Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Haaaaappy Halloween!

Here are a couple of pics from tonight, I'll get more of our full decorations later.

This year: I was a chef and Pippin spent the evening in a pot as my lobster, waiting to be cooked.

Tonight we had 308 trick or treaters before we ran out of candy (we had around 15-17 bags) around 8:45 pm. Literally two SUV loads were pulling up as we RAN inside to hide. Next year we'll just have to buy more candy because there were still tons of kids out trick or treating.

One sleepy lobster......(he really is under the costume). He doesn't mind wearing outfits because it always means there will be fun to be had... (And yes, I'm wearing flip flops. It was really warm tonight).

Friends S & L came over to help with the candy madness. He was a goth vampire "teen" and some kid asked if he was a mime, so he mimed it up for the picture. There were many, many hilarious comments from kids tonight that I'll have to share tomorrow. You just never know what you're going to hear in our the kid who asked me if Pippin was a chihuahua.

Fun times.......308 kids, $70 worth of candy, 3 hours of constant candy distribution, children actually believing I am going to cook Pippin for dinner: Priceless. And this year Brent only made 3 kids cry with his outfit!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Too Loved Dog

Ok, I am still way too lazy and too sleepy to post any pics of the dining room paint job and last weekend's party or our Halloween decorations - and let me tell you - our next door neighbor says we are "the most decorated house in East Nashville" and considering we did drive around to look at Halloween lights, I've got to agree. There's one or two runner-ups, but we've got Halloween spirit COVERED. And since the weather improved yesterday we got back out to re-do our chalk art. We are ready for actual Halloween! Between the decs and the 15 bags of candy we literally have we're as ready as we're going to be. Last year we had 250 trick r treaters before we ran out of candy and turned the light off.....this year who knows!!!! The weather forecast is good so they should be out in full force.

Tonight was our next to last swim class! Nine sessions down, one more to go! At this point we're just doing sprints and endurance, there's not much else for us to learn. Don't get me wrong - we have a LONG way to go swimming-wise, but our form and technique are down and mostly now we just tweak and she has us race each other, etc. It's weird to think that back in August we literally had no clue how to swim, and now we're both very comfortable in the water. Not good, but comfortable. We can work from this point on our own to whatever our goals are. Which really, we don't have many goals. I'm really not that interested in triathlons. I think doing one or two would be fun, but I don't want to be training obsessed again. I'm having a lot more fun being loose and free with what I want to do exercise-wise. Keeping it fun will keep me active for years. I see myself doing a full marathon every 2-3 years in the future, and just picking occasional races to do for fun. It's been SO GREAT this October having a more relaxed life. We've had a formal dinner party, been to another party and then had our large party. The one weekend we didn't go to a party we were actually invited to several things but decided to focus on the dining room. This time last year we were hot and heavy marathon training AND I was working a billion hours for the crappy boss doing final versions of the budget. Working from 7:30 until bedtime was just not fun, this October has been great.

So, the title of this blog. I've pretty much had it with Pippin and his jumping on people. Obedience class didn't help - she thought it was cute. We didn't. We did learn things in obedience class and it did make him more focused, but she is the cause of his obsession with cheese and the main reason we went was to stop the jumping. It's been 3 years since class, so obviously we haven't stressed about it too much, but I am at the point where I would really, really like him to stop the jumping. So, I checked out this book from the much-loved library. I've seen her on TV and I've also requested some of the Dog Whisperers books. Tonight I tried to go "Level 8" on Pippin but it sort of got messed up because he thought it was a game. Basically I was supposed to puff up and act like the head wolf, but Brent tried it and he thought it was a game. So far we actually do a lot of things right - he has a wide vocabulary, he doesn't sleep with us, we praise him properly, and we have a strong connection (meaning he pretty much always has to know where I am), and we surprise him (aka keep him mentally active/stimulated) - he and Brent actually play a lot of hide and seek chase games - Brent got him so good Sat night he actually (accidentally) pooped on the floor. So, one big check on surprises. The only things we're lacking in in a lot more exercise for him (which I did take him for a jog yesterday, which he loves) and we should feed him after we eat. I give him his food as we eat, which I don't think is a big deal and has nothing to do with his hyperness. Hopefully we can get some good tips and stick with it this time. Our next dinner party here is in about 3 weeks, so maybe that will be a good practice time with lots of people (like 8 people).

Ok, that's all the news here! Tomorrow Brent is going to be in his very first craft show at my work! My work has a craft show once a year for all the employees, so we figured we might as well try that out with his photography. Wish us luck!

Have a great night!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More for the Memory Scrapbook

Aaaaah, what a great weekend. Not a lot of sleep going on around here, but life is short and Halloween comes but once a year. Our Halloween party went great, somewhere between 20-25 people (not all of them actually invited by us, mind you.....) There's an episode of How I Met Your Mother called "Nothing Good Happens after 2 am" (love that show) and all I can say is that's probably true. =) Somehow, at the age of 30+, at 2:30 am, quite a few of us may or may not have ended up rolling another friend's house. The main difference between us and a bunch of tweens? Quilted Northern. If this should happen to become a habit I'm going to have to keep some of the cheap stuff on hand. But there was eating and dancing and some seriously awesome costumes and pumpkin painting. We bought a bunch of small pumpkins for people to paint, if they wanted. Quite a few of our attendees are artists we've met at the local galleries, so there were some kick ass pumpkins painted! I'll have to post some pics of some of the great costumes. Our first place costume award went to a friend dressed as Dwight from the Office (and he was SPOT ON) - he even gave out Shrute Bucks. Second place went to our friend Kirk, with his spot on "Dick in a Box" costume. Love it. There's a long, long story about why that's the perfect outfit for this person and how it all came to be - but it's not going to be discussed here!!!

