Monday, October 31, 2011

Sorry to be lame....

....but after running a marathon,
even though it was a great marathon,
I only have a lame marathon recap in me.  

To wit:

Strength at the start.
(And yeah, I'm not punching 
that dude for his sour expression.)

Gratitude at the finish.
(And no, I'm not calling out
that person for her leopard-print skort.)

Orgasmic-sized jar of peanut butter 
at the finish festival.
(And yes, yes I am fondling it.)

In between, 
I ran a personal record time of
3 hours 53 minutes and 50 seconds.
And saw a whole humongous mess of 
Marines along the way.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday afternoon quickie

I'm at my friend Michael's place, in NW DC, on the couch with a wool blanket and a space heater at arm's reach.

Here's what says is going on in the city at this hour:

37°F | °CSatSunMonTue
Rain and SnowSunnyPartly CloudyPartly Cloudy
Showers Snow
Wind: N at 17 mph
Humidity: 86%38°34°47°35°53°41°55°40°

It took me 3 hours to get here from BWI ... luggage delay, freeway bus, Metro ride, mile walk ... double the time it took me to get from BOS to BWI, although this leg did include a stop at Target for peanut butter, bananas, umbrella and fuzzy winter hat (see above).

In a half-hour I need to be leaving here, down to the DC Armory, to pick up my race bib and packet and then meet Alan for supper.  My options of what do to before then would be:
1) Two-mile "shake-out" run.
2) Thoughtful blog post outlining fear/excitement/relief that wind and rain should abate and the sun is expected to shine at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
3) Sit here, awake, and be fearful/excited/relieved.
4) Put my head back and take a power nap and promise to give y'all a marathon completion update at some future moment when the time is right.
I think I'll take what's behind Door #4, Monty!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anniversary of sorts

Man From San Francisco and I were up late on the phone last night.   Late-late.  It wasn't supposed to be late.  But when I worked until 8:30 and then stopped by the gym and rode the bus and made and ate a carbo-load feast and put out the recycling and emptied the cat litter, he dozed off while waiting, only waking when I pinged him an hour later on my real way-to-bed and at his request, I called him because we hadn't heard each other's voices since before his pneumonia interlude. Our IM conversation the night before lasted that late, too. This seems to be the habit: we start with the worthy intentions of a Quick Hi or Just 10 Minutes Because I'm Exhausted and We Both Know Better, but it soon becomes 2:56 a.m. Regularly flummoxed at how the time passes and how wordy, rewarding and frustating it can be to try to verbally express what is physically and emotionally craved. Perturbed by the time zones. This morning we circled back on IM from our desks at work, going over things said and heard, when I told him, "It also occurred to me: today is the 3-month anniversary of the night we first hung out," and he said, "Hrm.... I think it's actually tomorrow," and I checked my phone to find his first text and indeed stood corrected, pleased he remembered, noticing that unlike how quickly time goes when we're together, it conversely seems it has been much longer than that since we met.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wellstone, marathons

Today my friend Michael reminded me, via his Facebook page, that October 25 was the day in 2002 an airplane crash killed one of the great American populists of the last 30 years, Senator Paul Wellstone (and his wife and daughter and others) of Minnesota.

‎"If we don't fight hard enough for the things
we stand for,
at some point we have to recognize
that we don't really stand for them."

I met Wellstone for the first and only time just weeks before his death. Me:  running my first marathon, toiling along at mile 24 near the state capitol in St. Paul.  He: running for Senate for the third time, as well as being one of those high-energy, loud guys that sometimes pops out on race sidelines, bellering and half-striding into the street:
"Go get 'em, number 2-7-3-3! You're there! You're almost there."
With Cousin J - October 2002.
T-shirt courtesy of campaign volunteer
at the Twin Cities Marathon start line.

