Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Still Rock N Roll To Me

San Diego Roll Marathon much good. My #1 memory of this weekend will be seeing my mentees enter the Pasta Party (if you've done TNT you know what I'm talking about). A very close second will be seeing them cross the finish line and wearing their finishers' medals. This season has been tough since I've been hobbled by injuries, but was all so worth it to see my teammates reach their goal. I'm a little hoarse from cheering for people all day.

My personal race got ugly at mile 8ish. My calves were miserable, but Dr. Chad had warned me that it might be a particularly uncomfortable race for me. I'm lucky I got as far as I did before the pain forced me to walk to the finish. Ah well.

Cheers to Steve who was a rock star supporter all weekend. Steve, thanks for hauling us to the starting line at 5 a.m and for putting up with the driving/parking nightmare of reaching three locations on the course when every road in town seemed to be closed for the marathon. You're a rock star - for reals!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fresh Paint and Counter Depth Appliances

Every once and again, you'll see a house that needs a bit of work. It's not a ramshackle, but it needs some care, maybe a bit of landscaping or a bit trim paint. If you don't own a house, you probably wonder why doesn't the owner take a few minutes and do the repairs. A few minutes - Ha! House maintenance is complex and interwoven especially if you own an old house as I do. I adore my 1920's casita except when something needs to be fixed, because there isn't a stock item in the hardware store that's going to fit.

I wanted to get my house painted. I'll do a lot of jobs on my own, but I do not paint. Before the painters could start, I needed to get some extra cabinets hung in the bathroom. Ran to Lowe's, picked out a selection of cabinets and called the handy man to have them hung. We sorted through the cabinet options and made some compromises. Then I needed to do a little wood putty fill on the cabinet seams, sand, drill holes for the handles, and paint on the primer coat. That meant digging in the garage for 40 minutes trying to find my wood putty, power sander, drill, paint rollers and the extra primer. Dear Heavens, I need to get that garage in some sort of order.

While the painter was putting the test colors on the wall, the plumbing peeps were still trying to fix my blocked drain lines. My favorite moment might have been asking the drain guy, "Hey, should that drain snake be coming out of my roof? Because it is." Of course, this drain stuff must be done before the painters start the kitchen. You don't want a flood on the fresh paint.

In other pre-paint prep, I wanted to get my new refrigerator into the house before the painters started. My house is old; my doorways are narrow. You know damn well when they remove the old fridge and put in the new one they're going to smack into any freshly painted wall. Nothing is easy in an old house. When I took the measurements, I found out that I currently have a counter depth fridge and a full size won't fit. I spent 3 hours and Lowe's measuring every single fridge to find one that the doors could open without smacking the counter. It was supposed to be delivered on Monday before the painters started. Unfortunately, it arrived from the warehouse with a big dent in the door. Now they are going to have to deliver it after the painting is complete.

Add to the bathroom cabinets, the fridge and the drain issues, the general taking down of pictures and putting away stuff so that the painters can work. In other words, it took me roughly 4 days of work and heaps of money before I could pay someone else heaps of money to paint. That's home ownership. You've got gobs to do before you start doing what you want to get done.

It was all summed up for me at Lowe's. There was a young woman there looking for a 21 inch deep dishwasher for her 1920's home. Modern counters are a standard 24 inches. That's why there's something called counter depth, because it's the standard. But her house was built back when houses were built by renegades who wouldn't be contained by standards. Poor thing, she still thought that she'd be able to put stock items in a new home and she was refusing to have her hopes crushed. She was insistent that she's find that 21 inch dishwasher.

Ah, newbies.

Friday, May 22, 2009

If Happens Again Saturday, We'll Build An Ark

  • On Wednesday, the world's most amazing shower head sprung a leak and water starting shooting out to the ceiling.
  • On Thursday, the washing machine overflowed and flooded the washroom, kitchen and dining room.
  • On Friday (today), the sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher backed up reflooding the kitchen.
If I was a Pisces, I'd be happy to be living in a watery home. Instead, I'm just sick of the tide rolling through my house.

I'm headed to Lowe's for a new shower head. The appliance guy is coming on June 10th to fix the washer. Thankfully, I have a backup washing machine in the garage. Rescue Rooter is on the way to handle the world most revolving job of cleaning the sewer line. (For real. It's a horror. I have no idea how that man can ever feel clean.)

Oh, the fun of home ownership never ends.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Butter Me Up

I collect cookbooks and other books on nutrition. If someone's church or Junior League is selling a cookbook I Must Buy It. In the big move from Texas a crate of 20 cookbooks when AWOL. I still miss them.

This weekend Steve and I hit one of my favorite used book stores. I like this store because the books are arranged by price. When I get to the dollar cookbooks, I can barely contain my excitement.

Frankly, I'm not that discriminating with the dollar cookbooks. It's strictly me grabbing them and shoving them in the basket. When I got home I realized I bought Easy Diabetic Cooking with 4 Ingredients despite the fact that neither of us is diabetic; I think I bought it because it was spiral bound, as all cookbooks should be.

In this cookbook I found one of the most ridiculous recipes I've ever seen.

Good Morning Grapefruit
Ingredients: Grapefruit, Smart Balance margarine, cinnamon and Splenda.
Instructions: Halve grapefruit. Melt margarine. Add cinnamon and Splenda. Put on grapefruit.

Yuck - how's about a nice, buttery grapefruit?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Welcome Home Baby

For the last two weeks, I'm been obsessively following the Briant Rodriguez abduction case. I've been checking Google news almost hourly. It's been most frustrating when there was no new news for a few hours. A missing child is a ticking clock.

