Thursday, June 29, 2006

Note to self...

...put spare key to house in a safe place...

And that does NOT mean on my key ring, which I always forget to take with me!

On my way out this morning, grabbed my stuff, checked the doorknob behind me, closed the door.

No pocketbook.
No key.
It was in the pocketbook.

Think think think...

Do I really need my pocketbook?
Let's see...
Wallet ... Money...
Company badge....

Look in the hall closet.
Hope that by some minor miracle...


What to do what to do what to do...

Call Joseph.
He's coming to unlock the door for me.
Poor Joseph.

At least I can drive him back to the office!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I. am. home.

Oh. So soon, you ask?
Why, yes. Too soon, I answer.



So. I left the house and made it back with 5 minutes to spare.
They standing at the desk collecting yellow cards that identify us by panel number and seat number.
"Go home," they say. "The case is closed."
Huh? The Case? I thought there were twenty.
So, I came all the way back for them to tell me to "Go home?"


They couldn't have told the first 4 panels they sent out early to go home and not come back?
And those who didn't get to go to lunch early, how long did they have to wait until they were all dismissed? 5 minutes, 10?


The whole jury process is a mess. How disorganized. How time-wasting. How inefficient. Can there NOT be a better way to do this??

And to think that I didn't schedule a trip to Toronto with the Dead Runners because of this.
Hmmm... I wonder if it's too late....

And now I am done for three more years.

At least I didn't get called to a trial - that means I would have actually had to TALK to someone.
Now I am home and can finish up the work day.

Thanks goodness!

Break from the Jury Room

I am at home.
They kept coming in the room and telling us that things were moving slowly.
Uh... okay. No shit sherlock.
Then at 11:55, they said that some panels, which they will call, can go to lunch early but be back by 1:45 (as opposed to 2pm when they originally told us that lunch is from 1-2pm).
My panel got called.
I rushed home.
And plugged in my laptop and sent off all the emails I was working on while I was sitting in the Jury Room.

I gulped down lunch and in about 15 minutes, I have to leave the house.

This is ridiculous.
They say that they try to plead as many cases out as possible.
They didn't tell us that this morning.
But I had heard that's what they try to do.
Well... with 20 cases, they had better be pleading out every single one, given how long it's been and no one's been called yet!


Civic Duty??? sit here????

It's 10:44.
Been here since 7:45.
No one's been called to a room yet.
And they have 20 cases to hear today!!!!


I see spots... I sit here in the jury pool room...

I look down at my shirt and see a big ole red spot from breakfast this morning! ARG!!!!!

On the other hand, might it get me out of jury duty???

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


…open a bottle of mostly-frozen-somewhat-melted Poland Springs Sparkling Bottled water…



Even on top of your laptop keyboard.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gadgets: luv 'em or leave 'em...

So, I thought I would go into a bit of detail on my new luv toy, the new gadget, the thing that makes me wanna run...the Polar R200sd.

I ran today. 4 miles.
I ran yesterday. 2 miles.
Last week, I ran 3.03 miles.

Just to recap, after a week in Big Sur, I went away.
15 days in India. No Running. Lots of strange food and being chauffeured around. We are talking MINIMAL MOVEMENT - just enough to breathe and stay alive!!!

Then I got back and went to Ohio for 9 days.
No running - fighting jet lag, sour stomach, India e.coli, and a buncha other things.

Then I got back home just two weeks ago, got oriented, situated and did a buncha other things.
In the meantime, I went ahead and bought the Polar R200sd heart rate monitor. It's totally AWESOME! And after calibrating it last weeks (which I couldn't have done without my wonderful Hunny Bunny), it's even AWESOME-r!

I love it.
And I hate it.
So, after 6 weeks of no running, I strap on the Heart Rate Monitor and I am in heaven.
The thing actually works. It doesn't just bleep and bloop.
It actually registers a heart rate!
And when it does, it doesn't tell me that I am on the verge of death or ready to bust an aorta.
Uh no. I don't think that a HR of 270 is quite right.

Anyway, so here I am running along. It tells me my pace and it tells me my heart rate. And they seem to be reasonable, as in probably correct. At least it looks more correct that the old ones - which It threw out this morning.

So after a couple of run, I have a few observations.
First, after 6 weeks off my usual resting HR of 41 BPM is up to 45 BPM. Great. NOT!
My EASY run is run at an entirely too high of a HR.
Instead of the easy 65-70% HR, I am at 74% and I am running a 12:00 mile. HELLOOO.
That was yesterday.
So Today, I go out and I am running along and I am at 81% and I am running an 11:21 mile.
I have a feeling that I've been running my easy runs entirely too fast (typical).
So it's probably going to take me a MONTH to get it down to the right percentages.
I used one of those university-proved formulas to calculate max HR.
In a couple of weeks when a simple run doesn't make me wanna puke, I'll take it out to Mt Vernon Street and see how high my HR will go.

Oh, the other thing is that this damn thing also says that the routes I've got mapped out are all SHORT!
No wonder my training stats don't support real world running of marathons! Or anything that is officially measured and NOT SHORT! GAH!!!

All I know is there is supposed to be a cold front coming through.
It had better get here fast before my skin melts off from the heat.

Oh, and can we talk about why I POUR BUCKETS OF SWEAT inside of 2 minutes in anything over 70% temps? Ok, maybe not…

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's times like this...

...when I am glad that I live only 20 minutes walk from the office...

Every train going through Back Bay station was delayed. What that means... one can only guess. Sometimes it's 10 minutes, other times it's hours. Take your pick.

It was a nice breezy walk home. I managed to keep to the shadows. It was a little hot but not the sweat-river-fest it was this morning. This morning, I could feel the sweat DRIPPING on my neck. My face looked like it was ice slowly melting. Only, it didn't feel cool. It was amazing that my clothes weren't soaked!

Nothing tonight. So much so that I left my laptop in the office. I've been getting so much work done that I am happy leaving my work at the office! Of course, more work fills in the space behind it...

I guess I should go take the Dingle for a wallk now. She's starting to whine. And I need to go by the Syrian market for some sweet red pepper paste. I wonder what time they close...

Ahhh...the life of the worryless.

Kicking off the week

I am coming back.
Sad to say that according to my run this morning, I am 2 minutes per mile slower than in April, when I ran at Big Sur. And I only ran 2 miles. So what if the temps were already in the 70's? I also discovered that my usual 2-mile route is short. I had to go another half block to make up the .05 mile shortfall. I was so annoyed. Joseph told me that on the days when it is crowded and I have to run around people, I will put on more miles than on a less crowded day like today. The sad part is that most of the time that I run this route, it's about as crowded as it was this morning. Which means that I've been logging my .95 mile runs as 1 mile. AND cutting it short because I didn't run to the edge of the block. grrr.... And HOW did I know this? With my all too handy dandy new toy, the Polar R200sd. On Saturday, we went to the MIT track and calibrated it. Thank goodness Joseph was there. I would have taken me an hour instead of the time it took me to run the mile to calibrate and to verify the calibration.

My new toy has a few "view settings" where you can see what's going on. They even let you change the display. Ideally, I would like pace, distance, countdown timer, and heart rate. Sometimes I might even like the total time. The problem is that I only get 3 lines per display and I need 5. There are five displays. You can scroll through all the displays while running but that's kind of a pain. I need to figure out two displays and just scroll back and forth between them. That's MUCH better than scrolling through 5 displays all the time. I am also going to switch my Heart Rate display to show percentage HR instead of the BPM. Much easier to figure out my target zone as opposed to worrying about BPM and mentally calculating it. Other than that, I am done setting up the new toy. The only other thing I can do is use the computer and I am not ready to be that anal.

[WHY IS THE DAMN DINGLE WHINING??? ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
Excuse me...
...ok... that's better....

I would also like to note that I've gained back enough poundage over the weekend of eating out to take me back to LAST TUESDAY! BAH! So, today starts anew my 4-5 meal a day eating plan. I should have this weight dropped in about two days.

Tomorrow, I have 4 miles. I need to get out there earlier or the heat is gonna kill me.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A camping we will go...

I told you I'd go camping.
All those naysayers among you, bow your heads in shame.
Shamey shamey shamey!
Ye of little faith….

