25 November 2006

like the wind

Holden Race

24 November 2006

forecast: sunny, scattered anxiety attacks

Tomorrow, oddly enough, I am running in my first ever race. It's a 5K. Just over 3 miles. A measly, minor, scant, short distance. However, it is still the furthest I have ever run without my brother chasing me, and I am, predictably, spectacularly flipping out about it.

Granted, my adorably quirky manner of flipping out mainly involves the grim, silent repetition of obsessive behavior -- no tantrums or screaming matches for this proper little WASPgrrrl. So unbecoming.

I spent much of yesterday refreshing the weather.com local radar screen, waiting for them to announce that the soaking rain and driving winds wouldn't let up until Saturday afternoon. And that all outdoor activities had been strictly forbidden by the governor. Which would make it the first time our Mormon-face governor had done anything remotely in alignment with my wishes.

No dice -- the forecast for tomorrow is still sunny and clear, a little windy, maybe, but pretty pleasant, all in all.

Then, the slight stiffness in my wrist I've been experiencing over the last couple of weeks flared up into actual pain (after a couple of marathon knitting sessions to finish a pair of socks I was sick of looking at -- moral: don't buy yarn you don't want to make out with for the next month. This was some seriously grody acrylic dreck that I am so happy to see the last inch of. Bleck. Now back to sensuous, silky Noro yarns. oooh, baby yeah).

So I spent the last couple of days trying to figure out a way that a sore wrist could possibly exempt me from running 3 very slow miles with hundreds of other, infinitely faster people. I couldn't think of anything, and my best friend only offered up embarrassing speculative stories about how I really injured my right wrist, through very different types of repetitive movement.

So I have filthy-minded friends, but still no alibi for the race tomorrow.

Let's not forget that I have told my boss, my co-worker, my father, my friends, AND THE INTERNET that I would be sprinting down this particular primrose path tomorrow. Some of them have even professed an intention to watch the race.

Listen: if you plan on seeing me cross the finish line, I suggest you bring a book.

I also spent an unseemly and uncharacteristic amount of money on running shoes three months ago, with the expressly stated purpose of starting my running career, in this race, tomorrow. I filled out my entry form that very day.

So. Back to sublimating my frantic avoidance strategies through obsessive-compulsive behavior.

After lunch today I drove out to where the race is being held and drove the 3.1 mile loop about five or six times, just to get the feel of the place. OK, maybe a few more times than that. Maybe the dog-walkers in that particular neighborhood considered calling the cops, I was so clearly and ineptly casing the joint.

I have laid out my clothes. They are the exact same t-shirt, warm-up pants, and sports bra I have trained in since I bought the running shoes three months ago. Yes, they have been washed. At some point. In the last three months.

I have dithered over my choice of socks. (no logo, medium thickness, ankle height, white. These things matter.)

I have made arrangements to meet a friend who lives near the course and who has actually run this race before. Who has actually run any race before. She will brook no backing out.

Anyway, my Race Day Socks have been chosen. I consider that alone to be binding, and final.

Maybe I should check that radar screen one more time.

21 November 2006

sunset boulevard

I have a friend who is some hot-shot photographer and sometimes he takes photos of events that I am at. He even gets paid to do this, if you can believe. On really special occasions I muscle my way in front of the camera and -- apparently -- mug like a baboon.

I just had the delightful opportunity to see what an unattractive, dishevelled, bloated dung beetle I looked like at the last event we had. Even when I was smiling.

Gah. ESPECIALLY when I was smiling.

Note to self: emulate Mona Lisa.


I feel like digging up old photographs of myself and pinning them up all over my office, on my car windows, the front and backs of my shirts... to provide evidence that I have not always looked this bad.

For Christ's sake! I've even been jogging something like 10 miles a week for the last three months! You would think I could get SOME relief from dry flaky skin that takes on a winsomely red and blotchy shade under florescent lights. Or get a break from looking like I eat Crisco straight out of the can as a light pick-me-up afternoon snack.

Like there's anything wrong with that!

