Tuesday, September 30, 2003
hit or miss
there was a meeting this morning about return-to-flight stuff. it was supposed to last from 8 until noon. it ended at 3:00. fortunately, it was an interesting meeting and therefore didn't put me to sleep.
the playoffs start tonight. wahoo. go braves.
i counted up my ticket stubs and it turns out that this year i went to (drumroll please)...17 baseball games. 12 here in houston. two in new york. two in boston. one in atlanta. ta da. this means that buying a 20-game season ticket package next year will almostly certainly be on my agenda.
i just realized i'm going to be out of town every single saturday in october. this saturday debbie and i are doing an adventure race west of austin. then two saturdays in greece. then a saturday in auburn for daniel's wedding.
it stresses me out just thinking about it. and it means i'll miss 4 of the 7 soccer games in the gilruth coed season.
i'm stressed. my ankle is hurting again.
Monday, September 29, 2003
aah blah ess pan yole?
so i don't think i've mentioned it on this site, but i'm taking a beginning spanish class with betsy, chris, sean, and nick. it's over at uhcl and meets at lunchtime on mondays. there are two people in the class who are very nice, but are quite possibly the two worst people i have ever heard attempt to speak spanish. they appear to be unable to read all the letters in some words, and their accents are so absolutely horrible that it's comical. it's spanish, but with a deep, deep texas accent. i am amused.
Monday, September 29, 2003
i don't care if i never get back...
there is something bittersweet about the last baseball game of the year.
yes, there are still eight teams playing, and one of them is my beloved atlanta braves. but living in houston and having watched the astros throw away the nl central pennant on saturday meant that yesterday was my last chance to take in a game this year. my last chance to smell the grass and the hot dogs and hear the crowd cheering and watch the balls flying. i savored it.
after two innings, the roof cracked open and the sun streamed in. there was a light breeze, and the weather was perfect. for a moment, i almost mistook the day for an afternoon in april, at the beginning of the season, with endless possibilities.
it was happy. it was sad. i already can't wait for april, when i get to go back to the ballpark. in the meantime, i'll be glued to the tv for the postseason and suffer through the winter.
though i realized yesterday that i will be out of the country for a solid 9 days, during which time the league champions will be decided and the world series will start. i will definitely be stopping at an internet cafe (or five) in greece to get baseball playoff updates.
in other baseball news, the final standings in my "all-star" fantasy baseball league are: ron, ME!, randy, jeremy, chris, edgar and jason (tie), and kevin. i finished second! that's my best finish yet in the 3 years we've played, after i finished 3rd the first year and either 3rd or 4th last year. i finished seventh in the NL-only league. i'm quite happy with both finishes, even the 7th place (out of 10), as i was the only new person in the league this year and therefore was the only one without keepers. finishing anything other than last is a success.
i tweaked my groin again in soccer last night. ow.
Friday, September 26, 2003
one hand would have a bucket on it, that way, i would always...have...a bucket
i ran 3.5 miles last night. i figure that maybe the reason i can't quite break through the 30 minute 5k barrier is that i never run longer than a 5k. thus my body isn't used to having to run any farther, thus it starts to get tired around the 2 mile mark. so i'm going to try to add one long run a week (i want to work up to 5 miles) and see if that helps. maybe i'll add a day of speedwork too.
softball was cancelled last night, for reasons unknown. and thus my hitless streak continues.
i am looking forward to a relatively quiet weekend. tomorrow is the unofficial dm4 (that's my branch at work) day at the ballpark, so i'm going with a bunch of people from work to see the astros hopefully beat the brewers. they won last night, and the cubs lost, so they're tied for the central division lead. man, it's gonna be a close finish.
becca will make fun of me, since i'm about to talk about a book that i've been reading since march 2001 or something, BUT... last night i read another travel essay in my "best travel writing" book. it was called "weird karma" by pj o'rourke. a quick search didn't turn up a copy online (it was worth a shot), but if you ever see it in print, or in a back issue of men's journal, i highly recommend it. it was an enjoyable read, about a 6 day, 1600 mile trip sponsored by land rover to promote the discovery. they started in pakistan and quickly crossed the border into india, where they followed the "grand trunk" road to calcutta.
the final sentence said it all (i'm paraphrasing; i don't have the actual text in front of me): "the front cover of a popular magazine touts this month's feature story about the intricacies particle physics. you think you're in nation of geniuses! then you turn around and see a guy walking by with a bucket on his head." it was an essay that was well-written, and managed to be quirky and funny while still conveying the seriousness of india's problems with overpopulation and extreme poverty.
my description really doesn't do the essay justice. ah well.
i wish i could write like that.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
she called out a warning / don't ever let life pass you by
"Impersonality seems to be a key in a lot of the blogs that I read, but on the flip side whether we like it or not our persona shines through." it's always satisfying to me to see someone else express an opinion on an issue that i constantly struggle with. how much do i write on a blog? how much information do i give away?
i have weird quirks when it comes to blogs. i tend to be very open with what i write about most things. there are some issues that i don't mention here, but not many. for me, it turns into a distinction between "in writing" and "in person." i think i have always been willing to share more if i can write it down. at the least, i know i'm more coherent in writing. in person, i don't like to say as much.