Yesterday - amidst all the stupid walking I did, we went to Hilton's Tent City and got a tent! It's a Eureka Sunrise 9 which means a 3 season 9x9 tent. Nice. It was on sale, too. Even nicer. We also picked up a cot for Joseph for when we run Reach the Beach in September, a set of cookware - non stick, a couple bottles of Dr Bonners Almond Soap (not for camping but could be used for it since it's biodegradeable), a cast iron pan (a smaller version of the one I already have - this one is a 10-in, I think. It's for the house, not for camping), and Joseph got some metal stake-things. Not sure what they are for. We spent a lot of money - probably the cost of one night at a NICE hotel in Boston, or a couple of nights at an average hotel.

And we are going camping next week. HAH!
Joseph came in and told me I had two choices, which I said either one was fine. He's running a triathlon next weekend so I want him to be comfortable. Our thoughts on camping differ, starting with the tent. My idea of camping is treking up a side of a mountain, popping open your single man tent, getting water from a fresh water stream and popping in some iodine pills, having a dinner of mac and cheese made in a tin can using the iodined water and freeze dried powder cheese. Joseph's idea is different and I got a whiff of it when he said we were gonna "take the car" and "there is going to be flush toilets and showers" and when he bought the Coleman double burner gas cook stove a couple of year so. His is a different type of camping. The tent for starters is a BIG OLE TENT - you can stand in it. AND we are taking an aerobed. And there will be flush toilets and showers. And we will plug things into our car to make coffee, get a radio station, inflate the aerobed… all sorts of comforts from home.

I will have to pack the DEET.
Maybe we can get a hibachi and grill out steaks.
MAYBE I'll bring a rice maker and Kimchee!
Hmmm... I wonder how different I can make it.

I wonder if there will be fishing.
I might have to get a fishing pole…

I don't even have to run...

…to get in a good workout this weekend…

Yesterday, I walked 7.52 miles.
Today, I've walked 8.35 miles and the day is NOT. EVEN. OVER.
It's only 5:35 pee emm.
We are meeting Joe's sister Judi at the Rock Bottom Cafe for dinner tonight and that is about a mile there and a mile back. NOT to mention that it's 94.8 FREEKIN' HOT OUT!!! This is according to my handy dandy weather station that my Hunny Bunny got me for Christmas one year. I have to do all this walking on the HOTTEST DAY OF THE WHOLE YEAR! GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have also eaten out both days - well, today is not over but last night we met our friends Lenny and Julie at Croma, and tonight we are going to Rock Bottom Cafe, which I've already mentioned.

Speaking of Croma.. so, I get an email from Opentable, where I make restaurant reservations. You get points and after you get so many, you get a dining certificate. So, anyway, the email says, they have no record of me showing up. And do I want to dispute it? OF COURSE I WANT TO DISPUTE IT!!! ARG!!! So I filled out the dispute form. I also filled in the comments and told them I WAS NOT HAPPY and that if Croma doesn't honor this, I am NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN! And I'll tell ALL MY FRIENDS TO NEVER GO THERE EITHER! GAH! Yes. I am a spoiled sport. Anyway, if I get four no-shows, I get kicked off of Opentable. SO NOT HAPPY! I know it will be resolved, but it's one more small thing that takes a minute off your life. Ya know???

So. I was saying that we will have eaten out all weekend. That means I haven't cooked dinners at all. Given my new eating plan for 4-5 small meals all day at work and a small snackie (fruit, etc) at night, I wanted to make a couple of good meals for my Hunny Bunny. WAH!!! I don’t worry about me. Just him. And Wed, Thur, Fri this week, I have events and am eating out. So now what do I with the chicken I thawed to make Coq au Vin with? I am so annoyed.

Oh. Have I mentioned that I've walked the most I've ever walked in a single day on two consecutive days, on what is the hottest weekend of the entire year?? And today is a record-setter.

So, needless to say… I didn't run this weekend.
I just walked.
A lot.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dance Dance Dance

One of my favorite shows is So You Think You Can Dance.

When I watch the dancers, I move. It starts with my shoulders. Then to moves to my back and flows to my waist. And then I realize that I am moving to the music.

Other than classical ballet, my favorite forms are the Tango, the Paso Doble (what I call the Spanish Tango) and the waltz. These are really intricate dances with partners - with many steps and much of it can be improvised on the fly if you have a good partner who knows how to lead and if you know how to follow. It's interesting that during my ballet days I hated dancing with partners. I was a strict soloist. On the other hand, when I danced the Tango and the waltz, I loved releasing myself to my partner - following where he led, fluidly, like water... I just followed, without thinking, free as the air, just being lead, being everywhere. You have to have a good partner for that. Unfortunately, I've never danced the Paso Doble but I think it's one of the most beautiful dance forms.

Other dance forms I've experienced is Jazz, Tap, Swing, and the usual Disco - child of the 80's that I am - and I even tried contemporary for a couple of years but it never "stuck."

Today I had a discussion with a friend at work. His two youngest daughters just attained level 1 black belt in Tae Kwon Doh. He and his oldest daughter were awarded level 2 black belt. I told him that now they have attained black belt they are prepared and ready to take the next step - what I call living meditation. Martial arts comes out of a philosophy of life that started in the East. It's incorporated into the Eastern philosophy about the soul, the Chi, mind, body, the cosmos, the energy that incorporates it, how to give out energy, how to retrieve energy. And there is a dance that they do in Korea that is all about the dance of the Chi... meditation. He was amazed. Wanted to know if I " had studied." I said "no, I never did martial arts" but he wouldn't believe me. Then I said, "I danced." And since he is a muscian, he understood.

For me, dance is...was my meditation. it's been a long time, but my heart still remembers and my body yearns for movement. There has been nothing since that has replaced this need - my living meditation.

Ugh. I am just a fat bloated shell of what was once flexible and graceful.
I am merely a stranger looking in through dirty dusty windows.
So sad.

Day two of the new regimen...

…and things are going well…

Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life.
I am basically eating 4-5 small meals a day - consciously about 300-400 calories per serving.
I did well yesterday until the afternoon when I forgot to eat and came home to find that I had only consumed 1000 calories! ARG! Not good. So I had some leftover pasta and a glass of wine. I also had room for tea and a half a piece of Nieman Marcus Alcohol cake! Total came to around 1900 calories.

I got on the scale this morning and had lost .6 pounds.

Today, I've been doing well. Right now I am eating my late afternoon meal - rice, sauce, egg souffle (don't ask - it's a Korean thing), with a little hot sauce… yum! So far only 1380 calores. I have room for my fruit, and later, my tea and the other half of the Nieman Marcus Alcohol cake! I hope I can eat it because I am very full right now.

I am not counting calories to the point of minutiae. It's more what I call "give or take" calorie-counting, as in "oh… it's around 100 calories, give or take 5 to 10 calories…"

Somehow I have to figure out how to get a salad into the day in addition to the serving of fruit. Of course, this means that I cannot skip a meal - which I tend to do because I FORGET TO EAT! ARG!!!

Exercise note.
Nothing at all. Only the walking. I got up tired this morning so decided to just sleep in. Tomorrow I have 3 miles scheduled. Nothing like ramping up slowly. I enjoy taking my time!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006



Okay. That doesn't have as nice a ring to it as Tomay-Toe…Tomah-Toe
But WHY does today feel like it should be Thursday?
I am two days ahead of myself. ARG!!!

I have only one explanation.
I've been so heads-down working - moving from one thing to the next things - totally organizated - prioritizing - and when non-priority things come up, I tell the non-priority-item-welding-usually-pushy-person what my priorities are, where they sit in relation to that priority and then I end the conversation.

I don't even respond to subsequent queries.
The only way that a subsequent query gets my attention and onto my priority list is for it to be THAT IMPORTANT!
The kinda THAT IMPORTANT which means that someone who is VERY SENIOR and can affect my career is somehow adversely affected by my inattention to their priority.

In which case, they get into the top of my priority list, PDQ.

So far, it's working.
And that is why I feel like it's Thursday.
I've done at least two days worth of work in a day.
Heck, I've done at least a WEEK'S worth if you consider the pre-four-weeks-away-from-the-office times.

