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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Let it Stop, let it stop, let it stop

12/30/08 (Day 4): 10 miles (10min/mi). 1pm-3pm. Listened to 2 episodes of "Wait, wait, Don't Tell Me" podcast, which is always a dangerous proposition (laughing while running on a treadmill). Slept 4 hours last night, and am going to nap next.

This snow is driving me nut-so. Does it REALLY have to snow twice every week? It makes my commute a living hell. The only consolation is it tends to snow Monday night/Tuesdays, and I've been getting off early most Tuesdays so I at least miss that afternoon hellish commute. I have shoveled my driveway a gazillion times, a chore that my poor fingers and toes don't enjoy--they turn ice cold within about 10 minutes, even with my $35 Cabela's brand gloves.

RR is finishing my garage, insulating and sheet-rocking the remaining wall and a half that wasn't done when I bought the house. A couple more coats of mud and I'll be able to park in the garage again. A week parked outside during 20 degree weather is better than the 3 weeks I parked outside last winter in the coldest of the cold spells as my garage was then the workshop for staining and finishing all new trim and doors for the house.

Monday, December 29, 2008


12/29/08: 10 miles (10min/mi). Started at 4am and out of the gym by 6:10a. Listened to 2 episodes of Dave Ramsey podcast and half of "The Story" (about the relationship between a former frat kid and his former frat house cook). Slept 40 minutes last night. Why? Because I haven't been to sleep before 2:30a in a week and half. I knew if I went to bed I'd NEVER get up at 3:30a, so in order to not have to be so tired getting up, I just didn't go to bed. I also was watching a borrowed 2nd season of "The Wire" (good show!). I did sleep between 3:05-3:45a. First 6 miles were so-so, then I had my startling revelation (see below) and my last 4 miles were great.

12/28/08: 10 miles (10min/mi). Started at 7:30a and out the door by 10p. I had been at the tanning booth before running and used some "tingle" lotion that works by bringing all your blood to the skin surface (or something like that). I was a red, overheated mess BEFORE I got to the gym. Listened to 2 episodes of "The Story". I thought the episode entitled "Feeling the Pinch" would be about bank/financial stuff, which I enjoy, but instead it was about the Maine Lobstermen feeling the "pinch" of the economy. Good listen regardless. Slept 7 hours the night before, the least amount in a week.

12/27/08: 10 miles (10min/mi). Started at 1:30p and home by 3:45p. Slept a good 10 hours on my couch the night before (purposefully, as it's not as comfortable as my bed and I didn't want to sleep 12 hours by accident and waste the day). Also went back to the gym at 12:30a that late night with RR and did a upper body workout (bi's, tri's, and chest) and am lucky right now that I'm able to undress.

I couldn't quite figure out why some days at the gym I feel just great on the treadmill, and others are such a struggle. Some days I cruise along at an easy 10min/mi and do 10 miles no problem. Other days I am able to get 10 miles in only by stopping and really NEEDING a break every 2 miles. Those are the days that I am panting, unable to catch my breath, with heavy legs.

Well, I figured it out this morning, and it's very simple. There's a giant fan in the ceiling, and if I'm running on a treadmill underneath it, all is well. The treadmills on the other side of the row, well, I'm suffocating. It must be really poor air circulation under those.

I am thinking my next goal will be to run 10 miles every day. In my mind I find that to be a fairly reasonable goal. 10 miles can be done in under 2 hours, and i could budget 2 hours of time including a shower. And 2 hours a day at the gym is reasonable, right?

(Maybe... but if I'm working 18 hours that day and commuting 1.5hrs, maybe even 2 hours isn't, but I'm not going to think about that right now).

A co-worker, when asked about this potential goal, doesn't like it. Her plan? I should run to Fargo, do the Fargo marathon with her, and then run home. That's dreaming too big for me: I can't afford the time off from work (a week each way, I think).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Update-- I need a sponsor

Well, I did my 9 miles on no sleep on Tuesday, worked until 3:30p, got home, shoveled, and went to bed.

My alarm went off at 2:45 on Wednesday and I said, NO WAY, and slept for 2 more hours. Worked (6:15a-5p) and then did my 10 miles.

Because Thursday was a 2 job day, I had no choice but to do the miles in the morning. So less than 8 hours after I got off the treadmill the night before, back I was at it, doing my 11miles (before work at 6:15a).

I ALMOST didn't run on Thursday. I started getting a sore throat sometime early Wednesday, and by the end of the day my voice was getting pretty hoarse. I took a bite of my toast on Thursday morning and was met with intense pain. I don't have any interest in getting myself sick, and I hesitated, but decided to do the run.

Well, today, Friday. I guess this is it. No miles for me today. I started coughing overnight, my throat still hurts, and I'm a little stuffed up. I slept for 10+ hours, and again, since I have no desire to get myself sick, I'm not running today.

My legs feel fine, and if not sick, I know I could go on.

I enjoy this goal, and I think for the rest of the month I'll try to run the miles if I'm healthy and if it isn't going to mean no sleep at all. I'll keep trying, but the part time job really means I can't sanely complete this goal. The part time job means I have a couple nights a week that I can only get 3 hours of sleep, and running 15-20 miles day after day instead of sleep just really won't work.

Thanks for all the support of my commenters; I appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Additional goal info

This info will be in a slightly mottled form as I'm running on no sleep. Literally, actually.

My Tuesday is a continuation of Monday, that began with a 8 mile run started at 3:45am, an 11h work day, straight through a blizzard to the part-time gig (arrived late due to snow), and then we were so busy we were kept late (until 2:45a!), back into the blizzard and horrible roads. Since I have to be back at work today at 6:30a in Plymouth, I'm going to head out to do my 9 miles now.

To answer a few questions:

--I rejoined Lifetime Fitness, so I'm running on the treadmill there. I could run outside, but I can't stand the cold and am really not that eager or willing to do so. MAYBE on Christmas Day if the gym is closed and I'm still reaching for my goal.

--I'm doing 10min/mi. Usually fairly comfortable for me, but considering my lack of training this fall, not as easy as I'd like.

--I don't have my own personal t.v. at the gym, so I listen to my ipod. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes to podcasts. Yesterday I almost fell off the treadmill laughing at Denis Leary on "Wait, Wait, Don't tell Me".

--There is no pool at work, although this was discussed. My thoughts were if they were to have a pool they should keep it secret from me so I am unable to consciously/unconsciously choose the outcome.

--I have no idea how long I can keep it up. Physically if it weren't for work I could probably do the mileage. Realistically with the time commitment, who knows.

--Half a dozen people have asked me or insuated that I of course won't run my miles on Christmas Eve/Day, to which I respond, of COURSE I'll run. I'll have the 24th-28th darn close to completely off of work, so I can easily find the time to run the miles if my body hasn't given up on me. It's 29th-31st that worries me, when I have to work many hours while running 5 hours a day? I don't know.

No less than 4 co-workers asked me today if I had ran. And now that I'm running again, I get to return to the typical comments I get from people who don't really know I run... "You ran HOW many miles before work today?!?? WHAT time did you get up?" And of course, "I don't even want to DRIVE 'X' miles"!

That's the end of the update and I'm heading back to the gym (9miles). I work all day Tuesday and then will come home and sleep until Wednesday I'm sure.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

December goal

I got the idea in my head a few days ago that in December I'd attempt to run a mile for each day of the month that it was. For example, today, on 12/6, I ran 6 miles. I made the mistake of mentioning the idea to quite a few co-workers, so now I'll have a harder time giving up.

Realistically, I don't know if I have the time or the ability to do it, what with my pretty pathetic training amounts of the last few months. But I'll give it a try.

Days 3-6: Ran 3 miles the evening of the 3rd, 4 miles the morning of the 4th, 5 miles yesterday before working the afternoon, and 6 miles early afternoon today. So far, so good. For some reason yesterday's 5 miles were tough and I thought that I was in for trouble; if I can't even do 5 miles without struggling, how would I get later in the month? But today I did 6 without struggle, so we'll continue on.

Feed my Starving Children

Last night as part of a work Holiday party we went out to volunteer for Feed My Starving Children. We spent about an hour bagging up meals that are sent to missions. The work was fun, although I attribute that more to my co-workers than to the actual "fun quotient" of the work. We also got to sample the food when we were all finished, and the vast majority of my group thought it was disgusting. I didn't think it was too bad. The meals are made up of a chicken flavored nutrient powder, dried vegetables, a soy product, and rice. I might look into going out and volunteering there again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

To know the truth

I got a lot of reading done while I was in Atlanta, between airports and all the airport-associated waiting and evenings back at the hotel room with not much else to do.

First, I started a book about the identity of DeepThroat (written in 2000) that looked really good--so good, in fact, that I had renewed it from the library to their limit and I had to return it on the 12th. In it the author began at the introduction stating how he would prove that Deep Throat was John Sears. Wait a second, I thought, he's not Deep Throat! So I stopped reading the book. I still have "All the President's Men" on my to-read (and to-watch) list, and I certainly don't want to confuse myself. (Note, I just attached the hyperlink book review and the review makes the book look really good. I'm kind of regretting returning the book to the library unread, but alas, I was out of time).

Next, my book of irony: The Coming Crash of the Housing Market (written in 2003). I bet a lot of people are kicking themselves that they didn't read this book and prepare themselves! I found the book very interesting, and it took me exactly the length of a flight from Atlanta to MN to read it.

In Atlanta I also read a couple works of fiction, more specifically two books by Jodi Piccoult ("Mercy" and "The Tenth Circle"). Good enough. Her books are easy reads with fairly good stories and make good time fillers. I don't read a lot of fiction. I have a long history of skipping the unnecessary words while reading... I just don't feel like reading a paragraph describing the texture of a dress or something, so I typically skip to dialogue. I distinctly remember my parents doubting my true reading speed as a kid, understanding that I finished books much faster than would be possible. Once they gave me a test... gave me a short amount of time to read a passage in the book, and then quizzed me on the details. One of the questions was "What did so-and-so eat for lunch?" I had no clue. The answer was "nothing"--in the book this kid says he ran out the door without eating. Fine, I was busted. I did NOT read and take in every bit of the book, but really? Was it that important?

