Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Favorite Sign

I have been busy lately but not feeling wordy so in the interest of having something to post I give you this sign:

They finally took this sign down at work a few months ago. It used to make me smile every time I saw it. Smile and then shake my head at how ridiculous it made us look.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting Better All the Time

Today was the first day in a week that I didn't either:

A) spend the day on the couch; or
B) spend the day wishing I could stop whatever it was I was doing so I could spend it on the couch.

Whatever this flu/cold/sickness thing was got me pretty good. I am still coughing today but I am much improved from a few days ago. I even managed to go out for a three-mile run tonight. I did two, sat and had a coughing fit, watched a mama duck and her nine ducklings and then ran the one more mile. Other than the fact that I was the only runner out there that sounded like she had a two-pack a day smoker's cough it went pretty well. Onward with the training!

The Pillow Fight

I recently finished "Assassination Vacation" by Sarah Vowell which is a book about her road trips to the sights associated with the first three American presidential assassinations: Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley if you don't remember (I sure didn't). Funny and fascinating, Sarah Vowell brings her inimitable voice to American history that is a joy for people like me who enjoy American history and, at the very least, a good read for those who don't really give a rip about it. Wonderful book; go pick it up.

But the book itself isn't what I wanted to write about. It is one particular paragraph towards the end that talks about how most famous American victims of assassination had a good day the day that they were killed (excepting JFK). She mentions that Booth timed his shot so that it would coincide with a funny line in the play. Lincoln's last conscious thought was a laugh. Bobby Kennedy spent the day at the beach in Malibu with his family at the home of the director of The Manchurian Candidate. McKinley spent the day sightseeing with his wife at Niagra Falls.

The one that got to me though was Martin Luther King Jr. The very day MLK Jr. was shot he and his brother and some of their friends had gotten into a pillow fight in the Lorraine Motel. When I read this line I pictured the scene exactly the way Sarah Vowell said she always pictures it: black and white, slow-motion, handsome men in shirts and ties laughing and enjoying life. Something about this is so achingly simple and beautiful while at the same time gut-wrenchingly sad. A regular guy blowing off steam from what must have felt like the true weight of the world on his shoulders only to be gunned down a short while later. The image of these men and this pillow fight actually brought tears to my eyes. I don't know why this moved me so much.

History tends to deify the assassinated and dehumanize them at the same time. After awhile you only think of the powerful speeches or their place in the broader scope of history. We tend to forget about the real people beyond the mythologized personalities. This paragraph broke down that myth for a brief moment.

I don't know if I will ever be able to think of Martin Luther King, Jr. again without this image coming to mind. I kind of like that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sick Days

Well, I thought the yoga class really busted my behind. I woke up Monday morning with sore hamstrings but they were the good kind of sore muscles that signify a good workout. No problem there. By that night the soreness had spread to my whole legs and had become more of a sharp ache. By the time my upper body got into the act and my whole body ached I finally figured out ('cause sometimes I am not so bright) that it wasn't residual muscle soreness from Gumbifying myself but rather a lovely virus. My first week of scholastic freedom and I get the flu.

So, the last two days have been spent at home sleeping, coughing, sweating and being thankful this didn't happen before finals.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I finally broke down and went to a yoga class on Sunday. I had been thinking about this for awhile and now that school is done for the summer the time seemed right. Running really tightens up the muscles and I have started to have some problems from this tightness and lack of flexibility. Besides, seeing what happens when people don't work on their flexibility and balance as they age it seemed prudent to jump on it early before I actually become old and decrepit.

The session was two hours of learning some basic poses and I kind of enjoyed it. I am one of those people who has no sense what their body is doing so I really need an instructor to point out the correct body alignment. I can be curled like a question mark and think I am in a perfectly straight line.

There was a wee bit of the hippy-dippy "find your heart center" "inner eye" "one with the universe" crap but if you put aside the words the act of finding a little bit of calm and mindfulness probably isn't such a bad idea. I tried to clear my mind and focus but it is a little hard to do at first when you are overly concerned with not falling over or trying to hold a pose. Not helping matters was the fact that I was starving so the last hour of the class all I kept thinking about was what I wanted to eat. That and I kept cursing my choice of a super high-fiber breakfast cereal. Perhaps I have found my yoga mantra: "Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Don't fart."

The plan for the summer is: one yoga class a week and then practice some poses at home so I can maintain some stretchiness.

One Foot In Front of the Other

Hooray! I actually managed to make it out to run four times last week for a grand mileage total of 14 miles. I can't remember the last time I got in four runs in one week. Even though none of the runs were particularly easy it still felt good to get out there and put in some miles to get some conditioning back. A few more weeks of that and continuing to do speedwork one day a week and I might actually see some improvement in my times.

The toughest part though is that I am trying to lose weight at the same time. To do this I am back to counting Weight Watcher points. However, if I stay in my points range I don't feel like I get quite enough fuel to put in the kind of workouts that I would like. If I put in enough fuel then I can't seem to stay in my points range. Maybe it will just take a little tweaking and once I get my body used to running more I won't feel so worn out and the fueling issue won't become so cumbersome. I know that if I lose the extra 40 pounds I am carrying around I can increase my speed and be more effective at distance. It is just taking me forever to make the scale move.

On the plus side (HA!) I can still register as a Clydesdale for the Firecracker 5000. Maybe the rest of the big girls will stay home this year.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Notes About Nothing

This was a blissful weekend of (almost) freedom. I got to feel like a real person again. Aside from a Mariner's game on Friday night with the boys I did pretty much nothing. I slept, I read books for fun, I watched "Sports Night" on DVD, I ran, I got a massage, I slept some more, a wee tiny bit of studying...it was great.

The weekend wasn't totally devoid of learning. I did learn that when your massage therapist tells you to take a deep breath it means she is going to cause you a fairly intense amount of pain. It is a good pain though and lordy are my hips and IT bands tight, tight, tight. Ow.

I also saw a man riding a bicycle at Greenlake with a large, fluffy cat perched on his shoulder. He didn't appear to be wearing body armor and wasn't visibly dripping blood. I am pretty sure I would be eviscerated before I even got a half-mile into my bike ride if I tried that with either of my cats.

I actually feel rested enough that the thought of work tomorrow doesn't make me want to cry. Hooray for sleep and relaxation!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Real College Student

I have almost made it through the quarter. Finals are next week and last week was the big push with a whole lot of work that needed to be done by Wednesday morning. I spent almost all of last weekend (sunny, beautiful, summer-like weekend) inside working on my project and finishing up all the last minute readings and assignments. I got everything done by Monday except one last assignment for my fraud class. I figured there was still time before it was due on Wednesday.

Kevin and I had tickets to see the Mariners play the Orioles on Tuesday night and I decided the responsible, mature thing to do would be to call him and tell him to find someone else to go because I wasn't done with my homework and studying. I also decided that I had had quite enough of responsible and mature and, dammit, I wasn't spending one more evening thinking about accounting when I could be at the ballpark having a good time. So I said, "to hell with school" and I blew off my studies and enjoyed a beautiful night at the ol' ballgame. It is the closest I have felt to being a real college student. Minus the binge drinking, hopeful optimism and perky boobs of course.

On a final school note, I have to keep reminding myself that I am not done yet and that I still have two finals on Wednesday. I have already checked out, packed up and shut the mental doors. I am not entirely joking when I say I am worried that I will simply forget to go to class on Wednesday. That is how done I already feel.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why You're Fat

Because the contents of your vegetable drawer look like this: