August 26, 2008

Be careful what you ask for...

As mentioned a while ago, I did a little flare prayer about God changing my mind so that I do more exercise.

Today is my own, personal mini-triathalon: run, bike, climb. This morning I was all the way up to a 5k (thanks to First Day to 5k). I still don't know if the mutt likes these runs. She certainly makes me stop frequently so she can mark territory and 'do her business'. I can see myself now, running the Bay to Breakers 12k next May and panting to Lovey, "Wait, hold on, I need a pretend poop break".

After stretching, with the mutt snuggling right next to me in each new position I take, I bike to work, as usual. (I DO take a shower somewhere in there, don't fret.) Then after work today, I'll bike to the train, express down to Sunnyvale, bike to the gym, climb til my arms are trembling and my knees are bruised, then bike back to the train (Jrex offers to pick me up, but then, when would I read my book?).

Makes me sound really studly, huh? The truth is, I'd never get out the door for the run if I didn't have to walk the dog. Every single time, I HATE it as I'm heading out. Every time, when I'm done, I feel great. Even knowing that, I'd never do it if it were optional. Honestly, that's the only way I've ever exercised, just had a lifestyle that contributed to non-optional exercise. In college, all my running consisted of trying to catch the bus. Hiking involved going for a prayer walk with my cat (George followed me into the woods and paced 10 steps behind me). Biking got me to a job that was off the bus line.

Of all these, the only exercise that I've loved for it's own sake is climbing. There are days when I'm tired and don't do very well, but I've yet to dread doing it.

Do any of you have forms of exercise that you anticipate with eagerness? Tricks for exercise to make yourself do it anyway? Why is it so hard to do thing that are good for us 'for their own sake'?

August 22, 2008

Play Night

Everywhere else we've lived, I've been the freak. The honorary single woman. My father was a workaholic and my Mom complained ALL the time about it. I married a workaholic man who works very hard. I decided to not complain and just make the best of it. Which means I'm often looking for people to hang out with during times that are usually 'couples' times. Even before marriage, I learned to enjoy going to movies by myself. That's stood me in good stead many times in the past 11 years!

Tonight, Jrex isn't working, he's at his Man club bookclub. I was looking for a friend to catch a movie with me. I asked Smart Girl, who is also married to a "very hard worker". She'd planned a really nice date night so asked for a rain check.

At 7 pm, I was about to hop on my bike and head over to the Stanford Theater for the double feature when Smart Girl called. Turned out her hubby was busy and she'd love to go see a movie! We drove to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. It was a perfect movie for a girls' night out. I enjoyed the first one and was able to overlook the clichés and enjoy this one as well. I loved that most of the romance in the movie was casually biracial. It just wasn't relevant that one guy was Asian, another African-American and one Greek (and all HOT and much, much younger than me).

I know it's an illness here in Silicon Valley, but it's very fun to have other friends whose marriages aren't on a M-F 9-5 schedule.

August 18, 2008

Am I overreacting?

For the past few days, I've been absorbed by this book, The Cellist of Sarajevo. It's set during the siege of Sarajevo and follows four people. For two of them, the story traces the events of just one day. For two others, it spans 22 days. Overall, it's a beautiful meditation on what makes us human in the midst of inhumanity.

The thing is, I kept thinking, where was Europe as one of it's modern cities was being slowly exterminated?! Four years. The siege lasted four years. Four years of a city with a tunnel that could have evacuated every member, only the tunnel was controlled by those who became rich selling aid-supplies to starving inhabitants. Four years of risking sniper fire darting across streets where you used to sip coffee at a sidewalk café. Four years of expecting that someone, somewhere would come to the rescue.

We, the United States, get judged for intervening around the world. Judged most harshly by European countries. I thought our intervention in Afghanistan had some justification, the one in Iraq seemed wrong from the start. I'm not defending that action at all. Yet, Europe did nothing when the trouble was in its own land. Instead they waited for the United States to act. One could argue that was before the EU. Before Europe had the means or the will to act as one. (I fully acknowledge my understanding of the politics of the Balkan conflicts is murky at best . . .)

Except it's happening again in Georgia. Especially after all their protests about US behavior, why should they look to the US for any level of involvement?! Don't bitch at us for leaving our own borders and then turn around and whine that you want us involved in your own backyard.

From an article in the NY Times:
Still, Europe is taking comfort, as usual, “in the idea of mediating between Washington and Moscow.”

August 14, 2008

The Olympics are killing me!

We don't have Tivo or any way to record events. Last night I stayed up until 1 AM trying to watch the men's individual gymnastics. Ugh. Now I'm supposed to crank out a ton of creative, and it's not happening people. I got no juice. Yuck.

