Tuesday, May 31, 2005
TODAY'S SUMMARY: 3 miles, 32:16
3 miles, 32:16 = 10:45 min/mile pace
Avg heart rate = 193
You can look at my average heart rate and immediately infer three things.
First, I have not been running outside in a while.
Second, I must have really been pushing myself yesterday, or it was hot.
Third, the old "226 - your age" rule for calculating a person's max heart rate does not apply to me!
Of course all three are accurate. I haven't been running outside in a while, and have only just begun substituting the elliptical machine for running. I both pushed myself hard, and it was indeed the warmest day I've run on yet this year. And obviously the heart rate rule is wrong for me, since 226-27=199 and in addition to averaging 193 for the run, the max I hit was 207. 207! I would be worried about this kind of thing if it weren't a trend I've noticed since the day I got a heart rate monitor. My heart just really likes to get pumping, I guess.
Anyway. It was warm outside, but I want to at least get some degree of adaptation going on to maintain some level of outdoor running fitness, so off I went for a three mile run at Gilruth (out 1.5 miles, turn around, back 1.5 miles). I covered the first mile in 10:44, the second in 10:44 (I'm never that consistent!), and the third in 10:48. The third mile is actually a bit misleading, because I stopped for ~30 seconds to gulp some water from the cooler along the course, so the actual running time for that last mile, as I strained to finish, was more like 10:20.
Go me! It was harder than I'd planned on running, but it made me feel good to be able to do three sub-11:00 miles despite being, um, less than diligent about my training, oh, basically since February...
My knee hurts tonight though. And banging it into the table at dinner at Mely's did not help. That aside, it still ached while running. I don't feel like it's getting any better. I go back to the doctor on Monday, eight weeks after I first went and he gave me the brace. I have not been perfect about wearing the brace during athletic activity, but I have definitely worn it while running, playing soccer, and doing the elliptical. I just don't feel like the knee is improving. I'll think it's getting better, and then randomly it will start to ache again. I'm a bit worried about what the doctor will say now that eight weeks with the brace hasn't done much...
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
George is back from his
George is back from his two-week trip to Taiwan. Yay! I like having George around, plus he brought me presents: a package containing fourteen tiny plastic models of spacecraft and airplanes, made in Taiwan, of course. Very cool. He said he had a good time -- he re-met family that he hadn't seen in 20 years. Taiwan apparently is very business-oriented. No trees or pretty green space in the city, just buildings and businesses. But outside the city he said it was prettier. And hot and humid. Just like Houston.
I had a lovely Memorial Day weekend that, of course, wasn't long enough. Friday night we all had dinner at Chili's, and I was in bed at a reasonable hour because I got up at 6 a.m. Saturday morning to meet Debbie and head downtown to Minute Maid Park for the Astros Race for the Pennant 5K. Debbie was running and I was photographing...with a beautiful rented 70-200 f/2.8 lens that I really want to buy but it's too expensive at the moment. Especially because after this weekend, I was motivated to upgrade my camera. (No comments from the peanut gallery!) Anyway, I have ordered a 20D to replace my 10D, because after two months of shooting races, and with no end in sight since I'm really enjoying it, I need a faster camera. My new 20D will be here this week!
The 10D is just a bit too slow on the write speed and buffer size. Before I was even halfway through the race, the camera had slowed down to the point where I could only take one shot per ~1.5 seconds. I still got a lot of shots, but I missed a lot too. Too slow for race photography. So I've bought a new camera, and will be selling my 10D. I've already sold some old equipment I had to make up the price difference (I got rid of the 10D battery grip and the enlarger that I never used on eBay, and am trying to sell my AE-1P). If anyone is interested in buying it, leave a comment. Otherwise, on to eBay it goes.
So let's see. I spent the rest of Saturday running a few errands and watching baseball. Saturday night I headed over to Gavin and Jen's for Chinese food, a game of Settlers, and watching Pirates of the Caribbean (can I say again how much Johnny Depp cracks me up in that movie?). I was exhausted by the time I got home at 11:30, having been up since 6, and ended up sleeping from midnight straight through to noon on Sunday. It was glorious.
I dragged myself out of bed to watch some baseball and work out on the elliptical machine before going over to Debbie's to help her paint her front door. Somehow I have become the painting expert. :) We had fun, and now the door is sparkling white again. A bit later I headed over to the Becca/Cari/Nick household for pizza and to see Tiffany's adorable chihuahua puppy. While there, we had one of the more spectacular thunderstorms in recent memory pass through; on my way home, the lightning was coming so fast and frequently that it felt like daytime. Anyway, Tiff got her dog a month ago, but I didn't see her then so this was the first time I met Chloe.
Chloe is SO cute. It made me want a dog all over again, and made me very sad to think of Leo. All last week I thought of calling the Humane Society to check on Leo and see if he was adopted, but I'm too embarassed to actually do it.
Yesterday I celebrated Memorial Day by sleeping another 10 hours (yep, 22 hours of sleep in two nights, it was beautiful) before heading out on a round of errands. I was looking for silver sandals for the wedding, and found red sandals instead. So I bought them, but the search for silver continues. Let's see, I also got a bunch of random stuff at Target, a new basket for my bathroom, a new fuzzy bath mat, and two leafy plants from Lowe's for my balcony. I almost bought a little plant stand at Pier 1 to make my balcony decor complete, but I couldn't justify the expense. Ah well.
Yesterday afternoon we had a Memorial Day picnic that moved to Debbie's house instead of the park because of the threat of rain. The rain never materialized, but I'm sure it would have if we'd actually gone to the park. Tiffany brought Chloe, of course:
And I still thought she was adorable. We sat around on the deck because the weather was a bit cooler after Sunday's thunderstorms. Finally, it was home again and bed.
All in all, it was a lovely long weekend, even though I didn't accomplish half of what I wanted to. But since most of my plans involved cleaning up my wreck of an apartment, it's not the end of the world...
Monday, May 30, 2005
My mom sent me this
My mom sent me this back in January. For some reason, I thought about it this weekend and dug it out.
Friends of the Road
Paula Spencer in Aspire
Why do friendships come and go? How does a once-bosom buddy wind up erased from your address book? Is a friendship that fades away necessarily a bad thing?
My first inkling that some friendships are meant to be fleeting came in the spring of my senior year in college. My friendships there had been especially intense. We'd bonded instantly and tightly, with meandering all-hours conversations about everything from the meaning of life to "What will we wear tonight?" Once I came across a line that seemed to express perfectly my 21-year-old angst. It was from the novel Centennial: "God, he wished he could ride forever with these men. ...But it could not be. Trails end, and companies of men fall apart."
Of course! Some friendships are meant to be transitory. Like cowboys who had ridden herd together for miles, sharing dusty perils and round-the-campfire coffee, my college friends and I had come to the natural end of our path together. It was time to move on.