I also do this with movies, especially action movies. Why do I need a long fight scene? My mind tends to wander and I tune back in when there's a winner.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Atlanta musings

I've been going through books like there was no tomorrow, what with audiobooks at the part time job. Over a 3 day period I listened to both "Culture Warrior" by Bill O'Reilly and "I am American and So Can You!" by Steven Colbert. Very interesting juxtaposition, as the latter is essentially a parody of the first. And you know what? I liked BOTH of the books, taking the first seriously and having a jolly good time listening to the second.

Also, remember the accident a few years back where a survivor was hospitalized for a month before it was realized it was not who they thought it was? Very tragic. I listened to the book "Mistaken Identity" and was entertained (in a most compassionate way).

Also I listened to the book Blink and it was absolutely GREAT! It was recommended to me and I dutifully put it on my to-read list and I loved it. I was enthralled by certain sections and after finishing it, almost started from the beginning again. Stew: if you liked "Stumbling On Happiness" you should read this one, too, as it covers similar ground surrounding how a person's brain works.

I'm reporting to you from most lovely Atlanta, where I am until next Tuesday for a work conference. I enjoy most of the classes I take, although admittedly some more than others.

Homeless Joe told me that someone was threatening to kill himself from jumping from some window of my hotel. Sure enough, there was a cop out front, but I saw no potential jumper, nor any evidence of a successful jump.

My room was upgraded for me beyond any possible reason: I am in a 2 bedroom apartment suite, so yes, even though I am only 1 person, I have two double beds from which to choose. I also have 2 full bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and in case I have subjects coming to beg for something, a separate sitting room as well. It's almost too much room.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More leaves, treadmills, and money

I finished my leaf project in 3 hours today before going in to pick up some hours at my part-time job.

Final tally was about 7 hours and 8 big lawn and leaf bags.

I think I'm going to start a compost pile, something I'd been considering for awhile. So, in the corner of my backyard I dumped the equivalent of 2 big bags of the pulverized leaf material as a start. I think I'm going to try to find a couple of pallets from a local store of some sort to create a couple walls. In addition I am going to try to mow mine/RR's lawn one last time to collect the grass clippings to add to the pile. When I'm going to do this, especially with the dark evenings, I do not know. Most likely will work Wednesday night at ptj (part time job), get up Thursday a.m., mow, make sure I'm packed, maybe head into work for a few hours, and then I have a evening flight to Atlanta for a work meeting, not getting back until next Tuesday.

PTJ is good, as I get a lot of podcast and audiobook listening in, and the work is easy (simple data entry). It's nice making a little extra money to pay off some of my debt.

At work co-workers and I will sometime chat about the economy. I find it interesting that while most everyone I talk to is bemoaning the fact that they are upside down in their mortgages, I actually have 2 houses that are both worth more (based on tax value) than what I owe on them. I'm holding firm on my belief that the economy will turn around and my homes, purchased low, will have been good investments.

I do have a pile of credit card debt, mainly important house stuff (like furnaces) as I've always been good with money and have not been prone to impulse spending or getting way out of control. (Except, as I told V last weekend, I probably didn't NEED to buy the 43" television the day before my annual superbowl party [to which you are all invited] to make sure the Nightman was completely satisfied with the party).

I have 12 credit cards, but I used to have way more. Right after high school I used to collect credit cards, applying for as many as I could and getting all the free t-shirts. I even had a card in the name of my friend Nora's dog Bonnie (see my last post to read about Nora in my first webpage from the late '90's). After I received the card in her name, I started getting credit offers for her. Eventually Bonnie passed on, yet I still got credit offers--for a dead dog.

The media warns of being careful of cards cutting credit limits. Not mine... I've had 2 cards in the last two weeks raise my credit limits. Fine by me, because my credit score will improve because I'll be using a lower percentage of my credit limit.

As far back as high school I used to tell people I was good for the economy: I always enjoyed working and making money, but I also enjoyed spending it.

When my old treadmill finally died, I bought a new one, cancelling my gym membership and justifying it saying my treadmill payment was $0.08 more than my gym membership. So I had a nice treadmill and committed to turning my garage into a workout room of sorts.

Problem: Treadmill is additional debt. Also, I wasn't using it because either I was getting home WAY too late from ptj and didn't want to wake my renter, or I was exhausted and going to bed early. There was no way to force myself into a routine.

So, I sold the treadmill. Posted it on craigslist and had it sold (with only a slight loss) within a few days. It felt really good to turn that money around and pay off the card it was on.

Now I have no treadmill and no gym membership. I have considered just running outside for free. Well, again, because of ptj, I don't feel secure running around Coon Rapids at 3am (whereas yes, I would go to the gym at 3am). So now I'm considering joining Lifetime again, as it is 0.25 miles away from my house.

I may also try to run outside at least one weekend day a week, but we'll see about that.

Another problem: I spend 20+ hours per week at ptj listening to audiobooks/podcasts. Can I really train on a treadmill at the gym and listen to it MORE? Any ideas for a small DVD player I can balance on the treadmill so I can watch my shows? Or maybe not balance, but somehow prop in the book holder?

My first webpage

Check out my very first webpage. I'm stumbled upon the link a little bit ago and am shocked that it still works.

I believe it was made in 1997-98 time period and I worked on it for about a week before never touching it again.


For my b-day present (back in August) I asked my parents for money to buy a leaf blower/sucker mulcher. I finally got the opportunity to use it this afternoon.

In between my yard and RR's yard is a HUGE sugar maple (legally it's HIS tree, but it drapes my entire side yard). It's because of this tree that during the summer months I'm unable to "monitor" him from my bedroom window into his living room. Note: I don't do that and wouldn't do that even without the tree. The tree provides a lot of shade that probably brings down my summer cooling costs.

The roots are very close to the surface, making it tough to mow around. The roots also make it difficult for grass to grow, so it's not that big of a deal. It also drops a ton of leaves, and as the leaves inconveniently for me drop during fall hunting season while RR is away, I have taken it upon myself to "deal with" the leaves in both our yards. Again, this is his entire backyard and my side yard, my front yard (another big sugar maple) and my backyard (2 sugar maples--one in my backyard and the other one just over the border in my other neighbor's yard).

Last year I raked. And raked and raked and raked. I was sore and had blisters all over my hands (well, honestly I think it was only one blister, but it hurt and was in a poorly located spot). I had big paper bags from Home Depot that I dutifully filled, one after another. When all was said and done I put 20+ hours into the project and it took 25 of the big bags filled twice. (How did I do that? Eforce took me and my leaves to the Anoka County compost place to dump the first batch).

This year I decided to try the blower/sucker thing and so far so good. The most frustrating part is the extension cords; I have to be very careful else I pull out a connection on one of the 3 cords. Yes, I could have gotten a gas powered machine, but I think that would have been tougher to maintain through the years.

The blower part is fantastic. I VERY quickly blew all the leaves into multiple large piles. The vacuuming is slower than blowing, but I believe faster than the bagging by hand. Also much less physical work. The machine also mulches the leaves down to (advertised) 1/16th of their original size. I tend to believe the advertising because when I dump the bag the leaves are close to dust.

I am halfway done or so in about 4 hours and have 5 big lawn and leaf bags filled. Talking to my mom tonight I think I may start a compost pile in my backyard and may just dump the leaves I take care of tomorrow into a pile.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Annual Halloween Hayride

Today's the day Van and Tim hold the hayride through their yard to scare and entertain their high school nieces and all their friends. I've agreed to help out and told them I'd be over around 2p, which will be problematic as they live 1h5min away (thank you new hwy 212) and it's currently 1:30-ish.

I'm dressed in two layers of black clothes and have a piece of black velvet to drape around me. Word has it that I might be the corpse lying in a grave, reaching my arm out at the appropriate time. There will be THREE chainsaw wielding lunatics this year, but I don't think I've been upgrade to that choice role. Last year I hung out by the fire with the kids who, at 2 and 4 yrs old did not need much convincing that the ride would be too scary.

I guess last night Vanessa had her mom invite over all her church lady friends for dinner, and not to mention that they were going to be the dress rehearsal hayride riders.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What has Diane been reading/listening to?

"Me Against My Brother": I can't find my original blog on this book, but I think during my first review I couldn't remember the title. Well, the title came to me. This is a book I really enjoyed that I read in Wyoming last summer (2007). It tells about a journalist's experience in war torn areas in Africa.

"Into the Wild"
: Listed to it on audiobook. I loved "Into Thin Air" and this was written by the same author and tells the story of a 20-something year old who walked into the wilderness to live off the land. He wasn't successful, dying within 5 months or something. Not as good as "Into Thin Air" but worth my time. My favorite part of the book was when the author Jon Krakauer was telling the story about one of his close calls on the side of a mountain. I guess the book is a movie now. Have not seen it.

"The Innocent Man": LOVED this book by John Grisham. Listened to it on audiobook. The whole book was read in such a way that I guessed it was nonfiction and found out for sure during the epilogue at the end. I'd definitely recommend this book, about two men who were wrongly convicted for a rape/murder and spent years in prison/death row before DNA evidence exonerated them.

"The World Without Us"
: I had considered purchasing this book to take to Wyoming with me last year, so was pleased to find it at the library on audio book. Well, I just couldn't handle listening to it; my mind continually wandered off before I got through the first CD. I'll have to check out the actual book to read, as I still find the book's premise interesting.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One last trip

I'm heading up north for one last fall trip. Not camping, but staying in the same cabins we were at over Memorial Day. I'll definitely update this blog when I get back to town!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wild Home Opener

Tonight is the Wild's home/season opener and I'm taking my dad to the game for his b-day as I have each of the last 7 years or so (every season except the first when I didn't have tickets and the year of the lock-out when we didn't play). We're going to eat at Matty B's, otherwise known as the restaurant that is right next door to the parking ramp.

