Sunday, May 30, 2004

Skaneateles, New York

I am told, Skaneateles Lake is the cleanest in the whole country. And certainly, as I looked down into the water, I could see clear through to the bottom. No rubber tires, shoes or tin cans clogged the view. Boating and swimming are not only allowed, but heartily encouraged, as are wedding photography by the little fountain at the little memorial park up a little ways from the gazebo. Quaint just doesn't seem to describe the Village of Skaneateles. I must ponder upon the correct word...

We are staying at The Village Inn, which is a new place around the corner from - and owned by - The Sherwood Inn. It's a cute little house sitting atop the Paris Flea, comprised of four rooms and a landing area up from a little set of stairs leading from the front door.

Tonight we will dine in the Dining Room of The Sherwood Inn - which Joe says is something like a 4- or 5-star restaurant in the area.

We are here for the graduation of The Nephew, John (or Youngro), from Cornell University. First, Cornell sits on a hill. Let me make it clear that there is no iota of flat space on this campus other than the floors of the buildings, and the surface of the steps. Other than the obvious disadvantages, the hills give you a beautiful view of Cayuga Lake. Additionally, you could get very strong and very fast running up and down the hills. If you ran while at Cornell. Which I would not have done had I gone there because, well, there are just too many hills!

Another notable observations is that almost all of the buildings look like a church or a cathedral. Quite literally. Dorm buildings, libraries, class rooms... most of them look like churches with spires and buttresses. And there is a big, loud bell that plays all day from one of the bell towers.

As I said, John is the child of my heart and we are so happy that we could celebrate this milestone in his life with him. There was never a question of whether we were coming, the question was whether we would spend two nights or three nights and would we get time to squeeze in some winery tours. One must always consider one's priorities, you see. It appears we are hard-pressed to get in any tours given the full weekend and the fact that we must run tomorrow morning and then hit the road to get to Ohio. We decided that we will definitely come back for a long weekend (maybe later this summer?), and travel the highways and byways, following the grapes, to the little cubby hole wineries and stock our cellar up with the treasures of the regional vines.

The ceremony was in the Football Stadium and as we sat and looked around at the graduating class, the families and friends in the stadium, we realized that without us, John would be alone in the sea of people surrounding him. And we were more glad than ever to be there to share this special day with him.

The graduation was very good. In contrast to Hampshire College a few weeks ago, the ceremony was performed with all the pomp and circumstance expected out of a 136 year old Ivy League institution of higher learning. It was amazing to see the many faces of color and nationalities mingling together - it gave one hope for the world at large as these young people pass through the gates of Cornell with their idealism and freshness. I hope and wish that we, as the occupants of that world at large, welcome them and their ideas with open hearts and open minds. There is much to be learned from this latest infusion of new generation.

The President's speech was enlightening and engaging. His topic? Dirt. The lack of dirt at Schoellkopf Field where the commencement was held. His message was universal. I recognized themes of good and evil and the gray that lays between - addressed by morality plays and philosophers, from Socrates to Buddha. I pray and hope that the young people on the field took a breath from the excitement of graduation to hear his words. Maybe some of the words "stuck" in their brains deliberately, or maybe subconsciously without their knowing. They are students, after all, and they are used to learning by hearing and osmosis! And one day when they need to dig deep, find strength in their morality, perhaps faced with a decision that could have wide ramifications, or a small action that may seem so innocent, I hope they stir the words of President Lehman from the recesses of their mind: "How will you ensure that you do not wake up one morning and find that your soul has been polluted by choices you made in response to the crushing demands of life?" ... "The Slope can be slippery. And recognize that, for some kinds of dirt, the effects on your soul can be cumulative" ... "May you never be afraid to take the risk of getting dirty, but may you always be sufficiently sure-footed that you avoid the abyss of contamination."

Friday, May 28, 2004

Headache

I woke up with one, and it's still here. UGH!

I. Must. Pack.

I need to pack and I need to run and I need to pack for the trip!

House Note. Joe says they have done alot. All I know is that the more they work, the more cubic footage I am losing. It doesn't matter that it's at the ceiling! At some point, if you lose enough, you are stooping over when you walk. GAH! Right now Jay is here. He is bringing in lots o' wood for something. I guess they are going to jack up the floor? Okay. I am sitting upstairs in blissful ignorance and happily unaware of the details. I hate dealing with details - details can be so all-consuming.

Sex in the City Note. I don't get it. Never did, never will. Who cares.

Running note. WILL I NEVER LEARN??? I was going to run at NOON after my 10:30 meeting. And it is POURING OUT! Why oh Why do I never learn??? NEVER EVER Put off your run til later if you can help it! ARG!!!! I am so NOT HAPPY!!!!! :o(((

I. Must. Pack.
GAH!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Bleeding Edge

Yup. They are bleeding next door.
In our attempts to set up our wireless lan, we have discovered that our neighbor's wireless is bleeding over to us. It seems there are at least 5 wireless internet connections around the neighborhood bleeding into our house. How fortuitous this is since we haven't been able to set ours up. So last night, we both sat in the sitting room (our second bedroom made into a sitting room during construction) and happily waled away on our laptops! We are thinking of canceling our cable modem if we get a signal on the first floor as well.

Running Note. Ran two miles easy pretty fast. Beautiful cool day around 50 degrees. It had stopped raining an hour or so ago. I was schedule for 4 but had to cut it back because of a 7am meeting with India and then I had to rush to get into work for a 9am staff meeting with the boss.

