Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Won't be running today!

I am waaaaaay too tired!

Yesterday morning about 9 am, Wen and I loaded up Wil, Cos and Ang into the car and headed north to Happy Valley to plant the 7 Ancient Wonders series. It was forecast to be hot and humid but we hoped it would be cooler in the woods.

We easily found the trailhead and after giving the dogs a good last watering, bugspraying all of us, and loading up all our supplies, we moved out for a 7.5 mile hike.

It really was a gorgeous day. After some early morning thunderstorms, the sky had cleared up beautifully and turned warm but most of the trail was shaded. There is some kind of infestation going on up there. Caterpillars. Millions of them. Billions of them. Gazillions of them. We had never seen such a thing. The trails were covered. They were falling out of the sky (lucky me, I wore a hat!). It was disgusting! Appalling.

We hiked along, planting boxes along the way, chatting, enjoying the day and the dogs, everything going along fine until............we got lost. We couldn't find the trail we were looking for. We came to an intersection and had to choose.......and we choose wrong! After about 45 minutes, we decided to cut our losses, head back to the trailhead and retrieve the car and plant the remaining boxes by car.
On the way back, we stopped for about 20 minutes at Whitney Pond and immersed the three dogs in the water to cool them down. They didn't want to get out! Ang did his usual thing, swimming out to the end of his lead and then swimming in place. This was right over a 20 foot spillway so we were sure to keep a tight hold on that leash! The two hounds didn't do any swimming put stood in the water up to their chests and Wil actually laid down in the water.
Upon returning to the car we drove off the distance we had hiked - 8 miles - a good distance on a very warm day!

In the car, with the a/c blasting, we quickly found the correct trail and planted the remaining boxes in no time flat. The trailguide lists this hike as a 7.5 mile loop. It is, in actuality, going to be close to a 12-13 mile loop.

We left the woods behind us and headed back to civilization - namely the nearest Nice 'n' Easy to load up on more water and some frozen fruit bars. By this time, everyone was nicely recovered from our exertions so what do we decide to do? We head out to Mexico Point to score a few boxes. Hey, as long as we were up there......... We got a mystery box which was a driveby. Then we went out and searched for 'Spy Island' by the Senoritas and 'Bird of a Different Color #5 - Blue' by Craftymouse. These last two boxes were at the end of short walks on Mexico Point, nicely shaded and cool. Nice boxes in a great location.

It was an exhausting but great day and finally the 7 wonders is planted:-) Oh, and I had an awesome foot rub from A that evening!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Americans and their love of cars

You see.....this is why I have zero sympathy for Americans complaining and moaning about gas prices.......:-)

Cross-country drive reveals America's car views
Some drivers unfazed about higher gas prices, others making adjustments
By Hugo Kugiya
The Associated Press

