Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hey! New camera! Posted by Picasa

Productive Day

I sure got a lot of pesky tasks and errands done today! I went to the grocery store and pet store, bought a new digital camera and all the accessories, did some housework, including the once a week stuff, and topped it all off by paying the bills and coloring my hair.

I still have to do the ironing, and with any luck, I’ll finish the latest edit of my manuscript tonight, too, and get another query out.


Today’s Workout
6 mile run

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bayou Run and Plans

I was up late Friday night and none too thrilled with my alarm clock this morning. I was even less thrilled to find that the cat managed to dump over his litterbox in the night—a first, and hopefully also a last.

So it was almost 7:30 before I was able to hit the trails, and so humid it felt like I was running through soup. I kept things simple, though. I ran the Bayou loop, including part of the downtown trail, and when I was done, I changed direction and ran it again. That made about 12 miles. I finished with a little-loop (Shepherd/Waugh) at about 10K pace, which wasn’t fun at all. Some clouds were moving in and a breeze was picking up, so that helped, but only marginally. It was still hot and humid, and I was tired.

But it was a surprisingly strong run, overall. My calves had been so tight the night before that I hadn’t expected much, but I think the hills on the bayou trail and the way I broke up the pace helped my legs. I was forced to use different muscles, rather than just punish the same ones for mile after mile.

I was thinking today that I might try to bring my long run mileage up to about 18-20 by the end of October and run the San Antonio Marathon on November 12. Yes, I’m registered for Houston in January, so I wouldn’t be running San Antonio as an A race. I would take it slow and walk frequently. I’ll wait and see how I’m feeling in October, since I don’t want to jeopardize my January (birthday!) marathon. I also would have to consider how doing a marathon in November would dovetail with my plan to do the Luke’s Locker Half Marathon on October 29.

But I’ve always wanted to do San Antonio. I lived there for three years as a kid and have fond feelings for the city. And with their new course route, it looks like fun. But I’m leaving my options open at this point, and I’ll make a decision when I get a better idea how my body is holding up. Last year’s hip injury freaked me out and I still haven’t gotten back up to my same long run mileage. I hope all these successful 12-14 mile runs followed by Sunday morning 6-milers are an indication I’m back on track and ready for better things.

In other news, I think I’m going to buy a new camera tomorrow. I don’t have the time or the right tools to muck around endlessly with our broken camera, and we’re about due for a new one, anyway.

This blog needs more bunny pictures!

Today’s Workout
14 mile run

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Runnin’ in the Rain

Who would’ve guessed that today’s 30% chance of rain would all come pouring down at once, about an hour into my morning run?

I headed out under patchy, slightly overcast skies. I was glad for a break from the sun, and for the cool breeze. Such a rare and welcome relief in August! I trotted along the bayou trail toward downtown, through the art park and along the new trails past the aquarium and Wortham Theater. Very nice. I came back on the Allen Parkway side, and that’s when the thunder began.

It started as a low grumbling off to the south, where the skies were darkening and thunderheads piling up. But the sky to the north was still blue. I decided to keep running. I’ve seen systems swirl all around my part of town without ever dropping any rain.

I finished the bayou loop and started up Memorial Drive. I stopped at the runner-friendly Shell station for some cold water, and when I came out, the sky was turning black toward the south. More thunder. My plan was to run up to Chimney Rock and back, but if this storm meant business…

Oh, what the heck. I don’t much like running in the rain, and I won’t do it at all in cool weather, but in August? Might be nice. I continued.

When I got to the 610 Loop, I looked to the south and now the darkness was spreading out across the sky, full of mumbling thunder and punctuated by high flashes of lightning. It’s pretty typical though, for storms to hit one part of the city and not another. Maybe it wouldn’t make it this far. And if it did, it would pass quickly, right? Summer storms always do.

I went on, while streetlights turned themselves on and the first misty drops speckled my arms.

Somewhere around Antoine, the rain began coming down. It was a pleasant shower at first, and it was so nice to be having a cool run in August. What a treat! But then the skies opened up and it began pouring! Well, I was already soaked through, so I could see no point in stopping and seeking shelter. Sure, the thunder was crashing and booming all around and there was some high lightning, but the lightning wasn’t actually hitting anything. It’s a funny thing about inner-city lightning— it seems to almost never actually strike.

