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Monday, March 31, 2008

Dog Run

Allergies are a good guess for the throat crap, but consider that I live in FL, and it's essentially summer year round here -- thus, I have "seasonal" allergies all year, and I take regular drugs for 'em. No, I don't think this throat business is allergy related. Probably flu/cold related, but I'm planning on making my immune system fight it off. That. Or, I'll just drink more and hope the alcohol kills off any germs.

But sore throat or no sore throat, I wasn't missing any more running today. So, this afternoon, I strapped on the kicks and headed out into the far-too-hot-and-humid afternoon. Scooter was giving me puppy eyes before I left, so I decided to leash him up and take him along. As you know, a run with the Scooter dog is a bit erratic and always has to be cut short since he can't pace himself and is usually pooped after half a mile. So, we only did 2 miles (it was dang hot out there anyway, and when you're a dog in a fur coat, it's gotta be even hotter), and it took us 25:43 (lots of time to stop and "smell the flowers" -- literally).

After the run, I took Scooter in the shower with me (he's been smelling a bit too much like dog lately), and now he's crashed.

This evening, we're going to head out to a local bar for some Rock Band. I guess it's set up kinda like karaoke, and people can either play individual instruments or as a band, so a crew of us are gonna go check it out. Pray I don't decide after a few beers that it will be a good idea to get up on stage and sing. I wanna wake up tomorrow with some shred of my dignity, and if I'm up on stage belting out an off-key rendition of "Buddy Holly," that won't happen.

Throat Thing

Friday, my throat felt kinda dry, and I just drank tons of water because I thought I was dehydrated.

Saturday, my throat still didn't feel great, but I drank a lot of alcohol and I completely forgot that it was bothering me.

Sunday, it was starting to feel downright icky and scratchy, like it was coated in Wookie-fur.

Today, it continues to feel like it's laced with Chewbacca chunks, but I have also added a delightfully hacking cough to the repertoire.

However, I have no other cold symptoms: no fever, achiness, headache, or stuffy nose. Am I in the process of coming down with something? Am I "down" with a part of something? Did I accidentally lick my friend's cat when I was over there playing Rock Band the other night?

Questions, lots of questions...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March Schmarch

Well, March is nearly over, and in terms of running, it has been a big, fat failure. I haven't totalled the mileage yet (still technically have today and tomorrow to sneak in a few more miles), but I know it's low. Like, probably somewhere between 30-40 miles low. Yeah.

So what's my excuse for such dismal mileage this month? Life, I guess.

This month, and actually the two preceding it as well, has just felt so busy, and I'm actually a little shocked to look at the calendar and discover it is nearly over.

Hopefully, April will calm down a little. As of now, we don't have anything big planned, except of course, both Jerry's and I's b-days (mine is the 22nd -- go ahead, mark your calendars and begin the gift buying -- and Jerry's is the 29th), but we don't have major plans for either (yet).

As far as racing in April, I'm a bit conflicted. On the 3rd, there's the corporate run, which some friends will be running, but I'm not sure if I want to run it -- it's so big for a 5K (last year, there were 3,000 runners and no timing chips), and the bigger the crowd, the less I likey. I will probably run it, but I may make the decision at the last minute. Also, I was planning on running a separate 5K on the 5th, mostly because it's a bridge run, and I thought the challenge of that might be cool, but I haven't done nay hill work, so now I think it might just be hard. Plus, do I want to run 2 5Ks in one week?

Anyway, that's the only racing currently in contemplation, and if nothing else, April should be the month in which I decide on some races for the future calender.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Miscellany and 6 Words

First of all, I need to wish my friend Ryan a belated happy b-day. His birthday was yesterday, and even though he's now a little older, and thus a little weaker and slower, he was still up for his share of beers last night. He needs to consume as many as he can now since soon he'll be a new dad, and from what I'm told, new dads consume more coffee than beer.

Because Jerry and I joined Ryan and Erin for a few drinks last night, I skipped my run. Eh. I really needed those few beers. They were delightful.

Tonight, I have to get the last of my shit together for Erin's baby shower tomorrow. It's not a lot to do; it's just that I still only have a vague idea of what I'm doing, so I kinda feel like I'm feeling around in the dark. I've never thrown a baby shower before, and let's face it, I'm not really the type who revels in this sort of baby shiz, but I think I'll pull it off. Plus, I bought plenty of wine in a box (it's actually more excellent than it sounds), so if anything is crap, I'll be too drunk to notice or care. Sorry, Erin, if it sucks, you'll have to just be happy with the sparkling juice I bought.

Soooo...one last thing for today before I depart to teach my class and enlighten all those engaged young minds (as you can tell, I slipped from anger straight into lunacy this week): Marcy tagged me to do the whole "6 Word Memoir" business. And I really did labor over it. See I wanted to capture the "essence of Jess" in my 6 words, and that's hard to do, because frankly, I'm the shit and that only requires a 3 word statement, so to create something longer was really difficult. In the end, I couldn't decide on one statement that seemed to sum up my life so far, so I figured, hey, why not put it to a vote?

