Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What I Did For Love

I woke up this morning to pouring rain, stuffy head, ringing ears, a slight fever and body aches. And no one but me to open up the office and unlock the conference rooms.


Since nothing felt good against my skin, it would have to be a casual day. Or what passes for casual with me-- my softest boot-cut jeans, a silk polo and my favorite Ann Taylor jacket. No heels. No way. I sent my scout (er… husband) out into the rain and waited for his report. Once I heard the roads were passable, I made my way to work, did all the little things my vacationing assistant would normally do, then settled in to wrap up a few projects and address some new issues that had come up.

I felt okay at first. I had lots of cold symptoms, but they felt like they were all on the surface. Underneath the aches and annoyances I felt, if not great, at least okay. But by noon I was getting chilled, everything hurt and luckily we had finally, hopefully, gotten past a major impasse on a critical project.

I went home.

But now here's the tricky part. Tidbit was out of hay and it was supposed to be delivered that afternoon. I set my alarm and laid down for a nap. At 5:15, it was pouring rain. The hay was in the leasing office, which would be closing in fifteen minutes. Rain or no rain, I needed to go get it.

So I splashed my way down the flooded walkways, trying (and often failing) to find paths around the mud and puddles. My temp was back up and the rain hurt, holding the umbrella hurt, even my clothes hurt! And then I had to find a way to get the 18"x30" box back across the complex and up to the third floor while carrying my ginormous umbrella. Not so easy when I'm feeling good, but today? Everything that touched my skin was either too hot or too cold, and all of it felt like it was leaving bruises. The box felt like it weighed fifty pounds (it was 9 pounds), and the umbrella dug into my shoulder and caught on just about every small tree in the complex. My feet got wet, my cuffs were soaked, and I swear I've done speedwork that left me less winded than those stairs did today! But I finally got back home, feeling like I had achieved some great victory.

I opened up the new box of timothy hay to happy little bunny grunts and binkies.

Oh, yes. It was worth it.

Don't ever think I don't love you, Tidbit.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


There's nothing like realizing what you thought was allergies is actually a cold. Less than a week to wrap things up at the office and get things ready on the home front if I'm going to hit my preferred vacation departure date, and I've got post-nasal drip that just won't quit. Not to mention sneezing, stuffy ears, the works. Past experience has taught me not to take anything to dry this up unless I simply can't sleep any other way. That's a good way to get stopped-up sinuses and a nasty headache.

So it looks like the Kleenex box will be my best friend for a few days. Lucky me.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just Another Saturday

I had a light workout week, due largely to my inability to decide how I want to restructure my schedule, now that the days are too warm for afternoon runs. I need to make some sort of decision, but I haven't yet gotten over the fact that I don't like any of my options. I'll bow to necessity soon, and in the meantime I'm trying to be patient with myself. And backing off a bit this week was helpful, because I felt a lot fresher than I did last Saturday.

I'm still trying to keep my "long run day" cardio level at my old levels as I back off on the running to let my hip get better. So I started with what I thought would be an hour in the gym, but turned into an hour and a half on the elliptical trainer, broken into 30 minute sets with breaks in between.

Then I changed into dry clothes and hit the trails.

It should be noted that this was my first midriff-baring day of the season!

By the time I got out on the bayou trails, temps were in the 80s-- warm enough that I probably would've needed to carry water with me, had it not been for some cool breezes and occasional cloud cover. Since the Fuel Belt seems to make my hip problems worse, I was glad to be able to run without it.

It was a rather dull day on the bayou. The sidewalk artist had completed her project in front of the Sabine Lofts, so I didn't have to make a detour on my way into downtown. On the way back out of downtown, I noticed someone had strung a clothesline down near the water and hung some shorts and t-shirts. This was odd on a lot of levels, not the least of which is that the bayou water is so filthy that I can't imagine anyone would use it for washing. So why the clothesline?

There were no races, no walks, no nothing going on. In fact, there weren't a lot of runners out on the trails at all. Too hot? Doesn't seem likely. Anyone who runs in this town has to acclimate or take up a different hobby. One of the oddest things I noticed when I did the IronStar Half-Ironman a couple years ago was the way everyone was reacting to the heat on the run course. Given that it was a mostly local field, I just couldn't understand how so many people had failed to learn how to properly fuel and hydrate for such conditions. It was sort of bizarre. How can you train through the summer months in this town and not learn how to handle heat and humidity?

In other related news, registration for the Houston Marathon opens on June 1. I've decided to go ahead and sign up early. The race actually filled up this past year and I don't want to take a chance on waiting. After so many problems over the past few years-- tendonitis, bronchitis and now hip and IT band troubles-- I'm pretty skeptical about this marathon. But since it's on my birthday next year, maybe that will be the charm and things will all go right this time. The last time I ran it was on my birthday too, so what could go wrong?

Please don't answer that!

Today's Workouts
Saturday: 90 minutes elliptical, 7 mile run

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wicker bunny tunnel Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vacation Preview - Route 66

For the amusement of my friends -- great site about Route 66. Scroll down to the bottom and click on the interactive map. Enjoy, and don't blame me if you get nothing done for the next two hours!

Quickie Mid-Week Post

Just a quick update, since I'm such a slacker...

I'm tentatively scheduling my vacation for the weeks of June 5 and 12, pending completion of various urgent projects here at the office. We're hoping to do a lot of hiking and camping, but I've read some speculation that NM will be putting some restrictions on park use due to drought conditions. So I guess we'll see how that turns out. I'm looking forward to travelling Route 66, though. That's a big part of this year's plan-- it'll be a serious road trip this time!

As for my biggest and most urgent work project, I'm about to face serious Vendor Wrath for having figured out why we do not owe a major software vendor $800K. My boss is very pleased, but... oh, let's not even start on the fallout from this one when a certain big corporation realizes we've trumped them with their own vaguely-worded contract!

Lessee... my work on my new novel has slowed down a bit. My main character must've figured out I plan to kill her off or something. But I've finally put enough distance between myself and Tin Soldier that I can do some constructive editing. That makes me happy. I hate the "can't see the mistakes" phase, which is typically followed by the "this is a load of crap" phase. Gotta get through both of those in order for good things to start happening again.

My hip hasn't been any trouble this week, although one of my longstanding weird little ankle pains has cropped up again. But this is a known entity and not of any major concern. I'm just disappointed that it's now too hot and humid after work to go for a run outside. I'm going to have to start going to Memorial Park at night, I guess. It's either that or the dreadmill.

And finally, YES, I do have more bunny pics! I'll try to post tonight or tomorrow. I've been seriously behind schedule and Tidbit wants it made clear that the fault is not with her, but with her slacker owner.

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 7 mile run
Monday: 30 minute elliptical
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 45 minute elliptical

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Saturday Run

I sure am glad it's the weekend! Work has been totally insane, but it's a good feeling to be steadily ticking the most troublesome items off my To Do list. And with both of my bosses out of town on Monday, I'm not really dreading the start of next week too much.

I really need a vacation, though. We're working on that.

In the meantime, I'm still in trying to get myself back in shape so I can train again and not just work out. My hip has been clicking a bit, but wasn't too troublesome this week.

Today I did an hour on the elliptical machine, broken up into two 30-minute sessions. Then I went out for a bayou run. The plan was to take the trails past Sabine and into downtown, cross over at the Wortham Center and head back. This worked out fine, except that there has been a sidewalk artist at work just outside the Sabine Lofts all week, and there's no good way to run around the area she has roped off. The grass is thick and squishy, perfect for turning an ankle, so instead I made a detour that added a few tenths of a mile, but at least kept me on asphalt and level ground.

Coming back up Allen Parkway after turning around at the Wortham Center, I came upon a group walk of some kind. Although there were some signs posted along their route, I still couldn't make out what the cause or occasion was. There were a lot of walkers, though, and they had special shirts, cardboard fans and all that. But no water stops. Odd, considering the weather report was predicting a high in the low 90s.

Overall, I had an okay run, but not one of my better ones. My legs felt tired. Maybe it was the hills or the lack of sleep. I don't know. But I was glad to get home and ice down with my sweet bunny by my side.

My plan is to run again in the morning, but on a flat course this time. We'll see how that turns out. I'm kind of liking these shorter runs, but I miss my long two and three-hour running adventures. I wish my hip and IT band would hurry up and get better.

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 25 minutes treadmill (too hot to run outside), 20 minutes elliptical
Friday: Scheduled rest day
Saturday: 60 minutes elliptical, 7 mile run

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Meetings, etc.

