What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

31 August 2008

Ryan Hall

Yes, I had intended to be done with Olympic blogging. Turns out my last thought wasn't as final as it seemed.

So, Ryan Hall! Why am I a fan? Because he makes running a marathon look easy? Because of the sweet way he talks about his wife? Because he is a blond-headed Californian, and I have one of those, too?

Okay, those are good reasons. (Except that Chad's hair is actually a lot darker than Ryan's.) But here is the convincing reason: Ryan loves Jesus. A lot. So much so that Runner's World magazine made his combination of faith and running their cover story last month.

I remarked to Chad during the Olympic coverage how much I appreciate the athletes who make a point of mentioning their faith during post-event interviews. I don't care if it's trendy, postmodern, a way of scoring points-- who cares? It's not my job to gauge sincerity. (Thank goodness.) False motives or pure, God is given the glory.

The reason I appreciate the faithful athletes (apart from the obvious) is that they almost have to push to thank God. The interviewers aren't going to ask, and when the subject is mentioned, the good newscasters at NBC skate away from it as quickly as possible. No dwelling on any one's faith in the Lord who gave them their talent in the first place; Bob Costas and his cohorts don't get their ratings by giving glory to God.

Which brings me back to Ryan Hall. The only-- and I mean only-- time I heard any commentators, interviewers, etc., mention an athlete's faith was in the middle of the men's marathon, when one of them said, "Ryan Hall is a man of faith," and before I could express my disbelief and delight, he continued: "And right now he probably has faith that the leaders will slow down."

Oh, well, that's probably as good as we'll get. But unless Ryan is a gifted actor, I think we can all be assured that his faith does not lie in himself or in his fellow athletes. He wants to follow Jesus, and that includes his running.

Way to go, Ryan.

30 August 2008

What can brown do for me?

Cause me anxiety, apparently.

(Before I begin, let me say that we have a dear friend who works for UPS. And while I have no doubt that he is a valuable employee, not to mention a valuable breadwinner for his family, that will not stop me from poking fun at his employer. He doesn't read my blog, anyway. Ha! Ha!)

Back 18 or so months ago, when I first started running, I was convinced that the UPS mafia was after me. (So much so that I wondered what I had done to get on the bad side of the aforementioned friend.) It didn't matter what street I ran down; before I could turn a corner, there would be a UPS truck coming toward me. At first I thought the driver was working at warp speed, until I realised there were at least two trucks delivering in the neighbourhood. I started to wonder if they got tired of seeing me over and over again.

More recently, the big brown trucks delivering after I leave work seem to be playing how-close-can-we-get-to-the-cyclist-without-hitting-her. Seriously, they are making me nervous. I imagine it is not intentional (Ha! the mafia are after me again), but it freaks me out. Even with my helmet on, I'm pretty sure that I would not come out well in a fight between a UPS truck and my bicycle.

Well, UPS made a delivery to our house on Thursday evening. I knew they were coming, because I had followed the tracking link from the e-receipt of something I had ordered. And the UPS website has some polite fiction at the top about deliveries being made between 9 AM and 7 PM, which meant that by 7:30 I was muttering dire things about how the tightest ship in the shipping business seemed to have sprung a leak or two.

Well, by 8 PM the nice man in the brown uniform had turned up with my tea and chocolates. And I took back all the nasty things I had said. But that won't stop me from asking our pal about why his coworkers want to kill me.

My blogroll is out of control.

I know this. And I try (sometimes!) to pare it down a bit. But, you see, there are so many people on the internet with mildy interesting things to say.

So what happens is this: I follow a link from a blog I already read. I read a few posts and think, "Hey, this is good stuff." So I add the new blog to my blogroll so I will remember to go back there. Then I go back there another day, and now this blog has a link to something she (or he) thinks is good stuff. So I go to that blog, and the cycle repeats itself. Next thing you know, I have a blogroll longer than a list of my real-life friends.

So I've pared down a bit today, but in the best traditions of Susanness, I also added one. And it is good stuff. Go ahead, click the link; you know you want to!

28 August 2008

Now for the good stuff...

So, after all my whining and complaining about my not-so-favourite Olympic moments, here are my final (happy) thoughts:

Michael Phelps rocks.

But you already knew that.

Dathan Ritzenhein, Ryan Hall and Brian Sell rock.

