Friday, December 22, 2006

Like (Cat) Mother, Like (Cat) Daughter

Too bad she wouldn't let me put the glasses on her...


Sad bookcase :-(

Happy bookcase :-D

Umm, SMALLER bookcase (notice the marathon medals in the shadowbox...the first five, baby!)

I finished reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon on the recommendation of two bookworm-y friends. I was up until 3:00 this morning reading because I couldn't put it down. Thank you thank you thank you to Mary M. in Indiana and Karen for turning me on to this series. As I was out doing my last-second Christmas shopping this afternoon (wow, Christmas really snuck up on us this year, didn't it??) in the Ninth Circle of Hell (aka, the mall), I popped into Waldenbooks and bought the second book in the six-book series, Dragonfly in Amber. Sure, they're basically romance novels, but they're so much more. But they're intelligent and well-written, unlike most of the romance novels I read when I was a teenager.

Is it possible to be in love with a book? 'Cause I think I wanna marry this one...

Next on my To-Be-Read pile: The Gods of Newport by my main man, John Jakes.

Happy reading to all who indulge!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Weird picture, but Christmas-y

Yes, this is my hair. I bought these hair clips to wear to work on Saturday afternoon in an effort to be less Bah Humbuggy. And, since all my red clothes are in sweater form, and it's supposed to be, like, 80 degrees, I bought a cute red and white layered t-shirt to wear. I'll look festive, anyway, since I never wear red. Perhaps I'll even have someone take a photo of me. Ho ho ho! (Who you callin' a ho?)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kiawah Island Marathon Report (to go along with the preceding photos)

Short version--A PR and my longed-for sub-6:00. Ran 5:42:27. Now I have to do it again to prove it wasn't some kind of weird fluke :) It was very very very cold. Never was my status as a Floridian, even an adopted one, more certain. All that is left of my Midwestern-ness is my weird speech pattern (so I've been told), as my cold-hardiness has left me, apparently ashamed of my desire for warmth and sun in December.

Okay, a bit melodramatic, but it WAS freakin' COLD.

Picked up Kay in Winter Garden around 8:30-ish on Friday morning and drove in. We only almost got killed once, by some woman driving a big pickup truck with a long flatbed trailer, who seemed unconcerned that we were already in the lane she wanted to be in, with nowhere to go. I honked, but I don't know if she didn't hear me or was just laughing at my Hyundai's "happy horn." (I swear, I'm gonna get a semi horn put on that thing.) Anyway, we made it there in one piece and tried to drive onto Kiawah Island. Where I got turned around for the first time. Made a big circle and actually managed to get onto the island, found packet pick-up and Giddy, Kay (the smart Floridian) bought some tights at the expo, and we went to find the little subdivision where our villa was. Where I got turned around for the second time. Once we found the correct street, we tried to find the actual villa. Where I got turned around for the third time. Moral of the story: don't drive anywhere with me if you like to find things quickly, efficiently, and on the first try.

Finally found the villa, got settled in a bit until Kirsten and Linda showed up, and read the information booklet the resort supplied. This included advice such as "Don't feed or taunt the alligators." You can imagine how foolish I felt, having brought my gator-pokin' stick all the way from Florida. Kirsten and Linda called and told me they couldn't find the villa. We gave them some half-assed directions, and, miraculously, they managed to find us. We picked rooms (Kirsten and I roomed together--Yay!) and headed out to the pasta dinner.

Found Chris (my Pop Fairy!) from Commerce, and went in to find enough seats for all of us. We chowed down, had a lot of fun, caught up on some Penguin and Connector gossip, KB got some pictures, listened to the band, and talked talked talked. Went back to the villa, I took a quick shower, and we went to bed. Except Kirsten and I kept chatting, so we probably got to sleep around midnight. Like a mini-slumber party. But we hadn't seen each other in two years, so there was a lot to talk about :)

Woke up around six on race morning. The Weather Channel said it was 20* in Charleston. Yikes! Too cold for me! But did I put my long sleeve tech shirt on? Nope. I wore a short sleeve, compression shorts, and a long sleeve cotton throw-away shirt (which did NOT get thrown away. It barely got taken off...) Started out fine. Saw Chris fairly early on. Never did see Kelly or George :(

I was WAY ahead of my pace for the entire race, but I think my body was in a state of shock from the cold, it just wanted to keep running. There were a few times I actually felt kind of disconnected from my body. Something weird was going on with me. I took my cotton shirt off at 10 miles. I put it back on at 15.5 miles. I left it on until 26 miles, when I only took it off because a TNT guy told me there was a photographer at the finish. I walked between 19 and about 20.5. I tried to catch Kay. I got lost once and wound up running in the street along the path I should have been on. I got dizzy and light-headed and vomited near a tree somewhere around mile 22 (I think...) First time for me. Then I ran like hell just to be done.

The course is extremely lonely after the half-marathoners turn off. I was out there completely alone a lot of the time. Even the aid stations were abandoned. I constantly worried that I was going the wrong way until I found a big red arrow, or an (empty) aid station, or the random guy on the corner telling me which way to go. I wasn't prepared for complete desolation. I've run smaller, rural marathons before (Bayshore in Traverse City was that way, but at least the aid station volunteers stayed until the last runners came through). Even though I PR'd and smashed the hell out of my sub-6:00 goal, this was my worst marathon. Or, at least the one I enjoyed the least. It was beautiful, but I would definitely say stick to the half. I hope I don't sound like I'm whining, but the second half was mentally brutal, and by no means am I one of those runners that needs crowds cheering me on. So, I'm happy I finished and I have my seventh state in the books. And I'm thrilled to death with my PR! This training stuff really works ;)

After we finished, Kay and I waited for Giddy to come in, then we waited for Kirsten, who was walking her first marathon after a four-year bout with an ornery ankle. We hobbled back to the villa, took showers, and went to a nice restaurant, where I got my standard red meat, still mooing (sorry--gross, I know...), came back, chatted some more, and went to bed. We all left on Sunday, around 11:30 AM, and I was back home in Hudson by about 8 PM. So it was a good weekend with good friends, but a not-so-hot (in many respects) race.

