than look at you twice, so imagine running backwards down the street, and think about how dangerous that would be!

With both of these runners, I fear for them: I think one will get heat exhaustion and I think the other may wind up as roadkill!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Seven

Ran 7 miles this evening, but the numbers weren't great. I finished in 1:12:01, and I'd been hoping to do the run in about 1:08. I can blame the heat some (it's currently 90 degrees out there, and it's 8:30 pm; I set out for the 7 miler at a quarter to 7 pm), and I can blame the iPod some (again, its batteries quit on me part way through the run), but ultimately, I think it was just one of "those" runs.

Eh, they happen.

Saturday's New TV

Yesterday was a busy day in the Jess and Jerry household, and most of it revolved around one thing: Buying a new TV.

After a summer of thinking about a new TV, and researching TVs, and going to look at TVs, we finally went and actually purchased one. Jerry is very particular and he wanted only one of two brands, of certain quailty, but he had a set dollar amount he wanted to spend, but thankfully his strict qualifications all came together yesterday. So, here's the old TV: And below is the new TV! Jerry spent most of the afternoon and early evening yesterday hooking stuff up, and we have to extend a big "thanks" to our friend Ryan who came over and helped (okay, did most of the work -- and he only demanded a few beers as payment!).
I guess there's still lots to do to finish the installation since we also bought a new home theater system, so Jerry will probably spend most of today on the task. We also have to upgrade our cable to HD cable, but I'm pretty excited about that -- finally, we can join the rest of TV viewers in the 21st Century!
Anyhoo...while Jerry and Ryan were busy working on the installation yesterday, I escaped to get a 3 miler (29:01) in, and I can only note two things about that run: It was very buggy again, and there's a dead cat on my 3 miler route and it stinks. That's all I have to say about that.

After my run, and after we got most of the TV shiz set up, we went to a friend's last night to see their new house and enjoy a few cold beers. It was a nice evening.

So, lastly, on a completely unrelated note, check out this pic of Scooter and Jerry that I took this morning:

Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Four

Despite the fact that we had one day off this week due to TS Fay, I was feeling totally pooped today. So when I got home from class, I did some picking up around the house, played with Scooter, and then plopped down on the couch and didn't move for an hour or two. When Jerry got home, that was the lethargic state I was in.

Me: "I don't think I'm gonna run this evening. I'm just too tired and I don't wanna."

Jerry: "Man, you're whiny. Just go run; you'll feel better if you do and then I won't have to hear later about how guilty you feel for missing it."

Me: "I'm whiny?! You're whiny!"

(Yeah, I don't have much by way of retorts when I'm tired.)

Jerry: "Just go run."

Me: "Fine!"

So I ran 4 miles, and he was right, I did feel better. It feels against the wife-code-of-conduct to admit it, but I guess he knows me: When Jess is tired/grouchy/moody, she needs a run.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

End of Summer League

Even though Jerry and I will continue with league bowling this year with some of our friends in a fall league, the end of the summer league is always a bittersweet moment. This was our 4th year bowling in this league, and all of our friends bowl with us, so it's like a friend gathering every Thursday night. I mean, as a group, the 14 or so of us, get together pretty frequently anyway, but bowling is different, ya know?

Anyway, some details about tonight's last night of the summer league: My team did indeed place 2nd in the league; however, we did not get a trophy. Kinda bogus since the 2nd place teams have received trophies before, but the league must have been running short on cash, I don't know. But, I must extend a giant "congrats" to my teammate Crystal who got a trophy for best female something...I don't know what score or category she won her trophy in, but a trophy is a trophy! So, congrats to her!

After the trophy "ceremony" (ie: handing them out of the cardboard box they came in), we played our fun games for the night. The fun games, or "goofy" games as they are sometimes referred to, are just variations on traditional league bowling and serve as a light-hearted way to end the season. So, first game, it was like regular bowling except that if you knocked down 9 pins with the first ball, it scored like a strike. Here I am ready for the challenge: Here I am, with Jerry, after I scored a 206 in this game (with my handicap, I scored a perfect 300!): I won money, yo!
So, yeah, I rocked the first game, but the 2nd game? Uff, that one is supah hard. It's called low-pin, and you try to knock down as few pins as possible. Before you say, "Oh, I could rock that" consider this: if you gutter ball, it's a strike, and if you hit zero pins on the pick-up, it's a spare. It's a game that sounds easy, but actually turns out to be really, really difficult.

I did not rock that one.