So I pushed on, splashing through the puddles, raindrops fogging my glasses, fully expecting the storm to blow right on through. No luck. I got to my turnaround point and headed back, and still no letup in sight. The dips in the sidewalks were filling with water and I was getting seriously annoyed at the way the rain just kept on coming. This was not 30% chance of rain. This was not a passing summer shower.

But hey, stopping would’ve only given me a chance to get chilled. Might as well keep moving.

The rain finally started letting up around the time I got back to Memorial Park. I had been running in a downpour for half an hour! But as the skies lightened and the rain dwindled to a light shower, I saw to my delight that Memorial Park was deserted.

10 am on a Saturday morning and I had the whole park to myself! This was definitely worth a drenching.

Three miles later and I was home, taking off my squishy shoes and socks outside the door. I was no more wet and drippy than I ever am after an August long run. But because it was rain and not sweat, I sure smelled a lot better!

Today’s Workout
13 mile run in the rain

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Dan and I have been running together in the evenings again. It’s nice, and the temps are usually cooler after dark. But tonight we stepped outside and the heat and humidity hit us like a wave.

“It’ll be better at the park,” I told him. “More trees. Less concrete.”

And it was a little better. But not by much.

I started at a conservative pace, but after my first stop for water, I found myself behind a particularly odiferous person, and by now a stiff breeze had picked up, wafting everything back to me.

Lucky me.

I picked up the pace and passed him. It was faster than I wanted to go for only my second mile of what would be a little over 4 miles, but with Stinky on my heels, I had no choice but to keep my pace. No way was I letting him get upwind of me again!

So I tried to be philosophical about it. When I first started distance running, I regularly had to contend with stinky people. In some ways they inspired me. Or they at least forced me to keep going when I was tempted to slow down. I became a better runner because of the motivation they gave me.

Tonight Stinky and I parted ways at about the 2.5 mile point, when I stopped for water and he went on. I was a little overheated by this point and dripping wet. 80% humidity will do that to you. So I finished my run at a more reasonable pace, fighting down a rare bit of exercise-induced nausea. I wasn’t exactly smelling like roses myself, at this point.

I can only hope I motivated someone.

Today’s Workout
4.25 mile run

Monday, August 14, 2006


The very first agent I queried about Tin Soldier has requested the first 30 pages!!!

OMG!!! I just know I'm going to print it out and immediately think it SUCKS!

(Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn't, but... you know.)

Now, just to keep things in perspective here, publishing is a business. Regardless of skill or talent (assuming I have any), an agent has to think s/he can successfully market my book. This is not ars gratia aris, here. I know that. And I'm totally okay with it. Really.


My very first query ended up with a request for a partial!!!

I'm off to hyperventilate, now...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Looking a little ragged around the edges! Posted by Picasa

Just Another Weekend

I’m rapidly reaching a point where I’m going to have to see my massage therapist. Of course, I also have no idea when I'm going to have time for it. It’s the end of the fiscal year, I’ve had lots of projects dumped on me, and it’s so hard to concentrate at work with people calling and dropping by all the time to discuss the reorganization that’s going on.

Last week I had hoped to take a day, or even a half-day, to work at home. I get a lot done on my projects when I can just settle in and work. But too many other things were going on. I think I’ll pull out all the stops to make it happen this week, and use my lunch break to go see my massage therapist, since she lives just a few blocks away.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I get way stressed out when I have so many “have to” things on my plate.

This was a pretty typical weekend, in terms of working out. I did a 14 mile run on Saturday morning, or at least I think it was about 14. It might’ve been closer to 15. Add “get GPS watch battery replaced” to my to-do list! This morning I did 6 miles and followed up with some weights and rowing machine at the gym.

We got my “new” printer set up this weekend. Yay! I now no longer have to feed sheets of paper one at a time into a persnickety little beast of a machine that would rather chew up paper than actually print on it. I say it’s a “new” printer because I got it at the garage sale last weekend for $10. So it’s new to me, although not new in general.

I continue to be very lazy about writing the third novel in my peak oil trilogy. Bad bunnygirl! I think I’m just a little overwhelmed. I’m doing queries and synopses of Tin Soldier to send to agents, I’m still coming off the high of finishing my second, as yet untitled, book, and writing the third in the series is taking a back seat to all that. Instead of a page a day, I’m averaging more like half a page.