Now it's on to Mercedes in Birmingham! Woooo!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A few pics from Kiawah

At the start: Kay, Kirsten, me, Giddy

Self-portrait--boredom setting in :)

Kay after the half turnaround

Me, same place as Kay

Life is Good the day after! (You may not be able to see, but we're all wearing Life is Good tees.) Kay, me, Kirsten

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A few more pics

I call this one "I got lei'd in Panama City" :)

The gang at IMFL. Back: Dianne, Kathy, Nancy, me.

Front: Linae, Ellie, Dawn. Photo courtesy of Dawn.

More IMFL Pics (FINALLY!!)

Linae at the bar

Volunteers and cheerleaders ROCK!! L to R: Holly, Linae, me, Dawn, Dianne

Ellie getting off the bike

Nancy starting the marathon

Ellie starting the run

Ellie finishing the marathon

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'd do 'im

This is apparently is going to be inscribed on my gravestone.

What the hell happened to, "What happens in Panama City Beach STAYS in Panama City Beach!?"


Speaking of which, think I'll work on getting more photos up from IMFL.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rest in Peace

Rest in peace, Bo.

Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler dies:

Beat Ohio State for Bo, boys.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A few IMFL photos

The view from our hotel balcony

A couple of pictures of the swim start

Thousands of bikes racked up

At the "tiki bar" : Dawn and Dianne

My cat's votes, books, and other random stuff

It must have been Dixie's five e-mail votes that put Emmitt Smith over Mario Lopez in my reality-TV obsession, "Dancing with the Stars," because he won :) Go Emmitt! Go Emmitt! I had to work last night (and manager Jeff kept me almost an hour late, which pissed me off, but I digress...) so my mom taped it for me. And I actually stayed up to watch it. It's a sickness, really.

I'm very excited. I got an e-mail from the other day that my favorite author, John Jakes (of North and South fame) has released a new book. Then I got a coupon from Borders for 25% off any item over $10. It's fate. I'm supposed to buy this book today :) Yeah, any reason to drop by a bookstore...Actually, I need to get going on the one I'm currently in the middle of, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It's a time-travel story, and it's really good so far. I try to get in at least a chapter every night, but I've been falling asleep really quickly lately. Exhaustion will do that to ya. With the long weekend next week, I should have lots more time to stick my nose in a book, where it's happiest :)

School update: I still haven't begun testing at 120 wpm. I'm not comfortable there, but it's getting better. My fingers are kind of all over the place lately, which probably means I need to go over my theory again. Project for the weekend :P

Kiawah training is going pretty well. Got in 12 miles last Saturday; going for 14 this coming weekend, 16 the weekend after, then my "taper" week is 10 miles. I'm following Hal Higdon's multiple marathon plan. We'll see how it works in about three weeks. Hal has never let me down before, so I'm fairly confident in his plans.

My next race is on Thanksgiving, the St. Pete Times Turkey Trot, where I'm hoping to at least wave "hi" to Linae, Slow Twin Bill, and maybe even Leslie. Oh, and a girl from work, who's running the 5K. She's on the cross country team at her high school. I am soooooo old...

Well, that's it from here for now. I'm going to work on getting some pictures from IMFL up this evening. If I can figure out the software. So there's a 50/50 chance it'll happen :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Great American Teach-In

My friend and classmate Melanie and I just got back from participating in the Great American Teach-In, which is where vocational schools go around to public schools and give a presentation about their program. Ms. Patnode, Mel, and I went to an inner-city elementary school in Tampa and talked about court reporting to two classes of third graders. They were pretty bored with it until Ms. P. pulled a volunteer up and asked the kid questions (like a deposition), and Mel and I typed it as they were speaking. Then they let the kids come up to us and tell us what to type, and they got to keep the little paper tape. They went absolutely bat guano over that. This one little girl was telling me the names of everyone in her entire family, another kid told me this fairly long story. It was cute :)

So this was slightly more worthwhile than voting for Emmitt Smith for an hour last night. I feel somehow redeemed ;)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Here's how sad I am....

I am addicted to "Dancing with the Stars." I spent the past half hour dialing in on our home phone for Emmitt Smith and his pro dancing partner to win. My mom was behind me on her cell phone doing the same. I voted online using my two e-mail addresses and my mom's e-mail address. And then I made an e-mail account for my cat and voted the maximum number of times on THAT.

Electroshock therapy is not an unreasonable suggestion at this point.

Now I'm going to bed.

Go Emmitt! Go Emmitt! Go Emmitt!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Single-Handedly Keeping in Business

Or so it would seem. In the past three weeks, I've signed up for five races:

St. Pete Times Turkey Trot 10K, Clearwater, Florida, November 23, 2006
St. Pete Beach Classic 10K, St. Pete, Florida, January 13, 2007
Mercedes Marathon, Birmingham, Alabama (Marathon #8), February 11, 2007
Bay to Bay 12K, St. Pete, Florida, March 18, 2007
ING Georgia Marathon, Atlanta, Georgia (Marathon #9), March 25, 2007

And I still have a few more I'm planning on doing in between these races.

I need a second job to pay for my race registrations. Maybe I can get an endorsement deal. Perhaps from a molasses company?

IMFL Mini-Report

I originally sent this list of stuff I learned at Ironman Florida to a friend of mine, and thought it was pretty good, so I'm posting it here as a mini-report. I'll post some pictures later on. I wish I had gotten more. I'm still learning how to be a spectator. I should be an expert by the time Linae's Ironman rolls around next year!