my recent frustrations have started to boil over into all aspects of my life. case in point: i have regressed when it comes to rock climbing. after a kick butt night of climbing with betsy three weeks ago, i haven't been able to return to that form. last night i went to the gym for the first time in two weeks, with betsy, and it was the worst night; i almost fell off a route i've been able to do since the very first week. ugh. the harder i try, the worse i get.
at least part of it is mental. i get frustrated and mad, and then it's all over. some people get mad and it inspires them to try harder; i get mad and i just want to kick the wall and then quit. this is unfortunate.
my hands hurt. we ended on a good note, with betsy and me bouldering across the easy wall to build some confidence. i like the stretching and balance that bouldering requires. sigh.
all frustration was eventually driven away with a post-climbing stop at the waffle house though. i had decaf coffee and hashbrowns, and then ate betsy's toast. the toast was just a way for her to get to the eggs and waffle. there is something comforting about toast.
i know that sounds weird. but it's true.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
oh now i've gotta say / that the wind and the waves / and the moon winkin' down at me / eases my mind...
when i'm in a foul mood, i find it's better to say nothing than to say something rude. if i absolutely must vent, i try to slow down and unwind enough to be able to make an intelligent decision on picking the appropriate person.
last night i sat on the balcony with the citronella candles burning (although there were few chiquito mosquitos; perhaps summer really is fading). i read the rest of this month's outside magazine. i drank a beer. (sadly, i have no wine. i don't even like beer all that much. but i have become partial to sam adams summer ale after taking the brewery tour in boston.) i read more of my book. i thought about running away to zimbabwe.
well, not zimbabwe. that was just the first country that came to mind. but maybe australia. or spain. or maybe just a nicer part of the u.s.
on monday night at the astros game, jason and debbie and karen and i were on the jumbotron. this was especially neat because we were sitting in the upper deck, and come on, everyone knows that they rarely show the upper deck on the jumbotron. but we were on there. me in my astros hat. smiling and waving like the idiot that everyone turns into when they realize that they're on the jumbotron.
anyway. the astros have fallen a game behind the cubs. this sucks. i want the braves to come here for the division series.
i hope we're going climbing tonight.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
if you are among the very young at heart...
my friends are an odd group. we have strange senses of humor, laugh easily, and are surprisingly willing to embarrass ourselves in public as long as it means we'll get a good reaction from the others.
take jason, for instance. we were at the cheesecake factory on sunday when the following conversation took place. (i'm paraphrasing, but sadly, it's probably fairly accurate.)
betsy: "i think february or october would be good months for an outdoor wedding."
edgar: "i think march or april."
sarah: "yeah. you've just got to make sure it's before it gets too hot, or the mosquitos arrive."
jason: "i want to eat my cheesecake like a dinosaur."
we look at jason.
sarah:"make sure you keep your elbows in against your body, so you have short little useless dinosaur arms."
betsy: "yeah, and only two fingers, like the little claws."
jason wiggles his thumb, index, and middle fingers.
jason: "didn't they have three claws?"
sarah: "yeah, i think so, but no opposable thumbs."
jason: "oh, good call."
jason switches to wiggling his index, middle, and ring fingers. the waiter comes with our cheesecake. he leaves. jason grins. betsy and i watch as he bats the cheesecake around for a moment with one hand, er, claw, like a tyrannosaurus toying with a little dinosaur before killing it.
jason dives face first into the cheesecake, looking up a moment later with teeth bared and cheesecake all over his mouth and chin. betsy and i collapse with laughter. at the other end of the table, ron, buzz, gavin, jen, becca, and phil look at us strangely.
it was very funny.
Monday, September 22, 2003
that's the way this wheel keeps working
it was a strange-feeling weekend, to end a sucky week. i woke up saturday morning to low gray clouds, and a light drizzle. the rain continued, almost without interruption, through the entire weekend, and it's still gray and threatening outside this morning. it felt almost wintery.
i ran a 5k yesterday, and for the whole last 1.1 miles, i was planning a wonderful celebratory diary entry for this morning. i find that i do this often, the habit of writing down my stories in my head, and editing them, and re-editing them to perfectly convey the crux of the story. by the time i actually get to the computer, i've often forgotten the story, or the wit or cleverness with which it was mentally composed. c'est la vie, i guess. but it's a process that has become so engrained that i hardly realize i'm doing it anymore. mental composition.
anyway. the reason for the planned celebratory entry was that i thought i was finally going to break the 30 minute mark in a 5k. i did the first mile in about 9:20. woohoo! doing good. then i rounded the turn at the halfway mark and discovered that the entire second half of the race would be run into the wind, and with the rain blowing in my face. still, i hit mile 2 in 19:45 or so, and thought to myself "ok, just a little more than 10 minutes to do 1.1 miles. i can do this. i can totally do this." and for the last 1.1 miles, i cheered myself on. when the rain blew in my eyes, i cheered myself on. when i landed in a huge puddle, i cheered myself on. i rounded the last corner, and looked for the clock. couldn't see it. i ran a little farther, still looking for the clock.
when i finally spotted it, i saw it count "29:58...29:59...30:00..." and i was still 30 feet from the finish line. oh, the disappointment! i crossed the line in 30:12, and though i was able to subtract the 7 seconds it took me to cross the start line, it still left me at 30:05. a measly 5 seconds from what has been my goal for almost two years. sigh.