Announced by the sharp crack of a backfiring engine, the caravan of old Pontiacs and Fords wended their way off the highway and into the gas station-restaurant, arriving, it seemed, from another time.
On a blustery May day, Carl and Frances Barrier’s 8-cylinder Pontiac Deluxe, vintage 1940, needed this stop in the Kansas plains to fill up on 87-octane, $2.75 a gallon, on its way to an antique car museum in Minden, Neb. In its prime, their Pontiac traveled 15 miles on a gallon of gas, but now manages only 10.
“We don’t even think about it,” said Carl, 72, a retired manager with Raytheon aircraft, as he finished his $50 fill-up. “You talk about the $3 gas. But I went to work for a service station in 1946. Gas was 20 cents a gallon. I made $2 a day... When I retired I made over $200 a day.” Taking that long view, he said, gas is still affordable.
And that kind of relatively unfazed attitude was not unusual among drivers encountered by an Associated Press writer on a drive along interstates and backroads from Detroit to Los Angeles.
Along the journey, regular gasoline ranged from $2.60 to $3.49, with one station, a remote Mojave Desert outpost, charging $4.29 a gallon.
The cost was high enough for most to take notice and for some to make adjustments — such as trucker Kris Jacobs fuel surcharge for hauling cheese from Wisconsin to New York City. But gas costs are not high enough — yet — to deeply change habits and plans.
After the initial shock and anger passes, it seems, we adjust to the new price. We grumble, we give lip service to alternative fuels, we think about hybrid vehicles.
Then on we drive.
Psychological tremorA trip across America suggests the spike in gas prices caused a psychological tremor. Most of those interviewed doubted gas will ever go below $2 a gallon again. And if it went up another dollar or more...?
“Four dollars would represent a psychological panic attack,” said Lisa Lanyon, 40, a college instructor, as she paid about $30 to fill up her 1995 Chevy Cavalier in Denver.
Ordinary folks on a budget adjust in many small ways. Las Vegas casino employee Andrea Johnson consolidates errands, walks when she can, and shops around for the cheapest gas in town. (Costco, for her.)
Polls have found drivers are more conscious of their gas consumption, that they are suspicious of the oil companies, that they hold President Bush responsible for the run-up. Members of Congress proposed giving taxpayers a $100 gas rebate. Hotels and resorts are offering guests gas vouchers.
But for the most part, as the summer driving season commences, Americans appear to be keeping to their plans, commuting alone many miles to work, trekking the country in motor homes, all in the face of rising gas prices.
The heart of America, it seems, still resides on four wheels on an open road.
Cross-country journeyThe trip started in Detroit, where gas could easily be had for $2.75 a gallon.
At Murray’s Discount Auto Store in Hamtramck, long home to auto plants, sales manager Jerry Fleer feels “kind of stuck” with his 1991 Oldsmobile Bravada SUV because he can’t afford to trade right now. Murray’s carries a novel alternative to a high-cost cars: electric-powered scooters. And yet, regardless of higher gas prices, the store has not sold one since Christmas.
In the farming country of Crawfordsville, Iowa, three partners are capitalizing on the call for fuel alternatives.
Their biodiesel plant is rising on the site of a former farm. Corn and soybeans are Iowa’s two biggest crops. Both can also be turned into fuel — corn into ethanol, soybeans into biodiesel. Biodiesel consumption has increased from 2 million gallons in 2000 to 75 million in 2005. Use of both promises to rise. High oil prices present an opportunity for farmers.
The company was started by Donald Miksch and brothers Neil and Darin Rich (the company name, Riksch Biofuels, combines their surnames). The plant, to be completed in July at a cost of $8 million, will produce 10 million gallons of soy-based diesel fuel per year.
The plant will also provide a new revenue stream for farmers, creating more businesses in town and giving locals a reason to stay.
“This is the only way to build our town back,” said Miksch, who is 27 and married. “I was one of those kids who left. I chose to come back here. I want to raise my kids here.”
Heading WestFrom the farms of the Midwest, where fuel can be about the bottom line, drive into the West, where vast spaces beckon, and where fuel is associated with the freedom to explore.
Consider the Ligtermoets, who had always planned to spend their retirement traveling across the country in a mobile home. By the time they sold their house in San Diego and bought their 35-foot fifth-wheel trailer, the price of gas breached $3 per gallon.
“You can’t be happy about it,” said Marinus Ligtermoet, 60, sitting in the 90-degree shade of a tree in the Zions Gate RV Resort near Utah’s Zion National Park. “But you figure, hey, it’s home.”
He and his wife, Ans, left San Diego in early May. The next six months look like this: Utah; Boise, Idaho; Bend, Ore.; then to Spokane, Wash., for three weeks where they will watch the World Cup. Then up to British Columbia. They will drive up the Alaska Highway, then south to Seattle. Later they’ll meander down the Pacific coast, due back in San Diego to spend the holidays with their grandkids.
The trailer has satellite television, an Internet connection, a washing machine and dryer, king-size, pillow-top bed, all pulled by a 2004, Ford F-350, one-ton, diesel pickup. Supported by Marinus’ Navy pension, life on the road is still cheaper than the alternative: $1,500 a month, give or take.
“Let’s put it this way, I don’t lose any sleep over it,” he said.
Life in Sin CityFarther west lies the delirious accident of speculative money, imported water, and unfettered indulgence called Las Vegas.
Making the fantasy happen here are people like Ana Flores, one of nearly 10,000 employees of the MGM Grand hotel and casino.
Flores, 22, has plans — and she carefully figures gas prices into them.
She’s a nursing student and works in a casino gift shop. She earns about $10 an hour and spends about $20 every week on gas (around $3.15 a gallon) for her 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. Every dollar matters in her budget.
She’s hoping to save enough within the year to buy a one-bedroom condominium. Billboards everywhere advertise low down payments and mortgages for as little as $800 a month. Flores is hoping $3,000 and her good credit will be enough to get her started in home ownership.
Desert prices“Gas Food 24.”
This is one of those few places on the road where the price of gas has little meaning.
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, if you lacked the foresight to fill up in Las Vegas to the east or Barstow, Calif., to the west, you’ll pay what’s asked at the white, peaked roof building off Interstate 15 — on a recent stop, $4.29 a gallon for regular.
Allen Young, 47, has run the service station for more than 20 years and says his price reflects supply and demand in the desert and the additional overhead involved with operating such an isolated business. He and his employees live in six adjoining mobile homes.
Most customers pay the markup agreeably, buying just enough to get to the next stop. Without cash, some have been desperate enough to trade Rolex watches and Gibson guitars for gas. Occasionally a customer accuses Young of highway robbery.
The station sells about 30,000 gallons a month, as much as a busy station closer to civilization can sell on one weekend day. But their profit margin might be 25 cents a gallon, while Young makes about 40 cents.
“I don’t pull any punches about it,” he said.
Vehicular snobberyIn few places does the car occupy the position it does at the end of the journey, in Los Angeles.
Absolute necessity. Ultimate expression of identity — and vanity.
As much as anywhere in America, you are what you drive here.
To become the boss, you drive what the boss drives. Better to have a lousy apartment and a cool car than the other way around. Even if you have an old car, you spend the money on “dubs,” local slang for fancy wheels.
Few carpool, and the L.A. subway has an unspectacular, if steady, ridership.
Yes, polls have shown that interest in buying smaller cars has risen with gas prices, but sales of certain lines of SUVs — Hummers, Lexus, and Land Rovers — are as strong as ever.
At a Land Rover dealership in Beverly Hills, saleswoman Dawn Marone said vehicular snobbery explained why there are so few minivan “mom-mobiles” at a local park.
“Everyone’s in an SUV. And it’s, ‘Whose SUV is better than the other SUV?’ Everybody’s got to have the best one they can afford regardless of gas,” said Marone, herself a mom and SUV driver.
“Gas prices are totally hurting me,” she added. “But I will never not have (an SUV).”
Back up the road in Kansas, talk of gas prices led Frances Barrier to question the material excess most of us take for granted. To complain about the price of gas, in her estimation, seems trivial.
Besides the two antique cars that she and her husband drive, they own a pickup and other vehicles.
“My dad had one,” she said.
Indeed, she added, back in the 1930s, when her large family either raised or grew all their food, the death of the old family truck prompted her father to separate the cab from the bed and make a wagon — pulled by horses.
No worries about gas prices then.
© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Busy weekend

Yesterday I rode my bike to the Y and supervised the 5k running group. 11 runners showed up - I was very impressed! They are hardcore! I thought with the holiday weekend, attendance would be down. After riding home, I then met Budge at her house and we did a little 2.5 mile run in 25:51 - a 10:20 m/m pace! Woohoo! Don't know if I could have kept it up for longer though. We took off and did an easy 1000 yd swim at the Y pool and then I could say I was finally finished working out for the day. A and I hit a party for one of his coworkers that evening. As usual, I didn't really want to go but had a good time once I was there.

I spent most of today getting ready for tomorrow! Wen, Budge and I are heading up to Amboy, to Happy Valley to plant our series of 8 letterboxes based on the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World. It is an easy, flat 7.5 mile hike and we are taking Mo and Ang. Wen might bring Wil and Earl but was undecided when I last spoke to her. These stamps are all done by Spudhund, Trailhoundz, Budge, Wen and myself. Mine are the least impressive but everyone else's are absolutely gorgeous! I don't think these boxes will get much traffic due to the location - way up in God's country - and the fact that the hike is 7.5 miles. But the people who do venture up there I think will be very satisfied with their stamps. I printed off a few Mexico box clues just in case we feel like searching for some - I think that will be a longshoot though.

Oh! We went by the house site last night - roof trusses have been delivered. Hopefully those will go on this week.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

the conscience of a carnivore

It is nice to see some carnivores address this moral issue. As for myself? Even if they start 'growing' it, I'm not gonna eat it! LOL :-)

human nature
The Conscience of a Carnivore
It's time to stop killing meat and start growing it.
By William SaletanPosted Saturday, May 27, 2006, at 8:09 AM ET

Where were you when Barbaro broke his leg? I was at a steakhouse, watching the race on a big screen. I saw a horse pulling up, a jockey clutching him, a woman weeping. Thus began a worldwide vigil over the fate of the great horse. Would he be euthanized? Could doctors save him? In the restaurant, people watched and wondered. Then we went back to eating our steaks.
Shrinks call this "cognitive dissonance." You munch a strip of bacon then pet your dog. You wince at the sight of a crippled horse but continue chewing your burger. Three weeks ago, I took my kids to a sheep and wool festival. They petted lambs; I nibbled a lamb sausage. That's the thing about humans: We're half-evolved beasts. We love animals, but we love meat, too. We don't want to have to choose. And maybe we don't have to. Maybe, thanks to biotechnology, we can now grow meat instead of butchering it.
With all the problems facing humanity—war, terrorism, poverty, tyranny—you probably don't worry much about whether it's right or wrong to eat meat. That's understandable. Every society lives with two kinds of moral problems: the ones it's ready to face, and the ones that will become clear or compelling only in retrospect. Human sacrifice, slavery, the subjugation of women—every tradition seems normal and indispensable until we're ready, morally and economically, to move beyond it.
The case for eating meat is like the case for other traditions: It's natural, it's necessary, and there's nothing wrong with it. But sometimes, we're mistaken. We used to think we were the only creatures that could manipulate grammar, make sophisticated plans, or recognize names out of context. In the past month, we've discovered the same skills in birds and dolphins. In recent years, we've learned that crows fashion leaves and metal into tools. Pigeons deceive each other. Rats run mazes in their dreams. Dolphins teach their young to use sponges as protection. Chimps can pick locks. Parrots can work with numbers. Dogs can learn words from context. We thought animals weren't smart enough to deserve protection. It turns out we weren't smart enough to realize they do.
Is meat-eating necessary? It was, back when our ancestors had no idea where their next meal might come from. Meat kept us alive and made us stronger. Many scientists think it played a crucial role in the development of the human brain. Now it's time to return the favor. Thousands of years ago, the human brain invented agriculture, and hunting lost its urgency. In the past two centuries, we've identified the nutrients in various kinds of meat, and we've learned how to get them instead from soy, nuts, and other vegetable sources. Meat has made us smart enough to figure out how we can live without it.
So, why do we keep eating it? Because it's so darned tasty. Don't give me that hippie shtick about how McDonald's or Western society foisted beef on us. McDonald's didn't invent the appendix. McDonald's didn't invent all the genes we've acquired—at least eight, according to a 2004 article in the Quarterly Review of Biology—that help us, but not chimps, manage a meat diet. Look at the fossil evidence recently published in Nature. About 5,000 years ago, when people in Britain figured out how to domesticate cattle, sheep, and pigs, they promptly switched from fish-eating to meat-eating. A similar revolution swept North America about 700 years ago. My daughter has been demanding meat ever since she tasted it in baby food. I've seen vegetarian friends lust at the thought of a burger. We're carnivores. We evolved that way.
If we were just beasts, that would end the discussion. But we're not. Evolution didn't stop with our lusts; it started there. Food gave us brain power. Technology lifted us above survival and gave us time to think. We began to understand the operation of living things, even ourselves. We saw what we were, and we saw what we could be. That's the paradox of humanity: Our aspirations transcend our nature, but they have to respect it. To become what we must become, we have to work with what we are.
Anyone familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous understands this duality. It's the heart of the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Many alcoholics take this to mean that addiction can't be changed, but behavior can, with God's help. But prayers often mean more than we understand. In the case of meat, maybe we don't have to go cold no-turkey. Maybe what we're asking for, what God is giving us, is the wisdom to see that we can't change our craving for meat, but we can change the way we satisfy it.
How? By growing meat in labs, the way we grow tissue from stem cells. That's the great thing about cells: They're programmed to multiply. You just have to figure out what chemical and structural environment they need to do their thing. Researchers in Holland and the United States are working on the problem. They've grown and sautéed fish that smelled like dinner, though FDA rules didn't allow them to taste it. Now they're working on pork. The short-term goal is sausage, ground beef, and chicken nuggets. Steaks will be more difficult. Three Dutch universities and a nonprofit consortium called New Harvest are involved. They need money. A fraction of what we spend on cattle subsidies would help.
Growing meat like this will be good for us in lots of ways. We'll be able to make beef with no fat, or with good fat transplanted from fish. We'll avoid bird flu, mad-cow disease, and salmonella. We'll scale back the land consumption and pollution involved in cattle farming. But 300 years from now, when our descendants look back at slaughterhouses the way we look back at slavery, they won't remember the benefits to us, any more than they'll remember our dried-up tears for a horse. They'll want to know whether we saw the moral calling of our age. If we do, it's time to pony up.
A version of this article also appears in the Outlook section of the Sunday Washington Post.William Saletan is Slate's national correspondent and author of Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War.Article URL:
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Friday, May 26, 2006