He drew attention to himself:   his 5-foot-4 stature and bald head and furious enthusiasm so distinctive anyway. Since he was mid-campaign, it was logical he would be in town for this major event and within seconds I realized it was him .... and clapping for me, "number 2-7-3-3"!  And I knew I had to go high-five him. At the beginning of the race his campaign volunteers had been everywhere; I had taken and attached a forest-green Wellstone! sticker to the seat of my running shorts on a whim ;.... and ended up being glad I had. Because if you're ever going to run headlong towards a US Senator, uninvited, it's better you be pointing at your rear end (to show support, I swear!) while doing so, rather than pointing at him and provoking his security staff.

 Wellstone and I indeed slapped hands, me yelling, "I ran with your sticker, man!" as I hobbled away.  While I finished that race relatively strong, a few minutes later, the hand-slap was the story I told everyone later.

I've thought of Wellstone whenever I've run a marathon since:  mostly, his energy for everything, his unapologetic advocacy for community and education and the little guy (like me, the 10-minute miler at the end of the race).  And with curiosity as to what kind of politician he might be in this age of the Tea Party intransigence -- he was plenty intransigent himself -- and what he might say to the proclamations of his colleague Michelle Bachmann.

I'll certainly and obviously be thinking of him
when running in DC this weekend.  Wellstone could be an ass, but he was an inspiring ass, and he finished the tasks that he believed in and set out to achieve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blessed is she who....

... stresses unnecessarily about

when all she did was
 leave it
on the floor
in the choir loft
during Tuesday's rehearsal,

where it was found by the organist
and left thusly
(there among the Byzantime murals and chandeliers)
for her to find
when she returned
Saturday night to sing the concert.


And blessed be the organist,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

T-minus Ten Thursday

October 30:  Marathon #8.

Gotta admit:  I'm pretty pumped.  Grateful I can be pumped because I took my vitamins, (knock on wood) have no injuries, went to yoga every week, (knock on wood again) feel strong, and after running (as of today) 486.5 miles since training officially began and just under 800 miles since the beginning of the year, have only 26 more to tick off, total, before running 26.2 a couple Sundays from now. 

(Yeah:  I am ready for a new pair of Asics Landreths before the race. Yeah: that is another $100 for a pair of shoes.  Yeah:  Patience Judgment Family Friends Health!)

Also:  excited to get back to DC after almost 2 years, to stay with Michael and see my long-ago roommate Ryan and chow pasta with Alan.  Head past the monuments.  The Potomac.  Arlington National Cemetery. 

More excited, sincerely:  that the the only major hills come at Miles 2 and 7 instead of 17. 

(Yeah:  Boston, I'm talking about you....)

Although:  DC, it's you I'm talking about between now and October 30. 

Bring it on!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Patience Judgment Family Friends Health

It could have been one of those days.  Hell, it still could be.  I was fine waking up on time, from good dreams. Then when getting dressed I discovered that last night, while cutting through the Prudential Center, I (must have) opened my backpack to pull out an apple and dropped 1 of 2 lace-up pumps (Aldo, $100, bought new in Sept) somewhere in the food court. While calculating the odds of someone saving and turning in a shoe in a mobbed urban shopping mall I caught sight of the expensive steroids (as result of expensive vet visit) for Tusker's cold, sitting on the counter, undistributed still because, well, he seems to have gotten over the cold on his own. Grumbling, got on bike 15 minutes later than planned to discover a cool, breezy rain beginning in time for my commute, which was great, because I enjoy being both late for work and soaking wet while there. Arrival at the office heralded by the unexpected departure of long-time half-million dollar client.  Followed shortly thereafter by e-mail from Mom detailing prolonged intestinal distress, layered with news that Grandma, who had fallen last week, had not been herself since. Trying trying trying not to be down, in an office blanketed on all sides by black skies and fog, missing the physical and peripheral presence of MSF who himself took sick with headache and fever on Monday and yesterday turned phone off, and I cannot make soup or bring water or scratch his head or help in any constructive way. Starting to think everything I own is breaking down and everything is expensive and everyone is far away. 