30:05 is still the fastest 5k i've ever officially run (previously it was 30:08), but i was so disappointed after having gone the last 1.1 miles thinking i was going to break 30 minutes. yuck yuck yuck. i hate being so damn slow.
next race, i'll be out for blood.
after the 5k, a large group of us headed downtown to celebrate buzz's 27th birthday with lunch at p.f. chang's and dessert at the cheesecake factory, thus destroying any of the good running the race did us. ah well. p.f. chang's was delicious (i'd never been there before), and as always, cheesecake makes me happy. i came home very full, and didn't need to eat dinner. soccer was cancelled due to the fields being a swamp after the weekend of rain, so i just hung out at home and did nothing. literally, i stared at the wall for a while. then i cleaned, watched baseball, and talked on the phone. i am almost done unpacking/organizing my stuff. almost.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
ok. the great experiment in dying my hair is over. yesterday afternoon i had lovely dark brown and a bit reddish hair. i went to get it cut and touched up, and left with hair so dark it practically looks black.
i don't know what happened. he said "what are we doing today?" i said, "take off about an inch and a half, and color it the same as last time." they have a computer system. it prints out a sheet of paper to remind them what they did last time, especially if it involves mixing hair colors. i don't know what happened, but he must have read the sheet wrong, or simply mixed it wrong. he put in the color, he washed it out, i looked in the mirror, and froze. it looked a lot darker than i was expecting. it's ok, it's just because it's wet, i told myself. so he dried it. nope. it's dark. darker than it was even back in january.
i didn't say anything to him. but i'm very bothered. every time i look in the mirror, i whimper. it'll be ok, i'll buy some very harsh shampoo, and numerous people, in an attempt to make me feel better, have told me that it looks mysterious and sexy. that's nice of them. but i don't like it.
i don't really know what to do about it. i really should call the salon back, and ask them to do something about it. but after yesterday, i don't really want to deal with them.
what a way to end my week. i just want to crawl into a hole.
Friday, September 19, 2003
beware of the sarah, she may bite
it has been a week.
i'm tired, because i'm having trouble falling asleep at night. this morning, i overslept because i was up too late last night. and i'm cranky, because i'm tired. world space week is under my skin. there are a million different plans for getting division series tickets. my apartment is a mess. i haven't had a hit in softball in what feels like years, i suck at volleyball, my soccer team never wins, and i wish i were a better athlete. i find that there are some people around whom i can't control what i say, and i wish that i could. i am always overly sarcastic, or overly critical, or overly prone to being annoyed. who knows why.
it has just been...a week. fortunately, all weeks are followed by weekends, and opportunities to regroup.
tonight i may just stay home alone on a friday, flat on the floor looking back. hurry up and get here.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
woke up today to everything grey
man. i am in quite a mood this morning.
first of all, my fantasy baseball team's entire pitching staff is imploding as we speak. i've lost 4 points in a week as my era and whip both try to shoot through the roof on the heels of bad performances by even the guys who are supposed to be reliable. loaiza, williams, ortiz. ugh. i shouldn't be so bothered, because i'm still in second place and there's no possible way i'll finish any lower than that...and there really wasn't any chance i'd be able to take over first place either. but it's still annoying at me.
second, maybe i just shouldn't read the group blog before i update in the mornings, because if there happens to be a political discussion going on, i always end up wanting to vomit. yes. ok, not literally, but that phrasing seems to accurately convey the incredulity some of our discussions cause me to suffer.
yesterday felt like a friday, mainly because we went out to lunch for matt's birthday, and as such, it felt weird to have to come to work today. my sleeping issues in my new apartment continue. it took me forever to fall asleep last night. sigh sigh sigh.
debbie and chris and i checked out one of the potential courses for the yuri's night 5k last night. it starts and ends at the little park in nassau bay, which is a nice location. the only worry would be parking, but since we're only aiming for 100-150 runners, it might not be a problem. we shall see. there are two more fairly similar courses to check out down there as well, but i think the general conclusion is that any course in nassau bay would be nice. there are enough roads to allow a loop course (as opposed to a boring out-and-back), and it's a nice, quiet, scenic neighborhood.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
can't you smell that smell?
despite the fact that i had practically no food in the place, i came home yesterday to a very strange food smell in my apartment. at least, i'm pretty sure it was a food smell. it was vaguely familiar, but i couldn't place it. i have no idea where it came from, and can only assume it was somehow brought in by the maintainence guy who came to fix my dishwasher, which still worked but had started making a horrible screeching sound. while there, he also put up the light fixture on the ceiling fan in the bedroom. this is infinitely frustrating, as i tried to do it myself and am apparently too dumb to figure it out. i even unscrewed the cap last night to look at how he had connected the wires, and he did it the same way i tried! but it worked for him, and not for me.
i don't know, it's a mystery.
we had volleyball last night, which i mention only because i told jason i would write about how becca hit a ball right into his face. so here it is: becca hit a ball right into jason's face. he was fine. we all laughed. i suck at volleyball. our team sucks at volleyball. i don't really like volleyball. there is a time for trying, and yet there is also a time for ceasing to beat your head against the wall trying to get better at something you don't even really like that much. i don't think i will play next season.