I hope at some point in my life to live in another country during the Olympics. I can't stand how the USA covers the events. I'd love to see something besides beach volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and swimming. How about some fencing? Equestrian events? Something without an American?

I can't stand the interviews after events. How do you think he really felt after winning the medal? Terrible? Oh, she lost? What should she do next time? Try harder. Yeah, brilliant. Leave her alone! The microphones intruding on teams, on families, on coaches, leave it alone. I'd like to just watch amazing athletes without all the banal questions.

At least W went away so I don't have to sit through interviews with him anymore. Aren't there world crisis that require his attention?

August 11, 2008

Who, me?

Snickollet gave me an award!

As she said, "Aw, shucks." It's funny, the small core community that all used to leave comments on each other's blogs has two break away blog stars: Snick and Mama Nabi. Both are amazing writers who have had dramatic stories of late. From 8-12 comments, each of them now get 25-45 per entry. Aside from the "I knew them when" feeling, I am constantly amazed that they each still find time to leave comments on my blog. How do you keep up with 50 new friends?!

Ze rules are these:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.

7 other blogs:
  1. I'm excited to introduce an amazing blog: Sam's Rainbows and Unicorns. Sam is a high school student in New York. By itself, that's interesting, but there's much, much more. On 9/11 her Mother, Grandmother and Older Brother died in the World Trade Center. She went from one of four children to functional head of household. With two younger sisters, she lives with an aunt who seems to do nothing but sit around smoking and eating the food her nieces purchase. As someone with a tendency to editorialize, I'm impressed by Sam's ability to show not tell.
  2. I've linked to her before, but Mama Nabi rocks! She must type a million words a minute to fit her witty, detailed blog entries into her busy life.
  3. One of my best friends is living the life I thought I'd live. In her blog, Middle of the World, she writes about teaching English, serving people in some surprising ways, loving and worshipping God. I love and respect her more than I can say.
  4. Another close friend from Baltimore started a blog, Swallowflight, in the last year. We bonded over city life, ethnic food, Bible studies and prayer adventures. Just before we moved to California, she moved to Manhattan where she works as a home visit nurse. She's also a great writer.
  5. My Mom's best friend started out leaving comments here signed "otr mama", she now has a blog of her own: Mr. Beachy's Dream. She's an amazing artist, naturalist, mother and grandma.
  6. (and 7). Reading this blog makes me feel a bit like a stalker. One of my friends in Baltimore gave up a baby for adoption. These two blogs are by the adoptive mother. Adventures in the P-Pod is a relatively standard Mommy blog, pics of the baby, chats about what's happening in their world, but her meditative posts about open adoption, how to be a Mom and wife are great. I don't know if she'll have time to keep up with both, but she started another blog about redoing a foreclosed house. As someone stuck in an apartment, it's fun to live vicariously through Circle Drive.
I have other blogs worth honorable mention. I love their writing, who each of them are, and I would love MORE: Walk On, Harmless Drudge, Beloved Babbling, and Sane Transitions.

Second category: blogs that Snick already nominated. Kitchen Fire and Et. Al.

The other category are password protected blogs; I'd link there, but I can't: Imaginative Musings and Finding My Faith Again.

Phew! Now I'm off to leave comments...

August 7, 2008

At this very moment there are cops behind our apartment building, five cars with lights spinning out front, and one freaked out dog inside.

All for one drunk.

We've often said that Baltimore police should come work in Menlo Park for a week or two to get some R&R. The police blotter in Baltimore read like this, "Body found 2 a.m. Multiple stab wounds. Alley behind ______ Bar. If anyone has information, please call." In Menlo Park it reads, "Belmont: 2700 Block Sequoia Way, 8:25am. A woman reported that her neighbor was squirting her deck with a water gun." I'm not exaggerating, you can read it here. I love the Menlo Police blotter, it always makes me laugh.

What happened, you ask? CSI had just finished and I was explaining the back story to Jrex, who'd jumped in for the last 20 minutes. We heard a huge crash out front. Then the squeal of tires peeling away. I ran out to the balcony to see if I could see anything (so we could call the police. Unlike Baltimore, there's no retaliation for 'talking'.) A huge guy was cursing his car in our driveway! I jumped back inside, I'm still Baltimorized enough to fear that a drunk, big guy might be packing something and go nuts on us. I told Jrex to call 9-1-1. He hesitated. We heard the squeal of tires, a bang against the side of the house, more squeal. I glanced back outside and saw the car squealing behind our building. I grabbed the phone and dialed. Then stared in confusion when nothing happened. I hadn't turned the phone on. After more fumbling I got someone on the line.