I’m even considering taking a break to work on a totally different novel that has a highly marketable premise, but that I botched in the first go-round many years ago. My first version has some good elements, but I tried to do things with it that were: a) beyond my skill level at the time, and b) too clever, in a bad way. So I’ve been doing some pondering as to how I should approach a serious re-write. It’s too good a plot to just abandon. And I think I may now have the skill and perspective to give it the treatment it deserves. If not, well, it’s just another kind of training, right?

Do I really have to go to work tomorrow? Something tells me the answer is yes.

Saturday: 14 mile run
Sunday: 6 mile run, weights

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Checking In

Not much is happening here. It’s a dull week, so far. I was lazy and didn’t work out last night, but I did update my writings blog. It now contains the latest edit of Chapter One of Tin Soldier, and a draft version of Chapter One of the sequel. I will add other writings from time to time, and I’ll try to keep the most recent edits up, instead of letting the posted version lag behind my word-tinkering.

A friend of mine started a new blog today, The Incredible Shrinking Man. I hope a few of my regular visitors will drop by, say hello and ask him to post more pictures of his new cat, Thor.

In the good news department, my new running shoes arrived today and the air conditioning in the gym at my complex has finally been fixed. So that means when I skip an afternoon workout to run with Dan at night, I have another workout option if he bails on me. I think I’ll still use the university rec center after work a couple times a week, though. The time seems to pass more slowly there, but they have a lot more equipment. I’d forgotten how much I missed the rowing machine until I used it this past Sunday. And the rec center has a quarter-mile indoor track!

And finally, my cousin Chris in El Paso wrote to me about the flooding they’ve been having. He lives and works on a side of town that was not affected, but he had plenty to say about it, nonetheless. Kind of scary to think that a dam in another country could wipe out a big chunk of your city. The flooding has been fairly widespread in southern New Mexico and the El Paso area. My father got stranded at a job in some little New Mexico town while he waited for the water to recede. But he says the worst of the rains have generally missed the family property. The arroyos are full, but no real flooding.

Water in the desert is always a fascinating thing, both blessing and curse.

Have a good week, friends!

Scheduled Workouts
Tuesday: ~4 mile run, unless it rains

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Weekend

Not a whole lot of interesting stuff to report this weekend.

I think the highlight was a Saturday morning yard sale, if that says anything. The seller was an acquaintance of ours from the university and we wanted to get there early because there are semi-pro yard sale shoppers who descend on these things like vultures.

So I rearranged my Saturday long run. I got up extra-early and ran to the George R. Brown convention center, which was on the way to the yard sale. Beyond this point, it’s not safe for a woman to be alone on foot, so Dan picked me up. He brought a towel and t-shirt so I could clean up, and off we went! I found a few cool little things for myself, bought a few things for my Romanian friends, and got to see some really great furniture that I just couldn’t think how to fit in my apartment and therefore had to pass up. I also picked up a combo printer/fax/scanner for $10 that matches the color of my new computer. This allowed me to give my old printer to the Romanians. So we are all happy now.

After we finished up at the yard sale, Dan dropped me back at the convention center to finish my run, while he took the Romanians shopping for school stuff for the kids and new shoes for himself. (The errand was really all about him needing new shoes. And pants. And underwear. He invited the Romanians to tag along, since they won’t be getting their car until sometime this week.)

I did some editing on my story last night, stayed up late and today I got up early for a run to Memorial Park and back. At the park, I ran into my friend Linnie and her husband, who is my ex-landlord. Linnie and I ran together for a couple miles, chatting about stuff. Her son and his wife had a fight and now Linnie is caring for their kid for awhile, so we talked about the seemingly endless capacity early twentysomethings have for drama. (I sure was glad to grow out of that phase!) And I mentioned the Romanian kids and she told me that there’s a lot of Romanians at the school where she teaches, which is the one we’re trying to get the little girl into. Apparently a lot of the rich families in the area adopt from Romania and Russia, so this particular school has a lot of experience with them.

After my run, I did a little grocery shopping and picked up some treats for my Romanian friends—gourmet coffee for the grownups, cookies for the kids. And then I went to OfficeMax and bought paper for the printer I was giving them, as well as an extra print cartridge and stuff like that.