In the last game, you play with a partner, and you bowl when it's your turn, but if you leave pins standing after your first ball, your partner has to pick them up, and vice versa. Again, seems like no big deal, but there's something about it that throws off your rhythm, and it's pretty dang hard. Crystal and I bowled decently with this last game, but it wasn't enough to win.

Still, the entire night was a load of fun. I won a little cash (promptly spent back at the bar and the "snack shack" -- I need my corndogs and beer!), I drank some beers, limited myself to one shot, had lots of laughs, and in general, enjoyed a great night with friends. The fall league that starts in two weeks will certainly be fun, but nothing can replace the summer league!

STP Concert

The STP concert last night was an awesome time. I'll be honest, going in to it, I was a little leary of how Scott Weiland would perform: Would they be on time? Would he be wasted? Would the performance be incoherent? Thankfully, I was more than pleasantly surprised that they started on time, they performed an awesome show, and while he couldn't seem to talk coherently, he certainly sang well.

Here I am enjoying the tunes and the Bud Light. I partook in a little too much of the Bud Light. Feel a bit icky this morning. Here's the 3 chicas: Erin, Crystal, and Me. We rock.
And here's the band. Scott Weiland, center stage, standing up on his own perfectly well. Maybe it's true: Maybe he is sober now.
All in all, it was a great time, and I really enjoyed the show.

On the schedule for tonight? Bowling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to Reality

The storm gave us a small reprieve from the regular work week, but today it's back to work and back to normal routines. Bah.

I think today is gonna be a day off from running because I have a concert tonight and I'm not going to have time between work and concert-going to get a run in and I did not get up early this morning to get it done (it's hard with the Olympics keeping me up until midnight every night). We're going to see Stone Temple Pilots this evening at the Hard Rock; should be a good time. One irony about this is that when I was in high school (maybe it was late middle school -- sometimes my timelines get confused), my mom made me get rid of my Stone Temple Pilots tape (had to be middle school; I think by high school, CDs were out) because she said it was the devil's music.

My mom was always rigid about our music because of her faith, yet I don't know if anyone ever told her that if you tell a teenager to not do something, it will make them want to do it even more. So, all the music my mom ever hated of mine? That's still the stuff I love.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

3 + 3

TS Fay has really been nothing more than a 3 day rainstorm, and we've been lucky here to have nothing more severe than TS storm conditions, which just means lots o' rain and wind. So, last night when I got home from class, I went for a quick 3 miler, and this morning after I slept in (hey, I can't complain about having the day off!), I went for another 3 miler.

Granted, it was windy and very rainy for both runs, but there was no lightning or thunder, and the rain was tolerable. I didn't take the Garmin for either run because the Garmin has trouble picking up and maintaining a satellite signal in such weather and I'm not gonna stand around in the rain waiting for it to pick up a signal, so I don't have times for either run, but both went pretty well, especially considering the inclement weather.

Otherwise, the past day and a half have been nothing short of cozy. It may sound weird, but I actually like this weather. I mean, most of the year's weather here in FL is exactly the same -- warm, sunny, chance of rain -- and sometimes that gets a little dull. I like a stormy day or two. And because Jerry also got the day off work today, it was nice to have a relaxing evening together last night and to chill together today. It is, as Jerry called it, like having "second weekend." So, when a storm is severe enough to cancel work, but not so severe as to cause real anxiety, then it's just perfect! Thanks, Fay!

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Snow" Day

When I was growing up in CO, I used to pray to the snow-gods for snow days so we could sleep in and go sledding all day instead of going to school, but here in FL, clearly it doesn't snow. Instead, we have hurricanes. Not so great for sledding, but still good enough to give us a day off.So, even though Fay is projected to swing WAY west of us, my college campus is closed tomorrow (Tuesday) in precaution of the storm. Despite the fact that the storm will (probably) not be a direct threat here, we will still probably experience some pretty heavy rainfall and some very gusty winds, and after this area went through Wilma in 2005, we all learned that it's better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared.

It sucks to throw a wrench in my carefully planned semester, but it's also awesome to get a day at home. So, tomorrow when it's all blustery and nasty out there, you can bet I'll be curled up on the couch with a book, or maybe, depending on conditions, out there for some runs!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Fay-Day

TS Fay Update: As of now, forecasters are predicting that South Florida will be out of the "cone" for Fay, and the storm will most likely hit the west coast of the state, and here, we will probably just experience TS weather on Monday and Tuesday. Still, as a precautionary, the county schools have closed. The colleges have not. However, this is gonna be an issue for classes tomorrow, I just know it. Why? Well, it's the first day of fall semester: That means lots of first time college students, and they will hear on the news that the county schools are closed; they will assume this means the colleges as well; they will not double check news reports to confirm. I'm not saying all of them will think that, but many of them will, so I expect first day attendance to be low -- and then I'll get a flood of email that says: "Professor, I'm so sorry I wasn't in class, I thought school was closed."