Evening Note. Went to dinner with Amanda and Gina at Delux. Then home for Gina to fix Joe's laptop. Then to Francesca's with the Barking Doggie for dessert. So, it was interesting. We all ordered some kinda dessert. As Cher observed, I have no idea how Amanda eats what she eats and manages to remain the size she is! Nothing like dirty martini's, good food, and good friends to close the chapter on this day. Amanda and Gina are a couple of the finest people I've had the pleasure to meet since Joe came into my life. One richness leads to others and pretty soon, if you have a good grasp on life and an optimistic outlook, you have more riches than you ever even could imagine. I wish I could share the feeling with the world. But how can I when I can't find the words to even remotely describe it? Some things are better off being a wonder and mystery.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Every Day Can Be a Surprise

I had a long run scheduled this morning. 8 miles. I usually do these on the weekend but since we are traveling this weekend, the plan called for a mid-week long run. Rare but not unusual. What a lovely day. 47 degrees, the rain had stopped, and the air was crisp. The wind was at my back heading out. It was such a lovely, easy run. I even noticed my surroundings and instead of fighting my legs and heartrate and breathing, I forgot about the running and immersed myself in my own little happy thoughts. I noticed the water on the Charles, and even the ripples that the slight breeze made. I noticed the ducks and geese. Turning around at the Western Ave Bridge, I noticed a slight headwind. It got stronger during parts but that couldn't even hold me back. I even sped up a little toward the end to see how far I could take the good easy feeling. I finished the run in a time that surprised me and it felt so good to feel so good afterwards.

Tomorrow I am scheduled for 4 easy miles.

House Note. I got home to find Scotty and Woody. They were working on the stairs and the floors. I hope they get a lot done today.

Sundry Ramblings. So, while I was running, I noticed two little baby ducks. Ducklings. They were so cute! They had been on the side of the river and as I passed, they scurried into the water. They made me smile. What a great way to start the morning - with baby ducks and a smile.

I started thinking about ducklings. And ducklings grow into Ducks. Goslings grow into geese. Cygnets grow into Swans. So how did the Ugly Duckling grow into a Beautiful Swan?? This particular thought held my contemplation for approximately a half mile of my run. Which then took me back to childhood. I must be getting old. When I find time to ponder on things I often find myself transported back in time to my childhood.

I remember when I was little, I was a really cute little girl. That ended about when I was 5 years old. It could have been around 4 but I think I was 5. I have seen pictures so I know this to be true. Unfortunately, I don't think I have any pictures in my posession because my dear dead Mother kept all my pictures for herself and I am not sure if my sister has found any in the cleaning out process. Anyway... I thought to myself that I was an ugly duckling from about the age of 5 on. I am not particularly a swan today by any stretch of the imagine but I think I've grown into my looks as I've progressed into older age. I danced ballet all through childhood and I've always been stocky and muscular thanks to the hardy genetics handed down from my father's side of the family. My mother was slightly built, petite, and very pretty. My brother and sister got her build. They don't gain weight and when they do, they can pretty much drop it as fast as they put in on just walking across the living a few times. Anyway, I remember struggling with my weight growing up. And my poor sweet brother in his weak attempts to cheer me up, told me one day, that I "[wasn't] fat, merely pleasingly plump." I don't particularly remember the aftermath, but I am sure I ranted, raved, yelled and cussed like a sailor (I still do that today - a skill I am proud of much to my brother's chagrin). And I remember him standing there with his funny little grin, stuttering and stammering that what he had said was actually a compliment! I do recall that through the cussing and yelling, I was so flabbergasted I was laughing inside. In spite of it all, yes, I do love my brother and I do think that he is one of the best brothers a sister could possibly ask for. Even if is he a Dumb Doctor and All.

Anyway, I don't know when the transformation from ugly ducking to Plain Ole Me occurred. I think the turning point was when someone in college tried to explain to me that Asian women were intimidating to him because they seemed so exotic. Yes, this tall guy talking to short fat Korean chick (after the 50-lb college freshmen weight gain) telling her that he thought Asians were exotic. Needless to say, credibility was questionable, but it started my thinking about things. Anyway, I think the transformation was complete, albeit in rough form, 5 years after graduating from collete when I finally decided I had had enough of a cheating, lying, weak-willed boyfriend who was tall and handsome but had very little to offer me. He was my first real boyfriend and at 6'4", on the crew team, big time cyclist, I considered him a prize. What was I thinking? And so I walked out. And. It. Felt. Good.

And since that time, my rough transformation just kept evolving. Things slowed down a bit during my marriage to Hwinliml (who I've mentioned in a prior post) until it stalled and happiness stalled and forward progress all but stopped.

I am not sure whether I just transformed into Plain Ole Me or if my outside changed to match the change in my thinking that I really wasn't an Ugly Duckling but really just Plain Ole Me. It could be that I changed because my perception of myself changed. Growing up different in the Deep South was not a pleasant experience to say the least, and it did have profound impact on what my image of beauty was - white, blond, blue eyes, and Protestant. None of which described me even in my wildest dreams. I often said that in a prior life I must have been beautiful and looked down on short squat Asian people because I came back to suffer in a short squat Asian form.

These days I watch extreme reality television like The Swan. I am glued to the television watching and wondering what the beautiful outcome of a complete head to toe surgical experience will be. I often wistfully wonder if I could do something like that - a head to toe transformation - a little tuck here, liposuction there, a snip over here, well... you get the picture. Even today I am running away from the Ugly Duckling that I was.

I believe there is nothing wrong in remaking yourself. I think that people try to remake themselves from the outside in - with a hair cut, new makeup, a little brow lift, only to find that their insides are the same. I, on the otherhand, believe that I changed my insides from moments of trauma and personal catastophes that put life and the smallness of me in stark relief against the backdrop of the universe and world hunger. Basically, through relationships (and lack therefore) I realized that we are all small and "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke." So I changed from the inside and then I started realizing that my outside wasn't so bad - not extraordinary by an stretch of the imagination but not bad. Especially relative to all the baggage that the people on The Swan have!

I am thankful that I have the courage to take chances, take stock in what is lacking in my life, and grab for the nearest golden ring no matter how fast the carousel is turning. I am thankful that in the face of all the pain I see in the world, I am strong enough not to spend my days weeping for the frailties of human kind. I am thankful that I can numb myself to the cruelty I see around me and that I have come out of some tough personal experiences with a new world view as opposed to inward-looking self-pity. I am thankful for my resilience to know that even in my darkest hours, I have led a charmed existence that many in the world would envy.