I guess it pays to go on a real disconnected-from-work-vacation once in a while.
And be out of the office for a considerable amount of time - having people fend for themselves for a change.

Wow. If I can keep this up, my nights and weekened my just become work-worry-free.

Pictures from Ohio...

...can be found here...

There are some distinct pictures.
The first set are of Baby Alex.
She is cute - I couldn't resist.
There are also pics of the happy Mom and Grandma.

The second set are pics of golfers you may all know - Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, etc.

The third set are just random pics of golfers I couldn't really distinguish too well.

These are all from practice rounds - since you can take pics during the tournament.

Going back to basics

…and to the most basic of basics…

This morning, I took my un-calibrated Polar R200sd toy and went for my scheduled 2 mile run. I noticed that the previously Joseph-mapped 2 mile run got clocked on the Polar as approximately 1.85 miles. So tonight, I hope to go to the track with Joseph and calibrate it. Yes. To track practice with the BAA. That is laughable. Since they need the inside lane and I will need it as well, we will go a little early so that I can do my business. Joseph said maybe afterwards, I can help time or something.

Anyway, this is the beginning of my training. I have four weeks of base building. Time to ramp up distance and get used to running again. Then I have four weeks of hill running. Then I will start adding speedwork once a week. All of this is leading up to what I hope is the Kansas City Marathon at the beginning of October. I hope Missouri is a a fun place. Not like Birmingham when my friend H and I ran the Mercedes Half Marathon. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. Should have done the stupid marathon so I wouldn't have to go back to Alabama again. But anyway, I digress...

I need to do my non-tennis elbow therapy starting this week. I think that it's a good way to start getting used to some sort of lifting routine since light weights are involved. In a couple of weeks I'll add biking and then also swimming. Phew. So much to do, so little time. Need to learn to juggle the schedule.

Anyway, I have gained about 5 pounds since my 4 week sojourn around the world. And I felt every single ounce. UGH. Fat. Slow. Slug. I must get this weight off. Of course, going for Dim Sum with Debbie for lunch certainly didn't help the cause.

I brought in plenty of food so tonight before I leave the office, I will eat dinner. Then go to track. After track, I will come home and have my tea and half a serving of Neiman Marcus Alcohol cake. YUM!

Speaking of Neiman Marcus, I have to go up there and some stuff for my skincare regimen. And speaking of buying stuff, we are going to go shopping for a tent this weekend. This is my gift to Joseph for Valentines Day - a tent. Okay… it was not a TENT, per se. It was an IOU for a test. I am real good with the IOU's. Just ask Joseph. LOL! Anyway, we hope to camp at the end of the month when Joseph participates in the Webster Lake Tri. It will be fun! I wonder where we will lock up the bikes, though.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Playing with the new toy

Went out this morning and ran 1.03 miles.
I know I know... why bother.
It was a test run for my Polar R200sd.
The calibration seemed close.
I need to take it to the track and calibrate it to see if the Polar is right or my Delorme Street Atlas is right. I might have been off by .05 of a mile, but in favor of which one, I have no idea.
So, the track is inevitable.
I hope to get there this week sometime.

Tomorrow, I have 2 miles scheduled.
I am back on the ramp up road to training.
I am curious as to how I end up integrating both running and biking into my run.
I did a draft schedule last night and so far, I have no rest days. I am training 7 days a week, every week. That's probably not realistic. But I need to get on the bike and because of my job, I can't really do more than a single activity in the morning - not unless I get up at 4:15am. But I did block out my calendar until 10am every morning. I am also attempting to do some activities in the evening that doesn't endanger my life from heat exhaustion or from playing target practice wth the idiot drivers.

I am also getting serious about losing my 10 pounds. I am sick of thinking about it, writing about it, complaining about it, and lamenting about it. I am sick sick sick to death of it! Grrr....

I am also sitting on my by Big Ball at home. In fact, I am sitting on it right now. My goal is to use it instead of a chair to train my core muscles. It's not much but it's a start. After sitting on the Big Ball for about an hour last night, my sides ached a little when I got up this morning.

I just hope the Dingle Doggie doesn't end up popping this one like she popped the others.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

New Toy

So, I love gadgets. All sorts of gadgets. But the gadgets I love best are the ones that cater to my sense of detailed analysis and anal retentive obsessiveness.

On my sojourns around the city yesterday, I stopped into City Sports and picked up a new toy, the Polar R200sd. It's like the S625x that Joseph has but without all the fancy bells and whistles that he doesn't use, and which I wouldn't use either. We first heard about it from our friend Josh who replaced his broken Nike gadget with this one, and then blogged about it. Anyway, I took a look at it online and read a review, and took a look on the Road Runner Sports. Anyway, popped into City Sports to get another pedometer and there it was, staring at me through the display case. I took it out and held it and called Joseph and well, I ended up getting it.

I played with the features and it is simple enough. It's not intuitive so you can't set up the features without reading the manual but unlike most manuals, Polar has set things up to be pretty easy. You just have to read it carefully.

I've only tried the HRM feature. Much to my chagrin, my once resting heart rate of 41 bpm is not 55 bpm. I'll measure it for 5 days and see what happens.

I couldn't try out the pace and distance yet. That would mean that I would have to actually go out and RUN! Ahem. Anyway, I'll test it out one day this week. I will probably have to go to the track and calibrate it. What a PAIN.

I also found the countdown timer-like feature that Timex has. It is the zoned workout feature. You can program it for time, so I set it to beep every five minutes. The only issue that I see is that the beep is a single "beep" instead of the loud multiple-ringing series of beeps that the Timex has. Well, regardless of the beeps, I can keep track to some extent with the downtown timer.

It will be nice to see my pace and distance while I run. It will be nice to go out for a chance without a set route in mind, just to run free, take a turn here and there, not worried about my pre-mapped route. I can just look at my watch and see that I've gone x-miles.

I just wish they had had the red one.

Taking care of business - Saturday

It's been a very busy weekend.
Instead of feeling like the weekend just passed me by, I feel like I just had 3 days - two Saturdays and one Sunday - all in a row.

First of all, I didn't exercise. But I did end up getting another pedometer and I have walked 4.1 miles so far today. I can safely say that I know I will walk at least 5 miles before I fall into bed. Yesterday, with all the walking around I did, I probably walked another 5 miles. So, I am not really lamenting not exercising.

Yesterday was Pride. The Gay Pride Parade was not rained out. Everyone came out in full force to march but only 50% of the spectators showed up. I only caught the beginning of it on my way back from the CVS. I stood in the rain and watched the parade, when the Dykes on Bikes groups came riding up. One of them was shirtless. In the rain. In about 56* weather. It was COLD. Anyway, she was riding her motorcycle, and there she was. I looked up and saw her in all her glory. I don't care if you're gay or straight, male or female… I have NO DESIRE to see flinging body parts - unless you're the .5 of .5% of the population who is so fit and toned you can get away with it. Anyway, she had big breasts, the kind that sagged, and she had pasties on her nipples. What the F…??? And a loosely tied red tie. Uh…okay. I know it's good to make a statement and all but uh… can we be DECENT?? Needless to say, I wasn't the only one who questioned this. I looked around and there were more than a few eyebrows raised among the spectators - both men and women. Other than that, the rest of what I saw was nice. There were two women marching with a baby carriage, wearing ":Just Married" banners. A couple of men had just gotten married, too. One couple had been together for 45 years. Lots of equality banners. I didn't hang around too long; my bag was getting soggy and I was too!

