Monday, July 28, 2003

Mourning le Tour de Lance

It's over. Sigh.

This is the first year that I've ever watched the tour, and it was certainly one to watch. Now that I'm more into cycling, and have been watching cycling, it seems like everyone else is, too. Of course most of those few people I interact with on a regular basis are also into cycling and are either post STP or pre Courage Classic, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me. The Tour de France, however, is one of the best sporting events I've ever seen, from the individual strength of will and body, to the team spirit and sacrifice, to the chivalry and sportsmanship, to the speed and drama of the crash. I think that I'll be watching this long after my "summer of the bike" is over.

So, what next? A few more weeks of training for the Courage Classic and the BLT. This week, I'm going to try to set up some sort of quick and dirty photo log for 26 things. My sister comes into town this weekend to start looking for a place to live, and a college friend just arrived in town for a month of internship before returning to law school. And work.

All good, fun, and busy things. But I'll miss Lance.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Expee Update

What I like about my expeed computer: not having to type my user name and password in every time I open up explorer (which I had to do before the upgrade).

What I don't like: having to enter my password every time I don't use my computer for more than 10 minutes.

I'm also liking Buffy more and more after now having watched all (I think) of the first season on DVD (I use my evenings so productively when Jeff's out of town).

Wow; this really defines my day today

You're Sudan!

Every time you get a headache, you reach for some aspirin, only to
realize that someone destroyed it.  That's just how things are going for you right
now... it's hard to eat, hard to sleep, hard to not have a headache.  You try to
relax, but people always jump on you about something that doesn't make sense.  If
you were a goat, you'd be a Nubian.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Link from Brigita

Monday, July 21, 2003

I've been Expeed

My work computer was migrated to Windows XP at work last night. So far, so good. It looks pretty. It's a little easier to navigate in. We'll see when I've had more than a couple hours in it.

I caught the first 2 episodes of Buffy season 1 on DVD this weekend. I have sort of the same reaction. It's entertaining, guess it could get interesting. We'll see if I get into it more after more watching, I guess.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Kicking to the Surface

It's been a tough week this week, much of it self-imposed. I've been busy at work (good busy), and busy (bad busy) disliking the 5+ pounds that have crept back onto my body in the last 2 months. The combination of the two had only contributed to the stress I've had surrounding the triathalon (held today) that I registered for about a month ago. A month ago, I was still optimistic that I would turn the tide of bad habits and start eating better and swimming and running more. That didn't happen. It's such a vicious circle: I feel bad physically and emotionally, and so I don't feel up to being healthy, so don't exercise and eat poorly, which makes me feel worse, and so on and so on. It's a hard cycle to break.

I've been browsing local blogs recently via Seablogs, and found one that someone had started after losing 20 pounds. Her blog states that if she could do it, anyone can, and this site is to help those who want to become healthier. I found myself really disliking this woman. I've wanted to lose 20 pounds for over 15 years now, and I don't want to think about what a failure I must be for not having done it. After all, it's so easy to this person, I must be a real loser to have not been able to do this. It's not her fault, though. She might really help someone with this site (I might be that someone), but she is probably helping herself most of all. It's probably a great reminder to her of her success, and will help to keep her on track when she's having a tough week. And it's not really as easy as it seems while reading it, I'm sure. I also realized that when I talk about going on a long run or bike ride, I might inspire that same resentment. But I find that by writing about a good, tough run or ride reminds me how much I like it and much it's worth getting out of bed in the morning. I'm very good at sitting around disliking the unfit side of myself; I'd rather remind myself of what I like about the fit side of myself (there are always both sides, sometimes one is much easier to see than the other).

So, I ran a triathalon today. I ran a great triathalon today. Despite not having swum much recently (and for the first time in my limited tri experience, the swim was my weakest part of the race), I felt great and did well. It's been 6 years since I have run in a triathalon, and it's good to know how much stronger and faster I am now than I was then. I knew that I would bike faster; I've never biked as much as I've been riding this summer. But I also ran a faster 5K after 1/2 mile swim and 12 mile bike ride than I could have run fresh 5 years ago. This may cause some resentment, and yes, I may be boastful and obnoxious, but I feel good, and I want to remember how this feels. Because running a triathalon or a marathon isn't about one big day, it's about all those days when you didn't really feel like running, but got a few miles in, or wanted to sleep in, and instead got up and into the pool. It's about those little decisions, which make habits, which make a difference. Or so I try to keep telling myself.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Fun with Weapons of Mass Destruction

If you haven't yet googled the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" (include the quotes) using the "I'm feeling lucky" option, it's highly recommended.

courtesy of voxbeth

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Check in the Box

I dropped Jeff and our friend Chris off at the start of the STP this morning. They should have a good day for the ride, sunny and temps in the 70's, except I think they've had a head wind all day (at least we've had a southerly breeze all day up here). When you're doing 120 miles in one direction, that can't be fun.

This was the year that I was going to do the STP (Seattle to Portland). I figured that as long as I was training for the Courage Classic, I might as well train up for the STP and get it over with (as a Northwest cyclist's rite of passage). I realized at some point in the spring that I did not want to train as much as I would have to for that ride just to put a check in the box and say that I've done the STP. So this morning, I waved them off without regret. I decided today, however, that I'm going to do this ride one of these years, and that it won't be just to say that I've done it.

I went on a ride today with the Cascade Bicycle Club (the folks that put on the STP). It was a great ride, 58 miles with lots of hills, going from wooded residential areas to farmland and back. The other riders were really nice, and (perhaps because I came on my own for the first time), I got to speak with them more than on past club rides. Most had been riding for years and years, and some had done the very first STP, back when there wasn't an option of doing it in 2 days, it was in June (cold and rainy), and there were only a few rest stops (like every 40 -50 miles). These riders had, between them, gone on rides through France, British Colombia, the Rockies, the West Coast of the US, and all over the trails of the Pacific Northwest; and this is just what I gathered from the jerseys they wore.