And I am thankful that even when I know I look as if I just hatched out of the Ugly Egg, that someone loves me and sees a Beautiful Swan every single day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

An All-Time Low

...setting up a wireless network with a firewall in your home.
I am not a computer person.
I am a database person.
That means I don't know anything about hardware or hardware os type stuff.
If you set it up, I can throw a database on it.
Of course, after years of management, I can't even do that if my life depended on it.
Suddenly I feel very useless.

Poor Joe. Followed directions, did everything he should have, got a signal and dang, if we couldn't connect even with a strong signal. Sometimes life just sucks and you don't know why.

Must. Think. Of. Something.

I am cranky and tired.
And that is where this Blog ends because anything beyond that is not useful to anyone.

The Early Bird...

Nothing like starting the day early with a conference call to India. Yup yup yup.

Running Note. Today is a rest day. Yahoo! Tomorrow morning I will do my long run - 8 miles. Wouldn't you know, it's supposed to rain.

House Note. Came home last night to find the furniture moved all around, stuff on the bed, holes in the floor, and blown circuits. Cripers! The HVAC guy was here working. So was the electrician. And the wall-putter-upper (don't know what they are called - carpenter?). It seems he built out the ducts on the first floor and started cutting holes on the second floor. One in the hallway needs to be done. The holes in the first floor still need to be cut. Now I have this huge silver T structure made out of big pipes and silver insulation in the middle of my long far wall. Sad to say, I am losing more space, inches by the day. They also framed out the window in the back wall. And there are lots of electrical wiring running across the rafters of the first floor ceiling. We also marked up the kitchen design that was faxed to Scottie. Made a few changes. I wonder what will be new today?


Monday, May 24, 2004

Back on the Right Side

Running Note. Got out after work and went for a 4.4 mile run along the Charles. Relatively easy run even with the headwind. All decked out in wind pants and jacket. Umm... let's see. How does one spell OVERDRESSED!!! ARG! Well... the head wind back was a bit feisty and even though I didn't put it back on, I liked having the jacket with me - the option to put it back on if I chose to is a security blanket for me.

Tomorrow is a rest day. Happy happy.

Happy Note. We are going to Delux with Manda Panda and Gina Bina on Thursday. Dirty martinis anyone? Bliss....

It's the little things, right? Joe just gave me a pen with a button. You push the button and the top half of the pen lights up and flashes. You push it again and it flash slower. You push it again and it just stays lit. Happy happy! :o) Joseph is such a sweet hunny bunny!!! :o)) Hm... I hope it writes nice. You know. Nice hand feel, write-feel.. that sorta thing.

He just gave me a hard case CD holder. Love my Hunny Bunny! :o)

This weekend, we went to Talia's graduation. Took LOTS O' PICTURES! GAH! Digital, of course. I am starting to really dig this digital thing! So, I downloaded them to my hard drive. Then I took the digital card to CVS and had 30 pictures printed out. Yup. I am really getting into the digital medium.

Speaking of Talia. She's looked terrific. What a wild graduation! Caps and gowns were the minority. Colored hair in all sorts of hues, wild outfits in various levels of skimpiness (made more difficult by the unseasonably cold temperatures) - individualism ruled the day, which was heartening to see. And Talia stood out... stunning, absolutely stunning and she doesn't even know - which makes it all that more intriguing.

It was great seeing the whole Bigelow family and Mom and Dad Winter who probably protested everything there was this side of Berkeley in their wild youth. They are super nice, opinionated and raised a bright bunchakids.

Craig, the younger brother was there also. What a good kid. He gladly stood around, taking pictures of everything without a complaint. He and Talia are close. I remember how amazingly close they were when they were 4 and 8 years old. They actually told each other they loved the other and would write little love letters to each other. It was so cute! And their closeness has prevailed all these years. So wonderful to see!

Lauren and Willard did a great job raising their kids. I am envious to think that I might do half as well.

Closing Note. Sunday's run was hard and sucked wind.

Brother Note. Got a check in the mail. Looks like my brother read his email! LOL! I love my brother and sister. They are so precious and unique!

So, nothing more contemplative today. This is a wrap up week. Wrapping up on the way to going on vacation. I am working from home on Friday and taking off early in the afternoon to take the doggie to Joe's parents' house. We will be gong to Ithaca for the Cornell Graduation and then onward ho! to Columbus Ohio where we will descend upon Cher and Milt. Happy day!

What a Way to Start the Week

Rain. Thunderous claps. Cool wind.
Dissolving all resolve.
Of course that meant I did not run this morning.
It's 5:30pm and time to go home.
Instead I sit here, fresh out of a meeting, contemplating the great outdoors where it is no longer raining. I wonder if it is windy, though.

Sigh... sitting here doesn't make it happen faster.

More later.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Evening Repast

Unrelated aside. It's wonderful having a dog. Especially a big dog. Found out that the big burly construction workers were afraid of Doggie. She barks at everyone until she gets to know them and understands they aren't a threat. Scottie the contractor told Joe he had to shove them through the door. Too funny!

Didn't run today. Needed another day of recovery. Instead, we went to dinner at the Garden of Eden. It was a wonderful cool day to sit outside. Good wine, good conversation... there is no other way to cap off the work week and kick start the weekend.

OMGAWD! What a Nightmayah!

Well... I thought it was going to be but it wasn't as bad as I thought.
Redid the ole blog.
Good news is that my comments worked.
Bad news is that I had to redo the entire friggin' sidebar! GAH!
But now it is done.
Phew!

TGIF!!!! What more is there to say?

I had an 8:30 meeting this morning so I couldn't run before work.
Boy was I in a bad mood when I came in.
I bet they all wished I had run before I came into work.

We may not go to Poker tonight.
We are going to play it by ear.
I just want time to just sit. You know?

Tomorrow is Talia's graduation from college.
Need to figure out what to do about a graduation present.
Which reminds me that must get cards for her and for John.