So, yesterday was the Mission to Find a Health Club. It was a tie between the Chinatown YMCA and the Boston Sports Club that Joseph belongs to. The Chinatown Y was about an 8 minute walk. There were ping pong tables and badminton courts - definitely Chinese. There were Lots o' Children running around. The weight room was okay - kinda dingy, spread out on two floors and through 4 different rooms. The free weights were old - no smith machine, much to my chagrin. The weight machines were also old but serviceable. Space was a premium but they had machines for every body part as well as one of those cable machines that you can do 10 different exercises on, and one of those lat pulldown/chin up machines which are awesome. It was kind of a pain gong from room to room. I guess it gets easier as you get used to it. And because there were no windows, it was all rather dark and dingy. And there was a musty sort of oder. The treadmills were okay and they had the usual stairmasters and elliptical machines. The pool was awesome! Their schedule ensure anywhere from 2 to 4 lanes at all times for lap swimming. On Saturday, there were two lanes open and the other half was divided into quarters for free swimming and for kids. There were also two lifeguards. The water temps were written up - 81*. Nice. The locker room wasn't great. I can definitely say that my preference would be to never shower at the Y. The first thought that came into my head was "good things I have rubber flip flips and I have to not touch the shower curtain." Not good. However, the individual monthly fee was only $55, with the $100 one-time initiation fee.

After the Chinatown Y, I went to BSC. Okay. So, there is no comparison. No shouting kids running around, the pools was a lap pool with three lanes. The people there said it doesn't get crowded. The locker room was clean - I could live in it. Modern equipment, new, clean. No Comparison. So I signed up for a year. I was worried about the time it would take to walk there from the house. I was convinced it would take much longer than to the Chinatown Y. I timed myself on the way back and discovered that it only took me 9 minutes. Hmmm. Now I just have to actually get there

Last night, we went to dinner with Abby and her friend Mike and Yuka. Mike is local, Yuka was visiting from VA. We went to Bomboa. When we first got there, I had a coconut mojito. I have never had a mojito. Let me just say that this is my new favorite drink. The fresh mint was amazing! It was light and refreshing. Definitely a summertime drink.

The dinner was awesome. Joseph and I agreed that we would definitely go there again. I had the seared scallops, and Joseph and the short ribs. We had mussels, calamari tempura for appetizers. And for dessert, the five of us split a heavenly banana bread pudding with caramel sauce. Bomboa is around the corner from us - seriously, only a 10 minute walk from the house! We always drive past it on the way to the Mass Pike and we always comment that we have to try it. And now we have to go back and try a few other things on the menu.

For the hardcore bikies out there...

This is a note from a guy on the Tri-DRS list.
He's a crazy guy.  Regardless, he wrote this report to the list.
I thought it was awesome so I thought I'd share. 
If you're not a cyclist, then you can move on if you want - this is a long one.

If you stand in the parking lot before the Thursday Night Crit, you'd be able to hear the sounds of wheels being slid into dropouts, manly chatter about the races to come, or the races that have been - the two-wheeled equivalent of the "fish story," and tunes.

Lots of tunes.  You have a wide-open array of music.  The angry guys trying to get their race faces on always have the loud stuff: AC/DC. Rammstein.  Sonny and Cher.  Well, maybe not that last one.  Then you have the older guys - the Masters racers with full-time jobs, families, and such.  They're more mellow:  Yes, Pink Floyd (Shine on...), Psychedelic Furs.  The music pre-race is as eclectic as the guys who ride.

Me?  I was in a Ska-ish mood, so I put the Mighty Mighty Bosstones to work.  Simmer Down!
During the warmups most people behaved really well.  After the meeting last week, it was great to see most of the guys staying in the inside lane, leaving a full lane for traffic to come around.  I say most, because the Bikyle Flyers team were slow-lapping in perfect echelon formation, 6-across, taking up the entire right-side of the road.  I watched for 2 laps as they canoodled around, holding back car after car.   After awhile I rolled up to the side of the group, and patted the end rider on the back to say, 'Hey!'

"Hey, friend.  Were you here last week?" I asked.
"Yeah, yeah.  The meeting?"  He replied.
"Yeah.  I know we're just warming up here, but you really need to stay to the right.  We kind of agreed to the managers we'd do that much pre-race.  Don't need to annoy anyone when we're being watched, you know?"  I said, trying to be as positive and even as possible.

"Yeah.  Right.  I saw that guy behind me last lap."  Bikyle guy thusly replied. 
And that was it.  He didn't say anything else.  Nor did he move over. It was like the movie broke mid-scene.
I just rode there next to him waiting for the change in behavior, mood, even waiting for the dude to blink to prove his brain hadn't blue screened mid-conversation.  Nothing.  Nada.  The Bikyle guys just rolled on in perfect echelon formation, up the road and taking up the entire right side.

This was really no surprise to me.  There are 4-6 different teams at GV, and each has their own Modus Operundi.  The Alliance Team is the Former Bean's Team.  They keep to themselves, will attack from the gun, lap the field, beat you up, make you ask for more, then ask for your lunch money.  They do this because they're the fastest guys on the block, and they can.

The Cadence Guys are a smaller team, but fast, smart, and constantly mark the Alliance moves.  There's mutual respect between the teams - it's easy to see.

The K2 guys are the 'Old School' boys.  They've been the same squad for 12+ years; the same guys working as teammates, through at least three

name (and uniform) changes.  I love those guys.  They talk mid-race, they rib one-another, and constantly try to bust Alliance's stones. These are the guys who you can count on for a post-race beer; they even used to bring a BBQ on nice days!

The Iron Hill Brewery guys are a new team.  They used to be a club, but got so insanely competitive that they decided to become a race team instead.  I don't know much about them, but they've got great team uniforms - nice blue/black combo, and they generally seem to be fast and always in the mix.

And then there are the Bikyle Flyers.  If none of the above teams want you, you can always ride for Bikyle.  Bikyle isn't so much a team, as they're a group of individuals dressed alike in orange, yellow, and blue kits.  They look like Rabobank in reverse, and ride much the same way.  I mean, they don't ride like Rabobank - more like in reverse.  If there is a crash at any point during the race, you can pretty much bet there's an orange, yellow, and blue guy at the bottom.  They never work together, they often argue mid-race, and have been known to attack each other for no apparent reason.  They're kind of like the Acrobat Bugs from "A Bug's Life," but with better gearing.  They're the only one's who take themselves seriously, because nobody else does.

We started off smoothly this week under the traditional threat of rain.   Seriously - I haven't seen the sun on a Thursday for 7 weeks now.  It's amazing.  That kept the field small, but safe.  Must have been 60 or so, and we took three laps to really warm up and get up to speed.  There were 4 of us in the AeroBus this week; Ron (Lawn Dart), Tim (The Toolman), myself, and some dude on an Elite TT bike with an SRM.  I asked him to check the radar from time to time while he was reading the SRM.  He attempted to smile.  I think.

Charlie Report:  Charlie was a no-show this week, and I didn't see any of his buddies either.  Considering the rain to the North they probably bailed on riding down to GV in the dampness, and stayed dry somewhere.

Good thing.  The clouds seemed to be getting darker.
After a few initial attacks and surges, the field had really settled into a decent groove.  We were ticking off laps in the 2:14-2:16 range, and I felt antsy.  Jumpy.  I shouldn't have.  I had run a tough, hilly, long run the day before.  My legs should have been toast, but no.  I kept looking up the road, waiting for the pace to ease just a bit.  When it would, I would stick my nose out, but then jump back in line.  An internal discussion I'd missed was back, for the first time this year.

"Dude, what are you doing?"
"Gotta' move up.  I need to get in a move."
"Move?  What move?  You haven't attacked since 2005."
"So?  I wanna' go.  I wanna' try."
"Because.  I want to."
"But, why?"
"Because it's a bike race, and I want to attack."
"But, why?"
"Because something in my legs is saying I should go."
"But why is the rum gone?"
"Sorry. Seemed natural."
After two or three peeks up the long, long field (seemed shorter at the start...), I just couldn't move up.  Once I'd made it halfway but then ran into the Bikyle Flyers, who were still lapping in perfect echelon formation, 6-across, taking up the entire right-side of the road.

Two laps later, I got my moment.  The bunch spread out on the backstretch, and I snuck up the left side - out of the crosswind, and out of the aerobars.  On one straight I managed to make it halfway...but then came into the wind as we turned through the 3rd and 4th corners. It got harder, but I was committed now.  I had to get to the top-10 in line, get some recovery, and then get in the next move to go.  It was a great plan.  It looked fantastic on paper.

