Saturday, September 29, 2007

1:06:34

That was my time today in the Race for the Cure 5K ..... That averages to 21:24 per mile. That's a slightly slower pace than I really wanted, but somehow better than I expected. I was in the back third of the pack, but I did not care at all. There were approximately 6000 racers/walkers today, and everyone was very content to choose their own pace.

Our race course was all downhill or flat for the first mile, then uphill for most of the 2nd mile and a part of the 3rd. But it was a beautiful course, all the way around. A perfect blue sky. Not too hot, not too cold. Absolutely lovely! And I had stopped for breakfast on the way in, but there was no need. One of the sponsors is a regional grocery chain -- they had PLENTY of fruit, yogurt, etc. there. And Panera had brought bagels as well. There were lots of sponsor booths giving freebies -- I particularly liked Ford's. Their goodie bag had a golf towel, a scarf, and a bookmark that explained the symbols for their "Warriors in Pink" program (special car package). Also sitting there was a pretty new Ford Escape .... perfect, since I'm leaning to those when I go car shopping, or at least a smaller SUV. I liked what I saw so far.....

The moment I will remember most occurred in the first mile. There was a walker who started out near the front of the pack, and she had already made the turnaround and was working on mile 2. It was warming up by that point, and she took off her hat. There she was in a pink t-shirt with a pink hat, which meant she is a survivor. She took off the hat to reveal a perfectly hairless head. I never wanted to hug a stranger so much as I did at that point. For the rest of the walk, every time I thought about packing it in or thinking, "Why did I do this?" I looked for the Pink Ladies and Grey Gentlemen (meaning survivors). I knew if they could do this walk after all they'd experienced, I had no reason to quit. None at all.

I wanted so badly to find this lady and tell her how much she'd inspired me. I didn't find her after the race, but I found another survivor. I asked her how long she'd been one, and she replied, "Which time, and which cancer?" She'd been through colon cancer 20 years ago, battled breast cancer 5 years ago, and another round of colon cancer 4 years ago. She inspired me. I told her why I took part in the Race (and yes, I just about broke into tears). I also told her that I'm psyched for next year's Race too.

And it's true. Right now, my upper legs are pretty sore. Tomorrow morning, I might be crawling out of bed instead. But my heart is soaring!!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

L-town's biggest problem??

Apparently, our town fathers have now determined L-town's #1 problem: Number 2.

Crime, poverty, unemployment -- bah!!! Not in our little piece of perfection. Our biggest problem is dog doo. Or so you'd think by reading our latest town newsletter, mailed recently to all citizenry. There were at least 4-5 sentences about how our town is dog-friendly, but something's gotta be done.

I can agree, to an extent. Let's face it -- the town is also walker-friendly, and none of us particularly enjoy the piles of dogpoo. That especially holds true for those little "gifties" found on the sidewalk (arrrrgh!). As a dog owner, I want to be a good responsible pet owner. I also admit I haven't always been handy with the scooper either. And the times Maddox has gone, it hasn't been in private yards. He's a dog; neither his bladder nor the other outward digestive waste machine have the ability to hold it. When he's gotta go, he's gotta go -- sometimes, **it literally happens.

The scooper is almost like a talisman. 95% of the time I take it, Maddox doesn't have to go. This morning was an exception. I stopped right then, and cleaned up the offending mess (especially given the fact that we were about 100 yards and around the corner from the mayor's house!) I also noticed that other dog owners apparently did NOT clean up their messes. Either that, or it's those truly irresponsible ones that imagine the town is one big yard for their pets to enjoy off-leash.

And therein lies what I think is our biggest pet problem --- FLIPPIN' IDIOTS WHO OWN PETS!!! Other than the two Houdini-like incidents, Maddox doesn't go out that front door sans leash. Fenced-in backyard -- well, that's another story. That's his place, and he's definitely welcome to roam at will. But in the city at large, NO NO NO!!!! On most of our walks, though, we run into at least one dog, off-leash, roaming the town at will. I've seen plenty of dog-torn trash bags; those times, I pull Maddox away in the prayers that he won't follow suit. There's enough poo all over the grounds -- and the sidewalks too -- to tell me that these dogs are giving the other dogs in town a bad rep -- and the idea that it's okay to go there themselves. Then there's also the occasional traffic nightmare when they get out in the street; let's face it -- no one wants to hit a dog (although I'm sure the more idiotic just hope there are no witnesses if they do).