What I am reading

I've been through a dry spell with reading lately. Nothing on reserve at the library, nothing piquing my interest. I have reread a few favs - Down the Commons, The Mirror, Flu by Gina Kolata. So today I decided to treat myself to a library visit and try to relight the fire.

I left with:
Trial by Ice by Richard Parry, the true story of murder and survival on the 1871 Polaris Expedition
Afterlands by Steven Heighton - a novel based on the same Polaris Expedition
Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes - sometimes I am so bored with myself that I want to read something and pretend I am not myself.
Color of the Sea by John Hamamura - just looked interesting
The Lost Men by Kelly Tyler-Lewis - continuing the arctic survival theme
London by Edward Rutherfurd - I had the urge for a sprawling, Michener-type historical fiction read
The Test by Jean Barema - just because.

Arctic/sea exploration-adventure is one of my all-time fav genres. I haven't visited the genre lately with the exception of a quick rereading of Shadowdivers by Robert Kurson (so good! so good!!!). Then Jen mentioned a book in her blog True North about Peary and Cook's race to the North Pole and it kind of whetted my appetite.

On a side note, when I went to the library I had a $.50 fine. What the heck? I think that makes almost $20 in the past 2-3 months in fines! When you consider the fact that I can renew from my home computer, it is ridiculous. I do need to get a handle on that - I love to support my local library (I consider libraries to be a cornerstone of a democratic society!) but not with fines!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Letterboxing morning

I met Wen this morning at 8 am (we are so die-hard!) and we headed out, along with Mo, Ang, Wil and Earl, to Clark Reservation for some morning boxing. It was chilly but once we got walking, it was perfect. Clark Res has these stony outcroppings that the dogs just love to scramble over. At least, Earl, Wil and Ang do, Mo had to be lifted up over one because he couldn't climb up it. Funny enough, it is the same location he won't/can't go up, every time we go to Clark.

I got a word of mouth clue from catbead a few weeks ago. She said she wants to limit the traffic to this particular box so I was only to share it with a partner. It was the American Haggis. Looking at the logbook we could tell it was sent to and planted in Dartmoor, England (the origins of letterboxing!) for a while and then was an event stamp for a western New York gathering. It is now planted in Central New York and the clue is written in gaelic. That took some time to translate and my translation wasn't the best so we really had to look and search. But it was worth it :-) Neat stamp and a little bit of letterboxing history!

We also got the first Chauvet Cave series, Lovenote and Happy. All by catbead. Clark Reservation is such a neat place to hike, really beautiful. The dogs all had a great time and were pooped. We still have more to get out there too!

house update

They have done the outside framing and the interior partitions. Hopefully they will start on the trusses in a day or two.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Blue Monday

Less than 4 weeks to Green Lakes and I am in a sorry place. Another breakout of shingles - not painfully debilitating this time, thank goodness - but still pretty nasty looking. It has kept me out of the pool for the last two weeks and to be honest, I wasn't really tearing up the pool workouts as it went.

Ran Saturday at the park with Budge and Wen, did a four mile out and back. At one mile Budge was about 5 feet ahead of us and turned around to look at us. I told her to just go on and circle back for us at the end. Sheesh........ I have to find someone who runs 13 m/m so I can have the experience of being faster than someone :-) Wen stayed with me even though I told her to go on. We were right about 44 minutes for the 4 miles. 11 m/m. Not great but when I think about it, I can get some perspective. Yeah, 11 m/m isn't great, even for me, my fastest 5k is 10:20 m/m but I must be gaining some fitness and endurance since never before was I able to maintain 11 m/m pace for 4 miles. It does seem like I am able to run at a steady pace for longer.