And the clouds got just a little darker.
In one lap, I'd made it up there.  The nose of the bunch was single-file, and I slotted in around 8th.  The Iron Hill guys were working together, and seemed to be setting a decent tempo.  I'd worked harder than I thought I should have, so I just held my place for a bit, even though the adrenaline was really starting to open up: "Go.  GO! Now!  With the wind!  Do it!"  I knew that was wrong; a glimpse at the HR (169) told me that I needed to wait...

..but the Iron Hill guys had other ideas.  The three at the front took off - BOOM.  The next four in line nonchalantly dropped off, leaving the chase up

I looked back, and the entire field (save two) was on my wheel.
Heading for the hill.  Into the wind.
B@stards. Time to go to work.
I put my head down, shifted up to the 14, and hit it.  "One lap.  One good lap."  I knew I could take 2 minutes of pain.  While I spun up the gear the gap to the break opened, then stabilized.  For the entire backstretch they rotated really nicely, taking turns, but not gaining any ground.  The problem was, neither was I.  "Three against one.  Three against one...gotta' close this down..."  I struggled to myself. 

As we entered turn three, I glanced over my inside shoulder - I had 'em all single file behind me.  Cool.  I gave it everything I had, but nearing turn one I knew that I couldn't make it - I just couldn't do anything more.  As I came to this conclusion, so did the entire Alliance team.  They blew by me on the left, easily going 5mph quicker.  If I hadn't been wearing a skinsuit, they would have likely sucked my jersey over my head on the way by.

I pulled out of line, flicked my elbow, and started preparing for the hardest 20 seconds of any break attempt.  You're wasted, you're spent. You're red-lined, and you can't feel your teeth.  You're caught, and dead, but you can't quit.  You see, while you're at the weakest moment of your day, the field is now in full-chase-mode, at top speed.  You need to ride HARDER than you did in the break so that you can get back on the tail end, and hang on for some recovery.  Sit up as soon as you're caught, and you'll be dead - the tail will whip past at 30 while you're going 20, and then you're OTB. 

Off. The. Back.
What killed me was that while I was cross-eyed, purple, and feeling very Minnesota, someone on a TT bike (why aren't you in the AeroBus?) got right on my wheel and said, "Alright!  You and me!  Let's go!"  I looked over and said, "To the back?"  As the entire world roared past on both sides, I told him that telling a guy who'd just been blown to pieces to attack would definitely go in the race report, (so there you go).

I managed to get back on the tail, where Lawn Dart and Toolman were waiting for me.  "Whoa!  Hey!  Look at the guy with no sleep making the move!"  Ahh, I love the love!  Respect at the back of the bus always feels nice, even if I didn't deserve it.  For one lap?  Nah.  I needed to make it clear, or at least close the gap...but it was a nice change.

If you're wondering, my solo lap was a 2:17.  However, instead of my usual draft-assisted HR of 140 or so, my average was 168, with a max of 175.  Took three laps to fully recover...from just one burst.  Ouch!

I figured we had about 15 laps to go now - if I could ride to the end without getting dropped, it would certainly be a good night.  The field was back to being steady, so I was happy to ride wheels and watch the usual shambles from my usual spot. 

And the clouds got just a little darker.
Around lap 20 we came up behind a Verizon van making its way back to base.  Following the corporate center speed limit of 25 miles per hour, the little white van was just trundling along.  I could tell we were going to catch it before the end of the straight, but it was nice to see that the bunch actually learned from the previous week, and laid back. The front of the field sat up, gave the van plenty of room, and made sure not to spook the driver.

Wait, no, I totally made that up.
By pure chance, at the front of the field were the Bikyle Flyers, who were still lapping in perfect echelon formation, 6-across, taking up the entire right-side of the road.  I turned to Ron (who's been with the Flyers for 10+ years), and said, "Ron!  Look!  Your boys!"   Lawn Dart replied in perfect deadpan; "Well, that's got to be a mistake.  They'll f*$ck it up.  Watch."  Sure enough, on cue, the Bikyle Flyers ATTACKED THE VAN.  They split left and right, and charged the thing like it was a sorority house with an open keg.

I swear to God the van seemed to jump sideways.  As if it looked in the mirrors, saw this orange, yellow, and blue wave coming towards it, and could only assume that it was a Slurpee Tsunami, or something.  Then it got even better.  Half of the Bikyle Flyers started to MOTORPACE off the back of the van.  A van that you might recall was moving slower than the field.   When they realized this attack plan would only succeed in getting them dropped (but with a sweet draft), they just tried to pull hard right and jump back in the field.  Needless to say, there was much waving and head-turning.  Amongst the teammates.  Again.

Lawn Dart shook his head.  "Morons."
And then the clouds got really freaking dark.  It had gotten so dark, the lights in the parking lots had come on.  Cars going the other way were using their headlights.  It was only a matter of time before we all got nailed, but there were less than 5 laps to go now.  We rolled on. The field actually really slowed down in the darkness; I think because we were all wearing dark lenses, which made us, well, a tired, blind, stupid bunch, contemplating a potential field sprint in a downpour.

What's the rush?  I looked at the guy next to me and said, "I say we keep riding.  I don't think the heavy stuff is going to come down for quite awhile."

He looked at me and said, "Heavy stuff?  I don't get it.  It's not raining now."  There he is.  The only man in the universe to have not seen 'Caddyshack.'  If you ever wanted to know, there you go.

With two laps to go we picked it back up.  I just hung back; it was nearly impossible to see now.  I felt like we were riding in a tunnel!

On the last lap, headed down the backstraight, we heard the rain.  We couldn't see it, but there was just this awesome roar coming from the West...and as we entered the short chute between the third and fourth turns at full-tilt-Lambada, the rain enveloped the entire bunch.   Now it was insane:  We were entering the final turn, a downhill sweeper, in the dark, in the rain, winding it up for a sprint.

I just sat up and let 'em all go.  Amazingly, everyone stayed upright. The rooster tails looked fantastic from where I rolled...and I crossed the line in 1:09:48.  It was a fantastic feeling; the timing couldn't have been better.  There was something about leaving it all out there, and being just completely spent as the skies let us have it.  As the rain and wind lashed us throughout the cooldown lap, we were laughing like a bunch of kids who were finally allowed to go play in the rain. It was cold, and just felt soooooo good.

As I pulled up to the parking lot, one of the Cadence guys asked me, "So you're not going for one more?"  as he splashed off into the darkness with a goofy, "Yahoo!"  No, not me.  I put Hermes on the roof, dove into the passenger seat, and just laughed as I literally splashed down.

When I managed to get changed and head for home, I hit the iPod.  The first song to come on? 
"I Wish it Would Rain Down."  Phil Collins.  Couldn't have said it better myself.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Kansas City in October... a big possibility...

I need a Missouri marathon for my 50 States and DC goal.
October 7th.
I didn't get into St. George, which was the same day.
It's almost like KC is being placed into my lap as a substitute.

I took a quick look at the website and it looks very doable.
The course seems to be flat with the exception of a couple of hills.
But everyone's definition of "hills" is very different.
After Hurricane Point at Big Sur, I have a jaded view of what a hill is.
The Newton Hills are hills. They are not HILLS.
They are PIA hills. They are not SCARY HILLS.
New experience, new definition. What can I say...

Anyway, KC is something I can get excited about.
In fact, I am already excited about the prospect and will definitely do a training schedule this weekend!
In fact, Joseph went online to take a look at what hotels and flights might cost.
It is definitely doable!
Of course, I have some local back up races in case KC falls through.

Now, Joseph wants to go swimming.
Can I just tell you how the prospect just doesn't thrill me? Even though I've been telling myself I should go for a swim for a week now? I mean, I haven't exercised in a WEEK. And I went for my massage yesterday and my whole body hurts. I even had to take a couple of advils this morning. That Joseph brought me while I laid in bed. That was after he brought me coffee in bed. And right before he brought me breakfast in bed. Happy happy happy! Wonderful Hunny Bunny!!!

It's so hard being fit.

Four weeks out of the office...

...and The. Bitch. Is. Back...

My first week back is complete.
Four days of catching up, four days of flogging the's been productive.

I hate coming back from time off.
It takes me a week to get back into the swing of things.
This time, I dove in head first.
No "figuring out my plan", "getting my schedule together", "getting organized", etc etc etc.