I've known Talia since she was like... 2!
Really.
She was in my first wedding as a junior bridesmaid at the tender age of 11.
We celebrated her first prom with a manicure, pedicure, facial and an updo.
She's practically my own daughter, without the aggravation and without the expense, LOL!
She is a beautiful girl and with any other parents, she might have turned into a fluffy snob, worried about her blue eyes and fair skin, her long blond hair, her killer body and the boys that come panting at her front door.
Instead she turned into a young woman who is into the outdoors, rarely combs her hair, wears clothes two sizes too big, sleeps late (even for certain important weddings, ahem), and wants to get into the environment. Willard and Lauree did a terrific job raising her. She has a good set of core values and has the beginnings of what is a solid foundation in understanding the meaning of the world around us and appreciating it. She has a ways to go but she's well on her way. Now, I just have to have a chat with her about some certain little boy from New Zealand. NEW ZEALAND!!! ARG!!!

Got the graduation cards. They aren't traditional graduation cards. It's hard to explain but... one says, "dare to be remarkable" and the other says "live to the point of tears" and they are blank inside. I think they are much better than the traditional ones that say "go party" or "it's over". These are the kind of kids that actually read and think about what you tell them. "Go party" isn't exactly sage advice.

I was told once by he-who-is-no-longer-in-my-life (Hwinliml) that I tended to lecture John the "nephew." John and I would have good, serious and meaningful conversations about life, love, and the meaning of eternity. What Hwinliml didn't get was that John and I are a lot alike. He thought that John should be a "boy" and a "teenager." But John's not like that. I remember when I asked if John could stay with us for a few months. There was a lot of cajoling and pleading, begging and bargaining on my part. Hwinliml said there was no way he was going to have some snotty nosed willful teenager in his house. I tried to explain "John is Korean!" I guess you have to be Asian to understand what that sentence means. There is a whole host of culture and good blood and losing face and respect and all that seems lost on society these days in that single phrase: John is KOREAN! Anyway, John came to stay and Hwinliml was amazed. Never did he once apologize or agree with me or say that he was wrong for assuming. I wasn't really sure what orientation towards teens he had that he would think so poorly of them. I see young people and all of their potential. Anyway... John and I would spend car rides, afternoons walking around, evenings around the dinner table, talking about life and truth and the search for meaning in almost everything we experienced in the every day. John is the child of my heart. The son that I wish I could have had. Our talks re-engergized me. Took me back to a philosophy of life that I had lost and missed while living with Hwinliml. Hwinliml would travel between level one and level two of Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs. I had traveled up the pyramid a bit more, having lived the lower levels in prior lives. Food and shelter didn't matter as much as quenching the thirst for knowledge and truth, and walking a path to self-enlightenment. When I had given up hope, John came along and gave me air to breathe again. And through his young eyes, my world became new.

And now you know why Hwinliml will always live where he lives with his status defined by the size of his condo and why I escaped to different parts - to embrace, to love, to laugh and cry, to fall and bleed and get back up again, to finally breathe all the air that my lungs can hold, to try and make a difference in a small piece of the world ... and to take a wild chance in living life to the fullest.

And that is what I would like to impart to John on his graduation day.
To live to the point of tears.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

R&R

I wonder if Debbie went spinning tonight. :o)

Skipped track.
Joe decided I needed a little R&R.
After work, went to CVS to pick up a prescription and my three-day long day came to a head, right at the CVS prescription counter, starting with the stupid guy in front who took 15 minutes checking out because of COUPONS?!?!?!

I got home and was totally lost it.

Joe said it was a good day to go out somewhere for dinner, sit down with a drink and have a nice dinner, sit back and relax.

We went to The Dish. Sat outside. I had a Compari on ice with a wedge of lime. Joe had wine. We shared a cucumber, tomato, mozzerella salad with pesto dressing, and a lobster quesadilla. Then a sweet sausage pizza with asiago cheese, roasted red peppers and carmelized onions. We took the doggie. Saw the other doggies with their owners from the doggie park, who also had the same good idea as Joe did. Nice leisurely walk back home.

House Note. Seems the plumber was here today. He did a lot of work. Joe saw him when he got home early this afternoon and had a chance to chat with him. I wonder what will be new tomorrow?

The Big Squeeze

I find myself squeezing moments out of my days, lately.
Squeezing time between meetings to have a bite.
Squeezing time in the morning between early morning calls with India to get in a short run.
Squeezing time to get a cup of coffee.
Time contracts, it never expands.
Something to think about.

I feel as if I have lived one long day across the past three calendar days.
Starting a 6:30am with conference calls with the India staff, 2-3 hour meetings when I finally get into the office, with a little time for eating, peeing, and finally for sleeping only to repeat the pattern again just a few hours later.

Two hours to breathe and I find myself surfing the internet, paying bills, and other sundry housekeeping items - and when I have time, I always seem to reach for the most mindless and lowest priority task on the list. It could be because the amount of time my brain is actually engaged in thought has increased to a point where, like any muscle (is the brain really a muscle or a sponge?) contracted to the fullest, it must let go before it can get stronger and contract once more. Meetings are supposed to make you brain dead but I find that I am thinking all the time and so when I am not in meetings, I can't think any more. And thus, other meaningful work just sits on my desk, waiting for a better day.

Last night, we went to The Teryaki House with Amanda and Gina. Other than the slowest waitress in the world who couldn't speak or understand English, it was a delightful meal. We tried everything from the bourbon chicken with fried rice, to the chicken teryaki with white rice, rainbow rolls, vegetable tempura, spicy tuna rolls, salmon nigiri, Alaska roll (Salmon, avocado, cucumber), spider roll (always one of my favorites), tuna roll, soaking it all with a topper of Kirin. It was a veritable feast, with good conversation and an invitation from Amanda to go to Hope and Lisa's house on Friday to play poker with the whole(some) gang. Come to find out this morning, Hope confirmed with Joe that everyone was indeed gathering at their house on Friday and she was glad she received advance notice of it.

Yesterday was a good running day. 4.3 miles easy along the Charles. I am finally learning what easy running is all about. It was one of those rare moments when I felt I could on much longer than I needed to. Today is a track day. Which always brings feelings of dread. But it will be followed by pizza which makes Track Day much more favorable.