and i finally went to the grocery store. thus, i finally have food. this is a good thing.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
yes i'm grounded / got my wings clipped
i have been tossing and turning a lot in my sleep lately. at least i must be, because i wake up in the morning with my tank top all twisted around my body. for unknown reasons, i have not been sleeping as soundly since i moved to the new apartment. i think it may be due to the bed and window placement. my bed is right next to the window, which in turn is directly on the outside of the building; in my old apartment, the bed was on the opposite side of the room from the window, and the window faced the balcony, which was darker than if it just faced directly outside. i think my bedroom is too light at night. perhaps i should just go buy a curtain, as the blinds really don't make it dark enough.
this also leads to interesting dreams, and mornings where i wake up to memories that seem really long ago and far away. i was reliving a january saturday night in san francisco, and though i remember so many of the little details, it sort of feels like i wasn't actually there.
and my groin is feeling much better today, thanks.
on to more exciting things. last night i held the first organizational and brainstorming meeting for the 5k run/walk i am planning. the date is april 10, 2004, but that's all i know for certain. last night we narrowed the field down to 3 potential courses, all across the road in nassau bay, and some of us are going to bike them later this week. but i am most excited about the support it looks like i am going to get from my friends! ron and buzz volunteered to do registration and results, debbie and jason volunteered for the post-race party and kid's race, gavin took course setup and management, edgar's going to help with the finances, betsy's going to help with logistics, jen's going to recruit volunteers... everything is going swimmingly; at the moment, i am organized, we have 6+ months to plan, and i have incredible and awesome friends. this thing is really going to happen!
this morning on the radio the djs were discussing where to draw the line on whether a coach (of a 7-8 year old kid's soccer team) is simply teaching discipline or being unnecessarily harsh. the discussion made me want to go out and sign up to coach a kid's soccer team. not that i will, but wouldn't it be fun? ;)
anyway, i've got to go finish putting together a couple slides i have to present this afternoon. we're having a peer review.
i wish i had more exciting things to say!
Monday, September 15, 2003
queen of minor injuries
if i had a soccer game every night, i would be in incredible shape. then again, i might also inadvertantly kill myself.
i hurt myself again, and am now going to dub myself "queen of the minor injuries." my mildly sprained finger improved a lot over the weekend, and the bruises from last wednesday's climbing disappeared, and my ankle only feels weird if i turn it a certain way...but last night i tweaked whatever muscle is on the inside of my upper right thigh. groin muscle, anyone? or rather, as i'm going to start calling it, the oswalt muscle?
it was raining steadily at 7:00 when our game was supposed to start, not to mention the fact that lightning was criss-crossing the sky. but apparently we have to give it 20 minutes. at 7:20 it was still raining, but the referee counted 16 seconds between lightning and thunder, and so he decided that the game was on. i headed out onto the field not exactly excited by the prospect of getting struck by lightning, but fortunately, that part of the storm moved on and by the end of the game, even the rain had ended (though by that time, we were so wet and muddy that we didn't notice). buzz has joined our team, which is awesome. now i have a friend in the group!
anyway. we played, and the first run of the game, i felt a twinge in my oswalt muscle. it bothered me the rest of the game, not enough to keep me from playing, but enough to be bothersome. i thought maybe it'd go away overnight, but it didn't.
queen of minor injuries. that's me.
other than that, i had a nice weekend. friday night we went to see "once upon a time in mexico," which is not as good as desperado, and unnecessarily gory. but i still love johnny depp and antonio banderas. saturday, jason and debbie and i went downtown to the open house for the toyota center, the new coliseum for the rockets and aeros. it was really, really nice. the upper level was open to the concourse, which i thought was cool. the lower level along the sidelines are "club seats" featuring a really posh concession area. since we are planning on buying a 13-game season ticket package for the aeros (minor league hockey team), we'll even get to take advantage of the poshness. woohoo!
from there we headed over the few blocks to minute maid park and took in a true pitcher's duel, and maybe the fastest baseball game i've ever seen. it lasted only 2 hours and 5 minutes, with roy oswalt and the astros emerging victorious over matt morris and the cardinals by a score of 2-0. oswalt went 7 innings with no runs, giving up only 4 hits and striking out 8. matt morris wasn't bad either, going the same number of innings and giving up the same number of hits. he just happened to give up a couple runs too. dotel came in for the 8th, and wagner closed it in the 9th for the astros. he didn't top 98 mph (which seems slow for wagner!), but was still effective.
anyway. yesterday i got some digital photos printed and was privy to the slight incompetance of the walmart photo lab. luckily, eckerd's saved the day, and now i have everything i need to put together my scrapbooks from scotland (a year ago) and france (january). i'm so slow. while waiting on photos, i got my oil changed. hooray for being productive.
i think i'm going to have to skip climbing tonight because of my oswalt muscle. grr.
