Monthly Archives: March 2009

“There’s No Walking in Running”

That has been my motto as of late.  Any time I feel like stopping, I think of Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own telling the ‘girls’ that there’s no crying in baseball.  It keeps me going.  For a bit.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I might not make it the full 3.2 miles on April 11.  But I really want to.  So I’m stepping up my training.  This morning I had one of my best runs to date.   So I decided to go again tonight.

Bad idea.

About 8 minutes in, my sides started hurting.  At 10 minutes the blister on my foot was about to burst.  At 11 minutes I walked.   I tried running a couple times after that, but just couldn’t do it.   I guess the experts are right.   Rest periods are necessary.

Sorry for yet another lame post about running, but it is pretty much taking over my life these days.  If I don’t make it all the way through this 5K I will sign up for another one.

Oh, and I’m in love with Lady GaGa’s  “Just Dance” right now.  I somehow forgot to include it in my last list of running tunes.

I want, I want, I want EVERYTHING!

I officially signed up for the 5K at the Illinois marathon this week.  I’m planning on running it.  I’ve decided I won’t be a complete failure If I don’t run the whole thing, but I really, really, really want to be able to say I can run a 5K.  I’m not a runner at all, but I feel the need to have goals and at least try to accomplish them.

Lately, I’ve been doing a combination of Couch to 5K workouts and my own “modified” workouts.  For my modified workouts, I listen to some of my own music, some current favorites include:

  • Womanizer, Britney Spears (don’t hate)
  • Shake It, Metro Station
  • In the Middle, Jimmy Eat World
  • Single Ladies, Beyonce

But the *best* song for me right now is Los Angeles by Sugarcult.  I couldn’t find an actual video online, but this homeade one is pretty good.  The beat of this song is perfect for running and the “C’mon, C’mon” at the end inspires me to keep going.

Foto Friday: Frisco of Old

Someone remarked that I didn’t take enough photos of my most recent trip to San Francisco.  So here, some pics that proved I was there (albeit 4 years ago!)

at the Golden Gate Bridge with a flower in my hair

at the Golden Gate Bridge with a flower in my hair

Aunt Linda and Mom on the cable car

Aunt Linda and Mom on the cable car

Mom and I outside a winery/chateau

Mom and I outside a winery/chateau

Aunt Linda and I drinking wine in Napa Valley

Aunt Linda and I drinking wine in Napa Valley-- again with the flowers!

BTW– It’s hard enough for me to even look at these pictures, let alone post them.  In the immortal words of Jewel:

“Please be careful with me.  I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way.”

A peek inside my journal

It’s probably not a surprise to most of you that I’m a journaler…  I’ve been keeping a journal, in some form or other, since I was a kid.

It also probably won’t come as a surprise that my journaling isn’t exactly structured or organized. In fact, I don’t even keep it in a consistent place. I have several notebooks, which are used not only as notebooks, but as receptacles for EVERYTHING– grocery lists, notes to myself, doodles, etc.  I even have a HORRIBLE habit of mixing my personal and work notebooks.  In fact, I found my bets from last year’s Vegas trip during a meeting at work today.  Ugh.

I thought it might be interesting to let y’all take a little peek into one of my journals…   I wrote this on the way back from San Fransisco.  I’m keeping the original post pretty much intact, but I couldn’t resist fixing a few style/grammar issues.  But I kept most of them in.  You’ll also see some “notes” in brackets.  These are after-the-fact explanations and were not part of the original ramblings.

——-

3.14.09

There’s something about travelling that brings out the reflective/introspective side of me.  Maybe it’s being in another place.  Surrounded by other people and places.

Maybe it’s the lack of the clutter of everyday life– bills to pay, chores to do, people to  to connect with.  A hotel room with just a bed and a clock.  No to-do list except the one you bring with you.

I got up early an ran 2x this trip.  Not because I was dedicated, but because I had nothing else to do.  My brain woke my body up and there was simply nothing else to do in the 2+ hour before work than hit the hotel gym.