I also priced digital cameras. Ours is broken and although I think I can fix it, I suspect I can get a new and better one for a price that makes the hassle of repairing the old one not worth it. I’m going to ponder this for a few days.

Then I took Catalin to the gym, and he shot baskets while I worked out in the weight room. He had been up late babysitting for a neighbor and I was feeling a little asthmatic, so neither of us was really in much of a mood for swimming or anything like that. I had my manuscript and red pen with me, just in case he wanted to do something that gym rules said required my supervision. But I was glad not to need it. I dropped him off at home, ran a few more errands and settled in for the rest of the afternoon.

Tonight Dan is trying to re-learn how to play the guitar. He bought an inexpensive starter guitar and instruction DVD this afternoon, and he figures if this new hobby sticks, he’ll upgrade to a nicer guitar once he gets his skills back. Many years ago when Dan lived on an ashram in Espanola, he met former Animals guitarist Vic Briggs, who gave him lessons. I’ve always found this sort of amazing. But that was nearly thirty years ago. I hope Dan continues with this new hobby. He's a creative sort, and it would be such a good outlet for him.

Weekend Workouts
Saturday: 13 mile run
Sunday: 6 mile run, weights

Friday, August 04, 2006


Okay, Laura tagged both me and Tidbit, so I guess we'll play.

Here are the rules:

The player of this game starts with "5 weird things/habits about yourself ". In the end you need to choose 5 people to be tagged and list their names. The people who get tagged need to write a blog about their 5 weird things/habits, as well as state this rule clearly, then tag 5 more victims. Don't forget to leave your victim a comment that says "you're tagged!" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.


1. When I’m tired or stressed out, I speak Spanish and struggle with English, even though English is my native language.

2. My preferred sleep/wake cycle is to sleep twice a day. I wake up early, take a 2-3 hour nap in the late afternoon or early evening, then stay up until about 2:00 am and sleep again until 6:00.

3. I have almost no patience for “pure” entertainment. If I’m not learning something new or growing in some way from the experience, I prefer to do something else. I would rather do sports than watch sports, for example. I almost never watch TV unless it’s a classic movie or documentary. My books are all classic literature, history, or information of some kind. I don’t do it to be a snob. It’s just that I feel like I’m wasting time otherwise.

4. I’m slightly OCD when it comes to food. I’ll get hooked on a particular food and eat as much of it as I can, as often as I can. After a few months, or sometimes years, I wake up one morning and never want to see that food again. I then repeat the cycle with a new food.

5. I can solder and fix small machines and appliances. And I’m good at it, too! What’s really funny though, is that my husband doesn’t have a knack for mechanical things. So inevitably, I’m the one repairing bunny-chomped cables and electrical cords. I’m very particular to splice the individual wires at different levels, shrink-wrap them individually and then shrink tube the whole mess. When I fix something, it stays fixed!

Bonus: I hate household chores, unless they are clothing-related. I love clothes (I’ve got enough for at least twelve bunnygirls) and I’m all over any chore involving clothes. I enjoy washing, ironing, starching (including heavy starch), mending, alterations… the whole nine yards! And I love hand-sewing. I want to learn how to do fabric reweaving.


1. I think cats are really cool and would cuddle with my cat all day if he would let me.

2. I don’t like cilantro.

3. I stomp my foot when I’m happy or want you to look at me, not just when I’m angry or scared. In fact, I spend a lot of time stomping. Thumper is my hero!

4. I hate my cage and will stop at nothing to destroy it if I’m locked inside.

5. I love chewing holes in Dad’s clothes, but won’t touch his socks. Wait. That’s not weird. That’s survival instinct!

Okay, I’m not big on tagging people, but if any of the following folks haven't done this one and have a few minutes to spare, I’m tagging: Wil, Bolder, and Nytro, because I know if they do this, they’ll make it a lot funnier than I did. I’m also tagging Spider63 and Riceman because they’re so good at writing posts that get me thinking. And I’m unofficially tagging GoldenLucy and anyone else who wants to share their quirks.

I hope no one feels obligated by this. It's supposed to be fun, after all.
Furniture Chewer. Only looks innocent! Posted by Picasa