Friday, September 12, 2003
can't lift a finger
i walked into rich and george's office this morning and announced that "my finger is fatter!" and to think, instead of sympathy, they laughed. the nerve! ;)
seriously though, my finger is fatter. i think it is sprained. it exhibits all the symptoms of a sprained finger--tenderness, swelling, uncomfortable to bend. and yet i have no idea how to treat a sprained finger. do i splint it? that would make it hard to type. do i tape it? maybe, but i don't know how. i feel like if i just wait, it will get better. but then again, it's been like two weeks...
ok. an internet search says i should tape it to another finger. i don't know how i'm supposed to type with two fingers taped together. i guess i'll experiment this weekend.
plans for the weekend include a movie tonight, the toyota center open house followed by a baseball game tomorrow, and nothing on sunday. it's been raining for two days now, but hopefully it will clear up for the weekend. with any luck, we can repeat last weekend's gorgeousness. and avoid hurricane isabel's wrath next week.
so i've got a new task at work that should be a fun change from footprints. i'll still be doing footprints, of course, but yesterday i was asked if i was interested in joining the mars science laboratory (msl, a rover planned for launch in 2009) team. so i get to do mars stuff; that should be cool. i get the next month and a half or so to learn and train and get up to speed, and then i will start supporting the entry guidance team.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
never forget, never give up...
"september 11, 2002
"on the first anniversary of the world trade center attacks, i'm heading farther north and farther away from the 'real world' of terrorist attacks and ensuing memorial services. odd. a year ago i was sent home from work early and spent the rest of the day glued to the television, staying up late into the night wondering and worrying. and today, a year later, i sit on a ferry taking me to the orkney islands above mainland britain, a place not as frequented by tourists as london, or edinburge. it's odd, the things i find myself doing when i pause to think about it. i'm really quite lucky to be able to travel like i do, to be able to spoil myself from time to time.
"i just watched the sunrise over the north sea. it was beautiful."
last year i happened to skip the country for the first anniversary of 9/11/01. i have to say, it was nice. i was glad to be away from the "hoopla" of memorial services and news reports. i know that sounds insensitive, but it was so much nicer to be rocking gently on a boat, on my way to a fairly remote location. karen, becca and i were 3 of no more than 20 passengers on board. it was nice to stand on the deck in the dawn, watch the sun rise, listen to the water crash against the bow, and reflect on the year anniversary. it was calming, and quieting, and ultimately meant more to me than being here in the u.s. could have.
this morning the snooze alarm woke me up at 7:43 or so (central time), just before the moment of silence corresponding to the first plane hitting the towers. the radio djs went silent and again, it was nice to be alone, in the dawn and the quiet, lying in bed with the sun sneaking its way through slits in the blinds.
and yet today, it is hard for me to declare 9/11 to be the most impactful world event in my life. eight months ago, it was. then we lost columbia. i can detatch myself from 9/11, turn it into this nebulous, abstract thing that was really bad, and yet didn't directly affect my life. i can't do that with columbia. again, that sounds insensitive. i don't mean to be; i am simply trying to explain.
two years, two tragedies. the mind boggles, and so we cope as best as we can.
and we keep on keeping on. last night buzz and i hit the rock gym for ladies night. that's four times in two weeks for me, and my body is starting to complain. i have two lovely purple bruises, one on each knee. i think my middle finger on my right hand is slightly sprained (it's been bothering me for a couple weeks now). my ankle still occasionally complains, and the rope burn becca gave me almost three weeks ago is still healing. hmm. my dad will read all this and probably worry that i'm pushing myself too hard. i don't know.
poor karen. instead of making life easier, it sounds like her thesis supervisor keeps throwing up road blocks. he can't read karen's thesis because he has master's students to take care of? excuse me sir, isn't karen one of your master's students?! he's already abandoned her to move to another school, and now he's ignoring her. wacko. karen, i suggest the following mantra: "in a month, i will be on a beach in greece...in a month, i will be on a beach in greece...in a month, i will be on a beach in greece..." :)
i am currently listening to john mayer's new cd. so far so good.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
"it's a sign!"
"but you don't believe in signs..."
it's weird. i never get very excited about big trips until i'm in the airport, or on the plane. this one is no different. yesterday becca and i were talking about buying plane tickets to greece (karen will meet us in athens), and debating how much the price could rise or fall within the next few days. the lufthansa website was having technical difficulties. i was wavering. becca was annoyed with me, i think.
i left work, and as i got into the elevator, i noticed a discarded fortune cookie fortune on the floor. as the elevator lowered me to the first floor, i read the fortune: "an exciting vacation awaits you."
no lie. seriously people. if that's not a sign, i don't know what is.
becca called 10 minutes later telling me lufthansa was on the other line prepared to sell us the tickets for the cheapest price we've seen in months. so i told her to buy one for me. we are going to greece. and though i'm still not hugely excited, i know i will be once we hit the airport.
my leadership class is annoying me. i don't like people who won't let go of the nitty-gritty in favor of the bigger picture, especially when all we're talking about is a very general negotiation exercise. the motivation behind brazil's congress is not my concern. i just want to get to the point of the exercise. stupid people.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
listen as the wind blows / from across the great divide
so today i'm taking a class called "influencing others: the leader's tool kit." the bad news is that it's yet another leadership class, as if i haven't experienced enough of those already. the good news is that the woman teaching is enthusiastic and funny, and thus keeps my attention. so far this morning, we've assessed our listening skills and i've learned that i am best at appreciative listening (meaning that i listen best when i am being entertained or inspired) and worst at empathic listening (meaning maybe i'm not the best person to come to when you just want to vent). hmm. i probably could have predicted those. despite the fact that i always try to be a better empathic listener, i never seem to have much success. i always want to fix things, instead of just being a shoulder to lean on.