Granted, the lack of clutter and schedule can also work against progress.  Sat. was my last day in SF.  We got done with work early so it was my only free afternoon to do daytime “stuff”.  Unfortunately, the stuff I really wanted to do didn’t work into my time schedule so I ended up taking a much needed nap in the hotel instead.

Although this worked well for me physically, my to-do list suffered.  I didn’t get to the museum store (which I love) and didn’t buy gifts for family and friends, which I needed to do.

Travelling also allows for lots of profound thoughts.  Maybe its being “stuck” on a plane or a train but I often find myself thinking profound thoughts on planes and trains.

[Editor's Note: the previous sentence was clearly not edited for style... just to prove this is really a journal entry.]

I think about people.  How they got here.  Where they’re going.  And about myself.  How I got here and where I’m going.  Where am I going, anyway?

I find myself making plans to make plans when I travel– changes I need to make.  Meditations I need to do [Editor's note: I've never meditated a day in my life. I must've read this in a book or something.]

I get back to the hustle-bustle [Editor's Note: originally spelled "hussle-bussle"] of my “real” life.  The laundry, the bills are still there.  The day-to-day routine that makes up the majority of life.  And I forget to retreat.  To think. To reflect.

I often think I need to take a trip all by myself.  To the beach maybe. Or the mountains.  Somewhere with natural beauty that can inspire me to think about my life and to make real plans to do something with it.  Something meaningful. Something significant.  Something with purpose.  But then I think what would I do?  Would I get lonely?

I even thought about extending this trip for a couple of days– staying over in SF so I could do some stuff I knew I wouldn’t get to do.  But I didn’t have anyone to come out here with me.  Well, that’s not really true.  I didn’t actually ask anyone.

[Editor's note: Names of friends and family I could've asked.  I'm leaving this out to protect the innocent. It's not their fault I never asked them!]

Even if I didn’t find anyone to come, I should’ve done it.  As I sit here on the plane thinking about it, I have these romantic visions of sitting on the Wharf with my laptop writing.  Or doing the touristy stuff I didn’t do.  Or spending time hiking Muir Woods and “connecting” with the city.  I should’ve done it.

As it turns out, I did extend my trip a bit.  Instead of staying over a couple days in SF, I’m gonna hang in Chicago.  Maybe we can do some off-the-beaten path Chicago stuff.  I just read about a couple places and I’ll have some time to write.

[Editor's note: As you probably already know, I ended up pretty much crashing in Chicago... and am just now getting around to writing]

I have a lot I want to write:

  • Some version of this journal entry [EN: done!]
  • Private post I want to write.  [EN: Hey, it's a peek into my journal, not my soul!]
  • SF wrap-up– food/drink, what I did/didn’t do  [EN: done!]
  • Review/response to what I’ve been reading:  Malcolm Galdwell piece/Same Kind of Different as Me [EN: forthcoming]
  • Story for class [EN: done!]
  • Revision of 1st story [EN: forgot about this completely until right now]

———-

So, there you have it.  My journal reads a lot like my blog posts.  But I usually try to edit my blog posts.  At least once!

Operators are standing by…

On Friday night, some co-workers and I answered the phones for the local PBS station fund raising drive.  They ask local organizations to staff the phones in exchange for a little on-air recognition.  We’ve done it a few times in the past and it’s always a good time.

A few highlights from the evening:

  • Some guy called during the Bill Moyers show and said we were all Communists.  Duly noted.
  • We were talking about the Communist call when our “coach” made a comment about only writing in red pen. I thought she was was making a Commie joke, so I laughed.  She wasn’t.  Apparently we were only allowed to write with red ink on our pledge cards and I was using green ink.  Leave it to me to get in ‘trouble’ at a volunteer gig.  Awesome.
  • Andrew took the last call of the evening.  And had to explain what a DVD player was to the woman.   As everyone else was filing out, he was still trying to explain it to her.  I felt bad for him, but it sure was funny!
Sign on the door.  Clearly this is NOT where we were :)

Sign on the door. Clearly NOT for our studio.