The case has been a bit personal for me. First, I worked with victims of violent crime for two years. I've never really gotten over it; I check all my door locks several times before going to bed . Second, Briant looks a lot like my beloved nephew - same age, same big brown eyes, same long curls. My family commented on the resemblance too and we were all a bit freaked by it.

Hey, I'm not stupid. I know that there is something hinky in this case. There's a motive that we don't know about yet. I don't care. Briant is safely home, thank Heavens. Hopefully, he's not too traumatized. Hopefully, he was well cared for during the last two weeks.

Here is the thing that I found funny in the post-recovery press questions. Someone asked if Briant escaped or if he was released. I reiterate - HE'S THREE. Yes, he definitely escaped. He managed to disarm and incapacitate two armed criminals and slip off into Mexicali. Hey, when they picked him up, he was trying to decide if he was going to hitchhike or get a bus home to San Bernardino.

Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vacation - Destination 3, Lost Coast

I love it in this part of Northern California. The weather was cranky with rain and cold right up to race day. We made a stop at Target so I could buy cold weather gear for the race.

We spent a few days with our friends at the Gingerbread Mansion Bed and Breakfast. It was great to meet up with Debbie and Ellen. Of course, by this point in the trip, Steve and I were ready to just lay back and enjoy. We didn't really "do" anything. One day, we visited agate beach and I collected a bunch of beautiful pieces of agate that had been smoothed by the sand and ocean. Weird things like that are always my favorite trip souvenirs.

Steve and I also took a long drive from the redwoods to the lost coast - long drive, short distance. The terrain is pretty rugged and the roads are twisty. It's the reason it's called the "lost" coast. It was too rugged to develop with highways and such. The funniest part was the cows that were grazing right along the shoreline. No wonder California has happy cows, they live on the beach. (Of course, they are probably complaining about the cost of living here too.)

Race Notes: Country Music Half Marathon and Avenue of the Giants.

Two races, eight days.

Country Music Half Marathon - The race was hot and hilly. Not steep hills, but constant rolling hills. The entire race was going up or down; there were no flats. My nutrition was a mess. Sometimes the heat gives me nausea and I can't eat, then I bonk. Other times, the heat makes me ravenous. That's what happened here. I was through my entire stash of Gu's and trail mix by mile 7. Thankfully, Nashvillians were giving nibbles along the course (including a yummy, ice cold beer at mile 9).

Overall, this was a very sloppy race for me. I never really got tired, but I wasn't putting in much effort. It was great to go slowly through my old neighborhoods. No regrets.

Avenue of the Giants - I planned to walk this entire course since I was doing it with TNT walk alumni including Steve. My absolute favorite race ever - the California redwoods are magnificent and you have a few hours to simply enjoy the peace and beauty of the forest. Dear Heavens, I want to do this race every year.

Also, the Avenue is surely the recipient of the most improved finishers medal. Last years was sort of lame - that part in the center is a sticker. This years is lovely - also, great tee shirts.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Most of you know that I started with Team In Training because we lost my uncle to myeloma, a blood cancer. Sometimes I get bored of the grind of fundraising. And sometimes it feels like trying to raise money to find a cure is spitting into the wind.

Last week, Steve learned that his honored teammate from the Tuscon team had lost his battle with cancer. Yesterday, I found out that, Roy, a friend and former coworker died of cancer also. When I started my job 5 years ago, Roy was a big help to me. He didn't meddle, but he gave me good counsel and generally kept me out of trouble. He was diagnosed with late stage cancer last fall.

Losing anyone is tough, even someone you don't see or talk to everyday. Sometimes you just like knowing that they are in the world and on your side. I was chatting with a friend and she explained why I'll miss Roy better than I can. She said, "He saw my potential when I couldn't." That is a truly fine quality in friend.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Vacation - Destination 2, Oregon

We decided to fly from Nashville to Eugene and then drive to our next half marathon. This was sort of an odd choice, but it was the practical decision. First, flying to Eugene required only 1 flight connection instead of 2. It was also relatively inexpensive. The clincher for Eugene was I found a lovely suite at a bed and breakfast with an ensuite washer and dryer. Midway through a 10 day trip you need to do some laundry.

That simple 1 connection trip turned into a 20 hour battle with United Airlines. When we finally arrived in Eugene, Oregon we were both exhausted. I had actually slept for 2 hours on the floor of the "Mediation Room" in the Nashville airport. Lets just pretend it was a very, very deep mediation.

Steve had been to Eugene before, but my only visits to Oregon have been in Portland. We had planned to hang out in Eugene and visit some of the places he remembered. Then we'd take an entire day for a leisurely drive, stopping at whatever spot interested us. Of course, the snafu with United put the kibosh to that plan since we lost an entire day in airports.

We only had a few hours in Eugene before we needed to start the drive south. Luckily it was a beautiful day. We did a little walk in the neighborhood near the university. We had lunch a brewpub that Steve remembered fondly, perused a used record shop and got a yummy Americano at a coffee shop. (The photo is Steve enjoying a hot day and a cold beer. Great combo!)

Then it was back in the car for the drive to Northern California. Oregon is beautiful and I definitely want to go back there when we have about 6 days to make that drive instead of 6 hours. I wanted to stop at Crater Lake and Caves National Monument, but alas there was no time.

Oregon, next time I promise to give you the attention you deserve.

Today's Adventure in Grammatic Irony / Facebook Follies

Found this post on my Facebook news feed:
{friend's name} took the Are You Smart? quiz and the result is Your Pretty Smart.
If you're writing quizzes about smartness, you may want to learn the correct usage of your and you're.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Home - Updates pending

In no particular order, the following posts are pending:
  • Race reports for the 2 half marathons
  • A "How To" post on dealing with airport delays
  • Why the Bluebird Cafe is the best accoustic music venue.
  • Some photos of the trip.