Friends and regular readers know my feelings about the "14 yapping inbreds" down the street. No, it's not really 14 dogs, but there are at least 5 or 6 (if not more) in a 10x10 covered kennel. Oh, don't get me started. I do offer a small prayer of thanks that they are not out roaming the streets. I still think their caretakers are just as irresponsible as those who allow the ones to roam at will, but .........

So. Is there going to be a leash law (if there isn't one already)? Registering our dogs with the city (I'd gladly do it)?

Friday, September 21, 2007

This time last year....

I was on my way to Savannah .... okay, actually I was still at work, but eagerly awaiting the end of the day, because I was going to be heading there to Tal & Sera's house. Bolivar was already there on his well-deserved vacation.

That was one of the most fun weekends ever. Didn't do much of anything except a little sightseeing and a LOT of old 80s-movie watching. But oh my God! That was such an awesome time! I know I talked everyone's ears off -- I am Mistress Motormouth. I own it; can't deny it.

We will have to repeat. Must. Have to. Soon.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Letting the days go by....

It finally happened. I had my Talking Heads moment where, for a brief split second, I actually thought to myself, "Well...... how did I get here?"

I had gone to get lunch. I was driving back to the office, and turned onto the street for our building. It hit me: "What am I doing here?" Not in the physical sense -- I haven't lost THAT much touch with reality. But it all was that split-second, but whole lifetime (think Picard in The Inner Light episode) stop-and-think moment. It wasn't a sad thing -- nothing that made me stop and weep and lament my place in life. I've done pretty decent, all things considered. Not perfect by any stretch, and certainly not the "When I grow up...." life I created for myself as a child. But pretty good nonetheless.

Just one of those "whoa...." moments. The ones that make you wonder if there's something else in your life that needs a good changing. I can't imagine what else ..... I've got enough changes on my plate in the last few years. As soon as I say this, and post it for the world to see, disaster may strike.

And I'm actually mostly content to let things roll, to let the Fates unfold the cloth for me and follow suit. Yeah, I've made a few detours and changes along the way which have altered the tapestry. Surprisingly enough, this doesn't bother the control freak in me.

Wow. Enough deep philosophizing for one lunch time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A MEME from Kate/Susan

I got tagged. I now have no choice! :-)

The Rules: 1) You have to post the rules before you give the facts. 2) Players must list one fact that is relevant to your life for each letter in your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name then use a name that you like. 3) When you are tagged, you must write a post containing your own middle name game facts. 4) At the end of your post, you must tag one person for each letter in your middle name. Don’t forget to comment them telling that they are tagged and to read your post to get the rules.

I have one middle name and I go by it .... but I know this won't be as easy as it looks, because of all the double letters.

A - Apples: I eat about one a day, if not more. I love them. My very favorite kind is the Pink Lady, followed by Gala, then Fuji. I'm partial to reddish and yellow apples. Not really crazy about green ones, except for cooking. Granny Smiths are fantastic for that!

N - Nirvana: I didn't get them then. I was solidly old-school in my musical tastes from about age 19 on. I can appreciate their music now, but it's not like they were all that and a bag of chips to me.

N - Name: I am named after my mother (first name, unused) and some girl my dad knew from high school or from the "neighborhood" (such as it was out in the country). No foolin'.....

E - Eggs: Eggs and I do not get along. They upset my stomach. I'm sure a lot depends on how they are prepared -- but two of the last 3 times I have eaten eggs out somewhere, my stomach has done flips within about an hour. I don't remember about the 3rd time. If I use Egg Beaters and do it myself at home, then it's not such a problem. But I'm just not an egg fan (now the whites of hardboiled eggs -- mmm!!! No yolks, though!!!)

T - Timepieces: I don't wear one (unless I have my pedometer on). The pedometer has a clock in it, but otherwise....... Wristwatches give me fits -- the metal against my skin makes for one hellacious itch. I need a Swatch like I had in 1985. All plastic. Did have a banana-scented band until my Anais Anais took over.

T - Taurus: According to my natal horoscope, my moon is in Taurus. I'm still not quite sure what that means, exactly.

E - Easley: the town where I was born. My hometown didn't have a hospital!

Okay, now I have to tag seven...... Tal, Sera, Bolivar, Stace, RadioVixen, Ballz, and VivJ. There you go.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

When having gas is a good thing.....

Ever since I was a little girl, we've had electric stoves. In avocado green, for as long as I can remember. The last time we had to get a new stove was in 1985 or 1986 (I forget which; I do remember I was a junior). Of course, that was because I set the kitchen on fire (long story - don't ask). Even then, my mother INSISTED on getting avocado green to match everything else bought in the 70s.