For four weeks, I sat back and didn't respond much to emails.
I watched and learned.
I saw things going back and forth, didn't get involved, insisted people stand on their own two feet, and I discovered, they did okay. But they also have a damn long way to go.

So, my boss said my team did well while I was gone.
We both agree that things can be done better.
It's nothing earth-shattering. I've got one of the most "together" groups in the division.
I just want them to take it to the next level.

I will get what I want. I always get what I want.
If you can't pass my test, then you won't pass my boss's.
And you won't ever get a chance to stand in front of his boss...

If you don't want to do it, then I don't want you here.
And if I don't want you here, then you shouldn't want to be here.
We need to change. Again. We can't sit on our do so is to let the competition catch up.
And the next level of change is gonna be harder.
It's gonna get more difficult with every level of excellence.
Some will make it easily, others will cross the finish line with bleeding hands and knees, and others will DNF.
But the race can't be won until we start.
And we are starting in July.

Ahh... yes.
The. Bitch. Is. Definitely. Back.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tales from the office

Someone today had fish for lunch.
Not the fresh-made innocuous relatively odor-free carry out kind from the local cafeteria.
It was more of the stinky, smelly, reheat-last-night's-oily-fish kind.
They sit right out side my office. She's Chinese. Go figure.
So I was so annoyed. Who the hell brings in LEFTOVER FISH to the office??
The smell is so pervasive! I don't know how the people on either side of her could stand it. Well, one person to her right is Chinese, too, so she is probably okay with the death-inducing smell seeing as how Chinese people eat stinky food - it is what it is, shoot me. Have you been in a Chinese grocery store? Or in Chinatown?? Hmmm??? But the person sitting to her left isn't. Not sure how HE didn't run from his cubicle.

So after checking with her manager, I walked over and said, "I am sure it's really good, but next time you eat fish can you please eat it in the kitchen area instead? The smell is very pervasive and well, it really stinks." I think I shocked her. She turned a little red, kinda embarrassed, and kept apologizing. I tried to put it to her as nicely as I could. And what makes it worse is that I've never ever said a single word to her. Ever. Well, at least today's drama is over with.

On another note, I terminated my membership to my current health club as of July 1. My reason what that they didn't have a pool. Besides I don't really use it. And I'd rather find one that has a pool, like the BSC that Joseph belongs to or the Chinatown Y. I will be visiting both this weekend. The Chinatown Y is $55 versus what Joseph pays - $69. And his is a special rate because he joined before this particular location opened. I am sure that if I were to join now, I'd have to pay at least $80 a month. The Y has a family rate - $95. Much cheaper than the BSC. And my company will also give us the $250 fitness reimbursement fee for the Y as well. But I do need a pool. After swimming in Ohio, I have come to realize how it exercise muscles that I never use - the same muscles that I have had major problems with - the lat & pec connectors into the rotator cuff, the entire rotator cuff itself, and the whole shoulder girdle. Not to mention my triceps, which are non-existent. But I will NEVER do a tri. It's only for a whole-body exercise program.

Oh, and on Saturday, we are going to dinner with our friend Abby. We are meeting her currently temporary significant other. I say "temporary" because if Joseph and I don't like him, then pffft!!! Out the window. It is what it is. We must like him. That is not to say that we already do. It's a fact that we have to upon meeting him or their relationship is D-O-O-M-E-D. It is what it is... So Saturday, we are meeting him. She is also bringing a - GASP! - a JAPANESE PERSON! ARG!!! She shouldn't have told me. She should have waited for me to meet her, like her "okay", wonder about her origins - of course I'll know she's Japanese from looking at her and stew about Abby not telling me ahead of time - and maybe just maybe like her maybe a single iota before she CONFIRMS that she's Japanese. Ugh. The SINS OF THE FOREFATHERS!!!! ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, Abby is not doing well in her effort to get on my "Five Friend List." Sheesh.

Saturday will be interesting.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An ordinary update

Well, nothing creative today.
Not even anything to pretend to be creative about.
It was a long hectic day at work.
I got a lot done but much left to do still at the end of the day.
I did manage to send a couple of gifts to people - an Omaha Steaks order and a Hickory Farms order.

It was raining buckets today. The weather unforecasters got it all wrong, once again. They are maintaining a highly inaccuracy success rate. Anyway, at one point today, as I was going into my office, I noticed whiteness outside the windows. I thought it was snowing! Instead it was the wind blowing the mist and rain around - sideways and upways - certainly not downways... no... that is wayyyyyy too simple.

Anyway, I had a hair cut appointment and I was sort of worrying myself of how to get there without getting soaked, yadda yadda yadda, when my wonderful Hunny Bunny emailed me. He picked me up from work and dropped me off at the salon! Wonderful Hunny Bunny!

Anyway, I got tired of growing my hair out so I it chopped. Looks so much better. Phew!

Then I walked home a half mile, and when I got there, my Hunny Bunny was cooking dinner! Wonderful wonderful Hunny Bunny! Happy Happy!

We broke out one of our half bottles of Frank Family Vineyards chardonnay. It was sublime. And unbelievable with the fresh avocado we had as an appetizer. The half bottle wasn't enough which goes to show you how much I need to limit my wine intake. I have to think about that.

My next event...

...will be the Pedal 'n Plod in Adams, MA, at the end of July...

There. I've committed.
It's a 4-mile run and a 22-mile bike.
I'm not looking to do anything more than do the event in some semblance of a dignified time and finish. It's only a vehicle to get my buttocks rolling and on the bike and training again. I need a goal!

Speaking of bikes, we picked up our bikes from the local community bike shop the other day. We had dropped them off for a tune-up before we left for Ohio to visit our good friend Cher. It would be a shame to spend $55 on a tune-up and have the bike lay to waste. The funny thing is that they replaced the caps on our valves. I take the caps off - additional weight, donchaknow... and they gave us new caps! I'll be throwing them out before the next ride. Anyway, if I ever want to upgrade to a Calfee carbon fiber, I need to use my current bike. Although, my good friend Cher would rather that I keep it almost brand new so that when she gets it, she will have an almost-new bike. I hate to tell her that I plan on keeping it... one can always use a good training bike - sort of like running shoes - there are performance shoes (the Calfee bike), and there are training shoes (my current Cannondale).

So, I guess I need to work on my training schedule. Luckily, a 22-mile bike ride isn't hard to train for and I already know I can plod along comfortably for 4-miles.

I need a new toy... the one that Flash has...
(If you go there, turn down the volume unless you have Firefox because Flash is L-O-U-D.)

I've been wanting a distance meter of some sort.
So far, I've got a Fitsense F1 which didn't work real well - I had a hard time with the calibration and since it was first-generation for a pace/distance meter, it wasn't as accurate.

Then I got a TIMEX GPS and that didn't work because, well... I live in Boston. With lots o' trees and tall buildings. As a result the satellite signals don't make it to the ground as well as some other places without lots o' trees and tall buildings. I supposed it would be best if you lived on the prairie...

In the many years in between my F1 and today, Garmin came out with a GPS big-honkin'-wrist-thing (which my good friend Cher has) but again, it's GPS!

Then Nike came out with a calibration model that everyone seemed to like, and then Polar came out with the S625 and Joseph got one. He loves it. So while I was out in Ohio visiting our good friend Cher, I looked on eBay and thought about bidding on one. Which I didn't. I had to go watch golf and that was more important than spending upwards of $250-$300 on a yet another gadget.

Then last might, Joseph told me about Flash and his new toy. I took a look. GAK!! And it comes in RED - beautiful RED! (Orange would be one step better but anything other than a boring black is better even though black is more versatile - but who says I can't wear a red watch to work?? Hmmmmm????) Anyway, this version is LESS EXPENSIVE and does everything I would want it to do. And if I order it from Roadrunners Sports, then I can get the VIP discount making it $20 less! I will need to wait for a free shipping day to save even more money. I need to get a few other things from Roadrunners so this might just work out.

Having this Awesome New Gadget will make me a fearless runner! I can try new routes! I won't be afraid to get lost in my runs just going from street to street without worrying about how car I am going. Besides, I've been wanting to go back to HRM training for a while but my HRMs are old and don't adhere very well. (And for those who think I can do this without the Awesome New Gadget, be quiet. I can't run unless I know how far I am going. Don't ask. Just can't. NEVER MIND! Sheesh.)