So I'm kinda down. But there was a moment in that melancholy when I remembered I am a girl with Patience. Judgment. Family. Friends. And Health. Even if they aren't with me every minute. I still hate this cold fall bluster and I still miss MSF and I still worry about Mom and Grandma and still don't want to call up the Pru Lost & Found and even more don't want to spend another $100 on necessary work shoes that I already spent $100 on.. 

But.  Patience Judgment Family Friends Health. My new mantra in time of need.

(Just writing that felt good.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Annoying (but funny) things

I still get an e-mail once a week with the latest articles from, the website I came upon by recommendation of the Cosmo dating article sent to me by Cousin J's fiancé 6 months ago, from which I fashioned the Great Cosmo Challenge of which I completed about 5 of the 22 tasks, and certainly not in the original month I planned..

(Yes, that is a bit of a wind-around sentence .... my brain is in a bit of wind-around mode today.)

Despite not having attended to my HAW profile or solicited the profiles of men who are attending to theirs -- although I wouldn't rule it out -- I am often amused by these advice articles and how spot-on and only mildly sarcastic they are.  Today's by Chiara Atik, particularly, made me dig into the link:

"The 9 Most Annoying Things to Say To A Single Person
"The good thing about being single is that people are usually pretty willing to talk about your romantic life, because, let's face it, it's probably more entertaining than that of your seriously coupled-up friends.  The bad news? 

"Sometimes, people will want to talk about your love life regardless of whether or not you're in the mood to talk about it.  And they will have opinions.  And questions...
Well, I certainly confess to having put my love life on the front burner whether or not other people are in the mood to hear about it or not.  And have left myself equally open to opinions and questions, which will infrequently annoy me and then make me feel like I shouldn't be annoyed, because I did put my life on the front burner.

Nonetheless, today I only print Ms. Atik's questions for your amusement.  Here are my favorite 3 of 9; the rest are behind the bold-faced link above:
"Are you seeing someone?  Why not?"
Amazingly, I get this question at least once a week.  At least once a week!  It's fun to turn the question around to the asker. "Why are you in a relationship?"  "Because I'm in love!" "Right, well, I'm not."  End of discussion!

"You need to put yourself out there more!"
Out where, exactly?  [Whenever some helpful soul suggests this to me, I immediately picture myself in the middle of some crowded piazza, waving my arms around, saying "yooo-hoooo!"]

"Why don't you join a group?"
It's a common misconception for people to think you're single because you just don't have enough hobbies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

For the love of Jif

For a mid-morning snack today,
I dug heartily into one o' these:

You can see obviously how tempting it would be to,
after getting the majority of the creamy goodness
out with a spoon,
use an index finger to get the last remnants. 

Which is a dangerous thing,
because I am also absent-minded and
don't always remember to immediately wash my hands

To wit:


Well, I could have had this response:

But instead,
I summoned my Inner Paternal Grandmother
and thought:

It's just clothes.

Peanut butter is always worth the mess.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oh Weekend, my Weekend!

My weekend was simple, with easily-described activities.

Friday night, I made this Vidalia Onion Pie by the queen of Southern cooking, Paula Deen:

MMMM-Yeah!  That be some bacon!

I then ate said pie with some carmelized brussels sprouts and wild rice and drank a tall bourbon & ginger w/lime, while watching this fine Woody Allen flick:

The correlation of this movie's name
to both my food and beverage
did not occur to me at the time, no.

Saturday morning I stayed in bed until this time:

And yes, that is NOT p.m., smartass.

After which I donned rubber dish-washing gloves and wrestled my boy cat (the wheezing and sniffling Tusker) into carrier to visit his favorite place -- the x-ray machine at the Neponset Animal Hospital -- to discover, after 3 hours and $350, that he "just had a cold" and that I could give him steroids to ease his congestion while he "waited it out." 

