Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And then we came to the end of 2008

So, 2008 is hours from being over. I can say that I'm not that sad to see it go. Yes, there were some great accomplishments this year (see yesterday's post - I did finish 200 beers last night), but there were also some very difficult times. We lost loved ones (Samantha and Baby Michael) and we lost a job. The economy took a turn for the worse, and health failed for some people we love. Tonight, it ends and we celebrate the new year with our good friends. 2009 is a new beginning, a new year to accomplish more and to have happier times.

I have to say it is off to a good start. My husband accepted a job offer this morning!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My List - A Year in Review

At some point this year, my dear husband came up with an idea that we (meaning our close friends and us-6 people) should come up with a list of 50 things we want to do before we die. He thought it would be a good idea for us to compare the things on our lists, and then we would have an idea what we could do as a group. The idea never really took off, but I did write my own list. I came up with 34 things so far on the list. I have crossed 5 things off that list to date.

This year I ran a half marathon. Actually, I ran two half marathons. I am already signed up to run two more in 2009 as well as a 20k. Will running a marathon make my list now? Yes, I think it might.

I also accomplished a triathlon this year. As of yesterday, I am an official member of The USA Triathlon Association. I see more tris in my future...

Take a yoga class has been completed many, many times this year. I have truly enjoyed my Yoga for Athletes class this year with Sage Rountree (see her blog in my favorites list) and I will continue to be a student of hers for long after 2009 ends.

We did adopt a shelter dog this year (well, actually 2 of them!) It was an unexpected thing this year, but it is something I am so glad we did. Misty and Lily are not perfect, but they make me smile and fill my heart with love every single day (just like hubby does).

I fired a gun this year. I can say it was my least favorite item on the list. I am glad I did it, but I don't think guns are for me. I don't know, maybe it is something I need to try again.

Well, that's 5 things, but the year isn't quite over yet. Tonight, I will drink 2 beers at the Flying Saucer. With those two drinks finished, I will have completed the 200 I need to earn a plate on the wall. By tomorrow morning, #23 should also be crossed off the list.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And a Very Merry Christmas to all!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!! What a whirlwind these last 2 days have been.

Tuesday was my first day off work (woo hoo - off for 6 days!) and the main day to get stuff done. We shopped for the last minutes gifts (Target was having computer problems and could not take credit cards - can you believe it?!?!) and groceries for Christmas Eve.

Yesterday was the big family day. Bill's parents, both his sisters, and their combined 3 children came over for dinner. It sure is something to have children in your house when you aren't used to it. The little one (1 year old) howled and cried for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. At least he was in a pack and play. Poor kid - I felt really bad for him, nothing seemed to make him happy. The older two boys had a grand time. They played with all of hubby's stuff in his office, and each received a special plane as a gift. We all sat down to dinner (under cooked beef tenderloin that we had to finish cooking in a saute pan - it turned out great, though) and dessert, and did really enjoy the meaning of the season - family. I made a gingerbread cake that rocked for dessert. Soon, everyone was on the way back to grandma and grandpa's house to wait for Santa. Peace returned to our home.

Today, we have relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of Christmas. We walked the pups (it's their first Christmas!) and came home for breakfast. We opened our stocking as is my family tradition before eating some kick butt breakfast casserole and having our coffee. Now, we are getting ready to sit by the tree and open our presents. We scaled back this year, but we will still have fun. I love to surprise hubby with gifts. It is better to give rather than receive.

Later today, we are off to the in-laws for a big traditional Christmas dinner and more gifts and good cheer. It's days like these that make you realize how lucky you are. I am very lucky indeed.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Canes, Christmas, and Craziness

My good friend, Heather, scored tickets to Thursday night's Carolina Hurricanes game. Not just any tickets, though. These tickets were on the club level. We were seated at center ice, right on the red line, in the most expensive level of the arena. We were right above the penalty boxes. Let me tell you, I have sat in many different seats in the arena, but these were by far the best seats in the house. You could see the whole length on the ice, and every part of it. In my normal seat, you really can't see anything along the boards near the goal. I had no problems on Thursday. I could also watch the action on the bench, another thing I can't see from my regular seat. It was a great game, and the Canes won 2-1 in OT. It will be hard to go back to section 338 after this experience.

Christmas is 4 days away. Things are going OK, but I still have to buy 3 more gifts. I have nothing for my brother-in-law. What is even worse, I really have no idea what to get him. We don't get to see each other very often, so I really don't know what he likes and dislikes. It is getting close to go time, so a decision will need to be made soon. Luckily, I got Tuesday off, and we are already closed 12/24 to 12/26. I hope we will be able to come up with something soon. At least I have most of the presents wrapped. Progress is happening, just slowly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the Day 12/16/08

'24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.' ~ Stephen

Beer is good. At least that is my motto. I have now ingested 195 beers at my favorite watering hole, The Flying Saucer. As a matter of fact, if you go to the website and look up the Raleigh location, you will see my name in the Top 10 - Who's Going into the Ring of Honor Next list. Yep, that's me, just 5 beers from my goal.

It has been a good 2 years. I can say that I have enjoyed each beer I have imbibed (and not a Miller, Budweiser, or Coors product on the list!) I have enjoyed the fellowship of my beer friends, and I am looking forward to sharing my ring of honor party with them. Two more visits and I'll be there.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Galloway Finale

Last night was our final event for the Galloway 2008 Running Season. It was our year end party held at a local fun park. We weren't sure what to expect, but it was a really nice time.

The party was in a private room off the restaurant. It was packed, but it was so good to see our fellow runners in their regular clothes. We sat together and watched a slide show of pictures from the year (some of my race photos were chosen for the show) while eating salad and pizza. We even had a birthday cake to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of our members (yes, the 80 year old is an active runner!) There were plenty of door prizes (Hubby won a gift card), and lots of surprises!

The best part of the evening was the recognition. All first time half marathon racers were given certificates (both of us) and all first marathoners were recognized (Bill). They also gave out certificates for people who made a PR (personal record) during the year. Since I dropped 7 minutes from my first race to my second, I received a second certificate for that achievement. The biggest surprise of all was that I won the Newcomer of the Year award. I have no idea how it happened, but I was thrilled. I received a third certificate as well as a gift card to a local running store. It was truly a great night and such a fun way to finish off the year.

Guess I need to get back to running. I have to keep at it and improve in 2009 so I can set another PR and finish a marathon!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

At Work, On Sunday

I am sitting at my desk at work. Not such a strange thing to be doing at 2:58pm, but it is strange when the day is Sunday. I have been called in to support our annual audit which started today. So far, it has been pretty stress free, except for the part about working on Sunday. Luckily, I have about one hour left, then I am free. Tonight is the year end party for our Galloway running program. I am very excited. I think it will be a fun night and I always like a chance to get a little dressed up.

I guess the day has not been a total loss. I have finished 4 magazines from the stack beside by bed. Back to number 5!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yet Another Floor Project

We had the hardwood floors put in the dining and living rooms last week, so it is time to work on the kitchen this week. Yesterday, hubby took a chisel and hammer to the stone tiles on the kitchen floor. The refrigerator has been moved over near the breakfast table, and tomorrow, the oven will have to be moved. As of lunchtime, the majority of the center of the kitchen floor had been removed as well as all of the quarter round molding.

Once all of the tiles are adhesive are gone, hubby will install a plywood floor and prime it overnight. The next day, he will lay new vinyl tile squares on the floor. This product looks like really stone and even feels good. It has a self adhesive on the back and will be laid out in rows. It is a lovely beige color with a darker brown marbling effect. I can't wait to see it done. It will be so nice to have a clean floor - no more grout. Home improvement can be great!

Monday, December 08, 2008

For all the stress, it was worth it

Last night, Bill and I had our 3rd annual holiday party. Earlier in the week, I wanted to cancel the whole darn thing.

We had the floors redone on Wednesday, then had to reassemble the rooms. After that, everything needed to be cleaned and decorated for Christmas. There was food (and beer) to be purchased, then recipes to be cooked. It is a lot of work getting ready for company.

Then, the day arrived. The house looked great, there was a lot of beer chilled, and the breakfast table was covered with food. Our good friends, both old and new, stopped by to join in holiday cheer. Whether it was for a few minutes or hours, it was so nice to have friends in our home to share the season. I think everyone had a nice time. I know I did. It was worth it to be with our good friends for the holidays.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What was old is new again

Yesterday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they fired the winningest US born hockey coach of all time, Peter Laviolette, and have replaced him with the guy they fired 4 years ago. How weird!