Anyhow, we ended up going to be at 4 am (actually a little after) exhausted but happy it went so well. Pippin was EXHAUSTED! About 9:30 he started laying down in the middle of the floor making people walk around him - it's a good thing his costume was bright red! And anytime someone would take a break from dancing he was in their lap!!! So, he let us sleep until 9 am yesterday and he was basically out all day yesterday. As we were setting our painted pumpkins out in the yard yesterday (turning our front yard into a pumpkin patch) we decided to decorate our friend's car. They had decided to walk home from where we rolled another they got "Just Married" signs on their car. It was all too fun.

We left the mess and went out to lunch and shoe shopping. Kitchen cleaning can always wait. Once we did finally clean up the kitchen we had a nice nap before heading back out for more Halloween activities in our neighborhood. Some dinner, some drag races, all in a fun Halloween weekend. Last year on this weekend I ran a marathon, and after missing out on a lot of fun stuff I decided never, ever again would I do that to myself! And all I'm saying is that was a GREAT decision! We're already planning next year's event..........

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Midnite Hour is Close At Hand

Can you feel it??? That chill in the's Halloween, easily the best holiday of the year, and it's almost upon us! The Halloween cupcake are baked, so are the fingers, Halloween cupcakes, ghost cookies and a pile of other supplies are awaiting me in the kitchen. This time tomorrow night Halloween debauchery will be in full swing at our pad. We've cleaned up a bit, with more to do tomorrow, and of course there has been much dancing to the Halloween play list DJ Brent put together. This time of year I am always transported back to the days when Michael Jackson was a human. Or more of a zombie. Because Thriller is THE BEST song ever. Before there was JT, there was MJ.

And good grief, has it ever rained so much before??? We had solid, non-stop rain from Monday until this morning. I woke up around 4 this morning to the sound of pouring rain and decided that I should wear my pajama pants to work today because no one should have to forced to dress up when the weather is so crappy. Depending on which station you watch, we got between 4.5-6.5 inches of rain this week - which is more than we got in the last 3 months COMBINED. Needless to say, our yard is an absolute bog. Which is always wonderful right before party where people will probably be outside some. We're hoping to fire up our fire pit, the temps are going to be wonderful this weekend.

Even with all the party planning I've gotten most of my workouts this week. I took Sat and Sun off of formal exercise since we were painting the dining room. And I skipped going to the gym at lunch on Monday because it was absolutely pouring down rain. I would've thought a couple of days off would work in my advantage for swim class, but not so much. I had a horribly miserable off night. My 200M time trial was downright wretched, but it shouldn't be insane to improve from. I saw at lunch Wednesday and then we went together after work Wednesday for 800 more meters. Both of my 200M sets in that session were much better than Monday. I ran Tuesday and Thursday and both of them were fine, nothing exciting.

And Brent wants me to tell you all he's doing wonderfully post tetanus shot. He's not even sore. Lucky.

OH, and convection ovens truly are the best thing ever. I've been loading that puppy with tray upon tray of baked goods and everything has come out perfectly. Yesterday I had it full of cupcake trays, all three racks, and they were all fabulous. I love appliances.

Anyway, time to get some sleep!! Have a great weekend and good luck to everyone at Marine Corps Marathon and all the other races this weekend........suckers!!!! After the party tomorrow night, we're planning to do some furniture shopping Saturday and head out to some of our neighborhood's Halloween activities tomorrow night. Sat night I'd really like Brent to be Howie Mandell and I'd like to be a Deal or No Deal girl. I think that would be hot. I'm not telling what my costume is for tomorrow night's party'll just have to wait and see! =)

Darkness Falls Across The Land
The Midnite Hour Is Close At Hand
Creatures Crawl In Search Of Blood
To Terrorize Y'awl's Neighbourhood
And Whosoever Shall Be Found
Without The Soul For Getting Down
Must Stand And Face The Hounds Of Hell
And Rot Inside A Corpse's Shell
The Foulest Stench Is In The Air
The Funk Of Forty Thousand Years
And Grizzy Ghouls From Every Tomb
Are Closing In To Seal Your Doom
And Though You Fight To Stay Alive
Your Body Starts To Shiver
For No Mere Mortal Can Resist
The Evil Of The Thriller

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


All I have to say is convection baking rocks. I'm going to completely admit that my ovens scare me. I mean, they came with a DVD and a couple of honest to god novels to read, and until tonight I'd never even turned on the convection bake section and had just stuck to regular baking. But, when a girl has dozens and dozens of Halloween goodies to bake with a party looking just a few days away it's time to try the "convection bake multi-rack" option. Why start out at regular convection baking when you can do the full whammy and load that sucker full of pans? And that's what I did, three trays of cookies in - top, middle, and bottom, and 3 trays of perfectly baked cookies straight back out. Cha Ching. That's why the thing was somewhere close to a million bucks. I think this kitchen and I are going to be friends for years to come.

Let's see, in other news Brent got a tetanus shot today. He went to the doctor to have a bump on his head examined and came back with a tetanus shot. (The bump is just a non-harmful cyst.) If you will remember back to February 2006 our same doctor gave me a tetanus shot when I had tendinitis. And for days and days I had a painfully sore arm and swore I would never have a tetanus shot again because they suck THAT badly. AND during the whole kitchen renovation I was the one who had to carry all the old studs with old nails out because I had the tetanus shot. AND YET my husband, when told he has not had one since 1989, gets a tetanus shot to feel like he got his $15 co-pay's worth. And then gets mad at when I ask why he didn't ask the doc if he could take a minute and consult with his CPA (me) on whether or not he should get this shot because I would have said DON'T DO IT!!!!! So guess who's wandering around with a seriously sore arm tonight???? Honestly, are these shots even necessary??? How many people end up with tetanus each year?

Well, that's all for tonight. It's time to sample those cookies. I wouldn't want our guests to get ill from them......

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Operation "No Fun 'til the Dining Room is Done"

Hey guys!! I hope your weekends are all going well. I'm just enjoying those last few minutes before both my "boys" are up and things get rolling.....