I got called into an end-of-day meeting today that ended up being pretty nice. It lasted only an hour. It started on time, ended on time and stayed relevant throughout. About halfway through the meeting, a nice-looking young man showed up and gave us all cookies. Now, why aren't more meetings like this? All we needed was for someone to come and massage our feet, and it would've been perfect!

Things are maybe getting a little better at work. I'm starting to see some a dim light at the end of the tunnel. If all goes well tomorrow, I can probably have all the most urgent matters wrapped up by the end of this week. I do hope our planned reorganization happens soon. It would mean that the next time a convoluted contract-related matter like this comes up, it won't be my problem. And next year's budget cycle wouldn't be my worry either, except in a peripheral way.

In other news, I went for a bayou run yesterday. The weather has been so nice that it would've been absurd not to do it. It was my first time on the trails in awhile, and it was a lovely day for it, with temps in the low 80s and a nice breeze. I have a feeling we won't see temps like that again until fall, so I'm glad I got out there and enjoyed it.

I would have liked to have done the same thing today, but for some reason I was just really tired. I feel like I'm fighting off a cold, although I'm hoping it's just allergies. Normally I wouldn't mind an excuse to stay home, but there's just too much happening right now and I'm too close to being done. If it turns out I am sick, maybe I'll make a point of sneezing and coughing on the people who are annoying me. Then they'll stay home and I'll get my work done faster.

Recent Workout
Tuesday: 5 mile run

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Run

I wasn't too sure about this morning's run at first. My foot was feeling better, but my hip and IT band were tight. I stretched a little and walked a bit, then decided I might as well go ahead and give it a try. To my surprise, I felt much better than I would have expected. I ran up Blossom Street to Memorial Park, followed the trail to the tennis courts and then continued on toward Memorial Drive, where I turned right to follow the trail that continues on to the 610 Loop. A train was stopped on the tracks, so I had to go underneath the trestle, but that was okay. Better safe than sorry. I'd feel pretty silly if I got hurt because I was walking between the cars when the train started moving.

I went up to the Loop, then turned around and came back. Once I was at the park again, I ran into my ex-landlord's ex-wife. She was walking the other way, so I stopped and walked with her for a bit. She told me she was back with my ex-landlord, which didn’t entirely surprise me. And she told me about some of the tris she has coming up. Then we ran back to the tennis courts and I continued on, now retracing my steps, to where the trail came back up to Memorial Drive. From there I ran home without any further incidents.

In all, it was a very pleasant little run. I had initially planned to run six miles, but the extra bit up to the 610 Loop added a little over a mile, and running with Linnie added another mile, so it ended up being a longer run than I had planned. My foot didn't give me any trouble until around mile five, and my hip and IT band didn't start nagging until about the last mile and a half. So it turned out pretty well, I think.

I called my mom this afternoon to wish her a happy Mother's Day. She wasn't too interested in going out, thank goodness. Mother's Day is pure Amateur Day in the restaurant business and is always a zoo. We're looking at maybe doing something on Memorial Day weekend, which isn't entirely sane but at least isn't insane, either.

I'm so not looking forward to going to work tomorrow and facing these silly crises again. But I think we're very near some solutions, and we're ordering box lunches for the meeting we're calling. The box lunches contain cookies. I suppose any day you get a free cookie can't be all bad.

Today's Workout
8 mile run

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Bruises and Bargains

Today was gorgeous running weather, so of course I managed to hurt my foot yesterday and couldn't run today. Isn't that just the way of it? What made it even more annoying was that today was the Art Car Parade, so I missed my annual opportunity to run up Allen Parkway and admire all the cars lined up to head into downtown. If I had remembered about the parade, I might have just decided to run the bayou trails anyway, so it may have been for the best that I forgot. If I don't do anything stupid tonight like go blundering into the furniture, I think I can try a cautious run on level ground tomorrow morning. Running the uneven, hilly bayou trails today while gawking at art cars would have probably been a recipe for disaster.

After lunch today, Dan and I went to our LBS to wish the owner well. This was his last weekend. He's closing up shop and moving to Galveston. We met the new shop owner and browsed what was left of the current inventory. Everything was 50% off and much to my delight, a Louis Garneau jersey that I'd had my eye on for the longest time was still there! At $70, there was no way I would've bought it. Not when I already have plenty of bike jerseys. But at $35 it was a steal and like I said, I'd been admiring it for a very long time. Now I just need to quit being so lazy about getting that rear wheel looked at, so I can go out and ride.