I think Coach Laviolette is a great guy and I am sorry to see him go. Yes, the Canes have not done so well so far this season, but it is early. It's not like they are in last place in the division either - they are currently in second place, only 3 points behind the leaders. This is one thing that I dislike about the Canes. They are constantly jumping the gun and firing or trading someone as a "quick" fix. I know this game is all about the money, and you don't make money if you lose. Still, it feels like they never give players or coaches a fair chance to do better.

So, they have hired back Paul Maurice who was the coach until 2004. He did take the Canes to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, but he also took the Canes to dead last place in the whole league in 2003. He was also fired by Toronto earlier this year. I like the guy, but can you imagine how that negotiation went?

Hey, Paul. We know we fired you a few years back, but we're in a bit
of a pickle now. So, since you're not doing anything, do you want to come
back to us? Oh, and we will probably fire you again later in the
season. Great - welcome back!!

The Joys of Home Improvement

Yesterday, we had hardwood floors installed in our dining room, living room, and bar. It was a huge pain in the butt to get the two rooms cleared of furniture (the garage was full for 3 days) and a pain to put it all back and clean it, but the floors are gorgeous. I hate that I was not able to decorate the house for Christmas this past weekend, but seeing those new floors made it worth it. Since the entry way and family room were done a few years back, the first floor just looks finished now. There is no more pee and vomit stained carpet on the floor. We actually got a lovely area rug for the dining room already, but the living room is still bare. Still, you can see the beautiful cinnamon colored floors through the glass of the living room coffee table.

I am so glad we got this done before the holidays even if we have to work extra hard over the next few days to get the house put back together and decorated. Next task: the kitchen floor!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Good Thanksgiving

We had a really good holiday. It is not the big things that matter, but the little things.

Both Bill and I were able to go for a run in the morning before we came home to cook and clean up. Bill's parents came over late afternoon, and we had some great appetizers and good conversation. Around 5:30 pm, we had our big Thanksgiving dinner. My sweet hubby is a wonderful chef, so he made a great turkey with all the trimmings. I was able to use all of the good stuff - my mom's Heron china and sterling silver as well as all the serving pieces. After dinner, our girls, Misty and Lily, got to sample their first ever Thanksgiving dinner. They got a little bit of everything in their bowl. As you can imagine, it was a big hit with the puppies.

After all the dished were washed (trust me - there were a lot of dishes), we watched TV and saw the movie Fred Claus. The movie was pretty good and a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

It was a really good holiday. Family was around, the food was great, and the day was relaxing. What more could you want from a holiday?

Monday, November 24, 2008

To Read or Not To Read

Tomorrow night is my book club meeting. We meet once a month (skipping December and the summer months) to discuss a preassigned book that the whole group has read. Tomorrow, we are reading my picks, Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, and I am the discussion leader. That sounds all fine and dandy, but I still have about 160 pages of the book to read.

I really love the people in my book group. They are all really cool people, and I enjoy the social aspect of getting together each month. Most of the group is older than me, some are retired. So, everyone has usually gone on interesting trips or done something cool that they share with the group. The only downside to the club is having to read a darn book.

Maybe is it the part about the book being assigned. Maybe it has to do with trying to make an intelligent point about a book. Maybe it is just trying to remember the plot points. I find the whole thing to be full of pressure. All of the members are so smart. They make smart insights and comments while I am left with "I liked it." It is hard for me to find time to read the books as well (or anything else for that matter - you should see the stacks of magazines by my bed!)

So, what should I do? Should I stick with it or should I bow out? Do I go for the pleasure of the company, or do I quit yet another activity that is hard to fit in my schedule? I wish I knew what to do.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yep, it was cold

Today is the regular day for our Galloway running group. We usually run about 10 miles (sometimes more) on Saturdays. Normally, hubby and I would both go, but this week was a little different. B had a procedure done on his foot this week (nothing major) and was told not to run for 1 week. So, it was all me this morning when the alarm went off at 5:45 am.

To top the early hour, it was also a little chilly. It was in the 20s this morning when I left the house. I thought about calling off the run, but I went anyway. Luckily, once you start running, you warm up pretty quickly. After about 2 miles, the gloves were off. About a mile later, the jacket was off. Of course, when we took a long walk break, everything went back on for at least a little bit. I did run/walk for 10.6 mile this morning. I'm glad I went. I am still a little cold now, but I'm sure I will be warm soon.

Dirty Sexy Money - NO!!!!!!

News broke yesterday that ABC canceled one of my favorite shows - Dirty Sexy Money. DSM is the story of the wealthiest family in the US, the Darlings, and their family lawyer, Nick George. There is corruption, extravagance, jewels, intrigue, and humor in this show. It was one of my absolute favorites on TV, and I don't watch all that much TV. Of course, the show is just starting to get really good. The storyline has really picked up and you are never quite sure who is on which side and how it will all work out. I just hope that there will be some sort of conclusion to the show and loyal viewers like me won't be left hanging.

I have written to ABC and E! online. I am so upset. This news is about as bad as when Cashmere Mafia was canceled last year. It makes me not want to watch new TV shows at all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Post #400 - I feel like a traitor

This morning, my boss asked me to get some information for him, and I didn't want to do it. It wasn't unethical or illegal, it just made me feel bad. Without getting into too much detail, the request was to find out more information about a job incentive that one of my colleagues earns. The bosses seem to be thinking about removing this perk. My problem is that I think my colleague deserves it.

I feel horrible for being part of this potential situation. I want no part of it. I wish I could tell my supervisor what I think of this request and how wrong I think it is, but it is really none of my business. I just get to sit here and feel bad about it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am such a slacker

I have not been very good at updating my blog lately. It just seems that so much is going on these days with work and personal life. There just doesn't seem to be time for everything, and my blog has been suffering. I decided the heck with it - I will take a few moments to update it today.

It is hard to remember where I left off, so I am just going to start with this past weekend. It was another good one. We are so very lucky to have such great friends in our lives. We were able to relax and watch a movie Friday night at home with our pups to get ready for the weekend ahead. On Saturday, The Junior League held their annual Holiday Market. My good friend, Rebecca, and her friend Laura joined me again this year for the event. We each found something cute for a holiday present for a loved one. After the market, we all went to Chapel Hill (Laura's college stomping grounds) for a nice lunch and a walk around downtown Chapel Hill. After I left them, I went shopping on my own, something I haven't done in a very long time. That evening, we went to our wonderful neighbor's house for a evening of drinking and games. It was so much fun, and I really hope we get to do it again soon.

Sunday was a race day. Bill and I both ran in the Old Reliable 10K in Raleigh. It was the 25th running of this race. We had always wanted to do it. What made it even better was that several friends were running as well. After a 20 minute delayed start t move the timing mats, we were off. It was another hilly Raleigh run. Bill did very well finishing the 6.2 mile course in 54 minutes. He was very happy. I finished in an expected 1:19, but was disappointed that I was so close to last. Still, the disappointment didn't last that long as we all headed over to the Flying Saucer for post race drinks.

Monday was Monday. Tuesday was better as we were all at our fall team meeting. All of our employees from around the country are in town. Since we are all together, it is also time for our holiday party. Last night, we went to the Angus Barn for a wonderful dinner in The Pavilions. It was lovely and the food was wonderful. Our chef was none other than Chef Walter Royal. Some of you may know him from his appearance on Iron Chef America. To this day, he still holds the highest score from a competitor on that show. He made us a special dessert - his grandma's apple cobbler cooked in a dutch oven over an open fire. It was as good as it sounds. After dinner, we all danced the night away to the sounds of the DJ. Almost everyone got out on the dance floor to shake their booty at least once. It was just a fantastic night.