House Note. The HVAC guy came and roughed out the ducts and the openings in the floor where the new heat and AC will blow out (and return - just learned that new terminology). It looked fine except for one or two which got cleared up quickly. At least there is some feeling of progress. I am afraid that I will go home to find holes in our floor, dust covering everything, and not much else to show for all the work that they presumably are supposed to be doing today.

Contact. Finally made contact with the lawyer who knows Marc Guggenheim. She forwarded my email directly to Marc Guggenheim and she said he should be in touch with me. For those who care to know and don't already, he is the executive producer of the Law & Order series, which I watch religiously, including repeats. Which is good that they have repeats as I tend to fall asleep before the new ones are over with. I will make a request that he gets them aired at least an hour earlier for those of us who have to work in mundane corporate jobs.

Brother Note. I sent my brother an email. Any bets on when he will read it and when he will reply to me after he's read it? Any takers? Anyone?

Monday, May 17, 2004

Mid-Day Report.

So I called the Fastlane people and it turns out they have the Miata plates on file associated with my Fastlane pass. So they take a picture, and pass the picture to the database. If the plates match, they do a "Visual toll" instead of giving me a ticket. Thank goodness. I put my other car on this same Fastlane Account as well just in case. Phew!

Convergence

Some days, all things seem to come together.
I had a good run this morning, a relatively free day at work, nothing much to do this evening, I am healthy and of sound mind, and no one has managed to piss me off so far. The fact that I forgot to take my prescription meds this morning (I take them twice a day - once in the morning and once in the evening) doesn't cause me any stress - it just rolls off my back. The fact I must call the Fastlane people to explain why I passed through without putting up the Fastlane pass through the tolls doesn't upset me. So what if they disagree and I have to pay a ticket. C'est la vie!

Running Note. After yesterday's good hard effort at the 5k race, I ran easy this morning. 4 miles were on the schedule and I thought I'd go out and if I was miserable, I'd cut it short to 2 miles and call it a day. My legs were a little tight and just a tad tired but nothing remotely excruciating. I ran easy. I didn't worry about time. When I felt tight, I pulled back and when I felt good, I sped up a little. It was one of those rare days when everything came together - the lungs, the heart and the legs - and I decided to savor the event. The Charles was just beautiful this morning.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Lots to Talk About

We have a lot to talk about.
Let's see.
Where do we start?
There is the scotch dinner on Friday.
The miserable run on Saturday.
And this morning's Marino Lookout Farm 5k where I mingled with Doug Flutie and his family. Quite literally. At the Gazebo.

Friday night dinner was the Club of Six with had been expanded to the Club of 12 for Scotch and wine and good food. We got there to a wonderful table set with the scotch samplings. There were three: Bruichladdich, a Glenrothe, and the Isle of Jura Superstition. I am not crazy about the Superstition, as I am not crazy about the Isle of Jura. BUt it was smoother than other Isle of Juras I've had in the past. The Bruichladdich was very light and very nice - kinda sweet. But my favorite was the Glenrothe from Speyside. I prefer Islay but Speysides cuts a close second. For accompaniment there was sheeps milk cheese from spain with a sausage, and a plate of three goat cheeses. I am not even going to pretend to know what they were. I am not a huge goat cheese fan - they taste kinda... well... goaty.

We moved onto dinner. Accompanied by a Pinot Noir from Julia Vineyard :o) and a Chardonnay, they served a couscous with zuchini and tomato, chopped eggplant in wonderful spices, a chicken tarragon with big slices of button mushrooms, lMorrocon lamb that was big chunks of lamb stewed with onion (not sure since I can't eat lamb but it smelled just wonderful!), and peking duck from Chinatown.

Then time for dinner. Two of the guests (our very own Gina Bina) and Lisa had had birthdays recently so there was cake. And Tirone. YUM! And dates stuffed with marscapone cheese and pecan halves. OMG! And Talisker - another Speyside that happens to be on my short list of favorites.

Afterwards, we all moved to the wonderful back porch overlooking a very nicely manicured and landscaped garden where Amanda Panda posed for pictures, gave everyone a lesson on cigars (one of which I thought smelled like horse), and a few people partook of a few puffs.

Joe and I had to leave after this point. We got lost in Nahant of course. Which is intersting because it is quite literlly ONE square mile and is basically an island connected to Revere or whatever but a spit of land that is something like and ithsmus. I mean, it's not like you can end up anywhere in Kansas or anything. But we rode around and find the ithsmus and got home just fine. That night. Happy happy!


Saturday was a very busy day. Where to start where to start? Joe is so sweet. He had the whole day planned for us so I didn't have to worry about any details or anything. The most important thing is the first thing we did was go to Krispy Kreme for hot donuts. Happy happy!

Oh. I ran 4.3 miles easy in the HEAT which made it a HARD run and it totally SUCKED and I hated my life and wondered why I bothered to run at all! GAH!!! And that was that. Of course, we had a wonderful dinner of grilled prawns marinated in herbs and garlic, with rice and a spinach salad.

Then a wonderful masssage from Joseph. The massage table is the best present I've ever gotten!

Today was race day. Sigh. Let me say that living with your coach can be both good and bad. He devises a running schedule for you. He gets you out there when you don’t wanna. He tells you to rest when you don’t wanna. (HAH! That does happen ya know!!!) He tells you why you can run better and faster than you think that you can. (Lots of blah blah blah …) He tells you what to do and what not to do and it doesn’t stop there. If you don’t listen, he is a living reminder of all the things that you didn’t do when you know you shoulda. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t nag, is only encouraging, and seems always proud of everything you do. It’s the fact that he is… just…. THERE! Ya know? And he knows everything. EVERYTHING! You can’t LIE or FIB and say you ran when you didn’t. You can’t say you were good on your food plan because if you complain about the sucky run you just had, he reminds you how BAD your eating has been of late.