--Florida is in two time zones. Who knew? Well, probably lots of people, but I was not one of them.
--There are bears in Florida. I didn't get to see any, for which I am both grateful and slightly disappointed.
--When you get up at 5 AM every morning during the week, getting up at 5 AM on your "day off" sucks. But it was totally worth it.
--Wearing kitty cat ears to a huge athletic event elicits lots of attention. And chuckles and smiles. And a few "here, kitty kitty kitty" comments.
--Anybody who takes on an Ironman is a rock star wrapped in a super hero. And slightly insane. But it's all good.
--I have no desire at this point in my life to attempt an event of this magnitude. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I will probably never have that desire. I will, however, volunteer and play cheerleader for these athletes anytime, anywhere.
--I have been in Florida entirely too long because I was freezing my ass off waiting for Ellie to come in. It was probably only about 50*. But it was windy. And dark. And even the Canadian contingent admitted to being cold. So I am not a complete wuss.
--I don't like champagne, but add in a little OJ and it's quite the tasty little cocktail.
--Drinking four of the aforementioned cocktails gives me a headache about three hours later. And makes me very very sleepy. (I actually can't remember how many mimosas I drank--my original estimate was six, but that seemed high. Now I'm thinking it was half a glass of champagne and four mimosas...)
--Hanging with my girls that weekend was like summer camp, only way funner. Yes, I said "funner." That's how much fun it was :)
--As always, I find it amazing that the people you have the most fun with can be people you've only met once or twice in the flesh.

Full report before the end of the weekend--I promise :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Court reporting game I just made up

Drop a word, take a shot.

Practicing at 20 words per minute above my comfort level, I should be drunk in about 15 minutes.

Gotta go find some tequila now. Wooo hooo--pass the limes!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Baltimore is My Bitch!!

My race report from the Baltimore Marathon:

I flew from Tampa to Baltimore on Friday, October 13, which I wasn't too thrilled about. I also hadn't flown in 20 years, so I wasn't sure what to expect, except motion sickness, which I get even as a passenger in a car. So I popped a Bonine tablet and got on the plane. It was an uneventful flight. I liked it when the pilot came on the intercom and made announcements. He had a delightful Midwestern accent (I was thinking Chicago?) which reminded me of home :)

Landed at BWI safely and 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Wandered around the airport, which is nicer than the mall in Port Richey, took a couple phone calls from friends wishing me good luck, and waited for WrayJean's plane to come in. When she got in, we got her bags and found a taxi to downtown Baltimore. Checked into the hotel and headed over to the expo. Got our stuff, went back to the hotel, then went back to the expo (only a couple blocks from the hotel) to look for Nancy and *jeanne* . We found Nancy first, then caught *jeanne* as she was walking by. We walked through Camden Yards and took some pictures. I'm a huge Cal Ripken Jr. fan, so I had Nancy take a picture of me cuddled up to a giant #8 statue :) Then we walked down to the Inner Harbor and ate at California Pizza Kitchen. Good food, good conversation, great company--a nice, relaxing pre-race evening. We all walked back to our respective hotels and settled in for the night.

Got up early on race morning, flipped on the Weather Channel, and saw that it was 35*. (It was 70* in Tampa, but I digress...) We put on our trash bags and headed to the start line. Found Nancy again; *jeanne* was running the second leg of the relay, so we didn't see her before. Actually, I saw her (in her crab hat) on the course and hollered out to her, but I don't know if she heard me. We started at 8 AM. I lost WJ early, but saw her a few more times in the early miles. I settled into my pace and was feeling pretty good. I saw a few crab hats, which I desperately coveted, and a guy whose shirt said "We're just a bunch of pirates out chasing booty." I wish I had gotten a picture of that. The only stunt runner I saw was the guy skipping rope. He and I leap-frogged each other for the first 18 miles. He was really nice. And had nice calves. Probably from all the rope-skipping. Anyway, he had done 65 marathons while skipping rope. Amazing.

The course was pretty hilly, but the first half wasn't too bad. The middle was mostly flat with a few "speed bumps." The end was a b*tch. After 18 miles, I started walking anything that even resembled an incline. At 20 miles, I just started walking, period. I picked up a guy named Ray (no, not THAT way...) at 21; he was having some problems. He said he had been going for a 5-hour marathon. I said, "Well, if you're seeing me, you're WAY off your pace..." He seemed to think I was funny and good company. Being worn down from 21 hilly, difficult miles will do that to a guy ;) Anyway, since he was walking anyway, and also a guy (and therefore competitive), I bumped up my walking pace a smidge and chatted his ear off. After about 15 minutes, he said, "Man, you walk fast!" I told him I was tired of being out there already. Ray and I hung together for about three miles, and he told me to go ahead, he couldn't keep my pace anymore. So I wished him good luck and headed out. When I got back downtown, around mile 25, I started "trotting" a bit, as much as my extremely sore calves and hamstrings would let me. Which wasn't all that much. So for that last mile, I mostly walked, then trotted a little. Until I hit Camden Yards. Then I ran as much as I could because I knew the finish line was right around the corner. I looked at my watch and realized that, while I wouldn't break six hours, I WAS going to PR. So I kicked it up just a little more and came across the finish line at 6:00:07. Woooo!!

I found WJ, she talked me into a massage at the massage tent (which was fabulous, by the way!), and we headed back to the hotel, where we cleaned up and took a nap. Later, we hobbled on over to dinner and Barnes & Noble (WJ knows I can't pass up a bookstore, even when I can barely walk :) ) Then back to the hotel and back into our PJs like the old ladies that we are (hahaha--sorry, WJ).

Got up the next day and got WJ onto the shuttle to the airport. My flight was much later, so I went back to the room and watched a movie, then got my stuff together and headed to the airport myself. Another uneventful flight back to Tampa, and an hour drive home, and--ahhhh, back to my own bed! And to my cat, who my mom managed to not throw out into the street while I was gone (my cat is just a tad mean to everyone but me...) I guess Dixie missed me, because Mom said she let her pet her and didn't even try to nip her hand.

Baltimore is a really nice city--I was actually pleasantly surprised at how pretty it is. If you like hills, this is the race for you. If you don't like hills, well, go anyway and enjoy a great race :) I'll work on getting some pictures up on my blog in the next day or so.

