Friday, February 28, 2003

The Friday Five

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)? Fiction, specifically novels. I find that with short stories, just as I become attached to the characters, the story ends.

2. What is your favorite novel? There's a Sophie's Choice question if I ever heard one (and as much as I like Styron, Sophie is not my favorite). The ones that I return to over and over are my childhood favorites (specifically those by L.M. Montgomery and L.M. Alcott). I love all books by Madeline L'Engle, children and adult. Margaret Drabble, Anne Tyler, and Marge Piercy are a few of my favorite contemporary authors.

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!) Well, there's my German rendition of Der Earlkoenig, but I won't repeat it here. I really enjoyed poetry when I was in high school, but haven't read any since. There was a poem by John Dunne that I particularly liked, but can't remember what it was.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read? There are a lot of books that I've bought with the intention of reading, but never had. Certainly more of the classics. Things I've been thinking about are War and Peace, something by Faulkner, and more by Virginia Woolf (inspired by The Hours).

5. What are you currently reading? I'm reading the Great Game of Business for work (must finish it this weekend...) and started the Peppered Moth (Margaret Drabble) a few weeks ago, but haven't opened in a few weeks. I'd like to get back into that one this weekend as well.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Leftover fish; tasty lunch or food poisoning waiting to happen?

I bought Alaskan halibut yesterday at the Pike Place market. We grilled it for dinner. I left enough for lunch leftovers. My dining partner was appalled. "You don't eat leftover fish!" I've always eaten leftover fish. It hasn't happened recently, because I usually balk at the price and don't buy enough and we don't have any leftover. You gotta figure that the leftover fish bought at the Market yesterday is fresher than just about anything you'd get anywhere else. Any other thoughts? Office lunchtime poll is entirely in my favor, but the real proof will be in how I feel an hour from now.
Trail Note

Yesterday was a clear, cold, and sunny day, which was perfect weather for the Chilly Hilly, a 33 mile bike ride around Bainbridge Island. It's a beautiful route, with amazing views of downtown Seattle with the Cascade Mountain range in the background, lovely homes and gardens, and picturesque inlets and bays. It also lives up to its name; it's hilly! I heard that there were about 3000 riders, and I think that most of them rode the ferry over from Seattle with me. It's a pretty cool site when the entire ferry terminal is filled with cyclists in brightly colored jerseys and helmets. Despite my nervousness at being able to complete the ride (I haven't done much biking recently), I had a great ride. I passed a lot of cyclists walking their bikes up hills; I was very glad that I had my hybrid, which has much better gearing for hills than my road bike. There was a slight hiccup when I got a flat tire, but my road crew / riding companion patched me up and had me back on the road in no time. Said road crew was also the staff photographer, so hopefully one of us will have a few pictures up soon.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Friday Five

1. What is your most prized material possession? My persian rugs. I'm not sure which one is more prized.

2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest? My pillow; I've had it since I can remember. It's a feather pillow and very smooshie.

3. Are you a packrat? I try not to be. I really like to get rid of extra stuff, but if I think I might need something, I'll keep it.

4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum? Does clutter mean pictures, books, etc? If so, then I like it. If clutter means newspapers, dirty dishes, laundry, etc. lying around, then I like spic-and-span. I like things to be neat, but I always have some piles of paper to be read, filed, sorted, etc.

5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there? A theme? My kitchen has a cooking theme and my bedroom has a peaceful place to relax theme... no I don't have themes. I try to keep things simple, and I would love to stick to the maxim that everything I have is either something I know to be useful or believe to be beautiful, but I'm not sure that I'm there yet.

I feel very terse with my answers. It's been an absolutely crazy week, so I'm feeling a bit stressed out and weekend-ready. TGIF!
It's new, it's improved, it clean spills up to 100% better..

Yeah! My new template is up! Thanks to Jeff for all of his technical support; I think things are looking a little spiffier around here. The picture, by the way, was taken at the top of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, 2/8/03.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Ich bin ein Berliner. Not. Must be my fondness for beer, rain, and the color green.

You are Irish
You are a Dubliner.

What's your Inner European?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found via Brigita and Max.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

A trivial little pop culture post

I'm all worn out after reading and responding to Kris' thread about anti-war protests, so I thought I'd try to take a minute and put thing into perspective.

Joe Millionaire: I watched, but it wasn't a complete waste of time as I knitted at least 2 new stripes on my Harry Potter scarf.

RW/RR BOTS: How am I supposed to enjoy the show when Colin and Melissa can't even enjoy it?

