Monday, December 29, 2003
it's so hard / to say goodbye / to yesterday
and so it is here. my last night at home on katie's other bed's too-squishy mattress. the last night to tiptoe around at odd times of the night--and day--because dad is sleeping. the last night to smell the still-fragrant christmas tree (the best tree ever).
i am really not looking forward to leaving. i am looking forward to the next couple days in atlanta, and seeing friends, but not to the end of my vacation. it has been so nice to be home. mom said tonight that it's been a pleasure having me, which sounds formal coming from a parent, but she laughed and said she meant it. when i told her how happy i have been to be back in charlotte, she said it probably has a little bit to do with the fact that it had been so long--a whole year--since i had been here.
she might be right. there have been at least half a dozen moments in the past two weeks when i've turned to whoever i was with and said "i should come home more often." i said it to cayce and jes and amanda, to katie, to mom, to dad, to david. i might even say it to brian, if he didn't keep "accidentally" hitting me in the back with his new football. ;)
anyway. tomorrow dad and i are leaving shortly after lunchtime. he'll drop me off in athens at james and chrissy's house, then head back to charlotte without me. and thursday i'll fly back to houston, and friday i'll be back at work. ugh! it is too sad to think about.
tonight mom and brian and i went out to dinner at a new deli way out colony road. bear rocks cafe. i wasn't too hungry after a big lunch at chili's with cayce and amanda, so i just had a salad, but it was good. nice place. with the exception of lunch and dinner, i spent the rest of the day working on my t-shirt quilt. it is almost done! there are four more seams left to sew; two of them are pinned and i will sew them first thing in the morning, then i'll pin the last two and sew the thing closed. after that, i'll just need to sew some darts to keep the batting in place, which i'll do once i get back to houston.
the quilt looks pretty darn good, if i do say so myself. you can take one look and tell that it wasn't done by someone with any actual sewing knowledge, but that's not the point. :) i am proud of it, and it is awesome for reliving memories from the past two years of running and associated stories. the cool thing about making the quilt so soon after gathering the t-shirts is that i can still remember each individual race, and picture parts of the course in my mind. i love it. it is so cool.
Saturday, December 27, 2003
memory / all alone in the moonlight
the crescent moon was hanging low on the horizon as i drove home from starbucks tonight. we met at the one "way out" in pineville, next to catholic high school, as it is a more central location for the combination of cayce and dave coming from their house in indian trail, jes and don coming from her parents' new house across the border in south carolina, and me coming from the gang's old myers park and dilworth haunts.
i drove out the direct route, park road to pineville-matthews. i drove back home by a different route, winding my way through dark streets that i used to know well, but now look a little off. i passed the mall, my high school, the pool where we used to pass the summers. i can't believe i have only two more days left in charlotte before i go to atlanta, and then back to houston. being home has been absolutely wonderful, but also, as i realized tonight, a bit surreal.
i am starting to forget some of the "back routes" to certain places, and have to ask mom to remind me of directions; though i still know my way around, the exact intersections and turns feel a little less sure. i forget the names of roads. new buildings are going up all the time, new stores, new houses. there is a monstrosity of a mansion going up on the corner of princeton and queens road, a 17,000 square foot house that takes up every spare inch of the lot. mom and i walked through it on our christmas day walk. it's only been framed on the inside, and there are so many rooms that we couldn't even figure out what they are all for. it's far too big a house for the neighborhood, and stands out in a garish way, and yet the thing that distresses me most is that there is no yard. when did people stop wanting yards?
my neighborhood in charlotte is so different from clear lake and league city, where becca and others have their houses. i never realized how much i took cumberland avenue for granted. the hilly streets, the cute houses, the old trees, the park as a backyard. by comparison, the neighborhoods in houston feel so cookie-cutter and sterile. growing up with two parents and four kids in one 1900 square foot house made our home permanently loud and a bit chaotic and cramped, but these days it feels cozy and warm.
i thought about all this as i was driving home on streets that felt a little bit strange, after coffee with friends that i don't keep up with as well as i should. but it's ok.
it's true that i can never remember exactly what cayce, jes, or their spouses are doing, but that doesn't mean they don't still make me laugh as hard as they did in high school. and though the streets make me feel a little off-kilter, i can still find my way home.
Thursday, December 25, 2003
have yourself a merry little christmas / let your heart be light
merry christmas one and all! it has been a great day so far here in charlotte. we had a big family breakfast at 9; dad was home from work before i even got up, which was quite a feat for him. ;) afterwards we hurried to open presents so that david could go to work at 11:45. he gets paid time and a half for working holidays, so he always works christmas day.
i got a lot of great stuff. a calendar, books, jewelry, a shirt and cropped exercise pants from ll bean, gloves (which i totally need), a set of charlie brown holiday dvds from david, a cool tote bag and map of rocky mountain national park from brian, risk (the game) from katie, money from grandmother...and of course the two pieces de la resistance--a climbing harness and rock shoes, woohoo! no more paying to rent ill-fitting shoes and a stretched out harness from the rock gym!