If you made it this far, thanks for hanging in there!


I passed my 100 wpm literary test yesterday morning!! Woooo!! And it only took, what, like six months?? Crap.

Now I get to start all over with 120s...Hopefully I won't be stuck for so long this time.

Happy happy joy joy!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Well, if THAT'S how today is going to be...

...then I'm going back to bed. I went into testing today for the elusive 100 wpm literary take, and I'm going along, feeling really confident. I was about halfway through, feeling great because I had only dropped maybe five words, when I looked at my paper tape and noticed that it wasn't advancing and my lines were writing on top of each other. The freakin' battery DIED about a minute into the test! By the time I got the machine switched into manual mode, I had missed a whole paragraph! Grrrr....That'll teach my dumb ass from going into a test without my power cord.

On the bright side, Ms. P. said she'll test me again tomorrow, and she'll give us two since it's the end of the quinmester. So I have one more day of practicing WAY above my speed level, which, surprisingly, helps a great deal more than I would have thought. Tonight I will be running off the stress of this morning, then practicing my ass off, so think about me on Wednesday morning and maybe say a little prayer that everything goes right (for once). I'm so close, I can taste it. Just gotta think positive. Positive. Positive.

Lesson learned: Always go in with your power cord, and keep your rat bastard battery charged.

Ever onward.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Aggravated as Hell!

Attention: I am dropping out of school and running away to join the circus. Hope you all don't miss me too much :)

Seriously, I STILL haven't gotten that freakin' 100 literary test! Gotta pull out the big guns and bump up my practice speed I guess. Some of the faster students gave me some good tips, so I'll try those before dropping out.

But the circus is still looking pretty good right about now....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bucs Suck

Okay, I was all excited about football, and my local team, the Bucs, stunk up the joint the ENTIRE game last week, and right now they're doing the same in Atlanta. And my beloved Cowboys didn't do much better last week. They're playing the Redskins tonight (at the same time as "Amazing Race!" Whatever shall I watch?? Oh yeah, "AR" has commercial breaks...), so they'd better get their shit together. I blame Drew Bledsoe, who should be dragged through the streets of Dallas and horse whipped. A bit harsh? Perhaps. But football isn't merely a game, and any self-respecting Texan knows that ;)

Now back to my regularly-scheduled steno practice.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

Yes, yes I am. Football season is officially here! Wooo Hooo! Goooooooo, 'Boys! As in the Dallas Cowboys. But if you know me, you already knew that.

Hockey season is not far behind ;)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

State #7 is Set in Stone!

I'm going to Kiawah Island, South Carolina in December to run marathon #7!! There will be a fair-sized Penguin contingent there, including one of my roommates, Kirsten from Indy, and another roommate (and travel companion), Kay from Winter Garden. I haven't seen Kay since the Gasparilla races in February 2005, and it's been TWO YEARS since I've seen Kirsten, so it'll be nice to catch up. And Kirsten's friend Linda is rooming with us as well. Any friend of Kirsten's *has* to be "good people."

Now if I can just find someone willing to go to Birmingham or Atlanta with me next spring, I'll be the hap-hap-happiest girl in all of Florida :)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Been a While's been a while since I've posted anything. Guess I'd better think of something to write about, even though I don't think anyone reads this :)

To Ernesto--STAY THE HELL AWAY!!! Thank you.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you?
Why can't I speak whenever I talk about you?
--Liz Phair, Why Can't I

Friday, August 04, 2006

One Year

It's been one year since my husband (now ex) left. Kind of a bad anniversary, I guess, even though I'm much better off for it. Not to mention much happier, for the most part :)

Since I stopped running for almost five months on this date last year, I'm going to mark the date with a five-miler around the neighborhood this evening and think about how my life has changed in the past year. Since he left, I've had to move in with my parents until I'm finished with school, but that's really the only negative. And it's not even really a negative; just...unusual for someone my age ;) I've lost about 25 pounds. I'm doing great in school. I'm gainfully employed (and we'll just leave it at that--hahaha. Retail sucks.) I've got a good support system of friends and family. I'm finally figuring out who I am and what I want from life. And I like who I am, for the first time in a long time.

Life is pretty good, and will be getting better very soon. So I guess I owe him one :)

And hopefully, one day, I won't remember why August 4 was significant.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Miss Goody-Two-Shoes Hits the Tampa Bar Scene!

There's truly a first time for everything. I went out with my friends last night to celebrate our last day of school, our three-week summer break (no getting up at 5 AM for three weeks--Yay!), and our first year in the court reporting program. We got out at noon, so I followed Amy and Brooke to Amy's house so she could get ready, and so Brooke could drop off her car since she was staying there. Afterward, we went to Melanie's place and ate a yummy lunch that she cooked for us--pulled pork and black beans and rice. Mel is a fantastic cook; it was sooooo good. My mouth is still watering just thinking about it. We hung around for a while waiting for Anna, and when she got there, we went to Rick's on the River, a cool little place on the Hillsborough River.

I'm not much of a drinker, and they all know that, but Brooke made it her personal mission to get me drunk. Her words to me last Tuesday: "I hope you pass out! Ooh, I'd better bring a camera!" Oooookaaaay. Nice friends, eh? I don't think she meant any harm....

Since I don't know what I like, other than margaritas, I made that my drink of the evening. Mel's friend Krista showed up a little after we got there. She's a lot of fun. She just got accepted into law school, and after she had a few, she was arguing with this obnoxious old guy (who kept hitting on each of us in turn) about the integrity of public defenders who are assigned to defend people like the guy who *allegedly* raped and murdered 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford last year. I could see that Krista will make a good attorney :)

My "initiation" (since I hadn't been able to go out with them in the past) was to drink a Jaeger Bomb, which is Red Bull and Jaegermeister. It was nasty--tasted like cough syrup. And it also knocked me on my ass. I stuck with margaritas. Except for the Buttery Nipple that Brooke bought me. It was okay. I'd actually had that before. Our friend Ron, who is in the culinary program at our school, showed up. He's a bit scary-looking when you first see him: Mohawk (although only a *little* one :) , piercings, and tattoos. But he's the nicest guy. Totally harmless. I probably had the best time talking to him last night, despite Brooke trying to set me up with a decent guy we met at the bar. I'm not looking to get "hooked up" or whatever with anyone right now, so I just tried to be nice. I don't know about meeting guys in bars, anyway, since I rarely go. Not really my thing.

