Mondays just keep getting longer

It almost doesn’t matter what happens on any given Monday.  It could be a good day, a bad day, a normal day…it still takes forever.  Today wasn’t any particular kind of day.  Work was busy, but in a good way.  The company band had its first meeting of the year tonight, and that was both fun and frustrating.  I didn’t get home until about 8 o’clock, which kinda sucks, but the dogs were fine and I didn’t have anything to do anyway.  I watched some TV (last week’s episode of Fringe may have been the grossest yet), and I think I’m going to crawl into bed and read.  This is the one night a week the dogs get to come upstairs with me, at least until John gets home.  They keep me company when I’m alone in the house.  Oops.  It’s later than I thought and Roxy needs her medicine.

Lemon out.

Always with the errands

I think it’s easier to have wonderful weekends as the weather gets nicer.  Saturday we got up, I ran (badly – I think 60 degrees is when it gets officially too hot for Roxy), we had breakfast, and then John worked on his car and I ran errands.  I went to a nearby nursery and talked to a guy about trees and what I should plant in my flower bed so I can do the least amount of upkeep.  And I showed him a picture of the poor stunted tree in our front yard.  He said it has been infested with wood-boring insects and is slowly dying, so we should just take it out and put something else in.  John and I kind of thought we might have to do that, so then I talked to the guy about what kind of tree we should put in, and what kinds of trees we should plant near the deck for shade (someday).  Very nice guy.

We had a very nice time with Christina and Will that night (dinner, Wii, alcohol – perfect combination!), and then didn’t get enough sleep before we had to get up this morning so we could run before heading to Ballston to have brunch with Erik (always fun).  So we’re caught up with all his news, we ate entirely too much brunch (that’s what we get for going to the Cheesecake Factory), and then we ran more errands on the way home.

Our weekends are always full of errands.

In other news, John and I are running in the George Washington Parkway Classic (the 5K, not the 10-miler) next Sunday morning in Alexandria (Old Town).  The race starts at 8am, and for us, it ends around 8:30.  Erik has promised to come out and cheer for us (and join us for breakfast afterward), and it would be really cool if anyone else local wants to come out, too.  Check out the website and the race map and let us know!

Hooray for books!

My books came early!  I love Amazon.  I ordered 10 books the other day.  They were scheduled to arrive this coming Monday, but they were on the porch when I got home.  Yay!  Of course, I’m still finishing the Otherland series, and I have another book to read for the book club before the first Tuesday in May, but who cares?  I have new books!

I just sneezed, and Riley came over to check on me.  Or to steal my attention away from the computer.  Maybe both.  He hates being ignored.  Silly dog, with his big brown eyes and very wet nose.

I thought of a bunch of songs I want to put on my running playlist, so…I’m off to do that.

But I’m not a control freak…

I know this isn’t really a word I use, but go with me here.  I don’t feel centered.  I feel like I’m lurching from thing to thing, reacting to everything but not really choosing what happens next.  I’m not really worried about anything (I’m always worried about something, but those things are on the back burner for now), but I don’t feel like I’m in control.  Some of it is work; I don’t really know what my priorities are supposed to be.  I feel like I’ve let some things slide, but I can’t really pinpoint what.  And at home…I always have this list of things to do to balance against what I want to do.  And what I want to do wins out probably more than it should, so I feel guilty about shirking responsibilities and I can’t enjoy the things I want to do.  Perhaps I need more lists.  I have lists of things that need to get done and things I want to do.  Maybe I need an actual daily list of Things I Am Going To Do.

Tomorrow:

  • Run three miles before breakfast
  • Eat right (no pigging out!)
  • Clean the kitchen and family room
  • Set aside 30 minutes (at least) to read (uninterrupted)

I can do that.  The weekend will include more cleaning and some yard stuff.  John has homework and a quiz, so we’ll probably have some quality alone time.