Since that time we've managed to replace all the other appliances with white ones (thank God!) .... except the stove. Dad and I have long held the opinion that the next stove WILL be a gas one. We perused a few at various places and remarked on the benefits of having one.

Tonight, as we were broiling chicken, we noticed a strange glow. Yep..... the heating unit was burning itself in two. That was it for Dad. He told my mother (as he took the chicken to the grill to finish cooking it) that our next stove WILL be a gas one and will be white. Hallelujah on both counts.

They're going Monday to discuss some things with our natural gas company and go stove shopping. I wish them well, and can't wait for the new one!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years ago...

Yes, I could tell you precisely where I was when I heard the news. I could tell you how absolutely numb and heartbroken I felt all day. I could tell you of how I rushed home, and watched nothing but the news until going to bed.

Instead, what I will say is that I am proud to be a citizen of the greatest country in the world. A country which prides itself on both its diversity and its unity. A country not run by theocrats, where freedom to practice one's religion and freedom from a religious state are valued. A country which grants me every opportunity to succeed without regard to my gender, my ethnicity, or any other "definition."

God bless America.

I'm just heartsick...

And I discovered I could not be a wayward spouse -- guilt would kill me.

My hairdresser is ill. Actually, "Ellie" is more than just my hairdresser, she's a dear friend. She's been doing my hair for over 10 years now. I was one of her first clients when she opened her shop, and I have sent a LOT of business her way. In return, she has always treated me with extra kindnesses and special attention.

In July when I went for my foiling and cut, she was coughing and was going to go to the doctor to figure out why she couldn't shake it. She thought it might be allergies.

My next appointment was last Friday. The Tuesday before that, her hubby called and said, "Ellie hates it, but she's going to have to cancel on you this Friday and reschedule. She's had a round of chemo this week and..........." And I just croaked. I had no idea.

Ellie is battling lung cancer.

Today, my former coworker -- also a client of hers and still a dear, dear friend to me -- called with an update. She had talked to Ellie's husband. Ellie's voice is gone. It turns out the cancer is in her lungs and liver. It's a somewhat aggressive but rather treatable type. The oncologist has given them lots of hope for success, and that's what I'm praying for with all my heart and soul.

Ellie has been there when my godchild was born, when I suffered a horrid breakup, as I battled my way back out of that awful rebuilding year, when I quit the job, when I got the new one, as I've lost all this weight, when I got the dog ...... all the good and bad of my life over the last 10 years.

I have had to find someone to do my hair. If all the treatments go well, it would be at least the new year before she can reopen her shop. I had always said that if something ever happened and Ellie moved away, I would follow her to the ends of the earth to get my hair done. I never imagined that bastard cancer being part of the equation. It is breaking my heart, just thinking about it.

So I went to a salon last night because I desperately needed a trim. The girl who did my hair is very nice, and very competent. I still felt like I was cheating on Ellie.

Please keep Ellie in your prayers. She needs them.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Forgive this modest little gloat for just a minute....

But oh, do I love The Ol' Ball Coach:

Hey, Let's give a cheer, Carolina is here,
The Fighting Gamecocks lead the way.
Who gives a care, If the going gets tough,
And when it is rough, that's when the 'Cocks get going.
Hail to our colors of garnet and Black,
In Carolina pride have we.
So, Go Gamecocks Go - FIGHT!
Drive for the goal - FIGHT!
USC will win today - GO COCKS!
So, let's give a cheer, Carolina is here.
The Fighting Gamecocks All The Way!

Heard this the other day ---- did you know they've linked Steve Spurrier to Michael Vick? Seems both have a history of beating DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!

It hasn't happened often -- especially between Grizzard's beloved hedges of Sanford Stadium. I live only about an hour & a half from Athens. This is sweet.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I am awful, horrible, and evil...

And I'm finding it hard to care. There are times when certain people just open their mouths to speak and you get irritated. You know that every word or phrase that comes out is just going to be one big whinefest, or one humongous complaint, or something negative.

I don't have the time or energy for such moments. I am tired of the energy vampires sucking the life out of me. Done. Over. Stick a fork in that.

And if that makes me a selfish bitch, I've been called worse.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A strange Sunday morning in L-town.....

This morning, after breakfast, I took Maddox on a walk. Normally we'd walk first and then eat, but hey, it's the weekend, so there's no real schedule to maintain.

It was a wonderfully cool 70 degrees at 8:00 AM. This is great, because we've had some yucky, muggy low 70s most of the week. The sky is mostly overcast, with a nice breeze. For the first time all summer, I wore long pants to walk in. I knew I would get a little chilled in shorts this morning. That -- combined with the start of college football -- gets me all tingly because I know that autumn will be here soon.