Well, that's my update. I hope (but can't promise!) that I will be able to update more soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

“The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” John Bingham
I really like this quote. I think about this quote quite a bit. I thought about it last week when I was talking to my sister-in-law (SIL). We have finally put aside our political differences now that the election is over (OBAMA '08!!), and we are back to normal. Hubby and I will be going to Orlando for the Disney Half Marathon in 2009. I mentioned to SIL that she should run with me in 2010. As far as I know, she has never been a runner. I thought she might laugh off the suggestion or say "yeah, right, " but I was pleasantly surprised to find her saying yes.
She has started to look at different walking and/or running groups in her area. Before we even finished our e-mails, she had spoken to a local store that was able to suggest a group for her to join. She even asked me when we could sign up for the run so she would have a goal race. I am so excited for her and so please to have a running buddy. Sure, sometimes training stinks. Sometimes it is cold outside or dark or wet, and you don't want to go. Sometimes it aches to run that far. Sometimes you wonder what the heck you were thinking. But, just as John says, it is not the race or finishing the run, it is the fact that you started at all. You can do anything you set your mind to do. The hardest part is starting.
Watch out Disney Princess Run 2010 cause we are coming!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

One More Day

One More Day. One final day, and it will be over. I am talking about the 2008 elections. In a mere 24ish hours, we will know who will be our new president for the next 4 years. Boy, will I be glad when it is over.

I know this election will be historic. No matter who wins, it will be a first for this country. I know this election is important. Every vote counts as we come down to the wire. I will do my duty and vote tomorrow morning. I will vote for the man I believe will steer this country in the right direction for the next 4 years, and I will feel good about it.

I will be so happy to have the political commercials behind us. I will be glad to have another topics of conversation beside the elections. I will be so happy to not have to talk about the candidates. I will be glad that my friends and family who are voting for the other party will have no more to say about the process anymore. I will be glad when things are normal again.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Marathon and A Half

Last Sunday, Bill ran his first marathon ever. He ran in the 33rd running of the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. He wasn't alone, either. There were over 30,000 runners in that race, and about 50 of them were from our running group here at home. Bill ran all through Georgetown, along the Potomac, around the Lincoln Memorial and the Mall, through Arlington, and finishing at the Arlington Cemetery. I could not be more proud of my husband. He has been training hard all year, and this race was the culmination of that work. The race was long and tough, but he did finish. We even had a great weekend in DC enjoying the huge race expo at the armory and visiting an amazing bar. We went to a place called The Brickskellar that has the most amazing selection of beer I have ever seen. They have over 1000 beers in bottles, and the food is good, too. Not a bad place to spend a Friday afternoon. Too bad it was a race weekend...

This morning, I competed in my second half marathon. I did the City of Oaks half marathon in Raleigh. Unlike my first race, this one was on a very hilly course. I started out fine with about 10 other member of my running group. I felt good and was keeping up the pace. It was great to be running with friends - we kept joking it was like a regular weekend run. Sadly, my stinking watch gave out at mile 5, and so did I. I started feeling more and more tired. I started falling back from my group. Luckily, I had our friend, Jon to cheer me on at various points along the route. Bill was working at a Galloway water stop right around mile 10. Seeing him and knowing he was proud of me really helped me to finish the race. I was shocked to see when I finished, I set a new PR. I actually knocked 8 minutes off my time from VA Beach. About 30 minutes after the race, I started to think about the next race. It seems that, like pain, you forget how much something hurt when it is over and all is well. Crazy! At least I know I will sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

$2.99 per gallon

I was so excited yesterday to see that gas in NC finally dropped below $3.00 per gallon. From what I understand, our state has on of the highest gas priced in the US. I have been hearing lower prices for the US average, but our stations just went down yesterday. I filled my car about 10 days ago at $3.45 per gallon and thought that was a pretty good deal. Now we are under $3.00.

The scary part is that paying less than $3.00 per gallon is such a huge deal. I remember filling my first car, a 1985 baby blue Nissan Sentra sedan with a manual shift, for less than $13.00. Gas was usually around $.97 per gallon. That was a mere 20 years ago. Boy o boy, have times changed. It really does make me feel old, too.

Back in my day, sonny, we only paid 97 cents for a gallon of

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I would run 500 miles, and I would run 500 more...

As of this morning, I have run over 500 miles this year!! I hoped to reach this goal by the end of the year, but now I'm wondering how many more miles I can add to the tally.

Running has been such a big change in my life. When I was a kid, I was the worst runner in PE class. It would take me 2 minutes to get around the 1/4 mile track. I hated those days when we had to make that run. Even when I started running as an adult, I could only go for 1/2 mile before stopping. Now, I am getting ready in less than 2 weeks to do my second half marathon.

Sure, sometimes it is a pain in the ass. This morning, I didn't want to get up and go running in the cold and the dark. I did it anyway. Now, I am wondering if I could do a half marathon if every state in the Union. Wouldn't that be fun? We are already planning our 2009 travel around at least one race, and maybe more.

Maybe I will run a marathon...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tri and Suceed!

Today, my friend Heather and I did something new. We became triathletes. We participated in the Ramblin' Rose Women's Triathlon.

Our morning started very early. We were at the race site by 7am. It was dark and it was cold. We were bundled up in coats, gloves, and hats. We had no choice, though, as the transition area closed at 7:45. We picked up our chips, got body marked, and set up our transitions. Then, we waited. My swim time was 9:25; Heather's swim time was 10:00. We tried to find spots of sunlight and cheer on our fellow competitors. Soon it was time.

I stripped down and headed into the pool area. Thank goodness that it was an indoor pool. It was awfully cold when I took off my warm-ups and stood barefoot in my swim outfit. I met all the ladies who were swimming around me, and we talked about our tri experience. I was glad to know that I was not the only newbie to the sport. Then, I was in the pool. I loved the pool. The 250 yard swim went quickly. I soon passed 2 competitors, then I was soon passed by 2 more. I really liked the swim - I felt good and strong. I was out of the pool and on my way to transition. Yep, barefoot and wet into the transition area in the cold. No wonder after a 7:15 swim, it took me 3 minutes and 35 seconds to get ready for the bike.

I was off on my bike when I felt the chain slip. I thought I had a big problem, but luckily, I was able to down shift, then shift back up to get my bike going again. I was quickly passed on the first long hill, but I soon found my rhythm. I made my way through the gorgeous homes around the venue. I spent the time checking out the Obama vs. McCain signs in the yards (3 McCain signs and about 25 Obama signs). The wind was blowing and I was cold, despite my jacket, earmuffs, and gloves. I was still pretty wet after all. But, the nine miles passed quickly in 46 minutes and 47 seconds. I was back in transition.

Transition was much faster this time - 2 minutes and 1 second, but my legs were shot. I was very wobbly as I moved to the run. I was glad to see that about 80% of the women were walking at some point in the 2 mile run. I was one of them. I made it to the 1 mile turn around, and headed back. I think I got my legs back as I neared the finish. I was able to run strong toward the finish line. It was a great feeling to finish my first tri. Bill was right there to take pictures. I finished the run in 27:07.
We cheered on Heather as she finished. I was so surprised how much fun I had and how good I felt at the finish. It was a truly fun event. I will definitely train for my next tri (no more procrastination!) and I know I will beat my 1:26:44 time. After all, tri and tri again!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, motivation, where art thou?

I have had some problems with motivation lately. I have not been able to wake up on Thursday mornings for my runs. I don't know if it is the fall weather, the darkness, or the lack of sleep, but I have failed to run for two weeks in a row. I have maintained my running on other days, but Thursday has been blown off.

I have also had problems getting to work in the morning. I don't want to be at work, so I am constantly about 5 to 10 minutes late. Luckily, my employer is not a clock watcher. As long as I am getting my work done, they don't hassle me for the time. Thank goodness!

Well, I better find that motivation again soon. I am doing my second half marathon on November 2. Worse than that, I am doing my first triathlon on Sunday. Yes, Sunday, as in 2 days from now!! Guess when I did my first swim to prepare for the race? Last night. I guess I have at least some motivation...humiliation is great motivation.

Monday, October 13, 2008

First Canes Game!

I am going to my first Carolina Hurricanes game of the season tonight. The boys will wear their new "third" jerseys - they are black with the waving flag logo on the front. They will need to extra intimidation...the Detroit Red Wings are in town. So far, the guys have done well by winning their first two games. In both games, the Canes were down by at least 2 goals, then mounted a comeback to win. I hope that they win tonight, but I could do without the drama.

Today has been the perfect fall day. I hate that I had to sit inside all day when it was sunny and crisp outside. I guess I was able to take advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday when Bill and I rode our bikes downtown for lunch. It just seems that work should be waived on days as gorgeous as this one.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dow closes below 9000

I just saw the headline that the Dow closed lower than 9000 today. I have not checked my portfolio in long time, and now I am too scared to look. When and where will the slide end?

I received an interesting e-mail a few minutes ago from a local shop. The shop has to pay a $10,000 business loan, but lacks the money due to poor sales recently. They are asking their patrons to donate $50 per person to keep the store afloat. Wow, I wonder how many local businesses will be taken down in the current economic climate?