It's been a busy week here in Nashvegas. Swim class on we're working on endurance and speed drills. Endurance drill to build our lung capacity and speed drills to build our speed (duh!) She had us do several sprints against each other and I took Brent in freestyle and he blew me away in breaststroke. I fully expect to see him in Beijing next summer swimming breaststroke. The rest of the week I've been working on my breaststroke, but I know he'll still lap me when we go and practice this afternoon. I'm still hitting my goals in my quest for a half mile non-stop freestyle by Dec 31st. I'm up to 150 meter sets, with the ultimate goal being 800m. Hopefully today I can hit 200 meters and by the end of this week be up to 250 meters.

And now Pippin is up and in my lap.......the #1 reason blogging is usually a little difficult!

Wednesday-Thursday we had more rain than we've had in months, which you can see we really need. The down side is that all our Halloween chalk art washed away and our frontporch cobweb decorations are a bit more than thinned out now! We're having a pretty big Halloween party Friday night, so we'll need to work on that before then. They were all so cute!! We still have tons to do before the party, #1 being I need to figure out what I'm going to make. There are so many cute Halloween dessert items out there, and not as many good looking food items. I guess an all dessert party isn't that bad, right?? I'll probably just end up doing regular food stuff and save the cute things for desserts. Martha Stewart has some really cool looking Halloween food.

Friday night we got the chance for a blogger meetup!! Nicole and Tom were in town, checking out Nashville while he was down here for a job interview. And if someone is going to be here deciding whether or not they want to become a Southerner then we should by all means try to do our best to sway them in the proper direction - which of course is Nashville!! Where else can you get a fried-anything-you-want??? We already know what we're getting them as a housewarming gift. =) I'm always absolutely nervous and scared meeting up with bloggers. I'm not sure why because we've yet to meet a bad one, but you just worry if you'll have anythingt o talk about, if you'll get along, if they will be "difficult". I guess that's because it seems like a large majority of people out there are just plain annoying. And even when you have that first conversation with them on the phone you can't tell (and honestly I have the most insane time trying to understand Northern accents on the phone. I can finally understand Mouse but I swear there's a whole uncomfortable time delay in my brain. I think it's the speed with which Northern people talk or something.)

But ANYWAY, we picked them up at their hotel Friday night and from the time where we decided if we were about to approach the right couple and ask them to get in our car until we dropped them back off at their hotel we had an absolute blast. They simply must move down here. It's funny, but for a couple of "running bloggers" I think we only talked about running for about 5 minutes, because really, in life, is running such a big deal? For me it's such a small component of who I am and who I want to be. After we ate we showed them around our neighborhood a little (since that is the clear choice of where they should live, when they move here) and ended up at Vino. We hadn't been there since it changed over from a great little Italian place where we always carbo-loaded, so it was an adventure for us, too. But it was great - we ordered some dessert and a bottle of absolutely one of my favorite dessert wines I've ever had. It was some sort of sparkling red, and it went wonderfully with the chocolaty mousse dessert they were serving that night. A soulful jazzy woman was performing and for some reason at some point she had everyone go around the room and introduce themselves. It doesn't get more Southern than that. (Although I do have to say we've never had to introduce ourselves, but live music while you eat is pretty common around here.) Anyway, I'm so glad we got to meet them on their journey and hopefully we'll have a chance to get together again either here or in Chicago. Because I'm thinking on our next trip to Chicago we've got a lot of people to hang out with now!!! (And Pippin does too!!)

So the goal for this weekend was "No Fun". And obviously we had to blow that Friday night......I mean, if people are in town you can't have no fun.....but the main goal for this weekend was to get our dining room primed for the love of God. We started priming it literally a year ago - the can of paint was dated 10/20/06. But a lot of other projects have taken precedence and taken over the dining room. When we redid our bedroom in Nov and Dec all that furniture was in there. And from Feb-August all our kitchen stuff, old and new, was in there during the remodel. So, for a year we've had patches of the wall primed. And it's even worse because sometimes people think the electric, and I mean, ELECTRIC, blue portions are the color we're going for!!! And we didn't want anyone thinking that at the party this Friday! So, Saturday was devoted to painting. Until Brent got into a matting class. So, now I was on this quest alone, for the morning anyway. By the time he got home I had rolled everything 2-3 times (because electric blue is a bit difficult to cover) and was starting in on the trim. By the end of the day everything had been trimmed out once and there is FINALLY no more electric blue in our dining room!!!!! We need to go back and do the trim again, and I need to paint the trim and window as well as the ceiling, but the blue is history! We're just priming right now, we're going to change around the doorway, build some built-ins and add extra storage, and since the paint in there is a gorgeous metallic paint (pictured there) that's $40 a gallon, we're only going to paint once we have the room all figured out! I've taken a lot of pictures I need to upload.....

Anyway, it's time to get this party started and Pippin is getting a bit uncomfortable in my lap while I'm trying to type! Have a great day!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oktoberfest 5K Race Report

Hey everyone!! I accidentally cleared out my entire Google Reader inbox (about 50 posts I was behind on), so apologies for not wishing people luck, congratulating people on races well done, and enjoying all your pics from recent happenings! Grrr....I've got to think before I click. Also, if you're a silent stalking blogger leave me a comment with a link to your blog. I'm looking for some new adds. A lot of my links are dead now, or rarely post anymore. I'm planning a template overhaul and all the deadbeats are going to go away soon.....

So anyway....back to the subject at hand. I did everything right leading up to Saturday's 5k....sort of. In hindsight if I truly, truly wanted to set a new PR there were a few things I would've NOT done. Like 2 a day workouts all week - probably not the smartest thing if you really want to PR. During Thursday's run I knew my legs were tired, but of course I still worked out on Friday. Honestly, burning calories and staying active, and getting in the pool 4-5 times per week and pushing myself there are more important to me than a 5K PR.