I realized that while I have not been riding very long, I have more in common with them (when it comes to cycling) than I have with my self of 3 months ago. I am a cyclist, and when I decide to train for the STP, it will be because I want to ride a great ride with other great cyclists, and not because I want to put a check in the box.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Flying off the shelves

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that one the eve of the STP and the conclusion of week one of le tour de france, the copy of American Flyers is checked out of the local video store.

As much as I support alternative means of transportation, there is nothing quite like driving around on a beautiful summer day, sunglasses on, radio blasting.

The experience takes me back to the summer I was 15. My best friend had her liscence, and we had our freedom. We could take off to the beach, bringing nothing but a towel, digging in the back seat for change for tolls and big gulps. Just cruising around town with no destination was fun, and enough to keep us busy for the day.

Hmm... meeting free afternoon, cloudless sky, I don't really have that much work to do....

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Work on Hold

I'm on hold right now at work. I actually don't mind for two reasons:
1) Hands free
2) The music they play

I'm not sure who selects the music that we hear when on hold here, but it is varied and always catches me off guard. I've heard typical elevator music, classical, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Spanish guitar. Today, we've gone from "Pour some sugar on me" to "Heart of Glass." Oops; off hold.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

It's way past Friday, but here's a good list 'o Five

1. What were your favorite childhood stories? Ah, so many favorite childhood stories, so little time... I suppose the fact that my mother is a childrens' librarian is part of the reason I still love childrens books so much. I loved everything by Louisa May Alcott, all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, L.M. Montgomery's Anne books, the Betsy-Tacy books, Judy Blume, Norma Klein, Narnia books; I could go on and on, but here's a start.

2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children? Of course all of the ones listed above and (to steal a page from Jeff's book), the Harry Potter books.

3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything? Well, there's the obvious answer of the religious themes in the Narnia books, and the strong lecturing / morality tone to L.M. Alcott's books, but I can't think of too many other surprises. And I have read all of my favorite childhood books over and over and over again.

4. How old were you when you first learned to read? 4? I'm not sure. I know that one of my first memories is watching my older cousin sit down with a Nancy Drew book rather than play with me, and that was what inspired me to learn to read. I couldn't understand how anything that looked so passive could be so enjoyable.

5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you? Grown-up is appropriately in quotes. I remember reading Charlotte's Web in first grade, and that was exciting because it had chapters. I also remember being very proud of the fact that I read Gone with the Wind in less than a week when I was in seventh grade. Other than that, I can't think of a good example.

This is such a great topic for the heart of the summer. I always associate summer with reading, specifically childhood favorites. This is the time of year that I reread my childhood favorites, actually. My parents gave me the edition of the L.M. Alcott books that I loved as a kid a few years ago, which is good, because if I were to try to read another edition, without the exact same illustrations with the words on not quite the right place on the page, it would be very disturbing (yes; I've read these books way too many times).

Monday, July 07, 2003

European vacation photos...

are posted on Jeff's site. Check 'em out! (My favorites are the one of Jeff and me in Telc and the one of the two of us at the top of the minarette on "cycling day 3.")
Back from Rivah Country

I spent last week working out of the Virginia office, watching the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill soak Central Virginia. As is typical when I travel East for work, I was in back-to-back-to-back meetings, trying to get face time with those I normally only interact with via phone or email.

I was able, therefore, to spend the holiday weekend with my parents at their home in Virginia's Northern Neck. I just found out that this piece of land between the Rappahanock and Potomic rivers that I've been visiting for the last 5 years is actually the same region that old-school Virginians refer to when they say that they're going "to the Rivah" for the weekend. The weekend was certainly dominated by the water.

Friday morning, I missed the first check of my dad's crab catch (I was on a run, trying unsuccessfully to beat the heat), but arrived back in time to make the trip to see the eels. We drove out to pick up crab-bait (frozen perch) and a few more live crabs for dinner (to suppliment the ones in my dad's pots) at a plant that freezes and ships soft shelled crabs and eels. The fun part of the trip is looking at all of the tanks full of eels caught by local fisherman to be sent to European and Asian markets (not much of a domestic eel market). Also in tanks are the blue crabs, patrolled every 4 hours to catch the ones that have just molted, to be frozen while still in their soft, post-molt, soft-shell state.

Friday afternoon was spent on the dock power-washing everything that can be power washed. Washing the boat was fun; not too dirty, and it was great seeing the boat become clean through my efforts. Not so fun were the oyster floats. My dad washed those (with help from my mom and me hoisting them out of the water and sorting through the oysters to go back into their cleaned floats). The floats were covered inches deep in muck, seaweed, and barnacles. While sorting the live and dead oysters, we also got to sort through the worms, baby crabs, and eels that feed on the oysters (ick). It took hours to do this job (while we were at it, we cleaned all the crab pots), and it was hot, slimy, muddy work.

We were rewarded Friday night with a fantastic dinner of steamed blue crabs, cole slaw, and fresh corn on the cob. You don't get food like this in Seattle.

Saturday I tried to keep those bike muscles moving with a ride through the area to R.E. Lee's childhood home, Stratford Hall. That wasn't really the destination, but was a great place to check my map and suck down some water on my ride through "Historyland USA" (G. Washington's birthplace was just a few more miles down the road). In the afternoon, it was back to the water, for a boat ride and swim off of a little island at the junction of the Potomic River and the Chesapeake Bay. We finished the day off with some Roman candles and sparklers on the deck, overlooking the moonlit water.

I enjoyed my time on the Rivah, but it's good to be back in Seattle where I can enjoy the water without black flies and 90+ degree days.