So I've sent up the batsignal to my fabulously stylish and effortlessly beautiful friend who does my hair and asked for an emergency appointment, although no offence to her in the slightest fat lot of good it'll do me unless she knows where the reverse switch is on the Big-O-Beam I appear to have been zapped with.


You know, not for nothing, but I AM running in my first ever 5K race this weekend. Do I get no props for this, universe? None? Not a bit?

Stupid universe.

18 November 2006


No really, how many times since I started writing in this blog have I suddenly been stricken with searing eye pain due to prolonged and/or idiotic use of contact lenses?


Let's see... I've been writing for almost three years (cool!) and I seem to be afflicted with this type of pain, discomfort, and embarrassing eyeball redness about, oh, say, once every four to six months! (Boo!)

It's like having a sore throat. When you have it, you can't think about anything else. there is never a moment when your brain is not saying oh man does my throat hurt!

And then later:

Yep! Still hurts!

It's annoyingly monomaniacal, and you start to long for those innocent days of, say, last week, when you were unconcerned by thoughts of the subtle differences between the sensations of sandpaper, cardboard, or gravel lodged in your throat. Back then, you were saucy and carefree and could move about the world without wondering how many more cough drops you had in your purse and how much honey was left for your tea.

It's all-consuming. But at least you can buy those things at the store! Cough drops, honey, lemon tea are all readily available for short green at many convenient locations across town!

In contrast, when I fail to clean my contacts rigorously or regularly enough -- OK, at all -- I have to pay serious money as a grievously uninsured person (did you know there is a football player with the first name of Grievous? how great is that?) to make an appointment with my supercilious optometrist and listen to him lecture me about the importance of taking proper care of my contacts and eyeballs blah blah blah before he finally coughs up the eye drops that will make it all better.

And these eye drops -- they do! They make it all better, like, in five minutes! It's a modern miracle, and I am deeply grateful for it! I just wish they sold the damn drops at Brooks so I could forgo the lecture.

As I age and mature, certain things become clear to me. Certain undeniable truths about me that I have accepted and ceased to deny.

I will never be good at math.

I will never enjoy doing the dishes.

I will never take proper care of my contact lenses.

Someday, I am sure, I will just break down and get The Surgery. They will point laser beams at my eyeballs and I will pay them to do it.

Until that happy day, just hand over the damn eye drops.

17 November 2006


So I find myself once again needing a review of basic math. Or "maths" as my Brit friend Tony would say, which is a lousy way to say it if only because it is hard. To say. Or does that make sense, somehow, to make the word itself hard, as the subject matter itself is obtuse.

OK. Struth - I'm the obtuse one.

I wasn't kidding before when I said I couldn't quite remember what an integer was. I mean, it's a type of number, sure, but how exactly does it differ from a real number? See? You don't really know either.

So I swear that I have learned actual new material during my review of basic maths information -- information that was never covered when I was in the room, at least. Of course, back in high school I was always getting pulled out of math and science classes to go to extra band practice or compete in the one-act play competition or serve as an extra in whatever travelling sketch-comedy-with-a-moral group was giving us a hamfisted presentation in assembly later in the day...

I guess I always thought that because I only skipped classes with teacher permission -- and for such insanely geeky purposes -- that there would be no comeuppance.

There is always comeuppance.

So now I am relearning the difference between a mean and a mode, and all so I can get back into school so I can get an advanced degree that will make people think I really know my shit.

Except I suspect it will not fool the other folks walking this earth with the same fancypants degree, because they probably had to remind themselves how to find the standard deviation before taking the test, too.

At least I hope they did.

Of course because I am a geek who has been secretly dying to go back to school all these years, I am very secretly having fun boning up. I mean, c'mon! Boning up! ahem.

Granted, the test is only two weeks away and I am still reviewing algebra, which means I still have geometry to go. But I always kicked ass at geometry. It was only when calculus came sauntering along that things went south for me and ol' maths. And boy did they go south in a hurry.

Whenever I get overwhelmed during this review of seemingly arcane knowledge i just go and take the study test section on sentence correction. Then I take it again, just to keep the ol' ego inflated that extra bit. Then I go back and let the word problems punch me in the throat a little more.

Isn't it time for band practice?

