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.

28 February 2009

Time to start working on the gift.

Okay, I've waited three days on the off chance that someone related to me would wander on here... I'm waiting no longer.

My brother is getting married!! Yipee!!

I'm just a little bit happy about this; I don't know if you spotted that. :) My brother is such a kind young man (you know, the complete opposite of me), but it has taken him a while to find Miss Right. I'm so glad that he has.

Seems... fishy

So, I think I'll be sharing my Lenten journey with the blog world (at least, the three who read my blog) this year. I'm already behind, since Ash Wednesday was three days ago; I'll post about that tomorrow.

Expect some cheek-- I can't write without it, after all-- but I will try to keep it reasonably serious.

No, I am not going to be eating fish on Fridays. Firstly, because fish is expensive; secondly, because IMO, fish is still meat.

I had no idea I could do this for a LIVING!

Turns out, the career path of nagging is now wide open and available to those with the desire and skill. I know we've all been waiting for the moment when our society reached this point! Now, the unmotivated soul can pay to have some on his/her case all the time. Brilliant!

Acutally, I want to know what sort of training is required to become a nagger. Does it require a batchelor's degree? Do I have to write a thesis first? Is there a university near me that offers courses in nagging? (I already know the answer to that one-- no, there isn't.)

I need a label for my posts along the lines of "Really Extra-Snarky".

24 February 2009

I'll have what she's having.

Nanci Pelosi must have the most worked-out thighs for middle-aged women in America, considering how many times she's been up and down during this speech. The last time, she got up so fast I thought a) Her legs are spring-loaded or b) Someone put a joybuzzer on her seat and she finally sat on it just right.

Whatever strength training she is doing to get those legs ready for a presidential address, I want in on it.

Save the daylight!

On second thought, I can wait for spring if I can just have that extra hour of daylight in the evening. (Yeah, I hate changing for daylight saving time, but since I'm stuck with it, I may as well embrace it.)

Also, since I'm watching President Obama speak, I think there are some advantages to having a father of young children in office. I'd love to see him put Congress in timeout. He got that teacher-y, parent-y look on his face while saying "Thank you! Thank You!" Yeah, I remember that tone of voice-- it means, Sit down and be quiet NOW.

Also? That's a nice tie he's wearing.

22 February 2009

I wait patiently...

"Patiently" is probably stretching the truth to the breaking point.

So, I acknowledge that I live in an area that does not see much in the way of cold weather, where spring comes early, and summer lingers for a long time.

Having said that, roll on spring.

In my own defence, spring may come early here, but it doesn't stick around for long. One day, usually around mid-April, we'll be having lovely spring weather; the next day, summer crashes down upon us. We get the hot temps long before the official first day of summer.

So, I like it when spring comes a bit early. I'm always ready for it once the first of March rolls round; this winter, the weather has been teasing us by alternating warm(er) days with cold days. Hence the reason I am feeling the spring fever earlier than usual.

So, as the freezing mornings leave and the trees turn green, I will be dancing with joy. Until then, I'll be as patient as I can.

21 February 2009

Through the finish chute

So I crossed the line (according to the race photos, I was smiling-- I don't remember that at all), collected my medal, accepted the water bottle someone kindly shoved into my hand, and went along with the herd to collect my finisher t-shirt. (As soon as we wash them, we'll post a picture.) Then we made our way to the food (hallelujah!) booth. There was a crazy-long line at this table, and I decided whatever they were handing out, I didn't want it that badly, so I went around them... only to realise it was the food they were after. There were chips (yuck!) at the beginning, so I grabbed a banana and another water bottle somewhere around the middle, where there was no line at all. Yeah, I was a jerk who jumped the queue-- but I honestly didn't do it on purpose.

I shuffled out of the chute and started looking around for our gang (they had already headed back to the hotel, so all my looking was in vain). I wandered up a street, which was also uphill, and went quite a ways up it before I realised that I had NO REASON WHATSOEVER for going uphill! So, I turned and went back down again, then wandered back toward the finish line. I had to go around the medical tent barricade, but got to the line just in time to hear Chad's name. SO, I turned round and hurried back to the finish chute as quickly as possible, to meet him there.