Have you ever tried to give a cat steroids? It's easy and fun!

Here's how excited Tusker was to take his drugs.

The day looked up after that.  I did the last of my marathon training runs....this time up Mass Ave through the Cambridge squares to Porter, then back down through the downtown and home.  Incidentally, running on a major thoroughfare at 8 on a Saturday night is wicked cool .... no drunk folks, no groups of 6 walking abreast, no college students passing footballs on the sidewalk .... no, none at all!

After a lite supper and bath, I enjoyed some more bourbon & ginger and spent 5 hours in conversation with the Man from San Francisco.  Yes, we did have a lot to talk about and I do understand that 4 a.m. is late, but it wasn't a work night.  Yes, we had a pleasant time.  We're getting along just fine, thank you.  There are no photos of this event, sorry.

There are also no photos of me today ... singing in the church choir on 5 hours of sleep.  Or eating seconds and thirds of Paula Deen's pie with full-strength sour cream.  Or napping.  Or running 4 miles around Southie.  Or changing the sheets on my bed or riding the 9 bus uptown or typing this blog entry.

I also have no photographic proof that I tried to give Tusker his steroids today either because, well, I did not try to give him his steroids.

Just wait though; the weekend ain't over yet!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Feet (again)? Really?

One of my life mantras is, truthfully:  To each one's own.

This applies to anything:   to weird food likes,  to careers in questionable fields, to drug use, extracurricular sex lives, and one's decision to judge others if one feels like it.  Mostly because, despite my relatively open nature, I can't help but judge even when it goes against my own mantra.

(And it is my mantra, damn-it.)

That said:  what is it with folks and feet? Admittedly, I have an Inexplicable Need to Take Pictures of Them, as you well know.  But I would never pick a partner or a friend to be my partner or friend based on what their feet did or didn't look like,or if they liked me to touch their feet in a certain way or not, and I don't think I would ever choose to use it as a pick-up line.

Nonetheless, from a 40-y-old Bostonian on OKCupid recently, a couple hellos (in their entireties) to my inbox:
Yesterday:  "This is a lovely message."
Today:  "Do you have beautiful feet?"
In hiw writeup, he mentions nothing of any special foot requests or indications of why that might be important to him.   However, 1 of his 2 profile photos is a shot of a pair of black-haired shins, connected to feet in bright green socks printed with cartoon characters, without explanatory caption.

I'm curious what tomorrow will bring.

And I still don't get it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Friends Who Are Boys: Shameless Plug

Alan has now written his first book.  He started forecasting the October 11 launch date months ago, when turning in final edits to his publisher, then a few weeks ago began plugging kick-off parties in New York and DC.  

So I bought a couple copies to help with the initial sales push, and they arrived today at the office.  They're currently sitting my desk counter so all the managers walking by would be tempted to look and wonder if knowing more about the world commodities market would help their investment choices.

I still feel too young to have a friend who has a publication for sale on and at Wal-Mart.  Much less someone who has kick-off parties in New York and DC and whose book jacket has a quote from George McGovern, calling it "essential reading."  Or being described in promotional copy as such:
"To understand the growing international food crisis, readers need an expert they can rely on. One of the most widely acclaimed journalists on food security, Alan Bjerga is up to the task, taking readers from the trading floor of Chicago to the highlands of East Africa to the rice paddies of Thailand on a global trek to find the causes of the food-price crisis—and the solutions."
But I'm very proud of my old bike-riding buddy ...  and have no problem making a shameless plug on his behalf.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Meanwhile, 25 years after the fact...

When a pre-teen growing up Cando, I wanted to be Kelly McGillis as Charlie in Top Gun.  Full stop.  I wanted her bomber jacket, her loose white t-shirts over tight jeans, her Oceanside house, her brains, and the chutzpah to say, when Maverick showed up all sweaty and heavy-breathing from his sand volleyball match with the boys, "You're late," and just go back to sauteeing the onions.