everyone liked their presents from me i think. i got the two towers dvd set for david, a pretty candle hanging thing from greece for katie, an rei gift certificate for brian, paperwhites for grandmother, two books for dad, and running tights and a picture in a sarah-decored frame for mom. i love giving people good presents.
i tried to update yesterday, but diaryland was down. gasp. anyway, we didn't do much. read, watched katie's new "finding nemo" dvd, worked on squares for my t-shirt quilt, went to the 11:00 service at church. when mr. east told me there is no santa claus, i feigned shock and disappointment. he gave me a hug while saying "for a rocket scientist, you're not very smart!" hee hee.
off for a christmas day walk with mom.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
all i need is scraps of colored paper and some rubber cement
i can't believe there are only two more days until christmas. vacation is flying by. today i went to the mother/daughter lunch that apparently is becoming a tradition whether i'm here or not. ;) today it was mom, katie and me, caroline and mrs. east, bekah and mrs. diehl, and jennifer and mrs. mickle. we ate at the red rocks cafe, which i'd never been to. it was tasty. i had a spinach salad with pan-seared shrimp, mmm. the yummy lunch made up for the fact that i ended up having cereal for dinner.
katie and i ran a few more errands after lunch, and then dad took us out to gold's gym, where he has a membership. they charge $15 for a visitor, which is pretty much absurd, but dad can be quite persuasive, and he talked us in for free. i wanted to take it easy since i'm planning to do a 2 hour run tomorrow (the weather has warmed up enough to allow it), so i just followed katie's lead of half an hour on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the bike. while ellipticalling, i watched some mtv show on justin timberlake. mindless tv is great for working out; last summer i used to elliptical to braves games.
"elliptical" can now be a verb, thanks to the machines. interesting.
tonight i spent a few hours putting together a scrapbook of pictures for my grandmother (dad's mom). just a small collection of pictures of our family involved in all sorts of activity over the past year and a half. my graduation from stanford, the reynosa trip that katie, brian and i went on, my travels, mom, david and dad at byron and carol's wedding, and david's graduation last week. plus a few more. it turned out well despite the fact that all i really had to work with was construction paper and microsoft clip art. i think she'll like it. tomorrow i've got to mail it; of course it will be late, but c'est la vie. i sent her a card last week warning her of the lateness, so at least she's prepared. ;)
tomorrow grandmother (mom's mom) arrives, i attempt to run for 2 straight hours, and hopefully i'll get started on backing the t-shirt squares for my quilt.
ooh i am so productive when i don't have to be at work!
Sunday, December 21, 2003
step on a steam train / step out in the driving rain, maybe / run from the darkness in the night
home continues to be wonderful, as things beyond home continue to be unnecessarily complicated. i don't really know what to do about the complications, other than to try not to let them stress me out. they are really not my issues anyway; i'm just subjected to them. on to better things.
went to church this morning with mom and katie. i know i am a tad biased, but i think covenant does music better than any other church i've been to. the sermon always seems to long, as i wait impatiently for them to get back to the music. the other thing i always remember is how beautiful the place is, a point driven home twice as hard today as it was the 50th anniversary of covenant's first services in the current sanctuary, and as i thought about katie's wedding. june 25, 2005. she's having it there, of course. it's such a dramatic, soaring, majestic building.
spent the afternoon getting the necessary materials for my t-shirt quilt, so hopefully i'll start on that tomorrow. watched tech beat st. john's. went for another 5k run, three laps around the "long block." i ran it 2 minutes faster than two nights ago, which made me happy. it was about 10 degrees warmer this afternoon when i ran than it was the other night, which is probably a big factor in the time decrease. today i did about 10:10 miles, which pleases me greatly considering the amount of hills in each long block loop. it's pretty much constantly up and down, with few flat spots. i run two loops counterclockwise, and one clockwise, to take full advantage of the hill workout i'm getting, since i certainly can't match it in flat houston.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
shiver chatter brr
another glorious morning to sleep late, have a bowl of special k red berries, and read the paper. the only downside to this being-at-home morning routine i've found is that mom doesn't buy caffeinated coffee anymore. i've added it to the grocery list.
katie and i headed out just after noon to run a few final christmas errands. next thing we knew it was 4:30! we went to, let's see, omega sports, great outdoor provisions, dillard's, godiva, hecht's, wal-mart, omega sports again (but a different location), the gap, hand picked, barnes and noble, wal-mart again, rackroom shoes, michael's, and wal-mart a third time (developing pictures was the reason for the three wal-mart stops). whew!! what a day of shopping. but we got everything done, and have no more shopping to do for anyone (well, at least not anyone in the family), so that's excellent. we watched the second half of all three overtimes in the unc-wake forest game (which carolina lost, unfortunately), and went with mom to a holiday party at her teaching assistant kim's house. it was nice, and there were so many desserts that i had to really exercise some major willpower to keep from stuffing myself with fudge, pie, and cookies. the fudge was excellent. i looooove fudge.
it has been freaking cold all day. i can't deal with cold anymore. it's very sad and pathetic. i've been cold pretty much constantly since i got home wednesday night.