Absurdly obvious, the idea was nevertheless enormously comforting. It had once seemed like failure to me, to build a friendship only to have it squelched by sudden distance, either physical or emotional. You move across the country and struggle to replicate daily long walks with phone calls or letters. Or one of you has a baby, and the minutiae of chaging diapers transform the bicycle-built-for-two that was your friendship into a lopsided three-legged stool.
And that's okay. Because in addition to our friend of the heart -- the traditional, everlasting ideal -- life is rich with friends of the road who, like James Michener's cowpokes, herd with you for a particular stretch and no farther. These brief friendship are equally intense, equally necessary, equally worth treasuring as any other, and for the duration of that ride you can't survive without them.
Monday, May 30, 2005
YESTERDAY'S SUMMARY: EFX machine, 5048
EFX machine, 5048 strides, 33:00 min
Avg heart rate = 172
Summer in Houston sucks. We were probably lucky this year that "summer" didn't truly start until about a week ago. But since then: HOT and HUMID. My two least favorite running conditions.
So I've begun the move inside to the elliptical machine, and perhaps every once in a while, the dreaded treadmill. And if it's a cooler week, I'll go outside just to try to keep my body adjusted.
I shot the Astros Race for the Pennant 5K on Saturday morning (the name is funny since the Astros are simply chasing a .500 record at the moment), and I was sweating despite not even running. That's how humid it was. Ugh.
Friday, May 27, 2005
I've never been called for
I've never been called for jury duty in my 27+ years of life, so Murphy's Law says that I should be called for the week that I'm going to be in Charlotte for Katie's wedding, right?
Stupid Harris County. I doubt I'd be good for a jury anyway; I have little patience for people doing stupid things that they shouldn't do. At least they let you reschedule.
Friday, May 27, 2005
I work a government job.
I work a government job. Among the many pros and cons of working for the government is that we are all on a standardized pay scale. I have not decided if this is a definite pro or definite con, as there are a couple arguments in each direction. Either way, one of the results of being on a standardized scale is that we move between pay grades (i.e. we get promotions) on a regular basis, and we know when they're coming. You don't get a raise because your work is good or bad; you get a raise because you have been working x number of years. (This is one of the cons, but that's beside the point.)
I am due for my next (time-based) promotion in mid-August. They calculate the jump based on a mildly convoluted formula, but it's not that hard to figure out, and so I knew what kind of raise was coming my way in a couple months. I was quite looking forward to it, because it was a big raise. To be completely forthcoming: it was an increase of $10,000/year.
Yesterday a bunch of employees at my level (i.e. engineers that have been here ~3 years or less) got a totally shady email from someone in HR. "Your pay table is changing," it basically says. We are moving from the engineer's pay table to the Houston locality pay table. Because of the afore-mentioned slightly convoluted system, my current salary will not change, but my promotion will change. To the tune of being slashed in half. My raise under the new system will be $5000/year.
Of course part of me feels pretty silly for complaining at all. I make a good salary now, and any raise just makes it even better. I am fully aware that I am very well-compensated for doing my job, and that I make more than millions of Americans (not to mention people worldwide) will ever make. And there is nothing illegal or even technically wrong about the change; I have not received the promotion yet, therefore I have no right to say that it should be more than it is. I will get a raise in mid-August either way.
But the other part of me is thinking: isn't this just a little sketchy? The email was a short, one-paragraph deal, sent from an unknown HR person without even a subject line. It references some law passed by Congress last year and tells us that our pay table has already changed because it took effect on May 1. It's like they are trying to slip this in under the radar, after the fact, and hoping that no one notices that it affects their future promotion potential basically for the rest of their government career.
I think my biggest issue with it, though, is that this change only affects the exact group of employees that NASA is trying so hard to retain: young engineers. Shooting themselves in the foot? I think so.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Kevin Millwood has just joined
Kevin Millwood has just joined the DL on one of the two fantasy teams I mentioned yesterday -- the team that had six, then I dropped one so they had five, and now they're back to six.
Welcome to The Disabled Wonders, Kevin. Thanks for playing.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
In keeping with today's blog
In keeping with today's blog theme:
The True Life Story of Baseballs answers a question I've long wondered: how many baseballs are used over the course of one major league game? I'd heard it was more than 100, and this article confirms it. Between games, batting practice, and spring training, MLB uses almost 1 million baseballs each season, with the average "life span" of a major league baseball being about eight days (used in one game, then a couple days of batting practice, then a few days in the batting cages, then shipped to the minors or elsewhere as practice balls).
Predicting a Baseball's Path is a very scientific look at why pitches behave the way they do. Of course, it's all based on the spin rate of the ball as it leaves the mound, the direction of the spin axis, and how fast the pitch was thrown. Different grips produce different spins. The article also has a cool graphic of how a fastball, curveball, slider, screwball, changeup, and knuckleball move on their way to the plate, which finally straightened it all out for me.
This article also discusses the skills hitters need to pick up on what pitch is headed their way. First they can watch the angle of the pitcher's arm, and with good eyesight, can sometimes see the grip on the ball, or how the pitchers fingers roll on it. But the most important part is that good hitters have better-than-average dynamic visual acuity, or the ability to perceive moving objects, thus they can pick up the spin on the ball as it comes toward them. Hitters must figure out the speed and spin in 1/7 of a second. In the next 1/7, they decide whether to swing, and if so, when and where. Then they have another 1/7 of a second to actually swing. To hit a fastball, a batter begins to swing when the ball is still about 19 feet from the plate.
If you are at all interested in baseballl, they are both very good articles.
And finally, The Physics of Baseball, a website done by a UIUC Physics professor. I haven't had the chance to look through it much yet, but sounds interesting as well.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
I haven't given a fantasy
I haven't given a fantasy baseball update in a while. That's because BOTH OF MY TEAMS SUCK. As in, they REALLY suck.
Team #1, NL only. My keepers, i.e. my best players, this season are Eric Gagne, Jim Thome, and Scott Rolen. For those keeping score at home, that's:
Team #2, both leagues. Yesterday I had SIX, count them, SIX players on the disabled list. I can only carry three on the DL before they start taking up roster spots, so yesterday I dropped Jeff Bagwell, whose playing days are likely through thanks to that darn shoulder. But I can't really drop any of the remaining five:
It's not even June and I have already given up on both of my teams for the season. There's no coming back from this.
At least the Astros won last night. That is cause for a minor celebration -- with the way things are going for them this season, who knows when they might win again.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
I'm grumpy today. Despite the
I'm grumpy today. Despite the fact that I overslept, I still feel just exhausted.
Last night we all went out to dinner to celebrate Nick's birthday, so I decided to work out beforehand for the first time in more than two weeks. It has finally gotten hot here, so in lieu of running I headed for the elliptical machine in the exercise room.
It's been a while since I'd been in there, and I was happy to see that there are now three elliptical machines (one more than there used to be) and three TVs (two more than there used to be). I could finally choose what I wanted to watch even though there was someone else in the room. Hurrah!
