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Decisions

This afternoon, I made a choice.

I’m not talking about a choice on a ballot; that was a decision I made weeks ago, though I formalized it – on a touch screen, in exchange for a Georgia Peach “I Voted” sticker – today.

No, the big choice was not to go to my track workout, on the basis that it was “cold” out and I wanted to “watch election returns.”

So at 6 PM, instead of pulling on a sports bra and heading out in to the (chilly and unwelcomely early) twilight, I donned pajama pants, flicked on the fireplace, poured a glass of wine, and turned on the news.

Really…I probably should have just gone to the track workout.

My workouts have been kind of variable lately. Two weeks ago, I had a pretty good night, evidenced by a solid and steady set of 4X 800 and 4X400:

800 (3:05, 3:04, 3:03, 3:02); 400 (87, 88, 87, 86)

Then last week, I chugged my way through a pretty ugly 6X800 set:

3:05, 3:08, 3:11, 3:13, 3:09, 3:19

Ugh. I don’t even want to talk about that last repeat.

(And then? I ran a 5K on Saturday. I finished in 21 and change. Which was okay, I guess…but I always seem to finish 5Ks in 21 and change. I’m stuck in a 21-and-change-rut.)

What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, me skipping my workout to watch the election returns tonight.

If you know me personally, you may have an idea of which way I voted today. If not, I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t for either of the guys whose names are being splashed all over the news channels tonight.

So why did I even want to watch? I’m not sure. Partly for the spectacle, I guess. To watch the frenetic pseudo-statistical race among the networks. To see the questionable fashion choices and over-gelled hairdos. To be the first to know as states turn to tidy red or blue. To feel like I am a part of this process, even though, at my core, I feel like I am not.

But…I am. I do have a dog in this fight, even if the talking heads don’t give his name half a botox-coaxed breath tonight.

“Wasting your vote is voting for someone that you don’t believe in.” –Gary Johnson, Libertarian

Maybe one day, I won’t have to choose between major candidates that, in turn, offend my fiscal and social sensibilities.

As for tonight? I probably should have just gone running.

Accidental long run

It’s been six months since I moved to Atlanta. Having little else to do, I’ve spent a fair amount of time poking around. So I feel like I know the city – at least “inside the perimeter” – fairly well.

But then I try to direction-logic my way through a weird, curvy, new-to-me city neighborhood and I realize that I don’t know shit.

So far, I have a few good running routes from my house, but none longer than five miles. Now that I am actually training for something, I need to expand my routes a bit. I had a recovery run on tap today, and I wanted to do six miles.

My go-to five miler is basically a big square; logically, I tried to expand it by simply continuing a little farther along the furthest side to form a rectangle.

But it doesn’t work like that here.

Picture me coming from STEADY BLVD, trying to make my way to HOME RD. It was a spectacular failure. I ended up on YURFUCT RD and continued thereupon for around a mile before I realized I was heading in exactly the wrong direction.

(For you Atlantans, I had essentially run up to Buckhead, and I needed to be in Midtown. Not ideal for what is supposed to be a short recovery run.)

Anyway. I took a rest stop at a gas station and loaded up the map app on my phone – which I carry sometimes for music on short solo runs, but am always glad to have when things unexpectedly turn ugly, navigation-wise. I determined that the most foolproof way to get back home would be to head back down Piedmont, which is one of the main roads.

If I did that and headed straight home, I’d end up with almost 9 miles.

I’d have to run alongside Piedmont Park anyway. I couldn’t think of any reason why I shouldn’t simply add on a mile or two in the park and make it my long run for the week. I mean:

  • The weather was nice and cool.
  • I didn’t have anywhere to be that evening.
  • There are water fountains in the park from which I could take a quick swig if I needed to.

I easily tacked on a mile and brought my “recovery run” to ten miles. That’s my long run distance for the week. DONEZO.

And that frees me up to do something I haven’t done in a while: race a 5K on Saturday morning.

Based on my recent track workouts, I should be able to post a pretty good (for me) time, but we’ll see. Obviously, it’s Atlanta so it’s a hilly course. I’ll be thrilled if I can break 21.

Scoring a D

[Allow me to preface this post by saying that it has nothing (or very little) to do with food, beer, or running. Count it instead among the handful of introspective entries that make me glad I have a blog because I have somewhere to spew this  random shit.]