Friday, December 19, 2003
oh tannenbaum oh tannenbaum / da doo doo da doo da daaa
it's funny how quickly ingrained habits change when you're put into a new setting. in houston, i dutifully update my blog every morning; it's part of the routine, no more, no less. but here, at home, i sleep late, i mess around, i run errands, i hang out with my family...and i don't sit down to do my daily web surfing until just before bed.
david is being kind enough to let me use his laptop, as mom and dad's computer is pretty much crap. yay david.
today i slept until 11:00 and it was marvelous. katie and i had lunch at einstein's, ran a few errands for mom, got her van washed, and then headed over to her school, where i talked to her kindergardeners about nasa and the space shuttle. they were excited, but also rambunctious. the combination of two fire drills, a birthday party (with krispy kreme and juice boxes), and it being the last day before the break proved to be too much for them, i guess. but it was fun. i always like talking to mom's classes, and especially about space. she has a couple kids who are really bright, and knew a lot already. future rocket scientists. :)
we got the christmas tree tonight, and i swear it is the best christmas tree ever! it is the perfect shape and height, and there are no bare spots. and it smells fantastic. dad helped us get it in the stand this year, so hopefully it is nice and secure and we'll avoid a repeat of last year, when the tree fell over with a crash and stressed us all out. it is lovely. we set it up, put on the lights, and then mom, katie and i went to jason's deli for dinner and did some shopping/browsing at omega sports and great outdoor provisions. we came home with enough time for katie and i to do a 5k run (brrrr, it was freezing outside, i had to wear sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt, gloves, and a hat!). three laps around the long block is almost exactly 3.1 miles--perfect. after that it was back home to put the ornaments on the tree.
ah. a lovely day.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
and in the darkness bind them
well, home has been lovely so far. i got in about 10:15 last night and mom, dad, and katie arrived to pick me up just as my bag came off the claim belt. from there it was home via the familiar streets i haven't seen in a year.
this morning we got up bright and early (mom made it bearable with chik-fil-a biscuits) and headed up to greensboro. brian met us at the coliseum, and two and half hours later, david was a graduate! hooray!! we celebrated by taking the rare all-six-in-one-place family picture, and had a delicious lunch at harper's. then we went to david's apartment (which i had never seen) and took a quick driving tour of the uncg campus (which i had also never seen). from there it was back to charlotte (well, except for brian, who went back to chapel hill and isn't coming home till saturday, and david, who stayed to pack and then got home a couple hours after us).
it was a very nice day. david is all gradjamatated! and i am home. at lunch, when brian was about to leave to head back to chapel hill, he said "sarah, are you coming home for christmas?" i said "brian, i am home for christmas." i guess he thought i was going back to houston until next week! funny.
so that is that.
yesterday five of us skipped out for a long lunch and saw return of the king. it was absolutely spectacular. despite knowing the story from the books, i found myself sitting in the theater, silently thinking "oh my god, throw it in! throw it in already!! throw the ring into the fire!!! AHHHHH!!!!! DO IT!!!!!" my heart was pounding despite already knowing the outcome! i don't know if i've ever been as keyed up over something where i knew exactly how the events were going to unfold as i was yesterday.
the battle scenes, with their sheer numbers of orcs and men and horses and trolls and elephants and nazgul, were stunning; the enormity of the scenes boggled my mind. the acting was great (sean astin and viggo mortensen in particular, in my humble opinion). the cinematography made me drop my jaw and practically drool with the longing to go to new zealand; the scene where the signal fires are lit across the mountain tops gave me goose bumps. i think i watched literally half the movie with my mouth hanging open in amazement.
wow. so it was an absolutely spectacular movie. and that's my far-from-eloquent movie review. :)
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
here's a toast to the host / of those who love the vastness of the sky
happy centennial of flight day! 100 years ago, orville and wilbur were standing on the beach getting ready to make the first airplane flight. we just watched president bush's speech from kitty hawk, and he didn't say anything about going back to the moon. guess those rumors weren't quite accurate about today. but maybe he'll still make some sort of landmark speech in the next few months about the direction of the space program.
ugh, i am really sore today, the product of monday night rock climbing and last night's almost 6-miler (two laps of the trail, which is 5.8 total). my legs screamed at me the whole run, instead of the usual first two miles, and we finished the loops a full 3 minutes slower than we did two weeks ago. buzz said it was fine, but i always get frustrated by being slow. ah well. next week if it's not too cold in charlotte, i'll try to go for 2 hours. it will be interesting, since charlotte actually has those strange things called hills.
anyway. in a couple hours we're all taking a mega-long lunch break to go see return of the king. woohoo! then nick is driving me to the airport and i will fly home! double woohoo!