Anyone want to wager that I'll be mistaken? I could use some extra cash.

Aside from the storm news, I did get out this evening for a 6 miler, and it went pretty well. With the TS looming near Cuba, we're already getting some early bands of thunderstorms, so while it is still humid out there, the temps are a bit cooler, so that was nice. I still wasn't very fast, but I ran a comfortable pace, and finished up in 1:00:45.

One excellent thing that could happen because of this possible storm is that after it passes through, we could have a few days of cooler weather. Typically, after a major storm (tropical or hurricane), cool, crisp air follows for a few days -- something to do with pressure systems and other meteorological shiz I don't understand. I remember the week after Wilma, in 2005, as the coolest, driest air I think I've ever experienced here in South Florida, so perhaps Fay could usher in a little of that for us.

Sunday Morning

Yesterday was an extremely quiet day. I read, I watched the Olympics (last night was a great night to watch: women's marathon, Phelps' 8th gold, Dara Torres, the men's 100m dash), I did some laundry, but really, I barely moved off the couch all day.

Today, we don't have much planned either. I think our current plan is to take Scooter to the dog park for awhile, have lunch, and then maybe see a movie this afternoon, and somewhere in there, I want to get a run in, but it probably won't happen until late this evening.

For now, we also have one eye on Tropical Storm Fay, which is just now touching SE Cuba, but is mostly certainly going to strengthen into a hurricane and head toward FL. South Florida is within the "cone of uncertainy" (always a phrase that sounds like something from "Superman"), but it will be hard to know its exact path until tomorrow. Our hurricane supplies are all stocked, we just need to pull them out of the closet and check some batteries; otherwise, we're set for disaster. Kind of.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Boring Friday

I ended up skipping the friend's BBQ that I had originally planned on attending this evening. I didn't really have a valid reason, except that I just felt like hanging out at home by myself. Not totally like me, but there are days, not a lot but a few, where I just don't feel like socializing and I just want to stay at home by myself. Jerry went, but Scooter and I decided to chill at home.

Anyway, I figured it would also give me the chance to delay my planned run for nightfall when the temps would cool some (it was 100 here today with 52% humidity -- not pleasant), and I set out for a planned 5 miler at about 8 o'clock. A half mile in, I noted some lightning off in the distance but figured it was, well, in the distance. But just before I hit the first mile, I saw a bolt of lightning that lit up the sky, and then seconds later felt the reverberations of its thunder.

That was it for me. I went another tenth so I could round out the mile, and then I booked it home. All the while, the sky was ablaze with streaks of lightning and the rumbling of thunder echoed all around me. So instead of 5, I just got 2 in. Kinda disappointing, but I was thinking it was for the best since I didn't get struck down by lightning and all, but now I'm sitting here looking out the window, and there's no rain. No more lightning. Yeah, I can hear some distant thunder, but what happened there? The way it was looking, I thought for sure the heavens were going to open up and pour. Mother Nature tricked me!

Oh well. I'm gonna go read now and then flip on the Phelp-mipcs (those are two words that don't blend into one so well): I think he swims again this evening around 10 or 11. Anyone catch Nastia Luikin's gold medal performance last night? I stayed up past midnight to finish it, but she was awesome. Love those gymnastics. And what about those Chinese gymnasts? They have to be 13 for sure. No way is that He Kexin 15 going on 16. I read an editorial today that said the IOC should do a formal investigation into the ages of at least two of those athletes, and I thought the writer made some very valid, very persuasive points.

Sorry...I digress...hope everyone enjoys their Friday, Olympics or no Olympics!

Silver Medal Champions!

As some of you were able to guess from the lack of an incoherent post last night, yes, I was able to remain pretty sober for bowling. In fact, I commented to Jerry before we left the alley: "I think this is the most sober I've ever been leaving bowling!" Unfortunately, that sobriety did not help out my game, and I scored 3 terrible games; however, my teammate pulled through and we managed to beat the other team and secure 2nd place for ourselves in the league! Wa-hoo!

So, next Thursday is the last night of summer league (we play "fun" games and enjoy the prizes), and then summer league is over. If that makes you sad, then you're not the only one; I always hate it when bowling league comes to an end, and that's why...Jerry and I joined a fall league! We are joining up with a couple of friends to form a team for a league that begins in September (and goes for 36 weeks! holy cats, I may get sick of bowling; nah, they have beer there! how could I get sick of that?), so beginning on Sept 8th, we will be bowling in a new league on Monday nights.