Running and Yoga

Bill and I started taking a yoga class to supplement our running program. So far, it has been a great addition to our regimen.

We started taking a class at Carrboro Yoga Company that is called Yoga for Athletes. It is a special class geared toward people who are runners and triathletes. The instructor is a triathlete herself, Sage Rountree. She teaches lots of poses that open the hips and lengthen the hamstrings. I have added her blog to my favorites list, so go check out the Sage Endurance blog.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Great Night for Beer

Last night, Bill and I volunteered at The World Beer Festival. It is a huge festival with close to 100 booths each representing different breweries. Each booth gives out 2 oz. samples of their beers. It was the first time we had attended the festival as volunteers, not patrons. We weren't sure what to except.

We met Wednesday night for a volunteer seminar. At that time, we signed up to help out at the Breckenridge Brewery booth. We were familiar with Breckenridge, so we knew it would be a good choice.

There was no one from the brewery with us at the booth. Just 3 cases each of 4 of their beers : The 471 IPA, the Avalanche Amber Ale, the Oatmeal Stout, and the Vanilla Porter. Things started slow at 6:00 pm, but before we knew it, we were pouring beer non-stop. It was so cool to talk to the beer drinkers. It was fun to see the reactions of each person as they took a sip of the sample. The Vanilla Porter was by far a favorite. It is such a unique taste - I don't think there is any other beer like it. It was a huge hit - people were coming to the booth saying they were sent to try the porter. So, of course, we ran out halfway through the session. Still, everyone was so cool. There was not a single asshole all night. We must have served 500 people, so those odds are amazing. Then again, everyone there loves beer and was drinking, so there is not much to be unhappy about.

It may have been better without running 16 miles that morning (Bill actually ran 26 miles!), but it is an event I would certainly do again. We were able to try a few of the other beers and we definitely drank a bit of Breckenridge (no use keeping those bottles with just a sip or two for the patrons). We are looking forward to the party for the volunteers in about 10 days. All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

I received an e-mail this morning with the following quote:

You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. Charles Buxton
Boy, this quote really hit home for me. I constantly feel like I have no time to do what I want to do. I feel like I have all my time already scheduled for me. Of course, it is of my own making. I have joined groups and clubs because I wanted to be in them, then I complain that they take up too much time.
An example - tonight I should really go home and either start pricing my items for Bargain Sale or start reading my book for book club. Both events are next week and I need to get these things done. What will I probably do? Sit and watch TV because I am tired and I don't want to do those other things. Then, I will get upset because I don't have time to get anything done. What I need to do is take about a half an hour to get my stuff together for Bargain Sale so I can see what else needs to get done over the weekend. Then I can relax for a bit before I sit down to read my book.
Things might get done if I make the time. Thanks, Charles!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Great Day for a Dog Park

Bill and I did something really fun yesterday. Bill took Misty and Lily to our local dog park, and I joined them on my lunch hour. We had not been to the park in years, but I signed the girls up for the park as soon as we got them. It was the right thing to do.

The dog park has grown and changed so much. Now, there are different areas for large dogs and small dogs. Since both our pups are over 35 pound, they can go in the large dog area. There are trees and grass in that area, as well as a gravelled area. The whole space must be at least the size of a football field. There is a water fountain, and an area with water bowls that I was able to fill for the girls. There are two benches for the parents, as well as a picnic table and a barbecue. The girls loved being off leash in such a big area. We were so proud to see them interact so well with the 5 other dogs that came through the area. There were no dog fights, just pure canine fun. Bill and I enjoyed our lunch on the picnic table while all the dogs wandered around. It was also a nice fall day, so you really couldn't ask for anything more.

It was a wonderful lunch - the perfect way to get out of the office for a bit. I know we will be back often.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Politics on Monday

Here is an e-mail I received today which I found to be interesting:

I'm a little confused. Let's see if I have this straight....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "different."

Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, -- a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 10,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married heiress Cindy the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA , your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Got My Canes Tickets This Week

My mini season tickets arrived from the Carolina Hurricanes this week. Since Bill will not be attending the games with me this year, I opted for the weeknight package. I will be going to 12 games from October to April. I have some pretty good match-ups, too. I see Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, The angers, and Ottawa just to name a few.

Of course, the excitement of getting the tickets was tempered by the news that one of the top forwards and one of my favorite players, Justin Williams, Will be out 4-6 months for a torn Achilles tendon. This news is doubly horrible since he was just coming back from being out most of last season. I really hope this situation is not an indication of how the Canes season will be this year.

The only good news is that former Cane and one of my all time favorite players, Jeff O'Neill, returned to Raleigh for training camp. With Williams not out, there is a chance that "O" could be back with the team if he has a good camp. Gosh, it would be great to see #92 on the ice again.

Two Dogs walk into a bar

Last weekend, Bill and I took Misty and Lily to our favorite bar, The Flying Saucer. What a great way to combine the things I love - my husband, my dogs, my friends, and beer.

Bill and Terry were supposed to run in the Magnificent Mile race downtown. We thought it was scheduled for 2 pm, and we needed to pick up the packets before the race. So, we headed to town at about 12:30. Misty, Lily, and I were going to show support for the guys. When we arrived at packet pick-up, we found out that their race was at 2:40 pm for the non-competitive race. Well, that left us with lots of time to kill. It was also very, very hot. Bill and I had run the day before as well. Bill finished 21+ miles, and I did a little over 14 miles in the brutal heat. Since it was still so hot, and we had time, we wound up at the Sauce.

As you can imagine, one beer lead to another, which lead to snacks. That lead to us sitting at the bar watching the racers participate in the mile. I think we left just after their race would have started.

Still, the girls had a great time at the bar. They socialized with people, and saw a few other dogs that were on the patio. Misty was so cute that she would stand on the bench so she could be close to us and take part in any conversations. It really was a fun afternoon.

So, two dogs walk into a bar and wind up having a great day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wrote about politics, why not religion next?

So, I have had occasion this year to go to church twice, which may be a record for me. I was not brought up in a religious family. We never attended a regular Sunday mass, and I could probably count the number of special (Christmas, Easter) services I attended on one hand. Yet, I have been baptised. As you may guess, I have many questions about religion.

I was in church a few weeks ago, and noted that the priest talked about one God. I wonder about that statement. If there is only one God, why are there so many different religions that each believe in different things? We have Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Wicca, Paganism, and the list goes on. So, why is it that the Christian version of God is the correct one? It seems to me that is a bit presumptuous. My very smart husband pointed out that there may be one Supreme Being, but he projects himself in different ways throughout the world. It seems to make sense, but why would he do that? If you were God, wouldn't you want the whole world to worship you and have there be no confusion? Boy, that would solve most of the wars that are fought today.

It is all very confusing to me. I would like to believe that there is a God, and a better place once your time on this planet is over. Maybe religion is something that we as humans cling to so that we can make it through the bad times and the everyday boring stuff. It would stink if you died, and everything just ceased. That makes me wonder about Heaven, but I will leave that for the next entry.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sarah Palin scares the s&^t out of me

The more I hear and read about Sarah Palin, the more she scares me.

There is just about nothing I agree with her about. She is anti-abortion rights. I firmly believe that the choice of terminating a pregnancy or not lies with the parents of child, not the government. She is pro creationism. I do not believe that religious teachings have any part in schools other than history classes. She opposes comprehensive sex education classes in schools. I believe that abstinence should be the main message in sex-ed classes, but birth control also needs to be a topic of the conversation. She opposes gay marriage or any sort of partnership plan for homosexual couples. I think that any two people who want to commit themselves in a loving relationship should be allow to do so, whether they are a man and a woman, or two men or two women. I think they should all have equal rights and it is really not the business of the government.

I also think she has problems with her memory. She was for "the bridge to nowhere" before she opposed it.

It concerns me that the American people are so taken by this woman. It seems they just love her because she is gutsy and tells it like it is. I think she has very little qualifications for the job of VP (she wasn't sure what the VP did all day a few months ago). It also troubles me that she has such a young child. I know, this may set feminism back many years, but I feel that she can't devote time to the position of Vice President when she has a newborn baby with Down's Syndrome. How can you go around the world and be available for your country 24/7 with an infant. I don't think it is fair to either us or her child.

I don't know, maybe I was a 50s housewife before I became a flower child.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

I have probably blogged about this topic before, but I think it bears repeating.