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
god rest ye merry, gentlemen / let nothing you dismay
i have been listening to christmas music non-stop, but haven't overloaded yet. the easy listening station in houston has been playing all christmas music, all the time since the beginning of the month. i find that my favorites are the "sacred" music, as carter was talking about yesterday, and i also like bopping in my car to the tune of "classics" like rockin' around the christmas tree and sleigh ride. it's the newer stuff that annoys me, like some sappy song i keep hearing about shoes. i'd rather they skip those, and just play extra versions of carol of the bells, o holy night, and god rest ye merry gentlemen. :)
yesterday was weird. i got up early so i could be at work by 8:00 (need to make sure i get in enough hours this week to both go running this afternoon at 4 and take a 4 hour lunch break for "return of the king" tomorrow), and was really groggy most of the morning. at 11, we went out to lunch in honor of kara, our departing co-op, and i finally started to wake up. it was a pretty productive afternoon, but i started feeling crappy around 4. i stayed at work until 6:30, at which point i hurried home to change clothes and run to super target before going to the rock gym. by this time i was feeling better, and i happily told the guy behind the counter that this was the last week i'd have to pay them to rent shoes, as i am getting them for christmas. woohoo!
climbing was rough; i can already tell i am going to be sore tonight. at the end of the night when we were bouldering a la simon says, a handlebar hold was really doing a number on my hand. felt like i was about to rip a layer of skin off. lovely. i think there is also something seriously wrong with my middle toe on my left foot. when i try to curl my toes, the middle one just stays straight. it is very strange, because it doesn't really hurt (except when i try to curl it) and doesn't affect my climbing or walking or even running...it just doesn't want to bend. bizarre.
rich, gavin, becca and i were pleasantly surprised yesterday when greg gave us (collectively) the dm4 up-front parking award. i must say, every time i think i'm about to explode out of frustration with this stupid simulation code we use, someone turns around and gives me an award. they are really good at recognizing when i've had it up to my ears with SORT (that's the code) and need some added motivation.
anyway, rich got the usual k-70 spot, while i, gavin, and becca were given k-44, k-45, and k-46, respectively. the caveat, greg said, was that those three spots don't officially belong to anyone at the moment, so we'd have to get to work before the people who have been illegally parking there. this morning i overslept a tad and when i got here, my k-44 spot was already taken, gavin was in k-45...but k-46 was open. so i parked in k-46. i figured if becca is the last one to work, she can be the one who has to park across the road. i don't think she liked that solution, but if nothing else, it'll make her get to work earlier tomorrow. ;) plus, she gets to park in the spot all next week, while i will be gone, so in the end she'll get to use it more than me anyway!
i felt sort of guilty, but not that guilty. rich said she should have me towed, but i counter that you can't have someone towed from a spot that's not technically yours to begin with. anyway. gavin just shook his head, and becca said "dude! you took my spot! that's so wrong!" amusing.
oh, you must go read becca's idea for a footprint informercial. it is very funny. that's us, the late-night tv debris footprint specialists.
i am so excited for tomorrow. lord of the rings, and then i go home!
home home home home home home home.
Monday, December 15, 2003
"let's go break open that glow stick and pour it in homestar's mountain dew...i hear they have to pump your stomach if you drink that stuff!"
i got up yesterday morning and turned on my computer to find news that the military had found saddam hussein. "holy crap!" i exclaimed to my empty apartment. i guess i never really expected anyone to find him, at least not alive. it is sort of amazing. it will be very interesting to see how things in iraq, and our policies there, shift now that the threat of saddam returning is gone. very interesting.
in other news, jason and i are considering finding roger clemens's house and standing on his front lawn begging until he comes out of retirement to reteam with andy pettitte and play for the astros. dude. that would be so awesome. with the braves doing their whole get-rid-of-everyone-we-have-to-cut-payroll thing, at least the astros are looking good.
had a nice weekend. if you missed my rare weekend entry, you can go down and read about how i was up till 3 a.m. friday night after making the "mistake" of putting in the two towers dvd. i should have known i could never watch just the first disc. anyway. saturday i slept in, then did some shopping (but not at best buy, where the line was at least 50 people deep; i walked in, guffawed, and walked out), then went to a "progressive dinner" that began at sara's, moved to curt and lisa's, and ended at mark's enormous (and very bachelor-style) house. saturday night culminated with ami's going-away party, which was quite entertaining. the party was held at a house that i'd never been to before, and i totally got lost trying to find my way out of the neighborhood at 1:30 in the morning. craziness. it took about 10 minutes, but i finally did find my way out.
yesterday i slept in again, watched the news for a while, and then headed downtown with buzz and jes for a 5-mile race that started (oddly) at 3:00 in the afternoon. not that i'm complaining--it was nice to be able to run a race without having to get up before the sun! and the weather was nice, bright sunshine that made me regret having worn a long sleeve shirt. the race went really well. i finished in 48:11! if you do the math, that comes out to 9:38 per mile, which amazes me. i didn't feel like i was going that fast, and since buzz also finished pretty fast, we have suspicions that the course may have been a tad short. but i'm not sure...see, i ran this same race last year, and didn't notice any differences in the course yesterday...and last year i only ran it just under 54 minutes. could i really have improved by almost 6 minutes in one year?? i don't know. so it's a new personal record for me in the 5-mile distance, but with an asterisk. i mean, by that result, i would have finished a full 10k in under an hour, which i didn't think was quite possible for me yet.
so a little strange. not sure what was going on; next time i'm downtown i'll have to drive the course to measure it myself.