Here are the contenders:

1. "Drained the keg. Ready for refill."

2. "Fucked up frequently. Have no regrets."

3. "Jerry. Scooter. Run. Teach. Eat. Drink."

4. "Tried to be good. But failed."

5. "Aimed for perfection. Got close enough."

6. "Comma splices make me wanna cry."

7. "My mistakes have been my successes."

Consider them, consider what you know of me, and let me know which statement you think is best. And the majority's choice will be my "6 Word Memoir." After you vote, you can consider yourself tagged to do the same exercise. Best of luck!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Anger Management

Ahhhh, there's nothing quite like the feeling of allowing your body to pound out any mental or emotional frustration that may build up from work or life:

1: 8:59
2: 8:55
3: 8:50

Total Time: 26:45

When I was finished, Jer-Bear and I met some friends for dinner, and now I'm chillin' at home with a glass of wine, watching "Dead Like Me" with Jer and getting ready for "Top Chef" at 10. What an excellent evening.

Post Script Complaints

Yesterday was just a barrage of bullshit from students, and it didn't end after I posted those brief anecdotes either: Later in the evening, I found a student's essay that was plagiarized, and when I spoke with him about it before class, it was a dizzying conversation that went something like so:

Jess: Student, I'm concerned because it appears that your essay is entirely the work of copied and pasted material from online resources, and I don't see anything here that is your own writing.

Student Rebuttal: It is too mine. I wrote it. I just used sources to help.

Jess: Okay, show me a portion that is your writing.

Student looks at essay and points out the first few sentences, and he says: This is mine; I wrote the introduction.

Keep in mind that I am holding the printed version of everything he copied from online, so I look at what he's pointing at, consult my print out, and respond: No, it's not yours. That's from right here (and I point to the EXACT material that came from online).

The conversation went back and forth like this, and it was literally mind numbing to try and convince him that no, he did NOT write the essay he submitted. In his mind, he seems to have thought that he did.

See, the thing that bugs me the most, and what I take very personally, is that I put a lot of time and effort into my classes to ensure that I teach the material thoroughly, accurately, and in an engaging manner. However, learning something is a two-way street and if they're not putting in the time and effort to pay attention, then I grow very frustrated by their apathy. Granted, most students succeed and are good students (some are even superior students who invest a great deal of time and effort in my classes); but at this point in the term, those that are exasperating me are just really draining the life outta me, and I feel like I only have a thin shred of patience remaining.

But...that's my rant for now. I don't want to continue to bore you guys with details about work, nor do I want you to think I'm rapidly becoming a bitter, cynical teacher; I'm just tired of this semester and am ready for the first week of May.

What I am looking forward to this evening is a run. Tuesdays are always crap because it's such a long day at school and I don't get any time at home, and thus I don't get to run and blow off some of that steam that builds over the course of a day. This evening, however, I plan to take full advantage of the kind of "angry" run that I need!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Student Burnout

Conversations Jess has had today with students:

Student A: Professor, I can't answer these questions on the quiz because I wasn't here the day we discussed that poem.

Jess: Then you'll get those questions wrong.

Student A: But I wasn't here that day for the discussion.

Jess: It's your responsibility to catch up with any work you may miss by missing a day of class. So, if you weren't here, you needed to have reviewed the poem on your own and to have come to see me if you had questions about it.

Student A huffs back to her seat and continues to stare at quiz with the hope that the answers will magically appear to her.

Student B: Can I make up the quiz today on another day? I lost my notes and couldn't study.

Jess: I don't think losing your notes is an adequate reason for requesting a make up quiz, so you can either take it today or not take it at all.

Student B: But, I just realized that I lost my notes last night so I didn't have time to get notes from someone else and I haven't studied at all.

Jess: But you've known about the quiz for 2 weeks; you've had plenty of time to prepare.

Student B huffs back to her seat and takes the evil quiz against her will.


Student C: Professor, why did I get a "D" on my essay?

Jess: Because you ignored assignment guidelines for format, length, source use, and point of view. Because you had a vague thesis statement and a disorganized discussion. And lastly, because there's no evidence that you revised your essay and you have grammatical errors that interfere with the comprehension of the writing.

Student C: How do you know I didn't revise?

Jess: Because your rough draft is attached to the final copy (they have to turn in drafts along with peer reviews of their writing) and there's absolutely no difference between it and the final copy.


Jess: I suggest that next time you take the time allotted for revision and revise your writing for unity, cohesion, and grammar.

Student C shrugs and huffs out the door of classroom.