Man, what a week I had! It's funny how things can putter along at the office for weeks at a time without much excitement and then suddenly all heck breaks loose and I'm really earning that paycheck. Several projects and crises came up at once, but by the end of next week the worst should be over. In fact, it could even be that the worst has already passed. I stayed late every day this past week, did some work from home, and spent a lot of time on the phone and in meetings with people so I could hopefully get ahead of the game. We'll see on Monday how that turned out.

Today's Workout
90 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes treadmill (nursing a very nasty bruise to my foot)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Friends in the window Posted by Picasa

Mid-Week Post

There's nothing like getting an invoice for a completely ridiculous sum of money to make my day at work interesting. The company that sent it has been impossible to work with this year, sending us vaguely worded, generic invoices and then denying any ability to create better ones, even though they are in the business of supplying software solutions. How can they not give me an itemized invoice on a license renewal of over half a million dollars when I can get the balloon shop up the street to provide an itemized bill, no problem? And now we have this latest invoice, based on who knows what, seemingly in violation of our contract, and that they say we must pay within fourteen days or else.

Don't they know they're dealing with a state institution? I'm lucky if I can order a box of Kleenex in under fourteen days.

Anyway, it will all be resolved soon, but it's just one of many things keeping me at work late these days. At least I can't say I'm bored. This week has been flying by!

That's about all the excitement around here, and it's not very exciting at all, is it?

Well, here's a recap of some of what's happened around here lately:

  • Our betta was sick but is responding to his medication and seems perkier now.

  • I got the heels of my favorite summer pumps re-capped.

  • I thought I liked my new shampoo, but now I'm not so sure.

  • I have several new books to read.

  • One of my new books is about world water issues. It's research for my next novel (which will complete my Peak Oil trilogy), where I have a main character who is interested in environmental issues, particularly water rights and usage.

  • My writing has slowed down lately because one of my characters is copping an attitude. After what I've put her through, I can't say I blame her.

  • My sister and father both had birthdays recently. With Mother's Day just around the corner, I'm about to hit the trifecta, don't you think?

  • I still haven't gotten the rear wheel of my bike looked at, but I have seriously considered just getting a whole new bike. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

  • Peanut Butter Puffins cereal bars RULE.

I think we're all in the doldrums here. The weather has been hot and so humid lately that when I leave for work in the morning I can feel my makeup being steamed into my pores. In the afternoon I come home to a mailbox full of soft, soggy bills and magazines. Everyone I know seems to be counting the days until they can take a vacation. I know that's all I’m doing.

It's been nice reading other folks blog about their training and races. Until my hip quits hurting, racing is out of the question, so it's fun to read what other people are doing.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Another Rainy Morning

This morning's storm arrived at the same time my alarm clock went off. Thunder, lightening, the works. Okay. I reset for half an hour and went back to bed. Thirty minutes later, it was still storming. So it was another long workout at the gym for me.

This time I took a change of clothes and an extra towel. Everything went pretty well, and no one showed up with out-of-control kids, which was nice. For some reason I couldn't get CNN on the television, but someone else turned one of the TVs to the Food Network, so that worked out okay. I wonder though, about people who feel the need to cut perfect circles out of pieces of bread.

The plan for tomorrow is to go for an early run, then hit the Y for some strength training. If time permits, I might also try to get in some time on the bike.

Not much else is going on. It's budget time at work and there are other projects going on as well. Everyone seems stressed-out and just not in the mood. I think we all want to go on vacation and are counting the days. But until they give us some firm dates for when the budget cycle will end, I can't set a date for my own vacation, which is probably fueling some of my angst and ennui. And so I try to slip out for a little walk at mid-day, or take a break to read some blogs, or schedule meetings that will end before I would normally go home, but not so early that it makes sense to drive back to the office. One does what one can.

I believe my financial advisor said I have sixteen more years of this to meet the state's retirement qualifications. Joy.

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 6 mile run
Thursday: 45 minute cardio: 15 elliptical, 15 stairmaster, 15 treadmill
Saturday: 3 hour cardio: 45 elliptical, 45 stairmaster, 45 treadmill, 45 bike

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tidbit and a friend Posted by Picasa