then last night we had a soccer game, and played the best team in the league to a mere 2-1 loss. in a way, it was actually more exasperating than the games where we get blown out, because we played really well, and i was proud of our team. unfortunately, at one point i did get really frustrated and vented at our manager/coach who was playing defense with me. oops. i think she was mad at me. sigh. i emailed her an apology last night after stewing on it the whole drive home. people seem to laugh at me for doing that, but i couldn't help it; i absolutely cannot stand to have people mad at me! if i know someone's upset with me, i just think and think about it and feel horribly guilty until i've managed to apologize or try to do something to make it better. half the time this leads to more confusion, but what can i say? it's a character flaw.
after soccer, i was again reminded that i have awesome friends. i went over to chris's, where he gave me homestar runner figurines as a christmas present and, when he found out i hadn't eaten, fed me steak! wow.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
"there is always hope."
so last night was frustrating. i show up at the soccer fields at 7:20 for our co-ed 7:30 game. there are exacly 3 other people there. 10 minutes later, there are only 6 of us there, and it's starting to rain. it's also windy and chilly, and we're ready to either start running around, or cancel the game altogether. but no one else from our team shows up. so finally it's almost 8:00, and we forfeit the game. so basically, i paid $5 in ref fees (which the refs get to keep, because we forfeited) to go stand in the blowing rain for half an hour.
i was quite annoyed.
with the game cancelled though, i came home and had quite an evening. i took advantage of the extra time to pop in the extended version of "the two towers" that i borrowed from chris; i wanted to watch it again before "return of the king" comes out on wednesday.
good lord, what a movie. it was only the second time i'd seen it; the first time was in the theater last december. i put in the disc thinking i'd only watch the first disc last night, since it was already almost 10:00 and i knew how long the thing was. but next thing i knew, it was almost 2 a.m. and i had watched the entire thing! the 3.5+ hour film just flew by in what seemed like minutes, and only reinforced my opinion that peter jackson and company have simply done a freaking amazing job with the lord of the rings movies. they are absolutely stunning to watch, and rewatch. they suck you in. wow! i was so keyed up after the movie ended that i couldn't go to bed, i mean, how can you sleep after watching the battle of helm's deep?? i burned another hour watching some of the dvd extras, and finally crashed around 3. whew.
anyway. just wanted to exclaim about the movie. :) off to do some christmas shopping!
Friday, December 12, 2003
yeah, i was that dense
when i was in 9th or 10th grade, a male friend of mine gave me a pair of plaid boxer shorts for christmas. i had the most enormous crush on him at the time, but was too clueless to realize that giving a girl a pair of men's underwear might have been his way of saying something. i don't even know what the guy is doing these days, but i still have the pair of boxers, as i realized this last night when i pulled them on as pajamas and climbed into bed. i'm all but certain that they're the oldest item of clothing i own.
it struck me as funny, somehow, and i laughed though a lot of high school memories as i fell asleep.
but before that, i headed over to the west side of houston to have dinner with a bunch of tech alumni. it was fun, and especially nice to see liz. we did our traditional "we live in the same city but never see each other" lament, emphasized this time by the fact that the last time we saw each other was actually in atlanta at james and chrissy's wedding.
oh well. one of the guys there had a bunch of 2002 and 2003 team buzz shirts to get rid of, and so i mentioned that katie is team buzz chair for next year. this may have been a mistake, as he grabbed my hand and shook vigorously, saying something about how i could organize the houston event. uh oh.
not much else to say today. there's a lot on tap for the weekend--dinner party, followed by normal party, as well as a 5-miler and two soccer games.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
i don't wanna change the world / could be better, could be worse
it's been a depressing baseball offseason so far, in my opinion, with the braves cutting ties with maddux, sheffield, and javy (waaah!), and the astros trading away billy wagner and his 100 mph fastball. but today the astros are signing andy pettitte, so at least that's a positive thing for one of the two teams i follow closely.
last night we went downtown to see nunsense. i'd never even heard of the show until carter's dad did it a while ago with some of his girls, and i heard how much kent laughed. so i heard it was coming to houston, and got a group together. it was indeed quite funny, but the performances were so-so. there were only two women who really stood out; the rest weren't really singers as much as they were actresses. i think i would rather have seen the mcintosh kids perform it. ah well.
joey's alphabet game is my office's current obsession. using our combined retail and corporate logo knowledge, we've gotten 17 of 26.
tonight is the houston georgia tech club holiday dinner (mexican food, oddly and yet appropriately enough). it should be fun, as i'll get to see liz and grace and bing. yes, they all live in the same city as me, and no, i never see them. it's absurd, and simply begs the refrain of "houston is too big." sigh.
work is annoying me. we're creating a footprint for a single well-defined object, and yet the process involves at least 6 different people each doing one little part. it seems like we should have a single tool that will do everything; that would be so much more efficient. i dunno. it's just been one of those weeks where i feel like work is making me dumber. it probably wouldn't bug me as much if i wasn't so short on patience at the moment, and if i didn't feel tired and achy. with all the december and christmas stuff going on outside of work, i have too much to do, and not enough time to do it all. does anyone have a good idea for a present for a grandmother?? sigh.
i just keep reminding myself that in a week, i will be home!
