Saturday, September 29, 2007

Weekly Recap

I did a 15.5 mile run today. The first hour was nice and cool, and it was good to get out there and clear my head from the week. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when the boss is gone, although I worry that I might start encountering other types of roadblocks next week. Executive management can be stunningly unwilling to answer questions from us peons in middle management, for all their happy speechifying about how accessible they are.

And don’t even get me started on rude colleagues who decide that 3:15 on a Friday is the perfect time to demand (Huh? You’re not my boss!) additional work on a project right now, even though it’s not a new development and they had all day to mention it. Unlike my co-workers, I don’t come in late and then slip out for a two-hour lunch on Friday. I’m there. And if I need to leave a little early to take stuff to HR, it’s because I’m head of IT HR and we’re under the very real threat of an employment lawsuit. Yeah, my job is just as real and important as that of my colleagues. Amazing!

Furthermore, I can’t accept that something’s an emergency when it’s been known all day and no one mentioned it to me in the eight hours my butt was in my office chair.

I’m a tad narrow-minded that way.

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest!

I had a conversation with a co-worker this week about the trails along the bayou near my house. Supposedly one can follow them all the way out to around where my Mom lives, about 20 miles. Since these aren’t rustic trails, but more like a sidewalk, I’m thinking it might make a good bike ride. I see cyclists out there whenever I go for a run. But I’d like to have someone to ride with, at least the first time. I’m in no danger of getting lost, but I don’t know if there are places that aren’t safe or aren’t good for cycling, where I would have to share the street with cars. That’s a dangerous proposition in my city, especially without a group of other riders to enhance street presence and visibility. So I’ll have to find someone to ride with, and my best prospect so far doesn't have a bike, which poses a bit of a problem. It would be nice if I could get my lazy husband to go, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Not much else is happening here. I was pleased to sell a few more books this week, but I still don’t have enough people who actually told me they bought it for me to make a good prize drawing next week. (I only know my sales numbers, not who the buyers are.) So unless a few more people buy the book or download and then tell me they’ve done it, I may split the goodies and have two drawings—one in September and one in October. Once I get the prizes put together, I’ll take pictures and maybe that will tempt someone to speak up. Or not. In which case me and the bunny will enjoy the snacks together.

Bunnies can eat piƱones, right?

Recent Workouts
Saturday: 15.5 mile run (combination campus + bayou trails)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Late Week Wrap-up

Last week I took the beta copy of my book to the office to show a fellow writer. A co-worker (who is not a writer) saw it lying on my desk, started reading it and asked if she could take it home for the weekend. I said sure, after cautioning her that it was an early version with scads of formatting errors and pencil marks in it. She said she didn't care.

This week, she didn't bring it back. She said her boyfriend started reading it and won't give it back to her now! I guess that's a good thing when people who borrow your book don't get to read it because other people snatch it up first!

In other book-related news, I'm a little unsure how to proceed with my giveaways. I have enough sales to do the drawing, but not enough buyers have told me who they are! Now, of course I don't mind if someone wants to buy my book but not be included for the promo. But it does make for an awkward situation.

I'll see how things stand at the end of the month and decide then how to proceed. I might give a few prizes in September and a few in October, or I might just wait until October and do them all then. Decisions, decisions...

And in workout news, I might be getting a cycling partner for city rides! And I might also have a lead on another running route from my house. I need at least three possible starting directions in order to keep from getting bored, so I'll be very pleased if this new route proves to be safe and easily accessible.

And finally, my boss's father passed away this week. He was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and at the time they gave him six months to live. He fought bravely and well. Four years when you've been given six months counts as success in my book.

Be good to those you love!

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 90 minute spin, 2 mile run, weights and core work
Monday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row, core work
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Wednesday: 5 mile run (bayou trails)
Thursday: 45 minute spin

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Camper

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Campus Run

I did a solid fifteen mile run today, so I guess I’m no longer under whatever jinx was making my long runs so horrible in August and the first half of September. I stayed close to campus today, like I did last Saturday. I’m sure I’ll get bored with this at some point, but I hope not. There’s always something going on, something new to see, and it’s fantastically convenient to always be so close to water fountains and restrooms. To use my office building, I need to carry my key and access card, but I’m also getting a sense for which buildings are open on Saturdays.

One thing that annoys me about running around campus though, is that we’ve got a lot of building projects going on and it seems that no sooner do I pick out a route I like, than work crews start tearing it up. And I swear I’m not exaggerating! They’ve torn up about a quarter mile of sidewalk that I was using to get to the gym, and now they’ve blocked off all the parking lots and sidewalks around the Law College. It’s very annoying, especially since it doesn’t look like the construction along the bayou will be done anytime soon, either. There are workarounds for all these issues, and I try to take the long view that I’ll be very happy with the end result of all these work crews and bulldozers, but in the day-to-day, it makes for a lot of re-routing.

Case in point: today’s run was supposed to be thirteen miles, but after I had to change my route, it ended up being fifteen. Okay, so it meant I could have a little extra saag paneer at lunch, but still…

Recent Workouts
Monday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 15 mile run

Friday, September 21, 2007


Through September 30, I'll be doing descriptions of the characters from my book, posted one each day on my Writing blog. Drop by if you want to learn more about the book and the prizes available for those who buy it in print or download during the month of September!

This blog will be having its usual bunny pics and workout commentary this weekend. Tid is anxious to pose, as always!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Book Promo / Contest

NOTE: This is cross-posted on my Writing blog.

Okay, I’ve got all the goodies on order and there will be four winners drawn randomly from among those who buy my book between now and September 30. If the prizes aren’t here by that date, I’ll extend the deadline until they’re here so I can make sure everything is in order.

The prizes are quite nice and consist of items that are mentioned in the story. At least one lucky winner’s prize will include a duplicate of the necklace Diana got from Vince when she left Albuquerque, and someone else will get a carved wooden rabbit like the one she got at Talmadge Pond, Missouri. So buy My New-Found Land and let me know you’ve done it so you can be in the running!

Recent Workouts
Monday: 35 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Wednesday: 3.5 mile run
Thursday 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 12 mile run
Sunday: 60 minute spin, 3 mile run, 20 minute weight training

Friday, September 14, 2007

Exciting Announcement!

NOTE: This is cross-posted on my Writing blog.

Announcing the print version of Diana's Diary, available at my storefront!

I've titled it My New-Found Land: A Post-Apocalyptic Journey. If you've already read Book One of the Diana's Diary blog, then you know the story. This is the much more tightly edited version, with the repetitions, inconsistencies and 3AM over-rambling edited out. What works on the web doesn't work so well in print, but one thing I've tried to keep in the book version is the "start-anywhere" quality that made Diana's travels fun. Whether you begin with the street gang, the carnival, the rich Texas ranchers, the tornado, the white sands or the riverboat ride, it's the sort of story you can pick up and read for a few minutes or an hour and have just as good a time, either way.

I included a lot of pictures in the book-- not as many as on the website, but enough to make the page count pretty high, in spite of the nearly 50,000 words I cut. (Yeah, I seriously rambled on some of those late-night posts!) Lulu charges by the page, and since it seemed silly to profit off something I'm already giving away for free online, I have made the book available at cost.

I'm thinking of doing a promo, but I first need to check on availability of the giveaways. If you want to be in the running for one of the prizes, buy the book and save a copy of your online confirmation. I'll be saying more about the promo once I've checked on a few things.

There will also be a few free copies available for persons with decent hit counts who would be willing to review the book on their site. Drop me a line if you're interested. Just because I'm not making any money off this doesn't mean I don't want people reading it! I already have a job. I write to share and it makes me happy to know people are enjoying it.

So if you read the web version and want a more permanent copy, or if web fiction doesn't appeal and you'd enjoy a good road trip story you can read in bed at night, go check out my book-- now in print!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hurricane Hype

After all the fuss about Tropical Storm, then Hurricane, Humberto, we didn't get so much of a drop of rain.

Oh well. They closed the university until noon, so I got a half-day off out of it. Better than nothing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Farewell, RX-7

I sold the RX-7 today.

It had always been more car than I needed, and from the beginning my feelings for it were conflicted.

I got it from my father, who got it from his brother, who bought it as a project car. It had sat in a yard for nearly a decade before my uncle bought it. The family had bought it for their son and taken it away when the speeding tickets piled up. My uncle always loved to tinker and he had a grand time restoring it.

When it ended up in my hands, I was in need of a car—any car. I couldn’t believe my luck that I was getting something so cool. But I would soon learn that cool had a price.

I loved the deep, powerful purr of the engine and the way it begged to go fast, and faster still, on the freeway. I loved its clean, sexy lines and the way Wankel engine enthusiasts would strike up conversations with me. I loved the surprise of its roomy interior—the way it could always hold way more stuff than one expected. Dan and I took several road trips in it with bikes, gear, weekend bags, a cooler and ourselves. SUV? Who needs it?

But it was a cranky car. By both age (20 yrs) and design, it seemed that something always needed fixing, and nothing was ever cheap. Even replacing a simple hose clamp could mean trouble because of the persnickety pressure requirements of the engine that required such exact tuning that the car would have to be hooked up to a shop computer and re-calibrated each time something was done under the hood. If this step wasn’t followed, the engine would die on idle unless I kept my foot on the gas—a tricky matter when you’ve also got a clutch, a brake, and only two feet.

Over the years, I replaced a lot of things and had the car repainted. I would often run the numbers in my head and wonder why I didn’t just sell the darn thing and buy something cheaper and easier to manage.

But the RX-7 was cool!

Still, I am at heart a practical person and about a year ago I finally got tired of the high price of cool. I quit driving the RX-7 because the Corolla used less gas in a month than the RX-7 did in a week, and was also easier to maneuver and cheaper to maintain.

Months passed and the RX-7 continued to sit. I would sometimes go and crank the engine, but a lot of times I was too busy to check up on it. It got dusty. I felt guilty. And finally this summer, the battery died. No surprise there.

What to do with the car was the last item on my list of things to finish at the old apartment. I needed to get it out of there and I had no place to keep it here. I could either buy the RX-7 a new battery and fix the mechanical issues I was aware of, or sell it as is.

I’m afraid it was no contest. I don’t need a powerful car like that for the weekly grocery run, and a car like that needs to be loved, maintained and driven fast. Unsure what it was worth and with no particular inclination to invest any money in figuring it out, I took it to a local dealer that specializes in RX-7s. With a jump, it started right up, to the amazement of the mechanics. But I wasn’t surprised. That car sat in the New Mexico desert for a decade. It’s a survivor.

I was quoted a price and I turned over the title. My RX-7 will most likely be the head mechanic’s new project, since in many ways it’s in better shape than his own cars. But worst case scenario, it will be parted out to other people’s well-loved project cars. Either way, I’m satisfied with the outcome.

So farewell, RX-7! You were the coolest, crankiest car I ever owned.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Today’s Workout: Futon Wrestling

Yes, that’s right. Today’s big workout was oak-frame futon wrestling in a small, dim, box-surrounded corner of my studio.

It was supposed to be a spin workout, but in my serendipitous way, one thing led to another, and pretty soon it was 5:00 and I hadn’t eaten anything all day except a 2” cube of cornbread sample at Central Market. Maybe I’ll spin tonight if I have the ganas for it.

But at least now my futon is all put together with no leftover parts, it’s in the place I want it to go, and other furniture and boxes have been moved around so I once again have floor space in my studio.

Floor space so I can set up the bike and do a spin workout.

Yes, there is a method to my madness.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Weekend Annoyances

Well, my flaky internet service is down again. This time Comcast is out for the entire neighborhood, so the problem isn't just us. One of Dan's friends says there is another way to get internet service in the area, so maybe we should investigate. I should've never mentioned to anyone that my internet access had finally stabilized because I obviously jinxed us!

At least it's no big deal to use my office computer. When I came over here tonight I realized that the office, and indeed the entire university campus, was starting to feel like an extension of my home-- just one more place that's "mine." It's kind of strange.

I had yet another bad long run today. I'm beginning to wonder what this is all about. I haven't had a good run of ten miles or longer since before we moved. At first I chalked it up to the move and all the overtime at work. I wasn't getting much sleep and I was doing a lot of new physical activity-- going up and down three flights of stairs carrying heavy boxes over and over again to move out of my old apartment, taking things apart and putting them back together, not liking where a piece of furniture was and having to move it, etc. I was hurting in all kinds of new places.

But this past week was relatively easy. I got off work on time every day and I didn't work out on Thursday or Friday. I tried to get to bed early each night. Today should've been a solid run. Instead, I felt tired the whole time and my hip hurt. I had some GI trouble last night, so maybe that had something to do with it. Still, twelve miles shouldn't wipe me out like this.

Today was my first long run from the new house, so it was nice in that respect. A new route is always fun. I've found that the bayou trails that parallel MacGregor aren't completely torn up, after all. The workers have torn up the south side in some places, the north in others. So if you know where to change sides, you get trail access all the way to Hermann Park.

So my route was nice-- bayou, Hermann Park, Rice University and then home. But it was a tough run for me and I can see potential for trouble in summer on the bayou trails, since they aren't shaded. I'm also concerned about boredom. At the old place I had half a dozen different ways to start my long run. But it looks like here there's only one safe way, and that's the bayou. Maybe by next summer I'll have found alternatives or a group to join. Among the many nice things about my university is all the informal athletic clubs that one can join, whether one is student, staff or faculty.

Not much else is going on. Having my internet connection down sucks. It worked earlier today, so I wish I knew what went wrong and I hope they get it fixed by tomorrow. I don't like my office so much that I want to spend my weekends here, even if it does feel almost like home.

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical
Wednesday: 35 minute spin
Thursday: no workout-- went to buy a futon for the studio
Friday: scheudled rest day
Saturday: 12 mile run

Monday, September 03, 2007

Relaxing Holiday

The weekend went by way too fast, but since it’s been pretty low-key (especially compared to any given day in August), I’m not complaining.

The barbeque on Sunday turned out to actually be an indoor seafood feast, which suited me just fine. I had done a two-hour morning spin to get ready, so I had my fill of veggies, crackers and crab dip while we all hung out and chatted for a bit, and then dinner was salmon, shrimp, king crab legs, corn on the cob, potatoes, wild rice salad and rolls. I had seconds on everything, although I had to skip the salmon because I’m supposedly allergic to it. I say “supposedly” because I’ve never had a reaction to it, but my allergist says I’m allergic and with a $100 emergency room co-pay, I’m disinclined to try to prove my allergist wrong.

Today I ran a few errands, got my hair cut, and did a workout at the gym. It was nice to be there when it's not so crowded. I suspect that once we get a few weeks further into the semester, it will be like this most of the time. The start of the school year at a university rec center is much like the weeks right after New Year’s in a regular gym—lots of wannabes, but few who will actually stay the course. It’s sad that so few people are willing to make even a 30 minute per day commitment to the only body they’ll ever have, but so it is.

Back to work tomorrow. After last week, I’m half-tempted to say I’m sick and not go in. But that won’t help anything and will actually make things worse. Besides, I’m enough of a believer in karma to think that if you use up sick leave when you don’t need it, you’ll be sure to get sick for real afterwards and wish you still had the paid hours available and the good will of your co-workers.

Boy Who Cried Wolf and all that.

And in other news, an old friend of mine from my restaurant biz days made a short film about the demolition of Astroworld. It was shown at the River Oaks theater this past Saturday, but I only found out about it today. Info about the video and a chance to view it online is here. I'm a little disappointed by the way the video shows on my computer (too dark), but no point complaining about free stuff.

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 2 hour spin
Monday: 35 minute elliptical, 5 minute row machine, 20 minute strength training

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Week From Hell

What a week! All kinds of crap went down at the office and after awhile it began to feel like I was getting blamed for everything, whether I had anything to do with it or not. When I finally left the office Friday at a few minutes past four (I’m supposed to work 7am – 4pm), one of my assistants gave me a big smile and said, “It’s nice to see you leaving on time for once!”

I suspect I jinxed myself on Monday by pondering the Medieval concept of the wheel of fortune while walking to work. Unlike Post-Enlightenment folk, who think of time as linear, Pre-Industrial people saw time as a big circle. Everything from the seasons to one’s personal fortunes go up, then down, then up again in an endlessly turning wheel. To the Pre-Industrial mind, there’s no shame in being down and not much glory in being up because the wheel will always turn again. This is in contrast to our own concept of linear time where down isn’t "normal" and if things aren’t getting constantly better and better, something’s wrong.

So I jinxed myself by thinking about how much healthier the wheel of fortune concept is, and found myself at the bottom of the wheel all week. But things were on the upswing by Friday, I’ve got a three day weekend and a short week next week, so I’m optimistic.

I was able to get in a workout every day this week, and I’m doing a little pondering on how I want to modify my routine to take full advantage of all the great opportunities I have here. I’ve been finding the rec center pool tempting. But because chlorine messes up my nose for hours afterwards, I would want to swim in the mornings, which would involve a change to my work schedule. I can do that, I just need to decide and commit. I also need to get onto a weight training schedule, either in my studio here or at the rec center. Once again, it’s a matter of making the plan and implementing it.

I’m excited by all the options I have here, and I think now that August is over I’ll be able to make a proper routine and get settled into it. For good or ill, I’m a creature of habit and I don’t like spending a long time unsettled like this. A month of chaos is quite long enough for me.

In other news, Dan and I did a little shopping for the house today. Dan wanted to buy something to put our umbrellas in, and I wanted patio furniture. We ended up with a lot of stuff, including a leather desk chair for me, but no umbrella stand or patio furniture. Dan was grumbling about this as we were leaving the parking lot of the last store we went to and I said, “See how addictive it is to shop?”

Just at that moment a truck went past, loaded down with furniture. Dan gestured toward it and said, “Yeah. I bet he only went out for a pair of socks!”

Cracked. Me. Up.

And finally, my edited-for-print version of my Diana’s Diary fiction blog finally arrived! I blogged about it here.

We’re going to a barbeque in Friendswood tomorrow if it doesn’t rain. And I've got no plans at all for Monday. Yay!

I hope all my friends are having a relaxing Labor Day Weekend!

This Week’s Workouts
Monday: 30 minute elliptical, 5 minute rowing machine
Tuesday: 30 minute spin, 15 minute strength training
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical, 5 minute rowing machine
Thursday: 3.5 mile run
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 12 mile run