I had one more margarita, even though I was already feeling a little buzzed, danced with Ron, Brooke, and Krista (I am SUCH a white girl!), and drunk-dialed a cute guy friend, even though I was not full-on drunk. I didn't say anything embarrassing, which is kinda the definition of drunk-dialing, and I knew he was a safe bet because, A). he's really far away, and B). he gets the whole drunk-dialing thing, at least according to prior conversations we had had :) Mel bought me a Red Bull and kept getting me water to balance stuff out, and I was fine to drive home. Amy had another spare bedroom for me to sleep in if I had overdone it, but I was truly fine. I was actually more impaired from being up for 21 hours than anything. Got home, took a shower (smelled like smoke--Gag!), went to bed, and got up this morning feeling no ill effects.

Final tally: One mini-shot of vodka and lemonade, one Jaeger Bomb, one Buttery Nipple, three margaritas. In nine hours.

So that's my first experience out with the girls. I will now return to my regularly scheduled Goody-Two-Shoes life :)

Anybody Want a Sweater??

Okay, that's gross. Sorry. Decided to brush my cat, Dixie, this afternoon. This is the result after about 10 minutes of grooming with a regular brush:

I'll *finish* tomorrow by going over her with the shedding tool....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Midnight Run 10K

Well, the name of this post *could* have been "I Shoulda Done the 5K But Apparently I'm a Glutton For Punishment." The 10K started at 12:15 AM, at which time I am usually snoozing away in my comfy bed with my super-fluffy pillows and my prized-possession 600-thread count sheets, in which I plan to be buried (I get deep, deep discounts from work, which is the only reason I have stuff like that. I certainly don't pay retail. But I digress...) So I'm standing there at 11:35 PM, yawning and watching all the smart people take off for their 5K, knowing that in 40 minutes I would be running twice as far, asking myself, "What the hell was I thinking??" But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I ditched school yesterday (like pretty much everybody else) with plans to sleep in, relax a bit and rest up since I knew I wouldn't be home until well after 2 AM. Hahaha, yeah, right. I woke up at 7:30 to wait for the storm shutter guys to show up, and then we painted most of the afternoon. Guess I shouldn't complain--it was my room we painted :) And I was not given the night off from work like I had requested (I don't know who I have to kill to get a day off from that place, I swear....), so, because I'm a dedicated employee (read: chump), I showed up at 5 PM and worked my shift. The closing manager told me he would try to get me out early, and he did--10:20 PM. I had forgotten my Balance bar, so I ate a bag of pretzels and drank a pop at work, and shared a big bag of Swedish fish with the girl who worked with me. Counted the money, did my office duties, and changed into my running clothes and was out the door and on my way to Dunedin, tired and dehydrated.

"Slow Twin" Bill, whose boss paid for my entry (thanks again, Bill and Bill's boss!), gave me some tips on where to park. I wound up in the Publix parking lot across the street from the race start. I picked up my bib and t-shirt and looked for Bill. It's much more difficult to find someone in the dark, and since it was the Fourth of July, there were way more Stars and Stripes doo rags than usual. I figured, correctly, that he was doing both the 5K and the 10K ("Crazy Twin" Bill), and I didn't see him until he was coming in from his 5K. I hollered at him, but he must not have heard me.

We lined up around 12:05 AM for the start of the 10K, sang the "Star Spangled Banner," and we were off. I had my beloved iPod, which helped me forget how tired I was. It was kind of spooky running in the dark along the causeway. There were some light posts, and a half-moon, I believe, which reflected off the water. Very pretty. (I have a thing with water--I always have this weird urge to jump in.) I would like to actually SEE where I was running; I bet it's pretty. Once we got past the gate to Honeymoon Island, there were NO lights. The course was advertised as "well-lit." Umm, not so much. There were candles in empty water jugs lining the course on the island, which was cool-looking. But you couldn't see five feet in front of you. So I just followed the line of illuminated jugs :) Ran back into Dunedin where Bill found me right before I hit the parking lot where the finish line was and ran me in. I finished in 1:18:19, which is stellar for me. My typical 10K time before
this was in the 1:22 range. Talked to Bill for a while, drank some Gatorade and ate a banana, then left for home at around 2 AM. Got there at 2:45 (after I stopped at Steak 'n Shake for a vanilla shake), showered, and was in bed by 3:15. This was actually a fun race. Hot and humid, but fun. I would do it again. Although I would NOT get up early and work all day beforehand :)

Hope everyone has a Happy Fourth!

Friday, June 30, 2006


I passed my 100 wpm jury charge test! SOOOOO HAPPY!!

Now all I have to do is pass that damn literary....Oh well, back to work :)

Adventures in the ER

All right, I don't know exactly what's been going on this week, it's been really really weird. First there was my little "freak out" at the blood mobile, and now this incident:

Wednesday night, about 9:30, my sister Stephanie complained of seeing spots in her left eye and getting a headache. No one thought anything of it. Half an hour later, she got up to let the dogs out. She was carrying her little dog back in when the whole left side of her body suddenly went numb and lost most of the strength. She dropped the dog (who is fine) and stumbled back into the house. We put her to bed and called the doctor on call. He said if it's an emergency, take her to the emergency room. He was pretty much no help, because we weren't sure if it WAS an emergency. While I stayed with Steph, holding her hand and rubbing her arm (which she didn't feel me doing), my mom called her insurance company and spoke with an RN. She said those are not normal symptoms for a 19-year-old and to call 911, which I did. I have never called 911 before, and I wasn't prepared for the Twenty Questions the guy wanted to play. We thought the kid was having a stroke; I don't know if she's slurring her speech because she's crying hysterically and hyperventilating. He gave up after a few minutes and sent an ambulance.