September 1 to January 1 is my absolute favorite time of the year. I have always loved the fall. To me, it seems that all the good stuff happens this time of the year. College football starts (Go Dawgs - #1 this year!), hockey begins in October (the Canes have got to have a better season this year), Bill's birthday is in September, my birthday is in October, the leaves change and fall, the temperatures get cooler, and all the best holidays happen - Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. What's not to love?

Of course, there is a downside. The Junior League also starts. Last night was our first general membership meeting of the year. I had to stand for about 1 1/2 hours to listen to the all the new information for the year. I really began to wonder why I was there and not with my friends at The Sauce. I really think I will like my placement this year - Extra Hands - and working on small volunteer projects that are typically done in one day. I like the idea of being part of the community and helping people in need. I just wish there was not so much bureaucracy and cash outlay involved. Oh well, I am stuck for at least one more year.

This fall is also special for the election of our new President. Must more on that another time...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I did it - RNR Half Marathon Recap

Yes, I did it. I ran in the Rock N Roll half marathon in VA Beach on August 31, 2008. I finished within my personal time goal of 3 hours. I am happy to say my first half marathon was a success.

Bill, Terry, Heather, and I left for VA Beach on Friday. We got a late start and were caught in all of the beach traffic. We arrived around 7 pm, and met up with Michelle and Jon. We were staying at a hotel right on the beach. While the actual hotel was not that nice, the location was wonderful. We walked along the boardwalk until we found a nice seafood restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we enjoyed the music of Starship (oh yeah, We Built this City on Rock and Roll!!) before heading to have more beer.

On Saturday, we all met for breakfast, then headed to the expo to pick up our race numbers. The expo was great. I picked up a few souvenirs, and we all got some freebies and samples. We also got tons of info on other races in the future. After a quick lunch, we headed to the beach. I hung out with Jon and Michelle in the sand, while the remainder of our party hit the surf. We met more friends, Tommy and Dianna with their daughter Caitlin, at an Italian restaurant for carb loading. Sadly, the restaurant was packed and the kitchen got very backed up. Our food took about an hour and a half to arrive. By the time we got back to the hotel, we had missed the Billy Idol concert, my one regret of the weekend.

Sunday morning started early with a 5:15am wake time. We headed to the starting line and each of our individual corrals. Luckily, I saw some friends from the local Galloway program at the expo, so I knew where to meet them. Good thing, too. My Garmin jammed at the start. If I had not found them, I would not have had any way to know when to take walk breaks during the race.

Our corral finally made it to the start (we were 21 out of 24). My group (we started with 6) took off like a flash. I feared I would not be able to keep up, but I knew I wanted to finish within 3 hours. Quickly, one person dropped off due to the humidity. Another lady decided we were too slow. Soon the third stopped to get some salt. Then, there were 3. We enjoyed the run through the neighborhoods and the base while enjoying the sounds of various bands along the way. I made sure to drink at each water stop, and tried to dump water on my head, too. Around mile 9.5, I could tell my friends were getting tired. I decided to carry on by myself in pursuit of my goal time. I headed over the bridge into downtown feeling tired. Luckily, I saw a friendly face in the crowd. Terry was taking pictures, so I had to smile and wave. It sure did give me a boost through mile 11. I was on my own, listening to my body and finding my own pace. I was so happy to make that turn up the boardwalk, but I still couldn't see the finish. Finally, the line was ahead on me, and soon I was passing the 13 mile mark. That last .1 mile was a killer, but I did it with a smile on my face.

I crossed the line and went through the well staffed end zone. I got water, snacks, my medal, a wet towel, and a goody bag before heading to the family reunion site. I found Heather on the beach, and we were joined by Terry and Bill. Heather did well - she beat me by about a minute and 10 seconds, but was slowed by a bathroom break. Bill did well, too, but did not break 2 hours as he had hoped. He was slowed by his friend, Chris, who was a victim of the heat. We quickly found Jon and Michelle who were joined by Tommy, Dianna, and Caitlin. We all took a picture with our medals, then enjoyed the beach party. After a quick lunch, we all rested for the remainder of the afternoon.

My dear friend, Devi, called to see how I did. I was so shocked and pleased that she remembered. It was good to talk about the race with someone who had been there, done it, and races much further as well. The ladies I ran with up to 9.5 miles also called to check on me.

After dinner, we went to the big beach concert, The B-52s. It was not really our sort of music, but we stayed anyway. Love Shack was pretty good. We enjoyed the fireworks, as we did the previous two nights.

Monday was time to head home. I never realized how sore I would be. Bill, Heather, and I were pretty miserable after a 4 hour ride home. My hips really hurt, but I feel much better today. I hope to be back to running on Thursday.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I have the bug now. I am already trying to figure out what my next half marathon will be. I am so proud to have completed the race and to have done it in 2 hours, 57 minutes. Check out Jon's blog to see what he thinks.

The best part of the whole trip was being able to experience it with my husband and our dear friends. I am so glad that we were all there together. It made victory even sweeter.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Top Gearhead

I am totally addicted to the show called Top Gear. Bill and I discovered it on BBC America on Monday nights at 8:00 pm. One would think that this sort of show would not capture my attention, but it has.

Yes, the show is about cars. During the course of an hour, they will review cars, but it is so much more. There are 3 presenters, James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson, who are absolutely hilarious. They love cars, but they also love to poke fun at one another and laugh. We frequently find ourselves laughing, too.

On last week's episode, Hammond and May challenged Clarkson to a race from London to Oslo. Hammond and May were to take a plane to Newcastle, then an overnight ferry to Norway. From the dock, they were to take another boat to Oslo. Clarkson had to drive a Mercedes super car through 8 countries (about 17 hours!). Who would win?

They pull crazy stunts like this one all the time. Hammond and May were shown drinking and dancing in the ferry while Clarkson was driving in the dark. All odds said the ferry would win, but the car actually took the title.

There is also a mystery driver named The Stig who races the cars on the test track. Sometimes, British celebrities show up as well to test drive a car. I have seen Dame Helen Mirren and Simon Cowell.

You never know what you will see on this crazy show. The British are so cool, too. I love listening to them talk. "This coupe has a small boot, but can go from naught to sixty in 3 seconds."

Check your local listings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh, what a strange morning!

I was awakened this morning at 5:30 am by the sound of heaving. I know that sound very well. I jumped out of bed, raced to the bathroom trying not to hurt myself, grabbed the water bowl and dumped the contents in the tub, turned around, and got it under Lily's mouth about a second too late. Oh well. I figure at this point, with the amount of bile on the carpet, my whole rug will be cleaned soon. At least she didn't do it at 2:30 in the morning.

After relaxing for about 20 minutes after the great vomit dash, I got up and prepared for my run. It was a good run. I felt good and I was doing well. On the way home, I have something strange happen. I was running down the trail at a slight hill. There was a black woman walking in front of me heading the same direction. Another black woman came from the opposite direction. She saw me, them turned to run the other way. She looked back and saw that I was still coming, so she ran some more. Both ladies then stopped at a wide space in the trail, and waited for me to pass. As I ran by, the second woman looked at me and shouted "stop stalking the black women." I laughed and kept running. It was a joke...right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nodding Off

I am so bored right now, I am trying not to fall asleep. I have been trying to keep myself awake with chocolate kisses - that can't possibly be good. Thank goodness I can leave here in 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Hate a Cheering Crowd

It is now less than 2 weeks to my first half marathon. I am pumped for it. I feel like I have trained enough. I know I will make the distance, but my new concern is the time. I would like to finish the race in under 3 hours, but I don't think it will happen.

I received my race packet in the mail the other day. My projected finish time is 3 hours, 14 minutes. I think that will be pretty close. I would like to trim 14 minutes off that time, but I seem to be training right in that range. Maybe the crowds and the music will push me along.

I had a horrible thought when I finished my run this morning. All of my friends will be done by the time I finish. That means that potentially they could all be at the finish line cheering for me to come in. I would hate that so much! I hated being cheered by a crowd. I am always slow, and in the last crowd at a race. When people cheer for me, I feel like I am some sort of Special Olympian trying to finish the race. I don't need to be cheered, I suck and I know it. Please don't make me feel any worse than I already do. Please do not draw any attention to me. Please do not make me feel lacking when you have been done for an hour.

If you are going to the race with me (and you know who you are), please be quiet. I'll see you at the end.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bill is sporting a mohawk

Yes, my husband has a mohawk.