The race was only a couple of miles from our house and we were able to run down and get my bib and shirt the night before so that on race morning I'd only have to get my chip. Naturally my stomach wasn't too happy Saturday morning and once I got my chip I decided to get in the porta-pot line. For 1200 people there were 2 johns. 2. At 20 mins until race time we got in line, and in regular Rachel fashion I made it up to the pot right at 2 minutes until the gun. And then I realized that (of course) there was no toilet paper. Why would there be??? And what I really had to do.....really required some paper. Oh well. That was sort of when I realized it was going to be a long race.

I jumped out of the john, thanked my lucky stars I was wearing black shorts, gave Brent a smooch and got in the pack. As I was finding my spot I ran into a friend of ours that we literally haven't seen since this race last year! He asked my projected pace and when he told me he wanted to break 20 I told him I'd see him at the finish!! The gun went off, I got an elbow in the face from some giant who doesn't understand that people don't run until you make it to the mat, and eventually I was off. The weather was absolutely perfect - 50-something, but my body is just not used to perfect. Give me hot and sunny and I know what to do, but perfect??? Seriously, my legs just couldn't move. A 5K is the only distance I actually warm up for, and all my warm up time was wasted in the bathroom line. I just couldn't move, it's like I didn't even know how to run. Up the first incline we went and I heard J yell out to me to "push it"!! That made me want to push it.....but I just didn't have it.

We headed through the neighborhoods and I was trying to pick it up but my stomach was sooo unhappy and even though my legs were starting to wake up I just felt bad. I'd try to pick up the pace and then my stomach would counter that decision. Ugh. I made it through the first mile in 7:45 but I knew that wasn't going to last. Heading back past the start I grabbed some water hoping that would help....not so much. Up another incline and we were finally headed into the Farmer's Market, my fave part of the race!! As soon as we were inside the building all the smells of the ethnic foods cooking at the various stands hit me like a hot oven and I literally had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from puking. It was that bad....and I was so upset because I love running through there!! I made it out of the building and knew we were getting close to finish, and I knew I might be able to make it under 25 mins so I tried to push as much as my stomach would let me. When we made the final turn at 5th for the finish line I knew I only had 2 more blocks to run and I gave it all I had. I never saw Brent but he got some pictures of my final sprint. He said I looked pretty angry so he knew I must've had a hard time! I was just happy to see that finish line...My final time was 25:01, which ended up being good enough for 10th out of 84 in my new 30-34 division. The 30 year old ladies are FAST!

Once I crossed the line I had to walk off to the side to keep from was not pretty. Once I was a little more composed I had my chip cut and found Brent. I got my plastic beer mug, my free beer ticket and some water. We found the friend I had seen at the start line and he had rocked a 20:20 time!! After sitting around for a while (and finding a porta-pot at the festival that actually had toilet paper) I felt a lot better. I knew I hadn't placed, but I also like to stay for the awards and clap for people so we hung around and ended up chatting with our friend Keith (who works at the local running store) and his girlfriend. This was the first time he had run this race and he had no clue the top prize was an enormous beer stein. He won by several minutes, his pace was 4:57/mile. INSANE! We talked about the various prizes he usually gets for winning, and he did admit this was a pretty awesome one, and VERY unique. Personally, I'd rather have this stein than money, but Brent would rather have money. THAT'S how much I covet this stein. It's just ridiculous. Anyway, he and the female winner got to tap the keg and it was all great fun. We were so glad he won, he's such a nice guy and so incredibly friendly. All sorts of people came over to talk to him and look at the stein and he's always so nice and talkative. To me it means a lot when the top dogs mingle with us mid-packers, and take genuine interest in our running.

Once the awards ended we walked around the festival shopping at the booths and I treated myself to some baked goods at a church lady booth. The options were endless and Brent gave me $5 to spend, which I HAPPILY did. Then we bought some beer cheese soup and a reuben to split at the Mad Platter booth. We sat down to enjoy some music while we ate. Once we were done walking around the festival we walked back to the Farmer's Market. I was in dire need of some mums, and the Farmer's Market has THE BEST flowers. I got some enormous mums for $6 each. NUTS I tell you. Here's the problem - the race start and finish and in two very separate areas, it was a bit of a walk back to the car. And now we had 4 enormous mums. We each carried one on each hip and I had to stop a time or two to take a break.

From Oktoberfest we headed over to the Southern Festival of Books. We parked at the library ( we needed to return some books and I wanted some bread from the bakery next door) and walked over. We browsed the booths and I had my picture made with Clifford the Big Red Dog. We toured the CNN tour bus and as we were coming out Bobba Fett was walking down the street, so I asked if I could have my pic with him, too. He actually asked if I even knew who he was???!!!! Seriously, of course I know my Star Wars peeps!!

The rest of the weekend we went to a party at a friend's house and then Sunday we did some chores around the house, I went on a nice bike ride and we both went swimming. Good times!!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your week and here are some more pics from last weekend!!
From the race:

What's unusual here is this couple.....We saw them before the race and here they are, in the race. She's talking on her cell phone, DURING THE RACE and he for some reason is wearing a PF Chang's Rock and Roll Marathon bib.

So what's weird about this one.....well, these 3 girls started so far behind everyone else that they didn't notice they were going the wrong way.....and did my husband tell them? Nope, he just laughed and took their picture. Someone else told them and he did take a picture of them going the right way.

Here's Keith right after leaving the Farmer's Market building. Brent didn't get any pics of me here since it's pretty close to the finish line. He snapped some pics of the top people and then headed over to watch me finish. I really like the mums in this pic and the reflection in the puddle.

This is a pretty pic of the runners making the curve at the end Bicentennial Mall, I thought it was really pretty with part of the skyline in the background and the state capital.

Here's the winners tapping the keg....