Most of all, though, I wanted her hairstyle.  Blond and crunchy-curly.  Swooping over the forehead, and blowing in the breeze as she and her sporty convertible chased after Maverick, zooming away on his motorcycle, to tell him that her review of his flying was spot-on.

This is, in truth, what I looked like in 1986.  I hadn't figured out how to convey my Kelly McGillis Hair desires to Linda, the neighbor down the street who saw me in her basement salon, and still had bangs and bad side-wings.

So check out the girl behind me:  Cathy, fellow leotard wearer and my next-door neighbor in Cando for most of my growing up.  Now a pharmacist in Bismarck, married with 2 kids, she's hung out with me twice this week because she and her husband are in Boston on vacation. (Bless the Lord for Facebook, for reconnecting us.) In addition to overdosing on beer and seafood and late-night forays through Chinatown, it's been a hoot to both revisit a lot of memories of Cando, and to catch up on how we've both changed since the late 1980s. Which is to say, a lot.

Funny, then, that I would look in the mirror this morning and realize that, kinda, sorta, with the part on the opposite side and with slightly-less crunch, I've got the Kelly McGillis In Top Gun Hair Look down -- 25 years after the fact. 

Teenage dreams can come true, my friends.

(Now about that bomber jacket.....)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dateline: Carson Beach 10/08/11

Never really expected to be 
working on a tan, 
in my bikini, 
in 80 degrees, 
in Boston,
in the late afternoon
on the 17th day of autumn.

But, so be it.

4:51:   This dude wanted my apple core.  Badly.

4:56:  Apple finished.  Seagull banished.  Nap commenced.

5:44:  Sunset over Southie

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday playlist

Maybe I should assign WERS 88.9 FM its own label in this space, since lately I've been drowning in my love affair with the stream it's spitting out.

Today I was re-reintroduced to Susan Tedeschi and introduced to her husband, Derek:

Tired of living without
When others have so much
If I could find someone
To bring loving touch
All this time been wasted
No more words to spare
If I knew how to love,
I would take you there
Got my daily dose of Ben Folds.

There was a time when I had nothing to explain
Oh, this mess I have made
But then things got complicated
My innocence has all but faded
Oh, this mess I have made
Was reminded that Johnny Cash's cover of Depeche Mode (Personal Jesus, anyone?) makes all the sense and no sense all at once.

From the Wikipedia: "The song was inspired by the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley. According to songwriter Martin Gore: "It's a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It's about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody's heart is like a god in some way, and that's not a very balanced view of someone, is it?"
And again, marveled that The Police's So Lonely is one of the most danceable depressing songs there is. (I immediately began chair-dancing at :51. You should too.)

Well, someone told me yesterday
That when you throw your love away
You act as if you just don't care
You look as if you're going somewhere
But I just can't convince myself
I couldn't live with no one else
And I can only play that part
And sit and nurse my broken heart, so lonely
A couple hours ago, I had flagged out the songs that I remembered most distinctly from 'ERS today -- swear it was done with no pre-meditation. Now as I cut and paste the lyrics, the melancholy run-through is not lost on me. While I'd suggest I wasn't in the best mood today ... hmmm.

Subliminal or not, I've got to kick this. It's the beginning of a crisp, fall (and for some, but not for me) 3-day weekend, and I've got to find a 21-mile run tomorrow morning, and this wallowy vibe, subliminal as it is, cannot prevail.  Heading over now to Boston University, to hear the Arneis (string) Quartet play a bit o' this:

And this.

Hoping there's lift somewhere in them there 'cello swipes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Anniversary Shout-Out: Roy & Martha

Some days on the blog, I don't feel like/want to compete with/comment on the news cycle and/or date significance.

(Usually applies to major holidays and my birthday. But especially on days where I'm prone to overusing and/or statements with sassy backslashes.)

