Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fashionably Late

I was just starting to question the timing of getting married in late September of my 34th year. It's a big wedding year, so many of our guests or potential guests have already hauled themselves across the country at least once for another couple's nuptials. This is in addition to the fact that most of our friends our age have very young children and/or are expecting babies this fall, making travel difficult if not completely out of the question. We're also getting married on a large river on the East Coast during hurricane season. My father just this summer finished the repairs to his dock that was ravaged by Hurricane Isobel a few years ago.

And then I saw the trailer for The Last Kiss, Zach Braff's Garden State-looking new film about weddings / coming-of-age that opens our wedding weekend. And I realized, we were just waiting until weddings were protrayed in soft-focus with a cool soundtrack, you know, to make them hip.

Monday, August 28, 2006

So, I Guess They Hadn't Picked "Soccer" as Their Theme

After returning from a fun weekend wedding trip yesterday and then spending a few hours working on details for our upcoming wedding, I had wedding-related dreams all night. I never, however, dreamt that a soccer tournament was taking place within cheering distance of our ceremony site. And I thought we were paying a lot for our charming outdoor venue!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Say that again? I couldn't hear you over the sirens...

As I was stopped at a traffic light while biking home today, I watched a woman in a mini-van on a cell phone turn right into oncoming traffic (6 months ago, she would have been able to turn right onto 34th after crossing the Fremont bridge, but that lane of traffic has been completely closed off, concrete barriers, fence, everything, all summer). She realized what she had done and tried to back her way out of the mess she had created (this intersection is a mess even when everyone is following the traffic laws and paying attention), gabbing away the whole time. Since she was only feet away from me and facing right towards me, I made what I consider to be the international sign of "put away the cell phone," but instead of ignoring me or looking annoyed or embarrassed, she just sort of smiled and nodded at me, while continuing to talk on her cell phone. At least she might have 911 on speed dial if she'd happened to run someone over.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Top Ten Signs You're an Older Student

1. Entirely new statistical techniques have been developed since you last took stats
2. Speaking of statistics, when the teacher wants to demonstrate a distribution using the students' ages as the data set, you realize you are the reason it's skewed
3. You'd rather take a class that starts at 9 am than one that ends at 9 pm
4. You remember chalk, mimeographs, and computer punch-cards
5. It takes you six months to realize that people typing on their laptop during class are IM-ing their friends, not taking notes
6. You find yourself starting sentences with the phrase "back when I was your age"
7. You realize that you have more work experience than the professor
8. You're constantly complaining about "those children" you keep seeing around campus
9. You're the only one who gets the instructor's jokes
10. At the beginning of the first class people look to you to go to the front of the room and begin the lecture

(Thanks, MMM, for that last one.) I'd be happy to take contributions for better ones...

I have over a month before classes start, but I'm sending positive thoughts to those of you on the semester system starting right now.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Trail Note: Beaver Lake Tri Race Report

Ten years ago this month, I ran my first triathlon, the BLT (Beaver Lake Tri). I wore a speedo suit with a jog bra for the swim and then pulled on a t-shirt and shorts for the bike and run. I rode my commuter/hybrid bike wearing my running shoes. I think I stopped in the transition to use the port-o-potty at least once. The swim was my best leg. I had a great time and became hooked on tri's.

Flash forward to today, my 4th BLT with many other tri's under my belt. I wore a one piece tri suit (purchased on sale in Vancouver when the exchange rate was still really good), number belt, rode a real road bike (albeit, one I picked up used 8 years ago) with clip-in pedals, and spent 5 minutes talking myself into stopping on the run to adjust the strap holding the timing chip that was rubbing my ankle raw; I certainly wasn't stopping for any port-o-potty. Oh yes, I'm a serious triathlete now. (please, note sarcasm)

Anyway, it was back then and is still today a great race. The swim is short (.25 miles) and warm, which is nice, since these days it's the most intimidating part for me. The field is small, also particularly nice for the swim portion. The bike has a major hill and the rest of the ride (13.8 m) and the run (4.3 m) roll nicely, which makes for a challenging but do-able race. It's mostly shady and tree-lined with very little traffic. There are a lot more cookie-cutter developments in the area than there were 10 years ago, but they're not too apparent on the course.