Okay. So I spent last weekend in rural Indiana, at a retreat weekend held every other year by my in-laws and their extended clan. The generational family members are all shareholders in a closely-held family business, so it’s not unusual for them to get together for events of this sort.

I attend as a spouse and interested party (assuming that we have children who will one day inherit this ownership) and although the meetings are occasionally stressful or uncomfortable, they are generally tolerable and sometimes even enjoyable.

Which is to say: there are plenty of periods of “family bonding time” which include, for instance, a pontoon boat ride, craft beer tasting, tasty dinners, and plenty of sessions where the alcohol flows freely and the game boards come out, all in the name of family togetherness.

I really would be hard pressed to imagine a worse in-law situation. I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to know my husband’s extended family so well, given that we are scattered all over the country.

Anyway. This summer, as part of our “let’s learn to work better together” efforts, we all took a DISC Behavioral Assessment. Everyone took the test (which was s twenty-minute, rank-the-following-words quiz) before the session, and then we reviewed our results together, with the intended purpose of learning how to better communicate with one another.

I took the test back in June and I’ll admit that I struggled with it. The test asks you to order four adjectives from most like you to least like you. Ugh…totally subjective and meaningless, right?

Or…totally right on.

It was hard for me to answer the questions because I haven’t had a traditional work environment in….a while. So I tried to answer in  way that was consistent with how I behaved when I worked in consulting, as well as retail, as well as now (which is basically working for myself trying to write something that someone would pay for).

It was confusing as hell to think about. But I tried to just go with my gut.

And when I first saw the graph of my traits, I balked.

That is a high D. The four quadrants of DISC stand for: Dominance, Influence, Compliance, and Steadiness. You can read more about them here,  but here is a brief summary:

D, Dominance: Ambitious, direct, forceful, independent, decisive, challenging

I, Influence: Expressive, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, stimulating, demonstrative

S, Steadiness: Methodical, Steady, Systematic, Reliable, Relaxed, Modest

C, Compliant: Analytical, careful, contemplative, exacting, conservative, deliberative

I don’t think of myself as being a particularly dominant or overbearing person, but everyone has to fit somewhere on the grid.

Along with our graphical assessments, we received several pages of verbal feedback designed to describe how we functioned, how others would best communicate with us, and how we’d best communicate with others.

I have to say that pretty much everything listed in my results was spot on. In fact, I had a lesson in the above the next day when I attempted to retrieve a pair of reserved pontoon boats from the local marina and had to deal with a (very nice, but subbing-on-lunch-break) woman who was doing the charges + taxes longhand ON A PIECE OF SCRATCH PAPER. OMG get a damn calculator, I need to get out of here!

I tried to calm myself, but I could not.

With each superfluous longhand calculation, I grew more anxious. Anxious and agitated. Finally, I had to leave the counter and wander around the store just because I couldn’t stand the fact that this transaction was not straightforward and efficient. I wanted to yell at someone, but I didn’t know who to yell at.

What is wrong with me?  I thought.

But then I fell back on the fact that this might just be my personality.

I’m a D. Dominant. Supposedly.

But is that really an excuse for being a bitch? I don’t think so. I need to work on that.

That is probably true. I’m a hellish bitch at the post office.

I’m still thinking about this whole DISC thing and how right or wrong it might be.

Meanwhile, I ran a whole 27 miles last week, including a 10-miler around the lake we were staying on in Indiana. I think I’ll start actually tracking my miles on here next week: as August wanes, I’d like to work up to 30-something weeks and then hit 40-something and maybe 50-something in September. I have a half marathon at which to PR (I hope) in November.

But while I’m upping my running miles, I can’t help but think about the more psychological implications of my DISC assessment. That I need to lead in order to be happy. That I prefer to be challenged. That I need problems and challenges in order to be satisfied.

Um…that’s not exactly the description of someone who hopes to write novels for a living. Doesn’t bode well.

I’ll leave you with this photo from my husband’s cousin’s condo-room-thingy at our resort in Indiana:

 Shrek and…?

 The whole thing was just weird.

And this post probably scores a D in comprehension.

You make me wanna

…ba-doop, shoop ba-doop, shoop ba-doop-ba-doop-ba-doop….

That is all.