I decided to take it a bit easy, and only did a 28-minute program on the machine. Four minutes at high intensity and incline, four minutes at lower levels, and repeat. Including a five-minute cooldown, I went a bit more than two miles. Of course the mileage on the elliptical is always a bit sketchy to me, since your stride is constrained and all that. In any case, I worked up a good sweat and it felt nice to try to get back into the swing of things. Katie's upcoming wedding should be a nice motivator to work out regularly for the next month.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Overslept this morning. Woke up
Overslept this morning. Woke up drenched in sweat. Can't shake this damn cough. My head is stuffy. My eyes are burning. I'm obviously not over whatever I had last week. So just now got to work, sat down, checked my email and it turns out that I have a new "task" to do. One that has been passed down the chain and finally fallen to me because it's just paperwork, putting in a software request. And no one else "has time" to do it, which is really just code for "we don't want to handle the CR."
I had a whole other entry to write, but I don't really feel like writing it now. Maybe later today.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Two things: I am SO
I am SO SORE from soccer on Sunday night. It is amazing how quickly a person falls out of being in shape. A week of being lazy followed by a week of being sick will do that.
Since doing more photography myself, I've turned into a photo snob. I was just looking through the online gallery of photos taken by the professional photographer at a coworker's wedding on Saturday and I have to say, they're not great. If it were my wedding, I would be disappointed in the picture quality. A majority are underexposed, and some are actually blurry. Hopefully the photographer is a wiz with Photoshop.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Happy Birthday Nick! Yesterday was
Happy Birthday Nick!
Yesterday was the best day at work that I've had in a long time. Gavin was out at JPL last week for a technical interchange meeting for the Mars stuff, and had put together a 28-slide presentation that basically gave a good overview of entry guidance and lifting entry. Unfortunately he was trying to give the presentation in an hour, and to a group of very chatty and brainstorming-minded people. He didn't get through more than about five slides, and it was all very hard for us to follow listening in over the phone.
So yesterday he sat down to go over the charts with Mike, our new summer co-op, and I decided to sit in. For months I have been lamenting the fact that I don't totally understand our project, and for months I have done nothing about it. I know it frustrated Gavin, and I know it frustrated me, because I couldn't even explain what it was that I didn't understand!! But Mike the super-motivated and super-smart co-op finally kicked me into gear and gave me the opportunity to go back to square one.
Gavin, Mike and I spent five hours going over 28 slides. Writing it now makes it sound insane, but that's what we did. Five hours. And I asked questions, and Mike asked questions, and Gavin explained, and by the end of the day I finally felt like I really was starting to get a handle on this stuff, and really starting to understand. And that is such a indescribable relief.
And then last night I went to dinner with Gavin, Jen, Becca and Cari and we once again got on the topic of what the dissatisfactions are around here, why young people aren't totally in love with their jobs. It's a regularly discussed topic in our group, and sometimes I feel like we beat it to death, yet each time it comes up I feel like I figure out something new about me, and my motivations. For better or worse, I am definitely a person who figures things out by talking through them.
What I am slowly realizing is that while part of my dissatisfaction comes from forces beyond my control (what type of projects I am given, the computer/desk-driven nature of my group, etc), a good portion of it is also my lack of motivation, and lack of interest, and always looking for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. I think one of the reasons I always liked school is that I am easily motivated by a deadline, or by the threat of getting a bad grade if the work doesn't get done. Sure, I complained if I didn't think the work was worthwhile, but I still did it and completed it on time. In the working world, I have no real deadlines, and often no one really cares whether I finish my project. No one checks in on me, and no one asks how things are going. I don't mean to imply that I prefer to be watched over like a kid...but in a sense, I do want that. I want someone to care about what I'm working on, and I want someone to be interested enough that they are waiting on results.
The best work I feel I've done in my almost three years of full-time employment was during the six months following the STS-107 accident. Why? Because I knew the work was important, because there were people waiting to see my results, and because they were needed in a timely fashion.
I feel like the wheels are slowly starting to turn here. I am starting to understand what I'm supposed to be working on. And the larger issues I've been struggling with are starting to change as well. Management has shuffled around, and as people move into new positions they seem more receptive to getting feedback from their employees. I am going to have the opportunity to talk to those who can change my job, who can get me into flight control. People are beginning to realize that the young employees aren't totally satisfied, and are wondering what they can do to help. It is a really positive change, and bodes well for the future.
Monday, May 23, 2005
The weekend was long. A
The weekend was long. A little stressful. A little relaxing.
Friday we played in the annual work golf tournament. I still wasn't feeling great but went anyway. I played with Matt, Jake, and Ray and fortunately Matt and Jake can both really drive the ball. I made a slight contribution to the team in my putting, which got better and better as the day went on. When the handicap was calculated, we actually ended up tied for second place, but a hole-to-hole comparison tie-breaker pushed us into third. We won $10 -- as a team -- so I got a lovely $2.50. Ah well, I certainly don't play for the money!
After golf, we all enjoyed burgers and chips in the golf cart shed (which allowed us to finally get in the shade, nice because it was hot outside) and then Gavin, Jen, Jake, Jo, Rich and I met up at the Cinemark for an afternoon showing of Revenge of the Sith. I'm not one of those people who analyzes movies to death, but somehow I ended up doing just that with with Carter yesterday. I thought it was an ok movie at first -- better than Episodes I and II but with a lot of similar flaws in directing and acting -- but after talking to Carter about it and discussing how a person now views Episode IV differently...well, I think I like Episode III more now that I'm a couple days removed.
While in the theater, I wasn't really buying it. Anakin's quick change -- "I know what I'm doing is wrong, and you're creepy and ugly and evil incarnate and now you want me to become your apprentice and slaughter a bunch of people...hmm, well, sure, ok, why not!" -- wasn't all that believable to me, and instead of seeming dark and evil-prone, he just seemed pouty.
But while watching it, despite knowing that of course he's going to become Darth Vader, I still found myself caring about him and wishing he'd change his mind. So, that's interesting, and a sign of decent movie-making I think.
Saturday was a rough day. I have thought a lot about what happened with Leo, and everything I come up with sounds to me like I'm making excuses. I guess the best way to summarize is that while I like dogs, I do not want to be a dog owner. Not right now. Maybe never. I really, really wanted to be, but I guess I'm not. Unfortunately, I don't think I could have figured that out without having actually gotten Leo, without having actually gotten a dog that was mine. I had reservations about owning a dog, and about Leo in particular, and I thought that once I got him home I'd change my mind. I cried on my way to the Humane Society. I cried on my way home. I cried when I had to tell the first person that I didn't have him anymore. I really, really wanted to be a dog person. I'm sad and sorry that I'm not.
I decided to take him back Saturday morning in hopes that he might be adopted over the weekend. My emotional turmoil over that, combined with a general feeling of aimlessness being home on the weekend (not having gone out of town, not having extensive plans like Yuri's Night or race photography) for the first time basically since Easter, left me antsy all day. I didn't know what to do with myself. I walked circles around my apartment. I cleaned. I watched way too much TV.