An evening with no distractions

Well, almost no distractions.  There’s the internet, but I can mostly ignore that.  I’m volunteering again, but since the staff members are out of town, we (the volunteers) just signed up to watch the office in 2-hour shifts.  I’ve got less than an hour left now, but since there’s nothing to do (no calls to make, no data to enter), I’ve been reading.  I’m not in the most comfortable chair, though, and my butt is slowly going numb.

I haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights, and I think it’s because of my book.  One of the characters is a really creepy psychopath, and he’s kind of freaking me out.  I’m not going to stop reading it (it’s the last book in the series and I want to know how it ends), but it makes me nervous.  I need to find something calming to read/watch/do (meditate?) before I go to sleep.

Half hour to go here, and I’m going back to my book.  Whatever calming mechanism I decide on will have to wait until I get home.

No more school today

I feel like I’m waiting for summer vacation to get here so I can relax, but I don’t get summer vacation anymore.  Does that mean I’ll never get to relax?  That’s a depressing thought.  And I don’t mean that I’m particularly tense right now, anyway.  I just feel like there’s always so much to do and to worry about.  I want a break.  A LONG one.  No responsibility.  And lots of sleep.  Where can I get that?  Besides jail.

A Well-Formed Weekend

Apparently, yardwork makes my legs hurt.  I am sore from my butt all the way down the backs of both legs to my ankles.  I’m not exactly sure why that’s what hurts, but it must be from the yardwork.  I didn’t run all weekend, but we spent five or six hours in the yard on Sunday.  We cleaned up after the dogs, mowed, started to tear apart the side of the yard (by the chimney, where it was a jungle last summer), weeded the flower bed, and pulled dandelions.  And mulched a few areas.  And John dug up that woody, bamboo-ish plant that takes over the flower bed every year.  Its root system was HUGE.  I’m not sure we got it all, but John thinks it won’t come back this year.  He doesn’t think it’ll recover that quickly, assuming we didn’t get all of it.

Sunday evening we grilled lamb and caught up on Heroes.  (We caught up on Lost Friday night.)  Saturday morning was the perfect rainy weekend morning.  We woke up, heard the rain beating down, rolled over and went back to sleep.  When we woke up again, it was still raining hard, but hunger (and whining dogs) drove us downstairs.  We had bagels and watched TV and lazed around until we decided to do something.  John went into the garage to work on his car and I did our taxes.  (Boo taxes – we owe for the first time ever!)  But even that wasn’t so terrible.  John was covered in grease by the time he stopped working on the car, so after he cleaned himself up, we went to the mall to return a part at Sears and pick up his new suit!  Said new suit was ready, but when he tried it on, the jacket still wasn’t right.  So they’re fixing that.  Then we went to Borders (yay bookstores!), dinner (I guess dinner was before Sears, but whatever – you don’t care), and ice cream!  Lovely day.

This morning I had cream cheese and jelly on matzo ( I really don’t like to spell it like that) for breakfast.  You know what?  It was really good.  I probably won’t make a habit of it, but I’m sure I’ll be eating for the next week or so, until I run out of matzo.  Or cream cheese.  Or jelly.  Cream cheese doesn’t belong in my diet, really, but matzo is better (calorie-wise) than a bagel, so it evens out.  ?  Not really.  But I can live with it.

List

To do this weekend:

  1. TAXES!!!!!!  Yes, I waited until the last minute.
  2. Update book and movies lists.
  3. Yardwork.  Lots of it.  I hate it, but there’s a lot that needs to be done.

Okay, yardwork needs to be in the #2 spot, and I’m sure I’ll add more to this list later.  Right now, I need to get to work.

Save the polar bears!

Today was much better than yesterday.  Yesterday I couldn’t keep my eyes open most of the day.  I desperately needed a nap around midday, and then I nearly fell asleep in the dentist chair.  Went to bed early, slept in instead of running.  I’m still tired, but it’s much more of a normal kind of tired today.

Noah Wyle is trying to get me to help save the polar bears.  Cute videos of baby polar bears go a long way towards convincing me to donate.

I really need to stop trying to write while sitting in front of the TV.  Concentrating is impossible.  Of course, it would help if I had anything to talk about.

I like talking to strangers.

