Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

If you're looking for a Halloween Treat, go check out the Halloween Fiction Carnival going on today!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

So Darn Cute

Thursday, October 25, 2007


For three days now, we've been going around in circles trying to get a travel reimbursement for someone in our division who attended training here in town. The problem is that you're supposed to fill out an official travel request in advance of any reimbursable travel UNLESS it's local travel, which does not require a prior request.


He went to and from his workshop via city bus, and the policy states quite clearly that we can reimburse only mileage, tolls and parking. No mention of reimbursing bus fare, therefore it's not allowed and the employee is in violation of policy.

Think about that for a minute. We'll cheerfully reimburse someone to drive a Hummer across a city the approximate size of Guatemala. We'll reimburse tolls along the way and parking costs, too.

But a bus fare that is not only cheap but helps reduce traffic jams, pollution and greenhouse emissions? Nope.

Our planet is doomed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kitties x 3!

Okay, by popular request... here are the kitties. I couldn't find them on the store website for online purchase, but if any of my regular posters wants me to send them a set, get in touch. They're $6, like the bunnies. Houston has an 8.25% sales tax and then there's the shipping, but total cost would probably be under $10 and the store is about a block from the Indian restaurant I go to every Saturday, so it's no trouble to pick them up for someone. Biggest cat is 4" tall, to give you some idea.

Sheesh. You folks will talk me into anything. Off to wrap them back up so I can give them to my Mom for her birthday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bunnies x 3!

I found these cute little clay bunnies at Ten Thousand Villages here in the Rice Village. Lots of cuteness, bag included, for only $6! They have a cat version, too.

And speaking of bunnies, I hope all my friends will spare a few good wishes for my blog friend Rachel and her sweet bunnies, who I hope are in a safe place away from the smoke and fires in San Diego tonight.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Studies in Groundward Tropism

I did something today I haven’t done in a long time. I fell.

It was my own stupid fault, since I know better than to run on the sidewalks in Montrose. They’re old and uneven, one section tilted one way, the next section tilted another way. Old oaks and subsidence will do that. So I usually run in the street if I’m in that area.

But today I came to a section where there was more traffic than usual, so I got on the sidewalk. And even after the street was safe again, I figured I’d stay on the sidewalk until I had crossed the next major road. I got distracted, thinking about a house in the area that I had lived in twenty years ago, and the next thing I knew I had tripped over the stupid uneven sidewalk and fallen hard.

My cho-pat strap took worst of it on my right knee, but my left knee looked pretty bad. Luckily I’m always prepared for these kinds of emergencies on long runs and after I rinsed out the worst of the dirt with the water I was carrying, I cleaned up with one of my individually-wrapped Gold Bond antiseptic wipes. I can’t recommend these enough to distance runners and cyclists. One wipe is about the size of a credit card and slips right into whatever pack you’re using to carry gels, ID and cash.

Since my left knee still insisted on dripping everywhere and it wasn’t Halloween yet, I wrapped it with the bandana I always carry with me. I looked like Punky Brewster, but at least I wasn’t likely to scare anyone.

I was near a store, so I got some more water and went on to finish my run. I was only at about the halfway point when I fell and I could’ve taken a more direct route home that would’ve cut it short by a couple of miles but once I was clean and bandaged up I didn’t feel bad at all.

By the time I got home I was starting to get some nice blue bruises on the right knee, and when I unbandaged the left one, I was pretty unhappy to see it looked like something you’d get as scrap from the butcher. Cleaning it out in the shower was No. Fun. At. All. But afterwards I found my Nexcare burn pads, which are squishy cool gel pads for burns and road rash. I slapped one of those puppies on with some stretchy kinesio tape to hold it in place and all was well.

Okay, all was sort of well.

Did I mention that last night I cut the skirt of my Halloween costume to above the knees? It needed to be done, but. . . Well, let’s just say I may be re-thinking my costume. I’m not showing these knees for awhile.

Today’s Workout
17 mile run

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Random Thursday Thoughts

What a fine and busy week!

I posted two new short stories on my writing blog and began a new novel for the Seventy Days of Sweat challenge.

I went to the university theater department’s annual costume sale and got something for Halloween. (More on that in a later post.)

I was taken out to lunch for Boss’s Day. I have the Best Team Ev-ah!

I went to the university’s Tech Fair, had a cookie and visited with my friends.

My photo submission for the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks got posted!

I had a quiet, boss-free week most of the week, and my boss returned to work Thursday as demanding as ever but not in a mean way.

The Evil Hurricane Shutter people were back Thursday, making noise outside my window all day long. Not good.

I found out that the university’s post office turns off its meter at 3:45, even though they are supposedly open until 4:00. It would’ve been nice if they posted this information online or at least had a sign, but what can one do other than try again the next day?

I discovered that the most effective way to get loose fur off a bunny’s butt is to use tape. I also discovered that the immense rabbit disapproval this engenders makes it almost not worth the trouble.

Speaking of Tidbit, her Halloween costume is here!

Looking forward to the weekend!

