Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Down to the Wire

We move in 2 weeks! I can't believe it. I'm just moving down the street, but Jason will be in San Diego! I can't wait to meet him but my stuff is going well; I may want to finish up a 3rd paper after I defend in December...I don't know. We'll see. I feel panicked when I think about all I want to do. Have to do...
I'm running around like crazy before my sister gets here this evening. I'm very excited. I want to show her a good time but stick to my routine too. It's hard. Lab is crazy busy, and I'm giving lab meeting this week. All these distractions.
I cleaned the house this morning and gardened so everything would be nice for my sister and the party this weekend. It hit me that this was the last time ever that I'd be cleaning this house. I was actually glad. It's a gi-normous house! This is the last time my sister will visit me in this house. This is the last party we will have on this scale for a long time.
We are loading up the truck in a week! Oh, my God! I still have a ton of packing to do! I know it won't be that bad, but I feel panicky. I can't wait to get started so I feel in the flow of it, and I'm not just worrying about it. I just can't believe it's already time to move again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cool flier for our party. Posted by Picasa

Gratuitous cute bunny photo of the day: Taz dancing with dolls.  Posted by Picasa

Question of the Day:

Honestly, how do you reconcile aging and getting older with grace and satisfaction? Especially for women when we live in a society where youth and beauty are so highly valued? How can you look forward to the inevitable decline of physical, mental, and sexual prowess?

Productive, Novacaine, and kiddie collisions

Yesterday was so productive. I hope I can keep this feeling. After waking up super early for a run and running around in lab like a chicken with its head cut off (poor chicken), I sped off to the dentist to get a filling replaced.
Yuck. I hate Novacaine shots! They were very nice. He did a very good job. I barely felt a thing. Plus, they turned on Animal Planet while they worked so I got to hear about monkeys and elephants--definitely a plus. 40 minutes later, he was done and warning me about not eating until the Novacaine wore off. I looked at him, confused:
"What do you mean? It's already worn off."
"Are you sure?"
"Well, I think so. I can rub my tongue over the gum where you gave the injection, and I feel it."
"Wow. I guess it's worn off. That's some pretty potent stuff I gave you. It's a good thing I didn't give you the short-acting Novacaine. You must have a really fast metabolism."
"Oh. Really?"
"Don't worry. That's a good thing."
I personally thought it was a bit freaky. I don't want stuff wearing off in the middle of an operation! Anyway, I was fine by the time I left the office. I popped into a fancy-schmancy grocery store next-door and did all the grocery shopping. (See, Jason? I can too do it.) I whisked home and let Jason into the house (he forgot his key) and we had a nice dinner of sushi, sticky rice, and strawberries. We digested and watched Nanny 911 (a good way to confirm my decision not to have kids). I ran upstairs to feed the hungry buns and then, Jason and I sped off to the gym to go jump in the pool.
I had a very nice swim. I really got into my groove and just swam. I loved it. That's why I like swimming solo instead of taking classes. When I took a master's class, I was always worried about what everyone was thinking. I like taking the occasional private and working solo. It's more fun. Maybe I'd improve faster the other way, but I'd have less fun. Some people get a lot out of the classes, and that's great. I guess I'm sort of anti-social. I'm just looking for that escape--that release.
The only annoying thing was that these kids kept jumping into the lane while we were swimming and hanging out there. Jason held back, waiting for them to move. I paused, observed that they were not planning on moving anytime soon, and were just being rude snots. I plunged onwards, kids in my path or not. I figured a good collision might teach them a lesson. Jason got the idea and followed suit. He's much more intimidating than me. The kids got the idea and scrambled out of the way. I still think I accidentally swiped a few of them with my outstretched hand during the downward portion of my stroke. Oops. People don't realize that, if you're swimming freestyle properly, you can't see anything in front of your path. And that even though you're in water, it hurts when a swimmer hits you.
Anyway, yesterday was fun and busy. Today is very busy. I'm trying to get everything ready for the party this weekend and my sister's arrival tomorrow. It's a good motivation to get the house cleaned....

Monday, July 25, 2005

Out of It

I'm trying to get more accomplished this week. I have to present at lab meeting on Friday, my sister comes on Wednesday, and we have a huge party on Saturday, so I have some incentive to get a ton done.
It's been hotter than hell here so the only way to run outside is to do it first thing in the morning. Quite a challenge for the non-morning person. Somehow, I got out of bed at 6:30, and Jason and I went out for a very nice 4.5 mile run. Although it was around 90 already with the heat index, it was doable. Better than running on the treadmill. More interesting, at least.
I think waking up so early put my brain on a different frequency from everyone else. (Jason says it's the squirrel wavelength). As I was running, these two guys came up behind me on bikes shouting, "Yeah, Baby. Alright. That's what I'm talking about." I didn't even realize they were talking about me until they passed me. I thought it was part of the track on the song I was listening to on my iShuffle.
Later, I told Jason of my ignorant moment and he laughed. He was making fun of me and jamming along, singing, "That's what I'm talking about." I looked at him with a weird look on his face. "The Happy Cow?" I asked. He looked at me funny. I swear! That's what I thought he said! Jeez. I'm losing my hearing at 27. I'm going to turn into my Dad.
Driving Jason to work, he was warning me about all the construction going on around the building where he works. I got all confused again. So much so, I couldn't speak. He looks at me and says, "What are you confused about?"
"You work at a different place now?" I asked, totally out of it. Jeez. What is wrong with me?
That's not all. Then, he was talking about slow, fat people trying to make it across the street in front of oncoming traffic. I was listening to him and this commercial on the radio simultaneously about spaying and neutering pets. "Not going to make it, Shamu!" Jason says. I replied, "Yeah, but at least people are trying."
"What?" he says, giving me a weird look.
"You know. You got to start somewhere."
"What are you talking about?"
"Spaying and neutering pets...Oh."
"Maybe you should just go home."