Yesterday was better. I ran a few errands, watched some baseball (how long, seriously, will the Astros continue to waste good pitching? Roy Oswalt gave up only 2 runs, yet lost because the Astros didn't scores any), and played soccer last night for the first time in a month and a half. Being out of shape and recovering from being sick left me pretty slow and lethargic, but my team managed to win 2-1 for our first (and probably only) win of the season. Finally. The team we played last night only had one win, so we really needed to take the opportunity to get in the W column against them.
My teammate lost her chihuahua. The incredibly tiny chihuahua that is so cute that he's what made me start thinking about a dog in the first place. A week ago, she and her husband left him in the backyard for the first time ever, because there was an electrical smell in the house, and went out for dinner. The 2+ pound dog escaped. He wasn't wearing a collar, because he didn't like collars, and because tags were heavy on his little body. They put up over 200 signs, but haven't heard anything.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Summer has arrived. It is
Summer has arrived. It is sweltering outside. Time to hide out inside where the air conditioning is cool.
I took Leo back to the Humane Society today. I am writing it here only so people know my decision and don't have to ask. I am sad and I feel bad. I don't really want to talk about it, at least not right now.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
In the spirit of the
In the spirit of the day, enjoy this little animated gif:
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Whatever bug I have is
Whatever bug I have is making life interesting. After spending Tuesday afternoon and evening with the classic signs of food poisoning, I thought I was improving. I came in to work yesterday and after fading around 1:00, a frappuchino knock-off from the cafeteria revived me. Last night I felt good enough to go to Mely's, though I only ate 3/8 of a spinach quesadilla because I still wasn't hungry. Came home, went to bed, and woke up at 7:00 this morning feeling achy and feverish again! Took some Advil and went back to bed, and at 9:00 was feeling fine. And now I'm at work again.
I probably should have just stayed home yesterday, and maybe even today, but our co-op is giving his exit pitch today and then we're going out for his exit lunch, so I didn't want to miss it. I'm his mentor, after all. I can't imagine I'll be much in the mood for steak today, but I'll find something bland to eat.
Tomorrow is the annual LSO golf tournament. I figured I'd be well enough to play, but now I'm not sure. We'll see, I guess.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I like my new branch
I like my new branch chief. He just gave us a slide show of his family and airplanes and brought us ice cream.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Bear with me through this
Bear with me through this entry. I feel worried and guilty and anxious already, so please keep that in mind if you choose to comment.
I woke up this morning feeling better, so after sleeping in, I came to work. I am still a little ill-feeling, and shaky from dehydration, but I decided to come to work because I wanted to listen in on a telecon, needed to help Jake finish up his exit pitch, and because I was wary of spending another day at home with Leo.
I am having buyer's remorse about getting Leo. I know it has only been a week, and on top of that, a week where I had to go out of town and then returned to a bout of food poisoning (or some 24-hour bug). But I am having a lot of second thoughts about having a dog.
I've only mentioned it to Nick so far, who when I said "buyer's remorse" asked if it was the money. It's not. I understood that getting a dog would mean spending money, and I am ok with that.
He then asked if I don't like the dog. It's not that either. Leo is a great little guy. He is fairly well-behaved, almost housebroken (he peed on my trash can this morning but I think it was because I didn't take him out immediately), and getting better. He's very cute and cuddly. He has so much energy, so much that it is a little exhausting.
It's not the money. It's not Leo himself. It's a dog, period. And I'm worrying that maybe I am not meant to be a dog owner after all.
I have thought a lot about whether maybe I felt "pressured" into this because I have so many friends with dogs who love them, and who were/are very excited about me having one of my own. But I don't think that's it either, because I am not the type of person that would be pressured all the way into actually getting a dog, bringing him home, buying supplies and food, and taking him to the vet if I didn't think that I would like having this dog.
And yet I find myself thinking of taking him back.
Why? It seems so wrong -- to return a dog, as if he were a piece of merchandise. I feel so guilty for even thinking it. And I would be disappointing so many people who were so excited for me last week when I brought Leo home.
He doesn't feel like my dog yet, and I know that is because I haven't had him for very long. But it feels like I am babysitting someone else's dog. And when I realize that I will have him for foreseeable future and beyond, I start to fidget, and feel very anxious.
Is 27 years without a dog too much to overcome? I wonder if I made a rash decision. When I first started thinking about getting a dog, I had two other options on my plate, a new job or going to ISU. I thought "well if I don't get either, I can get a dog," but I thought I'd get one of them, and when I didn't, maybe I jumped to something else before I thought it through.
I imagine taking him back to the Humane Society, and that makes me want to cry, because he is so cute and because there is absolutely nothing wrong with him. But the thought of coming back home to the way things were before makes me feel calmer. Maybe he is not for me; maybe he is meant for someone else. I just don't know.
So please bear with me, because right now I don't know what to do.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I will never be eating
I will never be eating beef stir fry in the cafeteria again after spending the past three hours, and probably the next few, suffering through what I suspect is food poisoning. NOT FUN.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
First casualty of the dog:
First casualty of the dog: a pair of jeans.
I left work at 1:30 today, sick. I felt bad this morning, but was ok at lunch, where I ate cafeteria stir fry. Maybe it was the stir fry, maybe it was just a matter of time, but from noon until 1:30 I slowly got worse. When I found myself having passed 5 minutes with my elbows on my desk, head resting in my hands, I figured it was time to leave.
I zonked out on the couch for a half hour, not asleep but just out of it. Suddenly wondered where Leo was. Answer: gnawing on a pair of jeans I'd left on the floor (and that I last wore to the shelter, and they haven't been washed). I got to them in time, with only two small frayed bits. Guess they'll be "lounging" jeans now.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Hey Mom! Here are the
Katie (and Joel) and the family post-ceremony at the Georgia Dome:
Brian and the family post-ceremony at the UNC bell tower:
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
So that I don't have
So that I don't have to fret about my dog on this blog today (Leo is fine, I just have a tendency to fret), here are some of the search terms that have brought people to my blog. Thankfully, no one is finding it searching for porn.
Monday, May 16, 2005
My dad said over the
My dad said over the weekend as I was fretting about whether I'd made the right choice in getting a dog that he remembered when he and mom brought me home from the hospital. The first night he wasn't sure if he should go to sleep. "You were a helpless baby, even more helpless than a dog, and we were about to go to sleep for 6-8 hours," said Dad. "What if you needed us?? I wasn't sure if I should go to bed!"
I feel very similar with this dog. What if he needs me? What if I am not playing with him enough? What if he is not getting enough attention? I didn't really believe it when people said having a dog is practically like having a kid, but now I do.
I laughed when Dad mentioned sleep for 6-8 hours with a new baby in the house. "Didn't I wake you up crying?" I wondered. Dad sheepishly smiled and said "Well yeah, but your Mom took care of that."
