Sunday, May 31, 2009

Before and After

The marathon was nothing like I expected and the finish line was even more beautiful than I imagined it would be.
I gained a medal and a finisher shirt, and all I lost was 25 pounds and a toenail.
I will write more about my experience later, when I can walk again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ready or Not

Here she comes!

Athena and Nike

Back in January when Brandon and I signed up for the marathon it seemed like a distant dream. It was in the same category as one day we'll buy a house or one day we'll be grandparents. But, ready or not, this 'distant' future has pretty quickly become the present. Saturday is the big day and I'm looking toward it with a mixture of excitement, dread, and fear...mostly excitement.
When we signed up we had to fill out an application so that we could be identified with the correct divisions. This turned out to include age, sex and weight. I was surprised that there was a heavyweight division that was delicately labeled, Hercules and Athena.
I was not surprised to find that both Brandon and I were solidly established as Hercules and Athena.
At first I felt self-conscious to be one of the big girls, but then I decided to embrace the honor. Athena, after all, is the goddess of wisdom and war. She was born wearing a full suit of armor, strong and ready to take charge. She's no wimp. I did a little extra research and found that Athena has often been pictured with Nike, the goddess of victory, in the palm of her hand. The symbolic relationship implies that victory should only be achieved when grounded in wisdom.

As we hit the trails and started really logging the miles I started to feel pretty good about being in the Athena division.
The funny thing about marathon training is that it takes a lot of exercise, which burns a lot of calories. Within a couple of months Brandon was already too skinny for Hercules and I'm dangerously skirting the line of being dumped by my inspiring icon.
Apparently you have to weigh in the night before the race so I'm going to eat a couple of Voodoo donuts tomorrow, just to make sure that I get to run with the big girls.
I have to be an Athena because I want to carry victory in my palm.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Response to Kristin

I usually don't respond to tags, but I can't say no to my sister-friend. This picture was taken on Christmas Eve 2005 in Trapper's Loop. The most memorable moment of this particular trip was when Eric and Caleb flew over a jump and slammed the snow below hard enough to make the whole hill shake.

Hot Stuff!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Every Girl's Dream

What young girl hasn't dreamed that one day all this would be hers.

A Didactic Observation

I come across runners all day in Eugene. I see them cruise past our house along the sidewalk, on trails, on the road, in the parks and along the river. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are in groups, some are alone, and some are accompanied by kids in joggers that don't even realize the work that goes into their restful passage through town. Everywhere you go, at all hours of the day and night someone is out there in mini-shorts pounding the pavement. I used to examine each one and try to assess their abilities.
The hard core competitors are pretty easy to spot, as well as the beginners, but there is a whole group of folks in the middle that I watch as well. I used to notice the ones that really seemed to be hurting or were dragging their feet and smugly think that I could go faster. When I'm out there running myself sometimes I pass someone and sometimes someone will pass me. I used to think that anyone who passed me was a better runner. Once we started getting to the longer distances I had a new perspective. I was getting passed a lot by people who seemed to be speed-demons. Then, later on the trail I would see them sitting under a tree stretching. I'm sure there were plenty of people who saw me dragging along when we did our 20 miles who could have assumed that I was out of shape and a major wimp, which may, or may not be true. As I ran I had a LOT of time to think about this, and I decided that in some cases, the pace matches the distance.
And, here comes the moral....wait for it...Whenever you see someone who seems to be struggling, or whose feet seem to be dragging it can be easy to judge them. But, you never know how far they've gone, or how far they have to go.
I also used to assume that the people wearing the shortest shorts were the best runners, which Eugene has proven untrue.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to Make Friends and Influence People

Running errands is much more fun with Rocky. Even though today at the library she made a game of trying to earn a record for most books displaced in 30 seconds, I like having her around because everyone is so friendly. People who normally ignore my presence will suddenly be all smiles when they see her and treat me like an old friend. At first I just thought that people in Eugene were all extremely happy all the time. But, I've gone out by myself and it seems like people here are as moody as everywhere else. I think the real truth is that a lot of people are very nice inside but the baby just gives them an excuse to let it out. I consider it my civic duty to take her out, you know, as a service to the world. It's not my fault that as a by-product I get to enjoy the benefits.

Bonus Pictures

She thought it was hilarious to sit like this.
She's tuckered out after all that socializing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

92% Slacker

Brandon and I were up early on Saturday for a long run.
Before coming to Eugene I had never really been on a long run. I ran in high school and since have done a few 5K's here and there, but I had never gone more than 5 or 6 miles. Taking it up a notch has taught me a lot about myself.
One thing that has come as a surprise is the way that a run is like a ride in the car. To me, no matter how far I go, it seems like it is as far as my patience will extend. It takes us about 2 hours to get to Portland and I notice that just as we are pulling in my back will start to ache and my legs decide that they can't sit still any longer. When I can finally get out I feel that I couldn't have spent another second cooped up. But, when we are headed back to Utah the ride takes us around 13 hours and when we pass Portland I wave and smile and continue driving with no problem. That is how it is with running. On Saturday we went 20 miles. When we passed the 5 mile point I recognized that I had barely gotten started and happily trotted along. This morning when I had a goal of 3 miles my legs started whining before I even crossed our porch.

It makes me wonder if deep inside myself lives a natural slacker.