Maybe I should.

Highlights of my Weekend

1. Got home late Friday night and crashed on sofa while stuffing face.
2. Slept in Sat. morning while Jason diligently went for morning run.
3. Spent 5 hours at main bunny foster house cleaning poop and pee out of 16 cages. Felt very proud of myself for working so efficiently.
4. Went home and crashed.
5. Dragged myself to lab for 5 dreaded minutes.
6. Saw War of the Worlds. Not impressed but enjoyed movie popcorn and bittersweet chocolate Toblerone. Mmmmmmm.
7. Slept in on Sunday while Jason made pancakes and coffee.
8. Proceeded to stuff self with pancakes and then drift off to sleep in bloated, insulin-loaded, postprandial state.
9. Dragged self all over town searching for inflatable pool for upcoming party--went to Party City, Lowe's, WalMart, Target, and Toys'RUs before giving up.
10. Barely made it home before almost melting into pavement from walk from garage to house in 110 degree weather with 120 degree heat index.
11. Escaped from 5th ring of hell into nicely cooled, air-conditioned house.
12. Proceeded to take 2nd nap of day while snuggling next to Tazzer-schmazzer mookie bear.
13. Woke up confused and sweaty--made myself change litterboxes.
14. Finally did some exercise--slammed coffee and went to basement to lift weights.
15. Had very successful bonding session with Oscar, Babs, and Taz.
16. Could not convince self to go to lab and take care of cells and drifted off to sleep, feeling very guilty and thinking about all the stuff that still needs to get done.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Took a 180

Another Friday is here, and all I can think about is all I have to do. Remember the "Healthy Body Image" post yesterday. Well, I feel like I've taken a 180 today. I'm not perfect!
I feel very guilty about bingeing on Pepperidge Farm cookies (plus a giant, gooey chocolate chip cookie earlier), not exercising, and sleeping late the next morning (today) so I couldn't squeeze a workout in the morning. I hate when I can't control my temptations (sleeping in, napping at 5, bingeing on cookies). Seems like this is always what I resort back to; why do I constantly feel like I'm fighting it? Some days, I feel soooo good, and others, I feel totally helpless.
Today, someone brought ice cream cake--that was my lunch--way to ruin a new day. I had a total blood sugar crash later on. Ugh. I'm trying really hard to make each day a new day and not feel like I'm playing catch-up all the time. You can't make up for lost time, and it drives me crazy anyway. So I try to forget the slow days and take each day as a new day. But it's hard. Everything is such a battle for me. I'm tempted to do multiple workouts today. I can never be satisfied with just one good one. I always want to weight-lift, run, and then swim--in the same day.
Part of it is the whole triathlon-training thing. I guess I need to pull back and be consistent. Doing 1 good workout is better than doing 3 crappy ones. Also, I feel totally overwhelmed with a bunch but if it's just 1, I can look forward to it.
I'm afraid that if I don't spell everything out and just go with the flow, I'll give in to all these terrible temptations and become this huge, apathetic, lazy blob. I rely on this fear to drive me and motivate me. This fear partially explains why I get so much accomplished.
Just goes to show that even though I know in my head how I want to view life and myself, sometimes I can't control my emotions. Anyway, I really want to exercise tonight, but I'm stuck in lab right now. I have to do these experiments with massive amounts of radioactivity, and it freaks me out. And of course, I'm getting very exciting results, which means I have to keep doing these painful, tortuous experiments. I'm trying to slam a lot of coffee to ward off the nap I feel coming on.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Healthy Body Image

I am feeling pretty good about myself. I can't believe the move is coming up in 3 weeks. I try not to think about it. I know I'm on the ball. I actually have anxiety about not having more to do. On the other hand, I feel good about keeping a routine, exercising, gardening, doing chores, and working hard in lab. I feel energized and have all-around good morale.
I've stopped logging in my food journal and counting calories. I am still trying to eat healthfully and limit my dessert intake but I don't need to obsess. I feel good in a bikini! I'm happy about how I look for the first time in a long time. I feel strong and fit and healthy. I know I could be in better shape but I'm in good shape and I feel I have something to work with. I'm not being as hard on myself.
I love the races I've been doing lately. I haven't cared about the times, and I've had a blast. I do them because they're fun. I've even been racing without a watch and I took the cyclometer off my bike (Guess what? I'm going faster!) Same with my workouts. I make them fun. I push when I feel strong and pull back when I'm tired. I listen to my body. I felt very tired yesterday and gave myself a night off. Otherwise, I know I'll burn out quickly and need more than 1 day. It's hard to train for 3 sports + weightlifting simultaneously. So I try to be realistic and do what I can. I still keep a training log and that really helps me keep it all in check.
I think it's important for women to try to love their bodies and not be so hard on themselves. It's such a messed-up, double-standard society we live in. We should appreciate our bodies for what they can do, not how they look. That's why I love exercise and training. It makes me feel good about myself and makes me listen to my body. After a hard run, if my body craves spinach, eggs, tuna fish, and ice cream (it's happened), that's what it gets!
For such a long time I obsessed about my body, my stomach, and what I ate. I was walking a thin line of having a body image disorder and eating disorder, and now I feel like I'm coming back from the brink. I know I can still go there when I'm stressed but lately, I've been very happy with how I look. I know others think I'm crazy. I'm 5'8" and 122 lbs. I do not need to lose weight, and I know this. I should be thankful for my body and enjoy it. I'm enjoying how strong and fast it is. I kick ass!