Pink and sparkly

Today, my husband and I drove two hours to eat at an Arby’s.

It wasn’t entirely intentional.  I mean, I love curly fries, but I don’t make a destination out of them. We were trying to explore our new Georgia geography and ended up in an area where nothing is open on Sunday.

This is something about the South that I am, to phrase it tactfully, still getting used to.

Anyway. We found this big lake on a map. We looked it up online, reading that it was one of the “most popular recreational lakes in the country.” We headed adventourously out from our Midtown Atlanta home, thinking we’d be game for some boating and floating and whatever else the local scene had to offer.

You would think that one of so-called  “most popular recreational lakes in the country” would have some…restaurants? Ice cream shops? Something? Besides fast food?

You would be wrong. At least on a Sunday. And as much as I am a fast food apologist, this situation was not approved by me. For whatever that matters.

We stopped at a state park beach and tiptoed across the red clay beach to dip our toes in the warm water. We watched pontoon boats cruise by, circled periodically by speedboats pulling gleeful skiers and hearty tubers on inflatable rafts.

After a longish drive home, we were ready to spend the rest of our day relaxing on the roof deck. We’ve had several events at the house lately so I had absolutely every kind of wine ready to go.

So even on a Sunday night: a bubbly rose. Which should be rather light and tasty. And pink…and sparkly. Like a…uh, shit. I hate pink shit and I hate sparkly shit.

But this wine isn’t half bad.

Not a bad pick at all, actually,

Good night!

Golden hour

It’s only my second year down here, but I’m really starting to appreciate a good southern summer night.

I know I bitch and moan about the heat and humidity (although – less! since I’m not spending nine hours a week running in it!) but there is something kind of charming about spending all day shuttling from one air-conditioned environment to another and then emerging at sundown to bask in the sultry evening air with a cold drink in hand.

I’m not alone in my appreciation of this dusky hour. Unseen cliques of bugs hum busily in the trees. Fireflys kiss the tops of the grass. And I’m sure, over in Midtown, bunches of bar-goers are starting to plot their evenings out.

Tonight, though, I’m content to stay in and enjoy a beer on the balmy roof deck.

I’m running (racing?) a 5K in the morning, which I bore in mind as I scanned the cold beer aisle at Publix earlier this evening. Terrapin’s Golden Ale is the brewery’s self-described session (low ABV) beer, which sounded perfect for my low-key plans.

When I looked this up on BeerAdvocate to find out the actual alcohol content, I was surprised to see that it’s also classified as a Cream Ale. It’s a style that I don’t have much experience with, and the vague impressions that I do have aren’t particularly positive.

But the the Golden is not a bad beer. I mean…it’s a better version of your average light beer. Highly carbonated and refreshing, with just a touch of bitterness, I’m sure it’s a beer that would please a crowd. 5% ABV.

Bottom line: I don’t think it’s Terrapin’s best offering by any means (bring me a Wake-n-Bake!) but it’s certainly enjoyable.

Especially on a southern summer night.

I expect we’ll be having a few of those in the near future.

Biserable

They say that if you don’t have anything nice to say…

And I really don’t have anything nice to say about this week.

Monday morning, I awoke to find myself a shivering mess, coated in a fine film of clammy sweat. For two days, I spent all of my waking, non-working hours huddled under a blanket in my sauna-like apartment.

(Look what happens when you have south facing floor-to-ceiling windows and you turn your AC off…even when it’s 40 degrees outside. On the plus side, the view is amazing!)

This morning, I woke up relieved to find the fever gone. But overnight, it seemed, an avalanche of mucous had tumbled down Mount Snotmore and lodged itself firmly in my nasal cavity.

Ugh.

And so, today’s bitchfest of a post is brought to you by the letter B. As in: I’d go bake byself a beanut butter sabdwich, but I’b buried ubder this bile of Kleedex. 

True story.

Also, I haven’t run in over a week and it’s driving me crazy. My foot feels fine, though, so I’ll be giving it a shot just as soon as this flu crap clears up.

In the beantibe, I’ll be on the couch.

Apples are better than chocolates

I am floored.

My husband has just made a large deposit at the Bank of Marital Capital. We don’t usually make a huge deal out of Valentine’s Day or give each other big gifts, so I was shocked when I opened up the FedEx box.

