Do or Do Not

Monday, September 29, 2008

“Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more"
~Louis L'Amour

On Sunday I turned 30. This won't be a post about what a milestone I've achieved, or a reflection on life lived to date. Honestly, I haven't thought a whole lot about my birthday. It was, however, a momentous weekend for other reasons. Primarily, I completed my first half marathon! Everything came together to make for a perfect running experience. The weather was beautiful - the race started at 8:00 when there was still a lot of cool fog. We ran out of Oxford into the country, so for about the first hour there was nothing but misty farmland, with cows and horses just starting to wake up. As we approached the Indiana border the sun started burning off the fog, which turned the air into a million tiny prisms. Mile 8 was the turn-around, just inside Indiana. Coming back was not as cool, since we were running east into the sun, and the elevation was definitely going up. I had never run more than 10 miles before, and when I hit the 10 mile mark and still felt great, I experienced a big energy boost. At mile 12 it finally hit me that I was definitely going to finish this race, and finish strong. One last hill, down the brick streets and under the finish arch, and DONE! Official time: 2:25:07. My goal had been 2:15, but given my recent knee problems I was plenty happy to have hit 11 minute miles. So now I'm taking some time off from running, and looking forward to my next "big" race - the Heart Mini-Marathon in the spring.

While I was running, I had plenty of time to think. I came to the realization that I guess now I really can call myself a "runner". I've always avoided that title - even though I run 15 miles a week and have completed a lot of races, I've felt that other people are runners - I'm still just a hack. I realized that for my entire life, I've felt that I was an outsider - a pretender. I'd like to claim that it is due to an overdeveloped desire for independence, but really I think it is based in fear. Fear that if I call myself "runner" (or "lawyer" or "martial artist" or "blogger"...), if I stand up and claim membership in a group, that it will encourage others to scratch the surface - to see if I really am what I claim to be. And what if that core under the surface disappoints? What if all I am capable of is putting on a good display? But there comes a time when even I have to admit that the mask has become permanently attached. I am a runner - it is who I am. Because I care, and because I try, and because I miss running when I take time off.

However, in calling myself a runner, I force myself to take running seriously. Hacks take time off because they're lazy. Runners do not. My next goal is to start increasing my speed, starting with my 5K time. So starting this weekend, I incorporate speedwork into my training. And I can't wait!

Do or do not; there is no try

NFL Week 4 Picks

Friday, September 26, 2008

I ended up 9-7 last week - so much for my strategy of "research" and "picking based on statistics and carefully reasoned analysis". This week, I'm going with the "gut feeling" strategy. Winning teams are in BOLD.

As always, visit the Commish (Insta-Mom) for all the action!

Cleveland @ Cincinnati
Atlanta@ Carolina
Houston @ Jacksonville
Denver @ Kansas City
San Francisco @ New Orleans
Arizona @ NY Jets
Green Bay @ Tampa Bay
Minnesota @ Tennessee
San Diego @ Oakland
Buffalo @ St. Louis
Washington @ Dallas
Philadelphia @ Chicago

Monday Night Football
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
Combined final score: 27

Share the Health

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My friend Amy in Ohio is giving away two free, three-month memberships to Weigh Watchers! Awesome, right? Well, to make it even better, Weight Watchers is currently sponsoring a program where they donate a pound of food to the hungry for every pound lost by members!

Visit her blog here for all the info on how to enter.

Bless Me, Internets

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We all have our secrets. We've all done something we're ashamed of - done it in the dark when we thought no one would find out. For some of us, it was with just one person, others were all alone in their bedrooms. Some might have even done it with a group.

Yes, we've all enjoyed a movie or TV show and been ashamed to admit it.

(Come on now, someone here had to have paid to see Waterworld)

So, here is my list of shame - I'm bringing it out into the light for all to see. Step into the bloggy confessional with me and share your secret, guilty pleasures!

1. Galaxy Quest: I love this movie. I own this movie. I watch it all the time. There's just something in the way that it pokes fun at science fiction, while simultaneously celebrating it, that I find touching. Mr Blue and I frequently shout "Never give up! Never surrender!" Because we're dorks. But we're dorks with a collection of swords and weapons. Ha!

2. A League of Their Own: I'm embarrassed by this one because I make a point of never watching chick flicks. On paper, this movie has everything I hate, namely feelings. And no explosions. But for some reason, I can't not watch it when I flip past it on TV. Granted, its nominally a sports movie, but we all know its really about feelings.

3. Farscape: I was a late-comer to this fabulously cheesy TV series about an American astronaut who goes through a wormhole and yada yada yada. One of the main cast-members? Was a muppet. Every episode contains at least one science fiction cliche, if not many. But yet, I got sucked in after the first couple of episodes and couldn't stop watching.

4. Stargate: Atlantis: By the time you reach this spin-off of a spin-off, any original greatness from the Stargate movie has been greatly diluted. But on Friday evenings after Lil Blue is in bed and my brain can't handle anything with, well, a complex plot or sophisticated character development, Stargate: Atlantis fills the void. Oh, and Jason Momoa is smokin' hot. And Rachel Luttrell topped Mr Blue and my list of "women who could take me in a fight in real life"*.

5. Labyrinth: Another movie featuring muppets. Weird. Also, David Bowie in purple stretch pants, a young (pre-Oscar!) Jennifer Connelly, and the Bog of Eternal Stench. And musical numbers! Who doesn't secretly love this movie? Communists, that's who.