I don't know if it's a Midwestern thing or what, but whenever an ambulance or fire truck came down any street we had ever lived on, all the neighbors would go out into their driveways and basically just be nosy. No one came out. I don't know if it's because it was kind of late (10:45 PM or so) and everybody was in bed after "Matlock" or whatever; we just thought it was strange. Anyway, they took her to the closest hospital, and we followed. Mom got her registered, and they told us they would come get us when we could see her. An hour and a half later, they finally came for us. At this point, we were good and freaked out, not knowing what was wrong with her. She seemed okay, except her eye felt like it was going to pop out of the socket and she still couldn't feel or move her left side. She said the nurses were saying it was glaucoma because of the pressure behind her eye. They wouldn't listen to her when she said she couldn't feel her left side, so the doctor was surprised by this information when he finally got around to seeing her. Basically, they felt that she was faking the numbness or something. They kept saying things like, "We're going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating this, so make sure you REALLY are having these symptoms." First off, since when did a cat scan cost HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars?? And secondly, insurance will pay for it, so what the hell do they care?

The cat scan came back normal, so they discharged her at 3 AM. No wheelchair, no directive on where to go, nothing. We wound up half-carrying her to the car. Most of the staff were rude and nasty. I'm thinking of putting a note in my wallet that if anything happens to me, car accident or whatever, I am NOT to go to Bayonet Point Hospital. Take the extra 10 minutes and drive me up to Spring Hill or down to New Port Richey. Jeesh.

Anyway, Steph went to her family doctor yesterday afternoon, and after an MRI came back normal, they determined it was most likely a rare side effect of the Nexium she's taking for her ulcer. They eye thing was probably an ocular migraine, and I don't understand what the numbness/weakness was as it was explained to me by my mom. Hell, she probably didn't understand it either. But she can feel her left leg again, and she's got feeling back in parts of her arm--from the wrist down and the shoulder up. Still numb in the middle (as of yesterday afternoon). Strange.

<> Drama drama drama. When will it ever end??

Monday, June 26, 2006

Weird Day

Okay, first off, I forgot to change my alarm clock, so it was still on 8 AM from the weekend. I usually get up at 5 AM. My mom came in and woke me up at 6, a full hour late. I wasn't late for school, but I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast, so I grabbed a Balance bar on my way out the door.

Then I managed to drop and/or knock over pretty much everything I touched. I knocked over my steno machine TWICE. I knocked a stack of books off of my computer tower. No, they shouldn't have been there, but they were. And then they were on the floor.

Then, after lunch, I *attempted* to donate blood. So I sat in the little room at the back of the bloodmobile while the guy took my information and pricked my finger to test my iron. Surprisingly, it dropped, although it kind of hung around in the middle of the vial for a while. The supervisor for Florida Blood Services was there today, checking on the staff I guess, and she wanted me to do this thing where they hook you up to a machine that separates the components of your blood and then puts them back into you, except for the red blood cell platelets. As I was reading the paper on the procedure and the possible side effects, I suddenly became drenched in sweat and dizzy. Then I started hyperventilating. The guy who was with me said I had pretty much lost what little color I had (refer to any picture of me), so he ran out and got a couple of cold packs and put one around my neck and one on my forehead. He kept asking me questions, like, "Did you eat today? Are you maybe pregnant?" That last one made me giggle as I was trying not to vomit all over the little room. "NOT pregnant," I managed between wheezes. Although in my mind, I was rolling around on the floor laughing. Let's see, the LAST immaculate conception was, what, like 2000 years ago?? Sure, maybe humanity is ready for another. Anyway, after I stood up, I guess my color drained yet AGAIN, so they moved me out to the reclining seats and made me lay there with more cold packs on.

Anyhow, my reaction felt like the one and only anxiety attack I had had several years ago. So maybe it was the combination of little food, little sleep, and the weirdness of the procedure they wanted me to do. I don't know. I'm fine now, though. To supplement my blood sugar (that was my "official" explanation; I just wanted it...), I ate a Take 5 candy bar. My theory is those things are laced with crack, which is why you can't stop eating them once you start. Everybody I know who eats them feels the same ;)

So, that was my weird day. And I still have six hours to go. Lord only knows what will happen at work tonight. One thing I can tell you is I'm NOT going to be doing a whole lot. Oh, and I'm totally using this as an excuse to not clean the bathrooms--the story will be told for the sake of eliciting sympathy from my co-worker ;)

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Nothing new to report....Just wanted to post a couple new pictures :)

This is my bad kitty, Dixie. Wish I was a cat....

This would be me. Self-portrait taken last week Friday.

This is my birthday cake. Hello Kitty birthday cake at age 32. Insert your own jokes here :)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Monday :-P

Hello everybody! Just my weekly check-in. Not really much going on--same stuff, different week. School, work, run, repeat. I was shooting for 20 miles this week, but due to sheer laziness, I managed to get in 17. Well, Nancy told me to adhere to the 10% rule while I'm trying to ramp stuff up in preparation for marathon training, which starts next week for me, so, ummmm, that's what I did. I wasn't lazy, I was prudent in my approach to training ;)

School stuff: After missing my 100 wpm literary test by SEVEN WORDS early last week, I came back with a train wreck of a test on Thursday. It sounded like the dictating instructor (the dictator?) was speaking Greek. At 150 words per minute. ((sigh)) This week fer sure....