From the Southern Festival of Books....
Here are some of the booths on War Memorial Plaza, with the state capital in the background

Here I am trying to take down the plaza.....

And here I am with Bobba Fett!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh well....

So, it wasn't meant for me to break 24 today, or even 25 for that matter. My official time was 25:01, which I think is the worst 5K time I've had in about a year and a half. I just couldn't get in the groove from the start and when I hit Mile 1 around 8 minutes I knew it wasn't going to happen so I backed off because I just felt b-a-d. The bad where I physically had to put my hand over my mouth at the finish not to puke, the bad where I almost puked during my favorite part of this race (my fave part of ANY race) where we run through the Farmers Market building - the mix of ethnic smells being grilled up in there today was not my friend. I'm not sure why, but it just wasn't my day. But I did have an absolute blast this morning, enjoying my fave course of the year in a slightly slower fashion, enjoying the Oktoberfest festivities afterwards, and celebrating with our friend who "did the damn thing" and won overall male and the enormous beer stein that goes with it. He did promise me if he wins next year I can have the stein. I will hold him to that. =)

Anyway, not the finishing time I wanted - but who cares!! 3rd fastest in my AG was freakin' 22:42, so I was nowhere near placing in the F30-34 today anyway. All in all, I had a 100% blast at my first race in my new division, and I have to say I am really happy that I am happy with today's outcome. The 29 year old me would've been in tears sulking and immediately gone home without staying for the awards, the 30 year old me bought some cookies at a booth and enjoyed a beautiful day with her beautiful husband at a beautiful festival where you get a beer just for finishing. What more do I need??? Being 30 rocks.

We took loads of fun pics from the festival and the Southern Festival of Books that we went to afterward so I'll upload those later. For now it's time to get my stinky self in the shower!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007


What in the world is going on around here??? Last weekend it was 92 degrees and now it's a wonderful, wonderful range of 40s overnight to 70s in the daytime! Insanity! It's like it's.....fall all of a sudden! Who knew!! Yesterday when I stepped out of my office building to head to the Y next door I had chill bumps! Granted, it was like 65 or 70 degrees but I guess the shock of the 20 degree drop in temps just got me!! The parking lot attendant thought it was hilarious and I was nuts. After work I had to walk several blocks down to the library to return some books and pick up some more and it felt wonderful. I think a church's electronic board said it was 66 at around 5 pm. Perfect.

Speaking of, I have become a total library addict. The library has become my crack. I mean, you can get EVERYTHING there, and EVERYTHING is what I get. Cookbooks, swimming dvds and books, books to read, and on and on and on. It's awesome! And everything is so high tech now. I can renew online, request online, see how close I am to my limit online and then when I'm there I just check myself out. It's like Kroger, only less ghetto and much better smelling.

But anyway, my excitement today comes not only from the awesome weather but because tomorrow is Oktoberfest, one of my fave races of the year! This will be the 3rd consecutive year I've run it, and there's really only a few races I've repeated like that. (Two in fact - 5k for Fatherhood - 4 times and Country Music Half - 3 times). In most cases I feel like once I've run it, I've run it. Unless it's really fun - which Oktoberfest is. We actually get to run through a building. THROUGH the Farmer's Market building. Most of the time when you tell people that they think we run around it, or next to it, but no - we run smack through the building while all the people shopping for produce and flowers are shoved to the side wondering what the @#$#@ just happened. It's also in conjunction with the entire awesome Oktoberfest being held in Germantown, so once you're done running you get to enjoy the great festival and all the wonderful smelling food being cooked up. All in all it's a great race and the Tshirt is usually really nice, too!

Last year I had an especially awesome experience - placing 2nd in my division out of 87 was absolutely surreal. I had coveted one of those glass steins since the previous year and getting one last year was absolutely one of the best moments of my running "career". Seriously, I almost cried. In looking over the times of my new crew, the F30-34s, it doesn't look like it's going to happen this year. I guess these women have all had babies and now they're angry and just need to run. Fast. Whatever the deal is, it just doesn't look like it's going to happen unless all the stars align and a wicked 24 hour flu gets passed around the kiddy playground today. Regardless, my goal for tomorrow, and the only goal I have set for myself all year is to set a new PR. My current one, set at this race last year, is 24:06. I really, really want to break 24, and this is the race all year that I have been wanting to do it at. I'm not sure if it's going to happen, but I am going to give it my all and suffer the whole time (I really hate 5ks) and try to make it happen. Goal #2 is to not puke while pushing and suffering on the big uphill finish.

Anyway, cross your fingers and hope for the best! Have a great weekend everyone and good luck to anyone racing and marathoning! I guess it can't be as bad as last week's Chicago M and Army 10M, eh? I heard that Denver is giving free entry and guaranteeing water to anyone who was signed up for Chicago, how cool is that??? Some marketing people are geniuses!


Mon: 4.2 miles run, swim class (total prob around 650m)
Tues: 4.2 run, 20 mins tone
Wed: 450 m @ lunch swim, 750 m swim in evening (that's a total of .75 mile, yeah!!)
Thurs: 4.2 run

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mr. O'Prahssum

I get it. I mean, if I stared in our windows and saw how Pippin lives in the lap of pet luxury I'd want to live here, too. All the toys, treats, beds and endless couches to lounge on. The sheer amount of attention and love he gets. But really, it's about time for the wildlife to leave us alone. And it started waaay before Pippin's time. Our first invader was a skunk, circa 2001. We were having a dinner party with some of my coworkers and for some hair brained reason I decided to leave the garage door up so they could see my car and know they were at the right house. That sounds like an incredibly dumb idea now - as if I thought a group of professional accountants and CPAs can't read clearly illuminated house numbers??? I forgot about the garage door until they were leaving that night so it had been open several hours in the dark. As Brent left for work the following morning he came foot to face with a little skunk - who had spent all night amusing himself by opening bags of potting soil and rolling around in it, knocking things over and just generally having a good old time. Clearly freaked we spent a long time figuring out what to do since our cars were held hostage with the little guy peeking out at us from under my gardening center. We made mad dashes to our cars and left the garage door cracked, certain he would leave once we did. Not so much. We got home and saw him curled up asleep, still under my gardening center. One neighbor wanted us to call animal control, one wanted us to let their dog try to chase it out, one was convinced it had rabies and needed to be killed. Basically all of them wanted to have it removed by force and we were pretty sure how THAT would turn out - not good for us!! Ultimately we left the door cracked and once it was dark again the little guy left on his own, we were just an accidental one night stand. While we lived there we had run-ins with squirrels who liked to eat our deck and shingles (they met a friend's bb gun and never came back....) and then there was the Infamous Bird Incident.