Anyhoo, not much else to report: I've been in faculty meetings all morning, and now I get to go home and enjoy what's left of my break before classes begin on Monday. Tonight, we're going to a friend's for a BBQ, and before that I may have to brave the heat in order to get a run in. Ugh...I'm scurred! It's about 97 out there right now! Pray for me and my hydration.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Busy Bee

Just because the fall semester doesn't start until Monday doesn't mean that I haven't been working this week. The past few days I've been very busy putting together everything for the term, including revising my syllabi and polishing off the final touches on the planning of one class that I've never taught before (I'm so pumped to teach it though: it's a class I developed last spring and I'm so excited that enough students signed up for it so that it's a "go"; it's called "Women Novelists in the 19th and 20th Century" and I'm teaching 5 novels: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Mrs. Dalloway, The Handmaid's Tale, and Beloved -- yeah! It's gonna rock!).

Anyhoo...aside from planning for the fall term, I had to attend a faculty meeting this morning, and I have two meetings to attend tomorrow (all of them are totally pointless, but whatever), and I have been fielding a gazillion student emails. Seriously, my inbox is full of student email -- everything from "can I get into your already full class?" to "can I switch classes of yours?" to "can you change a grade of mine from a year ago?" to "will you write me a letter of recommendation?" -- and because I try to be so accommodating for students, I am swamped with answering their questions and getting them what they need. Phew!

Did I mention that the semester hasn't even started yet?

Thankfully, I am taking a running rest day today because I really don't think I have the time to fit it in today: This afternoon I cleaned the house, and now I need to get some shiz ready for the happy hour we're hosting pre-bowling tonight. We're having about 10 homies and homettes over to enjoy a few pre-bowling beers, as well as some pulled-pork sandwiches; should be a good gathering before our championship game tonight. The Pinderellas are tied for a battle over 3rd place, so cross your fingers in our favor tonight! If we really rock that alley, we could be in contention for 2nd place!

P.S. This time I'm serious: I really need to NOT get wasted at bowling tonight. I have too much work to do tomorrow to spend it hungover like last week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not Much

Ok, first things first: regarding my comment from earlier today about the difference between men's and women's volleyball uniforms? Looky here. An article that addresses the exact topic! I'm SO ahead of the mainstream media!

Anyhoo...nothing real noteworthy about my 3 miler (30:02) this evening; it was hot and terrible, but I think I've pretty much exhausted that discussion so I won't dwell there. On the plus side, after the run, Jerry and I went out for Cajun and I had a delicious shrimp po'boy and a Stella. So now I'm really full, I'm in my sweats, and I think I will spend the rest of the evening laying on the couch flipping back and forth between Project Runway and the Olympics. Awesome evening.

Olympic Fever

Like most Americans glued to the Olympics the past few days, I have been enthralled by Michael Phelps and his now historic gold medal count. I mean, the guy seems to be unstoppable. But aside from watching the Olympics, particularly swimming, for the athletic accomplishments they're achieving, like Viv, I'm in it for the scenery:
I mean, ladies, do men's bods get any better than a swimmer's? Why would you not be watching these guys?

But, thankfully, it's not just the swimming: there's the diving (thank you tiny little Speedos -- never thought I'd say that!), the gymnasts, the soccer players, even the kayakers are eye candy! The Olympics are a feast for the eyes!

And certainly, the men aren't the only ones garnering all the physical glory. The other night, while we were watching the women's synchronized diving, my husband commented: "Wow, they have nice asses." I couldn't even argue with him because, well, they did have incredible asses. So, with all this physical and athletic perfection paraded in front of us in mostly skimpy attire, my one question is this: Why do the women in beach volleyball play in bikinis while the men in beach volleyball play in shorts and tank tops? C'mon, Olympics, those guys have to be sweaty in those itchy tank tops! Let them play without shirts!

What'd'ya say ladies? Shall we petition the Olympic committee for a better outfit for those guys? I mean, shucks, it's for their own comfort!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Notes from a Runner

How many times have you left a note like this one?Seems like Jerry comes home to this kind of note frequently. Sometimes the notes vary: I sometimes leave a note informing him of the time I left and the miles I expect to do so he can get a feel for my return ETA, but mostly, the notes are brief and to the point, like the one above that I left before heading out on my 3 miler this afternoon.