Mo and I went out this morning and did our 2.7 mile loop in 28:48. Not great but I felt good and probably could have gone faster by myself. I put him out before we left because....well....remember what running makes Mo do? So did he take advantage and do his business so he would be prepared to run? No. He stood outside the door, screaming. "Huuuu, huuuuuuuuuuu, ooooowllllllllllllllllllll". I let him in and his toenails were literally going 'tap-tap-tap' on the floor because he was shaking so much in anticipation. We head out, don't even get to our usual starting point at the end of the path and there he goes, takes a huge dump. He was sure light on his feet after that :-)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Damn that Budge!

Damn her, damn her, damn her. All I have to say is Wendy's fries. And it is all her fault!

Oh Ho!

Just remembered! Stopped at the building site yesterday to pick up some papers we needed for the mortgage application. Now there are 37 sites in this little development. Right now, approximately 5 of them have spec houses on them or being built. Approximately 5 more have houses for people on them or being built. They have sold one more house since we chose ours. Our house is a corner lot, #15, backing up to a small green area. Guess where the one other house is? Yep, you got it! #14! Isn't this the equivalent of sitting right next to a stranger in a movie theater when there are only 3 people in the theater? What the heck??? Who does that??? And top it off, the salesguy tells me she isn't happy that we are going to be putting up a fence!

We choose this particular lot because it is on the edge of the development and backing to the green area. We would only have one neighbor, on our right side, to deal with. We just didn't expect that neighbor to be the next person buying. This is making my eye twitch.....


The shingles are back :-/ Guess my stress level is a little up. Unlike before when they manifested on the left side of my face and caused excruciating, brain aneurysm like pain, these are just a small outbreak on the back of my left shoulder. WTH? I am supposed to swim tonight with Budge but don't know if I should. I think they might be starting to open and ooze (sorry for the grossness). At least they just itch, there is no real other pain.

Last night Budge, Spark and I were supposed to conference call. I wasn't able to get the three way calling working which was just as well. Budge hit happy hour with some coworkers and was in an alcoholic, junk food induced stupor and probably would have cashed out of the conversation early. As it was, I had one of those hour and half, shoot the sh*t calls with Spark. Told her some deep dark secrets she promised never to reveal - fun times. :-)

This morning I am heading off with Cos and Ang to pull a series of boxes that Spark hid at Green Lakes. Maybe I will hit some more - not sure. We were invited to a little mini meet in Oswego this Sunday. Hope the weather holds out. Sheesh, I am gonna go - I am boring myself with all this stuff :-)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Catch Up

Saturday I went out to Green Lakes with Wen and Budge. We did the bike and run route. I believe everyone who bikes much will crash. It is the law of averages. My day came Saturday. We were heading up the first big hill and all three of us were moving pretty slow. I was third in line, behind Budge and Wen. I glanced down to see where I was with my gears and if I could shift anymore and when I looked up, both Budge and Wen were stopped! I managed to unclip my left foot, unfortunately I went over to the right :-)
One positive is that if you fall over while only going 4.5 mph, chances are you aren't going to get too hurt. When I hit the ground, my right foot popped out and the momentum made me do a little somersault. I felt like I was moving very slow, but I just couldn't stop. Everything happened in slow motion and I remember being amused, even while I was falling, at Budge and Wen's faces! I managed not to go over the bank which was quite steep. I gouged my left leg on my gear but that was the only injury. Bike is just fine (which really is what matters :-)).

Note to self: don't take your eyes off the road.

We finished the ride - all three of us making it up the big Big hill without walking, but there was some serious huffing and puffing, at least on my behalf.

After taking our time transitioning, we took off on the run. I had a rocky start, a touch of nausea and some stomach stitches. I think my fitness is better - that would have been enough to slow me to a walk a few years ago. This year I was able to run through it until I felt better. It was a hard run, no doubt about it, and I was very tired, and at times felt badly but it was tolerable. Our run was 35:29 for an 11:05 m/m. Not too shabby, if I say so myself :-)
We were going to letterbox after - Spark has a series she wants us to pull so she can replant elsewhere. We took one look at the hill we would have had to climb and bagged it. Just didn't have it in us.

Tonight Budge came over and we did the two big loops in my neighborhood. We took Mo with us. I hadn't run with him in a few days and he was itching to go. Budge was ahead of me by about 5-6 feet for a good part of the run and Mo was trying to keep up with her. He forgot he was attached to the slow me! We did our 2.7 in 28:38 for 10:36 m/m pace. I am pretty happy with that but I did feel like I was pushing it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Scorecard for today

Our government has seen fit to establish a database of ALL national phonecalls being placed thanks to the spineless creeps at AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. Hell, even my librarian won't turn over my record of books checked out. Of course they say they aren't recording the calls. But frankly, these are the same folks that had the draft-dodging, AWOL nerve to question the military records of American veterans. They spread the rumors that the foreign-adopted daughter of a political foe was actually the product of a mixed-race affair. Do we honestly think anyone's 900 phonecalls are really off the record?

Bush's approval ratings are now down to 29%. What I want to know is who the heck is the 29%??? :-)

Hookergate, anyone?

