Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Pictures

Saturday night: Hockey Game

Hockey babes: Linae, me, Lisa

Tampa Bay Lightning (white sweaters) got their asses handed to them by the San Jose Sharks (dark sweaters.) Maybe next time :(

Sunday: Busch Gardens
Steven feeding the lorakeets

Joe and Lisa

The Scorpion! I'm in the fifth car, right hand side. Not that you can see it

RR: Suncoast Sprint Triathlon

Saturday, October 25, 2008. 660 yd swim/10 mile bike/3.1 mile run

Reader's Digest version: 1:41:07, four and a half minutes faster than my last time on this course back in August. And this course was a bit longer, so it's all good :)

Extended version: Linae and I were lucky enough to spend another fantastic weekend with Lisa Limper, who descended upon the Bay area to play sherpa and volunteer extraordinaire for the Suncoast triathlon :)

I picked up Lisa at the airport on Friday afternoon. After getting us lost at least twice, despite TomTom, I finally managed to make it to Linae's house. Stupid road construction :-P We dropped off our stuff, gave the Dobie some lovin', and headed out to eat. After some moderately decent Tex Mex, we girls hung out around the computer for most of the evening while Joe and his school band played the high school football game. So instead of picking up our race packets in a timely fashion like responsible triathletes, we screwed around online updating fantasy football rosters and picking out my new ringtone for Linae's phone (It's "Some Beach," in case you were wondering :) )

Race day was cold and rainy and windy. The four of us woke up between 0500 and 0530. We all stumbled around for a bit, got our gear together, and headed off to Fort Desoto, near St. Pete, to pick up our packets. Lisa volunteered doing body marking while Joe, Linae, and I headed to the start. We ran into Linae's friends Sherry and Jared, who were doing their first tri. We decided to try to stay out of the wind by huddling behind a sign on the beach. The sign said, "Dangerous Currents. No Swimming." I found this ironic, as it was about 1/8 mile from the swim start.

When the sun started to come up, we went in to do a quick warm up swim. The water was fairly cool, probably around 75F, but tolerable once you actually got in and started moving around. Once again, our wave started last, so we stood around waiting, teeth chattering. When Joe's wave went off, we noticed a pod of maybe eight dolphins in the water, really close to the swimmers, like maybe 10 feet away. Way too close for my comfort. As everyone was ooohing and aaahing over how cool it would be to swim with dolphins, I just kept thinking, "I hope they leave before I get in there." I have a healthy respect for marine life, and there are certain parts of it I don't want any part of. A wild dolphin encounter is one of them. I guess I've been hanging out with the marine biologist for too long ;)

Anyway, by the time we went in, the dolphins had left, but we then had the problem of the rough swim. I tried to calm myself beforehand by breathing deeply and telling myself that I wouldn't drown. We swam along the sandbar, and I could almost touch bottom if I needed to. The current helped, making the swim faster, but it still felt like an eternity because of the swells. I swallowed a fair amount of seawater, and if I didn't swallow it, it went up my nose. It was not a fun day in the water, and I was grateful to be done.

Saw Lisa on my way into transition, got a high five, and it was on to the bike. On my way out, a lady came up beside me and said, "Great job! Jesus loves you!" I said, "He must, because I didn't drown and I wasn't molested by dolphins, so it's a good day." The ride was fairly uneventful, despite wet pavement and a vicious headwind from miles 5.5-8. What with all the marathon training I've been doing, I hadn't worked on my cycling. I no longer have an excuse, and it's GOT TO get better if I ever hope to have a decent 1/2 IM.

Saw Lisa again on my way out of transition, pointing us in the proper direction. She later told me, "You were *not* in your happy place." And how ;) The run was okay. It takes me a half-mile or so to get my legs to not feel Jello-y, so that combined with the loose-sand beach run in the beginning of the run made for a slow first mile. But I picked it up a bit, and felt decent toward the middle and finished fairly strongly.

Final time: 1:41:07, which is almost four and a half minutes faster than my previous race on that course. And this course was longer, so I'm pretty happy about that.

After champagne in the parking lot (no tequila this time--sorry Neil!) we cleaned up, gorged ourselves on hot wings and Amber Bock, took a nice nap (hey Linae, do you have a black snake I could borrow??) had a beer at Andreychuck's, went to the Ice Palace, where the San Jose Sharks spanked our Lightning (but we still had fun,) went to a Halloween party thrown by Joe and Linae's friends, went home and crashed at 1300.