We tried to go back to the hotel, but because we were a bit (!) disoriented, we went the wrong direction at first, so we had to ask directions from a race volunteer who got us going the correct way. And on the way back, we passed the highly recommended Amy's Ice Cream, but my stomach wasn't up to ice cream, or for that matter, anything at all, so we kept going. So, I still haven't had Amy's, even though my entire Bunko group raved about it. Guess I'll have to go back next year.

We made it back to the hotel, I sent a text message to our good pals Randy & Rebecca, who promptly texted back. During church! I called them an hour later to ask why they were texting during church! :) Turns out Randy was not wild about the idea, but Rebecca talked him into it. Hee! Good to know I am spreading my bad influence abroad.

19 February 2009

13.1 is the longest number

At least, it is for me.

So, I cried when the race started. I cried when I finished. I cried when Chad finished. Big surprise-- but I'm getting reasonably good at running and crying at the same time.

There was a spectator dressed as a banana. There were LOTS of spectators wearing sombreros-- some of whom seemed a bit startled when a runner behind me answered them in Spanish. One spectator handed out gum. Another had a box of Kleenex (that guy was my favourite spectator). One guy apparently kept travelling along the course (Chad said he saw him more than once), high-fiving, hand-shaking, and shouting general encouragement.

And the signs... they were great. If I ever go to cheer at a marathon, I'm going to pick a bunch of names at random to put on a sign, just for fun. Besides many people having their own personal cheer sections, there was a wide selection of fun signs for everyone. Some of my favourites: "A marathon is just a 10K-- with a 20-mile warm up," "Run like you stole something," "Will you marry me?" (yeah, I forgot the girl's name), a guy with a sign that said "Stop!" until he unfolded it and it said "Don't Stop!" (complete with him shouting at us not to stop). I really liked the series addressed to "Riff Raff", posted on various telephone poles. I don't remember them all, but the last one was at mile 10 and said, "Drop the hammer now". So I said to myself, "Dang! I forgot my hammer." Yeah. There is no hammer-dropping possible when I can barely move.

As we came up on the final hill (after mile 12!! Geez!), we all had a really good look at it-- so much so that I said aloud, "Oh, holy crap!" The woman next to me said, "Yeah, I think so, too." Turns out it wasn't so bad-- at least, not as bad as the hills at the last half-marathon.

So, before I got to the finish, the marathon leaders came flying by. It was totally worth it to run slow to get to see that.

Anyway, the last km was marked off at 200 metre intervals, which was brilliant. So I poured on what was left of my energy (and muscles), and as a really nice reward, the nice announcers were reading off the names of the finishers. So, they said my name right before I crossed the line. Brilliant.

18 February 2009

Before the race...

Saturday night, we went to the hotel's business centre to check the weather, only to find a group of people (who, we found out later, were just a couple rooms down from us) there for the same reason. So, we hung around after promising not to look over anyone's shoulder to find out what weather.com had to say. During the course of our friendly conversation, one of the women said, "Are you from Lubbock?" I was a bit freaked out, wondering what on earth made her know that... we hadn't mentioned Lubbock, and it certainly wasn't our accents that gave us away. I think "freaked out" showed up on my face, because she clarified by saying, "I saw that your shirt says 'West Texas Running Club.'" Ah. Mystery solved. Yes, I was wearing my super-cool new t-shirt.

So I got up at 5 AM Sunday, being the one and only member of the gang of six who wanted to have breakfast before the race. Of course, my husband joined me for breakfast, because he's a nice guy. Also, he was hoping for better breakfast than he usually gets at home.

After our Saturday check of the weather, we were expecting it to be chilly out. All the other sensible pre-race eaters were discussing the temps and rain (apparently there was a light sprinkle), and the general consensus was that it was good weather for running. Which, when translated, means: "Susan, you're going to be freezing cold." Yes, I like it to be about 10 - 15 degrees warmer than everyone else does. And I only like rain if the temperature is over 80. Yikes.