The GOP is extending tax cuts to the richest among us. Check this out:

32 dead American service people in Iraq this month so far. 2,346 total so far since the beginning of the war and 17,869 wounded in action. Did you vote for GWB? Take a look then:

Do I sound pissed? Yeah, I guess I really am.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

miscellaneous musings

My website is up and running! Check it out. It isn't finished and there is a lot I want to change but I am pretty darned impressed with myself right now. All credit and thanks goes to Spark for all her help. She even walked me through some things on the phone, right off the cuff. And everyone knows how hard it is to verbally tell someone the steps of something that you are used to sitting at a keyboard and doing.
Yesterday, Mo and I ran. 2.7 miles or two big loops. It was warm although we went early and his tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth before we finished the first loop. I wonder if I am overtraining. It seems like my runs are getting harder physically and slower. I have my hr monitor by the side of my bed to take my resting hr but I just keep forgetting.
I met Jen P at the Y to do a little cardio before her weights class. We decided to do a little mini cycling class, because she has been wanting to try it. Her daughter's step sister and a 12 week client of her joined us. The big joke has always been that I beg her not to do walking lunges in her class. With running and cycling, my legs just cannot take them. I now think she knows why :-) It is funny how our body really becomes acclimatized to what we ask of it. Jen is in great shape but I could tell that she was 'feeling' it. A week or two of classes though and her body will get the message that this is what is expected now and respond. I have had runners come into a cycle class and struggle. Their cardio capacity is there, it is just that their body doesn't understand the new demands on it. They always adjust to it disgustingly fast though!
Because of other demands, I hadn't taken the weight class in a while so I was dreading it. But I don't feel too bad this morning. She did a lot of upper body and was quite perky. I think the little bike class warmed her up :-) I have always wanted to teach body cuts but there is no way in hell I will ever be able to lift and talk and count at the same time. I can barely get through Jen's class as it is. I don't know how she and the other body cuts instructors do it!

The forms are down off the basement and they have waterproofed the outside of it. Today is starting off beautiful but should get cool and rainy later. I don't know if they will do any work on it, anticipating the bad weather. Next steps I think will be pouring the basement floor and starting to frame. The whole thing looks way too small to me. I look a the outline of the basement and can't imagine a living/dining/kitchen, masterbed and bath, 2 bedrooms and another bath fitting in there. The porch and garage outline look bigger than the house! Could they have made a mistake like that? LOL

GWB's approval numbers are down again. And I read that Karl Rove will soon be indicted. Oh and GWB thinks his brother would make a great president. I hope that folks have enough sense to say 2 Bush's are enough! I am afraid that the past 8 years will not go down in history as a stellar period in American politics.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Estate Planning

We got the drafts of our wills today. Pursuant to Section 7-6.1 of the New York EPTL, a certain sum of money is to be held by the Trustee to be used to or for the benefit of our dogs. This money is to used to 'continue the lifestyle to which they have been accustomed'. THE LIFESTYLE MY DOGS HAVE BEEN ACCUSTOMED TO???? Do you hear that, all you people who have offered to take in my dogs if we die? You have to maintain their accustomed lifestyle. :-)


Here it is, 3:21 am. As is way too usual recently, I am awake, downstairs to keep from disturbing A. I found an old Homicide on - the one where Kay gets promoted to Sgt. and promptly starts driving everyone crazy and that there is a video guy filming a documentary. Man, I love this show! I especially loved the episode where they played the whole documentary. I want to live in Baltimore. I want to meet Meldrick Lewis. I wish Clarke Johnson did more film/tv work, although I guess he does a lot of directing.

Ran with Budge tonight (last night?). We did the new fast/slow runner workout and it was pretty good. I liked it. It didn't make me feel guilty as she was able to run her own pace. 5 minutes - my fast pace, 2 minutes - recovery, 2 minutes - her fast pace - 2 minutes recovery and we repeated it several times. We ran about 4.2 miles and my time was 47:45 - 11:22 m/m. WTH? I felt like I was sprinting! I was breathing like a freight train! I was hoping it was at least a minute/mile faster. I hung with Budge pretty good except for one hill at the end. No run tomorrow - thank goodness!

The house basement walls were poured today. It will be neat when they remove the frames and we can actually see the basement. We also finished the selection process. I think it is going to cost us about $5000 for a fence - hence the insomnia and some nausea if I think about it too much :-(

Monday, May 08, 2006

Safety first, a PB and frustration

Yesterday, we had scheduled a long bike ride and a 20 minute run. Early in the morning I headed out to the park with Mo and Ang to meet some friends and we did a 4 mile walk. Absolutely beautiful, gorgeous weather! Budge and Wen then met at my house for the ride. Wen forgot her helmet so the decision was made to make the 20 minute drive to her house and ride out there. No biggie as she lives out in the county and it is a nice country ride. And it is never worth it riding without a helmet. Never! We did about 15 miles with some small hills. I think Budge is getting more comfortable working her gears - she really needs to get that down pat because she will run through all her gears at Green lakes to get up the two hills. Due to my superior training - ok, due to my excessive 'junk in the trunk' I could take them on the downhills. It is just physics - more weight=more speed downhill. Of course, Budge caught me on all the uphills. Physics and superior conditioning - less weight +better cardiovascular conditioning = more speed uphill :-)
When we got back to Wen's we threw on our shoes and took off running. It was supposed to be a 20 minute run but we decided to just do a mile. We were tired - it was a miracle we did anything! :-) I felt ok but like I was running in quicksand. If you had asked me, I would have said I was doing a 13-14 minute mile. At one point, my breathing was so labored I thought I should slow down but was afraid if I did, I would be walking! One mile times:
Budge - 8:24 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Me - 9:28 (A PERSONAL BEST!!!!!!)
Wen - 9:47 (!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Of course, we all agree that we wouldn't be able to keep that pace but still, it was a welcome shot in the arm. I am so very happy with all of us!