As you may be able to tell, I'm feeling very grumpy about my students today. Grrrrr....Guess it's that point in the semester to either choke them or...hmmm...what is the alternative?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Papers in Excess

There's this Showtime show we have been watching, via Netflix, called "Dead Like Me," and one of the characters is a college English professor. And in one episode, he remarks: "I have 20 papers to read tonight and they all suck -- so leave me alone." Yeah, that's pretty much me tonight. Except instead of 20 papers, I have 40. Well...it's whittled down to about 20 by now but I'm still eyeball deep in them, and at this point, I am seriously considering Jerry's idea of randomly assigning them letter grades. Seriously, I gotta learn to create less work for myself.

Anyway, between paper reading, I did manage to get almost everything done that I needed to for Saturday's baby shower (excluding the shopping, cooking, and cleaning of the house -- those chores I reserve for the day before because it makes my life exciting), and I got a 3 mile run in. Times weren't great (overall time of 29:05), but I'll take it.

In other news, I feel obligated to confess to you that I have fallen ass-backwards off the no-soda wagon. For the past few weeks, I have even been driven to steal some of the hubby's Diet Cokes on occassion, and today I broke down and bought a 6-pack of my beloved Diet Pepsi (the mini-cans). I admit it. I am drawn to the deliciously sweet and scrumptously fizzy soda. Especially when I'm at school. Or when I'm reading papers...

Wicked Review and Easter Recap

It's Monday already? Man, this sucks. The weekend is too short.

But, at least it was fun:

"Wicked" was really good, as is demonstrated by my purchases below. The music was great, the performers were really good, and the set is really rad (I especially love everything set in the Emerald City). My only real criticism is that the play changed the ending from the book's version and made it a happy ending. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a beef with happy endings, I just don't like a manipulated happy ending; plus, I think it should have stuck with the tragic ending since the book's theme analyzes the human tendency to create a scapegoat out of people who are different. And, I'm sorry, but a scapegoat needs to be sacrificed in order for the audience to understand the repercussions of such ignorant tendencies.

However, the play struck a much lighter tone than the novel, so I can understand why they made that decision about the ending; for the show, it made "some" sense. And certainly the play deviated from the novel in some other key ways, but for the sake of coherency within the show, I think those changes worked.

So, anyway, that's my review.

On Sunday, we went to a friend's house for Easter and had a good time as well. We played "bolo" which is kinda like horse shoes in theory, but way different. I can't really explain it very well, sorry. But it was fun. Then we also played some Wii bowling and had jousting Peeps in the microwave. I ate WAY too much, and combined with the requisite holiday drinking, I pretty much fell asleep right after dinner.

Anyhoo...I have a really busy week ahead of me. I have a shitload of papers to read (it's exactly this kind of work that would be handy for a flying monkey to do) and I am in the final stages of planning a baby shower for Saturday, so I have shiz to get done for that as well. And -- I want to make sure that I get back on track with running this week. Last week, I got in just 3 runs of 3 miles a piece. Better than the week before, but still not much.

Hope everyone had a good holiday yesterday and for anyone who was traveling, hope you traveled safely! Check ya later, homies.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wicked Good

Well, there's really only one word for the show: Swawesome. Absolutely swawesome!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ready for Oz

Tonight's 3 were a little better than yesterday's 3, and the 3rd mile was probably the best I've had so far this week.

1: 9:11
2: 9:24
3: 9:03

Total Time: 27:39

Anyhoo...I'm just happy that today is Friday because that means that tomorrow I'm off to see the wizard! Or, really, I'm off to see the Wicked Witch of the West!

She's cooler anyway.

So, yeah! "Wicked"! I can't wait. I read the novel years ago and have been waiting to see the musical since it came out, but the last time it toured South Florida, tickets were like $90, and despite what you may believe is a lucrative living, a community college professor is not the richest of professions.

This time I got my ticket at a standard price, and I'm so pumped to finally see the show! You can bet your backside that I'll be listening to a little "Popular" in the morning to get myself in the right frame of mind.

I'm meeting my friends for lunch and then we're going to a matinee of the show. I'll fill you in tomorrow evening on what I think of it, but I'm pretty sure I'll love it -- and I'll be the chick who's buying the over-priced merchandise in the lobby afterward.

So, until then, toodles, darlings!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

3 Instead of 4

Tonight, I did not go the "extra mile": instead of doing the 4 I originally planned, I just did 3. Eh. I got out there and was like, "Ya know, I really feel like turning around at the 1.5 mile marker." So I did.

1: 9:30
2: 9:41
3: 9:31

Total Time: 28:44

Yeah, not so speedy, but I'll take it. I think I'm still pooped from my trip and from getting re-aquainted with the home and work fronts.

Return to Running

Last night, I got my first run done in a week. I just did 3 miles, and I didn't bring along Garmy (partially because I knew I wanted to take it slow and easy, and partially because sometimes it's just nice to run without the numbers), but it was a good run. It felt good to get out there and feel the familiar exertion of running.