The official results aren't up and my watch ran out of memory, so I don't know my exact results, but I think I PR'd with a finish time just under 1 hour 27 minutes. I finished 5th in my age group with only one woman passing me post-swim (at the beginning of the bike; never ever saw her on the run). I think my running pace was under 7:30, which is pretty good for a hilly 4.3 miles. All in all, I'm very happy with the results.

Another great thing about the BLT: I always run it with friends. This is the 3rd time Jeff and I have done this one together, which makes the race that much more fun. Here's looking forward to next year.

Update: Race results are posted.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When the Cat's Away, the Mice will Play Bond with the Couch

Jeff's been away visiting his parents in Colorado these last few days, so I've had a lot of time to get work done. At least I thought I was going to have a lot of time to get work done. I actually created a schedule for the weekend to make sure it was filled up so I wouldn't feel bored or lonely. The thing is, though, when I am at risk of being bored or lonely, work doesn't really seem so appealing, especially when I have 3 DVD's of Veronica Mars to watch. So, here's what I did instead:

- Did the Ride to Redhook. This actually was an accomplishment; there and back is ~ 40 miles, which is my longest ride this year (of course it was broken up by a few beers and a sandwich, but I still biked 40 miles Friday)
- Ate ice cream
- Watched some VM
- Shopped for a dress to wear to some upcoming summer weddings
- Decided I could find a dress in my closet that would be better than what I was seeing in the stores
- Had a make-up lesson (wedding preparation) and spend a lot of money on make-up
- Got my hair cut
- Decided that if I wasn't buying a new dress, I'd buy some new shoes for said weddings
- Bought a guest book for the wedding
- Adjusted the registry at C&B (annoyed at the store for having seasonal lines; doesn't work for people who register 6 months before most people buy gifts)
- Decided I could just wear the shoes I already own
- Watched a lot of VM
- Consumed many calories with VM
- Ran around Lake Union (7 miles; tougher than expected, probably due to the recent bike ride)
- Watched more VM
- Ate ice cream
- Went to the video store to get the last two disks of the series; can't just leave VM in a lurch while waiting for Netflix!
- Did some wedding planning (maps, timelines, seating plans, etc.)
- Watched more VM; ate more empty calories
- Went to work (Monday came; not as quickly as usual)
- Watched the rest of VM while consuming more empty calories; last ones 'till next weekend

So, my grand accomplishments in Jeff's4 day absence:
- Exercised: 40 mile on bike, 40 minutes of free weights, 7 miles run
- Spent a fair amount of money on beauty products, but no money on clothes
- Watched the entire first season of Veronica Mars; now can't wait until Season 2 comes out on DVD next week
- Gained back 2 - 3 of the 3 - 5 pounds that had been lost on the diet thanks entirely to food consumed in front of television set

I'm ready for Jeff's return. That couch needs a rest.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Question of the Morning

Why do Pop Tarts come in packs of 2? Who really needs 2 Pop Tarts at one time?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Summer Reading Club, Volume II

Here's a meme which is a good reminder to get moving to the local library before summer is over. Thanks, Birthday-Girl Brigita!

A book that changed your life: Upon immediate reflection I can’t think of one book that jumps out more than another. If the book was good and meant something to me, it changed me and the way that I view life, at least a little bit. Those great books (and some not so great books) stick with me.

Recently I read a book by Marge Piercy, which reminded me of how her books have changed me. The book I read this summer by her was The Sex Wars, which is a fictionalized account of several famous, infamous, and fictitious characters from the 1870’s (Victoria Woodhull and Elizabeth Cady Stanton among others). This book, as well as others that Piercy has written, has a very vivid subtext relating how very little power women have had historically, legally, financially, and even biologically. It is a good reminder to me of how much power and privilege I really have and makes me appreciate a little bit of what it must be like to be one of the many in this country who do not have that same privilege. This inspires my work in policy analysis and is probably partially the reason I’m currently focused on institutionalized racism.