A's brother came over for the afternoon and evening - they hit and threw the ball around in the green area and then took J and his girlfriend to the mall for the prom tux rental. They came home with a top hat and cane! I knew I should have gone. I made white bean and sausage (tofurkey sausage, of course) with salad and biscuits for dinner. We eat a little spicy here and I don't think A's brother really does a lot of spice so I felt bad about that. He ate it all like a champ though, with lots of water!
I spent the rest of the evening working on my website and it sucks. Something is wrong with the software and it won't upload my site. We have reloaded the software, we have reconfigured my computer, made new trial websites to upload.........nothing! I might just have to get different website creating software and use that :-(

We should have the basement walls poured today!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A small confession

Yesterday evening, Budge and I did a swim workout. I know it was Friday night, but frankly I don't have much of a life and the pool is so nicely sparsely populated and quiet, it is a joy to swim. Budge has been much more diligent with her swim workouts than I. I hadn't swam in two weeks :-(

Now for the confession. First, to put this in perspective, you need to realize Budge is pretty gifted physically. She is about 6 ft tall and weighs 100 lbs. She has these long, long, legs and long, long arms. She is pretty much the exact physical opposite of myself who leans to the fat midget category. All this means is that I spend a lot of my time looking at her back. Pretty much all our running time and it looks like it will be the same for our bike rides. Well, last night, we decided to do a nice and easy swim workout. 300 yd warmup, 5 x100 w/ 15 sec. and 200 yd cooldown. I am tired of looking at her back so I stepped it up a bit and tried to keep 1/2 to a whole body length ahead of her. Not enough effort to really tax me but enough that I (for a change) wasn't tailing along in her wake. She did pass me once in our cooldown swim but I really was taking it easy there :-) So there is my confession - it felt pretty good for a change not to be bringing up the rear. Of course, I do realize that if we were swimming all out, she would burn me like overdone toast but I take a little, unseemly pleasure in my effort last night.

Karma is a bitch though. We ran 60 minutes this morning and Wen joined us. While I huffed and puffed my way, unable to string a half dozen words together, just trying to keep up with them, Budge just loped alongside of us, chatting away, telling us stories to occupy the time. I don't think she broke a sweat :-)

Tomorrow is a 19 mile ride with a 20 minute run after.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thursday recap

We headed out to the house site yesterday evening to see if anything had been done. There were all these long wooden panels stacked up - I guess the forms for the poured foundation. They also had poured a short strip of cement around the hole - I guess like a footer (don't really know what that is but it does sound like a builder/foundation/construction term!). There were also squares, probably 2x2 feet, poured in locations in the middle of the foundation, maybe for supports? Pretty cool. And pretty scary. Can't believe we are actually doing this! I did take some pics and will post them when they are developed.

We then headed out to the local AAA ball park to watch a game. It was absolutely gorgeous, perfect temps, for the first 2.5 innings. Then the rain came and the game was eventually called :-( I blew off subbing for Bob for that. I should have subbed - I would have at least gotten a ride in. Oh well.......

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Training Woes

Things are going pretty slow. I haven't looked at my training log all week. :-( I have been running and biking but probably not near the distance I should be. This morning, Mo and I went out and did two big loops. Usually takes us 28 minutes and took us over 30 today. It was much warmer than I thought once we got out in the sun and on the pavement. He slowed down a lot on the 2nd loop.

We are going to get a long run and bike in though this weekend. A 60 minute run and a 19 mile ride. I am also going to see if I can convince B to head out Friday evening for a swim :-)

The other day I was wearing shorts and A made some remark about my legs. I don't even remember what - it was something about the definition or size of my quads. It just wasn't a 'Oooooo, look at those great quads!' but more of a 'Hmmmmmm, those are some quads you got there' Didn't make me feel good :-( In the whole scheme of things, I would rather have ripped quads than blubbery thighs but I would like my husband to like my legs!

It's official!

They have started building us a house - rather we want it or not :-) The little upraised section is where the garage will be.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

House news

They should be breaking ground today on the new house. Yesterday, I had a crisis of faith. Budge says it is just the typical buyer's remorse. I think it is just good old liberal, middle class guilt :-) It doesn't help that Spark sings, 'They paved paradise and put up a parking lot' when I talk to her :-)

We changed our countertop. We had the cambia bristol blue but it didn't really work with any of our other color choices. Since the living/dining/kitchen is all open, this became a problem of aesthetics. Seems most of our choices lean to warm tones with the exception of this huge expanse of cool blue countertop. So we lined all the selections up against our choices and the three of us (A, the decorator and myself) unanimously agreed on a new choice:

We also choose our light style:

I think this is the finish we choose - brushed nickel, but who the heck knows anymore? There will be pendelum lights in this style and a few ceiling lights also.

We choose escape gray for the master bedroom walls and whole wheat for the living/dining/kitchen walls (hence the removal of the blue countertops)

Launch the color visualizere and you can search for the colors and actually drag them into room pictures. I wasn't all that thrilled with whole wheat - it just seemed so neutral and blah. I wanted hunter green, aubergine, burgundy....something! Some color! But the decorator assures me that this will look great on the walls.