Wednesday night, Bill, Terry and I are sitting at the Sauce, drinking a few beers, and talking about our upcoming trip to Virginia for the half marathon. Terry mentions that Bill should get a mohawk for the race so he can look tough for the competition. The concept is not tough for Terry - he has sported a mohawk or two in his lifetime.

After a few laughs, I told Bill there was no way he would do it. Of course, my comments make it a challenge to my husband. Was I daring him to cut a mohawk on his head? He thought it was a good time for it since he is at home. I told him that the second he did it, he would get a call for a job interview.

So, we got home and changed for the evening. I was washing my face when I see Bill dig out the shaver and take one clean swipe down his skull. There was nothing I could do - I had to finish it up for him and at least make it look neat.

And, yes, he got a phone call from a potential employer on Thursday. The interview should be next week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Beer Wednesday!!

Bill and I are going to The Flying Saucer tonight. We have been to the Sauce many times, but this feels special. I guess it feels so good because we have not been doing it regularly.

Ever since the pups arrived, I don't like to be out multiple times a week. I feel like it is unfair to them if we are gone all the time. Also, they are pretty darn cool, so I like to be around them as much as possible.

It feels like Bill and I are actually grown-ups going out for the evening. I can't wait to get my hands on a nice cold beer. It will be so sweet. I really need to work on my plate - I don't even remember how many I have to go, but I think it is about 30. I will be so glad to kick back and relax with our good friends in our place. I just hope it is as good as I remember.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Love...

I love a good pedicure. There is nothing like it. You get to soak your feet in a warm water jacuzzi while sitting in a massage chair. Then, you get your feet cleaned, scrubbed, massaged, and painted. Every time I get one, I feel like a million bucks afterwards.

I can paint my own toenails, but it never looks as good as a real pedicure. I got one last night. I figured that I deserved it after my 16+ mile run on Saturday. I did complete what I needed to run, though my Garmin was malfunctioning. I am not sure exactly how far I ran or my time, but I know I did at least 16 miles.

Bill deserves a pedicure, too. He ran about 11 miles on Saturday, then participated in the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon for the second year in a row. Despite the rain, he did very well. He improved all of his times over last year except for T2. We expect it took longer since his shoes were soaked through and hard to get on. I was very proud of him. He would NEVER actually get a pedicure, but he does deserve something nice for all of his hard work.

I think after the half marathon (19 days away!), I may have to get another pedicure. I may need a facial, too.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Weekend Ahead

Boy, oh, boy, do we have a busy weekend ahead!

Tomorrow morning, I will be running my longest distance ever - 16 miles! I am nervous, but I have been training for this day. I think I will be just fine. I learned a lot last week after suffering from heat exhaustion. I got a little light headed and stopped sweating right after 10 miles last weekend. I will be better prepared tomorrow. I have been hydrating for the past 2 days, and I will be filling my water bottles at every stop tomorrow morning. Bill is also running. He expects to do 10-12 miles.

After the run, Bill may go to a car show. I will likely stay home. If I can move, I should really clean our house because it has been a long time since it has been done. I have not been carrying my weight at home and I need to get some stuff done.

At 4pm, we take the pups to their training class. After class we need to go pick up the packet for Bill's race on Sunday. He is running less mileage Saturday to conserve energy for a triathlon. He will be participating the the UNC Super Sprint for the second year in a row.

So, after Bill's triumphant race on Sunday, we may go to Raleigh to enjoy the beer knurd brunch at The Flying Saucer. We have not been there for a few weeks, and we thought it would be a fun way to get the girls out to socialize. There is a nice deck at The Sauce, and dogs are frequent guests there.

Sunday night we have the concert - Journey, Heart, and Cheap Trick. It should be a great night of music.

So much to do in just 2 short days. Not to worry, we should be able to sleep on the 17th!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Dark Knight

Bill and I finally went to see the new Batman movie last night. We were supposed to see it in IMAX, but the show was sold out when we arrived. We went instead to a regular theater and caught the 8:00PM showing.

Maybe it was the driving from one theater to the other or the late time, or maybe it was just the anticipation, but the movie was not all that great in our opinion. I think both of us were a little disappointed. I guess we expected to be blow away by the movie that is breaking box office records and earning half a billion dollars. We just thought it was too long.

Sure, I thought Heath Ledger did a great job as The Joker. He had that quiet, controlled insanity that is very chilling. He had the laugh and mannerisms down, and he was definitely cruel. He was impressive. Other parts just failed for me. The female lead was a weakness yet again. What's the deal with Harvey Dent's face? It he was burned that badly, shouldn't his eye be damaged as well?

I don't know. It could have been too much hype. Any little problem is blown out of proportion when you are so looking forward to something. It just makes is all the worse when it doesn't live up to your expectations.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Poopzilla and The Goat

As of today, we have been living together for 3 weeks. The girls are doing very well, and they are definitely learning the rules and schedule of the house. As we get to know our pups better, we are able to give them nicknames.

Misty is now nicknamed Poopzilla. You may be able to guess why. The first time we walked her, we were surprised how much she can eliminate at one time. It is a small mound coming from a dog who is not that big, hence the moniker Poopzilla.

Lily is known as The Goat. Sometimes walking this dog is like walking a goat. She has a tendency to graze. She has also gone through a number of toys - even the ones for heavy chewers. If we gave her a tin can (which we would not do), I have no doubt she could eat it right up. Thank goodness she does not eat furniture or shoes.

Sounds like it would make a good book or cartoon - The Continuing Adventures of Poopzilla and The Goat. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sometimes the best things are the simple things

We had a really great weekend. There was nothing special about it - it was just a good weekend.

On Friday night, we ate at home. We made our favorite pizza - a Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and pineapple. Then, we took our dogs for a walk. After the walk, we came home and watched the movie "21" about counting cards at Blackjack. It was a really good and interesting moving.

On Saturday, Bill and I ran our respective longest runs of the season. Bill went 16 miles with his group. I moved up to a faster pace group. They nearly kicked my butt, but I did manage to go the 14 miles I was scheduled to run. We were pleased to find our pups did well and did not destroy anything when we returned home. It was a longest mark for them, too. It was about 5 hours that they were alone. I think they were very happy to reunite in the backyard. After we all ate breakfast, we relaxed around the house until it was time to go to class. It was Misty and Lily's first training class. Both did well, and we have high hopes for each. For dinner, we made a pasta with fresh veggies and chicken. We saw "The Bucket List" - another good movie.

On Sunday, we had our day of rest. Bill did go for a bike ride, while I decided to finish a great book I was reading (Eye of the Beholder by David Ellis - very good). We relaxed around the house with our pups, then grilled steaks for dinner. We watched "The Other Boleyn Girl".

It was not a particularly spectacular weekend. We really stayed around the house most of the time. We did relax, and we did spend time together as a family. I think that is what made it such a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Lost

This morning, we received a beautiful note from our neighbors informing us that their dog, Barley, passed away yesterday.

Barley was the sweetest girl. She always had a tail wag for you if she saw you in the yard, no matter how bad she felt. She may have been stiff and sore, but she would get up and wag her tail until you came to her.

I know our friends are hurting. Barley was 14 years old, and they had her since she was a puppy. The dog has been a part of their lives since before they were married.

My only solace is that Barley is not in pain anymore. She is running free and happy with Sammy now. I bet they are chasing each other and enjoying the wonderful treats in Heaven.

There is a wonderful poem about losing pets. It has made me feel better, but it also makes me cry. If you have never seen it, please read The Rainbow Bridge.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Sweet Nephew Michael

I wish we could have known him. He was gone too soon.
Rest in Peace, Angel Michael.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reason #128 Why I love my Husband

This past Sunday, Bill participated in the Triangle Triathlon. It was his second tri event, but this one was different from the first. Instead of a pool swim, this swim took place in an open lake. With all the the problems we have been having lately, Bill wasn't really able to train for the race. Sure, he had been biking and running, but he was only able to go to the pool once.

Bill headed into the lake with his group with a big smile on his face. When I saw him get out of the lake, I was nervous. I had never seen him look so tired or defeated. The swim took more out of him than he imagined. I was afraid he would not be able to finish the race.

By the time I moved to the transition area, Bill was already heading out on the bike. I watched him come in, and saw him leave for the run. My guy finished the race in under 2 hours (did I mention that he ran 12 miles the day before the race) and he had a huge smile on his face.