i'm a little sore from the rock gym last night, but not too bad. i was having sort of an "off" night. i wasn't able to do as much as i did last wednesday; i just didn't feel as good or as balanced, somehow. my new chalk bag worked ok though, and after last night i am seriously considering buying my own pair of climbing shoes, despite their price (between $80 and $140). the rock gym shoes never fit me quite right; in order to get the right length and avoid painfully compressing my toe, i end up with shoes that are too wide, and i can't lace them up tight enough to prevent the foam pieces from working their way in. what i really need is a shoe designed for women; despite their hugeness (size 11), my feet are narrow like most women's feet are. thus, men's shoes never fit me as well as i'd like. we'll see. i tried on a pair of climbing shoes at rei on saturday. they were $137 at the store, i found them for $95 online. sheesh.
i recruited buzz for my women's soccer team, and am quite excited about that. she's pumped to play, and even if she sucked (which she doesn't), she'd be a great addition simply because i know we can count on her to show up at each and every game!
after climbing we sauntered over to waffle house, where conversation ensued that made me want to clarify things in my life. weirdness.
Monday, September 08, 2003
i had a california weekend.
it's hard to explain exactly what such a weekend entails, but i will try. it starts with weather so sunny, so pleasantly warm and yet cool, and so all-around beautiful that you can't imagine doing anything that doesn't involve going outside, or at the very least, opening all the windows. throw in some fun activities with friends. throw in some driving around town with the wind in your hair. throw in some celebration-worthy news from friends. finally, add a general, inexplicable feeling of happiness that just leaves you smiling the whole time.
and there you have it. a california weekend in houston, texas.
friday night i took it easy, chatting on the phone, watching baseball in the background, and finally cleaning the dining room area that has become my study. i packed up a lot of books that i no longer have bookshelf space for, and put them in neatly labeled rubbermaid bins in the closet. voila--clean study. hooray!
saturday i slept till late morning, and got up only to go get a pedicure. ah, the luxury. i can't believe i ever made fun of becca for doing something so girly. it was when i walked outside on my way to the salon that i discovered how absolutely lovely the weather was. it was about 80 degrees and so not humid that i almost did a double take, wondering if i had been transported to an alien version of houston. the weather stayed amazing for the rest of the weekend.
after getting my toes painted, i ran a few errands, finally bought another bowl/vase for v-tot the beta fish (now he matches viggo!), and came home to clean a little more. gavin, jen, debbie and jason came over at 3:30 and we headed to the new rei store, where i bought a chalk bag and successfully resisted the temptation to buy numerous other things, among them being new hiking shoes and a tent. :)
from rei, debbie and jason and i headed to the galleria, where becca met us for dinner at the cheesecake factory (yum). afterward, we drove through a lovely part of town that i had never seen before on our way to a little independent movie theater on west gray that was showing "step into liquid," a documentary about surfing. it was great--it showed surfers all over the world, from hawaii to the great lakes to guys in galveston bay surfing the bow waves produced by the oil tankers (yes, really). sigh. i want to go surfing again.
yesterday i slept late again, and puttered around the apartment enjoying the breeze coming in through my wide open windows. i watched the braves beat the pirates, and then headed over to the running store nearby to talk with the owner; he has generously agreed to provide me with guidance and advice about planning a 5k road race! see, i am going to be the race director for the newly formed yuri's night 5k, to be held next april 10. we talked for half an hour, and he was very helpful. i'm so excited that i'm actually going to be able to make this happen; i have wanted to plan a race for a while now.
later in the day, i heard some happy news from friends and headed over to chris and edgar's to chat and play mario cart. from there, it was off to the first soccer game of the season in my women's league. we lost 4-0, but we played well. we are definitely improving. at the end of the first half, the score was only 1-0; we let three more in during the second half, when we were all exhausted because we had no subs and thus each had to play the entire 90 minutes. i still have some frustration with my team...though the truly exasperating girls have left the team, the coach still complains far too much about silly things, and one of our defenders (when she's playing sweeper) has a habit of hanging back to stand next to the goalie and gossip during the game, which is infinitely frustrating to me. but i try to just ignore the frustrations and just have fun playing, which i do. since i'm not friends with anyone on the team, it's easy for me to just play hard and go home. :)
and thus ends my weekend.