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
but it wouldn't be make believe if you believed me
despite his faults, today i'm going to have to adore president bush for the simple reason that he signed an executive order giving me (and, well, every other executive branch employee) the day after christmas off work! hurrah. i needed it; otherwise, i would have been working 16 hours on january 2 (so yes, i was gambling on dubya being nice this year).
my whole body sort of aches today after running for an hour and 45 minutes last night. wow. if you had told me two years ago when the whole running thing finally took (and stuck, on the umpteenth try) that i would be running for almost two hours last night, i probably would have laughed. but i did. buzz was with me for the first hour and 15 minutes, at which point she headed back to the gilruth with a bothersome foot. she's in better shape anyway, so it wasn't as important for her to get the entire run in.
the weirdest thing is that after 105 minutes, my body was so used to running that it was painful to stop. as soon as i slowed to a walk, my knees tightened up, and the tendon behind my right knee felt like a rubber band that had suddenly been stretched tight. it hurt. i walked a half mile, stopping every so often to bend my knees all the way, and they started to feel better. when i got back to the gilruth, i gulped down some water and started my post-run stretching.
as i stretched, there was a kid, probably in about 4th grade (though i have never been good at guessing ages), sitting in the lobby playing a recorder. it made me smile, and i stretched for an extra long time just to listen to him play.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
hark hear the bells / sweet silver bells
buzz and i are supposed to run for an hour and 40 minutes tonight, but the weather is looking ominous. thunderstorms and a cold front are supposed to sweep through later today, which may rain on our run. i sort of hope we make it though; otherwise, we'll have to try to run tomorrow or thursday, and since i have plans on those days already, we'd have to leave at like 3:00 to fit in the run. trying to fit in a long run before it gets too dark is definitely a challenge in december. good thing we don't live farther north!
last night was the branch christmas party at zio's, which went well i think. we had a bigger turnout than last year, so i think that made the boss happy. we also did the gift exchange again, and i ended up with a cool gift for once! it's a book of "letters from father christmas" that j.r.r. tolkien sent to his children each year, postmarked from the north pole. i started reading through them this morning while i was eating breakfast, and they are really clever and cute. well-illustrated, too.
i am in such a christmas mood. i dug out my handful of christmas cds and mp3s on saturday, and i've been listening to christmas music non-stop (in the car, on my ipod) ever since. i am picky about my christmas music, but in a strange way; there is no one particular genre that i like or don't, but i definitely have preferences. currently in the rotation are two mannheim steamroller christmas albums, the vince guaraldi trio's "a charlie brown christmas", a random christmas cd from old navy with lots of jazzy upbeat rock-n-roll-ish songs, bing crosby, and the american boys choir, along with a lot of miscellaneous mp3s.
so yeah. did i mention i'm ready to go home for the holidays? yeah.
work is frustrating. i'll leave it at that.
james is in town today and tomorrow, but is staying all the way up in the woodlands and i don't know if i'm going to have time to see him. the best time for me would be tonight, but he said something about having a work dinner tonight. it's stuff like this that reminds me how freaking big houston is. i'm in houston, james is in houston...but it would take me at least an hour to get to him.
Monday, December 08, 2003
i'll be home for christmas / you can count on me
i can't believe i'll be home in less than 10 days. i can't wait! i didn't realize how much i missed home until i started to realize that it's been a full year since i was there, and until north carolina things started popping up and beating me over the head. for instance, did you know that north carolina produces 40% of the nation's sweet potatoes (so the ones i ate at thanksgiving were likely "homegrown"). and that the wreath that i bought at lowe's all the way here in texas is made of branches from a north carolina christmas tree? ah. i can't wait to be home. mom says she gives me two days before i start complaining that i'm bored, but i think i'll be just fine.
anyway. it was a nice weekend. soccer friday night (we lost), 5k saturday morning, soccer right after that (we lost, but it was soooo close). saturday afternoon i made the mistake of venturing out to the galleria area to do some shopping, only to find that half the highways in this freaking city were closed. 59 south was closed, so i had to go up to i-10, over to 610, and then back down to the galleria. then after shopping i had to come back in on westheimer because, yeah, 59 was closed. then the ramp from 610 onto 45 south was closed, so i had to wind my way under the interchange. ugh. it was a mess. it took me 3 hours to do 45 minutes of shopping!
saturday night we drove to montana (ok, it was tomball, but it felt as far away as montana) to see nick perform in the nutcracker, which was lovely. nick did a good job, wore a lot of makeup, and was smiling so big i thought his head might explode. i think that about sums it up.
yesterday was pretty quiet. i went to the bike store with debbie and got jealous when she bought a shiny new mountain bike. i'd love to have a mountain bike, for things like the adventure race we did a couple months ago, but i am not allowing myself to buy one unless i get rid of my current hybrid bike, because let's face it, having three bikes would just be absurd. anyway. inspired by debbie's purchase, i came home and finally fixed the toe clip on my road bike. i broke the reflector off a couple months ago when i accidentally caught the pedal on a speedbump, and one of the screws holding the toe clip on came off as well. the screw was stripped and wouldn't go back on, but i finally found a suitable replacement. hurrah.
i ended the weekend with an extremely frustrating soccer game with my women's team. i'm not sure who i was more annoyed with--the other team, or the ref, who was calling a very poor game. oh well.
