Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday!

This is a day late because @#%%&^&@! Blogger wouldn't let me in last night.


Happy Forty-Five, Dan! I love you and I wouldn't change a thing! (Except maybe that annoying habit you have of leaving trash on the counter when the trashcan is right behind you.)

But other than that...

Muchos besos, mi amor!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beautiful Day

What a difference twenty-four hours can make! After yesterday’s drizzle-fest, today was all golden and sunshiney, with temps in the high 60s/low 70s. I went for a run and it was great.

I did a new twist on my Blossom Street/Memorial Park/home loop today, going up to Post Oak instead and coming back on Woodway. This took me under the 610 loop, where they have finally paved over the sea of mud that was left from all the construction. The result is nice, with paving stones, sidewalk and concrete. This will make some of my routes much easier.

Post Oak was nice too, since that’s where the police department stables are. A lot of horses were hanging out at the fence and I stopped to visit with them.

And on the way home, there was a wisp of a moon in the blue mid-day sky. I've read that a daytime moon used to be called a “children’s moon,” back in the days when most children had actual bedtimes and wouldn’t get to do much moon-gazing. It was pretty cool running under both the sun and the moon!

My one annoyance with today was that Central Market is still out of my favorite pita chips. This makes two weeks, folks, what’s up with that just-in-time delivery model, hm? I hope I’m not suffering from Geek Girl Syndrome where once I find something I like, it gets discontinued! But they had my favorite sandwich available again (mozarella, tomato and basil) after it being unavailable for three weeks, so maybe there's hope after all.

Today's Workout
8.5 mile run

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Drizzly Day

After going to quite a bit of trouble last night to come up with a route for this morning, I woke up to rain.

It wasn’t heavy rain, and it wasn’t cold out. I very nearly went and ran anyway. But it seems like everyone at my office is sick, so I decided that two hours or more of running in the rain might not be a wise idea. Being wet doesn’t make you sick, but it does make you more likely to pick up any bugs you’re getting exposed to, and I’m working in a war zone. And besides, as I told Dan over lunch, it’s one thing to get rained on in the last few miles of a run, but to start out in the rain and spend the whole time wet is a very different matter.

So as much as I hated to do it, I went to the gym. And it ended up not being so bad. I was going to do 30-minute sessions on the equipment, but I was in a better mental place than I realized and breezed through an straight hour on the treadmill with no troubles, then did an hour on the elliptical machine while finishing a copy of Reminisce magazine and reading a Smithsonian article. I always read on the elliptical trainer, except when I’m doing speed intervals. It passes the time and gives me a chance to learn something.

After I finished my workouts, I put on a dry shirt and decided to go see if there were any trail riders still ambling up Memorial Drive. Dan joined me and although we had missed the riders and didn’t feel like waiting around for their return, it was nice to go for a little walk together along the bayou. Dan and I used to go for a walk every Sunday night, but we fell out of that habit. Now that the weather is turning warmer, maybe we can do that again. I’ve learned not to get too worried though, about the way habits come and go in our marriage. Sometimes it seems we do a lot together and other times we spend most of our time apart. And then it changes again. There’s an ebb and flow to everything.

And speaking of flow, what’s with my nose? I spent most of this past week unable to figure out if I was suffering from allergies or the beginnings of a cold. I felt so much better on Friday that I was suspicious it had been a cold, but now I’m all sniffly again. I’m putting my nose on progressive discipline. No more verbal warnings. Next will be a written warning and remediation plan, and if that fails, this nose is fired!

Tidbit's World

Friday, February 23, 2007

Date Night

Dan and I went to one of the local theaters tonight. His friend Joyce from the university was acting in a show and had put us on the standby list, so we got in for free. The acting was terrific, but I felt like the play itself rambled, full of people doing a lot of talking and wisecracking that didn’t really go anywhere.

So. Great performance, but the material didn't really live up to the talent. I've posted a more specific writerly critique for anyone interested in that sort of thing.

It was nice to be on a “date,” regardless of the play, and we went for Vietnamese food afterwards with Joyce. We were out until 11:00—quite late to be out on a work night, with still so much to do at home before bedtime.

And me with projects due tomorrow and trying to shake off a cold!

I sure am glad it’s the end of the week.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Attitude Is Everything

I had a strange experience yesterday.

At work, I and two other managers were asked to “donate” our lower-level office staff in rotating shifts to cover for an absent secretary. My own two assistants rose to the occasion with good attitudes. But they became unable to cover shifts this week, so we had to call on the support staff from the other teams.

To my complete shock, when the other two managers went to their teams and asked them to sign up for shifts, they got attitude. Nasty, won’t-do-it attitude. Sullen, refuse-to-sign-up attitude. They crossed their arms, wouldn’t look their managers in the eye and had to be threatened with “choose or we’ll choose for you.” And after that, a cloud hung over the business office. You’d think we had murdered their pets and sold their children!