Reality TV last night, trivia tonight, sunbreaks today; life is good in Seattle.
Trail Note

Although it's now well over a week ago, my Vancouver half marathon is still trail-note-worthy. I ran the race last year, had a blast, and set a PR with a finishing time of 1:51 and fifty-something seconds. I felt so good, and so fast, that I started thinking that I might actually be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon (I would have to finish a marathon in 3:40) and the road to the 10/13/02 Chicago Marathon began. In retrospect, I think that I overtrained for Chicago, running too many 20+ mile runs and not enough hill and / or speed workouts. By the time I ran the marathon, my knees were hurting every time I ran longer than 7 miles. Between all of those long painful runs, and a disappointing marathon finish (3:53 is good, but nowhere near the time I had hoped for), I was pretty burnt out on running. All of that changed last weekend.

The Vancouver course winds its way around the island upon which downtown Vancouver is located. The city of Vancouver is surrounded by scenic bays and majestic mountains. The course is one of the most beautiful I have run. Being that it's on the water, it's also quite flat (big plus). The weather last Sunday was ideal: high 30's warming up to the low 40's, overcast, with very little wind. The race was limited to 2000 runners, so we crossed the start line running (this is very rare) and I never felt pent-in by other runners. I tried hard to keep my pace slow in the first half of the race, knowing that starting too fast too early would not make for a fun finish. It worked, and I found myself gradually speeding up over the course of the race. I felt good, the spectators were nice, the other runners were great, the location was fantastic, and I was running well. I started grinning around mile 10, and I held that goofy smile on my face for the last 3.1 miles. I finished the race beating my time from last year by about 30 seconds.

Since then, I've felt really good running. It's more fun and somehow easier than it's been in a while. I feel more like one of those runners I read about in Runners World, and less like a poser in Nikes and tights jogging along. That race somehow re-energized my running efforts. It's pretty cool when that happens. I'm not energized to the point of signing up for another marathon in 2003, but we'll see about 2004.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Reading for Peace

I'm embarrassed to say that after all my talk about marching for peace on Saturday, I didn't go through with it. Instead, I sat on my couch in my living room curled up with a book and a cup of coffee.

And now with the excuses... Last weekend was my first weekend at home in a month and I really wanted to relax at home. Saturday morning I went for a longish run in the rain. By the time I got home, drenched, cold, and tired, the last thing that I wanted to do was go back out into the damp Seattle afternoon. I had plans to see the movie The Hours late that afternoon, and wanted to read the book before seeing the film it inspired. So all of that added up to me not going.

I was excited to see how many people did march / protest in cities all over the world. If you were one of those people, I thank you and hope that you enjoyed the experience. If you weren't, I hope that you had as pleasurable an afternoon as I did.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Walking for Peace

I'm planning on joining these folks tomorrow to show my lack of support for a war in Iraq.

On her site, Kris has posed the question: would you participate in an anti-war demonstration or "walk for peace?" Of course, I couldn't resist adding my 10 cents. What are yours?
Five for Friday

1. Explain why you started to journal/blog. I had been reading others' blogs for a while and had become a frequent commentor on a few favorites. I decided that if I really had something to say, I could say it on my own page instead of littering up others' sites with my ramblings.

2. Do people you interact with day to day or family members know about your journal/blog? Why or why not? I don't think that anyone I work with knows about this (I've never told, and if they've found it, they've remained quiet.) I would rather not advertise to my co-workers the fact that I sometimes blog at the office. My family and some friends know (I linked the page on my xmas newsletter), but I don't think that they really visit the site; at least not frequently. My parents are extremely computer literate, but don't understand how people have time to use the internet during the day.

3. Do you have a theme for your journal/blog? My initial intent was that I'd use the weather as a theme to express the state of my mood (the Seattle weather patterns of clouds and drizzle with the infrequent flash of sun seemed to represent my mildly depressed and occasionally manic state of mind). It hasn't turned out that way, however, and I think it's taken on a "I like the way the world looks when I run" kind of theme.

4. What direction would you like to have your journal/blog go in over the next year? I'm trying to learn (well, not very actively) some html and get a little more creative about the design and layout.

5. Pimp five of your favorite journals/blogs. In order of when I began reading them on a regular basis:
13 Days from Monday
Web Goddess
Black Spots in the White Noise
Lots of Co

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Everything's better in Canada... the 2003 version

I traveled to Vancouver BC last weekend for my second annual running of the First Half Half Marathon. On last year's trip Jeff and I coined the oft-repeated mantra: "everything's better in Canada." It seemed to be so, from the exchange rate (0.7:1) to the coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games (real time sports covereage with less sappy stories). This year was no different. Following are a few highlights from the weekend (and why everything's still better in Canada):