Tonight, I hope to once again hit the road and get another run in, maybe a 4 miler. I don't have any specific training plan right now (not signed up for any particular races yet between now and the end of the year -- that's a long stretch, so I'm sure I'll fill it), but I do want to resume my regular 5 runs a week with a slightly longer run in the middle of the week and a long(ish) run on the weekend.

I need routine; otherwise, the running feels like it lacks purpose and that's always when I slack off. Best to return to a base and then register for a couple of spring races. Perhaps I will soon be using my $300 airline voucher!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What You've Been Waiting For

Pictures! And stories! Alrighty-right. So, to begin with...long ago in a galaxy far, far away...wait, wrong story. Okay, here goes:

So, I got to MN just fine, despite the fact that I overslept the morning of my flight, and for the first time ever, I truly thought I may not make my flight -- but I was speedy, the lines were short and I made it. Jerry met me at the airport in Minneapolis with the rental car and we headed "up nort." Thursday and Friday were busy with wedding preparation, gift buying, errand running, meeting my brother for lunch, and getting a speeding ticket.

Oopsie. Did you catch that last one? Yeah...um...I had literally driven the rental car 1 mile when I got pulled over, so the lesson learned? In Smalltown, MN, they mean it when they post a speed limit of 30 mph. That hog pulled me over faster than a fat kid gulps down a cupcake, and he promptly ticketed my ass. Thankfully, he gave me a city ticket and not a state ticket -- the difference was about $70.

Anyway, Friday night was the wedding rehersal and the groom's dinner. At the rehersal, I was up to my usual shenanigans -- swaggering up the aisle when it was my turn, swatting my own ass when I passed by Jerry, and declaring, "Yeah! You wanna piece of that?" Seriously, it was just because I was elated that walking through the doors of a church didn't mean that I promptly burst into flames. Anyone would be giddy at that realization. At the groom's dinner afterward, I made myself somewhat notorious by slapping the father of the bride on the ass so hard that my own fingers stung (but the funniest thing was that he got me back later! hil.ar.i.ous).

The next morning, Saturday, we got up early and were at the hair salon at 9 am -- I was totting 2 bottles of champagne and I was ready to rock. This is me an hour into the morning, pretty much buzzed off the Asti-tastic start to the day:By noon, we all had our hair done and were basically shnockered. We went back to the bride's parents' house for some lunch (yummy wild rice soup -- you don't get more MN than that) and Jerry tried to pretend that he didn't know me: By the time the pictures rolled around, I was sobering up some (dangit), but it was probably for the best because I had to stand up straight and look pretty. Here's Jerry and I chillin' in a pew while the pictures were going on: And here I am getting ready for my moment to walk down the aisle as part of the processional. Jerry shot this pic from the top of the stairs and I think he was trying to get an angle that peeked over the top of my dress. Dang husbands. Always trying to manage the "boob shot." Isn't my tan line pretty?
The ceremony was lovely, although I'll admit to zoning out for part of it (the whole kneeling, praying, preaching, candle-lighting portion just isn't my thang), and focused on the upcoming alcohol at the reception.

After the ceremony, the bridal party split and hit up a local bar on our way to the reception. And it was in the parking lot of the bar, on our way outta there, that I gave a few of the groomsmen a peek at my heiny. I just can't help myself: I mean, I'm in a dress, I'm wearing underwear, I'd had a few drinks, I just felt like showing them my arse. But really? It was the bride's brothers and I've known them for forever, so it wasn't like I mooned her grandmother at the reception or anything...

Anyhoo...enough about my posterior, fabulous as it may be. The reception was rockin', and we had a wonderful meal, free beer, and Jerry and I danced our little hearts out. Here we are at the reception enjoying not just the beer, but the free-flowing champagne: Ah, Asti: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. We stayed until they shut the reception hall down, and then we took our tired feet home for the night. It was a good time.

On Sunday, we met my parents in Brainerd for lunch and coffee afterward so we could sit and visit with one another. I haven't seen my parents since Christmas 2006, so it was good to see them in person and chat. I felt bad that we couldn't spend more time with them, but they knew that we were there for the wedding and they understood that we had limited time. Besides, they should haul their asses down to see me every once in awhile (the last time they were here was for MY wedding -- November 2005). Here's the fam-damily at the restaurant, with a bear. What can I say? It's the "up nort" decor.From the left: my stepdad, my mom, my brother, me, and Jerry (hiding behind me).

After that, you pretty much already know the tale: we drove back to the cities and I spent all day Monday in the airport. Viola. Finito-burrito.

All in all, a grand time, but phew! I'm pooped. I feel like this afternoon is the first chance I've been home since last Wednesday, and I pretty much feel like I have the same plans as a week ago: cleaning up the house (how can we be home less than 48 hours and already have a mess? it's a mystery), doing laundry, and planning a run. I hope the run doesn't kill me. I haven't had so many days off of running in at least 6 months. I'll let you know if I don't die out there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Flew in Last Night

And boy, are my arms tired!