Book review: Last night while working I listened to "Into the Wild" on audiobook. My review? It was so-so. My favorite part of the book was when Jon Krakauer was talking about his own life and the story about one of his climbs in Alaska. I was expecting to enjoy it as much as I did "Into Thin Air", but I didn't. I think its grade suffered a bit in comparison.

I have a new job I'm working part-time to make a little bit of money. It's data entry and super easy. The best part about it is I can listen to my ipod or CD's. I've listened to a pile of podcasts I've downloaded and went to the library yesterday to grab some audiobooks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Camping Trip--Aborted

I'm still alive. I just haven't been doing too much that's interesting and worth blogging (not that that has stopped me before). I started a new part time job that keeps me entertained some evenings during the week.

Last weekend we had big plans for our end of the year camping trip up to Jay Cook State Park. In a couple weeks RR and V will be leaving for WY to go mule deer hunting and will come back to 5 solid weeks of MN hunting. Me, being a freeze baby, have already started curling up inside my house, avoiding the winter.

Back to Jay Cook: we drove past it on the way up north purposely choosing to head to Two Harbors to set up deer stands first. We knew that it was possible that the campground might be full when we returned, but we weren't worried; we'd just camp at Banning or Moose Lake State Parks.

Sure enough, arriving at 8:30p we found the campground jam packed. We got to Moose Lake about half an hour later to find the campground empty except an odd 50-something year old man. He asked us a random question as we stood outside the deserted ranger station, filling out the campground self-registration. He pulled up next to us again when we reached our campsite, asking another random question/statement.

We set up camp (tents, sleeping bags, the whole works) and attempted to get a fire going. We'd had to drive in to town to buy wood that was ended up being green, making it tough to get the fire going on a night that really needed a fire to warm it up.

Meanwhile... the odd 50-something started acting... freaky and odd.

The campground was empty except for him and us. There are 2-3 different loops containing a total of about 30 sites, none that were in use.

Between 9p and 11:30p this man performed the following loop: Drive slowly around the loop we were in, pass our site, stop, back up slowly, sit for 30 seconds, start driving, and disappear. 15 minutes later he'd repeat it. 15 minutes later AGAIN, he repeated it. But he started stopping longer and longer near us. Finally, at 11:30p he stopped, backed up, turned his lights off, on, off, on, and then pulled into the site right next to us where he apparently decided to set up camp.

The Fab 4 had a meeting and decided this guy was WAY too strange for us to camp next to in an empty campground. We had not seen a ranger all night, and decided it wasn't worth it. We packed up and left by midnight, arriving home just after 2am. It was a 14hour trip: our shortest, most expedited trip ever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Admiral Barky

My last trip to the library I brought a list of books that were on my "to-read" list; unfortunately the library only had one of about 10 of them, so I wandered up and down the aisles and picked out about 5 random books.

"Shadow Divers" was one of my random finds. The dust cover started out by saying: "In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air..." and I was hooked. I loved "Into Thin Air".

"Shadow Divers" was a very interesting book that did keep me interested the whole time. I know NOTHING about deep sea diving, or wreak diving, or any sort of diving. I have no interest in EVER diving. None. Zero. The thought of doing it scares me (whereas the idea of climbing Mt. Everest enthralls me). Both are actually quite dangerous, but diving is a sport I don't ever want to do.

That being said, this was a really good book. I learned a lot about diving. I learned a lot about U-boats (well, not a lot. Nothing specific. In fact, it'd be more accurate to say I learned a lot about all there would be to learn about U boats). I really like submarine movies, especially depth charges. And the "ah-OOG-a, ah-OOG-a" siren that goes off right before the captain yells, "Dive! Dive! Dive!" And how about that American Express card commercial that takes place on the sub, highlighting how you can have any picture you want on your card, even "Admiral Barky" the dog of the sub captain. That's great.

Really good book I'd definitely recommend. I want to watch the Nova special about this true story (did I mention it's a true story?).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I told you so! Treadmill day 91

I ended up with a surprise day off due to the plumbing emergency my doctor had at her house, causing her to cancel clinic. I wanted to go golfing, but the pounding rain says no.

Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker about the upcoming Whistlestop Marathon less than 3 weeks away, which I'm 90% likely to do. I mentioned to him that I really had not been training for it. "Are you going to?" he asked, to which I replied, essentially, when you're 3 weeks out, what you see is what you get. Not totally true, but good enough of a response for a lay person. Then he asked if I was in shape enough to just go out and run a marathon without training at all. Yup, I replied.

I'm guessing I'll finish Whistlestop in 4:30 or less, which isn't too shabby for not training. I'll probably go out and aim to break 4:00 and fail, coming in around 4:15-20.

Back in the fall of 2006 into 2007 I liked to tell people that I wanted to be fit enough that with a day's notice I could run a marathon in under 4h. And at that point I could. I ran Boston without training in 3:54 in April of 2007.

Anyway, today with my expanse of free time I decided to see what I could do. I was aiming to run a marathon on my treadmill in under 4:30.

I came close, finishing in 4:43. I would have made my goal had I eaten any breakfast (had not) or if I had fueled along the way (did not). This lack of fuel also became part of my personal challenge today--to see how well I could do running a marathon I didn't train for on no food.

How did that go? Well, got to about mile 18 before I really started to not like it. Kept up my 10min/mi pace through 21.36 miles, when I stopped the treadmill. You think running a looped course is tough, that it can be hard to pass your car every mile, or 2 miles, or 10 miles and decide to keep going? Yeah, well it's that much more mentally tough on a treadmill, where all you have to do is push "STOP" and you can be in the shower 3 minutes later and asleep on your couch in 10. I restarted the treadmill and did a tough last 4.84, keeping my running pace going for 0.30 of a mile at a time followed by a 0.20 mile 4mph walk. But I finished. And I finished almost 6 episodes of "The Shield".

Recap: Total of 150 treadmill miles. What a nice round number. Good thing I didn't give up at mile 21.36.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Feel the Burn

We had a great weekend in the BWCA (hiking, not canoeing).

We left Friday early afternoon and headed up through Two Harbors to Bear Head State Park. We got there rather late (7:30p), set up camp, and relaxed by the fire.

On Saturday morning before the rest of the group was up, I explored some of the park's trails. I walked a 5k loop with the NorthStar Trail Travelers Volksport group because they were there. The gentleman I walked with told me if I had enough energy I could walk the 2nd 5k loops they had, but alas, I had to get back to camp.

We hiked the Angleworm Trail that started 1/2 hour north of Ely. The weather was perfect: 65-70 degrees during the day and down to about 35-40 overnight. The leaves were just beginning to change.

The trail around the lake was advertised as 12, but we're guessing it to be closer to 16. We hiked 4.5 hours in on Saturday and 4.5 hours out on Sunday, all with 40lb packs (or so) on our backs. (Anyone want a way to feel like the Superior hiking trail races are EASY...? Wear a pack for a few hours of hiking before the race starts and your feet will fly over the trails!).

My legs have that pleasant sore feeling they get when I really push myself, and it feels good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Treadmill Day 81-87

My goal this week was to finish Season 6 of "The Shield". Ha!

Saturday, Sept. 13: I started the 1st episode and got about 10 minutes into it before I realized that I really didn't feel like running. So I stopped.

Sunday, Sept. 14: I had PLENTY of time to kill on this rainy afternoon that wouldn't allow me to golf. But I realized I still didn't feel like running, so I got stuff done around the house and watched 3 episodes of medical mysteries on TLC.

Monday, Sept. 15-18:Do you really want to hear the excuses why I didn't hit the treadmill at all? They involve a new renter moving in and me not wanting to keep her awake, going to a play that my co-worker is in, making a screen window, applying for part time jobs, packing for the boundary waters, and reading.

Friday, Sept. 19: Leaving for the Boundary Waters tomorrow morning for a hiking/backpacking trip. I think we're going to hike Angleworm trail.

Recap: Total of 123.8 treadmill miles. 0 miles for the week.

Whistlestop Marathon is still my intention for October 11th, although I'm woefully untrained.

My goal next week will be (again) to finish Season 6 of "The Shield". That's about 8.3 hours of running.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looking for a renter/a.k.a. the saga of Lyin' Lynn

I'm looking for a renter for my house in Anoka, and I'd appreciate it if any of you all readers keep it in mind if you hear of anyone looking for a place. You can pull up pictures and updates of the house here and here and here.

The house is gorgeous! A person can share the house with just one other adult for $650 + utilities (they'd have 3 private bedrooms) or could have just one bedroom for $400 + utilities and maybe have to share the house with 2 other adults.

Enough time has gone by that I'm going to vent and tell the story of Lyin' Lynn. I'm hoping that she does not regularly check my blog (as she and I had previously exchanged emails and she could conceivably have my blog address). But even if she does read this, I'm going to speak only the truth. It might be interesting to get a comment from her.

Lynn signed a 12 month lease that began the beginning of July + pro-rated rent for the last half of June. She and her daughter moved in knowing that Randy still had 2 complete weeks of work on the house including installing the AC, dishwasher, microwave, finishing some woodwork inside, and finishing some repair outside. Lynn assured us that that would be fine, as she worked long hours at her job.

Well... she moved in and was always home! Always! And not only that, each morning she'd have a couple of kids over at the house with her. It became very clear to me, RR, and Eforce that she didn't really have a full-time job, that what she REALLY was was a babysitter. RR was forced to do all the outdoor work first (which he was fine with) because the inside stuff is much more difficult with people walking back and forth (especially kids). Can you imagine varnishing stair railings with kids running around?!