There must be something wrong with me.  I like working for campaigns.  I mean, even doing the low-level stuff like calling strangers about supporting the candidate and entering the results of those calls into the database.  I like the people who work on the campaigns.  And my buddy Jordan (from the Leesburg office for the Obama campaign) is an intern in the Loudoun office!  So that’s cool.  I don’t plan to give them as much time as I did for Obama last fall, but I definitely want to help out.  I’m still really tired, but I feel so much better about going over there tonight.  I’m very glad I went.

Get some sleep!

I stayed up entirely too late last night watching the game.  It was only the second basketball game I’ve watched in years, i think.  I’d like to watch the women’s championship game tonight (woo Louisville!), but I promised to volunteer for the gubernatorial campaign from 7-9.  I have to leave in less than 20 minutes, and I SO don’t want to.  I’m really tired, and I just don’t want to leave the house again.

I’m watching Girl, Interrupted, and it’s really freaking me out that the main character’s name is Susannah.  She doesn’t spell it right, though.  No time to finish the movie now, either.  Gotta go volunteer!

Driving in rain and fog

We made it safely to the bed and breakfast (www.sugarhollow.com) yesterday afternoon with enough time for John to make sure he could get on the internet (since he had to give a presentation on a conference call at four).  It was wet and rainy, but the inn is beautiful.  It’s three miles past civilization, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and now that the rain and fog have cleared a bit, I can actually see them (the mountains) from the window in our bedroom.

I don’t think I could say our first evening here was relaxing.  We all rushed out to dinner (minus John, on his call) because Carole (Jess’s mom) thought it was an hour later than it really was (meaning we were really late).  Once we got to the restaurant we got the time thing straightened out, which pretty much meant we were right on schedule, but without much time to spare.  We came back to the Inn after eating to drop off those of us who weren’t going to the play and to pick up John.  Then we packed ourselves up into two cars and began the harrowing trek to Staunton.  It was awful.  Chuck was driving his car with Cody, Meredith (Jess’s sister), and Rachel (Jess’s sister-in-law), and I was following with John, Jess, and Carole.  The roads around here are twisty, windy, barely two-lane roads, but that was okay.  It was rainy, but not pouring, and it wasn’t foggy.  At least, not in the valley.  Then we got onto 64.  We got into the mountains and the fog rolled in.  Maybe it was already there and we rolled into the fog.  Whatever, it was getting darker and foggier and we were on a twisty interstate with lots of cars going faster than it seemed they should be going.  And we were late.  It wasn’t totally dark, though, and we got to the theater in one piece, albeit about 15 minutes after the play started.  Thankfully, they let us in anyway.  It’s a small, Elizabethan-style theater, and we took up the entire third row.  The play, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead, was really good, very funny, and I’m very glad we made it.  At one point, Rozencrantz came into the audience and sat down next to John.  Gildenstern asked him if he saw anything interesting, and he looked right at John and said, “No.”  Funny.

The way back was less fun.  It was completely dark and if anything, the fog was worse.  There were lights in the roadbed along the guardrails, but they looked like oncoming headlights, so I was freaked out the whole time we were on the interstate.  And it took a LONG time to get back.  Oh, and it was raining a lot harder. 

I started writing this before breakfast this morning.  It’s now after 10, and we’re all pretty much exhausted.  We went to five wineries this afternoon and had a great time, but we all needed naps (that we didn’t get) when we got back.  Dinner was mooseburgers (brought from Alaska in Daniel’s luggage).  Then we hung around the living room, mostly comatose.  Certainly not being all that loud.  We were chastised by the owner (nicely chastised) and asked to keep our voices down since there is one couple staying here who doesn’t belong to us.  That wouldn’t really have been a problem except that Jess and Chuck overheard the owners in the kitchen.  They seem to be pretty unhappy with us, but I’m not sure what we’ve done.  We haven’t destroyed anything or broken anything.  Maybe we’ll find out more tomorrow. 

We’re having a really good time (despite our general sleepiness).  I’m enjoying Jess’s family, and we’re in a beautiful spot.  Tomorrow, Jess and Rachel and I are going to get lunch, mani/pedis, and the cake, and the wedding will be around 5:30.