Bill finished what he set out to do. He never gave up, he never gave in. When he finished, he was smiling because he achieved his goal. It is perseverance and strength of character. I was and am very proud of him. And that is reason #128.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So much for best behavior

Well, our dogs seem to be settling in the house. Last night, they were calm and relaxed. We thought that we adopted two chilled out little doggies. Tonight is a whole other ball game.

Little Lily is an instigator. She loved to pounce on Misty. They will go at it and wrestle each other like crazy. They are good about it. They don't really run, but just jump on each other. They have done that several times tonight. We introduced them to their new back yard, and they went at it. They were running and wrestling all over the place. The wrestling continued inside, then a nap, and then more wrestling. We thought they were burnt out, but they started up again. Poor Bill is exhausted, so he and Lily are in the master bedroom. Misty is here with me as I type. We hope breaking them up will allow them to relax a bit. I don't need much sleep, but I sure hope I don't wake up to wrestling at 3 am.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And Then There Were Four

So much has changed in the 5 days since my last post.

When I last wrote, I was still devastated by the loss of Sammy. Things have gotten better. Sammy came home last Thursday. We placed her ashes in her room, on the bed she loved. It seemed that everything cam full circle. Bill and I cried as we sat on the bed with her, but we slept through the night that night. We have been sleeping well ever since. Now, we can remember Sammy with good memories and no more tears.

The house has been so empty, that we decided we wanted to adopt another dog. We looked on line at the local animal shelter and saw many great dogs. We tossed around the idea, but still wondered if it was too soon and if we were cheapening Samantha's memory. We decided to visit the shelter on Monday.

I am happy to report that our visit to the SPCA of Wake County was a wonderful success. The facility was wonderful, and so were the volunteers. We had great dealings with the people in the kennels and the adoption counselors. We just didn't know if we should move forward.

I am happy to report that we now have 2 dogs living under our roof with us. Misty is a 2 year old German Shepard mix, and Lily is a 9 month old lab mix. The girls arrived today, and Bill and I have been amazed at how wonderful they have been so far. They have adjusted to their forever home very well. We will all sleep well tonight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Life Without

Each little thing seems to set us off. You don't know how much someone means to you until they are gone. Samantha was a part of our home.

Bill put away her table that held her water and food bowls. The corner of the kitchen seems so empty. Her bed has been put away. There is a dirty ring around the place it used to be.

Bill and I went out with friends last night. It was good to get away from home and go to our bar. It felt normal. Our friends are so good to us - they really helped us feel better. Even the folks at my job have been supportive. They sent us a beautiful floral arrangement in sympathy.

This morning, I could not get up to run. I am so tired. I am weary. I feel so empty inside - like I have nothing else to give.

Here is something my good friend Devi wrote. I really like her comments.

I'm so sorry to hear the sad news...our pets have such an embedded place in our lives that it takes a long time to stop feeling like there is a hole in our hearts and in our homes when they go. I am glad that she was so loved and that she passed peacefully during the night...she had the life and death we would all want. Love always, Devi

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Missing Our Girl

As you can imagine, things have been hard at out house. The shock of losing our Sammy has not warn off. Bill and I find ourselves in tears often, and neither of us slept last night. We miss her so much.

Sammy may have been a dog, but she was one-third of our family. Our family motto was always "You, me and the pooch," and now one of the main players is gone.

I know what it is to be heartbroken now.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Our Beloved Samantha

This morning, we woke to find that our beloved dog, Samantha, had passed away in her sleep. This loss was totally unexpected. She seemed fine yesterday; she was happy. As you can imagine, with all of the bad things that have been happening in our family lately, this loss was a particularly hard blow. We had no warning, there was no idication that this was coming. We loved our dog so much -she was our baby. Our only solace is that we know she is in a good place and that she knew how much we loved her.

Our friends and family have been wonderful. We have received many, many messages and condolences today. It seems that Sammy was loved by many people, not just us.

We will miss her very much - the sound of her collar jingling, the nose prints on the windows, the tons of fur shedded all over the house.

We just hope that Samantha, Michael, and my mom are having a nice time in heaven together.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tough Stuff

Yesterday was my nephew Michael's memorial service. I don't know what I was expecting, but as soon as I saw the alter with his things and the flowers, I completely lost it. I pretty much cried through the first half of the ceremony. It is strange how much you can miss someone you never even knew. There is one really good picture of him with his eyes open, looking right at the camera. That is the picture they used for the service and on the program. I see that picture, and it makes me think of what could have been. I guess someone else had other plans.

The nice thing was that there was probably about 150 people at the service. That out pouring of love and support meant a lot to me, so I know it really touched Sally and Robert. It was amazing to see everyone come together for one little boy. If anything, it makes a difficult time a little easier to bear.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Quick Update on Some Bad Times

Things have not been good recently for the Morrison Family.

1. Bill was laid off. He knew there was going to be layoffs, but was completely surprised that he was one of them. He did not see it coming, and it has been very hurtful.

2. I blogged about my nephew being born on June 18. Now, I must share the news of his passing. Michael passed away on June 29. His lungs just could not keep up. It is very sad for the whole family. I will be boarding a flight to Orlando tonight. The funeral is on Saturday.

3. I have this nagging cough that will not go away. It has twice woken me in the middle of the night this week. With all that is going on, sleep deprivation is something I don't need.

4. Work is still really busy. I have been working late most of the week. The company is doing well, so I guess I should be happy for that.

5. Sammy continues to gnaw on her legs. We went to the vet again this morning as she bit herself bloody last night. An hour wait for a walk-in appointment. I wish I knew why she did it.

Well, if you have any good luck to pass on, please send it our way. We need something positive to happen for a change.

Happy 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How weird is that?

Turns out there is a computer in the B&B where we are staying in Portland, ME. I had to blog about the strangest thing that happened yesterday.

Bill and I love beer, as you may know. We decided while we are in Portland we would visit the Allagash brewery. As we are finishing up the tour, in walks a lady who looks really familiar to me. It turns out she is in The Junior League of Durham and OC with me. Here we are 1,100 miles from Durham, and I run into a fellow JLDOC member in a brewery. As a matter of fact, all 5 groups in the tour had a connection to NC - a UNC grad, a couple from Asheville, and a guy who went to school in Wilmington. My JLDOC friend is a friend on Facebook (Jill M). I remember seeing she would be in Maine and New Hampshire, but I certainly did not think I would see her here!

Talk about a weird, small world!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Running on Vacation

So far, I have been able to keep up my running regimen while on vacation. Of course, it has been easy so far because I am at my dad's house. They have a great lake here where I can run. It is was to get to, and I am familiar with it. I'm wondering if I will still run when we get to our next destination - a place we do not know. Will it be easier to continue? For each run this week, we will be in a different place. Guess I will let you know what happens.

Yesterday, we spent the day in Boston as a family. We did a trolley tour and went on a harbor cruise. It was a great way to see the city. I think we all enjoyed it - even the natives. We were lucky that it rained only a few drops even when the sky was threatening all day. We finished the day in Cambridge eating at a fantastic Mexican restaurant with fresh guacamole and margaritas. We even went through Harvard Square on the way home. Not bad for a Sunday.

Well, that's all for now. I have to get ready to move on to Maine. I will be computer-less for the rest of the vacation, so I will have to catch up when I get back. Have a great week!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Nephew Alert!

My new nephew was born on Wednesday. His name is Michael Arthur Cruz. He was born early - there were some issues with the pregnancy. He is about 4.5 pounds and will be in the hospital for another month. He has a head full of dark hair, and otherwise looks good for a newborn. He has some fluid issues, but we are all hoping and praying that he will be fine.

I guess another sticking boy is not that bad...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Made it to Boston

I arrived in Boston yesterday to spend some time with my family and enjoy a vacation. I shopped in downtown Boston yesterday, and met my stepmom for lunch. We had a lovely dinner with my stepbro, and I got to see the dog, Shatzie. I have not seen her in a year, and she had grown from a puppy to a real dog.

This morning, I went for a run around the lake, then had breakfast with my little bro. I am going to head to town soon (had to wait for the Celtics parade to end - yeah Boston!). I hope to see the Isabelle Stuart Gardner museum/home this afternoon. My dad should be home tonight, so I am excited to see him, too. Got to go!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


That is the number of miles that I have run so far this year. Hard to believe, isn't it? It sure is for me.