Anyhoo, yes, the hubby and I arrived home at about 12:30 am last night (or, more accurately, this morning). Originally, we were on separate flights, and I was scheduled to get in around 5:30 pm and he was scheduled to fly in at 11:40 pm, but as I was waiting at the gate for my flight, they announced that they had over-sold the flight and were requesting volunteers to get bumped to the later flight. I volunteered and got on the same flight as Jerry, I got a $300 voucher (which helps re-coup some of the cost of having to change his ticket), I got some meal vouchers, and I got to fly first class (it's glorious up there -- I never want to return to coach again).

Despite the perks, the day was long because I was essentially at the airport or on a plane from 11 am until 11:40 pm. Needless to say, I am now very familiar with the MSP airport, I finished my book "Stardust" and read about half of another ("Bringing Down the House" -- interesting, very interesting -- makes me want to visit Vegas).

So, with only 6 hours of sleep, here I am: back at school, and I don't know if I can fully express how much I don't want to work today. Especially because Tuesday is my long day and I'm here until 9 pm this evening. Uck.

Oh well, I'll muscle through: I'm tough. And highly caffeinated.

We did have a great trip, and I have some great pics to post, but I don't have time today. Soon, I promise some entertainment soon. I also hope to run tomorrow. It's been a full week since I last ran, and my legs are starting to atrophy -- well, maybe that's in part to the 12 hours I spent sitting yesterday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Checking In

It's been busy and I haven't had a chance to run or blog since leaving FL on Thursday morning. But the wedding was great, I looked rockin', I managed to not show too many people my ass, and I am not hungover today, so I think I can declare my part in everything a success.

Today we drive back to the Twin Cities and tomorrow we fly back home to FL. Then you can expect a full report with pictures and anecdotes.

Until then, I hope everyone is behaving themselves -- catch up with you homies soon!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ready to Go

Everything is organized for my classes while I'm gone.

The house is clean.

My bags are packed.

I went for a 3 miler this evening.

Now I need to take Scooter to a friend's house.

And then get to bed early this evening.

I have to get up at 5 am for my flight to MN tomorrow.

I may or may not run while there and may or may not blog.

If not, I return Monday evening.

So until then, peace.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Seven Things About Scooter

So, Anthony tagged me, but because I already did a "7 things about Jess" post last week, I figure I can turn the spotlight on my #1 squeeze this week: Scooter, my dog. Jerry's been gone since Sunday, and before that, he'd been camping, so it's pretty much just been Scooter and I for the past week. And while you may feel as though you know Scooter, here are some little known facts about my d-o-double-g:

1. Scooter has a lot of nicknames: El Scooterino, Scoots, Scootsie, Copper Top, Buddy, Fur Baby, Scootsie-Bootsie, and Scootah-Bootah. It's a wonder he knows his name at all.

2. Scooter sleeps with us in the bed, under the covers. He likes to burrow down and sleep by our feet. But since Jerry's been gone, he snuggles up on Jerry's side with his little puppy head on the pillow and the covers up around his neck. I think he thinks he's a person.

3. Scooter's worst fear is the vacuum cleaner. All I have to do is open the closet where the vacuum is stored and he's outta there.

4. After either Jerry or I get out of the shower, Scooter likes to hop in the shower and lick up the leftover water. Must taste like human-juice.

5. Scooter loves socks. But only socks that have just come off your dirty, stinky foot. Every day when Jerry gets home from work, he sits down and takes his socks halfway off his feet, and Scooter takes them off the rest of the way. Then he (Scooter, not Jerry) runs all over the house in sock-triumph. He especially loves my socks after I've returned from a run. Yum-O!

6. If given the chance, Scooter will eat a dryer sheet faster than you can say "Bounce." In general, he thinks laundry time is da bomb -- there's the chance he can sneak in a dryer sheet snack, he likes to lay in the warm laundry while I'm folding it, and there's always the chance that a rogue sock will cross his path.

7. Scooter will kill you for a Twizzler. He *hearts* Twizzlers. Strawberry flavored, please.

So, that's it -- all you need to know and more about my little brown dog. I tried to post some cute Scooter-pics to help illustrate the 7, but Blogger is being a be-atch. Enjoy without the pics, and if you'd like to share the bits and pieces of random tidbits about your own pets, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yee's Yoga

Part of my New Year's Running Resolutions was to work on the 3 "S's" of running: speed, strength, and stretching. So far this year, I have been good about working on my speed. But the strength and stretching? Yeah, not so much.

So instead of running today, I decided to do a form of exercise that I think achieves both those two neglected "S's": yoga.

I first took Scooter for a 1.5 mile walk (I would have walked further, but Scooter's patented "stop and sniff" method of walking makes it slow going exercise), then I came home, got out the yoga mat, pushed back the coffee table, and popped in a yoga DVD. Damn, it was tough.