And now, we have a new pet possum. He's made an appearance already - and since then we've not seen him but think we know where he likes to live - under our deck. In cleaning the yard out a few weeks ago we found a spot where he's dug out under some bricks underneath our deck. The last TWO mornings in a row he and Pippin have played tag in our yard. That's not working for me. Since the sun comes up so much later Mr O is coming in from a night of partying just as Pippin is going out for a morning of pooping. Not good. Yesterday we put some things up to block where we know he's getting in, and sure enough when Pippin was in chase this morning the bugger quickly dug a new hole to get back in. It was time to do some research on how to relocate a possum. And for your amusement, here is what I have found from this website (along with my comments).

Problem: There is an opossum in my yard. What do I do?

Answer: Nothing. Leave it alone. If it is injured or orphaned then read the Found an Orphaned or Injured Opossum? section. Otherwise, enjoy watching wildlife in your own backyard! Opossums are beneficial: eating the harmful, unwanted pests around your home such as snails, slugs, spiders, cockroaches, rats, mice and snakes. Think of the opossum as your free gardener. The opossum is known as “Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineer” for a good reason!

WTH??? Nothing??? Free Gardener??? Where the hell was this rat when I was (and still am) having to water my flowers and garden every freaking day in the hottest summer EVER???? Free gardener, my ass. More like freeloader. Sanitation Engineer???? Good lord.

Problem: They make my dog bark!
Solution: A dog will bark at anything it sees or hears. The best thing you can do for the opossums AND your neighbors is to train the dog or keep the dog indoors at night. This will also prevent the dog from injuring or killing an opossum.

Good luck. You try training Pippin not to bark at a possum. He is a DOG. And he does not bark at ANYTHING. He barks at things that are weird - like this freeloading gardener.

Question: There is an opossum in my attic or under my house or deck. What do I do?

Answer: (After providing the common sense answer of 'wait until the bugger is out partying then seal up the hole they offer this nugget:) You must keep up your house in its originally pest-proof state. Not doing so will provide (or maybe is already providing) other animals to seek refuge including: skunks, raccoons, mice, rats. If your home is so old that it was never built to exclude animals, contact your local pest control for them to come out and "pest-proof" your home by exclusionary methods. Most pest control companies will humanely trap and release large mammals from your property also. Ask them what they do with the animals before you enlist their services.

I wonder if they would say our 1880's house was built before "pest proofing".....

Question: How do I trap and relocate an opossum?

Answer: Do not trap! Opossums are normally transient animals, staying only 2-3 days in an area before moving on. Removal is neither necessary nor desirable. If opossums were eliminated from an area, the population of roof rats and other pests would proliferate. Opossums serve an important role by controlling the unwanted, harmful pest population around our neighborhoods. So now we should ask you a question. After learning about the benefits opossums provide, why would you want to trap and remove an opossum?

OMG, are these people on crack. I want to remove the possum because he is DIGGING IN MY YARD and MAKING MY DOG BARK EVERY DAY. Roof rats??? You've got to be kidding. And he's been here ALL SUMMER!

And now, for my personal two favorites:

Question: My dog kills opossums. What can I do?

Answer: Keep the dog indoors at night. This way the dog will not be able to injure or kill the opossums. Take the dog outside on a leash to do his “business”. If not possible to keep the dog indoors, then confine the dog to the garage or a run from dusk to dawn. If again not possible, then place a few large PVC pipes (8 inch diameter, 5-6 feet in length) in the yard. This will provide the opossum with a place to escape, should an attack occur. Remove pet food and other attractants from your yard to encourage opossums to move on.

Why stop at PVC mazes??? Let's just build him a tiny little possum palace with a flat screen TV and a Nintendo Wii. I'll throw an extra steak on the grill for him, too. I mean, he is my gardener and all.

Question: I see an opossum sharing a food dish with my cat. Is this normal?

Answer: Opossums are very opportunistic animals. If food is available, they will eat. We receive numerous pictures of opossums sharing a bowl of cat food with an outdoor cat. Adult cats and opossums seem to tolerate each other. Feeding wildlife is not recommended.

Well, who didn't know this??? I absolutely LOVE my cute little "Friends of the Possum" wall calendar. I was thinking about getting a cat JUST so I can enjoy this beautiful sight myself.

So obviously we won't be following any of these tips. This little guy is going to be moving on, either of his own free will or we might just need to let one of our neighbors know the whereabouts of this yummy animal. Possum stew anyone????

So yeah, nothing about working out today. But personally I find possum tales more interesting than any stories from last night's swim class or the 2 runs I've had this week. With all the moving Chicago reports out there my workout tales would be dull tidings. And make sure you check Jeanne out - she ran the Army 10 miler last weekend - that also ran out of water. What's the deal people???? Exactly what do our race fees provide these days??

Happy tidings!!