The run went pretty well, especially considering that with all the rain today, the humidity is about 82% out there, so it was like running in a terrarium. Still, I was able to finish it up in 28:57. Not too shabby for the conditions.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Found Money and a Lengthy Book Review

I found a dollar on my 4 mile run this evening! With an overall time of 39:17, that dollar was pretty much the highlight of my run. I've never found money on a run before, but after spending who knows how much on running gear and races, it's about time I started to recoup some expenses. I would, however, be more appreciative if those expenses came in hundred, not one dollar bills, but I guess I should be happy with my found money, no matter the denomination.

In other news, I finally finished "Breaking Dawn" today. For those who are currently reading it, no fears, I will not spoil the plot for you, and for those who don't read the series, go ahead and leave me a comment about the found money and be done with the following. But for those who remain (ie: fans of the "Twilight" series who are either currently reading, have read or are anticipating the read of BD, read on my friends), here are my thoughts:

Overall, I think it was good. There are, however, some criticisms. Now, I won't comment on the plot issues that book reviewers and fan reviews online have been noting (although I agree with most of them), but I do have two major criticisms: One, the length. If I were Meyer's editor, I would have demanded that she cut it by at least 150 pages. I am not adverse to a lengthy novel (two of my favorite novels are "Gone with the Wind" and "Les Miserables" each well over 1,000 pages), but I think length should add to the story, not detract from it. And it's my general opinion that editors allow writers who are big-wig-money-makers (JK Rowling, for example, whose last 3 novels in the HP series could have been heavily edited as well) to write with little restriction. Not smart. I am of the E.B. White school of thought that "less is more" and, in my opinion, Meyer was allowed a too-free reign with the word count in this one.

Second criticism? The anti-climatic ending. True, the last 50 pages were incredibly engrossing, and I was on the edge of my brain with anticipation, but then? Well....I thought the plot took an easy way out, and quite frankly, I think Meyer left things conveniently open. Yes, she says this is the last in the series (excluding "Midnight Sun" -- Edward's telling of "Twilight" -- to be released, tentatively, sometime in 2009), but the ending seemed to leave so many loose ends that I would bet $10 she wants the wriggle room to write more if she later decides she wants to. Which, in some ways, I'm fine with, but I think it could have reached a more dramatic and satisfying climax. (Think of the Harry Potter climax in the last book, now that was a satisfying peak to a series' end!)

Otherwise, my other criticisms pretty much sync up with what some reviewers have said, and then I have always maintained that Meyer's writing is a little, well, stylistically lacking, but those concerns are minor. Overall, I am impressed with her ability to tell an engrossing story. And before this series, I had no idea that a tale of vampires and other monsters could be the stuff of fairy tales.

Olympics and Babysitting

Yesterday was a pretty relaxed day: The only two things that occupied us were the Olympics (we watched everything from beach volleyball to swimming to gymnastics to women's cycling to synchronized diving, phew!) and babysitting our friend's baby, Miller.

Our friends, Erin and Ryan, went to dinner for their anniversary and Jerry and I had volunteered to watch Miller while they enjoyed some time alone. Miller is a good baby, so it was pretty easy to babysit. Here's some pics:

Jerry feeding Miller with Scooter's supervision. Scooter was a little jealous of Miller. It's not the first time Miller has been over, and Scooter has been to Miller's house plenty of times in the past, but this was the first time Miller was alone with us, and suddenly, Scooter's non-chalant attitude about him changed. He had a hard time accepting the fact that while Jerry was feeding the baby he wasn't allowed in Jerry's lap.
Here's me and Miller: He's getting so big so fast that soon he and I will be wearing the same shoe size!
Later, Miller fell asleep on Jerry's tummy as we settled in to watch some Olympics. I've mentioned it before, but this below is a perfect example of Jerry's Baby Whispering skillz. Miller is cool as a cucumber with Jerry, and he can't help but just fall asleep.
Scooter, as I said, wasn't ever far away. He had to keep a close eye on that baby -- and on the TV. He's a Phelps Phan.
All in all, it was a good day. And after Miller's parents came and picked him up, I cracked open a beer and read some of my book. Very relaxing.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

8 on the 8th

Well...8 on the 9th. Technically.

So, I did my 8 miler in honor of 08/08/08 and the start of the Olympic games; I just did it a day late. It went pretty well, especially considering the fact that I haven't run 8 miles since probably mid-May so I'm out of practice for anything longer than 5-6 miles. Unfortunately, my iPod's battery died at mile 3 (that's the one thing I really dislike about the Shuffle -- it gives no warning or indication that the battery is low and then, bam, it's dead), so I had to run the other 5 miles with just me and my thoughts. Scary. But I suppose it's good practice for the Army Ten Miler since they strictly prohibit any use of headphones.