Monday, May 16, 2005
Wake up in Charlotte at
Wake up in Charlotte at 5 a.m. (4 a.m. Houston time), to the airport, get on a plane, land in Houston, drive to work. When I do all that and have been at my desk for an hour and it's still not even 10:30, my brain starts to get muddled. Was it really just this morning that I was at home? Was it really just two hours ago that I was getting off the airplane?
I had a lovely weekend at home in good ol' North Carolina, and all members of my family now officially are college graduates. Hooray, we're edjimacated!
Saturday night we went to the Sigma Chi graduation party (because Brian is a Sigma Chi, of course) at the Carolina Inn. It was a little strange, mostly because there was no official program, a 15-minute slideshow of pictures I probably wouldn't have shown my parents, hors d'oeuvres but no actual dinner, and bartenders who were annoyed because people wanted water. But it was nice to have the family together.
We all split up for the night -- Katie and Joel at Aunt Nancy's, Brian at his place, and the rest of us with Grandmother -- then met up again yesterday morning to take the shuttle to the stadium. The traffic was bad and the bus planning wasn't great, but we got there just in the nick of time to see Brian march in.
The UNC graduation ceremony was short and sweet, in direct contrast to the long GT ceremony. (To each school it's own, I suppose.) All the undergrads wore Carolina blue gowns and filled the whole end of Kenan Stadium, which was neat to see. The graduate students wore black gowns with the colored hoods. The graduation speaker was Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes from Harvard, and prior to graduation he'd been somewhat of a controversial choice, according to Brian. The seniors had been led to believe that they'd get a say in choosing the speaker, but they didn't, and were upset by it. But Gomes was surprisingly good -- funny, thoughtful, and didn't take himself too seriously. Brian even admitted as much!
My favorite factoid from his bio: in 1999 he was named one of "The Best Talkers in America: Fifty Big Mouths We Hope Will Never Shut Up" by Talk magazine. I just think that's an awesome headline.
After the ceremony we walked around campus a bit (even David, despite his hurt foot -- he'd hobbled around Atlanta last weekend and then went to the doctor this past week, and it turns out he broke the fifth "toe" bone, so he had a boot to wear) and took pictures of Brian with all the UNC landmarks. I have Brian with the Old Well, Brian with the Davie Poplar, Brian at the Bell Tower, etc. And photos of both Brian and Katie's graduations will be posted soon, so my mom doesn't kill me!! :)
We had lunch at Brixx and visited with Grandmother some more, then headed back to Charlotte exhausted after two graduation weekends but happy that everyone is happy and graduated. I think Brian was more excited to be graduating and to have us there than he let on. ;)
So it was a great weekend. Charlotte and North Carolina are beautiful places and I miss all the spring green trees and grass that I don't see in Houston. And my family is cool.
Oh, and my dog had a fine weekend here or so I hear. A couple potty mistakes in the house, and apparently he is very possessive of his food, and he can jump 4 feet in the air, and he had fleas (he brought them home from the shelter, I noticed them on Thursday), and he may have a bruise or something on his leg because he didn't like Becca petting him there...BUT he is good. He goes to the vet this afternoon for the first time with me.
I still am getting used to the idea that I have a dog!
OH! And my grandmother saw the photos I posted here of Leo and pulled out four photos of her and my grandfather from the late 40s or early 50s with their dog Skip -- who looked JUST LIKE LEO. My grandparents had the SAME dog! I had no idea!
Saturday, May 14, 2005
in my mind I'm gone to Carolina
I'm currently in Charlotte, with plans to head up to Chapel Hill with the rest of the family later today to celebrate Brian graduating from UNC tomorrow. It's my last trip for the next month, after two months of being gone almost every weekend. Somehow this spring was extremely busy!
So Katie graduated last weekend, and Brian is tomorrow. Funny how twins seem to reach major life accomplishments at the same time. ;)
It is incredibly green and lush here in Charlotte, and everything is so pretty. We just don't have the same kind of trees in Houston. There, everything feels scrubbier. I don't think I fully appreciated how pretty Charlotte is until I didn't live here anymore. David cracked me up last night when he said "I've seen you two weekends in a row. I don't think that's happened since high school." Not counting when I come home for Christmas, he's right.
I already text-messaged with Nick this morning to see how my little doggie is doing, the poor guy having been at my place for only 24 hours before being abandoned to Becca, Cari, and Nick's house -- and faced with their two excited (and much larger) dogs. He had 24 hours to figure out who I was, and now he has 48 hours to forget. The timing wasn't great, I admit. However, it was amazing how quickly I relaxed once I got on the plane yesterday, able to finally chill out and not worry about what I needed to do for the dog, knowing that Becca and co. would take good care of him.
Nick said he peed in the house. I thought he might. The smell of the other dogs is too much for him. Well, that and he's probably not entirely housebroken. We'll work on it.
Katie is currently off getting her wedding dress fitted, and I'm about to head out to a different bridal store to get my bridesmaid dress altered. Then all six of us (me, Mom, Dad, David, Katie and Joel) will head up to Chapel Hill! There is a family dinner/reception thing at Brian's fraternity tonight that we are going to, then graduation is tomorrow morning in Kenan Stadium if the weather is good. (Or the Dean Dome if the weather is bad.)
And voila, everyone in my family will be a college graduate!
Friday, May 13, 2005
Those who know her might
Those who know her might be interested to hear that Anit is now Dr. Anit. She graduated from med school! She'll be doing her residency at Georgetown. We don't keep in touch, who knows why, but it's nice to know she's doing really well. :)
Friday, May 13, 2005
Apparently there is a Zero
Apparently there is a Zero G Room coming to Houston, about a mile away from my apartment. What is a Zero G Room? I hadn't heard of it myself, but it's basically a vertical wind tunnel -- think of it as a skydiving simulator. The video on their site (which is large, as a warning to those who don't have high-speed connections) is pretty cool. And apparently it won't be too expensive (though I'm sure there are some hidden fees): $35 for a 2-minute spin. Not cheap, sure, but not absurd either.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I got my dog yesterday
I got my dog yesterday and I can't remember being this anxious in a long time. I slept horribly last night. This whole thing is so new to me, and while I will enjoy it down the road, I am a bundle of nerves right now. I am SUCH a committment-phobe; I don't think I really realized it until now.
I can't imagine what it must be like having children. Geez.
He hasn't gone in the apartment yet, but I am still unsure whether he's housebroken or not, so when he's not confined I have to watch him like a hawk. I look forward to a month from now when I know his habits, he knows mine, and I can trust that he won't pee all over my apartment.
I'm going with the "working name" of Leo for now. The background is that we all thought it would be funny to give a small dog a big name, like Kaiser or Emperor or Napoleon. So I took Napoleon and came up with Leo. I'm not sure if he is a Leo or not, but unless he screams something else soon, that's what it'll be.
Here he is when I picked him up from the Humane Society:
And here he is at home later:
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Run World, Run
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I am getting a dog.