Kurt taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him.  Scott and Andrew "working" in the background.

Kurt taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him. Scott and Andrew "working" in the background.

"Answering calls tonight are representatives from The National Council of the Teachers of English."  Z was not impressed!

"Answering calls tonight are representatives from The National Council of the Teachers of English." Z was not impressed!

Felice knows what color pen to use!

Felice knows what color pen to use!

Frisco Stories, Part 2

I guess I should’ve mentioned in my earlier post that this is my 3rd trip to San Francisco.  I’ve already done many of the touristy things (Golden Gate Bridge, trolley car, wine country), so you won’t see any of that this time.  But San Fran is one of my favorite cities and every time I go back, I’m able to experience a little more of it!

Thursday — Thai, Tapas, and Theater

First official day of work.   A couple minor snafus, but everything went off without a hitch.  

The wonderful thing about San Francisco is that there was an Indian buffet across the street from our hotel.  And a Thai place across another.   Since I actually ate a buffet breakfast on Thursday (totally out of character), I went to the Thai place  Thursday.  My lunch was tasty.  I could’ve used more vegetables, but usual Convention fare consists of cardboard pizza and dry sandwiches, so I’m not gonna complain!

I think it was called broccoli and noodles

I think it was called broccoli and noodles

After work, we decided to go to the Thirsty Bear for dinner.  It’s a tapas place Kurt and I had been to four years ago and it was (relatively) close by.   We had tickets to see Wicked that night, so we didn’t want to repeat the “where the hell is the restaurant” debacle of the night before.

The Thirsty Bear is also a brewery, so I decided to choose the beer sampler.   Yes, folks, that’s right– NINE different beers (they were only 4 or 5 oz each… but STILL!).  It came with a cool “legend” underneath each beer to indicate what you were drinking.

mmm... beer!

BEFORE: mmm... beer!

And... after (I wanted you to be able to see the legend)

AFTER: Note the legend is now visible

As expected, my favorites were the IPA and the wheat beer.  I wasn’t so keen on the stouts, but I tried them.  I also learned that E.S.B. really does stand for Extra Special Bitters.  I didn’t believe Andrew when he told me that.

Tapas were phenomenal.  

cheese and olives-- this is for you, Lisa!

cheese and olives-- this is for you, Lisa!

YUMMY asparagus, another poultry and polenta dish and shrimp

YUMMY asparagus, another poultry and polenta dish and a tasty sauteed shrimp

Unfortunately, we were a little rushed for time and Kurt and I had to ditch out on Andrew to make it in time for the show.  Getting there was quite an adventure.  We couldn’t hail a cab to save our lives and we were practically race-walking to make it to the theater in time.  At one point, I thought I’d be better off running.   We finally got a cab that took us ~ 4 blocks, but we made it to the show in time.

Wicked was playing at the Orpheum Theater, which was just beautiful.  It’s a very old, very ornate theater.  We got there right on time and I didn’t have a chance to snap any external pics, and they didn’t allow photos of the show, but it was AMAZING.   

I couldn’t get over how big everything was– the sets were amazing, the costumes were gorgeous, the actors were amazing (Carol Kane played Madame Morrible).   Some of the songs were a little cheesy, but I was just so000 impressed by the whole production.  I’ve never been to a Broadway show or anything like that, so I’m not sure what I expected.  But this topped it all!   A couple highlights:

  • Galinda teaching Elphaba the “toss-toss” method of flipping one’s hair to flirt with a guy.  Uh… I know someone like that :) 
  • Fiyero describing himself as “deeply shallow.”   Classic
  • The curtain call.  For some reason, I *always* get a little veclempt during the curtain call.  I’m weird.

Friday– Run on, Retirement, and G. Love

Usually, about the 2nd or 3rd day of a trade show, you start to get bored.  I spotted a guy wearing a “run on”  tshirt and texted my friend about it, since he used to have a running “team” called the Run-ons.  (English teachers are really quite witty.  Really!)