Apparently they were flooded with calls about the incident. The police arrived a minute later. When I glanced out, there was a tall, skinny cop repeatedly insisting, "Don't move! Hey, stop moving!" In B-more, dude would have been on the ground, no questions asked, searched for weapons and shoved in the back of a cop car for safe keeping. Here? Five guys in blue are standing around the drunk. Is it a committee meeting?

All that said, we've had more drama here in our placid little hamlet than we ever had in Baltimore (if you don't count the time our house was burglarized...).

Nothing like walking the dog into a wall of curious neighbor's faces! "Do you need to go out, Muttola! Let's go, girl!"

August 5, 2008

Fun times!

I've got writer's block based on having too much I want to write about and not enough time. I begged and begged Jrex to let me post a pic his parents just sent. I finally got permission, but haven't had time to post it or to write the thoughtful, o so deep and amazing post to go with it!

We had a great weekend, or at least, I know I did. Friday night Smart Girl and I drove up to Millbrae and then hopped on public transportation to downtown San Francisco. No parking, walk less than a mile? Sure! We found a cute tapas restaurant, then wandered all over North Beach (SF's Little Italy) before deciding that tapas would be splendid. We're both married to workaholics and both want to get out and DO things. It's perfect! We made a list of all the adventures we want to do in the next few months. For some, we'll try to drag our hubbies along, but honestly, I think they both would heave a sigh of relief to know they could veg guilt free in front of the TV for a Saturday afternoon.

She's set us up for the next one. On Thursday I'm working a half day and then we'll head up to Berkeley (the hippie/artsy city) for a “Gourmet Ghetto” tour "led by epicurean concierge Lisa Rogovin". (Just found out this will be postponed, but doesn't it sound fun?!)

Saturday morning, Jrex set up a vineyard tour and tasting. This was at the place we went horseback riding last summer. It was the most intensive/thorough wine tour ever. The guide completely deromanticized vineyard ownership. It's SO much work. Their wines were ok, not amazing, but it was a free adventure with a cute guy (Jrex, that is; the guide was old and had a big pot-belly). After the vineyard, we wandered downtown Saratoga and went into an "International Deli" which turned out to be Persian. Nothing like lamb shank for lunch, I always say.

Saturday night we met friends for an evening of Shakespeare in the park. J and O have been part of our faithful dog-sitting posse. They suggested we bring the mutt with us and we, foolhardy "our dog is so mellow" adventurers, we took them up on it. We were late, of course. Muttola isn't huge, but she's no purse dog, and she's got a lovely sweeping tail. Just getting her through the crowd to the blanket our friends left for us gave me hives.

She was ECSTATIC to see J and crawled all over him, licking anything she could get her tongue on. I kept having to grab the end of her tail so she wouldn't whack everyone in the face. When she finally settled down, she sat in front of me and began to watch the stage. Four of the actors got into a fist-fight on stage (part of the play) and she barked really loud, "Break it up!" (Well, it came out like "Whoof" but she was clearly ready to jump up there and bring order on the boards). Lesson learned. No more doggie Shakespeare in the park.

The past two Sundays, Tall & Graceful and I have biked to the train, then from train to climbing gym. She's just starting as a climber, but she's long, lean and flexible. Years of Yoga are paying off for her. She's already trying climbs that are the same level I'm at. Yikes! She's eager, determined, interested in going outside and learning to lead climb. Whoo Hooo!! I think I've found a climbing partner. (Fingers crossed...) Jrex is still up for taking the top roping class, so we'll see, hopefully I'll have an embarrassment of partners.

Came in to work today to find out the guy in charge of New Business Development left our company today. He's half the reason for the fire drills we have in the design department, so we all have an 'oh well, good riddance' attitude. However, we've just had two VP's, an account manager and that guy leave in the last two months. Hmm...feels a little like the rats know something we don't. I'm still liking my job though I could see wanting something new in a year or two.

My sister sent my birthday present (the first season of the BBC Robin Hood on DVD) to work. I never check my mailbox, so that was a nice surprise today. I also had a postcard from one of the remaining VPs:

(this is the guy who grilled me in my job interview, but who has turned out to be great to work for. He also supplied a case load of Oreos to our department, thus earning him the nickname, "The Devil")

"Congrats on your Anniversary here! Your impact and contributions have been significant and much appreciated. Thank you for the hard work and energy. --The Devil"

I emailed him back.

Subject: "Soo...I just checked my mailbox and I have a question"

Email Body: "If I'm getting postcards from the devil, does that mean I sold my soul to the company?"

He just walked by and tossed out, "Didn't you see that soul form in the employee manual?"

I love working with witty people.

Oh yeah, yesterday was a 13 hour day with a few more likely coming soon. Good times.