Well, the training season has started and the process of slowly realizing the consequences of living with your coach is slowly dawning on marblehead. Like two weeks ago when I didn’t want to go to track and we did. :o\

This morning we had a race. A 5K. Did I mention I hate 5k’s?? For short distances, I hate anything longer than a 200m. Not that I’ve ever raced a 200m but it’s over faster. I like anything where pain is over FAST. So, we go to this race. Did I mention I ran a TEMPO RUN on THURSDAY?? This is running fast with pain twice in ONE WEEK! ARG!!! Of course I couldn’t say that because I get “The Smile.” Sort of like “The Look” only worse.

Yesterday we picked up race numbers and drove the course. Not bad, we thought. I thought I could do a Tempo Run. Joe said I could have a really good run. You know that feeling of dread? A “Good Run?” Oh… That means he wants me to run FAST! Not like a tempo run. But REALLY FAST. Like the kind of run where you feel you are going to start sweating blood? Where you taste bile? Where you think your stomach is going to explode into fire? I didn’t like how he said “good race.”

Well, after dinner on Saturday, Joe starts tells me what kind of race I will have. Huh? He gives me a mile by mile prediction of what time I will be where and how I will feel with every step. He breaks up each mile marker into split times (the split is the time takes to go from mile to mile (or from set point to set point)). I don't say anything because he is citing some incredibly fast numbers. Right. Whatever, I think.

It was a beautiful day and just perfect for a run. 60's, low crowds, graying sky. Just wonderful. Joe tells me not to line up too far back, that I would feel uncomfortable lining up toward the front, but I had to in order to get away from the walkers, once-year-runners, and all manner of slower people who would be interspersed from the start line to the back. I would end up dodging and being held up, taking more energy! We go out for a warmup – I ran about 1.6 miles give or take and then wait 15 minutes to start.

So I walk to with Joe to line up. He stops at the starting line and I keep going back. About 20 feet. Until I saw my first fat person. Seriously! I thought… there is NO WAY that person can run faster than me (although this has come back to bite me before). So I stop right in front of them.

The line starts moving. Joe had said not to look at my watch or better yet, don’t wear it. WHAT? Are you crazy? *sob!* “Okay. So wear it but don’t look at the time.” Okay. Happy happy. I set my timer for every 5 minutes to beep – this way if I can finish before the 6th beep, I knew I’d be in good shape. I change my watch to chrono while the line moves forward. Uh oh! It’s on alarm and OMG! I can’t get it off of alarm and OMG!!! I can’t set the chrono! GAH!!!! KILL ME NOW!!! Okay. Whatever. Ignore the watch!!!

The race starts. What can I say other than that I ran? I ran and ran.
The final result was a 5k PR! I beat my prior PR which set in April of 2002. I wonder what I can do if I trained, seriously trained for 6 months. Hmmm…

On the way home, Joe and I talked about my run. He was real proud of me (I am always amazed at how he always seems to be proud of everything I do) and said I ran a good effort. He reminded me that he had predicted last night how I would run (I had forgotten about that) and I was amazed. I commented that I had never really trained for speed. Sure, I’ve done track and all but only for about two months. Then I fall into training for some marathon that I had planned like a year ago. I wondered out loud what would happen if I really spent about a year going through all the training phases and concentrating on getting overall speed. Maybe I should haven’t have said that in the presence of my coach. I looked over and he was just smiling. Hmmm.

Friday, May 14, 2004

TGIF!

I can say that again. TGIF! TG!
I don't feel like working today.
Too much trivia to catch up on.

Running Note. Ran Cinco De Mayo last night. Paulie puts on a pretty good race and party. It was supposed to be 4.4 miles but after running it, I think it is closer to 4.2 miles. Ran 1.6 miles to warm up. 1.6 miles because that would be added to the 4.4 to make 6 miles for the day. But Nooooo... I have a total of 5.8 miles instead because the course was short. Should have known! ARG!

This morning, I went out and ran an easy 2 miler. It was fast. I always run after the day after a race. It feels slow compared to the race and that's why I don't run more than that after speedwork. At least not for a while to come.

House Note. The gas line is in. They came yesterday morning and tore up the street, put the gas line in, then closed the street back up. Construction guys came but they didn't do much - just took out a bunchastuff - all the cabinets and some trash. Not sure what else they did. But they didn't smoke in the house.

I saw some fluted moldings in a magazine and now I think I am going back to wanting those instead of the flat mouldings. They will look better with the new cabinets and the new crown moldings. Did I blog about this before? Probably.

Miscellany. Got an email from my friend Jo in NYC. HI JO!!! ( if you are reading this). Gave her the link to this blog.

Stupid People Note. Nicholas Berg's father thinks that Bush's sins killed his son. [Noooo, you moron. The Al Qaeda did.] He thinks that the Al Qaeda is almost as bad as Bush. [Noooo.... if you like them more than this government, you can just go and live with them. You can be their next martyr.] Even in grief, how can anyone make such an ignorant and ill-advised statement? And Nicholas Berg should have known what he was walking into. No one is untouchable when it comes to Al Qaeda and the fanatic Muslims. Why, their own sons, wifes, and daughters are considered expendable for martydon. Why should a complete stranger from the enemy country be more off limits to death and mayhem than their own families - other than the way they die, of course. Okay. That's it on this topic. I am turning the channel.

Food Note. Tonight is the Club of Six dinner. There will be 12 of us. We are in charge of wine. There will be plenty of scotch. I'll give a complete report afterwards.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Comments, Anyone?

I have now given up on the comments thing. I see Joe has managed to put comments on his blog. I added them to mine again and republished the whole thing. And yup. No Comments! ARG! Whatever.

Last night we went to Delux for dinner.
Having no kitchen is one thing.
Having no place for even a makeshift kitchen is entirely different thing.
So last night instead of being irritable about it, we went to Delux.
One Kettel One Dirty martini with three olives
Chili con queso with srichacha sauce and light crisped flour tortillas
Lightly grilled cheese sandwich with avocado, tomato and sprouts (and the cheese I can't remember what kind) with a side of cole slaw with fennel (I think) and light dusting of curry powder.
It was perfect!