When the guy wearing the shirt came into our booth, I just  had  to snap a picture:

the back said: 'unless you're a sentence'

the back said: 'unless you're a sentence'

Instead of going out for a fancy dinner on Friday night, we celebrated our colleagues, Pat’s, last convention with a pizza party in a SWEET hotel suite. Check out this view:

yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

The Bay. Yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

Skyline

Skyline

Then it was off to the G.Love and Special Sauce concert at The Warfield.   G. Love and the boys did not disappoint.  We had general admission tickets and were able to get fairly close.  I LOVED the venue.  Totally cool and “intimate.”    Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.   I’m not sure if Andrew and Kurt enjoyed it as much as I did, but I had a rockin’ good time.  Crazy hippie dancing and all :)

Hallway at the Warfield-- lots of cool acts have played there

Hallway at the Warfield-- lots of cool acts have played there

My baby's got sauce...

Check out the dude with the cast!

Harmonicas are sexxy

Harmonicas are sexxy

So are guitars!

So are guitars!

Saturday–  Last day, Haight-Ashbury, and Supper

As you can imagine,  Saturday was a bit of a long day for me.  Even though we had a short day in terms of hours, it was looong in terms of how I felt.  But I made it through.  And then crashed.  I took a 3 hour nap that afternoon. I probably should’ve gone out and “done” more of San Fransisco, but I just didn’t have it in me.

Andrew was visiting with friends, so Kurt and I decided to head to the Haight for dinner.  We went to Magnolia, a gastro pub Lisa read about in a magazine.   There was a wait, so we decided to walk around a bit.   Believe it or not, I had *never* been to Haight-Ashbury before.   Yeah, it’s touristy, but I had to take a pic.

lets all do a little hippie dance

lets all do a little hippie dance

The food and beer were both good at Magnolia.   The service was a little slow, though, or else I probably would’ve had a couple more beers.   All in all, a great way to end our adventure in San Fran!

meat and cheese platter

meat and cheese platter

Kurt had the pork chop

Kurt had the pork chop

And I had the house ravioli

And I had the house ravioli

Sunday-Tuesday:  Recovering in Chicago

Instead of coming home to Champaign on Sunday, I spent a couple days recovering in Chicago.  I was waayyy too tired to do much, but we did spend St. Patty’s day in Millennium Park.   We had super great weather and it was the perfect way to spend my last day in the “real world.”  Again, I didn’t take any pictures.  I need to get better at that.

————–

Things I didn’t do

Although I’m pretty impressed with all the things we were able to do in such a short time (especially considering I had to actually work for most of it), there are a few things I missed:

  • Warhol Live at the  de Young Museum  — Andy Warhol and Rock music together.  I really wanted to see it, but the timing just didn’t work out.
  • 826 Valencia (aka The Pirate Store)– Jane told us about Dave Eggers’ literacy project that features a “pirate store.”   I never made it down there, but Kurt went and brought me back a souvenir skull.  That’s gotta count for something!
  • Alcatraz– I’ve never had time to take the tour, but I hear it’s phenomenal.   One of these days, I will go! For reals.
  • SF MOMA Museum store– I made the mistake on my first trip to SF to actually tour the MOMA on the last day of Convention. It was complete sensory overload and too much at the end of a long day.  But I at least wanted to make it to the museum store ‘cuz it’s super cool.
  • Take any pictures of myself in San Francisco.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?  I have tons of food pics but none of me!  I really must get better at this!

San Francisco Stories, Part 1

It’s been a week since I left San Fransisco and I’m just now getting around to posting the pics/blog.   Thankfully, I have Twitter to remind me what I did!    I’ll split it into two posts to make it more readable.  Without further adieu…

Tuesday– Travel and Twin Spotting

We made it to San Fran without any problems.  Checked into the hotel, had a late lunch, and walked around a bit.  We saw a street performer with a pet rat and a pet cat but, alas, no photos exist.  It’s too bad, really, ‘cuz it was quite the sight.