The only problem is that right now, I am having an inopportune bout of Cheap Disease. This is when I won't want to spend 2 cents on anything for any reason. I go through these spells once in a while but I always manage to get over it. Recovery is usually very quick.

Side links

To all my readers...

I am slowly building back the links that I lost in the Great Lost Template Debaucle (GLTD).
I've discovered more missing links - after scrounging around in all my various and sundry bookmarks - how many do I have, you ask? How many computers can one use? Like most people, I only have one. And if your blog was on my side link, then you weren't on My Favorites list - why would you be, you're on my side link after all. Of course, that was before the GLTD occurred a week and a half ago. All I have to say is "THANK goodness for my blackberry - which has a separate bookmark list!"

So, if you would kindly move your eyeballs over to the side links, and if you notice your link isn't there anymore, it would be much appreciated if you would please make a comment and let me know.

Of course, for those who were not on my side links list and are there now, the Great Links Search (GLS) has helped me discover some new blogs which I feel are funny, enjoyable, interesting, whatever-enough to be added. And I guess that is something that I can thank the GLTD for.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Now that I am thinking about it, as aI sit here sipping my cupatee...

I thought I would mention that while I was working in India, there were these Butler Guys at the office that brought you coffee or tea. Right to your office. You didn't have to move. I never saw the inside of the kitchen or the cafeteria.

They were dressed in black pants, white shirt, and black vest.
When they brought you your tea, they wore white gloves.
And the tea was in a cup and saucer, not a chunky clunky mug like we use in the U.S.

When I first smiled at them, they didn't really say anything.
But when I said "thank you," they seemed surprise.
Actually, they seemed taken aback.
And when I asked their names, they seemed worried.
So, I made sure to say "thank you" whenever they brought me tea or took away my cup and saucer.
I am not sure they ever got used to it.

Of course, when I was in a meeting later with one of the Indian women, I could see why.
We were all sitting there laughing and smiling and having a good time.
Then one of the Butler Guys came in with my tea.
And suddenly the Indian woman I was meeting with stopped smiling and it got cold on her side of the room. She said something in Hindi to the Butler Guy - about the cup, I think - and she didn't look at him or smile or blink any eye. He looked at her nervously, put the cup down, and slinked away.

I don't judge what happened. I saw it as an interesting "observation opportunity". It is what it is and they must live in their reality. To try and change it is wrong because an entire set of cultural mores are being changed by an unnatural outside force, without evolutionary transition.

Given that, I see why the Butler Guy seemed so nervous when I first smiled at him and said "thank you." I don't think he had ever experienced that before. I just hope I didn't upset the cosmic balance of the world...

Let the flogging begin

Or is that self-flagellation?

On a good note, I had my last PT appointment this morning for my non-tennis elbow. I'll miss Erin and Kristin and Julia (yes, only like the fouth Julia I've met, not including a runner at the Boston Marathon who ran with "Julia" on her chest so that everyone called her name which irritated me to no end!), but I won't miss the 7am 2.5 hour twice weekly sessions! But, I'm still only 90% fixed so I have to continue home therapy. They gave me the exercise list and a theraband with strict instructions of "NO HEAVY WEIGHT!". This means light weights and high reps. Erin said that was important for an endurance athlete. Hmmm... I never thought of it that way.

So, I get into work and 6 meetings turned into 3 - 11 am, 4pm and 5pm. My 11am with my DBA manager turned into a 2 hour session of me calling in various other people and yelling at everyone. I was so annoyed.

Then I had a couple of other phone call meetings that came up. The 4pm was 10 mintues late and ran over, and my 5pm ended late. Then at 5:45pm, I had another meeting with my Data Architcture manager which went for an hour. And then I had to call my friend Lauren who works for Wee World. (Don't ask. That's a whole other entry!)

And I did not get to go through my emails to see what I need to do!

Now I am typing this from the 7:10 pm train home.

It's like I never left.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back to Reality

We are back home.

We got up at 3:45 am (as in, 'in the damn morning') and left the house at 4:40 am (as in, 'in the damn morning'). Milt had gotten up and made coffee before we made it downstairs. And even Cher ("I am NOT a morning person") got up to say goodbye and get in an early morning run. It worked out nicely because Milt wanted to get to work early and he dropped us off at the airport on his way. Although, I think he probably got to work a tad earlier than he usually does.

The flight was uneventful due to a large contingent of business travelers, who knew what they were doing, and didn't hold up the line by creating a black hole of self-centered chaos that would have sucked the rest of us (in our early morning stupors) into their vortex. That frequently happens with weekend flights chock full of tourists and "shouldn't-travelers". I think I really like the early morning flights. Another good thing is that the luggage got to us very quickly since most of the business people had just carry-ons.

Our eco-friendly Planet Transportation car service was there waiting for us. Another un-event.

And then we came home to a bounding and beside-herself Dingle Doggie.

Joe left for work, and I didn't feel like it so I stayed home to walk the Dingle and mail the mail, and make lists, and go to Trader Joe's to pick up pizza fixin's for dinner... I am in the middle of the fourth load of laundry, the incense has cleared away most of the musty closed-in odor from being away for a week, and I've finished the second season of Six Feet Under as well as watching the Fantastic Four.

I still have to contend with the schedule for work for the rest of the week - mostly likely spent in frustrated panic in having to catch up with three weeks out of the office - the emails have already started pouring in, all vying for my attention in one way or another... It might be relief to them that I am (somewhat) back, but how can they forget that they managed to get along without me? This was a test. I need to ask The Boss how things were while I was gone. Was I really needed, missed? Or is that just a figment of everyone's worry and worst-case fears? It's an important question because answer determines if I can move on, or not. I need to be able to move on, otherwise, work becomes a chore, and fun can be a prison.

I also need to figure out that dratted workout schedule. Biking and lifting on the same days, running and swimming on the same days, one day for yoga, one day for pilates, daily for stretching and abs. What to do... The next race I want to do is a biking event.

Book review #5: The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell...

He is the same guy who wrote "Blink."

The Tipping Point is an excellent read. What Gladwell writes makes total sense. It can apply to all areas of life, not just business - from making friends to hosting a party to fund-raising for a favorite charity.

I had fun trying to figure out where I fit in...and at the end, I still didn't know.
I do know that I am more of an "innovator" or an "early adopter" depending on the situation, rather than a Maven, Connector, or a Salesmen. But I do find bits of each of the previous in me, depending on the situation, again. I also discovered that I do know quite a number of Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen.

Some of the observations in the book were startling, with frequent "a-hah!" moments.

I would recommend this book as a definite read. I would even say it's a definite "read-again-later."

Now I am into my 6th book.
Although, I could have sworn I had already ready at least 8 or 9 this year. Jeez...


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tales from the Fairway

It's been a good week at The Memorial again. It's been a very wet, raining alot, every day, which helped control the heat. Today, we were sitting on the 12th green when the horn blew and everyone exited the course. I immediately looked up at the right skies, the direction from which the clouds were moving, and it was dark, gray, ominous, and lightning-producing. If there was any question at all that the horn was mistaken, you didn't think that after looking at the skies. We left the green and went to the house. We got there just in time as the torrential rain started. Then it stopped 15 minutes later and as we sat here watching TV, they show the Horn Guy blowing everyone back into play. So, now the sun is out (hmph) and Phil Michelson just chipped in from the fringe. Sigh...

It's only a 10 minute walk to the 12th green but I have eggplant on the stove, for crying out loud! Morrocan eggplant & lentil stew, chicken, rice pilaf, antipasti, fresh cucumbers, and fresh sliced avocados for dinner tonight. And a little stir-fried tofu for Heather, she being the PIA vegetarian in the group! :o) Heather and Jon are coming over and Alex is, too!

Anyway, the golf spectator crowd is always interesting. First, there are the people who you know have lived playing golf all their lives. They are usually older and have that dried out looking skin that looks impermeable. They aren't usually too overweight and they wear all the right clothes - not too overdone, not too flowery or bright, not pretentious, and just worn-looking enough.