We went back upstairs, got the rest of our stuff, I decided against wearing my joggies: I had to take my shoes off to get them on or off, so there was no way I was going to take them off during the race, which was my plan A. So, I still have them, instead of them being donated to a local Austin charity.

Anyway, once the rest of the gang was ready to go, we headed out of the hotel and up the street to the start line. After a couple of pre-race photos, we split up to our respective spots: I lined up with the 4:45 pace group (marathon pace, that is; the two courses were together for the first 10 miles), Chad headed to the back, and I really don't know where everyone else was, except that they were in front of me somewhere. I introduced myself to the two pacers; that was as close as I got to them for the rest of the race.

Much shuffling, chatting, and grumbling about the delay ensued among the pack of 14000. A man in front of me had enough Gu for three marathons strapped to his back. There were t-shirts for just about every running charity in existence around me. A few rows ahead, a man with longish white hair was wearing a "50 States Marathon Club" shirt. Cool.

17 February 2009

Austin, there I go...

Some pictures from the trip (race report to follow--eventually):

So, this is the fountain in front of Palmer Events Centre (I think that's what it is called), where the race expo was. If you look at the sign in the background, it has the marathon expo details on it.
The Story of Texas; a museum of Texas history. Keely has tried to tell me about the six flags, but being as I didn't grow up here, all I know is these are probably the six flags that Texas has been under.

This is just a florist. I liked the building.

I think this is an office building. They light it up at night; it's pretty cool to look at.

And, I liked this planter, too.

I don't know why the fire hydrants in Austin are silver. But they are.

Now, if you don't notice the sign to let you know the signs have changed, then you're on your own.

World's friendliest graffitti.

This bookstore is probably the outspoken college student's idea of heaven; there is a sign out front about sharing ideas and that sort of fun stuff. If we'd had more time, I totally would have gone in and poked around a bit.

The (apparently) famous bell tower.

You know, when you're feeling a bit stressed, you can just go to the chilling station.

And... a trash can that makes me laugh. I'm not sure what happens when you put trash in, because I didn't have any on me to test the action-packed (although, as ever, punctuation-free) trash can.

11 February 2009

Austin, here I come...

So, my time for the past three or so weeks has been something like this:


This is why the half marathon is the longest distance that I currently care to do; I run too slowly to even think of training for a full marathon. There aren't enough hours in a day for me to run enough to train for that kind of distance and still, you know, live my life.

Anyway! We leave for Austin on Friday morning, I have no idea what we'll be doing Friday afternoon or Saturday (although I hope "rest" is high on Ruth's agenda-- whatever-- that word is not in her vocabulary!), and Sunday is the race. The biggest race we've run in to date was the 5K we ran in Indiana last May. There were something like 4000 runners in that race (plus another 3000 in the half marathon-- but I never saw them), and a sizeable, albeit sporatic, crowd to cheer us on. The Austin Marathon has 6000 people in the full, and 8000 in the half-- so quite a jump in field size. Plus, we all start together, so we're talking 14000 people all hanging out together in the streets of Austin. And apparently, there will be spectators, bands, and other fun stuff along the course, so it's not like we'll lack for motivation there. Yay! This is going to be fun. (You know, tired, sore, sweaty fun.)

09 February 2009

Prince Caspian: Peter hasn't learned much.

Okay, despite all appearances, I really, really liked this movie.

I watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in complete amazement. They almost got it 100% like the book. My only real complaints were 1) the race across the breaking ice on the river (what was that all about?), and 2) the kids just didn't get it. When Peter, at the beginning of the major battle against the White Witch and her forces, ordered Edmund to get the girls and go back to England, I shook my head. My thought was, "Narnia is about to be ruled by some really stupid children." How many times did Peter have to hear the prophecy about the four thrones before thinking, "Oh, so I shouldn't send my siblings back home! That would totally screw things up!" But really, they got it so right, I don't think they could have gotten it righter. Hollywood has screwed up my best-loved books so many times, that the first Narnia movie was a tremendously nice surprise.