Work stuff: Still sucks. I worked Saturday night. It wasn't really that bad. A few of us were playing with a clock that announced the hours with quotes from Homer Simpson. (My favorite: "Mmmmmm....64 slices of American cheeeeeese.....") Then, at the end of the night I went to clean the bathrooms. Some kid (and you just KNOW it was a kid) thought it would be funny to lock the men's room stall from the inside, so I had to slide under the stall on my stomach, on the gross floor, and unlock it. Little rat bastard, whoever he is. Anyway, I told Jeff, the closing manager, that I didn't want to hear any pissing and moaning about how I don't put forth my best effort in cleaning the bathrooms (which I don't, but I digress...), since NO ONE else would have belly-crawled under the men's room stall. So Jeff says, "Oh yeah, I went into the bathroom about 45 minutes ago and I looked under the door and I didn't see any feet." Me: "Okay, so YOU could have gone under instead of me??" Jeff: "Yeah, RIGHT! A big fat guy? I wouldn't have made it all the way under!" Now this is the point in the conversation where I'm glad Jeff and I have a good relationship, because, without thinking (as ususal), I said: "Yeah. I guess it would have been like Pooh getting stuck in the rabbit hole...." (Jeff is about 6'2" and goes about 260 lbs.) Thankfully, he just busted out laughing.

So, that's been my week. Marathon training starts next week, as I've previously mentioned, and my next event is a 10K in Dunedin at midnight on July 4th. I've never done a midnight race, so it should be fun :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another exciting peek into my life....

First for my training last week: I got in a whopping 15 miles on the streets of my 'hood. Which is fine. I'm going for 20 this week. My "official" training for Baltimore starts on June 27th, so I'm just kinda ramping stuff up right now. I'm also going to start doing some weight training next week.

School stuff: I took a 100 word-per-minute literary speed test on Monday, and I was feeling quite good about it. Well, I missed passing by just SEVEN WORDS!! Which, really, is great. I have to pass a five-minute test with 95% accuracy, which means I can have 25 errors in my transcript. On the 100s I took last week, I had 93 errors on one (yes, I missed almost an entire minute of dictation....)and 57 on another. Hmmmm, consistent practice DOES pay off. Wish I had listened to everyone who told me that four years ago....

Work stuff: Work sucks. 'Nuff said. Seriously though, I usually only work two weeknights (usually 5.5 hours each) and one weekend day (7.5 - 8 hours). And I bitch and complain about every one of those hours ;) Anyway, one of the other front end supervisors took a vacation this week, so they had to fill her shifts. Now, there are only four of us, which is ridiculous by the way, so they gave Anne all the day shifts, plus her usual Friday night, and I got all but one of the night shifts, which gave me three weekday shifts. Poor Nikki got ONE shift. She asked if she could have my Thursday night. Ummmm, OKAY! It wouldn't be a big deal, but I get up at 5 AM every morning and have to drive into Tampa, which is about 40 miles from my house, to go to school. When I get home at 11 PM, it usually takes me a while to unwind, so by the time I shower, get into bed, and read a bit to relax, it's well after midnight. Causing the sleep deprivation that hits me like a ton of bricks every couple of months or so.

Tropical Storm Alberto: Was pretty weak. I worked Monday night, which is when the worst of it came through. We just stood and watched it pour buckets into the parking lot. During the dry spurts, the idiots came in to buy overpriced sheets and towels (which might have come in handy....)

No running or practicing steno tonight due to working at Death & Beyond. If anyone's in Port Richey this evening, drop in and say hi--I'll be the one trying to figure out how to hang myself using wooden hangers and a set of $100 sheets ;)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An Open Memo to Guys Everywhere

TO: The Male Species
RE: Common Sense

If you're talking to a girl for a while and then, for whatever reason, decide you're not into her anymore--please have the stones to TELL HER!! Don't just not call or not contact her again. That is SO aggravating, and way more likely to make her angry than just saying, "Hey, I changed my mind" or whatever. It's kind of sad that this is probably enlightening information for you.

Just a little friendly advice from Sister Mary Shawn, your neighborhood soon-to-be nun. Should you have any questions, please contact me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My previous "Irrelevant" post

Hey guys--I am totally grateful that I have you guys. That's way better than some stupid guy! I was just in kind of a funk when I wrote that post. You know, feeling depressed and sorry for myself and all that, not realizing how whiny I sounded. Between all my friends and my family, I know I am very lucky to have people who make me relevant :)

I just wanted to let you all know that. And now, so it doesn't get too heavy, I'll end on this note:

I love you, man! (Really, I do!)

Sleepy Weekend

Well, this weekend was pretty much a bust. I hadn't been sleeping well earlier in the week (I had gotten about 8 hours total in three days), which happens every couple of months or so, so I left school early on Thursday and ditched completely on Friday. Slept in on both Saturday and Sunday (had to work Saturday, but didn't have to go in until 2 PM). I'm feeling much better today, and I bought some melatonin to help with my sleep problem, should it happen again :)

As a result of all the sleeping, I'm behind on my blog-reading and e-mails, and I bagged my workouts all week. So for the first time since January, I have a zero-mile week in my running log :( I should have run; I probably would have slept better. Anyway, I'm back on track, which makes me happy.

I have a few photos I need to download; one of my Hello Kitty birthday cake (yes, I'm 32 and I had a Hello Kitty birthday cake--are you sad for me??) and then a couple random shots my sister took of me. We really need to do something fun to take pictures of instead of just making goofy faces at each other.

Oh, and I have a gripe, but I don't have time to rant about it right now. Perhaps this afternoon :)

Later, gators.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Yeah, that's about right....

My friend Kelly, who works at Bed Bath & Beyond with me, sent me this link, and I about died laughing when I saw it. Maybe you have to work there to understand...

Thursday, May 18, 2006


You know how sometimes you're reading a book, and something the author has written screams out at you, just hits you right between the eyes? That doesn't happen to me often, but it did yesterday. I'm reading "The Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter, a novel about an author who is writing a book about people's love stories, and he interviews his friends and his friend's friends. I picked it up a few years ago, and am just now getting around to reading it. It seemed like a sweet, innocuous choice after reading (1) a book about an abused child who makes up a sibling, and, before that one, (2) the Most Convoluted Book Ever Written. Anyway, the main character is interviewing his recently dumped/divorced friend, Bradley, who said this:

"You look up from reading the newspaper and realize that no one loves you, and no one burns for you. The workings of nature are mysterious, but they do account for a certain amount of despair among single persons, the irrelevance you sometimes feel."