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sometimes 30 is not fabulous

They’re gonna clean up your looks
With all the lies in the books
To make a citizen out of you
Because they sleep with a gun
And keep an eye on you, son
So they can watch all the things you do

What's up peoples!!!!! Congrats (I guess) to everyone who made it through whatever part of the Chicago marathon they made it through today. What an absolute clusterf$#$%#$. I don't get race officials, it sounds just like the craptastic Atlanta marathon I did back in March - super hot, race crew unprepared although they KNEW it would be hot, no support for the REAL people, the mid and backpackers. Maybe the USATF should focus more on properly supporting runners and not being the ipod police, ya think??? Anyway, I wasn't there so I can't REALLY judge, but it sounded pitiful. At least we got to hear from Barb and Mouse today, so that always makes a day a little more exciting!! Just to recap - I turned 30 this week and so did the Chicago Marathon. I guess I am winning in the battle for fabulousness after 30. Point - Rachel, No points - Chicago Marathon. Maybe marathons are like dogs and the race is really 240 years old. The more races I do, the more I enjoy the small ones, they honestly take better care of the runners. Anywho.....

What I did NOT do this weekend is workout. Yay for a weekend free of runs, swims, and rides! Sometimes I just need that, ya know. Friday we did shopping errands for our dinner party and ALL day yesterday was spent cleaning and cooking, and then partying! With the exception of a few food crisis' everything went pretty well food-wise. For some reason my pork tenderloin turned out totally different than the test one we did, my sweet potatoes took forever, and I could not find a very integral piece of my fondue pot - the electric cord. So, the fondue was a little lumpy from the sauce pot but who really cares. It was a fun night of people just hanging out on our insanely warm deck eating food and talking about absolutely everything. A nice adult party where no one peed in the yard (yeah....that happened at a party we went to earlier this year - I'm in TN, remember????). Our neighbors blended with our coworkers blended with our artist friends. Good times. And a lot of dishes. =)

Today we could've worked out, but I wanted to do "real" stuff, so real stuff we did. We made homemade chicken noodle soup while tracking Chicago runners and talking to our friends "out on the field". And most importantly - our house is decked for Halloween, the best holiday of the year. As my neighbor says "Oh lawrdy, you've got your boo lights up." (Translation: lawrdy = lordy, he's very "Southern"). Our white picket fence is bejeweled in pumpkin garland and purple and orange lights, cobwebs and spider lights are hanging on our porch, ghosts are in one tree and a skeleton is in the other, our bushes are decked in Halloween lights and we've used stencils to do Halloween chalk art all up and down our deck. Bring on the goblins!! The inside is decked in pumpkins and garlands and stuffed black cats and skeleton heads everyone, including one on our nice large cutting board that I think is nothing short of CLEVER. The candy is in the process of being bought - last year we had 250!!!! trick or treaters before we ran out of candy, so this year I am buying a few bags a week to stock up.

It nearly killed us putting it all up this afternoon, it's just stupid wicked hot. Sweat was pouring off both of us as it's still over 90 every freaking day. Pippin stretched out in the shade panting like it was mid-summer, not mid-fall. I honestly felt like I was decorating for the wrong holiday, is it still July or something?? Should I be hanging little Independence day flags on the fence instead???? (I did try to talk Brent into painting the pickets alternating in orange, then black but he didn't go for it. How cool would THAT be??) Hopefully all the kids will enjoy as they walk to school tomorrow (we're across from a K-2 school). Brent did skeleton heads in the crosswalk, so hopefully they'll like it!

This upcoming weekend is the Oktoberfest 5K. It's one of my fave races each year, and it's usually very cool that morning, but who knows this year!! Normally it's the first race where I consider wearing sleeves/long pants, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen this year!

That's it from here, time to do some final relaxing before the work week begins all over again!


Friday, October 05, 2007

A Little Off

So, how many of you tripped and made an absolute klutz of yourself today??? For some reason I think every woman in Nashville did today. For me personally, on my way out of the gym I first attacked the paper towel holder with my shoulder hard enough to make someone ask me if I was ok, and I am, except for the bruise I can feel forming. I managed to top that off by tripping down the back stairs of the Y as my ankle went one way and my foot went the other and really only managed to stay upright because the parking lot attendant grabbed me by my bruised paper towel shoulder. The rest of the afternoon I just tried to keep my legs and feet coordinated. I blame the Sudafed-Aleve cocktail I'm on.

Tonight we saw one woman nearly take out the aisle of curtain rods at Joanns, another absolutely bang her cart SMACK into the glass door that doesn't open at Joanns (so hard that we actually winced for her), and then another woman almost take out half the produce with her buggy at Publix. At least I'm not alone in the klutz hall of fame today. Thank goodness I have a short commute.

So, our kitchen is full of lots of fresh produce and vegetables, the fridge stocked with cheeses and fine meats and my counter has loads of fresh baked breads on it. All that stands between us and our dinner party tomorrow night is a day full of cleaning this place up! It should be fun, we have a small group of our eclectic friends coming over. No couple has met any of the other couples (one set is a neighbor, one set a former coworker, and one set is from our artist circle) so it should be a fun exercise in meeting new people.

Alrighty, that's it for now!!


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Catching up

W'sup!!!!!!!! So here's the long and the short of the past week, it's been a busy one!! And good luck to everyone running the Chicago marathon this weekend. It's going to be hot, but it's been wicked all summer so you are prepared!!!!

Friday - About the only thing exciting to note about last Friday was my first ever adventure into a Hydrrorider class. Basically, it's spinning in the water with some water aerobics thrown in for good measure. One of my coworkers is an addict, but most of the classes I have seen are fairly lame and easy looking, and taught by someone who (no offense) isn't really someone I would want to take classes from. You gotta practice what you preach, right?? BUT, there's a new class on Mon & Fri taught by someone else and the previous Friday I had seen him teaching the class while I was swimming laps and he looked pretty tough. So, I gave it a whirl and I really enjoyed it. The spinning portion is only as hard as you make it, and I made sure to spring when he said sprint and jog on the pedals when he said jog. The really tough part was all the off the bike aerobics. We had to sort of swim with one arm, do pool push ups, lots of various upper body/abs balancing stuff, not easy AT ALL. And especially since we were all trying to keep our hair dry!! The class lasts for a full hour and he does not let up on you whatsoever. My upper body was sore the next day, and my legs were tired that afternoon so I consider it a success. Of course my bike was set so short that you could barely see the handlebars above the water and a lady nearly ran into it heading back to her own bike following one of the toning segments. I am such the midget.