I didn't say anything to her before Wyoming because I didn't want to deal with it right before a long trip and I wanted to make sure she paid me for July before I left. Once we got back and Randy was over there finishing up the last few days of the patio door/deck project, it was clear that we were correct: she still had the kids over every day!

I called her and basically told her that we had to stick with her lease agreement that states that the house is for residential use only and that she could not run a daycare or a babysitting business out of the house. She said a bunch of stupid stuff, like:

--"I didn't have the kids over for the last two weeks!" (yeah, right... you want me to believe that every day that RR, Eforce, or I are around you have the kids, but when we are in Wyoming you conveniently don't have them at all?).

--"So you're saying that K (her daughter) can't have a friend sleep over?!" (umm... no. I'm saying you can't run a daycare out of the house).

Ultimately she said she'd watch the kids someplace else. Fine.

And then there was the air conditioner. Because that was an "indoor" project for RR, and Lynn and the kids were always around the house, the installation of the AC was put off until the end of the 2 weeks. Lynn was VERY hyper about the AC because she said the heat was bad for her asthma, and I guess the ceiling fans in every single room of the house wasn't good enough for her. The AC went in the last day before we left for Wyoming and works great.

We get back from Wyoming, and probably a week later RR and I notice while over there that the AC is set to 68 degrees! And it is on FULL blast, roaring day and night regardless of whether anyone is home. Eforce never really was observant and noticed this, but we pointed it out to him and told him that he would end up paying an arm and a leg if he didn't set it higher. So he talked to Lynn about compromising: setting it at 74 degrees when someone was home and 78 when nobody was around. She said that was fine.

Well, obviously it wasn't. I called her on the evening of August 1st, reminding her that rent had been due by 5pm that day and I hadn't received it. We left for my cabin the next day. Sunday night as we were packing up the trailer I get a text message from her (yes, she's that mature of a 37 yo) stating that she had packed her things up and was moving out because she won't rent from someone who tells her who she can have over and that she needs the house to be colder. She said she'd leave me August rent on the 5th when she'd come by to pick up the last of the stuff from the garage. She had this idea that rent was due on the 5th because she can't comprehend that the lease says that rent is due the 1st and she won't receive a late fee until the 5th.

Did I mention she'd signed a 12 month lease?

We get back, and sure enough, she's gone. I post a new ad on Craigs list that night to try to replace her, stating that the space is available immediately. She emails me the next morning saying she saw my ad and that if I'm advertising it to be available immediately, then she's not going to pay me for August. I think her exact words were something to the effect of "I was trying to be respectful and responsible..."

Anyway, here we are 6 weeks later and still no one to replace her (hence why I started advertising the space available as "immediately". If she'd have had a conversation with me I could have told her that if I found anyone for a portion of August I might be willing to pro-rate some of the rent back to her.

My utility bill for the month of crazy AC was $350! And of course she's not paying any of that.

Crazy, huh?

Anyways, money has been tight and unfortunately this played into why I couldn't afford to take off time from work to go do Superior Trail runs this year. I don't have a sponsor yet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Qualifying for Boston

I qualified for the Boston marathon at Fargo in 2006. Here are some pics, and yes, I ran the race in a supergirl costume, and no, it was not Halloween.

The Fargo-ians really got a kick out of the costume. I was interviewed for the paper (as I stood outside the Fargodome after the race, waiting for a locksmith to come and unlock my keys from the car). I also had a reporter and her video guy running along side of me with a microphone interviewing me at mile 11. I believe she told me I was half-way there...

This was the first marathon I really trained for with a specific goal in mind and without getting injured. My first marathon was, well, my first. I was injured and had to take 6-8 of the 10 weeks before my 2nd and 3rd marathons off of running. So Fargo, my 4th, was my first real serious attempt to qualify. I needed a 3:40 to qualify (being a 27 year old F at the time), and my race bib was 340. I finished in 3:38 and some change.

I slept in my car in the parking lot of the Fargodome the night before (not going to pay for a hotel) and I ran the race in Pearl Izumi shoes that I bought at the expo the day before (yes, brand spankin' new shoes).

I left my keys in my car unlocked, and this was the day that I learned that my car had a "safety" feature of automatically locking if the keys were out of the ignition and the doors locked. So after the run, instead of celebrating, I stood around sweaty and salty for an hour waiting for a locksmith to show up. This was after having to beg a passerby to use their cell phone.

And I was STILL dressed in the supergirl costume.

If I were to seriously train for another marathon I'd like to break 3:30, and I think I have the ability to do that (assuming that I train for it). If and when I do Whistlestop in, oh, just under 4 weeks, I'll be happy to break 4h. Realistically I'll probably be 4:10.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My former alter-ego

Have I mentioned to anyone lately that I was part of the MN Rollergirls a few years ago?

Here's me, during my brief stint as Dr. D. Bauchery.

The pictures are from fall 2005. The profile is almost completely made up except for: RR has told me that my childhood was like Laura Ingalls (I think he made that comparison as recently as today). I also did use to enjoy White Russians (especially made with Vanilla Vodka).

I joined the summer of 2005 and played through the '05-06 season and began the '06 season, dropping out in the fall of 2006. Why? Because I just didn't care that much. I really enjoyed practicing and skating. I loved the speed drills and endurance drills. I had a great time throwing myself down on my knees (knee pads) and sliding. I just really did not care about the bouts at all. Or strategy. I REALLY didn't care, and that did not jive very well with most of the people on the league who were very passionate about rollerderby.

Fun while it lasted, though.

"Stumbling on Happiness"

I have no clue where this book title came from to end up on my "to-read" list. But on it it was, and at my library it also was.

Very good book that discusses what makes people happy, what people think will make them happy (and why it doesn't), how the brain works in relation to a person's memory and how the predict they will feel in the future.

The author, Daniel Gilbert, is a funny guy and the reading is interesting, entertaining, and funny. I laughed out loud a few times.

There were numerous quotes and tidbits that made me think I should flag them with a colored post-it tag. I don't have any, however, so flagged nothing. I'm not going to re-read it for the purpose of this blog; go out and read this book.

Notice this is the first book review I have done that was of any sort of length.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Treadmill Day 74-80

My goal this week is to finish Season 5 of "The Shield". That's about 9.1 hours of running.

Saturday, Sept. 6: 8 miles ((10min/mi + 2 min walking) x 8 ). Watched the first two episodes (out of 11 for the week) and for the first time in awhile I had a couple of miles of running in there where I didn't feel like my legs had bricks on them.

Sunday, Sept. 7: 1st NSGR (North Suburban Garage Runners) 1/2 marathon. I blazed in at a killer 2:11 (10min/mi). Watched 3 episodes which was conveniently the exact amount of time I needed to finish.

Monday, Sept. 8: Vikings lost, and I don't really care. Watched the game over at Party Central.

Tuesday, Sept. 9: 9 miles (10min/mi). I'm 7/11 done with my television based running goal.

Wednesday, Sept. 10: 2.35 miles. 1 episode's worth of running and walking between 1% and 15% incline at speeds between 3.5 and 6mph.

Thursday, Sept. 11: Had dinner with Nora and was too full to feel like running.

Friday, Sept. 12: 2nd NSGR (North Suburban Garage Runners) 1/2 marathon. I finished in a new treadmill garage PR of 2:10 (10min/mi x 12 miles, 9min/mi x 1.1 mile). Watched the last 3 episode of season 5, just in time to pass them off to my dad and move myself on to season 6. Actually, that's not quite true. I have to run out and sit in my garage and watch the last 10 minutes of the episode. The last episode is a DOOZY of an episode--a major cliffhanger. Both my dad and I were fooled in our first watching of it, as we thought that the 4th DVD in the set was more of the season (it wasn't... only "extras"). Due to Sony selling the show's rights to Fox (or vice versa, or something like that) the release of Season 6 on DVD is long overdue.

Recap: Total of 123.8 treadmill miles. 45.55 miles for the week.

Still thinking about doing Whistlestop Marathon in October and am trying to get a co-worker to join me.

My goal next week is to finish Season 6 of "The Shield". That's about 8.3 hours of running.

Running felt good this week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Northwoods Camping

Here are a couple pictures from the first weekend in August and our maiden voyage with the camper up at the cabin.

Left to Right: Eforce (contemplating another fire he was able to start), V (cooking up the healthiest of beef wieners a person can find at Cub), Nightman (a.k.a "The Cleanser" after using half of our water to shower... and then getting into the lake to swim!), and RR (always capable, fixing a bike). Yes, this photo was posed, but the posing pretty accurately reflects the truth.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

High Exposure

My latest book that I finished was "High Exposure" by David Breashears. After reading "Into Thin Air" back in July, I went to the library and the mountain climbing section (796.xx in the Dewey Decimal System, for all you DDS fans) and checked out about 8 different books. It has been interesting because after reading a handful of these books I'm really starting to know the names and the stories of some of the top "players". It makes some of the reading easier and some of the reading more repetitive/boring. Anyways, David Breashears is the IMAX guy, who made the IMAX Everest movie. He was a climber before a film maker, however. Also of note was he worked on "Cliffhanger" (minimally) which was based on a true story of a plane that crashed in the 1970's. We had "Cliffhanger" on constant loop last Memorial Day. Good book.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Treadmill Day 67-73

My goal? Hard to have a goal when I hardly run. This weekend are the Fall Superior races, and it will be the first time since 2004 that I haven't been up there. Kinda too bad.

Thursday, Sept. 4: 5 miles (10 min/mi, 2 min walking x 5). Watched two episodes of "Curb..."

Friday, Sept. 5: 5 miles (10 min/mi, 2 min walking x 5). Watched the last two episodes of "Curb..." Season 2. This means I'm moving on to re-watch Season 5 of "The Shield" because I just bought Season 6. These need to be passed on to my dad next, who is waiting in the wings.