I am getting a dog.
So. Yeah. I am getting a dog.
I wanted to see how that sounds. It's a little scary. I have never had a dog, and I am not so good at making long-term committments. I am anxious that I won't be able to train him, or that I won't like him, but I always worry obsessively before making big decisions. Hell, I worry enough before going on a week-long trip (when we were about to leave for Greece, or Peru, for instance) that I contemplate not even going. I am a worryer. It comes naturally. My dad and grandmother (oddly enough, the grandmother that is not my dad's mom) are both worryers.
But I should be picking him up this afternoon. He's a ~2 year old rat/fox terrier mix from the Houston Humane Society. My major worry is marking, which he did when we visited him on Tuesday. But he got fixed yesterday which should cut down on it, and I will work on training him. Cari told me to think about what I want a year down the line, since any dog that I get will have adjustment issues, and what I realized is that what I want a month or a year from now is pretty simple -- a funny, energetic dog that will be happy to see me, that I can play with, that won't pee or chew on my stuff, and that I can take on walks. And I think this one fits the bill.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I just noticed that Karen
I just noticed that Karen posted a couple photos from her visit to Houston back in March, including sepia-toned surprisingly flattering photos of Becca and me and Cari and me, and one normal toned photo of Jason in his boxers.
Apparently we should all pay more attention to the numbers on fortune cookies -- they just might help you win the lottery.
And now we have the ultimate frivolous lawsuit. A Russian astrologer is suing NASA over plans to impact a comet, which could then "disrupt the natural balance of the universe."
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Yesterday Gavin, Cari and I
Yesterday Gavin, Cari and I went to the Humane Society to look at dogs. I'm still interested in getting one, despite getting a less-than-thrilled reaction from my parents over the weekend. ("Are you sure you want a dog? You're never home. What will you do with it when you travel?") Anyway. I think it's just because my parents have never had a dog, at least not as adults. Of course that means I've never had one either. Which is the source of all the indecision.
Anyway, there were three dogs I looked at at the Humane Society. The first was a small brown female chihuahua that was totally a lap dog. You couldn't even squat without her trying to climb onto your legs. It was cute at first, but then I realized that if I don't have a curious dog, I won't like it as much. Then we played with another male rat/fox terrier (like the one at the Houston Pound), about two years old. For the first 10-15 minutes he wanted nothing to do with us, preferring instead to sniff everything in sight. Finally he started to realize that there were people there and that we wanted to play with him, and he rolled over to have his belly rubbed and played with the squeaky ball. He was cute and energetic, and not yappy as opposed to the one at the Pound.
So I went inside to put in an application for him, and that's when I spotted a little black female chihuahua mix that was the embodiment of what I would have described if you'd asked me a month ago what kind of dog I wanted. She was sooo adorable. She was still being treated for mange and she is scared of people, but the volunteers have been working with her to get her more socialized. She'd be challenging to have at first, being so skittish. She already had one application in or I would have snapped her up immediately. So instead I ended up with one application on the terrier and another second application on the little black chihuahua. Which only adds to my indecisiveness, because while I liked the terrier, I wonder if I should wait until I find another little black chihuahua! :)
Anyway. This afternoon we'll hit the Pasadena Pound and see what they have.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Uchenna and Joyce won The
Uchenna and Joyce won The Amazing Race! Yayyyy!
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
I've learned my lesson on
I've learned my lesson on car rental. I didn't ask for gas service because I'd planned to stop at a gas station on my way back to the airport. Of course I was running a bit late, so I didn't stop for gas. I needed half a tank, which would cost me $15 normally, so I figured it couldn't be more than $30 to pay Avis to do it. In retrospect, I had time to stop for gas but I didn't know it then.
Turns out they charge per mile if you don't drive more than 400 miles. 150 miles times 31.5 cents per mile = $50.
Stupid me. Bastard Avis.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
SUMMARY: 4 miles, 44:10 =
4 miles, 44:10 = 11:02 min/mile pace
Avg heart rate = 186
While I'm posting workout summaries, I should recap last Thursday's run. I ran from the apartment complex, knowing that I wouldn't be able to get any exercise in during my busy weekend in Atlanta. I'd only planned to do a 5K, but my guilt over having lost so much fitness since the marathon four months ago got to me, and I ended up doing a nice round 4 miles. Summer is coming, and the weather is getting warmer, and I know this means I will run less, and less. I hate the heat and humidity so much: UGH.
But last summer I hardly ran at all and I paid for it in September when I started marathon training. In fact, had I continued to run at least once or twice a week during the summer, I think I might have finished the marathon as much as 5 or 10 minutes faster. C'est la vie.
This summer, as I think I may have already mentioned, my goal is to maintain at least an 11:00/mile 10K level of fitness... :)
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
YESTERDAY'S SUMMARY: 1 mile swimming
1 mile swimming (32 laps), 37:40
Avg heart rate = 163
I went for my first swim in a while last night, and it was surprisingly tough! The heater in the pool is certainly fixed, as the water was too warm -- a temperature that would be fine if one was just splashing around for fun, but uncomfortable for doing laps and exertion. The chemical content of the pool seemed better than the last time, but oddly, the water was more cloudy. Cloudy water, but I left without my lips burning. I really think they are having a hard time getting the balance right in the silly pool.
Since the weather is warming up and I went at 7:00, there were of course some kids using the lap pool as a play pool. Normally the kids I find there are good about staying to one side of the pool while I do laps, but last night there were two lap swimmers and three kids, and a three-lane pool isn't so great for that. The kids weren't helping matters by moving from side to side and often standing right in front of me as I swam down the middle lane. I think they were trying to see if I'd run into them...some sort of swimming version of Chicken to see who'd move first. I never moved. TAKE THAT KIDDIES.
The summary is that I got my laps in without a problem, but the kids-playing-in-the-lap-pool annoyance continues just like last year. There is another pool in the complex, but for the people who live next to the lap pool, I guess they find the two tenths of a mile too far to walk (I say sarcastically).
Anyway, as far as the actual swimming itself...it was tough! I don't know whether it was the kids splashing around and upsetting the water, or the warmth of the water sapping my energy, or me just being tired, but I got tired much faster than usual. It usually takes me 20-22 strokes to get from one end to the other, depending on how hard I pull and how much I kick, but last night it was taking me 23-25. I was really struggling and I'm not sure why. But I pushed through it and did 32 laps (~1 mile in my 25-yard or possibly 25-meter pool). I've got a month to do a bit more swimming before the Danskin triathlon in Austin. I'm probably not as prepared for it as I was last year, but I'm hoping to lower my time. In 2003 I did 1:58, last year I did 1:47, so this year I'm hoping for sub-1:45...
Monday, May 09, 2005
What a crazy weekend. I
What a crazy weekend. I can't remember the last time I squeezed so much activity into only three days. I got back to Houston last night not even 72 hours after leaving, and felt like I'd been gone for weeks.