Judging by how long it took me to upload and post these two pictures, I have a bit of a learning curve ahead of me. I have never had a Mac before. But…IT’S SO PRETTY. I’m sure we will be best friends in no time.

First item on the agenda? Rectify the MS PAINT situation. There’s gotta be an app for that…right?

 

All by myself

Here’s how it happened:

A couple of months ago, my husband got a really cool  job offer. In Atlanta.

A couple of weeks ago, they set a start date.

A couple of days ago, I dropped him off at the airport with a couple of really big suitcases and a good-luck kiss.

In a couple of months, I’ll be joining him there.

I’m quite sure that I have a lot more to say about this, but for some reason, the words aren’t coming yet. We have moved so many times, and when we settled in Raleigh a year and a half ago, we both hoped it would be for a while.

But things don’t always go as planned. So as I try to sort out the mixture of excitement and sadness and anxiety, I’m trying to focus on the positives of having a few weeks of me-time, while willfully ignoring the looming need to start packing up the apartment. And, of course, trying not to miss my other half.

Being a temporarily single-but-not-really-single girl means MORE:

  • Reruns of What Not To Wear
  • Kitteh snuggles (crazy cat lady here!)
  • Running and racing (nothing to do on a Friday and/or Saturday night anyway…)
  • Writing
  • Delicious yet garlicky and/or gassy foods (bonus points for both)
  • Bed acreage to sprawl my little limbs out all over the place
…and LESS:
  • Messes (that aren’t mine) to clean up
  • Eating out
  • Drinking (probably…)
  • Shaving of the ‘ol legs (hey, perfect timing, pants weather!)
  • Toothpaste splattered on the bathroom mirror
So that’s my big news. Moving to Atlanta! Coming in March 2012! Until then…

 

Finished? I’ve barely started…

So have YOU finished your shopping yet? Oh…you have? Well. Good for you. I haven’t started yet.

I guess you could say I take after my father, whose mall assaults on the afternoon of Christmas Eve have always been infamous in my family. I used to go with him sometimes, and it was always an efficient – and even rather enjoyable – process. Slippers, toaster, toolbox. Earrings, backpack, socks. We cruised through half-full parking lots and breezed through short lines, collecting the required items, then took them home and wrapped them up – to be opened mere hours later.

But somehow, in my own adult years, I’ve been unable to replicate the process. I always end up all grinchy and stressed.

(It’s December 20 and there are no gifts underneath my tree. Unless you consider cat hair a gift.)

Perhaps the problem is that I cannot fully commit to the Last Minute Shop. I lack my dad’s ability to truly put it off – and out of mind – until those final hours. A little bit like swinging at a baseball, I guess: you have have the patience and confidence to wait for the perfect moment, the sweet spot that’s just a split second before too late.  (It should come as no surprise that I’m appallingly bad at hitting a baseball…but that’s a story for another day.)

It’s a fine line between calculated postponement and procrastination. Yet again, I’ve found myself on the wrong side of it. If I were a pro at this, I’d be kicking back and waiting for everyone else to finish their freak-outs and go home before swooping in to the stores at the eleventh hour and calmly claiming my haul. If I were like my dad, I’d be chillin’ in the dugout drinking a beer – but instead, I find myself among the panicked masses, swinging and missing and lobbing foul balls into the backstop like it’s my job.

Just kidding about part of that – I’m definitely enjoying a beer or two this week. Tonight’s was excellent:

Sierra Nevada releases their annual Celebration Ale every winter. But don’t let the name fool you: this beer is not going to give you a mouthful of Christmas. There’s no nutmeg or coffee or molasses or clove. This beer is about one thing: hops.

And it’s definitely a beer worth celebrating. It’s just…a really good IPA. Sierra Nevada labels it “fresh-hopped” which in this case appears to mean that it’s made with the first hops harvested that growing season. I guess that’s why they can only produce it once a year. That’s a damn shame, because I’d happily enjoy this beer year round! 6.8% ABV.

Bottom line: Yes, definitely! (Received in a beer swap, widely available at upscale grocery stores for around $10/six)

Early tomorrow, I shall brave the mall, whereupon I will attempt to cram an entire season’s worth of shopping in to one morning. Wish me luck!

If I weren’t such a pussy, I’d wait until Christmas Eve.