Anyhoo, splits lined up like so:

1: 9:53
2: 9:53
3: 9:55
4: 10:14
5: 10:22
6: 10:24
7: 10:23
8: 10:01

Total Time: 1:21:07

I blame the slowing time on the loss of the iPod at mile 3. Note how the times support this theory.

Saturday Morning

I'm feeling much better today, and while I'm glad I didn't have any obligations yesterday, it still felt like a waste. That's what I hate most about those kind of hangovers: It makes the whole next day feel worthless.

Anyway, I won't get to my 8 miler until this evening, but I figured I still had some tidbits to chat about this morning:

First of all, Jerry and I started watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night, but after an hour, I was pretty much bored with it. We didn't even stay up to watch the athletes' entrance (which is really the best part of the opening ceremony), and we were both in bed by 10:30 last night. Aside from my boredom with the opening ceremony, I really am excited to watch the Olympics; although, the Olympics kinda make me tear up. Especially when an American wins -- hearing the national anthem when they're on the podium makes me cry. Even the Visa commercials leading up to the Olympics kinda made me well up. Weird, aren't I?

I'm still reading "Breaking Dawn"; I'm only about halfway through. It's definitely good, but I really haven't had a lot of time to read in the past few days. But even though I'm not done with it, I do know how it ends because...well, I already read the last page. This is a shaming revelation for me: But I almost always read the last page of a book long before I get to the end. Jerry thinks it's totally weird that I do this, but it honestly doesn't ruin anything for me, especially since the last page doesn't always reveal a whole lot.

Why do I do this? Well, as Harry says in "When Harry Met Sally," what if I die before I finish the book? Morbid thought, yes, but it's true. If I die, I'd like to die knowing the ending of the book. This is also my reason for always cleaning the house well before we go on vacation. If we die while we're gone, I don't want people to think we lived in a messy house.

Anyway, like I said, knowing the end doesn't ruin anything for me, because the excitement of discovering how I'm gonna get to that end is still there. As Margaret Atwood says in her short story "Happy Endings": "Endings are all the same...Beginnings are always more interesting...But true connoisseurs are known to favor the stretch in between."

But, I have to get moving now. I think Jerry and I may be going to do some shopping today (he needs new pants desperately) and then we may go see a matinee of "Pineapple Express." And in the meantime, I have a little dog who is begging for some attention: Oh, he wants me to throw Franken Dog for him.
Guess, I'd best get going. I have a dog who needs some toy time. I'll fill ya in later on my 8 miler report! Check ya later!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Barfy-Barferson

I distinctly remember telling Jerry before we went bowling last night: "I don't want to drink too much. I have the 8 on the 8th tomorrow, and I don't want to be hungover for the run."

Too bad I don't listen to myself.

Before bowling, we met up with some of our homies for dinner and drinks, and I had a beer there, and well, it was delicious. So, once we got to the bowling alley, I just kept on drinking. And the result was that I had WAY too much, and today I am paying the price for such over-indulgence.

It's been a long time since I've puked from drinking, but this morning I was praying to the porcelain god, and I was asking myself why I can't practice some level of self-control. Thus, I've spent all day as a worthless piece of crap, and I'm only now, at 3 pm, beginning to feel like I'm on the mend.

So, because I just ate my first piece of food for the day, and am now able to keep that and the water down, I don't think I'm in any condition to run 8 miles. I guess I'm gonna have to defer the run and do it tomorrow. Right now I need some more to eat, and I need to have about a gallon more water.

Remind me next week for bowling that I must listen to myself and SLOW DOWN with the booze. I mean, seriously, I'm not 21 anymore.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot

This morning, I had some end-of-term work to finish up on campus before I could be completely done with my summer classes (which ended yesterday -- wa-hoo!), so my plan was to sleep in some, go to campus, do my work, and then go to the campus gym and run on the treadmill. Well, I did sleep in, and I did go and get all my work finished (can I get another "wa-hoo!"?), but the gym was closed. I should have guessed as much that it would be closed until the start of the fall term in a week. Dammit.