Highlight of my day (Wed)

I am cancer-free!!!! Yea!!! That's 0-2.

Quote of the Day

"The problem with intelligent-design theory is not that it is false, but that it is not “falsifiable” Since it “immunizes” itself to contradicting evidence, it is cannot provide a hypothesis which may be tested. Hence, intelligent-design is inherently non-scientific, but a tenet of faith which is therefore unsuited to a science curriculum."
David Gergen

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My sister is coming to visit! (I need some updated pics). Wasn't she an adoreable kid? Posted by Picasa

Cassidy--"What's that flashy black thing in my face?" Posted by Picasa

Cassidy--Isn't she cute with her droopy ears? Posted by Picasa

Synopsis of my Life--So Far

Went for a nice run yesterday. Afternoon thunderstorms had brought the temperature (but not the humidity) down somewhat. It's hot out there folks! Take caution. I'm not used to dripping sweat. What's this salty substance running down my face?
The garden looks fantastic! It's hard to have a nice yard in the middle of July in St. Louis. The butterflies, birds, and bees (hmmmm....symbolism?) are flocking to our yard. I've never seen so many finches and cardinals! It's fun just to sit and watch. I guess our hard work is paying off. Not only that, all the exercise is beginning to show. I actually felt confident enough to garden in a bikini this the front yard!!!
The bunnies are opinionated as ever. Cassidy rings her bell and scratches her nails on the bottom of her pen when I'm late feeding her in the morning. I yell at her to stop. She stops for 5 seconds before starting up again. It sounds like nails down a chalkboard. Ugh. Silly girl.
She needs a home. I have to give her back to the "orphanage" in August when I move into a 1-bdrm apartment, and I feel terrible about it. I wish she was going straight into her adopted home (wheverever that may be). She's such a fantastic bunny...very smart...very affectionate, playful, and outgoing...she's like a puppydog. I hate this part of fostering. It's never enough. I tell her that her home is out there somewhere and that she's a wonderful bunny. I give her kisses and scratch her ears. They're all wonderful and special. When you foster, you get to know each one's quirks and special qualities.
Babs is mad at me and a little scared after the bonding sessions. She's been very mistrustful of me lately. I've been giving her lots of kisses. I can't give her too many treats b/c she's gotten so fat! Poor beautiful princess. I feel guilty about her weight.
Oscar and Taz are very happy lately. Oscar knows he's staying, and Oscar loves the excitement of having a new friend. He's been so affectionate! He follows me around and flops down beside me to watch t.v. and get pettings. He gives me lots of kisses and purrs and squeaks in satisfaction.
I'm realizing that the move out of the house is speedily approaching. I feel panicky, even though everything is under control. I've done so much that I feel ancy without more to do! I want to start doing things like going to the zoo and the Botanical Gardens one last time. Plus, we need to go out to George's resting place and say our final goodbyes.
My sister is coming in two weeks!!! Yea!!! We're going to go shopping, play with music, go to Grant's farm, watch movies, and throw a huge BBQ and party! I'm SO looking forward to it. I can have lots of fun and act like I'm 19 again. No more calling me "Mam". (This cashier at Einstein's called me Mam like 6x this morning! Ugh!!!!)
Lab is going terrific. My protein gets phosphorylated in a regulated manner!!! I'm making mutants! Yea! Mutants! All my playing around with radioactivity is paying off. Thank God! I may be able to graduate with 3 published papers! Oh my God!
I have to get an ultrasound of the lump in my breast tomorrow. It's going to take a long time. They may take a biopsy. I'm just glad I'm getting this thing over with so I can make sure it's nothing and move on with my life. Double Ugh.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bunny bonding

I'm so happy with how the 3 buns have been doing. I put them in a pen last night to continue their bonding. Babs is still scared of Oscar. When he goes over to her, she flattens out, growls, and bares her teeth. She runs up to him to bully him, realizes he's bigger, and runs away. Oscar is great. He ignores her or acts bewildered by her actions but is not aggressive at all. Little Taz (1/3 Oscar's size), loves Oscar! He shows off in front of him, bounding circles around him. Taz licks Oscar's face and ears (Oscar loves it) and nibbles on his tail and hind feet (which Oscar amazingly tolerates). I'm just tickled to death with this accomplishment considering it took 6 months for Babs and Taz to bond--I think it will take much less time for the 3 of them to bond. I finally got Babs and Oscar to lie next to each other while I petted them. Taz, feeling left out, did a dive-bomb between them, squeezing his little body into a bunny sandwich. He stretched out like a pancake with his little hind feet sprawled out behind him and licked Oscar's cheek. The three of them laid snuggled up like that for 10 minutes! It was sooooooo cute.

Stoneman Tri

We had a blast at the Stoneman Triathlon in Springfield, IL on Saturday. Set by beautiful Lake Springfield, the swim began at 8:30 a.m. as the hazy, humid sun began to take over. It was a 500 yard out-and-back swim. Everyone was very nice. There was definitely a lot of kicking and hitting as we swam into each other in the murky water but also a lot of "oops" and "I'm sorries" which made it very sportsmanlike. After swallowing a lot of lake water and running into a bunch of people, I found my groove and just swam. It was fun--I didn't miss the chlorine at all.
After emerging from the lake, I slowly trotted up the bank to the transition area, huffing and puffing. I think T1 is underestimated--I always have a hard time adjusting. I was disoriented and dizzy but I had no problem locating my bike since the woman next to me had tied a large butterfly balloon to the rack. I headed for the butterfly, ripped off my goggles and swimming cap, fastened my helmet, and put on my sunglasses, number, socks, and shoes, and trotted off to the road. I took my time and carefully clipped in (usually I end up missing and banging my shins against the pedals, leaving a nasty bruise), knowing that I was still slippery from the lake.
The bike was an out-and-back 12 mile course---mostly flat with a few rolling hills. After a screaming stitch in my side subsided, two miles into it, I found my pace and got comfortable. I passed some people, which was awesome. I have definitely improved on the bike thanks to the trainer. I averaged 17.2 mph (Jason did 18 mph--go him!) and was very happy. Normally, the mean-lean-big-assed female cyclists tear past me and leave me in the dust (I don't know m*a=F?), but this time, I hung on.
We all reached T2 about the same time. I threw on my shoes and took off, tearing past all the big-assed women that passed me on the bike. Their advantage on the bike was a bigger disadvantage on the run. The first mile-and-a-half of the run was nothing but painful. That's it. Pain. Stitch in my side, my stomach, cramps in my legs, my feet. I just focused on moving; keep moving forward. At the turn-around, I hit my stride and zoned out...finally. I finished strong, managing an 8:30 min/mile pace on average.
I finished in a total of 1:18:38--I was very happy. I had just been out for a good workout and a good time, and I got it all! It was great! I may feel like I've been hit by a truck today, but it was great. I'd do it again.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Highlight of my week

It's Friday, time to recap. What was the highlight of your week? Mine was mind-blowing, all-consuming, amazingly fantastic bedtime sex Thursday night. I slept like a baby last night. Thank you.

The hazards of running

Jason and I went for a nice, relaxing 4-mile run last night. It was very humid and thunderheads were rolling in. Sweat ran down my face, dripping off me. That usually never happens. What is this wet, salty fluid? I got into my groove and enjoyed my shuffle mix. I was tranced out as we neared the end. I could see the car in the distance. Either Jason was feeling speedy or I was feeling sluggish. Either way, he was about 20 yards in front of me. I look up, and I see him sprawled atop a bicyclist on the ground! Both of them laid there groaning for a minute before they staggered to their feet. I sprinted over. Jason and a cyclist had collided (luckily they landed in the grass off the path).
The cyclist was a big guy, and, for a moment, I was afraid he was going to kick Jason's ass. However, he was very nice. His bike was okay--except for the seat cover being knocked off and the chain falling off the gear. The big guy didn't fare quite so well. He said he was fine and hobbled away to lick his wounds. He then began walking his bike. At first, I thought it was because his bike was damaged but it became apparent that his leg was obviously sprained as he limped gingerly away. We offered him a ride to his car but he refused. What else could we do?
Jason was a bit luckier. Except for some nasty cuts and scrapes on his arms and legs, he seemed okay. He went home to nurse his wounds with ice, ibuprofen, and neosporin. Hopefully, he'll be okay for the triathlon tomorrow. Poor guy.

Moral? Runners--Look over your shoulder carefully before turning when running. Cyclists--Announce your presence to others before you pass them by saying "On the left!" And finally--accidents happen. Don't make it worse by getting angry (thankfully, in this case, everyone was very courteous.)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A perfect rose on an Old English vine (also in our backyard). Sigh. I love working in the garden.  Posted by Picasa

Blooming clematis vine in our backyard. We thought this vine had died at the beginning of the season. Resurrected! Posted by Picasa

Recent Highlights

My week hasn't really gone as planned. I feel lazy, tired, and unmotivated. I'm trying to be patient and let my body rejuvenate but patience is not something I've mastered. Anyway, here are the recent highlights of the past 24 hours:

Wed. July 13:
Nothing very exciting until--
12:30 p.m. Interesting lunch conversation about strippers and prostitutes in break room with co-worker.
3:00 p.m. Caffeine buzz takes over after making strong pot of coffee. Proceed to entertain other grad students with imitations of bunnies grunting, charging, and begging for food.
5:00 p.m. Overwhelming exhaustion dashes good intentions of going for an afternoon run. Proceed home in a trance.
5:30 p.m. Lay on bed and take a completely selfish nap with happy beginning (talk amongst yourselves).
6:30 p.m. Convince husband to get sushi take-out for dinner (my favorite).
9:00 p.m. Watch "30 Days" with cookies, sundae, Jason, and Mookie-Bear. Mookie-Bear makes happy grunts as I pet him that are absolutely, disgustingly cute. This is the highlight of my day.
10:00 p.m. Feel guilty for the rest of the night for overeating and not exercising. Ugh. I'm in a slump.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hello from Taz! I'm keeping things under control around here. It's a big job but I'm very good at it.  Posted by Picasa