Then there are the "golf ho's". They usually travel in groups of two, decked out in the latest lingerie wear worn on the outside, high heeled slide-on shoes, full-face makeup, jewelry, perfect tans, and are usually slim and trim. They usually follow the young, single golfers - especially Sergio Garcia. I am not sure if they are looking for a date for the night or a long term relationship. I am sure that each one of them probably aspires to be Elin Nordegren - now-famous wife of Tiger Woods. Sorry to tell them that she was already a part of the golfing world before she met Tiger.

Then there are the fat people. There are very few thin people at the tournament; most of the men are under 21 and most of the girls are 16 years old. Everyone else fits into the fit or fat category, with the ratio being roughly 20% to 80%. Of the 20% fit people, there are no truly "fit-looking" people. They are sort of just average build and look like they do some sort of physical activity. Of the 80% of fat people, you have people ranging from about 20-30 pounds overweight to "the sky is the limit"! I don't mean just overweight but grossly, clinically obese. I mean, "piano box" fat. These are both men and women. I am amazed that they are able to walk the hills of Muirfield. This is NOT a flat, easy course, and it certainly is less so for the spectators, who must all keep to the path or to the grass along the fareway. Yesterday, there was a guy who sat in the FRONT row in a chair. He must have been about 400 pounds., Between each group of golfers, he would stand and face the crowd. You couldn't see the green - his whole body covered the width of the green. And when he sat, I would watch the chair give and wonder if it would finally collapse under his weight. What I don't get is how they manage to walk the 4 or so miles of the course and not collapse. Maybe they just walk far enough to find a place to plant their butts. And the funny part is that those who least need it are the one guzzling beer and stuffing chips, candy bars, and sandwiches into their maws! Amazing. I just don't get it...

Then you also have the smokers. Not just cigarettes but CIGARS! ARG!!! STINKY!! And they sit themselves in the front of the crowd and blow their smoke into the wind so that everyone behind them are exposed to secondary-smoke-cancer-fumes!!! ARG!!!!

The highlight of today was a women dressed in back dress, carriying big black, very stylish hand bag - it was the shape of a shell, black with gold running through the scallop pattern. Anyway, the dress... the skirt was flouncy and short, it was gathered at the waist The top of was sleeveless and the front did a plunging dive down the front to right below her breasts. She was with 3 guys, not sure if she was a part of the group or if she just met them - and after about 10 minutes, the group of guys increased to 5, and she did her neck-stretching, back arching, craning her body up to laugh and giggle at whatever the guys were saying. Ah yes... the mating dance hath begun... Milt took a look through the binoculars and commented that "one of those puppies are about to fall out..." LOLOLOL!! Amazing.

Tomorrow morning, we are on the 6:15am flight home. Milt has kindly offered to drop us off at the airport on his way to work! Yahoo. We thought we would just take a cab to the airport. I hate the end of Tournament Week. It means that the Lady of Leisure will have to go back into the closet for another year and that I have to go back to work. Sigh...

Monday... Cereal Diet. I wonder if Cher will do it with me... I did Atkins with her, after all, even if it only lasted 8 hours!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cereal Diet

Now that I've updated my sidebar with what I remember about Iceland,
and now that I've tired of jalapeno chips and beer,
and now that the realization that I've done NOTHING all day today has set into my feeble brain,
I am thinking Cereal Diet when I get back.

Cereal for breakfast and dinner - along with lots o' fruit.
And a big hearty meal for lunch.
Cereal is supposed to be very good for you, nutritionally sound and all that.
So if you add a mid-morning snackie and a mid-afternoon snackie, I should be okay.

On another note, I am thinking of visiting the Chinatown YMCA - gonna check out the pool and the workout facilities. It'sa closer walk to our house than BSC (which Joseph belongs to) and Fitcorp (which I currently belong to). The only downside is that if I want to work out at the remote offices, I need to belong to Fitcorp. But if I think back and am realistic about it, I only have used the gym at the remote offices about three times. Period. In about two years. Who's kidding who?? Besides, I need a pool.

BSC is opening up a gym about a block from my Boston office. Which is good if I want to work out during the day. But that never happens. BSC's are all over the place - including NYC and Washington DC...NOT that I will use the Washington DC facilities in the foreseeable future.

I must think about this.
I must do my workout schedule for when I get back.
I must see about a new battery for my iPod Mini.

Finishing up the links...

...on the sidebar...

While doing so, I discovered that I left out a whole section of my life... our hunnymoon to Iceland! ARG! I think I know what happened. I was so busy leading up to the wedding, and then after the wedding, I was busy vacationing, and then when I got back, I was so tired that I didn't know how to catch up! I know that's what happened! This is just like the pictures that I took - double exposed, over exposed and totally busy - no one can sense of it except for me. Any my Hunny Bunny, of course.

Yesterday, Joseph and I went to the pool after following David Duval around the golf course. I managed to swim another 14 laps. This time, I only rested about 5 seconds after each length. I think I will stick with that for a while as opposed to trying to swim three lengths with a 5 second rest. After each lap, I rested about 45 seconds. Had to. Would've drowned otherwise.

I've also created my workout tracking for the side bar. We'll see how it goes. I am not good at those types of little details - I usually forget to update and it all becomes useless in the end.

It was raining all day today until about an hour ago. The Memorial had a rain delay and the tv showed the grounds keepers out there shoveling and sweeping tons of water off the fareway and greens. Cher, Milt and Joseph went out to the course but I am watching it from the comfort of Cher's big ole armchair - beer and jalapeno chips in hand!

Tonight, I will make Shrimp with sundried tomatoes and white wine sauce tossed with linguini, accompanied by a salad. Yum!!

I love coming to Ohio. I get to sit around, and cook. LOL!

Ok. I gotta go and see if I can do anything about the Iceland links...

I am recovering... side bar and links...

I hope it works.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Getting along swimmingly... in hot and humid Ohio...

Yesterday, Cher, Joseph and I decided to go swimming.
After a day of sitting in a shade and STILL getting sunburned, and since Joseph had to do laps, we decided to go to one of the two pools in Muirfield.

The pool was quiet. Good.
There weren't many kids of an age that would involve lots of splashing and disregard for the people around them. Good.
And there was a swim lane set up, which was empty. GOOD GOOD GOOD!

The water wasn't frigid cold. It was cold enough; it didn't take you entire breath away when you jumped in. But it felt really good on our sunburn.

Joseph took off and started his very swim session.
I followed.
He swam 3 lengths to my 1.
I had to rest; he didn't really until the training plan said he cold.
My lengths ended up being around 32-34 seconds.
I discovered that if I kick less but more strongly, and reach more under water, I ended up going faster and I could regulate my breath better. I even got a little better breathing on my left side (alternating with my right side). I also practiced keeping my forehead pointed downward - which almost makes you feel like you are going toward the bottom of the pool, but this helps keep my lower up up and flat. I think if I keep practicing, I might get good at swimming.
Not that, I would want to make it a true personal athletic endeavor or anything. Ahem.

Anyway, can we just talk about the PAIN?
Only 9 laps and I could feel like triceps muscles, the lats, the whole shoulder girdle- the rotator cuff area, the area of my pecs that insert into the rotator cuff, the biceps - but not so much as the other areas. Last night I could barely life my arms over my head! ARG! I am so WEAK!!!
I now know what kind of lifting routine I need. Thank goodness I know the anatomy so I can target these particular muscles. The problem is that everything I mentioned will take about an hour to train! That leaves the entire rest of the body to deal with! GAH!!!

Not sure if I am going to run today.
I know that I would like to swim later.

Dinner last night: we cooked out burgers. Yum.
Dinner the night before: Ma Po Tofu, courtesy of moi. Yum!!! Cher's son Jon came over earlier yesterday and scarfed up the leftovers. Then last night he came back after dinner and asked me what I had made for dinner. When I told him we cooked out burgers, he seemed bummed out. LOL!

For dinner we went to Eddie George's Grill 27 at OSU. It was very good. Cher and Milt split the deep fried meatball hoagie. Yes. Deep Fried. Joseph and I split the ribs. We all shared a plate of Championship Nachos with a side of guac. It was all very good. Would definitely want to go there again!