Friday, September 05, 2003
beat up and broken down
over the summer, i forget, and when fall rolls around, i remember again. houston weather can be pleasant. take this morning, for example. it's in the mid-70s, and i think the humidity might actually be less than 95%. it was downright lovely outside. of course it's only early september, and the heat will return, but it's a nice preview of what late fall is like.
my arms hurt even more today than they did yesterday, though the pain has moved from my forearms into my upper arms and shoulders. i guess it really is true that your muscles aren't most sore until at least 24 hours after doing whatever you did to make them sore. i got progressively more sore as the day went on yesterday, and this morning it took five minutes to drag myself out of bed. ow. perhaps i climbed a little too much on wednesday.
also, the climbing combined with the enchanted rock hiking of the weekend have angered my ankle. it's trying to swell again. stupid ankle.
last night was one of those nights where i just didn't feel like doing anything. i ran a few errands, and then went home and laid on the couch in front of the tv for two solid hours. i didn't even turn on any lights, which is probably bad for my eyes, but oh well. i finally dragged myself up to fix dinner and finish putting away all my clothes that have been lying in a pile on the floor for the two weeks since i moved. mom's assessment of a few years ago is still correct, it seems; i have way too many t-shirts. i don't know how i can possibly wear so many t-shirts. as such, even though it pains me somewhat to do away with t-shirts from college activities such as team buzz, women's leadership conference, engineer's bookstore buying binges and my numerous co-op tours, i put together quite a large bag of stuff to take to goodwill. this still leaves quite a large pile of t-shirts, since i run so many races, but i can't bear to throw the race shirts away just yet. i'm trying to come up with something good to do with them. there is always the t-shirt quilt option, but it seems that 1) eventually i'd end up with a lot of quilts and 2) it costs money to have one made, and i don't know if i could sew it myself. anyway. i'd welcome suggestions on what to do with my oodles of t-shirts. :)
i'm hungry. my stomach is growling already. grr grr.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Pictures: Enchanted Rock
I posted a few pictures from our weekend trip to Enchanted Rock. Find them in the gallery.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
and to think, i still can't do a pull-up
back in college, when we all still used icq instead of aol instant messenger, i saw one of the funniest away messages ever written. the spacebar anit's keyboard had stopped working, and her entire away message (written with classic anit hilarity) was-written-like-this-with-dashes-instead-of-spaces. it cracked me up, and still does.
i'm reminded of this as i suffer through my own typing problems today, those difficulties being caused by the fact that my forearms are as sore as they have ever been in my entire life. every time i lift a finger, i feel it from the inside of my wrist to my elbow.
betsy and i took advantage of ladies night (half price!) at the rock gym last night to go climbing for the second time this week. dear god, what a workout. betsy had me climbing (or at least attempting to climb) routes that i'd never tried before. by the end of my trip up the first route, the yellow path over in the corner, on which i got to about 4 feet from the top of the wall before being unable to get to the last hand hold due to the burning in my arms, i knew it would be a tough night. we tried a few more of our nemesis walls, including the blue route next to the door, and the purple route next to the elephant. i couldn't do those, but did manage to complete a dark grey route i'd never tried, as well as the swirl route that crosses over the rock crag.
at the end of the night, we did about a half hour of bouldering that did me in. i am so incredibly sore.
i need to go buy a chalk bag. last night was the first time i really needed it to keep my hands from slipping off the holds.
ok. enough typing.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
yeah, i think tomorrow is a hiking day...
dear god. i am like the master of never-ending sims. we're talking two weeks now.
last night i took debbie to pick up her car, and then we went for a bike ride. she originally borrowed one of the mountain bikes that our apartment complex keeps locked up out front, but the stupid thing was practically unrideable. you could turn the gear shifter, and yet the gears didn't shift. and the right brake was so poorly adjusted that you couldn't even pull the handle far enough to actually engage the brake. i'm disappointed that the office doesn't do a better job of maintaining the bikes, but oh well. fortunately, i have my old hybrid, so debbie took that one, i hopped on my fancy bike, and off we went.
we rode up to hercules, over to saturn, all the way down saturn to nasa 1, then over into nassau bay. when we reached the lake, we noticed these weird pump-like things pumping copious amounts of water out of the lake and spraying it in two giant liquid fans onto the pavement. they were draining the lake, and yet creating a minor flood in the rest of the park. very bizarre. from nassau bay, we rode to a really cool little playground where we played on the monkey bars and ran through the obstacle course, then past debbie's old person doctor, down nasa 1 and back up el camino and home. the verdict: debbie's knee can handle riding a bike! hurrah!
i watched tv and lounged around for the rest of the night, occasionally taking 5 or 10 minutes to unpack something else or put away clothes. i'm still not completely settled into my new place, but it's always a gradual process for me. anyway, after "the o.c." on fox (which i am strangely liking), i was flipping channels and at some point ended up on mtv, which was showing a show called "newlyweds" about jessica simpson and her husband. in this episode, they decided to go camping.
yes, you can already picture it, can't you? pop princess, her hubby, hubby's brother, and hubby's brother's wife pack up the expensive sport utility vehicle and head to yosemite national park. watching the two men try to set up the tent, which they have obviously never done before (evidenced by having to read the instructions) was hilarious. they work, while the girls just sit around and look bored.
later, the boys go searching for firewood. nevermind that this is a national park, and though i'm not 100% sure, i'm guessing that gathering firewood is prohibited. anyway, cut to a shot of the boys using some sort of rope to throw up over a branch of a nearby tree and try to pull the branch off the tree!! whoa whoa whoa. 1) illegal. 2) live wood does not equal successful fire.
