Monday, 29 November 2010

The round-up

I don’t have much time or coherence, so you’re getting a hodgepodge of bullet points today.
  • Thanksgiving plans went a bit awry. The original venue had to be scrapped because someone’s kid turned into an infectious carrier monkey. Therefore we dined at my place and I ended up cooking all of Thanksgiving dinner (sans dessert) on my own for the first time ever. People actually ate the food and didn’t croak afterward, so I’m pretty proud of myself.
  • I reached my weekly HBBC goal of 28 points last week. Of course that pales in comparison to the juggernauts who scored in the 70s and 80s. I know I don’t workout as much as I should or could, but, holy moly, wth are these people doing? And if it’s crack, can I have a go too?
  • I ran 4 miles on Wednesday and then I wimped out until Sunday because the temps were a bit cold for my liking. But I got in just over 3 miles yesterday for a weekly total of 11 miles and some change. That’s my highest weekly average since May. Yeah, 2010 has been a big old gutter ball for me.
  • One day when the temps were in the low 20s I saw a dude running in shorts. I thought that was nuts, but perhaps I’m just a wimp like that. This made me curious though – what temperature does it need to drop to for you to break out your long running pants/tights?
  • I have 16 days left before I am stateside. So cannot wait for that.
  • In that time I have to complete two chapters, a conference paper and submit a funding application.
  • Wednesday I have a super important meeting I hope not to cock-up.
  • Oh, and tomorrow is the anniversary of my aging process. That and the second anniversary of my first marathon. Ah, those were the days.
  • I’ve violated my own rule and already put up my Christmas tree. [Editor’s note: The rule being no Christmas crap until after my birthday.] It’s only a little desk tree though. Please tell me I’m not the only one to have done this already.
I hope to post again at the end of the week. If not, it either means I’m busy or that meeting went hella wrong and I’ve jumped ship to join the Peace Corps.

Hope you’re all doing well.

Later gators.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Have a great and thankful holiday, my fellow Americans!

Monday, 22 November 2010

And so it begins

I, along with 370+ of the blogosphere’s finest, am taking part in the third annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. I actually participated in the first one, but made a poor showing so I’d like to redeem myself.

You earn points for exercising and eating well and basically save your ass from trebling in size over the holiday season. Sounds good to me. Here are the rules:

1 Point per mile (run/walk/snowshoe)
1 Point per 3 miles biked
1 Point per 20 minutes of weight lifting, pilates, yoga, stretching or abs
1 Point per 15 minutes of another form of cardio
1 Point per day where you reach a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and veggies

The challenge runs from November 20th to January 7th.

I managed to coerce Merry into joining me in this adventure. She’s already been cursing my name. Awesome.

My goal is to average four points per day: 1 point for eating my fruit and veg, 1 for my cycle commute into work (though I could get two extra points if I walked it), and 2 for intentional exercise of some sort. Considering my schedule, this seems a reasonable target. The challenge lasts seven weeks so I’m shooting for an overall total of 196 points. However I prefer round numbers, so let’s make that 200.

I have no aspirations to win this thing. Hell, I am well aware I have no shot at it. In my first two days I earned 6 points. Some of the others were already over 20. And to them I say...

Kiss. My. Grits.

No, actually, I say yay for you! I’m happy for them because I’m not really competing against them. I’m competing against myself and the ever grim scale that cackles whenever I even think about weighing myself to check the damage.

Bastard scale.

I’m off to a good start on this Monday though. I ran four miles, working on my fruit and veg count and will be heading into town a bit later which should give me 6 points (or 8 if I walk instead of cycle) for the day. That will make up for my slothful Sunday and bring me back on track.

To alleviate some of the damage that will occur during the Fiesta del Piehole that will be expat Thanksgiving on Thursday, I’ve significantly increased my veggie consumption in the last two weeks. Over the weekend I made shakshuka and I think my third batch of spanikopita (thank you, puff pastry, for making this process so much easier for me). Do you know what happens when you eat a lot of spinach? Your poop turns green. That got me thinking—Popeye must have perpetually shot out green logs.

That’s hot. (Not really.)

Also do you know what happens when you (or at least me) increase your vegetable intake? You become a flatulence factory. My poor apartment hasn’t known what’s hit it lately.

Speaking of flatulence, last week I was walking in town when a woman passed me at which point I immediately smelled a noxious odor. I got cropdusted on the sidewalk, but not just by any woman. She was a nun. I highly doubt that was Jesus-approved. Or was it?

Check out the Wiki entry for the source info for the image as well as to hear an audio recording of a human fart. Because that last was an essential addition to the Wiki entry. Obviously.