*The complete list includes Rachel Luttrell, Jolene Blalock, Eliza Dushku, and Jessica Biel

How to be an Asshole in a Bookstore

Saturday, September 20, 2008

1) Reshelve books. Be creative! Because after 9 hours on my feet, there's nothing I'd rather do after close than go on an exciting scavenger hunt for missing books. (Special exemption for the person who shelved the Kama Sutra in "martial arts", because that made me laugh)

2) Allow your children to run wild. I myself have a toddler, so I don't expect children to be seen and not heard. However... screaming, pulling books off shelves, and throwing food are over the line. Its a bookstore, not Gymboree.

3) Hit on the staff. The bigger the age difference, the better! True story: a co-worker of mine received a note (!) from a married man (!!) while working in the children's section, wanting to meet her somewhere "private". Ew, ew, ew.

4) Yell at the staff. Dude, I'm wearing an apron. And a nametag. Do I look like I'm in a position to make decisions about the amount of parking spaces in front of the building, to open a new store closer to you, or determine whether we should have a Biography section? Also, if you want access to every book ever written, get yerself onto Amazon. "Out of print" doesn't mean "its in the back in our magical stockroom of old books".

5) Make your payment options as complicated as possible. Bonus points if you can manage to use cash, credit, and a check for the same transaction!

6) Return books that were new when I was in middle school. Or books from another store. Or stolen merchandise.

7) Start a request with "I don't really remember anything about this book, but..."

8) Don't read any of the fine print on your coupon. Complain when I explain it to you.

Fellow retail veterans, feel free to add to the list!

Fox News, I'm Looking at YOU

NFL Week 3 Picks

Friday, September 19, 2008

Amy in Ohio, my friend and fellow NFL-obsessed chica, has created a new way for me to waste time that I should be spending working or getting to know my family. Behold, my inaugural picks in the B(logger) F(ootball) L(eague). Click on the steenkin' badge to the right to connect to Instamom, where the magic happens each week. Winning teams are in BOLD. Because ya either go BOLD, or ya go home.

ARIZONA @ WASHINGTON (a: I hate the Redskins b: while I generally disagree with buying over-the-hill talent to compete, it seems to be working for AZ so far and c: I hate the Redskins)

CAROLINA @ MINNESOTA (The Vikes are a team that rivals the Browns in their inability to find a franchise QB. Sometimes a player is a low draft pick because he is not very good)

HOUSTON @ TENNESSEE (Not just because of the hurricane. Houston is just terrible.)

MIAMI @ NEW ENGLAND (blah blah Tom Brady, I know...but there's just too much talent in NE for them to lose this game)

OAKLAND @ BUFFALO (Does anyone really care about this game? Bueller?)

CINCINNATI @ NY GIANTS (Cinci gets to see Plaxico Burress again. Great)

KANSAS CITY @ ATLANTA (yawn. whatever. I used to enjoy watching Atlanta so I could bitch about how the media so badly over-hyped Michael Vick. Now...yawn)

TAMPA BAY @ CHICAGO (so that's where Brian Griese ended up)

ST LOUIS @ SEATTLE (Man, is Seattle looking terrible this year. I flipped a coin for this one)

DETROIT @ SAN FRANSISCO (I'd like to see Jon Kitna do well. What can I say, I'm a softie)

NEW ORLEANS @ DENVER (A pretty even match-up, but I'm giving it to the team who didn't have to stress about another hurricane last week)

PITTSBURGH @ PHILADELPHIA (Because I only pick Pittsburgh when I have money on the line and I have to. Otherwise, LOSE, SUCKA's)

CLEVELAND @ BALTIMORE (Because the Browns want to make us hope, before dashing our hearts on the rocks of their incompetence, yet again)

JACKSONVILLE @ INDIANAPOLIS (Every time I pick Jax, they blow it. When will this team finally live up to the hype? Oh right, when the find a better QB)

DALLAS @ GREEN BAY (I'm happy that Aaron Rodgers is playing well. I mean, he should be, after spending approximately 17 years holding a clipboard watching Brett Favre. But I can't see Dallas losing this one)

Monday Night Game

NY JETS @ SAN DIEGO (hmmm...a team that consistently loses in the final moments, against a QB legendary for last-minute hail mary victories?)


Seven Years Ago Today

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven years ago today, the weather was exactly how it is today. Sunny and warm, a beautiful fall day. When we first heard the news about the towers I was sitting in class - at first we thought it was a joke, then we thought some idiot had flown a Cessna into a tower by accident. By the end of class, we knew it was much, much worse. I tried to call my husband, tried to call my parents, tried to find out what was going on. Someone wheeled a TV into the atrium of the law school, and we all crowded around. I remember seeing news anchors fighting back tears. I remember hearing that the president had been killed, that another plane had hit the capitol, that they thought maybe 10,000 people were dead or missing. I remember standing in the law school wondering if it was safe to go home. I remember realizing how much the sense of safety was ingrained in me - how untouchable I felt, ensconced in a medium sized city in the middle of the safest country on earth. And suddenly: I wasn't. I remember thinking about places like Israel, Colombia, Congo and Beirut. That there were people who felt like this every day. And how much I - how much we all - had taken for granted.

Image courtesy of the Boise Picayune

The Blue Household by the Numbers

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Years of marriage: 7
Pets (current): 2
Addresses since marriage: 4
Martial Arts schools trained at: 3
Fights settled by sparring: 17
Trips to the emergency room: 8
Concussions suffered: 7
Jobs held: 12
Speeding tickets: 4
Wedding rings lost: 2 (Mr Blue)
Jimmy Buffett concerts attended:12
U2 concerts attended: 2
Pairs of acid-washed jeans owned: 3
Countries visited: 8
Completions of Around the World in 80 Beers: 2 (Stella)
Combined years of higher education: 17