Okay, so they took 9th & 10th (and 20 somethingth), and didn't bring home any medals. Who cares? They are still marathoning heroes. Plus, in 2012 the Games are in London. And you know what that means? They have four chances to run the London Marathon between now and then. Plus, let us consider Ryan Hall's marathon history, shall we?: #1. London Marathon. #2. U.S. Olympic Trials. #3. London Marathon. #4. Olympic Marathon. Yeah, I like his chances.

Paula Radcliffe rocks.

But I think I already covered that. All I have to say is, anyone who will continue running and competing-- and winning-- until 6 weeks (I think) before giving birth doesn't need a gold medal to prove she is a world-class athlete. And she has inspired me to think I can do it, too, when the time comes. You're not done yet, Paula-- in London you will be the same age as this year's gold medalist.

Dara Torres rocks.

Speaking of inspiration... Seriously. She's 11 years older than me, and the new face of middle-aged (although just barely) Americans. Talk about the normal barriers not getting in your way.

Oksana Chusovitina rocks.

Speaking of people who compete beyond the "normal" retirement age... this woman won a silver medal. In gymnastics. At age 33. If you haven't heard of her yet, look her up.

Usain Bolt really, really rocks.

What must it be like to train with this guy? How low will he eventually bring the 100m world record?

I could probably go on for a long, long time. But I won't, out of consideration for my faithful reader. Readers. Whichever. Alas, the Olympics are over, and I am having withdrawl... but this, too, shall pass. And if Usain Bolt is pushing it, it will pass really, really quickly.

24 August 2008

And it's final..

Diving wins gold.

Not the American divers, although they did put up a valiant effort. Not Matthew Micham of Australia, who was the spoiler for China's would-be sweep. Not even the Chinese themselves.

No, this particular gold is for the irritating commentary, and the diving commentators win it. Last night, I couldn't take any more of Cynthia What's-her-name's voice, so I watched the last two or three rounds on mute. I even turned off the closed captioning, because I was not interested in knowing what she had to say any longer. It wasn't just her voice, although that is grating enough; with her inflections and tones, she should be playing a whiny housewife on a sitcom somewhere. It was also her very slanted opinions (in her eyes, the Chinese could do no wrong-- and everyone else (except Thomas Daley) could do no right) and trips into the "if I were a judge" territory. Perhaps in London they will make you a judge, and give the rest of us a break. NBC, find this woman a different job. And let Jennifer Wilkinson have a go at the commentary.

Silver in the event goes to the entire Track & Field commentary team at NBC. They were so close until last night to having gold, but in the end they couldn't be quite as irritating as Cynthia.

And, rounding out the medals in bronze is Jim Lampley. Now, he was not expected to be a factor in the irritating commentary event, since he was technically the daytime presenter. No matter, though; he overcame that little obstacle to annoy us all on a daily basis and claim the bronze medal. Again, NBC, I hope that before 2010 you can find someone with some skill at delivering a line, not to mention a little bit of charm when addressing the camera; Jim Lampley lacks both. Give us more of Mary Carillo. Or let Meridith, Ann, and Al work through the afternoon hours so we can see more of them (but not Matt Lauer; he is just as annoying as the rest, I'm afraid).

Or, better yet, put my favourite commentator into some overtime: Let Rowdy Gaines do it all. Now there's a man who knows how to deliver interesting, informed commentary. He does deserve a medal.

23 August 2008

Golden days, Silver nights

I have so much Olympic blogging in me it's driving me nuts, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather watch an event than blog about it. So here are the highlights:

Michael Johnson jumped up and down and smiled brightly when Usain Bolt broke his 200M world record. Now, there's a man with class, even if he is working for the BBC.

The T&F commentators are running neck-and-neck with the diving commentators for gold medal in "Really irritating commentary". I don't think I can say at this point which will win.

Jeremy Warner: Man, I wanted you to win. Kudos to you for walking away from the reporter though.

Paula Radcliffe, you are my hero. London is calling: 2012 is your year.

It's a shame Katie Hoff's games didn't go better. I was so everlastingly tired of commentators who introduced her time after time as "Katie Hoff, who trains in the same pool as Michael Phelps." Seriously, this woman has had enough success in her own right that she doesn't need to be linked to the Fish Man every five minutes. All I can suppose is that they think Phelps has been peeing in the pool, and that gives her an extra boost of some sort. (Probably to finish her workout quickly and get out!)