Inside Tazzer-Schmazzer-Mookie Bear's Head

Since my picture has made several guest appearances, I figured I should post my two cents. I'm a middle-aged, 6-year-0ld, laid-back sort of guy. My days are pretty routine--wait for Mom to wake up, eat lots of lettuce and carrots and bananas, play in my litterbox, munch on some hay, and then find a good spot in the sun to lay in and take a nap. I like to lay by my water bowl b/c it helps cool me off. If it gets too hot, I can knock it over and make a nice, little, refreshing puddle for myself (this really pisses Mom off; hee-hee).
Mom is really good to me. I'm a very lucky bun, don't get me wrong. However, sometimes Mom gets in over her head. She's a very busy lady, and sometimes, I have to be patient and wait for her to make time for me. She thinks she can save all the buns in the world and keeps bringing homeless buns into our home. Sigh.
She always gives me at least a few minutes of pettings every day. This is my favorite time of day. If she pets me long enough, I always reward her by grooming her with my tongue. She loves that. This always guarantees more pettings and sometimes even a treat. She also likes it when I purr. I hate it when her hands smell funny though. I wrinkle my nose up and hop away, reminding her to wash her hands and make sure they're clean before she touches me.
I hate it when Babs (my step-sister) hogs all the attention. For some reason, Mom just loves her. I know she loves me too but Babs can be sooo bossy. I don't get it. When Mom ignores me, I always flop over on my back with my little legs sticking up in the air. I don't understand why, but Mom finds this irresistable. I got the idea from Babs. So what if it's stealing. It works!
Mom made me share the house with Babs about 2 years ago. It was a struggle because Babs tried to bully me around and beat me up a lot. We get along pretty well now but I still pretend Babs beats me up when Mom is around, especially at feeding time. This makes Mom feel bad for me and always guarantees attention, kisses, and sometimes even a treat. (I live for treats!) To be fair, Babs does chase me away from the food bowl sometimes so I'm not making it all up. However, Babs and I like to snuggle when Mom isn't looking. It's nice to have another furry, soft bunny to snuggle up to when Mom is busy in the big, outside world.
Lately, Mom has been putting me and Babs on little dates with another bun, Oscar. He's so big! Babs is terrified of him, but I love him! He's SO nice. Very laid-back, just like me. And when I hide behind him, Babs is too scared to go past him so I can hide and get away from her! I'm the littlest of the two so I'm the quickest. I can't wait until Oscar moves in with us.
Sometimes, Mom brings me outside. She thinks I need fresh air and sunshine. I hate it. It's so scary. I just know something is going to get me. I usually scratch at Mom's second skin and try to bury myself under it. Mom doesn't bring out the other buns because she knows I'm the most mature and the bravest. I'm the only one who's brave enough to see who's at the door when the bell rings. This is great b/c guests usually give me treats!
Treats are my favorite. When Mom eats, I like to beg by standing on my hind feet at the table and do a little dance for Mom. If my performance is good enough, I get a treat! Cheerios and Cheez-Its are my favorites. Oh, popcorn is my all-time favorite treat. My favorite night is movie night. Mom and Dad make popcorn and snuggle on the couch. I snuggle with them and get popcorn and lots of pettings--a double bonus. This is just heaven. Especially b/c no other buns are around so I get Mom and Dad to myself.
Dad is great. The other buns are scared of him but he's a gentle giant. He likes to play with me. We play "grunt." He shakes his hand at me and I grunt and charge at it and then turn and leap in the air at the last second. It's hilarious. I like to lie besides Dad when he watches t.v. in the evening. He doesn't like to admit it, but he likes it when I snuggle with him too.
Mom and Dad have been so stressed out lately. My job is to take care of them. They're going to need a lot of calming and soothing in the future. I'll see to it that they chill out.

Random show-and-tell picture--baby calves ("kebbies") from Jason's parents' dairy farm in Wisconsin. This is where he spent his vacation over the 4th of July. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Word of the Day

"Screaming hot"

Sort of a metaphor. Use instead of smokin' hot. Reference is from when high amounts of radioactivity sets off the Geiger counter so that the needle jumps off the meter and the beeps all stream together into one long continuous scream.

"Dude, she's screamin' hot."

What was the best thing that happened to you today?

I like to ask myself this before I go to bed at night. It helps me focus on the positive. It's therapeutic. Today hasn't really gone as I had hoped. Way too much lab, too much exhaustion, too much junk-food eating, too little exercise.

Highlights of my day today:

1. 7:00 a.m. Wake-up sex.
2. 7:45 a.m. Realized there was no electricity.
3. 8:00 a.m. Showered in the darks. Mildly exciting.
4. 8:15 a.m.-9:20 a.m. Cleaned litterboxes w/o vacuum cleaner or a.c.; very strenuous
5. 8:30 a.m. Enjoyed Oscar's antics as he investigated Jason's toes
6. 10:00 a.m. Power returns! A weird part of me is disappointed; the excitement of a new challenge is gone; the normal part of me is relieved.
The good part about the power going out: we realized it was nice enough to turn off the a.c. and open the windows. Ahhh, the fresh smell of rain. Thank you Hurricane Dennis remnants!
7. 10:30 a.m. Had a very positive, productive talk with P.I. This makes my day b/c I can rest easy. I'm still on her good side after her week-long vacation in Italy (jealousy sets in). Phew. Anxiety dissipates.
8. 10:45 a.m. Try to clean radioactivity out of centrifuge rotor (which has been soaking in "Count-Off" overnight) to no avail. My attempts are futile. Rotor is still screaming hot.
This creates a new word of the day: "screaming hot."
9. 11:10 a.m. Guzzle down grande, skim, triple-shot latte. Realize I've become one of those people who drink grande, skim, triple-shot lattes and am ashamed.
10. 11:20 a.m. IBS kicks in, making stomach queasy and achy for next few hours. Probably as a result of the grande, skim, triple-shot latte. Lose appetite for lunch.
11. 3:00 p.m. After running around madly in lab, succumb to overwhelming urge to return to coffe shop downstairs for more caffeine. Decide on green tea alternative to coffee. However, eat disgustingly gargantuan, chewy, gooey chocolate-chip cookie and feel extremely guilty about it afterwards.
12. 3:15 p.m. Endorphins from chocolate kick-in, putting me in a dream-like state of ecstasy. Effects don't last long. They should concentrate the chemicals in chocolate and fashion a new recreational drug out of it. Mmmmmm. Chocolate.
13. 8:16 p.m. Feelings of exhaustion are all-consuming. Still stuck in lab. Realize intentions and desires to exercise will probably not be met tonight. More overwhelming feelings of guilt and failure.

Ugh. What a day. Am looking forward to getting home, vegging on the couch, and watching t.v. This will be the highlight of my day.

Crazy busy--life is normal

Less than a month until the move to San Diego. I feel pretty good about it. We're getting all our final doctor's appts. for the year and have all the utilities lined up, parking permit for the ABF trailer, plane tickets, etc. Check, check. I even have a furnished apartment lined up across the street from lab after Jason moves out. I move into my little loft Sept. 1. I'm excited. It's a very nice place, and I've always wanted to live in a loft. It will be safer and more comfy than living in a big, empty house by myself. And, yes, I'll still have the bunnies.
Simultaneously, lab has been busy, and I've been an exercising fiend. These things have been giving me some semblance of routine and comfort to my life. I'm going to bed and waking up regularly----YES!
After the races I did over 4th of July weekend, I was pooped. I finally jumped into the pool the next day--for the first time in 3 months. It was hard. However, I did it. I just took my time. Right now, I'm focusing on my form and base building. Swimming in sets of 10 laps with active recovery in between.
I've been really enjoying my workouts and not pushing myself so hard. I even took the computer off my bike so I don't focus so much on how fast I'm going. I just listen to my body. And guess what? I'm going faster than ever! Taking the computer off helped. So does working out on the trainer. I love it! Getting better by trying less and having more fun. Works for me!
Friday, Jason and I went for a run. I let him go in front so I could take my time and not kill myself. I wanted to take it easy after the races. The last thing I want to do right now is shred my knees or tear my hip. Usually, I'm so competitive that I get furious when he takes off in front of me, but this time, I was so zen about it! It was great. Plus, I had my shuffle so I just jammed the whole time. Then, we rented a movie, and I dragged my weights upstairs and worked out while watching the movie. Talk about multi-tasking!
Saturday, Jason and I woke up early to get in a swim. Go us for waking up early on a Saturday! I felt so productive. That evening, we jumped on the bike and did loops around Forest Park. Wheeee!
Sunday, we strapped the bikes to the car and went over to Collinsville, IL for a Bicycle Fun Club ride. It was AWESOME and exhausting. I love my bike! It fits me like a glove. The ride was very hilly. We went through three towns and ended up going 33.5 miles. Whew! That's a lot for me. It took us over two hours. The rest of the day, we just ate and slept. I nursed Jason's sunburn with lotion and ibuprofen (poor guy) while I am now sporting a nice (albeit skin-damaging) tan.
It feels so good to be an exercising fiend. This weekend, we're headed up to Springfield, IL for the Stoneman Triathlon! I'm so nervous!

Interactive Question of the Day:

What do you do to relax when you're totally stressed out?

If I can make myself, I go for a quiet run, turn up my music, and forget there's another world out there. Then, I go home and kiss my bunnies.

Quote of the Day

"Go sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up here."
-- Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets

Rachel's List of Recommendations:

1. Recent movies I enjoyed:
Batman Begins
The Jacket
The Machinist
2. Recent purchases I love:
iPod shuffle--It rocks!
swim goggles with corrective lenses
Calvin Klein pleated tankini
3. T.V. show I'm hooked on:
"30 Days"
4. Favorite restaurant in St. Louis:
The Harvest
5. Favorite song to sing while biking:
"I like to move it"
6. Favorite place for dessert:
The Chocolate Bar
7. Favorite place to run:
Forest Park
8. Favorite place to bike:
Trailnet's Bicycle Fun Club weekend rides
9. Favorite fun thing to do during the day:
The Zoo
Missouri Botanical Gardens
10. Favorite place for a day-hike:
Shaw Nature Reserve
11. Places I want to visit before I leave in the area:
Grant's Farm
The Butterfly House

Friday, July 08, 2005

"The Lump"

I had my annual ob/gyn appt. this week. Not a big deal. However, the doctor found a lump in my breast. It's probably not a big deal. Just a cyst. She thinks its related to my period and will probably go away mid-cycle but she had me schedule a follow-up appointment just to be sure. I'm sure it's not a big deal. However, now that's it's been a few days, it's got me thinking. And, being the way I am, worrying. I know what other women must go through when they have to wait for the doctor's verdict. My mother had breast cancer. She's a survivor, but I know she went through hell and back. If it's still there next week, she'll do an ultrasound. In the meantime, I've been checking "the lump" a couple times a day to see if it's changed. It seems smaller to me. But honestly, I can't tell. It's like a scab I can't stop picking. I feel like "the lump" is an unwanted visitor that has taken up residence in my body. It's taking on it's own persona. I'm glad the doctor is taking another look at it next week. That's the only thing comforting me right now as I picture "the lump" grinning like a goblin in my breast.