Today was Busch Gardens with Lisa's friend from college and her family. I think we're all pretty much beat :)

A HUUUUUGE thanks to Lisa for volunteering. You're awesome, girl, and it was fantastic to see you again!! See you in February for Gasparilla!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mount Desert Island Marathon in Pictures

Sunday, October 19, 2008. Bar Harbor (Bah Hahbah,) Maine. C-c-c-cold at the start (for me, at least--it was about 30F.) Fantastic race, friendly Mainers (not Maine-iacs,) gorgeous scenery, awesome schwag, diabolical hills. Due to said hills, I was hoping for sub-6:30. I ran 5:44:20, which is awesome for me, a mere 2 minutes over my PR from flat flat flat Kiawah Island. Thanks to Kay for pulling my carcass over the line!

Pics from the day before, as we were wandering the village:

Me in front of Frenchman's Bay

Frenchman's Bay

I'm 99.7% sure that's Cadillac Mountain

Gazebo by the town pier

Church in town

Pics from race day:

Freezing, whiny Florida girls

Why I miss Up North

Bait shop! I loved the lobster on the building


Where do I check in??
Mickey Mouse hands. The gloves never came off

Still alive and in good spirits past the halfway point

Kirsten!! She walked the marathon, finishing in 8:02 and change

Somes Sound, right around mile 18. The wind kicked up mercilessly and the temp seemed to drop about 10 degrees, so the throwaway shirt came back on for a few miles

Happy finishers! I'm sporting the unexpected and much-appreciated microsuede windshirt that was part of our schwag bag. And dig my mylar-chic skirt ;)

Bling! Shirt and medal. Who the hell looks good in this color?? Whatever. At least it's technical fabric

Blurry close-up of the medal. The past two years' sponsor was Red Lobster, so there was a Red Lobster logo where the crow is. I prefer the crow, especially after the race director told us the story of how Crow Athletics got its name, how crows and runners are similar. If you'd like me to retell his story, hit me up ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This has GOTTA be some kind of record

It's October 16, and I'm already burned out on Christmas music :-P They set up all the Christmas stuff at work last night after I left.

It's gonna be a looooooong holiday season.

In other news, I'm running Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine this weekend. I'm leaving for the airport at about 4:45 AM. If I go to bed right this second, I'll get about four hours of sleep :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Since tomorrow is the end of the quinmester (and I'm ditching,) that means--I am FINISHED with the pain in the ass medical testimony class that has been the bane of my existence for the past nine weeks!! Maybe now I can stress a little less and worry more about my speed progression. I didn't pass my speed this quin, but I think I can make it within the next two weeks or so. God (and fingers) willing.

While I detested the medical class, I did really well in it. My instructor even wrote a note on one of my transcripts that medical testimony specialization may be in my future. Frankly, at this point, I'd rather take a stick to the eye, but I'm not completely ruling it out for the future. Never say never.

Random music note: This is my new favorite underplayed song on the radio. I wish the radio stations around here played some of the more underrated country artists rather than All-Kenny-and-Carrie-All-the-Time. As much as I love Keith Urban (and most of y'all know I do,) I really don't want to hear him three times an hour :-P

Monday, October 13, 2008

No reason, I just like it

I wanna be a bad ass when I grow up....

So how exactly does one develop an "edge," anyway? Perhaps life hasn't hardened me enough. Or is it something you're born with, and I'm shit outta luck?

Because I'm beloved by my family....

On my sister's latest blog post, these two pictures were labeled "For Shawnie."

As far as the second one goes, I guess when someone gets you, they get you ;-D

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I have absolutely NO idea

where this came from:

But there it was this morning, on the left side of the front of my right ankle. Of course, most of you know an unexplained bruise is not an unusual occurrence for me, but this one is pretty big and it's kind of tender.

All I know is if I have some kind of weird, fatal blood disease and I only have, like, three months to live and I'm spending them working at the Hellhole and frustrating the hell out of myself at school, I am gonna be SO. PISSED. OFF. when I get to Hell or wherever I'm going :-P

Saturday, October 11, 2008


It's Mallomar season again, with all its chocolatey, marshmallowy goodness :) It's been a long summer without them. (And yes, I got into them before I even left the Publix parking lot.) Is it sad that something this small makes me stupid-happy??