Speaking of the Fish Man... Wow. There's just nothing left to be said that hasn't been said by everyone else. He has a really cute dog, too.

So, this seems to be Indiana's year for the Olympics. Thus far, I've counted at least five athletes from Indiana (two gymnasts, three divers), and a few more who train there. I really wanted Haley Ishimatsu to do well, after she and her family moved from Southern California to Indianapolis so she could train with her syncro partner. Talk about sacrifice.

If I see another volleyball game, I will lay on the floor and cry. Isn't there some archery going on we can watch instead? Field hockey?

And to top it all off, I didn't get to see ONE SECOND of Roger Federer playing! Or Rafael Nadal. I did catch about five minutes each of the Williams sisters. Actually, it's part of my plan to watch the gold-medal matches (doubles for Federer, singles for Nadal) eventually, though your guess is as good at mine as to when that will happen.

Okay, coverage resumes in 40 minutes. I had better get a move on.

13 August 2008

Oh, Canada

So I'm blogging in the intervals of actual Olympic competition, and thinking longingly of the 2010 Games, which will be held in a closer time zone. British Colombia, I love you.

Anyway, ordinarily I would not dream of mixing my sporting events with blogging, but I am trying to stay awake. I knew this would be the first of my "weekend" of late nights (seriously, it's Wednesday... how can I call this the weekend?), with primetime coverage going to midnight, but this has really been one long evening. And we still have an hour to go. Tomorrow night also goes to midnight, Friday to 1 AM, and I was afraid to look at Saturday.

Bob Costas just informed us that all remaining commercial breaks this evening will be less than 90 seconds. Holy cow. Better ease off on the water.

So, that reminds me of a conversation my supervisor and I had the other day about potential post-Olympic events for the general public:

Marathon sleeping: Those who didn't miss a minute of coverage are expected to do well in this event. (This would not be my event, since my insomnia would have me DQd in short order.)

Syncronised marathon sleeping: For couples/roommates who enjoyed the games together.

Commercial break bathroom steeplechase: Dodging furniture, leaping over laundry, using the loo, then running back to the couch in under 90 seconds. Points are deducted for leaving the door open and for any "wardrobe adjustments" after returning to the television.

TiVo-induced fencing: Spouses/roommates duel over who deleted that event you wanted to watch over and over again.

Standing celebratory high jump: You ought to be good at this one, after all those gold medal moments.

Balance test: After all those cups of coffee, can you still walk in a straight line?

NBCOlympics.com Decathalon: Competitors will look in on their favourite athletes, watch some live video, check the evening's TV listings, send a nasty e-mail to the annoying commentators, and then get back to work before the boss sees what they are doing on company time.

10 August 2008

I was tired of the even keel, anyway.

So I've had a week of emotional upheaval.

Said upheaval has been mixed with the normal wackiness that comes from being me, which has brought me a whole new dimension of crazy. I don't even know what to call it.

I thought maybe the crazy was because Chad was gone this week. It could be from over-exposure to Lord of the Rings (I read the books and watched the movies all in the same 10-day period). Perhaps it is due to the inner hype I've been building for the past 6 months in anticipation of the Olympics. (Yeah. I'm that much of a fan.) Or the stress at work. Or an unanticipated reaction to the anniversary of losing Grandpa.

We've wondered in the past, due to my sizable mood swings and seasons of insomnia (yep, I'm having one of those, too), if I might be manic-depressive. Chad brought the question up again in the midst of the Opening Ceremonies Friday night, when in the stretch of those four hours I went from out-and-out crying (at the pictures of parents weeping for their children after the earthquake) to absolute delight at the show being played out, back to teary at the Chinese children singing, then over to all but jumping up and down when Scotland the Brave came on, followed by squeals of joy at seeing Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer come in with their respective countries-- and then I went to bed, to lie awake for an hour or two, since I had a brain overactive with what I had seen and anticipation of my race Saturday morning.

Not that it got much better on Saturday-- I got home from my race and finished reading The War of the Ring during beach volleyball (my least favourite Olympic sport, and we're inundated with it) and I couldn't stop crying. Just couldn't. I've read that book at least a half-a-dozen times before, and never once have I been moved to tears. Then there was the fencing medal ceremony-- good grief, you'd think my dog had died.

So I've decided to embrace the emotional crazy and just go with it. I don't seem to have much of an option otherwise. :) Oh, and in the same vein, I also embraced the Olympic OCD and have polished my fingernails to match the Olympic flag. Go Team USA!!