I know that I am not the kind of slacker that just sits around and watches T.V. all day because I do make goals for myself. But, once I have the goal, I do as little as I possibly can and still accomplish it. If I have to run 10 miles, I do it, and not one step more. If my goal is to run 3 miles, the second that my Nike tracker says that 3 miles are completed I will stop in my tracks. I will walk the rest of the way home no matter where I am once I hear the voice-over in my i-pod that says "Congratulations, workout completed."
Another example was that as I student with a goal to get straight A's I would end up with exactly 92% which is the borderline between an A and an A-. Sometimes it backfired like in my Algebra class sophomore year when I was lucky to pull off the A-.
Skeptics may scoff and believe that an A- is still a good grade, but they would be missing the point.
I have no reason to be this way because I come from a long line of hard workers. My parents and their parents are the go-the-extra-mile types. If you don't believe me you should watch my dad clean the bathtub. If there was an Olympic event in scrubbing soap scum he would make it to the metal podium. I won't say that he'd get the gold because I've heard that those Austrians are pretty mean cleaners, but I definitely think he'd be a contender.
I am also married to Brandon who goes above and beyond in everything he does. One example happened on our long run. We had about two miles left and I had it planned out in my mind that we would finish with a nice downhill slant. (Of course in months of running in Eugene I know exactly what routes take you uphill and I avoid them at all costs.) Brandon is the one who decided that we needed to go up. He was right, and we did it, and I'm glad that we did, but it it hadn't been for his example I would have taken the easy route.
The interesting thing about my inner-slacker is that she doesn't even do her job well. I do have a measure of success which means that she is only about a 92% when it comes to representing herself. I guess that if I can keep setting goals and she can help me figure out the easiest way to accomplish them we can live in symbiotic bliss.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our New Friend

After several days of anxious waiting, our friends Jaime and Adriana finally had this beautiful baby boy. Joaquin won me over immediately with his dimples and sweet smile.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Full Sink

Since Rocky has become more mobile it has become a challenge for her to stay still even for a few minutes.

The one exception is when she sits in the sink while I get myself ready for the day. I don't know why she is willing to cram herself into such a small space, but she is very interested in all the projects of personal hygiene.

She will sit like this for several minutes which is great for me.

This morning she looked so cute that I had to get out the camera. I was so busy taking pictures that I didn't even notice that she had grabbed my earring.

Luckily I caught it in time, especially because that is the last pair that I've still got.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One Lucky Mom

On Mother's Day I have to take a moment to think about my mom and the little girl who gave me the privilege of being a mom. I am a very lucky woman.

Bonus Video
I know that this isn't the first video like this, but if you think you've seen a lot of it, you have no idea what it is like to live with this little jumper.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Praise for Podcasts

Sometimes I wonder what I used to do before I had podcasts to keep me company. I have always had books as friends, but it is unrealistic to spend all day sitting around reading. Podcasts provide interaction with words and storytelling, but allow me to accomplish things while I listen. As long as I have my headphones in I find myself happily washing dishes, exercising, folding laundry, cooking, and any other type of generally mundane task. Sometimes I even will do an extra job just so that I can listen longer. As I have previously mentioned, it also helps me to keep my mouth shut on long evenings when Brandon is at home working on papers. I'll just put in my earbuds and have a great time sweeping the floor for the third time. Podcasts have changed my life because I get a lot done, and I learn something new every day.

People sometimes ask me what I listen to, so this is the list of my favorites.

This American Life
Intelligence Squared
Radio Lab
Hearing Voices
Radio Diaries
Radio West
Fresh Air
Selected Shorts
Classic Tales
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
The Moth
New Yorker: Fiction
Studio 360

They are all free and you just sign up through i Tunes or on the website for the MP3 downloads.

If you think I'm a dork, it probably means that you don't know how entertaining these shows can be. Or, maybe it is that I really am a dork. But, I'm a lot smarter of a dork than I was before, and now my house is clean too.

If you have a favorite podcast that you love please let me know what it is. If you haven't listened to any of these, you are missing out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Story from the West Side

Today I was listening to a podcast...I know, I know, anyone who has talked to me has heard that too many times...but this one was about West Side Story. They were talking about it on Studio 360 because it is making its big Broadway comeback and this time some of the Puerto Rican dialogue and songs have been translated into Spanish to make it more authentic. I only got to hear a couple snippets but it sounded pretty awesome.
I must be a little bit emotional these days because I heard a measure or two of "Tonight" and my eyes got all teary. I'm not usually one who gets choked up in movies, but there is something about that one that really gets me. The innocent love in the midst of gangs, it's pure poetry.
They had a clip from one of the producers and he said that when it was written in the 50s it was very risque. The big line that got them in trouble was when they said, "Gee, Officer Krupke, krup you."
The world of media has certainly changed since then.
For that matter, it has changed even more if you consider that the original star-crossed lovers were Romeo and Juliet. From iambic pentameter to Broadway was quite a jump, but Tony and Maria were able to do it, and do it well.

That movie makes me think of my flute teacher. I had started taking lessons when I was in 5th grade so Mrs. Ford was a weekly installment throughout my entire adolescence. She was one of those mentors that they always make movies about, you know the ones that teach life lessons along with scales. By the time I was a senior in high school, my practice time had dwindled quite a bit, but I couldn't give up the time that I spent with her. When I would get there unprepared she would help me work on songs. At one particular lesson I pulled out an old book of showtunes and, hoping for something easy, flipped to "Tonight" and started to sight read. The notes and rythms were simple but she kept stopping me. "You aren't playing with any feeling." I was stopped three times and was getting frustrated. When I told her that I hadn't ever seen the show she stopped right then and there to go dig out her copy to lend to me. She said, "I'm sure after you watch this you will get the feeling that you need."
So, I took it home and watched it, and now I can't even hear a bar without turning on the water works. If there weren't 13 hours between me and Mrs. Ford I'd still be making my weekly visits.
If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it, but don't get it at the library in Eugene because I want to check it out. If you see it and you don't like it then all I have to say is
Krup you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009