Little Oasis in My Crazy Life

Things have been a whirlwind of activity, as usual. I'm trying to keep my head above water, but there's always more to do. I wish I could feel like I'm making progress when I accomplish so much so that I could earn some down-time. Maybe this weekend...maybe. Last night, after over a week of successfully waking up early (yea me!), I went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke up at 10 a.m. Oops. Apparently I was tired. Maybe I just needed to rest.
I've been more and more successful at following my rules (e.g. eating healthfully, cutting back on desserts, going to bed early and waking up early, exercising consistently, etc.), which makes me very happy. I feel like I'm in more of a routine. I am finally getting my energy back. Why does relaxing and having fun take so much effort? It's ironic.
Jason got back from Wisconsin. He's my voice of reason. He convinced me not to do the Matoon Triathlon this weekend. I'm tired, and he's not ready. We compromised. We're going to do the Stoneman Triathlon the following weekend, Saturday, July 16th in Springfield, IL. I'll be more rested and the swim is shorter. Plus, the Show-Me-State Games in Columbia is the following weekend. We want to do that too. So I'll still get to do a ton of fun stuff.
In the meantime, I'm getting my exercising legs back. I'm hoping to go on a training bike ride this weekend with the Bicycle Fun Club. I'm also getting ready for the move to San Diego (for Jason) in less than a month. Tying up loose ends. Packing, little by little.
I signed a lease for an apartment across the street from lab where I can live once Jason is gone (with the bunnies). It's safer and not as lonely as being in a big, empty house by myself. Plus, it's furnished so I don't have to move anything afterwards. I'm excited. It's a loft. I've never lived in a loft before, and I've always wanted to. I'm nervous too. Anxiety about all the changes. It's natural, I think.
I've been gardening a lot. It looks great. I love being out there. It's so alive and I love tending to it. I love all the birds that flock to the feeder and bird bath. I love the pollen-laden honeybees lumbering atop the purple coneflowers. I love the butterflies beginning to find their way to the butterfly bush. And every week, a new flower begins to bloom--a happy surprise. A little oasis in my crazy life.

Bicycle Fun Club Ride 7/10 big_bottle_flyer.pdf
Stoneman Triathlon 7/16
Touring Cyclist Duathlon 7/17
Show-Me-State Games 7/24

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quote of the Day

"It wasn't just a rush, but a real sense of pushing yourself — the journey and the training were just as enjoyable as the race."
Kristen Dollard, a yoga instructor in New York City and amateur triathlete.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Word, Quote, and Question of the Day

Word of the Day:
To suddenly increase riding intensity on the bike in order to escape competitors, meet the challenge of a hill, or for other similar reasons.

Quote of the Day:
"Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not."
--Dr. George Sheehan

Interactive Hypothetical Question of the Day:
If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be and why?

Go get 'em Goldfish Girl!

4th of July Race Weekend Recap:

I did it!!! Everything. All by myself. I've been SO productive this weekend.

Saturday: went to lab...helped clean bunny cages (18 of them) at the foster house...ran errands...weight lifted...felt awesome for getting so much done.

Sunday: Fair St. Louis 10K--the fun begins--woke up at 5:30 a.m. for routine pre-race ritual. Got downtown at 6:30 a.m. and got my bearings. Stretched. Went to the bathroom. Retied shoelaces twice. Stretched again. Went to the bathroom again. By the way, Port-A-Potties are disgusting. Learned how to pee standing up very efficiently.
The 10K race began at 7:30 a.m. There was a perfect number of people. About 200-300 or so. Not too many to be overly crowded but enough to be stimulating. The course was all downtown and consisted of lots of rolling hills. The up-hills were a little tough but there were enough down-hills to recover well. I felt fresh and great. Looked at my watch at mile 1. 8:15 and it felt effortless. The weather was perfect. Mid-70s and lots of shade provided by trees lining the streets.
I learned a new trick. Normally, I skip water aid stations. If the race is hard enough, I bring my own sports drink and wear it on a fuel belt. This time, I didn't bring anything since it was only a 10K but I felt thirsty. Uh-oh. That definitely leads to fatigue. I decided to risk stomach cramps and grab some water at the aid station. I tried to take a sip while running. Water sloshed down my singlet. I slowed to a walk, and took 1 generous gulp. I then dumped the rest of the water over my head to cool off. It worked like a charm. I felt refreshed and pumped up after that. No cramps either! And, the few steps of walking didn't slow me down at all. It was totally worth it for the extra surge of energy. I took advantage of two more aid stations throughout the race.
After the final station, with 0.8 miles left to go, I got an adrenaline surge and picked up the pace, passing a few stragglers ahead of me. With about 1/4 mile left to go, I began to falter. A guy behind me noticed and shouted, "Let's go! You can do it!" His words of encouragement surged through me like an electric shock. It's amazing how interconnected the body is to the mind. I found all this unchanneled energy and focused it into picking up the speed. Guys around me began cheering, surging me forward even more. The effect it had on me was amazing! I passed a guy as I headed towards the finish. I had removed my singlet to help cool off, and he got a good shot of my tatoo on my back as I passed. "Go get 'em Goldfish Girl!" he shouted. That was all I needed. I passed the finish line, shaving a whole minute off my P.R. I may have felt like puking right after, but I felt triumphant. I soaked up my glory under the spray of the fire hose provided by the local fire department.