Speaking of which, I've decided to go into my shift at the Hellhole with a good attitude today. I'll smile and mean it, make small-talk with the customers, and be nice (and not in a condescending way like usual) to Sparky the Ass Clown. I'm probably going to be stuck there for a little while(that's not to say I'm not sending my resume to a temp agency when I get back from MDI; that's still my plan,) so I may as well make the best of it.

The whole "power of positive thinking" thing actually worked for me yesterday. Melanie, who is working on her 225s, gave me some advice to practice more efficiently. I practiced a 2-1/2 minute dictation at 180 wpm, which is 20 wpm higher than what I've been working on. Even though it was complete slop at the beginning and the speed made me want to curl up in the fetal position under my desk and cry, I decided that wasn't going to get me anywhere, so I kept doing it. Lo and behold, the more I did it, the more words I could make out. After a while, when I slowed it down to 160, I only dropped a few words. Before that, I was tanking 150s. I stand in awe of Mel and her fantastic advice :)

Hopes and dreams for the future: BACK ON!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Meme Time!

Swiped from Lisa. Thanks, Lisa!!
A is for age: 34, but I usually claim 29
B is for beer of choice: Amber Bock, but I'm kinda digging Shock Top
C is for career right now: Retail Hell, but I don't consider that a "career." Court reporting student
D is for your dog's name: Lili (Great Dane) and Roscoe (MinPin.) Neither one is mine, but I'm kind of their surrogate Dog Mom
E is for essential item you use everyday: Toothpaste :-D
F is for favorite TV show: "The Office"
G is for favorite game to watch: Hockey and football. But I'll watch just about any sport except basketball (zzzzzzz....)
H is for Hometown: Detroit (Go Wings!)
I is for instruments you play: None. I'm painfully musically-challenged :(
J is for favorite juice: Cranberry
K is for whose butt you'd like to be kicking: Oh, there are a few butts that I'd like to stick my foot up right now....
L is for last place you ate: Like which restaurant, or which room in the house??
M is for marriage: One. Didn't stick. Again? Who knows?
N is for your name: Shawn Christine Gross Newton Walke Newton :-D
O is for overnight hospital stay: Never had to stay overnight
P is for people you were with today: Several co-workers--Wilson, Brian, Maura, Nidia, Lindsey
Q is for what's your best quality: How do you just pick one when you're as awesome as I am?? I guess humility ;)
R is for what are you currently reading: The Memory of Water. Chick Lit.
S is for relationship status: Unattached
T is for time you woke up today: 6:45 AM
U is for the type of underwear you have on: Bikinis
V is for vegetable you love: Spinach
W is for worst habits: Not filtering. I guess you shouldn't just always say what you're thinking as you're thinking it....
X is for x-rays you've had recently: Dental x-ray a couple of months ago when I chipped my tooth
Y is for something candy : (Why is Y for candy?) Take 5. Little-known fact: Secret ingredient is crack.
Z is for zodiac sign: Gemini

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Suck it, Alabama!!

Paid my effin' speeding ticket this morning.

So the State of Alabama, its speed traps, and its 15-year-old Opie Taylor lookalike cops can bite my ass.

Have a fabulous day :-D

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Newton Girls

We're taking Steph over to the Mons Venus and gettin' her a job!

This is going to be my future Internet dating site profile picture...

LT's First Birthday Party - October 5

Yay! Presents!!

Obligatory Stupid Hat Photo

Nemo Cake!! The dark blue border didn't stain our tongues and teeth. Believe me, we tried...

Smash cake

This is how we ALL should eat cake

Obligatory Stupid Hat As Horns Photo (family tradition)

Baby Evel Knievel, Redneck Version ;)

Busch Gardens - October 5

Mom and me at the Hospitality House. Mine was Shock Top, hers was Bud Light




Pretty bird :)

LT in baby jail
(Okay, he was actually on a ride)

LT and Tony

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ten Second Book Review - I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

Okay, this one might take longer than ten seconds. There's kind of a lot to cover. Let me start off by saying there's some adult content here. Don't blame me--I didn't write the book ;)

So the title caught my eye on the table at Borders. When I flipped it over, the first sentence on the back cover is, "My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole." Yeah. I *had* to buy it after reading that. At least the dude is honest. The guy is a dick with seemingly few redeeming qualities, as evidenced by the stories he recounts. But he's funny and his stories are entertaining. His life seems to revolve around getting blackout-drunk and having sex. A LOT. No one would ever accuse me of being puritanical, but this guy made me blush a little.

My favorite chapter was the one where he got kicked out of a minor league hockey game for fighting with the mascot on the ice (while drunk, of course.) THAT was some hilarious stuff right there. I also enjoyed the chapter of blowjob vignettes.

Not only was the book entertaining, it was kind of educational, too. For instance, did you know that it's difficult to wash ejaculate out of your hair? I didn't, but I do now, because he mentioned it twice. This is good information to have. I guess.

His writing style is good, although he uses the word "f*ck" WAY too much. Don't get me wrong--I've been known to drop an F-Bomb (or ten) on any given day, but when you're using it as a verb, a noun, and an adjective in the same paragraph, it might be time to expand the ol' vocabulary a bit. He could have used a bit better of an editor, too. I noticed several basic punctuation mistakes and a few spelling errors. Now, a normal person might not notice stuff like that, but since I've been trained to spot stuff like that as a profession, it drives me batshit crazy to see it in published works like this. My own little form of OCD.

A final thought: After doing some quick math, I determined that the author is about three years younger than me. As someone who was married to a guy 15 years my senior, I'm worried that this behavior is the norm for guys in my age range, which is enough to either keep me dating old guys or send me running to see if the nearest convent has room for a skeptical lapsed Catholic.

Anyway, it was a pretty good read. I give it 3.75 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Makeup and Big Words

((Okay, y'all--count all the big words!))

So for the two of you who read this and aren't on my clandestine double secret-squirrel running list, here is a recap of a conversation I had with someone (not on said list) who has known me for over three years. I'm not even exactly sure how we got on the topic of guys, but when we do, it usually turns to the fact that I can't seem to find one that is acceptable. Or that finds me acceptable ;)

First she tells me that I should wear a little more makeup, because a lot of guys aren't into the "natural" look I've got going on. Now, I've never been a big makeup girl. A little mascara and lip gloss, and some concealer to attempt to cover up the dark circles and random zit. I don't see the need to trowel on a layer of goo to go to the grocery store. There is no reason I can think of for me to look like a Vegas showgirl every day, especially in the oppressive humidity that is prevalent here in Florida, where it will just melt off within an hour anyway.

The second, and more dubious, piece of advice I got from this fount of wisdom (who has the moral turpitude of an alley cat, but I digress...) was that I should basically dumb down. Her quote was, "If you use big words around guys like you do around us, you're probably intimidating them." **Blink** (My immediate response to her was, "Well, you could probably expand your own vocabulary if you read a book once in a while." Because I'm a bitch that way :-D)

Allow me to defend myself here: I do not walk around talking like Ms. Merriam-Webster 2008. But I read a lot, and I pick stuff up. I have a pretty good vocabulary. But I'm being told not to use it around a person I potentially could be spending the majority of my time with, because it might threaten him. And then I wondered to myself, "Who the hell is this girl dating that she thinks this is helpful??" because it was just so...stupid.

As far as the dumbing-down thing goes, I think my friend Lisa said it best: "If you dumb down, you get dumb guys. No thanks." AMEN, sister! I've already dated (and married) dumb. At some point, you want to actually have a conversation. But maybe that's just me.

Yet another reason to keep my moratorium on boys in place.


A pathetic milestone, but a milestone nonetheless :)

After three years of flat-out refusing, tonight at the Hellhole I let W talk me into conquering one of my fears in life: I stood on the top of a 12-foot ladder, one leg swung over the bar, while he handed boxes of Aqua Globes or some such stupid shit up to me. My head was a full 17.5 feet above the ground. My balance is not ideal under normal circumstances. But I put those stupid boxes up on that high-ass shelf practically at the top of the store (go into any BBB if you don't know what I'm talking about--they're all laid out pretty much the same.)

I'm not afraid of heights at all--I've stood on the second-to-highest level you can go at the CN Tower in Toronto. I've ridden 300-foot-plus tall roller coasters over and over again until I was ready to puke. It seems I'm just afraid of ladders. More specifically of *being on* ladders. Mostly of falling off the top of them.

So one fear went down tonight. Next up: Public speaking.

Or maybe not....