13 November 2006

thank god it wasn't the ron jeremy dream

Last night it was so deliciously warm that I threw open both of the bedroom windows to let the sweet night air in, knowing that it won't be long until the night air gets seriously more bitey.

It was great and I slept the sleep of the just except then I had a nightmare during which a friend of mine was trying to make me do a certain drug and I was OF COURSE staunchly having none of it, but that didn't stop me from having a totally psychosomatically runny nose all day. My body is such a poser.

Perhaps one reason for having such a messed up dream was that I was simultaneously being awoken by the sound of chainsaws RIGHT OUTSIDE MY OPEN WINDOWS. My neighbors, who are clearly upset by how the spiffy new doors and awesome fresh paint job on my house put their wussy little ranch house TO SHAME YOU LOSERS, have decided to up the ante and replace the fence that borders our properties.

Some people are so competetive!

Apparently, the best practices method these days for removing an old wooden fence that is falling down so shabbily that a five-year-old could wrench the posts out of the ground and play pick up sticks with the cross bars, is to use a huge enormous and also VERY LOUD chainsaw.

I missed this memo from the Hunky Yardworkers Association of America. I wonder if they have my new email address. It's about time for the new Hunky Yardworker calendar to come out.

So anyway my morning was loud, nightmarish, and fake-guilt-inducing. This is why I was forced -- FORCED -- to buy myself some high-octane jet fuel coffee at the coffee shop on the way in to work, even though I am supposed to be saving money for something. I forget what.

Do they let you get an MBA even if your checking account is overdrawn?

12 November 2006

it's only a model

Well I'm all knackered out by my adventure in the big city yesterday.

Drove up so early it was still densely foggy amid the marshes and cranberry bogs along route 3, threaded my way past joggers and baby strollers in the leafy suburbs and on up to campus, where I was treated to some surprisingly good coffee, given a nametag, and escorted into a simulated classroom experience with about fifty other applicants.

We loosened up after a few off-color jokes from the professor and started bantering smoothly about fixed costs and value chains. Not the most riveting subject matter, perhaps, but what can you do. It was just a simulation.

Sure was fun pretending I was in grad school, though. I could totally get used to being in school again. I pretty much love school.

Problem is, I can't decide exactly which progam I want, so I sit in front of my computer for hours, comparing curriculum lists and credit requirements and changing my mind every half hour.

And now I have a headache, which I am certain is the result of a sudden overexposure to people who say "b-school" instead of grad school. And I'm all sore all over, like I'm coming down with something, so I am taking the day off from running the world. Even my retarded little world.

Someone is about to make me breakfast, which is nice, and then he is going to do the dishes, which is miraculous. Then I plan to curl up on the couch with the Sunday New York Times and hog the crossword all to myself and drink vats of strong coffee.

Later, I will make cookies. Then I will eat them.

I will also try to find time in my schedule today to knit a stripey sock in front of the latest episode of The Civil War. If I do not get around to it, however, I will not sweat it.

A nap with cats might well have to take precedence.

10 November 2006

energy efficient

It is way too cold in my house. I am all wrapped up in two blankets with my fleece pullover pulled over my chin. I keep trying to convince my boycat to come sit on my feet to warm my toes but he is having none of it.

It's that awkward time of year when I still want to have some fresh air in the bedroom at night but I also want several quilts on top of me. I can't stand for there to be too much heated air in the bedroom. Fills me with puritanical guilt.

I grew up in a drafty old Victorian house that was lovely and well maintained when we inherited it from my Great Aunt E, but was rapidly and irrevocably trashed when we moved in with five Newfoundland dogs.

Aunt E had all this beautiful old mahogany furniture -- claw footed secretaries, marble topped end tables, drop leaf tables with elaborate scroll work that was an utter bore to dust with pledge every year when company came over for the holidays...

Now all that furniture has deep claw marks at all the bases, broken handles, missing drawers. I'm always seeing similar items on Antiques Roadshow and saying yep, ours would be worth a lot of loot, too, if it weren't for how we destroyed all that.