Prince Caspian: Not so much.

Someone told me when it first came out that it was "not as good" as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If she meant that it didn't follow the book as well, I am in total agreement. I decided within the first 10 minutes of the movie that whoever wrote the script had not actually read the book. So, in a change from my usual position, I decided to forget the book and just enjoy the movie.

But before moving on, I would like to revisit the "these kids don't get it" angle to say: Peter is still an idiot. Someone who reigned as the High King for something like 15 years, and has only been back to his regular life for a year, should be able to make better choices, or at least not act quite so stupid. It's too bad he will not be in any more movies; they could at least have given him a chance to redeem himself.

Also in the "they screwed up my book" realm: I always wanted Lucy & Caspian to get together. Obviously, it never happened, but it was beyond strange to me that Susan & Caspian had that love interest thing going on-- I was thinking, "Wait! Wait! Wrong sister!" Alas. Okay, that one is not so much screwing up my book as screwing up what I would change about the story. :)

Anyway... now switching from the book to the movie. It was fantastic. From a plot point of view, I thought it was a thousand times better than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The scenery was amazing, again; the battles were very well-done; the transitions from England to Narnia and back again were brilliant. My only real quibble (and it is a small one) is that Peter & Edmund should have been wearing shorts. Boys (even 16-ish-year-olds) in 1940s England didn't wear long trousers; that was a coming-of-age kind of thing, much the same as girls putting their hair up once they reached 18. When I expressed this aloud, Chad was all, "Huh?", so I guess it's just boring bookish types like myself that would have caught such a period anomaly.

So, we will certainly be adding this one to our DVD library. And I look forward to my children one day asking me if the scriptwriter ever read the book.

08 February 2009

What's on TV?

So, since we've received our converter box coupons, and the government can't seem to decide whether or not to stick to the Febuary deadline for DTV, we went ahead and bought our new box. Which allowed us to watch Skate for the Heart on three different channels yesterday! Hooray for digital television!

Seriously, I hope that once we're all digitalized and whatnot that the networks will use their extra channels to give a couple of different shows, instead of repeating the same thing that's already on the main channel. Please!!

So, I was at someone's house yesterday, and Fox news was on. (I realise that I'm about to make fun of Fox, but CNN is just as bad, so pretend that I'm talking about them, if you like.) First of all, are women still allowed to be reporters if they aren't young and blonde? I didn't see any other kind during the two hours that the TV and I were in the same room.

Here's the good part: There was a headline that asked, "What happened to bipartisanship?" What do you mean, what happened? It's probably still hanging out in fantasyland with Santa and the Tooth Fairy, you know, where it's always been. You should try looking there.

Also, I couldn't hear the story, but when they were talking about the 2010 census there were a lot of shots of young, blonde census takers (Did I miss something? Is every woman in the U.S. now under 40 and blonde? Does this have something to do with the DTV switch?) making notes on their Blackberrys while staring intently at houses. If I saw someone standing at my gate, staring at my front door, with Blackberry whirring, I'd call the police. I hope that's not the plan for the census next year. :)

So, this is probably why I don't have cable. I can't keep up with the channels we do have.

02 February 2009

Most expensive 30 seconds ever!

I watched the Super Bowl commercials the good way-- on the internet, the next day, with no annoying football to sit through. So, here are my conclusions:

1. If I laughed my bum off, I wouldn't have it reattached.
2. If I had known the Budweiser Clydesdales had Scottish accents... well, I still wouldn't use their product.
3. I wish Danica Patrick would find a new sponsor.

My favourite? The Bridgestone Potato Heads.

My favourite ever? I always liked the Bud Bowl (it weirds me out that the under-25 crowd can't remember the Bud Bowl), but my favourite ever was probably the year with the "Nuthin' but net" series between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, culminating in the Super Bowl version. (Off the goalpost, off Leslie Visser's head, nuthin' but net.)