I’ve seen bad attitudes, but I haven’t seen anything like that since I was in the restaurant business, where you expect crappy attitudes from your fly-by-night minimum-wage staff. But the ladies in question yesterday weren’t minimum wage flunkies with no benefits and no status. They’re all paid in the high twenties, with full benefits and nice computers and ergonomic office furniture. They spend a lot of time eating, talking to each other, gabbing on the phone and surfing the internet. Oh, they clear the occasional paper jam in the copier and sometimes push a few papers around or answer the phone, but they don’t do all that much, really.

And what was the job we were asking them to do that was so horrible?

Sit at a desk in another office for two hours, surf the internet (with our blessing), and handle any situations the absent secretary’s student workers couldn’t deal with. It was a gravy job. As I told one of my peers, “If someone offered to pay me to surf the internet for two hours, I’d be signing up for double shifts!”

We made the job as sweet as we possibly could, shortening the shifts to two hours apiece, and still these young ladies carried on in a way that, had they been working for me, I think I would’ve written them up.

I was told that these young ladies act this way all the time.

All. The. Time.

I told our uber-boss what happened, which was the most I could do, since they aren’t my employees. Uber-boss says she’s going to do something about it. I hope so. As far as I’m concerned, if they don’t want to act like team players, they can go find other work. Let them go work in restaurant or retail, where your ability to put your game face on for a couple hours determines whether or not you go home with any money in your pockets. Wouldn’t the spoiled little princesses like that?

I’m just glad they don’t work for me.

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 90 minute spin
Monday: 4 mile run
Tuesday: 3.5 mile run
Wednesday: 4 mile run

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fiction Blogging - Lessons Learned

As promised, I've written up a Lessons Learned post about my experience with Diana's Diary. Since long posts about writing are outside the scope of this blog, I've posted it on my Writing Blog for anyone who is interested.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Long Run and Other Random Stuff

Today I ran to Hermann Park and a little way up MacGregor before turning around and heading home. At the turnaround point, I saw lots of thick grayish smoke in the Medical Center area. It was blowing toward me and it smelled of chemicals and tasted vaguely like plastic. All the way back to the park and to the trail around Rice University, vehicles of all description rushed past, sirens blaring. When I got home I got online and found that it was only a three-alarm fire, but that some twenty-five vehicles were called out for it. It was a building under construction, so no one was hurt, but it did make quite a ruckus.

I’m having a busy time of it at the office. One of my stronger and more knowledgeable team members has been out on extended leave at a critical time for all of us, so I feel like I’m always playing catch-up. I no sooner check something off my list, when my boss drops by and cheerfully drops two more projects on me. It doesn’t help that I’m so often tired.

But that’s about to change. I’m finishing the daily-posting part of my Diana’s Diary fiction project this weekend, and that makes me happy. I’ll continue to update it, but I will no longer be posting nightly after Sunday. I ran the numbers and realized that I’ve been spending 20-30 hours per week on it! I’m glad I didn’t realize this until I was nearly done, or I might’ve quit. Instead, I’ve done exactly what I set out to do, and more. I’ll write an extended follow-up in a day or two—a sort of “lessons learned” post.

In the meantime, I’m very excited that I’m about to have more time for other things, like more workouts, more sleep, more reading, and new creative projects. I’ve spent that “extra” 20-30 hours per week a hundred different ways already, in my mind! But what I’m really in the market for is a new home on a planet with longer days. If anyone has recommendations, I’m listening!

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 3.5 mile run
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical
Thursday: 30 minute spin
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 14 mile run

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

With love from Tidbit, to all her blog pals!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Public Service Announcement

The new Clif Nectar Bar flavor, Cherry Pomegranate, tastes like cherry pie.

That is all.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Running in Circles

I feel like I’m on a sort of life treadmill here. No sooner was I getting back in the swing of things after two weeks of a respiratory ailment, than I came down with a stomach virus. Yes, the same one that Dan had last week, that we thought was food poisoning. I was out of the office Monday and Tuesday, and still don’t feel like everything is working quite right. I get hungry, but not as often as I used to, and I don’t have an appetite. Food tastes fine when I finally force myself to eat, but it seems to sit in my stomach forever. Ugh.

So with my glycogen stores depleted, I had no idea how my long run today would go. Surprisingly, it was all right. I did loops at Memorial Park, just to play things safe (restrooms, food, and electrolytes readily available). Nothing of interest happened on the run—I ran up to the park, did my three loops and ran home for a total of twelve miles. I was surprised at how few people were out running today. It was cold (for Houston), but not that bad. It was only in the 40s. And even the street traffic was light, as if everyone was out of town or something.


It’s worth noting that today was my first run since December without kinesio tape on any part of my body! I could’ve used some on my lower back, though. All these weeks of no core work and lots of sitting around being sick had my back aching by the last two miles.

I got some exciting news Friday—my father is going to Spain this summer! My dad made a lot of sacrifices for our family, and between that and his farm-boy frugality, he never did a lot of travel and has never been farther than Puerto Rico or Mexico. So this will be his first overseas adventure! I’m so excited for him I can hardly stand it. I’ve thought for years that he needed to do something amazing and wonderful for himself, and he’s finally doing it. Go Dad!!!