A book you’ve read more than once: So many children’s books… I’d say the one I’ve probably read the most times is Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. I probably read that annually between the ages of 7 and 12. I’ve read all of her children’s books multiple times, but that was my childhood favorite.

A book that made you laugh: Most recently, it was one of the Bartimaus books that I read because I kept hearing Jeff laugh as he was reading it.

A book that made you cry: The last book that I can clearly remember that made me cry was the last Harry Potter book, but I’m sure that I’ve cried over a book since I read that last summer (admittedly there are times – when I’m tired, have had a little too much to drink, during certain times of the month – that I’ll cry if someone looks at me cross-eyed).

A book that you wish had been written and a book you wish had never been written: This is an odd question and one I can’t think of a good answer for, so I’ll change the questions:

A book that you’re glad to have read and one that you wish you hadn’t: I’m glad that I read The Fountainhead by Ann Rand. She and her writing are referenced so often; it’s nice to understand the reference, and the book did make me think more about the impact policy has on individual welfare versus the impact on many. It’s a good thing to keep in mind. One I wish I hadn’t read might be Hannibal, a sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. It was just full of gross images and I can’t think of any redeeming qualities to the book. I can’t remember why I even read it, other than the fact that a friend of mine was an extra in the filming of the movie (which I couldn’t bring myself to watch after reading the book).

Books you’re currently reading: Nothing. I’ve started a few, but nothing’s really grabbed me. I kind of want a cheesy summer read, but then feel guilty about that, so haven’t gotten one, so I just do sudoku puzzles and read magazines before bed these days.

A book you’ve been meaning to read: So many! This was supposed to be the summer for pleasure reading, too, and I just haven’t gotten down to it. Ones that have been on my nightstand a while include Cold Mountain, a Louis and Clark bio, and Founding Brothers. And then there are others that have been sitting in my bookcase for years like War and Peace.

Okay, now I think I'm ready to crack open a good novel.

Anyone else want to take a gander?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Seattle, NYTimes Style

Not a bad 36 hours.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Big Questions That Keep Me up at Night

No less than 3 days after sending out wedding invitations, we got our first present. We had been receiving questions about registries from family members and parents' friends (via my parents) for months, so it probably shouldn't have been as much as a surprise as it was when boxes started arriving on the porch. We've been stacking them up on the large desk in our front room, mostly to keep them in one place to remember to write thank you notes and because we don't know where to put everything.

Last Friday when discussing upcoming weekend plans, I mentioned to a co-worker that we were looking forward to trying out our new pasta maker that we'd received. She was appalled that I would even think of using a wedding gift before the actual wedding. "But I already sent the thank you note," I replied, "shouldn't that mean I get to use the present now?" My mother's response to the question (to use now or wait until post-wedding) is that it's no big deal. She then remembered how for her wedding they set out all the gifts on a big table so that everyone who visited could look at them. We're not getting any wedding visitors, and the last thing that I want to happen is for one of the cats to knock over something fragile. Jeff's mom is strongly of the position that we should wait.

Internet etiquette guides are mixed. I think it's pretty clear that if the wedding is cancelled or annulled, we would need to return all of the gifts. At this point, I feel pretty comfortable replacing any gifts if that is the case. Except the pasta maker and the Riedel wine glasses, which I would be needing.

Speaking of which, you can check out the pasta maker and glasses in action here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Barriers to Bike Commuting

A recent Seattle Weekly article discusses the challenges to bike commuting in Seattle and what some cycling advocates are attempting to do about it. I rarely bike downtown (since I don't work there), but biked down there for a meeting last week and had almost the exact experience described in the beginning of the article. As Jeff has to deal with that daily, I'm thinking one or both of us might attend that 8/29 Bike Master Plan meeting.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Sometimes if you have nothing nice to say, it's better to just say nothing at all.

Maybe if I keep reminding myself of that I'll remember it...

Update 8/4: Much better now. Amazing what a difference a couple days of decent eating and nights of decent sleeping make.