Today showed up as such with:
1)  The death of Steve Jobs yesterday.

2)  Sarah Palin's gracious (?!) quelling o' Presidential aspirations (and, could one hope, decline in media exposure?).

3)  Hank Williams, Jr. being told to nevermore ask, legally, "Are You Ready for Some Football?"

4)  A 37-year-old woman asking the Boston public:  "Am I at a bad age to date?"
So all I want to do today is point out that October 6 was the day 68 years ago that my maternal grandparents married each other, in Minneapolis. You've met Martha, who turns 92 in a couple weeks, but Roy has been gone for 11 years; he died the first summer I lived in Boston.  They had a pretty killer marriage, raised a pretty killer brood, and were pretty influential life examples for me.

I know I don't remember to mention that enough.

This May 29, 2011 photo made possible
by the events of October 6, 1943.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy hour ....

.... bi-coastal style.

Which is to say, via cell phone.

9:31 pm (EST)
K: Stormy night calls for dark and stormy. (and ginger chocolate...:-)

6:40 pm (PST)
MSF:  ::smile:: I had just poured (and photo'd) a finger of Maker's-Rocks for myself while I figure out dinner when your TXT came in.

Monday, October 3, 2011

20-Minute Monday: Contrasts

Tonight I feel both powerful and fragile.  After work I crossed Copley  to the BPL to return 3 severely overdue books and, crossing back at the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth, strode straight through a minefield of skateboarders (doing their daily swings across the tempting marble slab) as if daring one of them to roll in front of me, then diagonal again across the 3 lanes of Dartmouth and daring the cars turning off St. James.  Then to yoga, successful with its one-legged Chaturanga Dandasanas and warriors 1, 2 & 3 and the 10 minutes of ab crunches while in a supported bridge and the resonant Ujjayi interspersed with Lion's Breath.  Followed by 500 calories burned on the elliptical machine.

Stepping back out of the gym into Copley, then, the day's earlier muggy warmth had dissipated, drizzle falling, the red lights of 3 ambulances and a fire truck on the same sidewalk that had entertained the skater bois hours before, the attendants working on someone, evidently, in a bad way on the benches there.  The energy so rare and different.

The damp seeps in here on the library steps, even as I sit on my coattail to keep my butt dry.  It's better to be out here, leaning against the pedestal of the lion statue, rather than back on the mugger's paradise of the main walls.  Lion's breath earlier, lion protection now. I think I don't necessarily crave protection, not really needing it here in the well-lit public square, and otherwise finding it difficult to accept that sometimes I'm fragile and need to accept help and advice.  MSF's visit reminded me how much I could learn about finding the comfort of that line between self-sufficiency and the relaxing of ego to someone else's care and concern.  He helped with that, sometimes chiding, sometimes letting me chide him.  Neither is a bad way to be....and on a night (and following a week) of the power/fragile struggle, I know it sometimes takes a surfeit of one to appreciate the other.

Monday, October 3, 9:25-9:45 p.m.
Boston Public Library

Sunday, October 2, 2011

State of the union

The cats are exhausted. I'm exhausted. The Mazda 626 is exhausted.  MSF is somewhere over Colorado on an Airbus 320 and, I'd guess, also exhausted. I haven't been posting on the blog much this week because it's not as fun to write about being a single woman when, for at least 8 days and 10 hours, I didn't feel like a single woman. Even though I still am. But I'm a satisfied single woman. Who had good company. Who is grateful for that good company and believes that gratefulness might have legs, because it made me realize what good company is and how I shouldn't settle for less. Who doesn't harbor illusions or an upcoming plan regarding cross-country dating or sentimentality about having had good company, other than realizing that it is indeed possible to live in the moment (or 727,000 moments, more exactly), that having a lover's hand on my thigh while I'm driving is one of the best things ever and that, even though they need it, the bedsheets aren't getting changed until (at least) tomorrow. Or maybe the day after.