Getting better all the time

This week has been…not so good.  But it’s getting better by the minute!  I don’t have to get up early tomorrow, we’ll run, then we’ll drive to Charlottesville for a weekend with Jess and Chuck and Jess’s family.  We’re going to have a great time, but to get there, I need to get some sleep.

Can I stay home tomorrow?

Today was TOO long.  We got up before 5:30, left the house by 6:30, so we could get downtown in time to have some breakfast before the conference started at 8:30.  We got there with time to spare, which was nice.  I hate being late.  But the rest of the day took FOREVER.  And I couldn’t even leave once it was over for the day.  John had to get to class, so I waited for Wendy to finish up.  We didn’t leave until around 6:15 or 6:30.  And traffic was awful, so it was 8 o’clock before I got home.  Thankfully, Christina was able to swing by after she got off work to let the dogs out, so I didn’t come home to any disasters.  Thanks, Christina!

I’m just so very tired, and poor John is even worse shape.  I don’t know how he’ll manage to stay awake during class tonight.  Tomorrow will start the same, but hopefully we won’t go as late.

My eyes are not staying open (and I really don’t want to relive my day as I look for something to write about.  It wasn’t that much fun.), so I’m going to bed.  I’ll let the dogs come upstairs with me.  I always let them come up on nights John is away.  They love it.  Then John gets home, they go rushing downstairs to greet him, and they don’t really notice that he doesn’t let them back up.  (They’re not very bright.  But they are adorable.)

Two books, one day

I finished Gentlemen and Players last night.  No, night before last.  It was the first time in a long time that I just stayed up in bed reading until I was done.  I was too close to the end to put it down.  I enjoyed it, and I will definitely be looking for more books by Joanne Harris.  Actually, I recommended this one to Joe and Megan yesterday.  (And they told me I should read Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.  I’ve gotta remember that.)  Thanks, Jess!  I’ll bring it back to you next weekend.  So last night I started my book club book, The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama.  It’s one of those serene novels, where some stuff happens, but it’s all at a slight remove.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  (I finished it about an hour ago.  Not a very long book.)  Now it’s time for me to return to the Otherland series.

John and Dan (Short, from RI) have been in the garage since around 11 this morning.  Other than lunch (late, around 3 – I made burgers), I haven’t really seen them.  There’s been a lot of noise, and lately, a lot of engine revving, so I think things are going well.  🙂

Tomorrow and Tuesday are going to be very long days.  We’re both going to the spring conference for work in DC, and we have to be there by about eight.  John has class tomorrow night, so I’ll be coming home with our boss, whenever she’s ready to leave.  I have no idea how late she tends to stay at these things.  But at least it’ll be a short work week.  Two days at the conference, Wednesday at work, and then we leave Thursday morning to head for Charlottesville for the wedding.  Yay wedding!

First 5K of the year

Yesterday was a good day.  We slept in a little bit, did a little shopping (John has a new suit, but no new running shoes.  Surprise – no one carries size 14, 4E running shoes.), and then headed to Falls Church for the race.  We parked in a cul de sac around the corner from the trail (the race was on the W&OD trail), in front of this really cool Tudor house.  I love Tudor houses.  So does John.  Neat house.  Anyway, it was overcast and a little chilly as we walked to the building next to the trail where we could get our numbers.  My number for this race?  42.  Woo!

This race had timing chips, or whatever you call them, so we had to tie those to our shoes.  I think they only use them for finish times.  If you start anywhere but in the front of the pack, your time isn’t really going to be accurate.  When they started the race, a guy at the official start line counted seconds so we knew when we crossed.  My official start time (which doesn’t figure into my official finish time, which annoys me a bit) was 18 or 19 seconds after the starting gun.  Actually, that works for me ’cause it means my actual official finish time was below 30 minutes, if you subtract 19 seconds.