It was Rodney Yee's "Power Yoga" and that dude (with his stretchy shorts and all-too-noticeable-bulge) really gives you a workout. I was 30 minutes and a countless number of sun salutations and warrior poses into it and I was sweating up a storm. When I finished the 60 minute program, my shoulders were a little shaky and I was pooped. I lay quite happily in corpse pose at the close. I do feel wonderfully stretched though (all those down dogs felt good on my calves and hammy's).

Now, I think I will make myself some dinner, drink the rest of a bottle of wine, and read my book ("Stardust" by Neil Gaimen -- just as good as the movie).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

No Bereavement for You!

Thank you for all the condolences regarding Jerry's grandfather; they are appreciated. His grandfather's death was not a total surprise (he's been fighting Alzheimer's for years and has been in especially poor health the last 2 years), but losing a loved one is always tough on a family. So, we were able to secure a flight for Jerry to MN this morning, and I had to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to drive him to the airport.

I feel kinda bad not going with him, but I was already planning on taking Thursday, Friday, and Monday off because I'll be in MN for my friend's wedding on the 15th and to take off more days would be hard for me -- not just because my store of personal days would be tapped, but because missing that many days of class is really hard (missing a day of teaching essentially doubles my workload). Plus, it was clusterfuck enough to change/cancel his ticket.

See, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal: I call Travelocity, change his outbound flight from Thursday (original ticket) to today, pay the fee (I was guessing somewhere around $200), and viola! That'd be it. But, they had a different plan: sorry, bitch, that ain't happenin'.


Apparently, if you don't fly out on a round trip ticket, you may not return on that ticket's original return flight. So, essentially, we had to buy a whole new round-trip ticket. And when I asked the Travelocity representative if there was a discount because of bereavement, he simply said: "We don't do that anymore." (I guess you have to book directly with the airline in order to get a bereavement discount; now I know.)

Needless to say, I was so frustrated with Travelocity yesterday morning that I wanted to come through the phone line, all the way to India, and strangle that fucker (even though it's not his fault). Eventually, I got Jerry a flight, had to pay dearly for it, but we got him one and by now he's in MN with his family. The wake is tomorrow; funeral Tuesday. And he'll just stay there and meet me at the airport on Thursday, and we'll continue our week there as planned for the wedding. For some reason, it seems appropriate to me to have a funeral and a wedding so close together -- the symbolism seems to say something important about life -- plus, Jerry is gonna get a lot of use outta his [one] suit this week.

Anyhoo...hope everyone enjoys their Sunday and remembered to turn their clocks forward (effing Daylight Savings -- I'm probably the one person in the US who thinks it's a crock 'o shit, but maybe I'm just bitter about losing that 1 hour of sleep). Chat at ya later homies! Peace.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

St Paddy's 4 Miler Race Report

About 5 minutes before my alarm this morning, the bedroom filled suddenly with light and I was startled awake. Shortly afterward, the following thunder boomed. I got up and looked out the windows to discover a thunderstorm: lightning was flashing close by and the rain was pouring down.

Races will be held in rain, but most runners won't run in lightning, so I went back to bed assuming that the race would be cancelled. About 15 minutes later, I woke up and heard...nothing. It was still sprinkling, but there was no lightning and no thunder. The race would be on; I knew it.

So I pulled on my racing stuff and headed out. It continued to sprinkle on the way, and the clouds were ominous, but there was no more lightning, and when I arrived at the race, sure enough, it was "on."

Despite the off and on rain and the blustering wind, I actually appreciated the cloudy, cool morning because I always run a little better when it's cooler, and it turned out to be a good race:

1: 8:35
2: 8:47
3: 9:01 (was headed right into the wind for this mile)
4: 8:49

Total Time: 35:17!!!

Yeah, bitches! I rocked it.

By then end, it had resumed a steady rain, so I didn't stick around for any post-race festivities; I made a beeline for the car and got there just in time because it really started to pour once I got in the car. It looks like it the storm may linger for the day (hard to tell since it's not even 9 am yet), but it doesn't matter because I already got my run done for today!

On a more somber note, we learned yesterday evening that Jerry's grandfather passed away. Jerry is camping right now, so his dad called him on his cell last night to inform him of the bad news. I think Jerry will pack up camp and return today, so I need to try and find him a flight to MN for tomorrow or Monday so he can attend the funeral.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Today, I Rest

Because, tomorrow I race.

I have a 4 miler tomorrow morning. I've never raced a 4 miler before, so anything will be a PR; still, I am aiming for something sub-40 minutes.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Rainy Run

So, the reason it's been so humid lately is probably because this big-ass thunderstorm moved into the area today, and we've been getting bucketloads of rain all afternoon. At 4:30, I figured it looked pretty calm out, so I put on the running duds and headed outside. Within minutes, it started to drizzle on me.