Monday, December 08, 2003
hit and run
now that karen is going to be back at georgia tech, the ae female mafia has a woman on the inside again. first piece of news: dr. kamat is retiring! at last, the rumors are true. aw. the tech aerospace department won't be the same without him around to tease.
sad news this morning. the braves didn't offer arbitration to javy lopez (or maddux or sheffield for that matter). after 10 full seasons, my favorite player won't be a brave anymore. i am distraught. distraught, i tell you.
i've got to run. perhaps a better update later.
Saturday, December 06, 2003
but i doubt i could outrun that lexus convertible...
It has been a good morning for the sisters. Katie got to drive this (!) in the Children's Healthcare Parade in Atlanta, and I ran a 29:18 (!) in the Reindeer Run 5k this morning in Nassau Bay! Hooray!
Now it's time for lunch, followed by some errands and Christmas shopping, then off to see Nick in the Nutcracker.
Friday, December 05, 2003
you just call out my name / and you know wherever i am / i'll come running
more evidence to support my theory that i can only do one or the other, catch or hit: last night i caught a long fly ball, but didn't get on base except via a walk. but we won the game to finish 3-4 on the season. i think 3 of our 4 losses came in extra innings, or "overtime" as we have started calling them, since they aren't really extra innings in the traditional sense. apparently we are not so good with the overtime. yeah.
this has been a great week for catching up with friends. last night after softball, jason and i had a lovely chat on the tailgate of his truck that ended after an hour only because we started shivering in the chilly weather. (yes, houston has finally cooled off a bit; it's even supposed to freeze in north houston tonight.) talking to jason is always nice. we share a lot of the same personality traits (or quirks, i should probably say), and because of that, i feel like he's one of the few people who truly "gets" me. anyone can get to know you, and know how you feel about things. but i think it's hard to really understand why someone acts the way they do unless you're driven by the same type of things that they are.
i drove home with the heat on to warm up, took a warm shower, and settled down with some russian tea to find a lovely email from my sister. yes, it was a good night.
curt (aka one) just came into my office. hooray for one.
after a two-week break for the thanksgiving holidays, soccer is back this weekend. i've got a game tonight with the soccernauts (co-ed team). then a 5k tomorrow morning and another soccer game with the dirty leprachauns (gilruth co-ed team) immediately after. as in, the race is at 8 and the game is at 9. i signed up for the race before i knew we had a game; the only reason we're even playing is that they decided to put all eight teams in the playoffs. and it's just my rotten luck that we drew the first game of the morning instead of the 10:15, 11:30, or 12:45 game. then a game with the freedom (women's team) on sunday night. mix in a trip to see nick in the nutcracker tomorrow night, and maybe jason teaching me how to shoot at some point, and it's already a busy weekend. then next week it's the branch christmas party on monday, a long run on tuesday, nunsense on wednesday, nothing (yet!) on thursday, soccer friday, dinner and party on saturday, gingerbread houses and soccer on sunday. then climbing, long run, and then it's the 17th and i fly home.
whoosh. this is what happens in december.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
keep breaking me in / and this is how we will end
i had a lovely evening over at katie and fred's last night. the official reason for the get-together was a mary kay party, which is especially amusing since i am decidedly more tomboy than frilly makeup girl. there are exceptions, but not too many. but the get-together was fun, and fred made us a delicious dinner, and i got to play with their puppy bella, who is already 30 pounds at the ripe old age of 3 and a half months. she is so funny; she is still in that stage where she trips over her own enormous paws. it cracked me up.
as we were all talking last night, we were figuring out how we all first met each other. it reminded me of what a great group the co-ops were when we were in college, and what a great extended group we are now that we're all full-time, and the group has expanded to include people who (gasp!) didn't co-op here. i could gush for paragraphs, but instead i'll just say that this time of year always overloads me with reminders of how great my friends are, and how lucky i am to have them.
though i do have to say that the proliferation of young marrieds is crazy. from the start, there were the couples in my own group--gavin and jen, george and ginger, matt and stephanie (though to be fair, matt is not actually married, and doesn't seem in a hurry to get engaged). and then my non-houston friends--cayce and dave, jes and don, leila and brian, james and chrissy, daniel and virginia. then all the women on my soccer team that i see every week, that ask me if i'm married. and then the friends like katie and fred, ron and buzz, nick and steph, darby and hilary, randy and ami, betsy and edgar (who aren't officially married yet, but that's a minor detail). and then there is my engaged sister. i know we are at "that age" and all, but seeing as how i am about as far from getting married as a person can get, it sorta makes my head spin.
i don't really think i'm ready to be married. i like my single life, and the independence that goes with it. i like being able to dance around my apartment free of embarassment, and being able to stretch across both halves of the bed, and not having to share a bathroom. but all the couples, and especially my sister, give me the vague feeling that i should be ready, and that i should be out there trying to find someone.
rumors are building that bush will announce the goal of returning to the moon on december 17, the 100th anniversary of the wright brothers' flight. this should be a good story to follow, though i'm viewing it through cynical glasses...