House Note. I couldn't really tell what they did yesterday. I got home and smelled smoke in the upstairs! DAMN! Anyway, they had prepared the back wall by taking the boards off and having just studs. They took up the tile in the old kitchen area, as well as taking out the rest of the old kitchen cabinets. They had nicely bagged everything neatly and put aside the stuff into one area. I guess all this took a while. Joe tried to explain it to me but I didn't get most of it. Okay. Whatever you say. I think I am going to go with the fluted moldings. The kitchen cabinet moldings and the crown moldings will match and they will NOT go with the existing moldings. So I may have to go with the fluted and the rosettes. I think that would look better than flat anyway.

Running Note. Yesterday was a rest day. Today I have a race. It will be a tempo run. I hate races. I hate speedwork. I hate pain. Not happy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

New Things

I just made some changes to the blog.
I hope the comment thing works.
Let's see if it does.

Ok. It didn't work. WhatEVER! GAH! I didn't want any comments anyway. Pffft.

A Lighter Note

Running Note. Got myself out of the house and ran 4.3 miles today. I don't think I was rested enough. My legs were good but my HR was way high. Tomorrow I have a race for speedwork. Great.

House Note. Well, they are here. They started this morning. When I get home, the back wall might be blasted out. GAK! Hope the grrr-animals are okay through all this today. What an upheaval! I picked out the cabinets this morning. No hassles. I think Scottie the Contractor was happy and surprised about that one.

On a slightly different note. I am doing well on my eating plan. I like having some guidance on what to eat and how much to eat so I don't mindlessly graze all day long. I finally remembered to weigh myself. I had gained weight while we were in Iceland but I got rid of all that and a few more ounces. I have 8.4 pounds to lose to get back to where I was when I moved out of Quincy and into Boston. It's my best weight.

There Are No Surprises In Life

Not if you really look.
The problem is that you don't notice it until after the fact.
As they say, hindsight is 20-20.

Given that.
I've said it before and I'll say it again.
One. Big. Bomb.
Why do we negotiate with terrorists?
It's like negotiating with a wall.
They live with a different set of rules. A set of rules that we abhor.
They live differently, they fight differently.
There are no civilians in the community of terrorists.
Men, women, children, and in some cases, fetuses inside pregnant women are all soldiers in their war.
Why do we treat them as civilians?
Seems we are playing by two sets of rules.
In my mind, they've up the ante.

And the media.
They are not helping.
They post pictures and stories on a right to know basis.
In times of war, it should be on a need to know basis.
They posted the pictures on the web.
Then the media picked it up.
They have been blasting us senselessly with pictures of abused prisoners.
So much so that we are almost inured to it all.
WHY do we need to see it over and over again?

The enemy picks it up.
Beheads one of our own.
The media comes back and acts all offended and appalled that this could happen.
And how do they think the enemy found out?
The media didn't stop the flow of information, certainly.
Sure there are other ways to find out but WHY help their cause?
And now they are inundating us with the pictures of the poor guy being beheaded.
And the pain of the family who had to see this on film.
Wounded, traumatized, every 15 minutes on every single tv station.

We must control ourselves and stop this voyeurism.

Everything in this country has been supersized to death.
We have supersized ourselves into obese oblivion.
The news outlets report every single diet and every single "cure" out of context.
Then they correct themselves or the scientists come out and have correct and recorrect because everything has been taken out of context. The media comes back and blasts them for inconsistency. Every word, phrase or sentence taken out of context can make even Jesus look guilty.

Now we are supercriticizing every single thing that this government is saying and doing while trying to protect this country. And in trying to answer to the media, they hesitate. One second of hesitation can create death for millions. In the case of the beheading, this man's life was worth the lives of millions to his family and loved ones.
And who are the media that they need to be so answered to??

We are not fighting a fair war.
Again, we are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.
Double standards, supersized critiques that fail to help the cause.

The Moors ruled Andalucia for 700 years.
They fell to the Christians.
Their way of life was decimated.
Cathedrals were built on top of and inside of their mosques.
Desicration and defilement at its best.

Why didn't such a strong society, with such inventiveness and culture, survive?
We take our life for granted. We fall into complacency. When there is a wake up call, we are nonplussed that the enemy dares to sniff at our doors.

We are only 250 years old - give or take.
How long will this country last?
What are we doing to ourselves?
What history have we learned from?

You have to experience want and terror.
To those who don't like it here, leave.
Go somewhere else.
Give away 50-70% of your income for socialized medicine and other social programs to support the ones who aren't as capable. Why work? Why excel?
Read censored newspapers.
Have the choice of only going to a limited number of hospitals and doctors with limited resources. Stand in line for the latest shot, if you can get it. Go into OR's with limited supplies and cleanliness standards sub-part to those in the USA. Get on that waiting list for the transplant you need. Sure. There is a high survival rate - almost 100%! But 100% for the five people that got the operation doesn't consider the 25 that died waiting.
Go where opportunity is dictated by the family you are born into.
Have no choice but to sweep and dust because, well, your family has done it for generations past.
The list goes on.
We may not be perfect, but I think it's the best of what's out there.
So, go somewhere else.
And talk to me in a year or two.

Like I said. One Big Bomb.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Hmmm... Not sure about this

I am not sure about this new interface. I kindaliked the old one just fine. If it's ain't broke and if it don't provide value add, why change? We will see what we will see.

Mother's Day Note. So I think about Mother's Day alot but I never thought to blog about it until I read something on Debbie's blog about it. My mother and I never did see eye to eye. Debbie mentioned that her mother knew about her running. I tried to keep everything about myself and my life from my mother because she never approved about anything I did. I never worked hard enough, I was never pretty enough, never willowy enough, thin enough, smart enough. Why coudn't I get a nice handsome doctor making millions of dollars so I and my family could be supported in the fashion she would liked to have been. We were so apart on everything from what to have for breakfast to the existence of God that you would have thought we were from two different planets. My brother and sister assures me she loved me. Which I guess she did in her own sort of way. The problem wasn't her criticism of me so much as her constant haranguing out loud about all of this. And then she would move onto my father and all his terrible faults and how she was wronged by him. 20 years of history and none of it was her fault. In fact, she just couldn't let go.