We were able to get a (pretty crappy) photo of the Brown Twins, though. They’re living San Francisco landmarks– twin sisters who dress alike and frequent Nob Hill eateries.   We didn’t even know about them until later, but I was able to snap this (bad) picture of them. On this day, they were dressed in leopard-print jackets and cowboy hats.  Pimp!

100_2236

Wednesday– Set up (Sorta), Eye-Talian, and Tiki

The first day of work was a logistical nightmare.   Due to union restrictions,  we ended up watching other people do the work until about 5:00 then we unpacked our booth.  I’m a strong supporter of unions, but even my resolve was tested.  In the end, it worked out fine, but it sure was frustrating!    

The end result of 8 hours of union labor and 1.5 hours of ours!

The end result of 8 hours of union labor and an hour and a half of ours!

We then set out for dinner.  As you may recall, dinners out are the highlight of my work trips and Kurt had heard of this Italian place called Cafe Tiramisu.  It was 8 short blocks from the hotel, which was a welcome change from sitting on my a$$ all day.  Unfortunately, we got a little lost and the 8 blocks ended up being much longer– and often uphill.  

Once we made it to the restaurant, it was worth it.  The waiter called us kids, there were hilarious misspellings on the menu (which became somewhat of a theme–see below) and the food was pretty good.  I got the quail, which was good, but reminded me how much I hate to eat meat off of bones:

100_2239

Good. But lots of bones.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the dessert.  We ordered the sampler for 3 and it didn’t disappoint– various types of gelato, sorbet, cakes, cannolis, biscotti, tiramisu (natch),  profiteroles, etc.   Even though it was billed as enough for 3 people, it was waaaayyy too much.  Apparently, they also had a pasta sampler, but we didn’t try it:

mmm...dessert!

mmm...dessert!

After dinner, we met a former co-worker, Jane (of Not So Plain Jane fame) out for drinks.  She took us to the Tonga Room, which was absolutely AWESOME!   It’s a Tiki-themed bar in the oh-so-fancy Fairmont hotel.  The drinks are strong, the dancing is hoppin’ and it made for a great people-watching experience. (Read Jane’s description here.) 

There was a couple making out on the dance floor, a guy in a white shirt with zero inhibitions and everyone was having a good time.  My only regret is that I didn’t get up and dance.  Andrew offered me free drinks for the rest of the trip, and I didn’t take it.   The Tonga Room is apparently closing soon, so I’m glad we got a chance to experience it.   

A few pics (a la Lisa):

My drink.  Can't remember the name. Tasted like a rum runner.

My drink. Can't remember the name. Tasted like a rum runner.

Kurt loooves his pirate drink (again, can't remember the name!)

Kurt loooves his drink, The Scorpion :)

Andrew's Mai Thai came in a super awesome plastic coconut

Andrew's Mai Thai came in a super awesome plastic coconut

And an umbrella!!

With an umbrella!!

For some dumb reason, I didn’t take any pictures of Jane, who was an awesome tour guide.  It was so much fun to get an “inside look” at San Francisco.  I’m so bummed we didn’t get to hang longer, but the Tonga Room was definitely one of the highlights of a super fun trip.  Thanks, Jane!!

——————————

Funny Menus

One of the recurring themes of this trip (in addition to “you did a GREAT job” and hiding my phone–very funny, boys!), was the number of funny things we read on menus.

At Cafe Tiramisu, they had HORRIBLE misspellings.   Chocoloate for chocolate, Yourgurt for yogurt, etc.   They also had a disclaimer at the bottom that said something like: ” We are not responsible for lost or stolen items.”  Which we thought was odd.

There was a disclaimer on another menu that essentially said:  “Kids are welcome.  Unless they are crying.  Then you need to remove them.”   We thought that was awesome!

TO BE CONTINUED . . .