All right, that’s more than enough fart jokes for a Monday. Later gators.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Once a kid, always a kid

After running four miles in the rain yesterday, I came home, showered and then made my customary weekly call to my mother where I find out how she’s doing, the happenings of my geriatric cat and updates on the rest of the family.

Our conversation was the usual. The cat is becoming more indecisive in his old age (‘Should I go outside, take a nap or try to trip up the old lady? Decisions, decisions...’) but at least he’s improving with his litter box aim. My Aunt P is recovering well from shoulder surgery and is calmly awaiting the arrival of the store flyers in order to organize her troops (her three daughters and a select group of grandchildren) for the Battle for Black Friday Bargains. My Aunt P meticulously plans this stuff and makes sure everyone has their cell phones charged and at the ready in case evasive maneuvers need to be taken. She really should have been a general in the military.

My mom then told me that there were a couple of accidents at her workplace recently, one of which resulted in a compound fracture to someone’s arm. My mom works in a place with large machinery, forklifts, etc. so stuff like this can happen if you don’t watch what you’re doing. As a result of these incidents, all the employees were forced to watch a safety video which detailed the various consequences (physical, legal and financial) of a workplace accident.

The film was made in Britain and, for some reason, was set on a construction site. Basically a guy dismantling scaffolding is distracted by his phone and an accident occurs. I think he gets hurt as well as another co-worker. But near the end of the video you realize an innocent bystander was killed in the incident too—a woman walking along the path.

I had no idea why Momma X was detailing all of this for me until she said: ‘The woman had a brown ponytail. And it was in England.’

The woman reminded her of me.

Now, in a way, this whole thing is kind of funny because Momma X was very easygoing when Z and I were kids. Hell, she let me go to Zimbabwe when I was 17 and even helped me raise money for the community service project I was going there to participate in. All our friends thought Momma X was the coolest, which of course was true, then and now. Her attitude was a good balance to the overbearing but well-meaning actions of Papa X who worried about anything and everything (thanks in large part to the morbid stories shown every night on the news) and let us know about it at every opportunity.

It seems as Z and I have gotten older, Momma X has started to show more outward signs of worrying about us. A few years ago when Momma X saw commercials for the horror movie Hostel II, she asked me not to stay in a hostel again. She and I both know that the likelihood of the Hostel scenario actually happening is pretty much nil, but the idea bothered her anyway. I have no problem in complying with that request though because I’m past the age now where I’d want to deal with sleeping in a room with a dozen strangers and all their oddball habits when I travel. I get enough of that on excavations.

Momma X isn’t all about gloom and doom nowadays though. In fact the majority of what we discuss is usually quite amusing. And inevitably, during the course of the conversation, she’ll play my voice recording.

A few years ago Z gave me a voice recorder (like the ones you find in stuffed animals) with a greeting from her and two of our little cousins. Unfortunately that message was accidentally deleted (my bad!) so I ended up jokingly recording myself on it saying ‘Eat my balls.’ [Editor’s note: Of course I wasn’t being vulgar (*bullshit*) as I was referring to my grandma’s chocolate peanut butter balls which I’ve been making at Christmas for the last several years now.] Momma X was so amused by the recording that she’s kept it ever since. She also had a recording of Z saying ‘sonofabitch’ in her own special way. (Yeah, we’re classy girls.) Sadly that recorder is now busted so Z needs to get her another one for Christmas.

Z and I are touched by our mom’s concern for us. It’s not overbearing or dictatorial in any way. She just worries about us, as we do for her. We’re her daughters and no matter how old we get a part of her will always see us as her little girls.

Z and I racing each other to the swing set whilst rocking kickin' 80s fashions.

My conversation with Momma X ended in the usual way yesterday—love-you’s, goodbyes and promises to talk again next week. Before hanging up, Momma X reminded me again to steer clear of construction sites for a while.

I’ll be careful, Mom. I promise.

As for the rest of you—have you experienced this? Do/did your parents or parental figures treat you a bit like a kid even as an adult? I’m in a nostalgic mood at the moment, so come and keep me company with your own tales of familial fun.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Pool putzes

Last night I went for a three mile run. Other than my glacial pace, all was well even with the strong winds whipping my ponytail around like mad.

This morning I actually made it into the gym for a swim. I haven’t been swimming for many weeks now, so it was nice to get back into the pool. Except for the fact that my pool comeback appeared to coincide with Fucktard Friday. There were four people in the pool when I showed up to get my swim on – Grandma Moses, two talkative and twittish girls who appeared to be dog-paddling and a clueless young man attempting sprint laps.

The gym pool only has three lanes and Grandma Moses had secured the only one that had a rope cordoning it off. None of the youngins has apparently ever swum in the gym pool before because they were all over the goddamn place. I guess the girls were taking their cue from the wall sign that said to swim anti-clockwise, but they obviously missed the part about staying in one lane. I assumed the young man was just quietly enduring their stupidity and swimming around them when possible.