So I spent years basically divorcing myself from her. Now I find myself thinking of her more often than I ever have. I see the troubled soul that she really was. And I thank god that I had the resilience and the wherewithall to come out of it not too terribly damaged, able to carve out a niche for my self, find a corner of the world where I feel I have value and love and a life that might have some kind of meaning or impact to others in the end. I don't hate her any more. I think I never hated her. I just resented the intrusion into the calmness I desperately tried to carve out when I felt the all the world was chaos. I remember feeling uncomfortable around mothers all my life. Any mother. It didn't matter whose mother it was. I never felt at home in their presence. Their questions and interest in me would translate in my mind to nosiness or an attempt to find something to be critical about. I never engaged in conversation much with mothers - keeping a wary vigilance, skirting the boundaries of closeness and disinterest. As a result, I am more critical of mothers than I am of fathers. And I struggle with this to this day.

Something good? Let's see. I do know that I have her to thank for the strength of my heart - quite literally. My cardiovascular system comes from her. I know that to this day. My father was strong physically but physiologically, I think his heart wasn't as strong as my mother's.

I could write a book about my mother. I could probably write more than one book.

Here's to you, Mother. You might be interested to know that I am on the path to forgiveness - of you, of me, and of what our relationship lacked.

I hope you have found a new daughter, to love and cherish and to be proud of, regardless of her faults, regardless of her lacking, wherever you may be. And I hope and pray that she loves you back.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Will it every get WARM???

ARG!!! I am so damn cold!!! I can't get warm. It's like 50 freaking degrees and my hands are like ice and they are gonna fall off any minute!

So of course I had 10 miles, and I couldn't ever get warmed up, not to mention warm, sop I had a LOUSY SUCKY FREAKIN' RUN!!! GAH!!! Tomorrow I have 4 miles. That had better NOT SUCK!

Turns out Scottie the Contractor will be pulling a permit on Monday.
That can either mean one of several things.
FIrst, he has gone to the planning board and they have signed off and he will get the permit to start on Tuesday.
Second, it could be that he is planning to go to the planning board on Monday and is feeling potimistic and thinks that everything will pass and so he can pick up the permit on that same day.
Third, he is thinking about going to to start the permitting process - meaning he hasn't made an appointment with the planning board. Does one need an appointement with the planning board or does one just show up?

Amanda Panda and GIna Bina are in MIAMI! How JEALOUS AM I?? At least it's in the 80's there. I hope they are warmed than I am.

Lst nikght's Auction was fun. The parents were bidding up the prices and things were going for the thousands of dollars. Glad I am not a parent or I would have walked out there needing a second mortgage.

Tonight is the BIG AUCTION with things like HOUSES and VACATIONS and an audience of GOD and stuff like that. Big time auction. Black tie. Should be interesting.

I am so tired, I can't wait to just REST for a change.

Tomorrow we are going to M&D's (Mom and Dad's) or B&I's (Bernie and Irene's) if you want to call them that. I am a bit uncomfy with calling them by their first names but M&D doesn't really sound 100% right - although it's a lot better than their first names. So I call them M&D and B&I because it gets rid of the headaches and hassles of thinking about it all. Cookout for Mother's Day and then we get the Miata.

So we filled out one of the friend's questionnaires and Cher sent it to me (of course I had to send it out since she said I was the least likely to send it back, which is of course true, but god knows I can't let her RIGHT or anything like that) and Joe said it was kinda scary how similar her and my answers were. I had more detail, though, which I pointed out to him.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Onward Ho!

Okay. So I decided that I am not going to stress over my reports. If I ever get a chance, they will get done. Otherwise, they will just sit as is.

I blew off my run this morning. It was only 2 miles but after back to backs from the speedwork on Wednesday night to the 4.3 miles on Thursday morning, my legs are still sore. Tomorrow I have a 10-miler so I decided not to push it.

Haven't heard from the contractor yet. But that's good news, I think. We still have a buncha junk on our first floor so I will get that cleaned up this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend. It will be very busy.
Tonight we have an auction at Joe's niece's school - supposed to be pretty big as far as auctions go.
Tomorrow night we have a black tie gala to benefit the Newton Wellesley Hospital. Turns out that Carol McMullen from Joe's work is on the board or something or other and she has a table and has invited. She is married to Sean (sp?) Rusch (sp?) who is a friend of Don Haile - who is the CIO of out entire firm and the President of our company. So Sean tells me to tell Don he said Hi. Yeah, right. Like I am gonna walk up to Don Haile and say, hey! Your good buddy Sean told me to tell you hi. Right. But I might mention it if I happen to pass him in the hall or something. And I do see him every one in a while.

Sunday we are going to go to Cheshire to get the Miata. Woo hoo!
It's Summertime!
Wheeeee!!!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Another Blog

I. Must. Blog.

I am so busy I can't find the time.
I am seriously considering a workout blog.

I have been wondering how one manages to download their blog stuff without printing out page after page, if you want to save the content? Can anyone tell me? Anyone?

Still writing all of my reports.
Actually, I haven't actually be writing anything - they've been sitting in a document on my hard drive because I haven't had a chance to go back and write more. At some point, it seems like it will be too late to go back and finish it. Ya know?

Monday, May 03, 2004

I am BACK!

So, Cher is yelling at me to update my blog. ARG! I am busy trying to work!
Now she knows how I feel when she doesn't update her blog.

I am desperately trying to write a report of the wedding and the race and the hunny moon!
But I haven't found the time since I started the wedding report last week on the way home on the airplane!!!

I do have a run to report.

Running Note. Ran 2 miles this morning. Fast. It felt easy so I don't get why it was so fast time-wise. Tomorrow is a rest day so I am going to go lift weights. Good intentions. Let's see if I am paving my way to Hell. I am halfway there, as far as I can tell.

House Note. So now that the wedding is over, we have a house renovation event starting (hopefully soon) that will replace the wedding notes in my blog. We signed the contract today. I gave Scottie the Contractor my pictures. Joe gave him a check. We are happy. So far. More to come on this.