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 90 minute spin, 2 mile run, 30 minute weights
Monday: skipped workout
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical, 1 mile run, 10 minute row
Wednesday: 5.5 mile run
Thursday: 45 minute spin

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I extended the promo for my book through mid-October. I decided to give away just two prizes in this round, since I still have people who say they're going to buy the book, and I don't want them to miss their chance at a prize. Anyone who was eligible for this round but didn't get anything will automatically be included in the next round.

So here's how the drawing went.

My impartial selection committee:

Who, me?

The selection process:


Overseer to make sure the process was fair:

Right. He can't even read!

And the winners are... Thomma in Tennessee and Michele in Norway!

Since the winners are both female, I'll save the gender-neutral prizes for the next round, in case we get a male winner later. Here's what Michele and Thomma won: the lapis necklace Vince gave Diana, some turkey feathers, some New Mexico piñones (pine nuts) for snacking, and a nice leather pouch to carry it all in.

Send me your addresses and it'll be on its way!

Congrats, ladies, and I hope you're enjoying the book!

Next prize drawing will be next month.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jackrabbits and Housework

With cooler temps and lower humidity, I had a fantastic run this morning. I ran to Hermann Park and Rice University, which I hadn't done for awhile, and I think there's a waterbird migration of some sort going on because I saw a lot of birds on the bayou along the way. I ended up doing sixteen miles and felt like I could’ve run forever, had I not started late and run out of time. It was nearly 11:00 when I got home, too late to rake the leaves in the front yard, so I guess that will have to go onto tomorrow’s to-do list.

On the way home from having Indian food, Dan and I stopped at a moving sale where they were selling some gorgeous Old Mexico-style carved wooden furniture. It was totally wrong for our décor, but it was wonderful stuff. I contented myself by buying a bowl with a jackrabbit theme. Tidbit approved.

I read with interest the news story this week about how cleaning products trigger asthma. It confirmed what I suspected this past August when we were moving and I was spending so much time cleaning and scrubbing things. I had some of my worst asthma attacks ever during that time period and had wondered since if it was the cleaning that did it. Now that my suspicion is confirmed, I have an excuse that will last me the rest of my life! And no, I don't want to hear about how to clean things using baking soda and vinegar. Just let me revel in my new-found justification for laziness, okay?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Little Surprises

I got a package from my father this week. He’s always been one to give spontaneous gifts—not fancy stuff, just little things that let you know he was thinking of you. So it wasn't strange to find a box on my doorstep this week, even though I hadn’t been expecting it.

The box contained apples and pecans from his New Mexico property, dried chiles, and some raisins he made out of grapes from my aunt’s property. It was my first time to have homemade raisins, and OMG, I can totally understand why in ancient times they were a snack for royalty! So unbelievably delish!

It was fabulous to be boss-free again this week, although I’m still trying to puzzle out how I came to be in charge of collecting donations for the floral arrangement we sent to her father’s funeral. I didn’t mind at all, but it was just one of those situations that I would’ve normally handed off to an assistant but never got the chance because everything was moving so fast. And is it just me, or is it stupidly difficult to find appropriate flowers for a man's funeral? My boss's father was a retired colonel, and no way was I going to send something girly with roses or bows! I finally found something featuring mums and carnations in red, white and blue, so if anyone needs flowers for a veteran, let me know and I'll steer you to the right place!

I've been missing my old running routes this week, but with rain in the forecast, this wasn't the weekend to stray far from home. So this morning I peeked out the window, was satisfied at the dry streets, got myself all taped up to run, and as soon as I stepped out the door it started raining! But it only lasted a few minutes and I was able to get in a good run. I must’ve been wearing my “Ask Me For Directions” shirt though, because people pulling over to the curb and asking me how to get to certain campus buildings. I really must quit running around campus. Either that or insist upon extra compensation.

When I got home I found our neighbor had trimmed the bushes for us, as part of a previous agreement. Dan was supposed to bag the branches, but since he was helping a professor friend move and I was already outside and dirty, I figured I might as well bag the branches myself. Little did I realize that I would end up filling six bags! From the driveway it didn’t look like a very big job, but most of the branches weren’t in my immediate line of sight. Well, all that bending and stretching was probably good for me.

In writing news, I’ve signed up for the Seventy Days of Sweat writing challenge, partly as camaraderie thing with my writing friends, and partly in the hope it will be the kick in the pants I need to write a book that’s been in my head for over a year now, but that I’ve failed to get more than a few pages out of.

And with regard to my book at Lulu, Dan mentioned it to the head of the women’s resource center while he was on a support call Friday, and she expressed interest in having me give a talk. I’m very surprised by this. If she gets in touch with me, I’ll need to make sure Dan didn’t misrepresent anything to her. I do think I could give a meaningful talk on either the themes of my book or non-traditional options for writers, but that’s about as far as it could go.

Anyway, that was my week in a nutshell. My boss is supposed to come back next week, but since her boss will be out most of the week, we’re all hoping she takes a few days to work from home and get mentally caught up before throwing herself back into the whirlwind.

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 2 hour bike, 2 mile run, weights and core
Monday: 30 minute elliptical
Tuesday: 5 mile run
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row, core
Thursday: 45 minute spin, light weights
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 12.5 mile run