Not so bad. I don't mind running in a drizzle; it keeps me cool.

But then after mile 2, the sky opened up and poured. Big, fat drops of rain in sheets. Thankfully, my plan was only a 3 miler because I was soaked and to go any further would've been uncomfortable.

You'd think the rain would have prompted me to move my ass, but this week I seem to be suffering from a condition known simply as "drag-ass" (yes, that is the technical term), which means that no matter what, I can't seem to pick up the pace.

1: 9:20
2: 9:40
3: 9:36

Total Time: 28:39

Well, it's not bad, it just hasn't felt fast at all this week.

So...because I can't figure out how to upload a YouTube video on Blogger, you guys should go there yourselves and look up the trailer for the upcoming movie "Run Fatboy Run"! I saw the preview for the first time last night and I gotta say, it looks awesome! It combines two of my favorite things: British comedy (stars "Shaun of the Dead" frontman Simon Pegg) and running (in it, the main character resolves to run the London marathon in order to prove his love). Anyhoo, go look it up. I command it. And if you have a moment, also tell me how to upload YouTube videos on here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hump Day

I had another non-eventful, yet productive day today: still working on that damn pile of student papers, cleaned the house, did the laundry, and paid some bills. As I mentioned in my post last night, I finished "Pillars" yesterday, so I was left without a book today. Part of me was thinking of going to Barnes and Noble and buying a few new ones, but then a larger part of me was lazy and didn't feel like leaving the house. So, I stole a book off the hubby's stack and started that.

It's the first in Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series: "The Gunslinger." I've always wanted to read the series, but have never gotten around to it, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I'm about 70 pages in, and honestly, I don't think much of it. Although, I have heard that the first volume is not that great, supposedly you're supposed to give the series a few volumes before it really gets good. Which I'm not so sure about. I think I'll finish this one see how it ends before giving more in the series a go.

This evening, I went for a 6 miler, but I didn't realize that the Garmin was low on battery life, so after 3 miles, it pooped out on me. So no splits to report. However, I can tell you that the run felt good, and I mostly felt like I was on auto-pilot, so I guess that's a testament to how smoothly it went.

One thing I have noticed in the last few days, though, is that it has been extremely humid here. On my past few runs, I've been sweatin' buckets. Reminds me that soon we'll be moving into "rainy season" (aka, the god-awful-heat-of-summer). Blech. Here, the seasons are so the opposite in pleasantness compared to northern states: everyone else is looking forward to spring and summer, and here in FL, we're sad to see the temperate winter months start to fade away.

I Can't Sleep

This happens from time to time: A touch of insomnia. Nothing in particular keeping me awake, just can't fall asleep. Like I said, it happens occasionally and I just roll with it. So, what to do with my waking hours? Finished my book, so here I am -- on the blogs.

And MPA had a meme of "7 random things" on her blog and she sorta tagged us all, so I figured that might help while away my time. However, I have trouble with the "random" aspect, so I figured I'd modify it for my own purposes. And what will that purpose be, you ask? Well, I figure there are already many random things you people know about me, but on the whole, I try to cast myself in a positive light. I show you my good side, if you will. (I often think of the blog as a first date -- that's why I don't touch subjects like religion or politics on here even though I have definitive thoughts on both -- politeness, humor, amusing anecdotes, these are what I strive for.)

But, since we're on like the 900-something-th date by now, I suppose I should reveal some of the not-so-pretty truths about Jess. So, here are "7 things I'm NOT proud of":

1. I sucked my thumb until I was in 1st grade. And I only stopped because I fell off the monkey bars and bit through my tongue, thus making the thumb-sucking too painful to continue. The result of 6, almost 7, years of thumb-sucking? Intensive orthodontia as a pre-teen.

2. I add everything in relationship to the number 12. An example: If you asked me to add 7 + 8 together, the following would be my thought process. I'd start with thinking of 8, then knowing that 8 +4 = 12, I'd add the 4 part of 7 to 8 and then add the other part of 7 (which is 3) to that and...viola! 15. Needless to say, I am what you could call a "math-tard"; basically, I suck at math.

3. The first time I got high I was in 7th grade and I did so by huffing gasoline. It was myself and 3 friends, and we used the gas from a gas can one of my friends took out of his dad's shed (it was gas for the lawnmower). I remember being high and laying in a field staring at the stars. The moment, and especially the stars, seemed profound at the time.

4. I used to shoplift. It started when I was in high school with small things like make up and cheap jewelry from places like Claire's. Then it got much riskier. I stole clothing (lots of it: shirts, bras, underwear, dresses, even socks and pantyhose). I stole sunglasses, picture frames, perfume. I even stole a gift for my mom on Mother's Day one year. I stopped doing it sometime it college.