Yesterday's ride

Did a 12.5 mile bike ride with Budge yesterday evening. Something is off with my setup. I really got a bad lower backache about 1/2 way through. I do think my seat needs to go higher. We went through neighborhoods to get to the park so there were lots of turns and stop signs. We also had to take a couple of really sharp turns to go over a pedestrian bridge above a highway. No falls for either of us but I had one wobbly 'oh no, I might be going down' moment while I was trying to go up the incline to the bridge after taking a sharp left turn and turning around to see if Budge was managing ok. I managed to keep it together though, whew!

I am really not liking Budge lately. She seems to be faster than me at everything! Swim, bike and run!!! She isn't good at shifting because her levers are on the frame so she is in one gear practically the whole ride while I am working my gears like a slot machine! I might have to steal her inhaler to give myself a fighting chance :-)

We really have had some beautiful weather lately, makes me nervous :-) Wen is back from Florida so we will be running with her on Sunday. Yea!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Morning run

I really need to get back on track with the training. I have tried to keep up with the running but everything else has kind of fallen by the wayside. Mo and I went out this morning - it is so gorgeous outside! Why can't every day be like the days we have been having? We did our first half mile in 5:10, mile in 10:30 and then progressively slowed down :-( He was lagging a bit so I didn't try to push it too much. We ended up with 2.7 miles in 28:30.

President Bystander

Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person angry about what is going on in our country. 3 years ago we were told Mission Accomplished. What do we have now? April was the deadliest month for American service people in 2006. I still have folks telling me that we had to go into Iraq because they attacked us. If you told me a year ago that Americans would have laid dead for days in the streets of a major American metropolis while our government was unable to put together a concerted organized response to a natural disaster, I wouldn't have believed you. We are told it is our patriotic duty to shop while we are 'at war' and, oh, by the way, here is a tax break to help you do so (oh, but don't you poor people expect anything). Oil companies making record profits, but our so-called leader says there will be no windfall tax for them. He does, however, expect them to reinvest their profits in alternative fuel development. Why should they? Oil and gas has been pretty good to them.

And what is the public response to all of this? We complain that it is too expensive to fill up our SUVs while slapping a yellow 'support the troops' magnet on. As if supporting the troops is synonomous with supporting this f*cked up war. Anyways, I do wonder if I am the only angry person about all of this. I look at a car with the ubiquitous yellow magnet and think, are they upset that funds to provide healthcare and rehabilitation of our wounded vets are cut? Are they upset that this war is costing one billion dollars a day while our social services are being gutted? Are they ticked that our press corps are such pansies, swallowing everything that this administration dishes out that it takes a comedian to speak truth (or rather 'truthiness') to power (and from what I have read, the 'power' wasn't all that amused :-))

Do they feel like vomiting when they see that lying sack of sh*t tell us, 'I am the decider', 'Mission Accomplished', or better yet, 'Brownie, you are doing a heck of a job'?

As so often happens, whenever I do feel like I am the only one who sees the Emperor has no clothes, Bruce comes along.

'Dedicated to President Bystander', indeed :-)
We can only hope that...
'There's gonna be a judgement, that's a fact
A righteous train rolling down this track'

I love this guy :-) Thanks Bruce (and Steven Colbert!).

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sunday, sunny Sunday!

Yesterday I spent the day in the Auburn area with Budge, Spark, Mo and Ang. It was a gloriously sunny, beautiful, spring New York day. Couldn't get any better! I was thinking, 'wow, I could get used to this type of weather' when I checked the forecast and it is back to damp and chilly for us later in the week :-( Oh, well, we have had some beautiful days lately and yesterday was one of them.

Budge, Mo, Ang and I headed to Auburn. Ang spent most the ride hanging out on Budge's lap. He is a great traveller. We first got Spark's letterbox series, Clifford and Lucy's Wildlife Adventures before heading to her house. Very short little trail but 9 stamps planted, illustrating all the wildlife Cliff and Lu see on their walks. We then headed over to Spark's house to hang out a while, eat lunch and let Ang run wild through her house. He always just gets so excited. He got a few swats from Mary, the hospice cat but it didn't faze him. After lunch, while I would have been content to hang out in the backyard in the sun while the dogs slept or got yelled at to stay away from Spark's newly planted forsythia and strawberries, Budge got us all up and moving. We did a few driveby letterboxes. Bromeliad, planted by Spark and not on-line yet, Spark's Auburn Doubledays and Lockwench's As the Crow Flies.

After getting those, we drove out to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. I have driven by it countless times on the thruway but never stopped. It is a beautiful area. We looked for Cock o' the Trail's box first. It was hot and dog's weren't allowed out so Budge and Spark found it and brought it back to me where I sat in airconditioned comfort with Mo and Ang :-) This stamp was planted November '03 so I think it is the oldest I have found so far.

We then hopped back into the cars and drove to the Esker Brook area. This area is still part of the Montezuma refuge but dogs are allowed. We were very impressed with Spark's navigational skills. We also had to stop so Budge could pick up some cranberry wine at a local winery. Here, we found another Lockwench box, Esker Brook and a series by Craftymouse called the Accidental Birdwatcher. Awesome bird stamps! We took our time and inked them as close as we could to the birds' actual coloring and they turned out awesome! Beautiful stamps and a great area for hiking.

We loaded the dogs back in the car, bid farewill to Spark (she was dogless because hers weren't feeling well :-( ) and headed home with an absolutely exhausted Mo and Ang. I think they had a great time. I know I did.