09 August 2008

The World is Watching

Wow. The opening ceremony was pretty cool. I was pretty annoyed by the commentators (as ever... a plague upon your wagging tongue, Matt Lauer) and their continual, often superfluous, chatter, but they did at least give this one useful bit of information: The ceremony was planned/staged/etc. by a successful Chinese filmmaker (yes, I've forgotten his name) and he had a budget that might be described as beyond astronomical. So (Matt said-- about 6 times), this is what happens when you give a creative, world-class artist an unlimited budget. I'm sure he felt it was worth every penny. (Or whatever the local equivalent is in China.)

The part that excites me about the opening ceremonies is the parade of nations, and while I didn't stay up long enough to see the end, I saw most of the countries I was watching for. (I missed Mexico-- either because I was away from the TV or because they came on after I went to bed.) I did see Switzerland, though, and was rewarded for my patience by seeing my good pal Roger Federer carrying his nation's flag. (Okay, he's not my pal. I don't care.)

The other high spot of the parade was found in the medley of music played as the athletes came in-- the second or third song that came up was "Scotland the Brave." (Played by the bagpipes, no less.) Naturally, I went from casual lounging on the couch to sitting bolt upright in about a millisecond-- causing Chad to caution me about hurting myself. Once I worked out that they were playing a selection of music from (seemingly) all over the place, I sat back to enjoy the show.

And hear the song. Like five times. Bless you, unknown Chinese filmmaker.

04 August 2008

In case of earthquake.

So I crawled under my desk on Friday afternoon.

I actually had good reason for doing so, although my supervisor insists that I did not. (Like she is one to be pointing fingers; she moaned all Friday long about how she was ready to go home.)

So the doctor calls on Friday afternoon to make sure there were no patients waiting for him, because he had just left the office (again!) without checking first. I assured him that there were not (because at that moment, there weren't), and he hung up, after telling me to let the PAs know that he was out of the building.

I went to the patient area, to find both our PAs, both nurses, and all the clinical aides in with patients. (Or they may have been hiding.) So I thought, "Okay, they are all busy, I'll just let them know the next time they come up front."

I went back to my desk, and back to work, and about 30 minutes later one of the clinical aides came to ask me if the doctor was out of the building. I told him yes, he was at the hospital. Problem: a patient has been waiting 15 minutes to see him. Yikes!

So after a couple of minutes of panic, who waltzes in the door but the doctor himself, having finished his rounds with incredible speed. Immediately he was beset by PAs and clinical aides, all talking at once, capped off by the news that a patient was waiting to see him. He, of course, looks a bit stunned and asks, "Didn't you all know I was gone?" They all said, "No!" at once.

Naturally, this little sideshow all happened right in front of my desk, so the doc turns around to look at me. "They were all in a room when you called!" was all I could think to say, and then they all wandered off en masse, presumably to see patients.

So I turned to my supervisor and said, "I'm just going to hide under my desk." This is not a new threat, by the way; I say it at least once a week, usually at moments like these. "What? You are not!" she said, so I decided this was a good a time as any to show her I was serious... and under the desk I went.

This is where it gets really good... I was giggling at the look on her face, and she said, "No wonder your parents abused you! You are such a brat!" Now it is my turn to be stunned, so I said, "What? Why?" as I crawled back out. "Because you are, hiding under your desk!" (In case anyone was wondering, apparently all one has to do to be a brat is hide under one's desk.)

So I went back to work. And she went back to moaning about how it was time to go home. (Further note: She wasn't being serious. As far as I can tell.)

01 August 2008

A year ago today...

A year ago today... I set my phone to "vibrate" for church, then forgot to put it back to ring.
A year ago today... Grandpa got out of bed at the nursing home, insisting that he was "going home".
A year ago today... jokes were told, prayers were spoken, and a family shared time together.
A year ago today... Grandma went to bed a wife, and woke up a widow.

Of all the nights for me to not put my phone by my bed, as I had done every night up until then (and have done every night since). Thank goodness the nursing home staff didn't agree with Grandpa's request (because I am so glad Grandma didn't wake with her husband's cold body beside her). And it turns out, of course, that Grandpa was right; he was going home.

If only I could have been there for that final night (that we didn't know was the final night).

I don't think Grandma will get much sleep tonight, because I'm sure she wishes she had sat up all night a year ago today.