There was another woman with a weird pace in this race.  She was wearing pink and black (pink hat, black pants, pink shirt, black jacket), nicely coordinated.  She started out just ahead of me in the pack, but then she stopped to walk.  So I passed her.  A few minutes later, she passed me at a jog again.  Then she walked and I passed her.  That’s really annoying.  I passed her sometime after the first mile, and I didn’t see her again until the race was over, so I ended up beating her, but I don’t like leap-frogging with people who walk.  It means their jogging pace is way faster than mine.  Speaking of people who walk, I’m half-convinced this one guy was actually triplets.  I passed him once (he was walking), and then a few minutes later, I passed him again (he was walking).  I never saw him jog past to me to get ahead.  Then it happened a third time, and I really started to think there was more than one of him.  How did I not see him get ahead of me?  Very weird.  But the weirdest person was the guy I saw near the back of the pack (the race was out 2.5K and back along the same path, so after I turned around at the halfway mark I went by everyone who was behind me), running in khaki cargo pants, a button down, and a jacket, carrying a little umbrella (folded up).  Not exactly what i would choose to go for a run in.

Oh!  Before I hit the halfway point, I saw the front-runner coming back towards the finish.  He was tall, thin, black, fast, and all I could think was, “Kenyan?  Could he be Kenyan?  What’s he doing in our rinky-dink race?”  And then I immediately thought, “Yeah, sure, just ’cause he’s black, fast, and clearly a REAL runner, he must be from Kenya?  What is wrong with you?”  And just ’cause I turned out to be right (he is Kenyan, and he won the race in 15:51) doesn’t my assumption any better.  But I still don’t know what brought him to this particular race.

I googled him.  He’s in town to run marathons and half-marathons and win prize money.  Seems to be how he makes a living, which is just really cool.  John mentioned this morning that 15:51 isn’t really all that fast for a 5K (not for medium distance runners), but it makes sense now that I know the guy is a marathoner.  Endurance, not so much speed.  Of course, he’s still twice as fast as me, so what do I know.

Best part?  It RAINED the whole time.  Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  It was something more than a mist, but without actual raindrops.  It was nice and cool just when we were heating up, but we did end up mostly soaked.  The course was mostly flat, except when we went over Rte 7.  But the bridge over 7 was wooden, and I think the change in texture was enough of a distraction so that I didn’t really notice the hill.  I’m glad I did it.  It was hard, and I was concentrating on keeping my legs moving (“No walking, no walking, keep breathing, it doesn’t hurt that bad, no walking, no walking…”), but it felt really good to finish.  I saw the line coming up and I stretched my legs out and passed another four people in the last tenth of a mile…and then I stumbled to a stop and tried to untie my left shoe with fumbling fingers and wobbly legs so I could give them my timing tag/chip thing.  But it felt good.  Our next race is in a month in Alexandria.

I’ll be ready.

Short version

John and I ran out first 5K of year today in Falls Church.  We did better that we expected, but we probably won’t see official times until tomorrow.  By my stopwatch, I finished in 29:45 (which makes me happy).  After the race, we called Joe and Megan (since we were nearby) and stopped by their house.  I had a book to drop off, and we spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening with them and their boys.  Always a good time.

Also, we watched this week’s Lost tonight, so Mindy and Erik, I’ll call you tomorrow to discuss.  I’ll also have more details about the race tomorrow.

Not enough time to read!

Today was a good day, I think.  Busy at work, but the good kind of busy.  We’re home with no more responsibilities.  We ordered Italian for dinner (should be here soon) and we’ll either watch Lost or maybe a movie.  Tomorrow we have a couple of errands to run and then a race.  And Sunday, Dan is coming up to help John work on his Camaro.   I will probably read.  I almost have to read.  I love it.  🙂  My next book club meeting is Tuesday night, and I haven’t started the book.  It’s not very long, and if I have all day Sunday, I’m sure I can finish it by Tuesday, but I don’t want to put Gentlemen and Players down to do it.  So I’m going to try to finish that one by Saturday night.  Which means I can’t waste time here tonight.

Damn.  That was dinner.  I mean, you know, good.  But it means I don’t have time to read first.