The house had no upstairs heating. Still doesn't, and Mom still lives there. To go to bed in winter I used to put on two pairs of long underwear, a flannel nightgown, two pairs of socks, a hat, and mittens, then dive under as many of Aunt E's gorgeous old quilts (trashed) as I could pile on me and run in place (you know? like, you run? On your side? tell me you've done this) under the blankets to burn up some frictive heat.

My nose was always cold. Always.

You would think that this chilly childhood would have turned me into a thermostat-cranker, but I'm actually pretty happy with the heat at a nice, moderate 70 degrees. It's just times like this, when the heat was turned down all day because it was a lovely 60 degrees today while the sun was up, but now it is 39 degrees, so I came home to a bit of a frosty abode, that I start to feel the panic rise.

Fortunately, my house is the size of a small peanut, so it takes less time than than you can imagine to heat the place up. Three-room cottages rock that way.

So now it's a bit more tolerable in here, and my nose is only a little cold. Let's move on.

I've got an interview at one of my fancy schools tomorrow. The fanciest, as a matter of fact, unless I decide to really splurge and also apply to that kick-ass school in the Back Bay. That place is even fancier. All their photos have rooms with oriental rugs in them. It costs even more than Harvard.

This place costs almost as much as Harvard, but what the hell. That's what grants and scholarships are for. Like I've always said: it's only the fancy expensive schools that have the money to pay for you if they want you. I went to a top-notch private college and paid less than my friends who went to UMass did.

Show me the endowment. Show me!

Anyway who knows. All this is very theoretical. It's best to not project to the future, to remain in the now, keep your head where your feet are.

And you know where my feet are?


Who needs grad school when you've got that?

06 November 2006

goal oriented

So anyway.

Our computer went toes up a month ago, and what with all the other pressing household expenses we were facing at the time (new front and back doors, exterior paint job, new bed and couch, vacation in Vermont) we decided to bite the bullet and wait it out until we had some more dough.

It was less tough on me because I have a fancy big city job where I sit at a computer all day, but that doesn't mean I can read or write blogs while at work, because I have no desire whatsoever to get dooced.

So I have no idea what anyone else has been up to all month. And you, in turn, have an unaccountably low level of transparency into my life of the past four weeks. Mainly, I have to load my Vermont pictures and regale you with ribald tales of studying for the GMAT in between writing admissions essays that use words like "synergy."

Also, I have been sticking faithfully to my plan for training for my first 5K. Yes, as a runner. This is all and only so I can hum Wolf Parade's I am a Runner over and over as I pulverize my already weak and long-suffering knees. Last weekend I made it 3 miles, which, if you didn't know, is pretty much 5K. The race is a turkey trot, held right after Thanksgiving. I am so ready.

I figure once I get over that hurdle I can go back to swimming laps for the winter. I've always wanted to be a runner, and it's kind of like when I was 30 and realized I was gaining weight and was unlikely to ever look awesome in a two piece swimsuit again. I was already too chunky to feel totally at ease baring my midriff, but I said fuck it, it's not going to get any better than this and bought a black and white two piece and swam all summer in lakes across the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, luxuriating in the feel of cool lake water across my bare, bulbous belly.

I'm glad I did it then, because even with the jogging and the swimming and the whatnot, I am unlikely to do it again. Until I am well and truly old, and say fuck it all over again. And I won't need no stinking red hat to say fuck it either.

So it's kind of like that. I am unlikely to ever be in any better a position to rationally take up running, so I might as well do it now.

I am not being nearly as disciplined about studying for the GMAT. I am scheduled to take it on December 3, and I am still slightly unclear on what an integer is. Obviously, I am not breaking too much of a sweat about the written and language portions of the test. It's that whole if the train from Albany leaves two hours after the train from Buffalo, then calculate the square of the hypotenuse expressed in rational numbers part.

But my whole attitude about my proposed second flier through grad school (I once got an almost master's degree in geology) is kind meh...take me or leave me.

I'm smart, I kick ass, and I'll pay. Now hand me the goddamn calculator.

05 November 2006

brief, yet meaningful

We (finally) bought a new computer today. I'm back.

However, I'm also exhausted.

More anon.