Friday I flew in, got the previously-mentioned rented Mustang, met up with Kent, Karen, Katie, Joel, etc etc etc. The rest of my family arrived around 5:30, and we headed to dinner at Katie's friend Lauren's house. (Lauren is another of Katie's bridesmaids.) Lauren's mom had fixed a fantastic dinner that was enjoyed by all. We also got to meet Joel's parents for the first time; unfortunately his two brothers didn't make it.
They are really nice, just like Joel, and Joel looks just like his Dad and has many of the same mannerisms. Katie should look at Joel's dad and make sure she likes what she sees before getting married... ;) By the end of the weekend, I'm sure Joel's parents were worn out by the constant craziness and chaos and loudness of my family. But that's the way we are.
After dinner, Brian and I headed to Carter's to crash for the night while David, Mom and Dad returned to their swanky hotel room on the 50th floor of the Westin.
Saturday morning came bright and early as we headed to the Georgia Dome for the graduation. Kent and Carter came along to entertain me during the almost four-hour ceremony. Katie and Joel both officially graduated, so hooray for them. Afterwards we stuffed ourselves with delicious bbq at Katie's roommate's boyfriend's father's restaurant. (Confused? It was Jody's dad's bbq place for those who know Jody.) From there it was a quick stop at the 50th floor hotel room to take in the view of Atlanta, then back to GT for the baseball game (a rout of Florida Atlantic), then a nightcap of yummy ice cream at Jake's.
Sunday it was up again to help Katie pack, although we didn't get there until she was basically done, so we didn't turn out to be very helpful. Lunch at Rocky Mountain Pizza on their deck, which is much nicer than it was that last time I was there. Said goodbye to the family and then headed to Peachtree City to see Carter's parents. They have just moved into a gorgeous new house, and on Saturday they got their pimpin' yellow golf cart with green racing stripes, and green and yellow seats. There will certainly be no mistaking the cart for anyone other than the Greens! We rode at breakneck speed (which on a golf cart turns out to be ~20 mph) around PTC including visits to Radio Shack, a used bookstore, and a secret pavilion in the woods only accessible by golf cart.
We had steak for dinner and then it was time to head back to the airport, where I was overcharged for the rental Mustang (apparently she gave me the wrong car -- a Mustang isn't a compact, it turns out, which didn't really surprise me, but that's what they told me to take, SO I have to call them today and sort it out) and chastised by the anal-retentive security lady who counted my purse as a bag and wouldn't let me go through the metal detectors unless I somehow consolidated to only two bags. Somehow I did it without bursting the zipper on my suitcase, but I fumed the whole time. Every time I fly out of Atlanta, something goes wrong. I am convinced that it has become the worst airport in the country since 9/11.
And now I'm back in Houston for the work week before heading home to NC next weekend for Brian's graduation from UNC. We were teasing him this weekend because he's the only member of the family without a college degree...for this one week. :)
Monday, May 09, 2005
Katie and Joel are on
Katie and Joel are on the Georgia Tech graduation photos page, kissing. Heehee. (Bottom row, far right photo.)
Friday, May 06, 2005
I am in Atlanta. Of
I am in Atlanta. Of course with a computer and internet right here in Katie's room, I could not resist using it. Also, we're just sort of hanging out at the moment waiting for Mom, Dad, David and Brian to come to campus so we can go have dinner at Katie's friend's house.
It is a bit weird being back on campus. I haven't actually walked around in a while, and I definitely feel...removed. Campus is different now, the students are younger, as is to be expected. There are so many new buildings that weren't here four years ago. And walking around, I have so many memories of things that happened, conversations I had here and there. At the same time, I realize how some of the things that seemed so important and so crucial to me while I was on campus really weren't that big a deal. Four years later, I wonder why I got so worked up about the small stuff. Why did I spend hours and days agonizing about things that faded away once I left? Who knows.
If only I'd known then what I know now. What's that saying about hindsight? ;)
My flight this morning was uneventful, and when I got to the rental car place I discovered that my "compact car" turned out to be a brand new Mustang! I am so pimp. Heh.
I met Katie, Kent, and Karen on campus (that is a lot of K names) and we drove up to Joel's apartment then we all went to lunch at Mama Fu's. Mmm. From there, Katie and Joel went to pack, Karen went back to the lab (ah, the life of a grad student), and Kent and I ran around town. We had ice cream at Jake's, wandered through the Tech bookstore, and then walked across campus so I could take pictures.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
After watching another recent Daily
After watching another recent Daily Show episode, I have decided to add Jon Stewart to my list of future husbands. His role would be simply to sit around saying sarcastic things and making funny faces. And I would laugh, and laugh, and laugh.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
I'm a person who is
I'm a person who is very good at remembering dates and anniversaries. (My car, for instance, turned a year old last Saturday.) But I never remember that we graduated on Cinco de Mayo until Becca reminds me each year. Probably because while she couldn't wait to graduate, I was more like her brother, trying to figure out ways to stay.
(This year, I did realize it's been four years, but only because Katie is graduating, and she started the year after I left.)
Thursday, May 05, 2005
no more 3x5s?
I don't understand this New York Times article, "Stop Them Before They Shoot Again," at all. Apparently some people think that digital cameras have resulted in too many photos and they're suffering from image overload. Is too many photos even possible??
"Some critics warn that a great photograph's singular power to trigger memory may be at risk. For many people a photograph they have seen a thousand times itself becomes the memory. With digital pictures it is rare for a single photograph to achieve that kind of status."
I don't agree. A great photo is still a great photo, digital or not.
"AMERICA'S amateur photographers produced 28 billion digital pictures last year, 6 billion more than they shot on film, even though only half as many own a digital camera, according to the market research firm InfoTrends. That does not count pictures deleted before being printed or transferred for storage."
And I would argue that more photos are being taken because more people have cameras. Digital cameras have made photography more accessible, because all you have to buy is the camera itself. There's no constant additional expense of buying film, developing film, and making prints. If I couldn't shoot digital, I could afford to do photography as a hobby, and I probably would never have gotten close to taking race photos and earning a little side cash, as I'm doing now.
It sounds to me that the real complaint these people have is their non-computer-saavy and non-discerning-photographic-eye friends who send them tons of photos via email instead of 1) weeding out the bad ones or 2) sending a nice link to a gallery. I do both. (Even if "weeding out" only reduces the number from 500 to 250!) And hey, I know I take tons of photos, and I know that I might not look at a bunch of them ever again. But I like having them.
(There may be more discussion going on over at the Photoblogs.org blog.)