Recap: Total of 78.25 treadmill miles. 10 for the week.

My legs felt very heavy, and I'm not sure why. Because I haven't been running much lately? Could be, but honestly, even when I first started running I could pound out 5-6 miles at 10min/mi without too much trouble. And I've remained active, even when not running.

I'm still thinking I'll do Whistlestop Marathon in October. It's relatively cheap and I can register up until the last minute. Down to 5 weeks available to prep.

My goal next week is to finish Season 5 of "The Shield". That's about 9.1 hours of running.

Labor Day Weekend

Last weekend we went back up to my cabin. We cleared existing trails there with chainsaw and machete--I got to wield the machete. The lakefront path is now passable on foot and mountain bike. All in all we have a complete 1+ mile loop through the woods.

It was a hot weekend. We spent a good amount of time in the lake, although we had no boat. We brought our golf clubs, but it was so dang hot that we never went out.

I finished the book "True Summit" by David Roberts, chronicling the first ascent of an 8000m peak back in 1950. It was a good read. In recent reading I'd seen much reference to the original book by Maurice Herzog and how influential it was on a generation of mountain and rock climbers. Well, the David Roberts book takes into account a lot more information that has come to light since the original book came out to tell the true story, which means now I don't feel the need to read the original any time soon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Treadmill Day 60-66

No running whatsoever. I did sweep my garage, however, and set up a nice bookshelf thing next to my treadmill to set my water bottle, remote, and cell phone on so they don't bounce up and down when I run.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A gross story

When we were in Wyoming we went to the Cowboy Bar in Meeteetse, WY. The bar was very interesting, with an original brandname bar that had been purchased at a World's Fair. I don't remember the details, but the story was interesting. (Isn't his blog informative?!)

We talked to the local historian/bar owner/book author for quite a bit about the history of the area. We were planning on climbing Francs Peak, named for historic local land owner Otto Franc. He moved out west because he had consumption; his brothers and he and moved to NYC from some place where he was a duke in order to import bananas.

Note: Francs Peak does not have an apostrophe, although one would argue it should. It does not.

Also Note: I'm not going to do too much fact checking on this blog, because I don't have the time. I have a really good memory for some things (dates, b-days, phone numbers, events I was part of, and the general outlines of stories) but not so good of a memory for details surrounding some outlines. Don't quote me directly on a college thesis, because some of what I might say could be not quite right. For example, I'm almost positive Otto Franc and his older brothers moved to the US to import bananas, but maybe it was something else.)

Also Note: I like hyperlinks, because I then don't have to go into detail myself, but I feel like I have some semblance of an argument should someone accuse me of being less than thorough.

Anyways, we ended up eating at the Cowboy bar twice; the food was decent, the company at the bar was interesting, and frankly there weren't very many options for dinner. After we ate the first night, V and I went back to the bar later to try to by some firewood and I chatted for quite a bit on the front deck with the Fat man, and the young couple who were living on the Antler Ranch in town. While we were talking some drunk guy came out and started arguing with the fat man about why they couldn't arm wrestle in the bar, yet the fat man could shoot off cannons. (For fear of the tables breaking is why, if you are curious). There was no real explanation as to why a cannon was shot off in the bar earlier that afternoon, but the fat man held firm to the "No Arm Wrestling" rule.

The next night we at there again. Randy and I each had a very good open faced chili hamburger (see, I told you I had a good memory). As we were all paying at the bar on the way out, we noticed that there were all sorts of bottle caps nailed to the ceiling, yet a space where two were missing. "What happened to those two?" I asked, curiously.

THE GROSS STORY: The day before, a couple hours before we ate at the bar/restaurant, someone brought in the ashes of some dead person who's final request was to be blasted from a cannon in the Cowboy bar. This seemed like such a good idea, that some other random bar patron decided that he two had some dead person ashes that should also be blasted. So yes, the fat man did allow the ashes of two dead people be blasted from a cannon across the bar. He told us, laughing, about how the explosion was much larger and louder than anyone would have expected, knocking two bottle caps off the ceiling and how ashes were DRIFTING AND FLOATING ACROSS THE BAR, LANDING ON THE TABLES AND IN PEOPLE'S DRINKS!! And yes, this was just hours before we ate there. There is no way we would have eaten there had we known about the dead-people-ashes!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy weekend

On Saturday we checked out the Elk River Country Club where I had another stellar game of golf (9 holes anyways). I scored a 57 which for me is very good. I've somehow really improved my game this year without trying.

We also did some night time mountain biking at the Blast in Elk River. They've added a lot of new obstacles on the course that I haven't seen as this was my first visit this year. I was a little concerned that I was doing the course in the dark wearing a headlamp and passing signs that said "DANGER, NEW OBSTACLE" and "EASIER, GO LEFT". (I went left... I could see that going right went straight down a hill littered with rocks). I wish I could have taken a picture of the sign saying "ADVANCED ONLY, 'THE BALL BUSTER'" illuminated by my headlamp as I zoomed by. I'll have to check it out in the day time too.

Sunday was the State Fair. I went on the 2Extreme ride which was darn fun, and also Techno Power.

I'm pissed off at the fair for their upgrade, however, to the Magnum P.I. ride. I LOVE the Magnum ride, less for the ride itself than for the fact that there was a very large replication of Tom Selleck's big old forehead gracing the backdrop of the ride. It was so lame and corny that it was cool. I get there this year and the ride is still there, but they've changed the name to "Magnum" and have repainted the backdrop as some stupid beach scene. No real Magnum. I refused to ride.

Instead of Magnum I spent my midway tickets at the freak show where I saw Zimora the Gorilla girl, Voltara the electric girl, a man with gross fat rolls who laid down shirtless on a bed of nails, a woman with hairy armpits who was "beheaded", and the two head Egyptian princess. Very, very lame. But the lamest of all (making it the best of all) was the snake girl who had the head of a girl but the body of a snake. I'm telling you that this was very OBVIOUSLY fake (yes, even in comparison to the other "freaks"). A kindergartener could have done better. The display case had a stuffed snake body (the quality of really cheap fair game stuffed animal) wrapped around a "tree limb" with a hole where some girl stuck her head into the box.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Treadmill Day 53-59

My goal this week is to continue to try to get back into the habit of running near daily. It's tough because I'm still so busy and don't know what to train for so have little motiviation.

Saturday, Aug. 16: Nope. Left last night for the cabin. Did a bunch of hiking and biking. Also swam across the lake (about 2/3rds of a mile). Also used a hatchet on a log in the middle of the path and got a nice arm workout in--I don't do any weight training lately so any time I move my upper body a bit I consider it a good workout.

Sunday, Aug. 17: Nope. More hiking and biking and biking, though.

Monday, Aug. 18: Nope. Cleaned the camper after work. Too tired.

Tuesday, Aug. 19: Nope. Did 9 holes of golf in the afternoon, so at least I was a complete lazy daisy.

Wednesday, Aug. 20: Nope. While picking up the camper tire at Party Central, my car died and I ended up biking to Big Beef's auto shop (a buddy). He came, he looked, it restarted, but the car completely went out later that night leaving me to have RR tow me back to the shop.

Thursday, Aug. 21: Nope. I'm sitting here thinking I COULD go do 5 miles as it's not even 8pm, but MAN, I'm tired. I just want to relax and watch t.v.

Friday, Aug. 22: Nope. Finally got my car back (Beef got it done super fast for me and I appreciate it). Got the camper tire. Get home, and my toilet won't flush. Does it ever end?!?

Recap: Total of 68.25 treadmill miles. 0 for the week.

I need a more concrete plan. I think I'm going to do Whistlestop Marathon in October (the morning before the Wild's Home Opener). I have heard nothing but good things about it. My goal is to break 4 hours which I think I can do, although my training has been near-nothing through this summer. And I'll have 7 weeks total to train.

Darn car...

So, on Wednesday night my car died.

I went over to Party Central to pick up the destroyed camper tire and wheel to take to Mobil. When I got back in the car it wouldn't start. It was about 6pm, and I had left my house at 5:30am and really just wanted to go home and take a nap.

Instead I went into the garage and jumped on E's bike and road 1/2 mile to Big Beef's auto shop. Big Beef is a friend, his name is not really "BB", and yes, he is a rather large guy. He came out to the house and of course the car started right up. His theory was the heat/humidity was just causing it to act up and that I should leave the hood up and wait about a half hour before leaving to give it some time to cool off. I agreed with that assessment, as it had been driving fine earlier.

In the meantime I had talked to RR who had come over to make sure I'd be able to get home. He's been on vehicle repair duty for the last couple of days between the camper tire disintegrating on Sunday, spare tire replacment as well as floor repair on the camper (due to the foremetioned tire) on Monday, V's Chevy pick-up having a flat on Tuesday (necessitating him driving out to help her), and then my car stuff on Wednesday. In addition he was supposed to be at home helping V re-stow her spare that night.

About 8pm we leave to go and the car starts up just fine. As soon as I step on the gas, however, I can tell something isn't right because the car is very unresponsive and sluggish. But within 5 seconds or so it's fine, so I think I might be okay. I get all the way to the stoplight at 169 where I am going to turn left. The light turns green, I step on the gas, and nothing. Or at least very little. I can't even quite make it through the intersection. I turn off the car, restart it, and drive half a block. At this point I pull over to try calling Randy. He appears, I all Beef who advises trying to add a little gas. Before I can figure out which gas station I should attempt to get to, the car dies and will not restart.

RR tows me to Beef's shop. Blah. The Enforcer is tangently involved as well, most notably because we tell him to go to the Auto Zone by Walgreens 1/2 mile from his house. For some reason he drives 5 miles away to a completely different Walgreens (that has no Auto Zone). Frustration abounds.