That struck me because I feel that way every once in a while. I'll just be sitting there doing something, and I'll suddenly think, "No one is thinking of me. No one is wondering what I'm doing right now." Now, I'm not feeling sorry for myself; it's just a bit jarring. I don't know if it's because this is the first time since my junior year of high school that I haven't had a "significant other", and the whole "single" thing is still really new to me. And I know it shouldn't be that way, but it's a bit distressing.

I know I have other things to focus on, and I'm really not worried about finding a guy right now--either I'll find someone eventually, or I'll become the local Crazy Cat Lady--but I know how Bradley feels. To some extent, irrelevant.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend/Mother's Day

This weekend was okay. On Friday at school, we had a little graduation party for the three girls who finished the court reporting program (two from machine, which I am taking, and one from voice). It was a nice little shindig, and a complete blow-off day :) They had a cake with a dark blue border, so there is, of course, a picture floating around of me with a blue tongue and teeth. If I can get my hands on it, I'll be sure to post it ;)

I worked on Saturday evening, so nothing much happened then. Except I had the most hateful customer--she was pure evil. I wonder why people don't realize that most people will be way more accommodating if they're not complete assholes to them? Boggles my mind. Anyway, I think she called me a snot as she was walking away, but I can't be sure. That's what it sounded like, anyway. All I have to say is karma can be a bitch.

On Sunday, Mother's Day, we gave Mom her gifts--a leaf blower (hey, she ASKED for that!) and some earrings Stephanie picked up for relatively cheap. Our TV went out on Friday night, so we went around looking for a new one. We were checking out the LCDs at Sears when the channel they had on started broadcasting a wet T-shirt contest (it was an extreme sports channel--it switched from some kind of weird surfing to that). It was so funny! The salesman (really cute younger guy) ran over and flipped the satellite box off, and an old guy working in appliances was giving him a hard time. I guess it's one of those things where you had to be there. No one seemed offended. Well, maybe the old guy. My sister was jealous of the participants, and I said if I looked like the chicks on the stage, I would be doing a wet T-shirt contest in the Publix parking lot down the street ;) Oh well, what can you do, right?

My dad was home this weekend, so there was lots of hollering. He said that when I graduate school and move out, he's going off the road and getting a local job where he's home every night. I predict either a divorce or a homicide. Anyway, we grilled steaks and baked potatoes for Mother's Day. I was in charge of the grill. Things were not going well. I managed to actually catch the meat on FIRE. I'm the queen of the grill pan (on the stovetop), and I'm not used to working with the propane grill outside. Amazingly, the "char" on it tasted quite good and the steaks were somehow still medium rare, so I guess it wasn't too bad. After dinner, we ate some cake. I ate so much frosting I was practically in a sugar coma. Between the sugar rushes yesterday and Friday, I'm surprised I haven't developed diabetes....No more cake!! Well, at least not until my birthday on the 26th, anyway :)

So that was my weekend. Oh, I also managed a five mile run Sunday evening. Super exciting, eh?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stuff to do before I die

I'm bored and my fingers aren't working too well this morning, so I thought I'd take a break a bit early. I posted this list on a Yahoo group I'm on and thought I'd add it here. You know, for posterity and all :) It's mostly stuff I've been afraid to do for whatever reason.

1. Get my belly button pierced--I need less belly, though ;)
2. Get a tattoo--Something small and inconspicuous that not EVERYONE will get to see. (wink wink nudge nudge...)
3. Parasailing--I've already got two volunteers to do this with me this summer.
4. Snorkling--I love aquariums, but I'm terrified of open water swimming. Sharks and jellyfish are two of my biggest nightmares.
5. Surfing--Looks like soooo much fun, but see above.
6. Skydiving--I'm still chicken when it comes to this, so I would do it tandem only. Preferably hooked up to a smokin' hottie. I wonder if anyone's ever vomited at 30,000 feet?
7. Ice skating--It's weird that I grew up in the freakin' tundra and have never been ice skating.
8. Skiing--Bunny slope is fine. I'm mostly afraid of not being able to stop :)
9. Travel to a country outside of North America. ANY country.
10. Finish school, get a job, move somewhere else maybe. I have somewhere in mind, but I'll have to see how stuff goes before I make my final decision.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In case you wanna know what I look like....

This is my mom, my sister Stephanie, and me
at a Jingle Bell Run about two years ago.

This is me in February, screwing around with the camera :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Initial Epiphany

It occurred to me this morning, as I was sitting here completely befuddled as to what I was supposed to be doing, that my life is a freakin' trainwreck. And if I continue to run it in the circus-sideshow fashion to which I have become accustomed, it will never be more than that. And then I'll have my mother standing behind me telling me what I "should have" done every five seconds, and that ain't gonna work for me. So, as distasteful as it is, I clearly need to set myself up on a schedule and actually follow it. This includes running, since I had basically a four-day weekend and only managed to run once due to my disorganization and lack of discipline (which are NOT good habits, particularly in my chosen profession.) I've got about 18 months of school left (God willing); I think I can handle it for at least that amount of time.

I just wanted to put it out there; I know there are a few people who will call me on it. You know who you are ;)

Thanks to everyone who sent kind words and congratulations on my divorce. In case anyone thinks I'm taking it too lightly, please know that I've had my closure, and grieved, and I've had eight months to realize that he really did me a ginormous favor, and I'm just ready to move on. I'm really lucky that I'm in a much better position than many would be, and I'm finally starting to figure out who I am and what I want (and don't want) from life. And it's probably going to upset some people, but I can't please everyone anymore; it's too exhausting.

Oh, and I had a chat with my sister on Friday afternoon; we're good. We figured out what our biggest problem is, and found out that we have some similar ideas on stuff, like where we want to live once we're certified in our respective fields. Life's funny sometimes, eh?