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Here's a photo of the
Here's a photo of the best catch you might see in baseball all year. Even if you don't like baseball, you should appreciate this one. I watched the Sportscenter highlight and my jaw dropped. Ichiro climbed halfway up the outfield wall and caught the ball. It was a certain home run, and he caught it.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
I took Becca, Jen and
I took Becca, Jen and Gavin with me up to the Houston pound today to look at dogs. There was a particular one I'd been looking at online that finally showed up as adoptable -- but she was already spoken for by this evening. However, in looking at all the dogs waiting to be (potentially) claimed by owners, we came across this guy, who just came into the pound today. The photo isn't the best, and no, he's not a chihuahua, no, he's not a puppy, and no, he's not a she. But he's adorable, and very friendly. He kept sticking his paws through the cage, trying to get to us, and we couldn't pet him because he'd just come into the shelter and hadn't been checked. Sadness. He was a bit yappy, especially when we went out of his sight. The yappiness concerns me.
But I put him on hold, and if no one claims him over the weekend, I can go back up to the shelter next week and take him out of the cage and play around with him. He was very friendly and looked well cared for, and I have a hard time believing that there isn't someone out there missing him. But we shall see.
Here's a photo I took:
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
This will do nothing to
This will do nothing to get Kent off my back about moving back to Atlanta. Though I don't think it's particular accurate; Seattle and Portland probably should have shown up on the list instead of Philly.
American Cities That Best Fit You:
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
TODAY'S SUMMARY: 3.5 miles, 37:40
3.5 miles, 37:40 = 10:46 min/mile pace
Avg heart rate = 188
Last year when I started training for the marathon in September, it was painfully obvious that I hadn't done any running during the summer. Despite being in good cardiovascular shape from soccer, swimming, biking, and other things, there really is no exact substitute for running other than...running itself!
So this year, despite the fact that I have no official big race on the schedule, my goal is to get in a run at least twice a week all summer, even if it's only 3 miles. I just want to be able to maintain at least a base level of running fitness, even if it means running in the Houston summer heat. (UGH, UGH, DOUBLE UGH.)
I ran tonight after work, 1.75 miles out on the Gilruth trail then turned around and came back. My pace was inconsistent, to say the least. Covered the first mile in 10:30, walked for a moment, then hit 1.5 miles in 16:00. Walked a moment more. Passed 2 miles in 21:30, paused at 2.5 at ~27:10 for some water, then pushed myself to finish the last mile in close to 10:00 flat.
Anyway, a run is a run, and this one counts just as much as anything else!
Afterwards, I talked to a guy who'd been slowly gaining on me for the last 1.25 miles. He passed me with about a tenth of a mile left to go -- grr! I'd been trying to stay ahead of him, which probably explains my almost 10:00 flat final mile. ;) We chatted for a bit about marathon training and running in general. He was probably in his late 30s to early 40s, seemed nice enough, but I forgot to ask his name.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
"Lobbyists sent Tom DeLay golfing;
"Lobbyists sent Tom DeLay golfing; all you got was this billboard."
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
I had a fantastic weekend
I had a fantastic weekend that started Friday night with a trip down to Galveston to see Stomp. I'd been wanting to see the show for a while, and it didn't disappoint. For the rest of the weekend, I was drumming on things and stomping my feet. (And for the rest of the weekend, I was harassed by Carter for going to see Stomp instead of going to the matchup of two 300-game winners, Clemens and Maddux.)
Saturday morning I was up bright and early to pick up Paul, Sonia, Debbie and Jason and head past Austin to Flat Creek Crossing, a ranch that shares a fence line with Pedernales Falls State Park. I'd been wanting to visit that particular park for a while, and it didn't disappoint.
We arrived at the ranch about 3:00 Saturday afternoon after the drive from Houston with many stops along the way. The ranch owner immediately loaded us into his huge SUV and drove at breakneck speeds along the gravel roads to show us the cabin we could have for the night. Cabin turned out to be cabins, plural, and cabins turned out to be one actual cabin and one large lodge, complete with fireplace, kitchen, toilet with lizard in the bowl, dinner bell, and a dead antlered animal hanging on the wall. Oh, and a tricycle for Sonia. Oh, and air conditioning and heating. And not just a window unit, but central air. Yeah, this was quite a bit more posh than we'd been expecting.
It was awesome!!
We dropped our stuff in the lodge, changed clothes, and hiked about a mile and a half down to Flat Creek. Contrary to popular belief, Texas does in fact have some scenic areas, and Hill Country is one of them. We went swimming in the creek for a while; the water was chilly at first but not bad at all once you got in. We wandered up the creek for a bit before turning around and heading back to our little beach in the sun.
From there, we walked back up to the top of the canyon through an artificial cave near some cool canyon walls. We drove into Johnson City to get food for dinner, then returned to make hobo dinners (which turned out decently, but they took forever and the potatoes didn't get entirely cooked) and s'mores. We would've built a campfire outside, but we weren't allowed too. Ah well, we were still rocking out in our lodge.
We awoke bright and early (ok, at least it was bright) Sunday morning and drove next door to the state park to see Pedernales Falls! I'd seen pictures before, but from the photos the falls looked a lot smaller. In actuality, they're big (if not a large drop) and very pretty. We ran around on the rocks and basked in the lovely sunshine. We climbed farther up the falls where there were pools, another small waterfall, and cool eroded rock. The area is very prone to flash flooding, and all the rock was very smooth. Debbie, Jason and I headed back down to the main part of the falls looking for Paul and Sonia, and then wandered down to the bottom of the falls where we found ourselves looking back up.
We found Paul and Sonia back up in the parking lot, where my Xterra was looking very rugged and cool. Jason, Paul and Sonia went down to the river to swim again, while Debbie and I decided to mountain bike for a while. Our planned hour-long trip turned into two hours, but it was very fun. On the map there was a "Trammel Crossing" which we thought meant, you know, a bridge across the river. Turns out there was no bridge, so we got to take off our shoes and wade across with our bikes on our shoulders. VERY FUN. Seeing us tackling the river made other people want to do it too.
After biking, we headed home to Houston with a stop at the Outback Steakhouse in Katy. Mmm. Fun was had by all, and attention other friend o' mine who like camping -- we really need to go back to this ranch sometime.
And all the photos are in the gallery, of course.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
a little bit of this, a little bit of that
David Ortiz offers an interesting perspective on MLB's steroid policy and why four of the five suspensions thus far have been players from Latin America.
The Astros have improved from their 0-6 streak to win their last 3 games, including an 11-4 stomping of the Pirates. Pettitte finally got some run support! So far this year, it's been feast or famine. Hell, Brad Ausmus, Mr. Rally-Killer himself, is on a 4-game hit streak, and has hit in 9 of the past 10 games. (Yet that still only raises his average to .250.)
This evil corn photo is really funny.
On the JSC Swap Shop this week I saw this ad: "I would like to find someone who can come over to my house in Dickinson and trim my Parakeets beak and feet. I can not catch them to take to the vet." Which begs the question, how is the someone who comes over supposed to catch them if the owner can't??
Monday, May 02, 2005
All the activity caught up with me, but hopefully only in a minor way. After a great weekend in/around Pedernales Falls State Park (photos and story to come), I woke up this morning with burning eyes, aching muscles, and a splitting headache. I went back to bed and didn't get up until almost noon. I feel much better now.