The rest of the day, I was on fire. I went to lab...gardened for 4 hours...went to lab again...and packed up my race bag for Monday.
Monday: 4th of July Hillsboro Biathlon (5 mile run, 20 mile bike)--woke up at 4:15 a.m...proceeded with pre-race ritual...made sure bike was securely attached to trunk of little Corolla...hopped in the car with a bag of ice strapped to my left hip (from yesterday's race) and 2 Ibuprofen...drove 1 hour, 15 minutes to event site.
Hillsboro, IL is a small farmtown with lots of friendly people with good 'ole, laid-back Midwestern attitude. I had a little trouble finding the courthouse where the race began and ended, but some kind people out walking their dog happily volunteered directions.
The sharp crack of an air pistol signaled the start of the race. I bolted (I hate guns and sudden loud noises) and quickly settled into a relaxed pace. With my tight calves and slightly injured hip, I wasn't going to push it. It was slightly more humid than the day before, lower 80s, with black thunderheads rolling in to prepare for a violent afternoon thunderstorm. The run seemed extremely hilly but I think it was only because my legs were complaining so much after yesterday's race. I took my time, enjoyed the corn fields and sweet, fresh smells of cut hay.
I reached the transition area, wet from dumping cups of water over my head, and casually changed my shoes and fastened my helmet. Casual and relaxed is the way to do it in transition. It actually helps me go faster because I don't feel panicked. I hopped on my bike and took off.
A tailwind pushed me out the first 10 miles so I was able to average about 24 mph. It was awesome. I pushed a higher gear and settled into a comfortable pace. I chuckled at the guys on their $5,000 bikes and $1,000 disc wheels with their shoe covers to take off 6 seconds for reduced wind resistance. Jeez. It's just a little po-dunk race. At the turn-around, I realized how much the tailwind had been helping me as I battled against it for the final 10 miles. I put myself into a more aero position by holding myself in the drop position. I know I'll need aero bars soon, but not yet...not yet. I focused on spinning. My fingers and groin went numb and my legs screamed. I fluttered my fingers, changed gears and shifted around every few miles so as not to get too uncomfortable. On short hills, I stood up in the pedals to let my back rest. My mind was 100% occupied with the here and now...the speed of the bike, how connected I felt to the ground below me, my legs pumping like pistons, how awesome Bluebell was doing (I like to pretend I'm on a racehorse when I bike), and I relished in how much I was enjoying the wind whipping past my ears. My body was going 100%, and it felt awesome.
I was exhausted when I finished (1:51 and change). I was happy with my time. I had done better than I expected. There were only about 100 people at the race but it was a great group (about 70% men and 30% women--multi-sport is very male-dominated). I sought out the few other women there and had great conservations. One woman had duked it out on her hybrid. I have great respect for people that do that. They must be very strong. Everyone was very friendly. It had definitely been worth the solo trip.

I guess the moral of the story is:
a) never be afraid to try things on your's usually well worth the trip.
b) you can probably do more than you think (I guess I'm not as out of shape as I thought)
c) take advantage of water stations and walk through them (small moral, but it helped a ton!)
d) give moral support to others around you; it's unbelievable how much it helps
e) listen to your body; listen to your emotions and psyche--they're connected and always talking to you.

Next up? There's a killer triathlon this coming Saturday at Matoon Beach, IL. Lake swim 0.7 miles, 18 mile bike, and 5 mile run. Can I do it? I don't know. I haven't been in a pool in months. But what if I take it easy and just do it for fun? I know I could swim that far if I take it easy. I want to; it sounds like a lot of fun. I tempted to "tri" for it.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Kerri Walsh--teammates with Misty May--unbeatable, hot beach volleyball team Posted by Picasa

Manic energy

I've been on fire lately--in lab, at home, on the treadmill. I think part of it is trying to keep busy while Jason is in Wisconsin. I'm staving off loneliness. The bunnies are the greatest. They keep me in a routine. I've been running so many errands, I don't know what to do with myself. I fear I may run off the end of my list! I'm actually writing down new things so I don't run out of errands. Weird, huh?
I signed up for the 10K this morning. Ack! I hope I can do it! And the biathlon the following day. I'm pushing it, I know, but it's fun to do that once in awhile. Besides, it's just for fun.
I'm very sore today. It's a good sore. I weight-lifted yesterday morning and then ran on the treadmill in the evening. I went 5 miles to gauge how I could handle the 10K on Sunday. B/c my knees and right heel are a little tender, I don't want to overdo it so I didn't go too fast or any farther to play it safe.
The weather here just turned very nice just in time for the 4th (and the races). Hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Gotta go play with radioactivity again today. Ugh.