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
she said "well, anyway" / just dying for a subject change
so this online diary thing used to be wonderful and insightful and well-written...at least that is what i prefer to think. and now? now it's just a summary of the what happened the day or the weekend before. how dull.
last night after a lot of mario kart, i thought up with this lovely entry for today, but this morning i am exhausted and have only just started slurping the coffee, and i don't think i'm quite prepared to string the thoughts together eloquently enough to satisfy myself. so it'll have to wait. and whoosh, here comes the summary.
buzz and i had a good run last night. after 90 minutes last week, and a planned 100 next week, this was an easy week. we ran two laps of the gilruth trail, 5.8 miles. but the incredible part is that we ran them at a 10:15 average pace. if i'd run .4 more miles, i would have beaten my personal 10k record by more than 4 minutes. so yeah. it was a good run.
after that, and a shower, i headed over to betsy and edgar's for candles (don't ask) and mario kart. the new mario kart, where you can play in teams, and one person drives and the other does the weapons. it was quite entertaining. steph and i paired up on the girl power machine, with a blonde princess in pink and a redhead princess in orange (eek), complete with a pink car and ended up beating sean and peter. ha. girl power.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
all the while thinking this is the good luck / stays with her most of the time...
mondays = rock gym + waffle house. this is the new routine. we arrive at 7:30 and after some quick banter with the 20-year-olds behind the counter, we put on the harnesses, lace up the shoes, hook into the ropes, and climb until our arms can't hold us up anymore. around 9, or closer to 9:30 on a good night, we hear the waffle calling to us. "come and get my hashbrowned goodness," it says, and who are we to argue with the waffle? mmm. it always gives me something to look forward to on mondays.
though as is requisite after a night of climbing, i will go ahead and list my pain of the day: left triceps.
one of the tv channels i find myself spending the most time watching on weekends is tlc. lately they've been previewing a couple interesting shows. one is on the discovery channel (tlc's parent channel) called "extreme martial arts" (or something similar) and goes into the biomechanics of martial arts. you know, how it's physically possible for someone to break a board with their hand, and stuff like that. i've recently been fascinated by all the body's bones and muscles and ligaments, etc (probably influenced by the fact that all this climbing is making me painfully aware of them), so i'm going to have to catch this show one of the many times they replay it.
the other show that i'm going to have to watch purely because the commercials are so funny is "ancient egyptians," which is on this weekend. in the commercials, they have some guy dressed like a pharaoh (but with socks and sneakers) interviewing people on the street about whether ancient egypt has influenced their lives today. when they say "uh, no," he goes beserk and starts yelling about ancient egypt and pyramids busting up out of the ground. the spots are hilarious; i wish i could find them online.
anyway. my little plug for tlc and the discovery channel. i'm such a dork. don't worry though--i balance those channels out with a good helping of fox and the wb. hmm. i watch too much tv. on sunday i turned to hbo to find them playing the 2nd star wars movie. it was bad when nick and i saw it the first time, and yet i got sucked into watching it again. it was still bad. well, except for the scene where yoda kicks butt.
nick just came into my office and asked me a physics question. i didn't know the answer. it's like i leave school and become stupid.
i am sleepy today. buzz wants to go running at 4 this afternoon, so i had to come in at 7:30 in order to get 8 hours. that's a full hour earlier than i usually get in, which doesn't seem like so much...but somehow, it is. our co-op was already here when i got here. whoa. kara is one dedicated co-op.
but coffee is making it better.
Monday, December 01, 2003
if i could give you more / i'd give the world a phrase / that could not be erased
i can't believe it is december already. this year has gone by in a blink. in two weeks and two days i will be on my way home! i haven't seen my house, one brother, or my dad since last christmas. crazy. but ah, the magic of cell phones. when you talk to someone at least once a week, it's not hard to forget, or at least ignore, the fact that you never actually see them.
work on friday didn't really seem like work, with so few people around, so the weekend seemed to last for four days. i didn't do much of anything. stayed home friday night, ran some errands on saturday and got a lovely wreath (from north carolina!) for my front door. saturday night i picked nick up from the airport and was rewarded with what was practically a fourth thanksgiving dinner. his mom sent him back with an entire shopping bag full of delicious lebanese food, from lamb to grape leaves to baklava (of course nick called them all by their arabic names, but i can't remember them, much less try to spell them, except maybe for hummus). mmm. mad props to nick's mom, dad, and teita.
yesterday i chilled at home again. i finally pulled my bike out of the garage for the first time in a while. i've been so busy with the running, soccer, softball, and climbing (whew, it makes me tired just thinking about it) that i haven't been on my bike since september. ah, my poor neglected bike. with it getting dark so early, and me not wanting to tempt fate (or cars) by riding in the dark, i'm sort of confined to riding only on the weekends. it was fairly windy yesterday, which gave me quite a workout. i feel like i've been slacking if i don't maintain an average of at least 15 mph, and with the wind yesterday and the long absense from riding, it was tough. my legs felt all rubbery by the time i got home almost an hour later.
i have so much to do in the next couple weeks. it seems like december always fills up before it even gets here. i already have plans for pretty much every weeknight between now and when i go home on the 17th. miraculously, i have few weekend plans, so i might actually be able to get some christmas shopping done before i go home. i already have presents for katie, dad, and grandmother, and ideas for some other people, so we shall see.