So, I got back in my car and decided, "Hey, I'm in running clothes, I'm ready to run, I'm gonna go run, I'm just gonna have to do it outside in grueling temps. I can do it. I'm tough." I drove home, donned my visor and sunglasses, slathered on some sunblock, and headed out into the noon heat. Did you hear that people?! It was high noon! The current temp is 92 out there, humidity at 51%; thus, the "feels like" temp is a broiling 99 degrees. Here I am pre-run, ready to rock that motherfucking heat: Those are actually Jerry's sunglasses. I don't actually have a pair of "sporty" sunglasses. Need to get me some of those. Anyway, back to the run: Truth is, while it was definitely a scorcher, I managed a decent 3 miler, with a total time of 30:16, which is a better time than Monday's morning run at 6:15 am (which as a scientific aside, despite the difference in temps for these two runs, the dew point was exactly the same, so even though one was run under cover of darkness and the other was run in the midday sun, the humidity was essentially the same). I brought a bottle of water along, and that helped, and actually, the worst part about running a hot run, is finishing a hot run. I swear, when I stop, that's when I really feel the heat. Here I am post-run: Pretty, aren't I?
I was completely soaked in sweat, my face felt like a giant tomato, and I could feel my pulse rushing through every part of me, but I was glad I got the run done in such unsavory conditions. Truth be told, I'm feeling like a bad ass right now for such perseverance. I hope all of you are duly impressed as well.

Now that I am done with my work and done with today's run, I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon chillin' on the couch with my Scooter Dog, as per the example below, and I'm gonna read my book in the comfort of glorious air conditioning.
And tonight? I bowl!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

4.1 Miler

Why the .1 you ask? Because of race distances over the course of the year, as well as a few irregularly distanced training runs, I have had this pesky .9 mileage in my running log for the past month or so, and I keep thinking: "I should just run that extra tenth of a mile someday so I can have even numbers in my log." But, each run comes along and I never go that extra tenth. However, tonight I decided was the night, so I tacked on the extra tenth, and now I can rest assured that my mileage for the year (thus far) comes to a round, even number.

Phew. I bet we'll all sleep better now, right?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Improved

Tonight's 3 miler was much better than yesterday's 3 miler. What a difference 36 hours can make, right? So, while it wasn't speedy like I'd like, I was able to gradually pick up the pace, and finish under 30 minutes, which when compared to other runs in the past 3 weeks was pretty decent.

1: 10:06
2: 9:47
3: 9:27

Total Time: 29:21

But, now I have to go: I have shiz to do to prep for tomorrow's last day of class, and "Wipeout" is on. Good times, good times.

Not Interested in the Worm

I am not so good at this whole "getting up early to run" business. And for the past week and a half, I have been hit and miss with actually getting up and getting the runs done early in the AM. Thus, today was a miss. The alarm went off, I shut it off, and I snuggled back into the sheets with barely a second thought.

Guess that means I have to do it tonight now.

In other news, I broke down yesterday and bought Stephenie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn." I was gonna wait until I was done with class (tomorrow!), but then I just couldn't hold out anymore! I read the first 40 pages or so last night. Which is barely a dent in its 7oo something pages. It'll read fast though. Especially after tomorrow afternoon since on Thursday and Friday I only have 3 things to do: run, bowl, and read. Folks, I think that's called heaven.

Monday, August 04, 2008

AM 3 Miler

I got up at 6 am this morning, and before I was out the door at 6:15, I checked the weather. I do this mainly out of habit, not because it really changes by much (especially this time of year). What I usually look at is not so much the temperature (which was 80 degrees), but the relative humidity and the dew point. These are, I think, more accurate indicators of what conditions I'm facing out there for a run.

If you want to read more about the difference between relative humidity and dew point, go here. It explains both terms well, and may give you a better idea of your own humidity conditions as you run outside during these "dog days of summer."

Anyway, if you read the above link, you will have learned that relative humidity changes over the course of the day as the temperature changes, so a more accurate measure of the air's humidity is the dew point. By way of comparison, want to know what those numbers were here this morning? The humidity was 81% and the dew point was 71 degrees F. Again, if you read the link above, you will note the chart at the bottom of the page which categorizes the "feel" for dew point, and you'll note that a dew point of 71 is labeled "very humid, quite uncomfortable."

Personally, I would label the amount of humidity in the air this morning as "fucking unbearable," but hey, I'm no meteorologist. Granted, the temp at 6:15 am is better than it is now at 3 pm (if you'd like a glance at our current temps, go here), but one thing basically remains a constant despite the rising temperature this afternoon: You got it, the dew point, which as we all just learned, is the truest measure of the air's water content.

So, what does this mean for running, and particularly my run this morning? Well, as per the general running: High humidity is tougher to run in because we are sweating, but the sweat is not evaporating, thus we are not getting cooler; therefore, dehydration is more likely a problem. But this failure to cool also affects our HR, blood pressure, and even muscle coordination. In other words? It fucking sucks ass to run in high humidity.