anyway. somehow they did manage to start a fire, with other wood they gathered. they cook food and drink miller lite. jessica simpson is not convinced that there are actually bears in yosemite, and thinks hubby might be merely trying to scare her. thus she "accidentally" leaves her louis vitton purse (containing all her toiletries) in the tent the first night. hubby gets angry, tells her not to mess with the bears.
next day, they decide it's not a hiking day, and go driving through the gorgeousness that is yosemite. sheesh.
next day, they decide to hike. cut to scene of hubby's brother's wife inspecting a brochure describing all the hikes in yosemite. the following is a direct quote, and i can only assume she's referring to half dome: "a 17-mile hike? why would anyone do that?? i mean, why would you really want to do a hike that takes 10-12 hours?" this was followed by much laughter on my part. anyway, they hike to the top of some waterfall (yosemite falls maybe, it was hard to tell), at which point they proceed to refill their water bottles with river water, oblivious to the fact that it probably needs to be purified first.
they hike back down, retire for the night, and the next day all jessica simpson does is complain about how sore she is and read more danielle steel. at the end of the trip, they pile back into the SUV, declaring that "well, it would have been better if we hadn't had to put all our stuff in the stupid bear locker every night."
oh my. i needed a good laugh.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
queen of the rock
so i had a nice labor day weekend. friday night, becca and jen and i drove to enchanted rock, west of austin (and north of kerrville, for my mom who likes kerrville). we didn't leave until 6 because becca had to work late, and got stuck behind two wrecks. it took us two hours just to get to katy, and traffic sucked pretty much the entire way to san antonio. there were so many cars on the road, and again yesterday coming back, that i wish it was three lanes the entire way to san antonio. as it was, we were moving around 70 mph, but still mired in a stressful field of endless cars.
we got to the park around midnight and fumbled in the dark for a while before finally finding our campsite, which was ideally located beneath a lot of trees and next to a dry (at least for the moment) creekbed. we set up our tents and hit the sack. saturday we woke up and headed towards the rock. enchanted rock is just like stone mountain, except a different type of rock. this one is pink granite, which looks pretty cool.
we hiked up to the top, which didn't take very long, and wandered around for a while. the top was really big, so there were lots of areas to explore. there's even a cave, which we explored from the top, but didn't venture too far into because we didn't have flashlights. from there, we walked back down and went farther back into the park, where we ate lunch and then continued around the loop trail for 2 miles or so until we were back at the campsite. it was just after 2:00 and was getting really hot, so we spent the rest of the afternoon lounging and napping and reading under the nice shady trees. it started to rain late in the afternoon, so we retreated to our tents for a while. during a break in the rain, we had spaghetti for dinner, but then turned in for the night around 9:30, when it began to rain again. it was actually a pretty cool lighting storm, lighting up the entire sky every few seconds. it was fun to watch the sillouette of enchanted rock flash against the sky.
gavin arrived late saturday night around midnight. sunday moring we got up to an overcast sky, but the rain had stopped and the weather was wonderfully cool! for august in texas, we had amazing weather. anyway, we bypassed the summit trail and instead headed up to the top of turkey's peak, a neighboring rock. it was actually more fun to climb that one than enchanted rock (e-rock is just a gradual slope that you hike up; this one involved some scrambling and true climbing, which was fun). i reached the top first and enjoyed a minute or so by myself, watching people hike up to enchanted rock, before becca, jen, gavin, and the three dogs joined me. eventually we climbed back down and went looking for the bottom side of the cave. we found the entrance, but by this time it had begun to drizzle again, and the rocks were getting slippery, so we decided to leave exploring the cave as an activity for a future trip.
we continued around the back side of enchanted rock, taking shelter under a large boulder at one point when the rain picked up. when we emerged to follow the short trail back to camp, we found that it had been turned into a mini-waterfall! the trail ran between enchanted rock and neighboring little rock, and all the water running down the two rocks converged on the echo canyon trail and turned it into a river! not wanting to soak our feet or risk slipping and hurting ourselves, we instead followed the longer trail around the back side of little rock, finally emerging about a hundred feet above the parking lot and having to scramble down some slippery rocks to get there.
by the time we got back to the campsite, the rain had stopped, but we were pretty wet. so we sat under a shelter and played cards for a few hours while drying out and trying to avoid the millions of fire ants. it was a nice afternoon. around 6, becca and i headed back to fredericksburg to pick up some ice, and gavin and jen rescued to dry firewood from the car. we made a nice campfire and cooked hot dogs and ate smores. it started to drizzle just a bit more, but not for long. it was almost chilly outside, making it pleasant to sit around the fire and chat.
yesterday morning we packed up and headed back to houston. the drive didn't take quite as long, but thanks to yet another traffic jam and a half hour lunch stop, it was 4:00 before i got back. i didn't even stop at my apartment; i went straight to the climbing gym, where i warned everyone that i hadn't showered since thursday and then threw my arms apart and said "who wants to be my partner?!?" :) we climbed for a few hours, and i tried a few new (and harder) routes. it's cool that i can see myself improving so quickly; yesterday i climbed halfway up a route that i never could have done a month ago. maybe in a few more weeks i'll be able to make it to the top!
after climbing, it was home for a shower (ahhhh) and then off to dinner at esteban's. finally, it was home again home again jiggity jog, to a messy apartment. but my bed felt great last night.