Sunday mornings are rather sleepy in my town. Saturday morning, the streets had cars of people getting ready to do a few things -- be it work, errands, or whatever. There were cars all along Commerce Street, mostly the breakfast crowd at Yank's. But not on Sunday. The only cars on Commerce were the ones for Kannarney's (since they do have Sunday lunch). Everything else is its usual, almost-reverent silence. L-town still believes in Sunday as a special day (at least until 1:00 when some of the retail stores open; the grocery is 24-7 anyway). So there was very little traffic -- vehicular or human -- about.

We had walked up from my house to the business area, gone up the entire way to the first turn, and we were almost at the Liberty Bell (another restaurant, closed on Sundays), when we heard this strange squawking noise, and a voice that sounded like it came out of a bullhorn. Now, six days a week, I'd think it was the drive-through window at the LB. But I *know* better this morning; the LB is owned by a Greek Orthodox family and they take their Sundays even MORE seriously than any Southern Baptist ever could!

We turned the corner, heading down Main Street. Then I heard it -- a siren-like thing going "wonk-wonk-wonk (pause pause) wonk-wonk-wonk" ...... it wasn't a "woooop! woooop!" like a normal alarm. And it's coming from the middle school just up the street. The guy who lives next to the LB came out on his porch, looked at us, and we both sort of shrugged our shoulders and looked toward the middle school. Maddox and I kept walking ....... and we noticed a guy running down the sidewalk on the middle school side.

Now, God knows, I'm no expert, but I do believe there's something known as the classic running stance ..... you know, arms pumping at your side around waist level (or higher), spine mostly straight and a look of determination. This guy had the stance of everyone who expects to hear "Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do?" come blaring out at them. Okay, not quite that "Cops" run, but definitely not the classic running stance either --- sort of a cross between them. I got a bit suspicious, but oh well, I've been wrong before.

We continued to walk by the middle school with "wonk-wonk-wonk (pause pause) wonk-wonk-wonk" happening every few seconds. And I noticed a work crew up at an old service station just up the street. Okay -- crazier things have happened. I was thinking a transformer had blown and maybe set off the alarm at the school. Maddox and I detoured into the service station lot itself, as the crew trucks were blocking the sidewalk. As we came out, then I saw what happened. A pickup truck had hit one of the power poles in front of the station -- ah ha! That made sense --- and I also noticed at that moment that the traffic lights down the block were out. Then behind us, I heard another siren. It was one of the fire department vehicles turning into the middle school front lot ...... crazy! Just crazy!!!

So Maddox and I continued our walk, turning onto Commerce Street to go by some of our favorite stores and restaurants, and the entrance to the Sarlin-Crowe park and courtyard. It's a nice downtown renovation from the last few years -- it once was an empty parking lot full of potholes back when I used it as a shortcut walking home from school all those years ago. We turned again on Front Street and got to the corner to turn for home.........

When the Running Man suddenly showed up again! Now -- he had passed us WAAAAAAAAAAY back. We didn't see him again, so I just assumed he'd turned left where I turned right and gone on his merry way. He seemed to be in that half-Cops-escape, half-running-for-health stance again. I'm telling you, it was weird. Maddox was enthralled and wanted to run along. No buddy, Mommy doesn't run unless she's crossing the railroad tracks and hears the crossbars lowering.

And speaking of, just after we crossed the tracks ........ here it came! Normally, I can hear a train coming in either direction, and have a pretty good idea where it is --- if I need to hold up at the tracks or make a break and cross them. Most of the time, I know if it's at the Quarry crossing (about 2 miles east) or down at the "Little Mill" former crossing (about a mile west). No biggie to either -- I can cross by walking and still have plenty of time to spare. But this one was almost like Doc Brown's train. It just showed up!

On my own block, as the fourteen inbred yappers down the street barked at us (GOD, do I want to call the SPCA in on these people!), their neighbor across the street came out on the porch and said, "Hey Annette, did you notice if the power is out uptown? We don't have any..." I explained about the power pole taking a hit .... but also remembered that I'd seen a Duke Power truck at a nearby grid (just up the block). OH NO!!!!!! That meant a 50-50 chance we didn't have power either (for some reason, we're on a separate transformer from some of our neighbors).

No power at home. So I read a while, and relished the silence which is all too uncommon in this house. Just me and Maddox, who decided that a nap was in order. Then the power came back on and all was good again. No worries about what to do with the food in the fridge. And the chance to share this wacky morning with you, my loyal readers!