$60 cab fare to work Thursday morning. I get a ride home. I had a ride lined up for this morning, but the person didn't show. Grrrrr... The weird thing is that I emailed her (co-worker) assuming that we missed each other? I had been in and out of my front bedroom watching for her and MAYBE she had pulled up and tried ringing my doorbell that doesn't work. She never responded, so I think she just didn't come (forgot?) . Whatever. People make mistakes, but pretty immature to not admit to it. I took another $60 cab ride.

I'm getting a ride to Blaine Target tonight where RR will pick me up in exchange for a Mountain Dew Amp. Big Beef is delivering my car to my house tonight with a brand new fuel pump.

All this with money I don't have. Blah.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Habit forming pitfalls

Okay, last week was not a stellar training week and I did not do very well in re-instilling the training habit.

This past weekend we were up at the cabin, where we mountain biked, swam, and enjoyed the up north. We tried very hard (too hard, probably) to rent a boat (ski boat OR a canoe), but it never worked out. The neighbor offered us the use of his ski boat, so we went so far as to buy a bunch of gas and fill up the tank before we realized that the radio had been left on and the battery was dead. Bummer.

Vanessa and I went to Valleyfair last Wednesday. Our favorite ride is the Extreme Swing. It looks like it is pretty ho-hum, but it is awesome! We also have to give big props to the new rollercoaster, the Renegade. Very fun ride.

I watered my strawberries tonight in an attempt to get them to produce some fruit. I may have to expand my garden for next year.

My renter, "The Big One", is moving out at the end of September, so I'll have to find someone new to live with me. RR's previous renter last winter was a very petite little woman whom we called "The Little One." My renter, who is not petite, became called "The Big One."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Treadmill Day 46-52

My goal this week is to continue running near daily to really try to build the habit back up. Even though I did some late night runs last week (considering I'm up at 5:30a for work) I only missed two days.

Saturday, Aug. 9: 6mi (10min/mi) while watching an episode of "Flip This House" and an episode of "Curb...". I enjoy the fact that even the people on "Flip..." run into problems and headaches. Nice to know it's not just me.

Sunday, Aug. 10: Did 18 holes of golf. No running.
Monday, Aug. 11: My b-day. No running.
Tuesday, Aug. 12: No excuse, just no running.
Wednesday, Aug. 13: Went to Valleyfair and ate too much at TGIF's. No running.
Thursday, Aug. 14: Umm... no running.
Friday, Aug. 15: Left for the cabin after work.

Recap: Total of 74.25 treadmill miles (6 for the week).

Thanks, Londell, for pointing out that not only was I too lazy/busy to run, but I was not even able to update the post that automatically popped up Friday night to keep me accountable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love Learning

In my 9th and 10th grade English classes my teacher Mr. Holm used to give out little stickers that said "I love Learning" to the highest scoring papers in class. One of the toughest writing assignments was our papers on "The Old Man and the Sea" (and I still like to argue with people the possibility that Hemingway was simply writing a story about a guy and a fish with no deeper meaning). A perfect score was 75/75, so he started at the top asking, "Anyone get a 75?" Nope, no one had. "A 74?" Nope. "73?" 1 person, maybe. He kept working his way down the line, giving stickers to the few people who had those scores. Finally he gets to "67?" I hesitate, then raise my hand saying, "I got 67%" The class cracked up, as did Mr. Holm, and I did get my sticker.

I'm not completely shallow (as the 67% might suggest). I wrote my senior paper in college on the topic of death and dying in two Russian short stories (Tolstoy). My Russian advisor Prof. Jahn was very knowledgeable, and I loved the couple Russian literature courses I took with him.

Taking all that info in stride, however, my blog book reviews will probably always remain short and to the point.

The first weekend of August I started reading "Touching the Void". This was a very fast, easy, interesting read. I actually bought the book and movie for my dad several years ago, so I was familiar with the story. I admit to skimming some sections at the end when the guy had almost saved himself because I knew how the story ended and time is precious.

Right now I'm reading "No Shortcuts to the Top". This is VERY good, and has again been a very fast, addicting read. All these mountain climbing books have been very gripping.

Valleyfair; and a question

Vanessa took the day off of work and she and I are going to Valleyfair to celebrate my b-day today. It looks like the start of another nice day.

I have a Noodles gift card that I used almost completely up last night. The card has a credit of $0.19 and weighs approximately 4 grams. Is it worth it to continue to carry in my purse? For how long (taking the weight and value into consideration)? Could this be a trick math question for a high schooler... If a gift card weighing 4 g holds a value of 19 cents, how much did the card weigh at its initial $10 value? (answer, if this weren't a trick question, would be 210.53 g)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My best game of golf

Today I had my best game of golf ever.

Yesterday we went to Greenhaven (in Anoka) and golfed the front 9 holes. I scored a 62 which is above average for me. RR gives me a hard time for all the lucky shots I get: the ball goes right between two trees (with an inch to spare on each side), lucky bounces in just the right direction, etc.

Back to Greenhaven today. I scored a 57 on the back 9! That's by far the best I've golfed there; usually I'm in the mid to high-60's. It was still a nice night after we finished 9 so we decided to do the front 9 again. This time I scored 65, which was much more average for me.

Beautiful day to be outside.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Treadmill Day 39-45

My goal this week is to get back into the habit of running near daily, even if I can only do short runs. I've been so busy with house buying, house repair, camper buying, etc. that I have not had a regular running routine since December/January.

Saturday, Aug. 2: Got in a quick 5mi (10min/mi) before leaving for the cabin. This length run fits 2 episodes of "Curb..." very well.

Sunday, Aug. 3: Squeezed in a quick 5mi (10min/mi) after getting back from the cabin. (I'm counting the run as Sunday's run, even though it began after midnight).

Monday, Aug. 4: Was on the phone until midnight. Foolishly thought about running, but dozed off before I got there.

Tuesday, Aug. 5: Did 5mi (10min/mi). Finished the first season of "Curb..." and moved on to Season 2. It's definitely growing on me.

Wednesday, Aug. 6: The first time this week I started a run before 11pm. Did 5mi (10min/mi) and will probably be in bed before 10:30pm.

Thursday, Aug. 7: Nope, no run. Cleaned house over at Party Central and bought paint with a special Home Depot Coupon for the future exterior painting project. Was just TOO tired.

Friday, Aug. 8: 5mi (10min/mi). Ate too much b-day cake at work today and a full stomach made this not the most comfortable run of all time.

Recap: Total of 68.25 treadmill miles (25 for the week). I did successfully meet my week's goal of getting some consistent running in. Although I did short runs that weren't really fast, I wasn't the most comfortable, and I am not sure why.

(Actually, now that I think about it, I really haven't done much actual running either of the last two summers. I think it's the heat that makes me not want to run. Last year I did a lot of walking at an incline training for Wyoming. The year before I did some running, but my treadmill at that time was in my air conditioned townhouse.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Congrats to my mom

Everyone congratulate my mom, who told me she just got through her first month after quitting smoking. Congrats!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Deck at Party Central

We refer to my house in Anoka as "Party Central". This name came about when the Enforcer and Big Scotty were going to live there together. Alas, the Big Scotty thing didn't work out, but the name has stuck.

Before leaving for Wyoming Randy blasted out the old concrete patio slab at Party Central with the intention of replacing it and the patio door after we returned. (He also did all my concrete work at my house in Coon Rapids, so I know he does really good work with concrete as well as everything else).

Last week we got to talking: Party Central has a deck that runs 2/3rds of the way across the back of the house. The strange thing about this deck is that it is about 2 feet off the ground with no step up to it. We would either have to keep the concrete at ground level (a step down from the patio door) and add a wooden step to the deck or have the concrete level to the patio door but have an inconsistent step size from the concrete to the surrounding ground (which would look weird). Then RR came up with the idea of building a continuation of the deck at the lower level (one step down from the original deck, level with the patio door). The deck would flow nicer and look more complete.

RR also painted the deck. This army brown color (brown with a hint of green) will be the color I repaint the house somewhere down the road.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Treadmill Day 34; "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

I started Season 1 last week and am now about 4 episodes into it. I have 5 of the 6 seasons at my house right now, on loan from my dad. The show comes highly recommended by him and my brothers. Thus far I am amused, but not yet drawn into it. Some scenes really crack me up; others are a little slow. I think this might end up being a show that is better watched sitting on a couch instead of running on a treadmill.

Ran 9.75 miles today. 8 miles at 7.1mph (8m30s miles). Did two miles at a time with a minute or so drink break and rest which I really needed. Also did 10 sets of 0.06mile intervals of 10mph.

Last week I did 5.5 miles on 7/19. Also did some intervals (1 minute at 9mph x 4) for a total of 2.75 miles on 7/22.

Total treadmill miles: 43.25.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Travel Trailer

We (the Fab 4) are finishing up purchasing a travel trailer for ourselves.

It's a 2000 Flagstaff Shamrock 21' camper. The pictures are not of the actual one we're buying (we're not buying one from a dealer in WA), but the pictures ARE what ours looks like.

I'll have 1/6 ownership in it, as will the Enforcer. R and V will each have 1/3 ownership, as they will be using it for MN hunting in the fall. Essentially I'll be paying about $40/month. We'll use the camper for trips to Wyoming the next few years, saving a LOT of money in hotels and also giving us a way to bring our mountain bikes with us.

We'll hopefully have it in time for next weekend to go up north.

My goals

I have too many goals, probably. A multitude of goals keeps me from moving very fast towards any of them, but I don't seem to mind too much.

Like many runners, I want to run a marathon in every state. As I really only run 1 marathon a year on average, I should be able to do it by the time I'm... 76-78 years old. I started in 2003, but my first marathon was in Jamaica (not even a state, for you who are geographically behind). And I've done the Marine Corps marathon, but I better not count it as I did it in someone else's name.

I've done a handful of 50k's (3), a 50 miler, a 100 miler. These I accomplished before I even knew these were goals: I kind of stumbled into them (and through them, now that I think about it).

I've qualified for Boston and ran it, and don't really feel the need to do that again.

Although I'd like to do Superior 100 again in September, I have this feeling I'm going to retire from ultras for the rest of 2008. Why? My money is committed elsewhere (I've done a ton of house renovation in the last year on two houses and need to pay off those bills). I don't have the time off from work (I've used up a TON of my PTO (paid time off)). I also haven't had the time to train for anything. This doesn't mean I couldn't do it (I probably still could), but I won't be doing any better than last year. My thoughts right now are instead of doing Voyageur (which is half over right now, so obviously I'm not doing it) and Superior, I'll pick a late fall marathon and train and try to break 3:30, my next marathon goal (current PR is 3:38:12).

Haven't decided for sure yet, but that's the way I'm leaning.

"To The Top"

I think I'm going to add "Climb to the highest point in all 50 states" to my to-do list.

I've already done MN: Eagle Mountain in October 2002 with RR. And on our way home from Wyoming we went to SD's High Point: Harney Peak (elevation 7242ft). It's just southwest of Mount Rushmore.

Here's a picture of the little castle thing at the top of the peak (I told you I took more pictures in Wyoming than just the car trunk).

It's about a 6 mile hike to the top and it was a beautiful day. Harney Peak is in Custer State Park. What I saw of it was nice, but we literally drove in, parked, hiked, drove out, so I'm certainly not the expert.

Wyoming book review

I have slightly different hours than my friends do: I am up at 5:30a every day to be at work by 6:30a. With traffic I often don't get home until 5:30p-6p at night. Granted I do get some half days off and even some full days off during the week, so I can't say that I literally work these hours every day M-F. But in general it's safe to say I'm an early riser.

My friends are NOT. Eforce works 2nd shift throughout the school year, suffering with day hours only June-August. RR is naturally a night hour and when given the choice, would rather start mid-late morning.

So whenever we travel, I am always careful to bring along a book so I'm not bored as I wait for everyone to get moving. No, they're not lazy... we do a TON, but it typically happens in the afternoon and evenings.

Here's what I brought and read in Wyoming this year. My reviews are short:

"Let's Not Go to the Dogs Tonight": I was not super impressed by this one. I read a few books involving African history during our trips last year, and they were much better. I think my problem was this was more of a story and I wanted more of a history lesson.

"To The Top": Very interesting book about two guys who climbed to the highest point in each state. Gave me a new goal to add to my to-do list.

Cider House Rules:
I really like John Irving and he again didn't disappoint me.

Into Thin Air:
Loved it. It's a pretty easy read and a good story. The first book in a long time that kept me up into the wee hours of the night reading, not wanting to stop. I went to the library last week and picked up about 6 more books about Mt. Everest.

Them: I am not impressed. I'm about 130 pages into it mainly because it was the last book I had and the trip wasn't yet over. I renewed it from the library, but I don't think I'm going to finish it.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Where were you in 1986?

That was 22 years ago.

I was in third grade at Forest Hills Elementary School in Eden Prairie, MN. My teacher was Mr. Just, who might know, as he's a local (Twin Cities) runner. I think he passed me at Trail Mix. I was able to pick him out as 1) I knew he'd be there and was looking for him, and 2) he doesn't look that much different, relatively speaking, over the course of the last 22 years. I on the other hand have grown quite a bit between the ages of 8 and darn close to 30.

1986 was also the year that some people carved "1986" into the bottom of a couple pop cans and pushed them underneath a rock at the summit of a random peak in the Bighorns. If you're reading this, whoever you litterers are, the cans had just barely started to fade, so yes, they DO last a long time, and no, you don't need to experiment in this irresponsible way anymore.

18 holes

Sunday was so gorgeous that we went out golfing. The way we golf is with RR and I golfing and V and E acting as caddies. It works pretty well, considering.

I'm not a good golfer, but as I started golfing 6 years ago and go out about 1-6 times per season and have only taken 1 formal lesson, I give myself some credit. We did 9 holes two times. The first time I scored a 52; I improved by 3 strokes to 49 for the 2nd time through (4 holes the same, 2 worse holes, and 3 better holes).

I'm off work tomorrow afternoon so maybe if I get some stuff done around the house I'll go out again on my own.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Treadmill Day 24; Finished the show

Treadmill day 24 (7/18/08): I finished Season 6 of "24" on Monday. I did 5.25 miles. I did a couple of 9 minute miles, a couple of 10 minute miles, and then some walking at an incline (1-13%).

I only had 1.5 episodes of "24" left, and after not watching it for over two weeks and the fact that I even started in the middle of an episode, I found that I didn't really care and was not too much into it.

Season 6 of "The Shield" comes out in September and I can't wait. The cliffhanger at the end of Season 5 is huge.

Total Treadmill miles: 25.25

What happened to treadmill days 4-23? 4-6 was getting ready for Wyoming and 7-23 were the trip. My poor treadmill must have felt pretty lonely, dejected, and confused to have come into my home and not been used.

The Wilderness? At Midnight? Part 2

This year we decided that we would be very careful to not be hiking in the wilderness after dark (much). Part of the reason is that we were planning on going into the Absaroka Mountain Range (the same range that Yellowstone is a part of, but we would be south of the park) and the Absaroka's definitely have grizzlies. We were going to take it seriously (because you HAVE to).

Our first night of camping in the wilderness was on Thursday, 7/3. We had planned on camping in the wilderness off of some forest road and then cutting through the wilderness to climb Loaf Mt. As we got a late start that day (you'll learn that this is a common theme) we decided that we'd just hike towards the moutain and scope it out to climb the next day.

Have I mentioned that the Force has really bad eyes? And really bad feet? He has hiking poles (that have compasses built in) that he uses to help keep his balance when hiking. He also carries a pair of binoculars for all of us to use. He has a knife and a water bottle holder for his belt.

The Bighorns really don't have grizzlies. A person still needs to be careful for black bear mamas and their cubs, but it's not quite as dangerous as the Absarokas, so we decided that we didn't need to bring in more than one container of bear spray. We had the Enforcer carry it as he needs the practice of being able to grab it and get the safety latch off.

We left camp at about 3p and got to the tree line about 2 hours later. We were at the foot of an unnamed peak that was between us and Loaf that we would have to go up and down and then back up Loaf. RR, V, and I decided we'd climb to the top of unnamed peak to see what we could see, leaving E on a rock down below. By the way, we do have walkie-talkies that have weather radios, so we can be in contact with anyone we "leave on a rock".

We climbed up and started back down. Realizing that the best route back to camp (that we could now see due to the higher vantage point) would have us coming down unnamed peak more to the east. We got on the walkie talkie and asked the Enforcer to move east, away from the setting sun (it was probably 7p or so now).

As we got closer to the point where we should be able to see E as we descended, we got concerned as he was not where we'd expected. We walkie-talkied him and he told us he was going back to where he'd previously been sitting because he'd forgotten his binoculars. Dam it, Eforce. We had stressed to him, before we left him, BE SURE TO HAVE ALL YOUR GEAR WITH YOU! We waited awhile, called him again. Where was he? He was going back to where he'd been sitting because he'd forgotten his hiking sticks. WHAT?! We told him to stop moving, because at that point we didn't know exactly where he was, and since he is not good with directions, we didn't trust that he wasn't at this point just wandering around in the forest (we'd left him out in the open with the forest behind him and only rocks and peak ahead and to the side.

We had him yell, and we could hear him and knew where to look. We could finally see him and knew where we'd have to go to get back to him.

"Eforce," said RR, "we're making our way back to you now. Stay put. We'll need the bear spray to get us out because it's going to be dark. You have the bear spray, RIGHT?!"


So do you get it? Eforce had forgotten his bear spray at one rock, his hiking sticks at another rock, had gone back to look for his binoculars (which I guess were in his pocket the whole time), and had unknowingly dropped and lost both a pen, his chapstick and a pack of kleenix (the last three items RR found later, all in different locations).

We stayed, scouring the rocks for a good hour, trying to jog the Forcer's memory as to wear he was sitting. Eagle eye RR found the hiking sticks right away, but it finally got too dark to find the bear spray.

So we hiked through the wilderness in the dark again, getting back to camp at midnight. We decided from now on when we hike up peaks we'll leave E in camp serving as "camp guard".

**UPDATE** One week later, 7/10/08, we did succeeded in climbing Loaf Mountain (just under 12000'). The Enforcer, newly outfitted in a fanny pack with securely closing zipper pockets and sporting a new container of bear spray, tagged along to the tree line again to find the old container of bear spray (which he did). He sat on a rock (no moving allowed) for 5 hours as RR, V, and I bouldered up and down and up and down and up and down to Loaf Mt and back.

The Wilderness? At Midnight? Part 1

Last year (2007) we went out to the Bighorns twice to climb Cloud Peak (13,175'). The first trip we didn't have very good information about the best route and we ended up climbing Bomber Mountain. We decided to make a abbreviated trip over Labor Day solely to climb Cloud Peak (which we did).

Climbing Cloud Peak requires us to travel off trail, across real wilderness. I would trust myself to lead myself about 70%. I trust RR to lead us 100%.

We got a late start last fall, leaving camp about 12:30p, mainly because all the other 3 were feeling effects of the altitude (camp was at 10000') to varying extents because we had no time to ease into acclimation. I felt fine.

We made fairly good time up the mountain, considering. We reached 12400' at about 5:15p, where we left V and E on a rock for RR and I to finish to the summit. EForce has VERY bad feet (very flat and bowlegged), but has done really well on the backpacking and climbing we've led him on. V was having some altitude-related bruising on her chest and felt she couldn't go further either. We told them we'd be back in an hour.

Well, it took longer than an hour. RR was feeling pretty dizzy and headache from the altitude, as well as having a tougher time breathing. I noticed the lack of oxygen, too, but nothing else. But the closer we got to the summit, the less we were willing to turn around. We figured if we could be out of the rock bouldering section by dark, we'd be able to make it back to camp fairly easily.

We didn't make it out of the bouldering area before dark. I think we'd just barely started the bouldering (about 2 miles worth, down the mountain). Since it was dark, it made it that much harder to move with any sort of speed. RR was very nauseas and I had to take over navigating for a little bit. V was pretty freaked out. The Enforcer almost walked himself off a 10' ridge (missed the switchback) and luckily RR caught him in time. We found out the Force, for some unknown reason, had not worn his contacts!

We got back to camp at 12:30a. We resolved that this year we would NOT be coming back to camp that late.

My only picture

Actually, that's not true; I did take more than one picture by the time we got home, but for the first 14 days of the trip this was the only picture I had in my camera. And it was taken in RR's driveway before we left.

I am in charge of packing the gear in the car, which is no small feat. We rent an Impala for the better gas mileage and we fit 4 grown adults and all their gear into the trunk. The trunk has to be packed pretty specifically, making sure to not allow any dead space behind larger items, and fitting all the small stuff in the nooks and crannies. I am able to do this. I am sure RR could, but he's in charge of the more important things (like taking us through the wilderness to get back to camp in the middle of the night). V and the Force are NOT able to load the trunk. I know this because I let them give it a shot one time. I completely loaded 2/3rds of the trunk, making use of all the space. All they had to do was to load two backpacks and two duffel bags. Well, they for some reason decided they had to rearrange my loading (?!?) and when they "finished" they couldn't get the last backpack in. "What happened" RR asked, "What more did we put in the trunk?" I took over, re-loaded, and ended up with EXTRA room.

Kudos to me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Still alive...

I wish I could say that I intentionally had my last post predicting a bear attack to be followed by 3 days of silence. Man, that would have been awesome to have planned it that way!

Actually I aimed to squeak out as many posts as I had could sneak in before leaving. My goal was one to pop up each day, but I ran out of time to get any in for after the 10th of July.

Never did get back to a computer after the 3rd of July, so there were no more real time updates.

I have a bazillion emails to go through (both work and personal), a stack of mail 6" high, and I have to dive back into work in less than 5 hours. I guess that's what is to be expected when one takes a 16 day vacation.

I'll try to update tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beware the Bear

My prediction: Today is the day that we get mauled by a grizzly. With 4 canisters of bear spray you'd think at least 1 of the 3 not being mauled would be able to give it a blast. Right? Right? We'll also have a handgun with us, as V as her conceal/carry permit.

I've seen a grizzly and a black bear on the side of the road in Yellowstone. Also saw a black bear up in northern MN last spring.

I've seen many a moose as well.

I saw baby foxes at Savanna Portage a few weeks ao

Oh no... I take that back! I don't really believe that by saying it I'm jinxing us, but maybe I shouldn't even go there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

60's music

It is because of the Grassroots (the band) that I work in the eye business.

I was changing tracks on my car CD player in January of 1998 when I rear-ended someone. I needed a part time job so applied at Walmart. I was hired by the Vision Center and worked my way into being an optician, eventually transition from part time to full time. I decided in 2004 to move to the medical side of the field as opposed to the selling glasses side. Now here I am.

A person can still regularly hear music from the 60's and 70's on the radio, in stores, out and about, even though 30 to 40 years have passed. Thank you, Baby Boomers. Can you imagine walking into a store in 2033 and hearing Justin Timberlake, Fergie, and others STILL being played?

I'm not being critical as I like 60's and 70's music. Best concert I ever went to was the Eagles. I've seen Fleetwood Mac, Neil Diamond, Temptations.

I saw the Temptations and the Four Seasons at Mystic Lake in 1996. Yes, I did, when I was 18 years old. The Temptations sounded better, but that's because they replaced the dead singers/old singers with new, younger models. Sorry, I really have no clue about the life-status of the individual members... all I know is that there were 5 singers and at least a few were young enough to have obviously not been an original member. The Four Seasons were not as good of sound quality, but it was 3 old guys (probably original). Just an observation, not a judgement.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Where I'd like to live

I have this idea that I'd like to live in Boulder some day, but I think realistically it is way too liberal of a town. Denver would be an better option. Considering I own two homes in the Twin Cities, however, this is probably not something that is happening any time soon.

I lived for 9 months in Washington DC. Current politics bore me; past politics (history) interests me. Washington DC is too "current". I worked as a waittress at a bar and the bar was packed for the state of the union address. All in all I enjoyed living there. I was surprised to find that there were many options to get out of the city and into the wilderness within just an hour or two (similar to the Twin Cities). I did some hiking in Shenandoah amongst other places.

I would not like to live where it was humid (southeast).

Monday, July 7, 2008


Some of these posts most be awfully boring, as I am just spitting out random stream-of-consciousness type ramblings.

One book I tried reading that I just couldn't handle was James Joyce's "Ulysses." Couldn't do it.

I also had a bit of a hard time getting into Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", although I did manage to finish it. I loved "Apocalypse Now". I like most war movies in general.

I've read a ton of Russian literature (it was my major), a lot of history (especially Russian history).

On the trip this year I brought a memoir on Africa, "Cidar House Rules", and two others I can't think of.

I really recommend "Lone Survivor" (I brought on trip last year). VERY good book. I also brought another book on African history last fall that was very good--can't remember the title. It was about the genocide and murder and what-not in Rwanda, Somalia, and the Sudan.

I have a key chain from Khartoum, brought to me by a co-worker in Washington DC who went there to visit family. That bit of info is TOTALLY stream of consciousness.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Costa Rica

I am NOT in Costa Rica right now, although I'd love to go sometime. Today is my cousin's 30th b-day and she and her sister were going to Costa Rica. I'm a little bit jealous, but I'm enjoying myself in Wyoming right now so all is good.

I spent a week in Mazatlan in 2003 and came back with a broken foot.

I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta in 2005.

I spent a month in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2000.

I spent a 8 weeks nannying in Washington, DC in 1998. Also lived there for 9 months in 2004-5.

I worked for Northwest Airlines in 1998 and went to Houston (Galveston), Washington DC, a day trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, a day trip to New York City, and a weekend trip to San Francisco.

I've spent time in both San Francisco and New Orleans for work conferences, but really haven't done any touristy stuff during those trips as I really enjoy the courses I attend.

Oh, and I have a funny picture I'll post at some point, maybe. In the 1997 camping trip out west I posted about a few days ago, PeeWee and I posed in front of a well in Hungry Horse, MT (the friendliest "dam" town in the west) that was graffiti-ed with the phrase "tourists suck". We made sure to put on all the tourist-y gear we could find... cameras, binoculars, holding maps.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

More Math Fun

Here's how my brain works: (well, not in its entirety)

My friends Vanessa and Tim got married on 9/27/03. This came about at TGIF's when I was eating dinner with them and discussing possible wedding dates. I really pushed for this option (out of the other possible September/October Saturdays) for a reason that seemed fairly obvious to me but involved me scrawling some notes on a napkin. If they got married on 9/27/03 they could choose to write their anniversary date as 3 squared, 3 cubed, 3-to-the-first-power. I thought that would be pretty cool.

Friday, July 4, 2008


In 1997 my friends Nora, PeeWee, and I drove out to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. We were young (18) and crazy, driving the entire way out there. Almost drove off the road in the park we were so tired!

Highlights include searching Lincoln, MT for the Unabomber's cabin. We never found it and later learned we couldn't have found it because it was taken to CA for the trial. Also memorable was our night in the rain in the tent in the middle of bear country, too afraid to leave the tent with water seeping in through the tent seams. Over the course of the night we had less and less non-wet sleeping bag-age. I had to go to the bathroom and had the Simon and Garfunkle song "I am Rock" in my head (as we had only an "island" of dry sleeping bag to share).

Nora brought three cameras with her. One she dropped down the side of a mountain. A second died when it fell into a creek with her. I don't recall off hand if the third made it back or not.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dude ranch

Last year we thought that we were going to go to a Dude Ranch this summer, either near Sundance, WY (where the pretty girl waittress that the Enforcer likes works) or down near Laramie. I even bought myself a cowboy hat. Eforce bought cowboy boots in Wall, SD. Yet plans changed and we are not doing that this year. Maybe next year. So much to do, but too little time and money.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Real Vacation UPdate #2

I didn't even plan on bringing my Nike Free's on the trip. I was going to bring my hiking shoes (Inov8) and my sandals. The Free's were so dang comfortable, however, that I did bring them. I got to thinking before the first hike that I should try hiking in them, since I do know that some ultra-runners run mountain ultras in very minimalistic shoes. So our first hike (10 mile) I wore them. What I noticed: They are comfortable. I have a good feel of the ground that is great for balancing on logs. When they get wet they dry very quickly. However I think I would have to train a little more because my feet were kinda sore when I got back to the car. Think 80- miles- into- Superior-ouch- that- kinda- hurts- oh- well- sore (not pure hell 90 miles in soreness). Also when they are wet (or I can imagine sweaty) my feet kind of slip around a bit, making it a little more difficult to do any bouldering if the boulders aren't flat. Also they don't cover my ankle bone (whatever that is called) which could cause an injury if I bang it just right. For the record my Inov8's don't cover that bone either.

Yesterday we were rained out of Hazelton Peak as well. We did do a late afternoon cross-country off-the-trail hike over a couple peaks (probably about 11 miles between 7500' and 9500'). RR is the only person I will follow into the woods not fearing for myself or that I need to pay super good attention and be able to lead us out; I trust him completely (even more than myself). He took us on an 11 mile loop that got us right back to the car. Amazing!

Today we are going to climb Loaf Mt. (11,200'). Darton is still snow covered.