Needless to say, my 3 miler this morning sucked ass in the above-described way. I slogged through it, but I felt miserable, tired, and thirsty afterward. And even though I know that this summer heat and humidity will eventually dissipate (yeah, in like, November!), for now, it affects every run. And it's frustrating because I think about how I can run a 3 miler in, like, 27 minutes in cooler weather, but this morning, it took me about 32 minutes. Plus, it's frustrating because I keep thinking that after 4 years of living in FL that I would be acclimated to this shiz, but each summer I prove a wimp in the face of such conditions.

And I know, I know, everyone is gonna comment with "at least you don't have to run in snow and freezing temps in the winter"; true, but right now? I would greet snow and freezing temps with a big bear hug.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Looky what I found...

...on my running shoe before I slipped them on and headed out for my run today: A little lizard!As if I don't have enough lizard woes since I have to dodge their kamikazee ways out on the South Floridian sidewalks; I guess this little guy was trying to trick me into running on him before I was even out the door! But, don't worry. I escorted him safely outdoors where I hope he lives a long lizard life.

Aside from the lizard surprise, nothing was really noteworthy about my 5 miler today. The Garmin was low on batteries, I guess, so it pooped out on me at mile 1, so I have no digits to go by, but all in all, it felt decent. I can't ask for more than that.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Extraneous Scooter Pics

I'll be honest, I'm on day 3 of no running. My "plan" always goes downhill Thursday through Saturday each week. This morning my excuse was that I had a headache (too much wine last night, perhaps -- wine, in particular, seems to give me a nasty headache the next morning). So, since I have nothing on the exercise front to report, I figured I would distract you with some Scooter pics.

In any given week, I probably take about a dozen pics of Scooter. In part because I think he's always looking cute, but also in part because I'm fiddling around with camera angles and settings and he's a good subject to practice on (one day, I aspire to purchase a fancier camera and then the glorious pictures I will take with that!). So, this is a sampling of this week's pics: The first 3 are Scooter playing with an empty water bottle.

See, he has a certain technique that he learned from his dog friend Annie, and the whole goal of the game is to remove both the cap and the plastic ring under the cap.
I screwed this one on extra tight to try and get a few more minutes of play out of it for him. Generally, it's a game that takes about 1 minute.
There. Cap is off! Don't worry, he never swallows anything. And he loves this game. Just like with kids, some of the best toys for my dog are those that don't cost a thing. His other favorite "trash toy"? Empty paper towel rolls. In that case, there's no precision to playing with them; the objective is solely destructive.
Lastly, here he is chillin' in the sun on the red couch in the office. He likes to lay there while I'm blogging. That way he can keep an eye on me and he can relax in the sun. It's hard being a dog. So very, very hard.
But, now I have to go. Scooter is summoning me to throw toys for him. This dog? He has THE life.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Randomness

So, lots of tidbits for you folks today:
  • Yeah, we rocked bowling, yet again. My games were as follows: 104, 143, 117. Clearly, game 2 was the perfect amount of beer before sliding into drunkenness.
  • Our scores helped us get 7 out of the 9 points, and that means we knocked the #1 team out of 1st place. It didn't put us there, but the victory was still satisfying.
  • This morning I discovered that jelly has an expiration date. I woke with a craving for a piece of toast with PB and J, and while the toast was toasting, I opened the jelly and it smelled funky. I checked to see if there was an expiration date, and sure enough, it expired 3 weeks ago. I never knew that jelly went bad. Does this mean I also need to comb through the salad dressings for expiration dates? Shit.
  • Scooter's toys all have names. For example, he has a little stuffed fox that we call "Dirt Shrew" (if you've seen season 3 of "Weeds," you'll get the reference). He also has a new toy that he really likes; it's a cow that we call Moomacita. Moomacita bounces in an unpredictable way, and this morning when I was throwing her and Franken-Dog for Scooter, I knocked over a lamp. 2nd lamp that has been the victim of Moomacita's bounce. I may need to restrict her use.
  • I only have 3 days of summer classes left -- next Monday-Wednesday. Then I get 11 days off before we begin the fall term on August 18th. I am VERY excited for those 11 days.
  • Today, Stephenie Meyer's last enstallment in the "Twilight" series, "Breaking Dawn," comes out. And I'm torn. I want to read it so badly I can barely contain myself, yet I have papers to read, laundry to do, and another book which I'm halfway through. I know I should just wait and buy it on Wednesday afternoon, when I'm all done with classes, so I can enjoy it without interruption, but on the other hand, I'm just dying to gobble it up!