Saturday-My plan was just to run 6 easy miles Saturday morning. Brent had plans to meet a client at Centennial Park to drop off some artwork so I decided to just run to Centennial and grab a ride home with him. Easy enough!! It was right around 5.5 or so when I got there, so I did the one mile loop and ended up with 6.5. Sweet!! I love functional running!! It was a beautiful morning out and tons of tourists were walking around downtown and the park was busy with a Craft Fair. When I was done running I bought a fresh squeezed lemonade from a vendor that was PERFECT. We did some shopping and went to a dinner party later that evening at a friend's house.

Sunday-My allergies had started bothering me Saturday night and I just did not sleep well. I woke up at 6:30 and just could not get to sleep, which sucked since my alarm was set for 7:30. Brent actually woke up at 7, which is totally unheard of, but we took advantage of our early waking and cooked breakfast. We got a lot accomplished around the house Sunday and even got some touch up painting done (finally!!!) in the kitchen. Tonight Brent did the final white touch ups, so I think the kitchen may be officially D-O-N-E!!! We didn't end up having time to bike, but we did hit the pool for a while. Swimming is getting easier each time, and we're able to move faster for longer, so that's good progress. I still feel like it will be forever before I can swim a mile straight, but I'm really happy being able to piece together laps right now, instead of where we were a few weeks ago when we couldn't even master a length of the pool. Breathing is also getting more comfortable, and that whole "freak out" factor is gone.

Monday - My birthday!! Also swim class, where we focused on freestyle, side stroke and a little breaststroke. After class Brent made me a very nice dinner and gave me presents!! What beats that??? The saddest part - when he brought my cake out Pippin thought it was for him. Seriously. It was so sad. I guess he remembered his cake from August, and mine was also round, with candles on it, and there was singing. It's so odd the things he remembers. He was so incredibly excited. So we had to give him one of his little treats, which is just not the same as cake.

Tuesday - Tuesday we had to head to Brent's hometown for a funeral. His uncle had died over the weekend, and the funeral was Tuesday. We made it back in time for our dinner reservations at Margot's that night. OMG, GOOD!!! No wonder they are always voted one of Nashville's top restaurants. Everything is fresh, fresh fresh. We had homemade sangria (to die for), these little potato chips with dip that they made, potato crepes stuffed with various cheeses with apple relish on top, then I had Columbia River sturgeon with polenta and Brent had a tri-tip steak with potatoes, and then we split a cinnamon bread pudding for dessert. Yum, yum, and yum. If you ever get the chance to go to Margots, go!!!

Wednesday - Wednesday was my birthday lunch with my coworkers, but Brent and I did hit the pool after work and got some good laps in. I think I made good progress on my breaststroke, and I also did some 100 meter sets. I was VERY happy with that, three weeks ago I couldn't even make 25 consistently and this week my goal was sets of 100. Next week will be 150 and so on.

Today - FINALLY, for the first time this week I made it back to the gym at lunch!! They literally asked me where I had been!! I got a good run in and it felt nice to be back in the routine. I've got loads of birthday cake from my bday at the office and at home to burn off!

This weekend we're having a small dinner party to celebrate the birthdays and Brent's got more art to deliver. YAY! I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

For Taylor

When I woke up yesterday and turned on the news I knew there would be bad news, there always seems to be. I knew someone's life would have ended, there would be wrecks, hot weather to talk about and probably some sort of update and footage on the latest move Britney Spears has made. But I didn't expect to see you on my television screen, and certainly not in this way. I don't understand what happened, or why someone would do this to you, other than there are just so many evil and greedy people out there. I've worked with a lot of summer interns over the last few years, and you were a great one. One of my fondest memories of you was one of my first memories of you. I'll never forget hearing my horrible, crap-tastic boss tell me how you fell asleep during a financial presentation. I learned a long time ago you should never walk past their offices right before they're going to "go over the numbers", and why they thought you would be interested in hearing them rehearse their presentation, or why it would be a great learning experience for you is beyond me. You have no idea how hilarious we found that story to be - primarily because ALL of us had a tough time listening to these presentations and we ALL wanted to sleep through them. You probably didn't know we talked about you year round, but every Monday those same bosses would talk about the score of your football game, and how well you did. Having you come in every summer was a fresh breath of air in a stale workplace. It was nice to hear about school, how you were coming along with your classes, and everyone was always so impressed with how nicely you dressed and carried yourself in a workplace full of trolls. It was also sad to see you go at the end of each summer, another sign that life in our boring office world never ended but you were off to new adventures.

And I don't understand violence and I don't understand guns, and I don't understand people with guns and I don't understand evil. I don't think it's fair that your life is over so early, and for what? Maybe some money? I wish after every news story, every article out there about you on the 'net right now that they would follow it with "and he was a good kid", because I don't think that message gets across. They talk about your achievements in sports, the facts they know about the shooting, the fact that it was on a campus, but they don't point out that you were a good kid, and they should. It's just all so sad, and so incredibly unnecessary, and if I really could have made one wish that 100% would have come true when I blew out my candles yesterday it would have been for that news story to have never happened and been replaced with more celebrity bathroom sightings.

RIP, Taylor.

Monday, October 01, 2007


It's my birthday!!! And how better to celebrate a new decade than getting up at 0'crack early and heading to work!

Happy birthday to me! (And my brother, we have the same b-day). And Jimmy Carter.

My birthday gift? Tennessee restaurants are now smoke-free. YAY! Next year I'm hoping for a ban on cell phones.