- friendly people
- the exchange rate
- the mountains are that close to downtown Vancouver
- a sunset cablecar trip up to Grouse Mountain (caught the view in daylight, twilight, and night lite)
- the second largest urban park in North America
- a beautiful and fast 1/2 marathon course (Jeff PR'ed last year, and I PR'ed this year)
- new shoes purchased with the great exchange rate
- cute accents
- stickers (pasted on our jackets at the race) and banners (along the main streets) celebrating Vancouver as a 2010 Winter Olympics contender city; don't forget to vote on 2/22
- Chinatown
- jaunty figures on the walk signs at intersections
- public health care system (didn't take advantage of it this weekend, but you know where I'm moving if/when I get fired)
- almost as many Starbucks as in Seattle

Friday, February 07, 2003

Southern-fried-comfort food for the soul

I've been in a serious reading dry spell recently; I've read nothing but LOTR (slowly) since 2002. Hearing the Sweet Potato Queen on NPR tonight, however, has inspired me to pick up one of her books. Listening to an except of one of her public appearances had me cackling, alternating with big belly laughs. Hearing her interview, I recognized one of those people who just gets it, and make you happy that you're both in the human race.

Update: While searching for links for this blog, I just heard a brilliant "I do not have Anthrax, said Sadam" parody of "Green Eggs and Ham." I don't think I've said this enough recently: I LOVE NPR!
Friday Five; it's making me hungry

1. What did you have for breakfast this morning? If you didn't have breakfast, why not? A latte, a pear, and a tapioca pudding cup. I came in this morning for a 5 am meeting. That's an early meeting in Virginia, made earlier by my little time zone difference. Thank goodness for the 24 hour drive-thru Starbucks!

2. What's your favorite cereal? Cheerios. I'm not a big cereal eater, however.

3. How often do you eat out? Do you want that to change? I eat dinner out just about every Friday night, and go out for the occasional weekend brunch, which I wouldn't change. I buy breakfast on my way to work most week days (a bagel, smoothie, or latte w/ croissant), however, and I want to do this less often. Those options are always more appealing to me than the cereal one, however. I used to buy lunch at the office cafeteria a few times a week, but it closed a few weeks ago, so now I'm much better about packing my lunch.

4. What do you plan on having for dinner tonight? Got a recipe for that? Friday night = no cooking. Since I'm going out of town tomorrow for the race, however, I'll probably stay in and order pizza (the Garlic Highway: pesto, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts).

5. What's your favorite restaurant? Why? There are so many great restaurants, it's hard to choose. The one I've enjoyed taking my visiting family members to this year, however, is Shiro's Sushi. My sister's comment was that it was the best food she had ever eaten.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Out of Touch

About 2 weeks ago, my watch broke (well, one watch's battery died, and the other watch's band broke). Last week I was out of town with little internet access. Friday afternoon, I drove into the Northern Neck of Virginia and lost cellular service. It's amazing how lost I feel without these means of communication and orientation.

Internet was restored once I got home, but no phone service. "Searching for signal" was all that my poor phone could say for days. As my mobile phone is my home phone, I couldn't receive voicemail, call out, or receive any incoming calls. What if there was an emergency with my family? What if there was a great party in the works that I was missing? What if my manager just had to get in touch with me about a critical work thing? So to the local Sprint store I went yesterday evening, and I am now the proud owner of a working phone. I guess you don't fix old (2 yrs 2 months) mobile phones, you just replace them.

So, if you've been trying to reach me this past week, I haven't been ignoring you. I've been searching for a signal.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Trail Note cancelled due to Inter-Galactic Traveler Emergency

Whew. It's been a busy couple of weeks, so very little posting. I returned to a damp and spring-feeling Seattle on Sunday afternoon ready for a vacation to recover from my vacation. My dad's retirement was very special (I only cried a little bit), but quite busy. After Thursday's ceremony, we stood in the receiving line for the entire reception only to head home and receive the extended family for dinner. It was wonderful hearing from so many people about what my dad has done for them and for the Navy. I was inspired to learn how one person can make a difference. Friday was spent sightseeing with my grandmother and aunt in D.C. and then the drive to Nomini for a quiet evening with my dad. Saturday was a trip to Norfolk to see friends, followed by the Kung Pao Cook-Off. Jeff and my dad battled it out in Nomini Kitchen Stadium to see whose Kung Pao chicken reigned supreme. It was determined that the diners were the winners, since we got to eat 2 great versions of the dish.

Work somehow managed to go on while I was on vacation, so I'm in catch-up mode this week. It's fun, but has felt a little overwhelming recently with a lot of projects going on and new team members entering the mix. I've managed to block off time to run during lunch a few days this week (Vancouver half this weekend!), but I forgot to pack a towel this morning, so today's run is off.

Just gives me a little more time to catch up on that important blogging and surfing that's been neglected.