My best shot at sharing a lane was with Grandma Moses since she was going at about my pace and I didn’t want to deal with the youthful clusterfuck. I made my way over to the rope in the hopes that when Grandma popped her head up, I could ask if I could join her lane.

She totally ignored me. The whole damn time. Wrinkled bitch.

So that left me with the daycare dipshits. Swimming with them was a massive pain in the ass. Not only did I have to keep my head out of the water most of the time to keep an eye on the directionally clueless fuckers, but I also had to endure getting the evil eye from them when I was trying to use the lane correctly. FML.

Thankfully, that hell only lasted about five minutes – then the chatty Cathies exited the pool. All would be well now, I thought. We each had our own lane.

Yeah. No.

Dude proceeded to keep taking up both lanes, sometimes even swimming diagonally across the pool. I wondered if he was drunk but then decided he was just an idiot. I tried to stay out of his freakish way, all the while giving the evil eye to Grandma Moses for forcing me into this situation. Selfish hag.

And then things got worse. A man with no legs came along to use the pool. I was hoping the young twit would get a clue and share one lane with me so the disabled dude could have a lane to himself since god knows the aged harpy next to me wasn’t going to do a damn thing to help.

Yeah, that didn’t happen either.

Finally though, Grandma Stick-Up-Her-Butt left the pool so I took over her lane and left the guys to sort themselves out. The young dude still had issues staying in one lane, but he did give the disabled guy most of the other lane to himself. The man never used it though. I guess he was just in there to do exercises or whatever while hanging on to the side of the pool.

By the time I was finished, I was the only one left in the pool—thankful for the solitude, but seriously rethinking the timing of my future swims. God help me if I have to deal with those morons again next week. I may end up drowning one of them.

I’m a cheery person, no?

Hope you all have lovely weekends.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tuesday Ten

1. I ran on Sunday – four miles instead of my regular three. Woo.

2. Sadness.

3. I finally solved my housing problem for the first half of 2011. I’m no longer flirting with homelessness. Woo.

4. You can blame Merry for this one. She’s the one who brought it up.


5. Here’s an interesting article in The New Yorker about procrastination. Feel free to put off reading it till later.

6. I finally listened to the lyrics of this song and realized it’s an ode to break-up sex. For the sake of everyone, I’ll leave off commenting any further on that.

7. For my diss, I’ve been reading a lot about hard wood recently. Take that as you will.

8. I forgot it was Guy Fawkes Night on Friday. There was a big fireworks display over the weekend with the customary burning of Fawkes’ effigy. Gotta love how the repressed English express themselves sometimes.

9. Favorite quote of the moment: ‘An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.’ – Terry Pratchett

10. A recent email reminded me that I still have two bottle openers to give away. I’ll try to get around to that sometime soon. Hopefully even this year.

Later gators.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Jitterbug

In an effort to combat sleepiness at work, I’ve taken up drinking coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker. I’m a tea girl all the way and pretty much mainline the stuff. But tea doesn’t have enough caffeine to ward off the afternoon slump that seems to be hitting me pretty hard these days.

Coffee smells wonderful but tastes like bitter ass. However, I’ve learned that if you dump enough milk and sugar into it, it’ll taste like sugary bitter ass with the appearance of hot chocolate as long as you cross your eyes and already have crappy vision. This would be an improvement. Barely.

However, I don’t want to be a slave to the black brew anymore. In fact, I even want to cut down on my tea consumption. In my early twenties a lump was found in one of my breasts. I had to see and get felt up by multiple doctors who finally figured out it wasn’t cancer. I just had lumpy boobs, or fibrocystic breasts if you want the technical term. Although it’s not been proven conclusively, caffeine is believed to exacerbate the condition, making a good reason why I should cut back on my caffeine consumption. Also, I don’t want to be known as the twitchy girl at work who’s constantly in the kitchen taking hits off the coffeemaker.

And in fact I have made progress on this front in the past. Up until a few years ago I used to drink soda on a daily basis. Now I drink it only very occasionally, usually just at the pub. But living in the tea culture of England, I’ve seen my daily consumption of tea shoot from 1 or 2 cups a day to at least 4 or more. Add in the coffee drinking and that’s just way too much caffeine.

My sister Z suggested I drink fruit juice or eat an apple in the afternoons to keep me energized. Do you guys have any suggestions?

And I can’t sign off without leaving you all with this.



I thought of it as soon as I came up with the post title for today. No need to thank me.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Just because



I'm off to corrupt teach young minds about the Roman empire and all its wonders and cock-ups (not like that). Catch you later. Hopefully then I'll have something to say. Or not. Hasn't stopped me yet.