Yesterday was my longest run ever. My Galloway group did 10.78 miles. We ran with an interval of 1/1 (1 minute running/1 minute walking) with a target pace of 13 minute miles. It was a long, but nice run. I had worn blisters in my feet by the time we finished, but I felt good. A girl and I had to break rank (the group is very big on staying together, but I had an appointment. My new friend, Frankie, was up for running to the end, so we went on our own). My legs were a bit sore later, but I found tequila and Motrin work well to ease the pain. I was a little stiff this morning, but have gotten better as the day rolls on.

I am so glad that I joined this program. Fifteen months ago, I could barely run .5 miles without stopping. I couldn't breathe, and my pace was pretty bad. Look how far I have come now! I actually look forward to these weekend runs, and am planning how I will keep up with the program while I am on vacation. People have even told me I look like I have lost weight. If there is such a thing as a running nerd, I think I am one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I love SATC!

Bill and I went to see the Sex and the City movie last night (much to my pleasure, but probably not so much his). I am glad to report that I was very pleased.

I loved this movie. It was very true to the series. The characters were back after a 4 year break, and it quickly felt like old times. I loved the story line with real issues about love, forgiveness, and friendship. I laughed and I cried. I admired the great fashions and drooled over the shoes (and that one closet scene). It was a very fitting portrayal of these woman and their lives. It felt so good to see them again.

I can't wait for the movie to come out on DVD. It was one of the best movies I have seen in a long, long time!!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Yep, I am doing a half marathon

After a great 8.25 mile run this morning in the heat (it is going to be 100 degrees today), I decided that I can and will do a half marathon. Bill signed me up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in VA Beach over Labor Day weekend. It gives me about 2 1/2 months to continue training. I think it will be great since Bill, Jon, and Heather have already signed up. So, now there are four of us in the race with Terry and Michelle being our support crew and cheerers.

I am actually looking forward to this challenge.

Friday, June 06, 2008

So Slammed!!

Sorry it has been so long!

I have been so busy, I have not been able to write.

1. Work - my supervisor accepted a new internal position, so my colleague, Rebecca, and I have been trying to split her workload and learn all of our new duties. In addition to that, it is month end closing and we have a huge IT integration underway that is affecting our computer systems.

2. - The Flying Saucer - Bill did earn his plate and we had a party on Wednesday. His plate looked good, and we got a $100.00 tab to share with our friends. We didn't spend it all, and it surprised our waitress. She said usually no one had problems blowing $100.00!!

3. Tonight - We are going to The Saucer again tonight for Jon and Michelle's pre-wedding party. It will be fun to share the last night of their singledom with them.

4. Tomorrow - We have a Galloway run tomorrow morning at 7:00 am. We are supposed to run 8 miles. It has been near 100 degrees every day since Tuesday this week (I know because we went to a minor league baseball game last night - it was 101 at 7:00 pm). It will be tough. At 4:00 pm, we have the wedding. The wedding is supposed to be outside. I hope I do not sweat through my silk dress.

5. Sunday - We have brunch with Jon and Michelle, then heading to Southern Pines. Bill's dad is back from his hospital/physical therapy rehab stay, so it will be great to see him at home.

6. Samantha - Sammy had her teeth cleaned and toenails clipped this week. She also had a spot removed from her leg. She is doing well, but has been a little bit dopey on meds.

7. Detroit won the Stanley Cup. Very disappointing. I thought perhaps Pittsburgh had a chance after Game 5. Oh well.

8. Wesley retired from the Canes (yeah!), but it looks like Hedican is going, too (boo!), Darn Kristi for winning DWTS!! They are moving to California.

OK, I have to get back to work. I have a lot to do before I get out of here tonight.

Have a great weekend (and watch out for the heat!!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Random Ramblings

1. Bill did reach 200 beers last Wednesday at The Flying Saucer. We are going to see what that means tonight. I am guessing he will get to fill out what he wants on his plate, then in a week or two we will get our $100.00 tab. I am very excited!! I still have about 42 more to go.

2. My office mate moved out today. A single office with a window became open. Since she has seniority, she had the option to take it. I guess it all works out, cause now I have a double office to myself. No window, but a lot of space. I have had my speakers on today. It doesn't make up for losing my friend, but it is nice to have music again.

3. I tried a modified Galloway run yesterday. I ran for 10 minutes and took a 1 minute walk. I think it worked pretty well, and I did feel good. A walker who I often pass even mentioned to me that I was really slimming down. I don't know if that is true, but it sure was nice to hear!

4. I am wearing my new shirt that I bought at the Nordstrom sale today. I have received several compliments on it. I hope I can wear my new shoes soon!

5. Guess experience trumps youth as the Red Wings are leading the series 2-0 (heck, Pittsburgh has not even scored a goal in the finals yet). I hope Pittsburgh can win one in the Igloo tonight. Go Pens!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dear Me, I think I am actually doing a half marathon

Yesterday, Bill and I got out butts out of bed and did the Galloway Training run. We met at the designated training area by 7:00 am yesterday morning. That means we woke up at about 5:45 am. On a Saturday. On a Saturday that was a little chilly and cloudy. On a Saturday that threatened rain. Even with all of those negatives, I am really glad we went.

I found my friend, Lesley, at the beginning of the run. I decided to go with the group she was running with - the 13:00 pace group. I was scared at first that I would not be able to keep up with this group for the scheduled 5 mile run. It turned out to be the best group run I have ever done.

We started off with a good 5 minute warm up walk. After syncing our watches, we began the run by doing a one minute run, followed by a one minute walk. We kept up this routine for the entire run. At first, I felt silly stopping after just one minute. I felt like I really wanted to keep going, running faster. But, I stayed with the group and enjoyed the camaraderie. People talked and got to know each other. They would ask about your goals, and you would ask about their training. We talked with the group leaders about their Galloway experiences, and I felt a real connection. We stayed together for the whole course, something I have never been able to do with other groups. At the end of the run, they told us to "run for the barn." I sprinted the last 100 yards at a pace of an 8:00 mile. I have never been able to sprint at the end of a run as I have never had the energy. I felt so great at the end of this run, I was able to open the flood gates and take off. It was a great feeling.

The overall run ended up being 5.89 miles. I finished it in 1:27, and felt wonderful. Remember, I finished the 10K (6.2 miles) in 1:22 at a full run. I can already tell that there really is something to this method that Jeff Galloway started. I was so excited at the end of the run, I signed up for the full training course.

Yes, It looks like I might be running a half marathon by the end of the year. I am a little bit scared, but not as intimidated as I was before yesterday's run.

PS - Bill felt great, too, after his run. It was his first time back in many weeks since his hip injury. He is walking and doing well today, and has put a marathon on his goal list for the end of the year.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Day Before the 3 Day

The problem with the Friday before a three day weekend is that you just don't want to work. All you want is to get out of the office so your special long weekend can start. You sit all day hoping beyond hope that the miracle will happen - the boss will say you can leave at 3:00 pm.

It didn't happen for me today. The morning went by quickly, but the afternoon has dragged on and on. It is now an hour until leave time and I know I won't get any free passes out of here early (unless the boss man leaves really soon!). Still, I would not give up my three day weekend for anything. I just wish it were a four day weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So Proud of my Hubby!

Look who is almost to the Ring of Honor. Yes, my husband has had 197 of his 200 beers to get his plate on the wall of The Flying Saucer. Tonight could be the night, although he has been trying to limit himself to 2 beers per visit. Still, we will be having his unveiling party soon!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Young Penguins, Old Wings

The Stanley Cup Finals are now set with the Pittsburgh Penguins getting read to take on the Detroit Red Wings. I will have to admit that I have not been watching the playoffs since my beloved Canes were eliminated from the playoff picture, but this match up does intrigue me.

The Penguins are a very young team. Their captain, Sidney "the Kid" Crosby is just 20 years old. He is joined by a slightly older Evgeni Malkin. These two players made be young, but they are among the most talented players in the NHL. Pair them with veterans Marian Hossa, Darryl Sydor, and Sergei Gonchar, and you can see why the Penguins won the Eastern Conference. Heck, they even have a Staal (Jordan) on their team.

The Red Wings are old school. They have been here and they have won it all many times. Their roster is like a who's who of the best of the NHL. They dominated the Western Conference for most of the regular season, and had a relatively easy path in the playoffs.

Will youth trump experience? Will the veterans show the young ones how a Cup is won? I don't know, but I sure think it will be interesting. I just may have to watch.

The Stanley Cup Finals begin Saturday.