5. I once broke up with a high school boyfriend simply by ignoring him. Just decided one day to stop talking to him. Stopped receiving his calls, etc. Never gave him a reason, nothing. Just stopped talking to him. At school, he'd try to talk to me, and I'd just walk past him or walk away. Eventually, he gave up. He used to pass me in the hall and give me this hang-dog look that must've been pitiful, but at the time, I found it nauseating. In retrospect, this seems like one of the cruelest things I've ever done.

6. When I was 16, I did a hit-and-run. Don't worry, I got punished for it. Cops found me. Worse yet, my mother found me. I was in deep shit.

7. I talk on my cell phone while driving. A lot. This one feels particularly hypocritical since whenever I see some driver swerving slightly or going slower than other traffic and I observe that he/she is on the cell, I say things like: "Damn person driving and yakking on that cell!" But, then when I'm by myself, I do the same thing. Thing is? I get kinda bored in the car by myself.

So that's it for now, folks. If you'd like to tag yourself, go ahead. You don't have to do mine, you can do the "7 random things," or you can even adapt the list how you see fit. That's the wonder of having your own blog.

I think I'll go give sleep another try now. Nighty-night.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More of the Same

My day today was much like yesterday: graded more papers, ran some miscellaneous errands in the afternoon, read for awhile, and then went for a run. I did 3 miles this evening and they were really lackluster, and I felt like I was dragging 10 extra pounds in my ass:

1: 9:25
2: 9:30
3: 9:41

Total Time: 28:36

Although, now that I look at the numbers, the miles don't appear that bad, but man, they felt like crap. Oh well. Now they're done.

Jerry had to go to a funeral this evening (for a guy he worked with, who I didn't know, so I was excused from attending), so I'm gonna take a cue from Scooter (a dog who takes chillaxin' to a whole new level) --
-- and curl up with my book for the rest of the evening.

Monday, March 03, 2008

It was a busy day on break; I spent the morning grading papers and actually accomplished quite a bit, then in the afternoon, I ran some errands and picked up my bridesmaid dress for the wedding next week.

Here's my best movie start pose in it:Granted, a movie star would have showered, had her hair done, and her make up applied for such a photo, but you get the idea.

After my busy day, I did some more reading ("Pillars" is definitely good, but be forewarned, it is lengthy) and then put in a 4 miler:

1: 917
2: 9:05
3: 9:18
4: 9:22

Total Time: 37:04

The shuffle again served me well this evening and I love that tiny little thing.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle: 4 Miles with the New Shuffle

Had another relaxing day that mostly involved laying around and reading. I'm reading Ken Follet's "The Pillars of the Earth." Jerry read it about a year ago and loved it, and he got the sequel "World Without End" for Christmas, so I figured I'd give the book a go. It's good, but lengthy (about 1,000 pages), so even though I've been reading all weekend, I'm only about 400 pages into it.

Anyhoo, this afternoon, I was feeling sufficiently rested, so I decided to take the new shuffle out for a maiden voyage (spent the morning downloading tunes to it; most I transferred from our Real Player library, and the rest I got from the iTunes store -- Jerry conceded in his hatred of iProducts and bought me an iTunes GC yesterday so I got to buy much of my music that couldn't be transferred from Real Player). It traveled well, and is so tiny, I barely even know it's there.

Next to the old mp3, which looks like Goliath, it is just minuscule:I did 4 miles, and they were way slower than my speedy 4 last week, but they were fine miles:

1: 9:20
2: 9:24
3: 9:27
4: 9:30

Total Time: 37:43

We'll just use the trusty label of "positive" splits for the gradual slowing down, and then I don't feel quite so pokey.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend -- and have fun at work tomorrow! (Suckers! I'm gonna sleep in and eat bon-bons all day! Kidding. I actually have about 100 papers to start reading and half a dozen errands I'd like to run, but I just thought I'd rub it in a bit that I'm break this week, ha!)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lazy Day

The game was fun last night; although, admittedly, I watched very little of it. I mostly drank, enjoyed the food and socialized. This morning, I felt fine, and was supposed to meet up with Erin and Ryan for the Humane Society Dog Walk (a fundraising event in which participants bring their dogs, go for a short walk, and procedes go to the county's humane society), but as I was lying in bed, the idea of getting up, driving downtown, parking, etc just wasn't appealing. However, the idea of lying in bed longer was appealing, so I called and told them that Scooter and I were sleeping in.

I can't tell you how glorious it was.

And really, I spent the whole day today doing nothing, and it was everything I hoped it could be. Jerry and I had breakfast on the back porch, I read, I napped, I read some more, napped some more, made a nice dinner and am now planning on perhaps some more reading and then going to bed early.

For about 2 months now, I don't think I've had a weekend where I didn't have something going on -- company, a race, out of town, a social event, etc -- and enjoying a lazy day is all I've been craving lately. So today has been very satisfying: I feel more rested and relaxed than I have since Christmas break, ahhhhhh....