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 3 mile run (very slow)
Friday: scheduled rest/errand day
Saturday: 12 mile run

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Radar Ears

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Long Run: The Return!

Today was my first long run since the marathon!

It was chilly this morning—high 30s/low 40s. But the sun was out, and that was nice, after so many gray days. My lungs didn't give me any trouble, although I was having issues with my knee for no reason I could figure out. Maybe I slept weird on Thursday. I had to use my trigger point ball Friday night, and wear my cho-pat today. But the knee feels fine tonight, as I figured it would, since I hadn’t done anything to it.

I chose a simple route up Memorial to Chimney Rock and back via Woodway, for a total of about eleven miles. It felt good to find my groove and let my mind drift. I noticed the little roadside garden at Memorial and Chimney Rock is doing well. It’s full of nice-looking cabbages, and there was some early lettuce, too. I wish I knew who is crazy enough to plant vegetables along the sidewalk, next to a busy street— they must be full of exhaust toxins. But they’re fun to look at. My father has always had a garden, so I have good associations with them and find them comforting.

There were a lot of robins out today—big fat ones that looked like they could hardly fly, they were so pudgy. They were like Weebles with wings. And there was a sweetheart of a dog tied up outside Starbucks. He was wagging his tail at everyone who went past, wanting to be friends.

Since it was such an uneventful run, I let my mind wander and got to thinking about one of my little oddities, which is that I always carry a bandana on my runs, tucked into my water bottle strap, a pocket, or my waistband. In the seven years I’ve been running long, the bandana has proven to be one of the most useful things I can take on the road, kind of like Douglas Adams’ towel.

So without further ado, here are some excellent reasons to take a bandana on a long run:

• You can tie it around your head to keep the sweat out of your eyes, or to help keep your ears warm if the weather is cool and you forgot to wear a hat.
• You can wet it to clean an abrasion.
• You can tie up a bleeding cut or road rash.
• You can stabilize a turned ankle.
• You can cover your nose and mouth with it in cold weather, or if there’s dust.
• If you find wild greens for the bunny, you can make a pouch to carry them in.
• You can improvise a cho-pat strap with the bandana and a smooth rock, should you have unexpected knee troubles far from home.
• You can blow your nose in it.
• And you can wipe the sweat off yourself off with it after your run, if you still want to after all that.

I’m sure as time goes on, I’ll come up with even more uses for the humble bandana. It’s not for nothing that my husband of nearly twelve years calls me MacGyver. I’d love to hear what other runners and cyclists consider their most useful must-have!

Today’s Workout
Eleven mile run

Thursday, February 01, 2007

If it’s not one thing…

Just when I’m congratulating myself on finally having A Day Without Meds, Dan comes down with what appears to be a case of food poisoning. He was up all last night, and consequently I was up most of the night with him.

I went in to the office late today, with only one goal—to review a project with my boss. As it turned out, she never made it in, having been up late the night before, herself. Isn’t that always the way of it with critical projects? The boss makes you feel like the world will fall apart if you don’t finish by a certain day or time, then they themselves don’t keep their appointment to review the result.

Well, at least I did my part.

In the afternoon, I went to a required workshop that nearly put me to sleep. There was nothing wrong with the workshop itself, but it was taught at a beginner level, and the subject is something I have a Master’s degree in. So for me, it was total Snoresville. I had asked my boss why I had to go to this silly thing, and she said that: a) everyone has to go, and b) it’s a good networking opportunity. Right. I’m sure I made a lovely impression as I tried not to nod off or make little panicky noises at the mention of. . . games. Oh, yes. They wanted to turn certain learning experiences into games. Is there anyone who likes these things? Am I the only one who would rather be chased by a chainsaw-wielding maniac than get into small groups and “write a movie script” about our budget, then present to the rest of the class? WTF?

I should’ve stayed home today. What was it Dan ate last night, and can I have some, too?

Tonight Dan is mumbling about needing to go to work tomorrow. I don’t think he’s up for it. He still can’t eat or be far from a bathroom. He’s spends most of the time when he isn’t in the bathroom lying on the sofa. Based on my own experiences with food poisoning, I don't think he’ll be much better tomorrow, but he's not listening.

As for me, I’m on my second day without bronchitis meds and feeling pretty good. I ran a little on Monday, and I’ve been doing all my workouts this week at an aerobic level, only a little slower than before I became ill. It feels weird to sweat, though. Hard to believe I’ve already become so unaccustomed to it. It’ll be interesting to see how my long run goes on Saturday. I don’t yet have a route or distance planned, but it looks like it won’t be raining. Since it’s been feeling like Macondo around here lately, I’m looking forward to seeing the sun!

Recent Workouts
Monday: 30 minute run
Tuesday: rest (worked late)
Wednesday: 35 minute spin
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical