Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Does this Sound Familiar?

How weird is this? Last night was Beggar's Night, so I took Bumblebee trick-or-treating, while The Boy went out with a group of his zombie friends. In Iowa we do this the night before Halloween instead of on the holiday itself. I don't understand it either.

So anyway, my mother-in-law came up to go with us, and we had a great time. We noticed a cute little kitten following several groups of trick-or-treaters. I didn't recognize the cat, and felt kind of sorry for it. My MIL has a softer spot in her heart for cats than I do, and she tried to get it to stay out of the street and go home, she was afraid it would get hurt. But it ended up following another group of people, so we didn't end up doing anything about the kitten.

We got home and mentioned this to Hollywood and The Husband who'd stayed home to hand out candy. They told us about a different cat who had been trying to get into our house every time the door was opened to give the neighbor kids candy. Sure enough, this cat (a different one from the kitten we'd seen out and about earlier) was still hanging out on our front porch.

After I got the zombie cleaned up and turned into The Boy again, and gave the princess her bath, read her a story, and put her to bed, it was time for me to rest my weary feet and watch my TiVoed The Biggest Loser. As I sat there and watched the show, that dumb cat meowed over and over again for me to let it inside! The cat thinks it lives at our place.

I don't need another cat. I have one who is quite pleasant, though she sucks at mousing (we live about a hundred yards all around from cornfields, so field mice are an issue in the winter). I don't want or need another animal in my household. And I especially didn't want a cat meowing incessantly while I was trying to watch my favorite reality show.

So I 'sicked' the dog on the cat. Merlin had been itching to get out and chase that cat all night. So I opened the door and let her at it. (yes, Merlin is a female. Don't ask - that's a story for another day. The bottom line is that she had lumpy lady bits as a puppy and we were misled.) Now before anyone who is more animal friendly than I gets in a huff over me sending the dog out to get rid of the cat, you should know that Merlin would never actually hurt the cat, but she'd have fun chasing it away.

After I heard the dog run a couple of houses away, I called her back in. She happily came home and I thought my troubles were over. Not so. Less than a minute later, the cat was back at the window meowing over and over and over again.

Merlin was happy to help me with the problem, so I let her out to chase the kitty again. The dumb cat was back again a minute after we let Merlin in. When the third try with the dog failed, I gave up and turned up the volume on my show, finished it, and went to bed, thankful for once that The Husband sleeps with a fan blowing on his head. The fan at least blocked out the sound of the cat.

This morning, as we got up and were getting ready, the stupid thing was STILL meowing at us to let it in. I snapped a picture of it on our front porch:

Cute cat, I know. Someone should give it a loving home, and all that. But not me. I opened my garage door to go to work and the darned thing ran into the garage! It is bound and determined to get into our house!

As The Husband left to go to work, the cat trotted along behind him as he walked down the driveway to his van. After he left, the cat tried again to get into our garage. I had to shut the garage door to freak it out enough to get it to leave. And by leave I mean exit the garage, not actually go to wherever it belongs. It is still hanging around the house.

Isn't it freaky how we're being harassed by a cat on Halloween? Maybe it's someone's - what's that called when a witch has a cat that does it's work for her? Off to google. Back in a jiffy... Oh, WOW. When I googled 'witch's cat' I clicked on the first entry and got the following definition from urban dictionary:

witch's cat - Another name for unkempt, hairy female genitalia.

I did not expect that one!!! What I meant to find was the term "familiar." You know, an animal shaped spirit who serves for witchery.

Well, this post is going in a direction I didn't expect. So I'll end it with a picture of a princess, a zombie, and a teenager who didn't feel like dressing up last night: Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Toddler Theology

I guess Bumblebee is no longer considered a 'toddler' but I love alliterative titles, so I'm sticking with this one.

Bumblebee started religion class about a month ago. She loves it, partly because they basically hang out and do arts and crafts and singing, but also because it's the first activity that she gets to go to for herself. She's been dragged along to her brother and sister's sporting events, band concerts, school events, etc. since she was born. This is something she gets to do for herself. And she really seems to enjoy it.

I will admit, I haven't done a lot of foundation laying when it comes to religious education. We have bible story books that I've read to her, and we go to church. But we don't do a lot of talking about God and religion. So whenever she comes up with a good nugget like the one last night, I know it's her own mind drawing conclusions and not her parroting something I've said before.

Last night we were laying in her bed and I'd just read her bedtime story to her. She was chattering away, and was supposed to be quiet and settle into sleep. She just couldn't do it, though. She kept squirming and chattering away.

"Bumblebee, it's time to be quiet and go to sleep. Stop talking now." I sternly said.

She thought for a moment and said, "It's my brain that makes me talk, isn't it?"

I nodded and shushed her.

"Mama, I need to tell my brain to stop talking. Right?"

I nodded again.

"Mama?" she asked.

I didn't answer - I was keeping silent in the hopes that she'd follow my example.

"Mama. We're kind of like robots since our brains tell us what to do."

Silence from me still, but I was smiling now.

"And God is the owner of all of the robot people in the whole world, since he made us."

I had to give her props for that thought, so I gave her a big hug and told her to go to sleep.

I think it's interesting that she's thinking about God as our maker and how if our brains tell our bodies what to do, we're like little robots that God has around to do His work. And really, in a way, isn't that what we are?

Interesting thoughts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Will Forget This

I think I have early Alzheimer's. Honest to God, I forget everything. I can never remember where I park my car - I've had to call friends who went to lunch with me to ask where I parked my car on the way back into the office. I never remember where people's houses are, even if I've driven to them over and over again. I have to detail every last minute of my schedule into my calendar or I'm toast. I can't recall much about my childhood, and as far as I know, it was a good one - no memories to repress. My brothers remember things that happened and laugh and talk about it, and as they're recounting their stories, I just laugh and play along as though I remember. But in reality, I'm doing the same thing my Dad does when he didn't hear a question someone asked him. I just nod and smile.

It's embarrassing, really. The Husband will say something like 'don't you remember when we were looking at houses and we saw the one with the green stairs and the tricked out garage?' And I'll think for a minute and mentally reach as far back into my memory as possible, only to come up with nothing. I pretty much only remember the house we looked at that had a dirt basement, and the only reason I remember that house is that I'm convinced to this day that there was a dead body down there.

Even Bumblebee remembers things that I don't! She's only FOUR years old! "Mama, remember when we went twick-o-tweating and I was a spider and Grandma came along and we went to Gene's house and he didn't wecognize me?"

Uh, vaguely. Maybe. Or not.

And tv shows? Movie lines? Forget about it. My brothers will spend hours quoting movies verbatim. I have a good friend who remembers every Seinfeld episode ever. If I try to do that, I sputter things like "You want the truth?! You can't deal with.. or is it take? Maybe it's handle. Yeah, it's handle. You can't handle the truth!"

There are these great podcasts called Brain Teasers, Memory tricks, etc. They're supposed to help you exercise your brain to improve things like memory. So far, they haven't worked. One of them suggested I park my car in a different spot every day as sort of a calisthenic for my brain. It only ended up stressing me out and making me late for daycare pickup.

Anyone else struggle with this? What was I talking about again?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sometimes the Weekends are More Exhausting than the Weekdays!

I'm beat. It's 6:43 p.m. on Sunday night and I'm sitting in bed with my laptop. When I'm done writing this post (and uploading my weekends' pictures) I will likely read my book (The Boleyn Inheritance a juicy Tudor-England period piece by Phillipa Gregory) and go to sleep.

This weekend wore me out! Friday night was fairly uneventful - I did a little bit of work, some laundry, and I can't remember what else. My memory is so bad - you'd think Friday was years ago for as much as I remember about it!

Saturday was busy - I spent the morning working for a while followed by cleaning out the garage. What a mess that was - and it was all my mess, left over from when I was working on refinishing the table. Later in the day, The Husband took The Boy to the Iowa State football game, while I took the girls shopping. We went out to find a dress for Hollywood - she's a bridesmaid in my brother's upcoming wedding. We didn't find one. But we did find her a nice suit for her mock trial even that's coming up in a few weeks. The mall exhausts me anymore. Especially with the girls. Bumblebee was so well behaved, though! She was a trooper as we watched Hollywood try on dress after dress after dress. She kept freaking out other shoppers by popping out from behind the three way mirror in the dressing room and shouting "Boo!" And then she was dancing and singing some High School Musical song that I didn't know she knew the words to.

Saturday night I did some laundry and tried to get to sleep early so that I could be rested for the race I had this morning. But Hitch was on, so Hollywood and I watched it while I cleaned up my room - another large task. I don't know why I can't just hang my clothes up or put them in the laundry room. I keep the rest of the house in fairly good order, but our bedroom gets to be a complete pig sty, and then it stresses me out! After Hitch, that old Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell movie Overboard came on tv, so I watched it for a while. The part where Kurt Russell is wearing that cutoff t-shirt and he puts his thumbs into the sides of the shirt, revealing his pecs... Nice. Even with his 1980 style, he's yummy.

Ew - I used the word 'yummy' to describe something other than food. That reminds me of a play I was in when I was in junior high. Y'all didn't know I was theatrical, did you? Anyway, the play was about a bunch of princess sisters, but I totally don't remember the plot. I don't think it had a very memorable one to begin with, but we are at the mercy of my memory here, so of course that means that I've got nothing. I do remember that we had to wear old bridesmaid or prom dresses as our costumes. I played the sister-princess who said everything was 'yummy'. It was a terrible play, and the casting director (aka our drama teacher) chose me for the yummy part because I was chubby, and it makes sense that a chubby gal would call things 'yummy', right? Groan, that is soooo embarrassing to think about, even now. I was such a dork!

Sorry, minor digression. So this morning we ran our race. Hollywood and I joined my brother and sis-in-law to run the 5K that was being held at the Des Moines Marathon. The Half Marathoners finished as we were finishing the 5K and those guys were smoking by us. That's a pretty humbling experience, and I didn't think I could BE much more humble when it came to how I perform while running. It was a fun race, and I think that I beat my time from the race we ran two weeks ago. Here's a shot of us after the race. (Picture order is Hollywood, me, my brother E, and my sis-in-law K.) It was K's first 5K and she was nervous, but she totally smoked my ass at the end of the race. Which I knew she would - look at her legs! She's athletic and I'm not. But I'm cool with that. I, being the veteran racer that I am (my first race was 2 weeks ago), felt calm, cool, and collected before the race. It's why I had to hit the porta potty three times before we even started!


After the race, we came home, showered up, and headed to my MIL's house for lunch and a trip to the pumpkin patch farm. Here are some pictures of that - it was fun!

All of the kids (including my nieces and nephew):


Hollywood in front of the 'how tall this fall' pumpkin sign (holding up a 5 and a 1 because she's 5'1")


Bumblebee being buried in corn in the cornbox:


The Boy shooting out of the slide - it looks painful but he came off that thing laughing:


Me standing by the 'how tall for fall' sign:


After the trip to the farm, we headed back to my MIL's for pie and ice cream, and then headed home. I took a nice hot bath and am now sitting in my bed. Cozy, warm, and super sleepy... I wonder if I can stay awake until 8 p.m.

Friday, October 19, 2007

"I'm Not a Runner" Ad by Nike

This is funny! I love it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Award or Sucker Prize? You Decide...

I got this award at work. It's called the 'Superior Service' award. Several weeks ago, they blasted out this email campaign and hung up posters all around to remind folks to nominate someone for this special award. It's supposed to go to people who go 'above and beyond their normal call of duty to provide excellent service.'

I ignored the campaign, not because I don't see the value in giving people props for good work, but because I've been swamped and didn't have the time to consider a nominee and write up their nomination. I forgot about the campaign until the winners were announced in an e-mail on Friday. I blinked hard at my computer screen when I saw that I was one of them.

Cool, I thought. I'm special! I spent the next half an hour sending out 'thank you' emails to people who congratulated me on winning the award. Wow, people take this stuff seriously! I thought.

And then, I kind of forgot about the award again. But this morning I logged into my computer and my calendar reminder told me that I had a two hour 'meet and greet' breakfast. Ugh. Those of us who were chosen for this award had to sit in a room and meet everyone who came by to congratulate us. They really came by to get free coffee and breakfast, but that's ok. I like to mooch free food at work too, so I don't blame them.

So we were sitting in this conference room that has a c-shaped conference table in the center. The award winners were congregating around the room, talking to people, and meeting and greeting. The administrative assistant actually herded us into the center of the c-shaped table, so that when people walked through the room to congratulate us, we were stuck in the middle of the room. For TWO hours. One of my fellow award winners is a very sweet gal who was talking about the seventeen appetizers she's preparing for her husband's surprise birthday party this weekend. As she chatted along about her salmon puffs and cheese balls, I could not stop staring at her 'stache. I'm serious! She is a fair haired gal, so it wasn't dark, but boy was it furry. I was very distracted and ready for that two hour meeting to be done with.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of our superior service recognition day! We had lunch catered in as well. As we sat in the second meeting of the day, we were told that by winning this great award, we were automatically put on a special task force to come up with our departments' mission statement for excellent service.

Yep, that's right folks, we get to meet every other week for the next year to come up with new and exciting ideas on how to provide excellent customer service. I don't do customer service, so I'm not sure how I will contribute to this group, but it appears I have no choice in the matter.

So it's an award, but it's really another assignment, task, expectation, etc. Fun. On one hand, it's nice to be recognized, but on the other, it earned me six hours worth of meetings this week, and another hour every other week until next October. That's a lot of hours in meetings.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dreary Monday

I'm in a foul, crabby, grouchy mood.

My throat hurts.

I'm starving and I want to eat food that is bad for me.

It's a dreary, drippy Monday.

I have many, many things to get done at work.

I didn't get my long run in this weekend.

. . .

I got to spend a lot of play time with my kids this weekend since we didn't have much going on.

I beat The Boy twice in chess yesterday.

I took a nap on Saturday AND on Sunday.

Hollywood is handling her punishment from last week with grace and good-humor.

I got to catch up with my best friend over the weekend - haven't done that in a long time.

I won an award at work - someone nominated me for my 'superior service'.

I don't have to pick anyone up from any kind of practice, or take anyone to any kind of event this evening.

I have my afternoon free of meetings, so I can actually get some work done.

. . .

See? More good than bad. I can always find more good than bad, even on a dreary Monday.

But my throat still hurts.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quote of the Day

From Bumblebee as we were in the checkout line at Target this morning:

"Jinkies, Mama! They have Scooby Snacks at Target!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Socked in the Gut

Parenting is hard. I'm serious - it's WAY harder than I expected it to be. You don't want your kids to be unhappy, but you can't let them do whatever they want, so you set rules to keep them safe. And while you want them safe and sound, you also want them to experience life. I'm going to go deep here and quote Finding Nemo.

There's a part where Marlin is talking to Dory about his son Nemo, and he says "I promised I'd never let anything happen to him."

Dory replies with, "Hmm. That's a funny thing to promise. You can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo."

So you want things to happen to your kids, but nothing bad. I like this part of Nemo because it shows that you have to give your kids some room to grow and make their own experiences. I believe that this is important. Through their experiences and decisions, both good and bad, they grow as people, and hopefully they learn from their mistakes.

I'm going somewhere with this, I promise... Stay with me.

I think of myself as an informed parent, meaning that I try to know a lot about what's going on in my kids' lives. I keep an open dialog with them, we talk about all sorts of things, and I like that they can come to me and talk about anything. I try to give my kids room to grow up, experience life, and have fun. They are, after all - kids - and when else is the best time to have fun? But I'm also the kind of parent who sets rules and does my best to enforce them.

But with rules, come rule breakers. Kids break the rules. Sometimes it's accidental, an oversight. ("Mom, I'm sorry I'm fifteen minutes late - Joey's mom didn't tell me when it was 6 o'clock!"). But sometimes it's blatant, and conniving, and deliberate.

Hollywood did something yesterday that falls into the latter category. She's broken rules in the past, behaved badly, and done a million things to make me mad. But this is the first time I was more sad and disappointed than mad. I got that 'socked in the gut' feeling when The Husband and I, casually conversing about how our days went, realized what she'd done. I know it won't be the last time she errs in judgement and the result is extreme disappointment. But I can honestly say that it's the first time I've felt personally offended (my feelings were hurt!) by her actions. Sure, she was contrite and apologetic when she got caught, but the fact that she so brazenly threw our rules out the window was really hard to see. She violated our trust and I don't know how long it will take for her to earn it back.

So back to the Nemo reference, I so, so, SO want to act like Marlin and lock her up to keep her safe, and to... hell, to keep her from growing up, I guess. But I can't stop her from growing up anymore than I can stop the wrinkles from appearing near my eyes. I can't stop these errors in judgement from happening, I can only hope that she learns from them and doesn't continue to break the rules. I have locked her up temporarily, though. She got two full weeks of 'ultra-grounding' which means no cell phone, no computer, no friends, nothing.

I guess we all need to follow Dory's advice and sing "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming" to ourselves. Because that's about all we can do.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Another Running Partner

Last night I asked Hollywood if she'd run with me. She didn't feel like it, so The Boy piped up and said, "I will, Mom! I could use the exercise."

I had mixed emotions about it, because I selfishly wanted to get my 4 mile run in last night, and I knew that he wouldn't be up to running that far. But I decided that spending time with him, and promoting healthy activity would be better than getting my full 4 miles in - I could do that today if I wanted to. So we laced up and headed out.

It was a gorgeous night - a bit on the warm side for October, but breezy enough to make it comfortable. My plan was to start slow - we were going to run for five minutes then walk for a bit. But after five minutes he was doing great, so we kept going, setting goals for ourselves. We got to the water tower, which was about 3/4 mile from where we started to run, and I asked him if he wanted to walk.

"Nope, let's keep going." He said. We turned around and ran back to our original starting point, and still he didn't stop to walk. I was amazed - this kid can run! Yes, we were going slow, but still... He decided after we got to where we started (which meant we'd gone for about a mile and a half) that he wanted to run for 20 minutes without stopping. We only had to run for an extra two minutes to get to his goal. Then we walked.

I'm so proud of my little man! (Who isn't so 'little' these days...) He ran the mile a couple of weeks ago in school and had a 14+ minute time. He said he stopped to walk at least four times. I wonder if maybe he was running with one of his friends who needed him to stop, because last night he didn't have to stop to walk and we ran our route in about a 12:30 minute mile pace.

He's so cute - he kept thanking me for letting him come along. (I kept telling him that I was grateful to have a partner to run with!) We had fun on our run, and I think running is a great activity for him. I'm surprised he did so well, and can't wait to take him out the next time.

Ok, I know you people are probably sick of hearing me blog about running. I'll try to tone it down. :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Monday

Howdy. It's been a while. I've been slacking on blog postings lately, but things have been really busy.

Saturday, Hollywood and I ran our Race For the Cure 5K. It was my first 5K and I finished in about 35 and a half minutes. Not speedy, but better than I'd have done a year ago... And, it was a really awesome event. My friend "J" from work ran it with me, and she really kept me from stopping to walk. Hollywood ran it with my brother and they finished in about 30 minutes. There were 22,000 people who participated in the race and walk. TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND people. It meant that before the race began, we all stood in line, crammed together, for several minutes. I'm amazed nobody got hurt when they shouted 'Go!' We kind of moved as a swarm of bees would for about a quarter of a block before we finally got some space in between us. At first, I felt like I was riding in a car driven by my Grandpa - EVERYONE was passing us! But revenge was sweet when slow and steady did indeed win the race because later in the race, J and I passed many of those people who'd flown past us at the start.

I am amazed at how many people are able to run! There were OLD, OLD, OLD people out there running! And young kids! Hollywood said that an 8 year old flew past her and ran the whole thing ahead of her. There was a man dressed up as Ronald McDonald, people dressed in tutus and superhero capes, all sorts of craziness. It was the perfect first race for me to run, because it was informal, and I didn't feel like a complete novice runner, even though I am a complete novice runner.

I'm now starting my slow training program for the 20K I'm going to try to run next spring. I'm going to do four runs a week. Two 30 minute runs, a 45 minute run, and a 60 minute run. I think those are good totals to build up a good baseline. Oh, and I'm going to lose these last 10-15 pounds. I really am. I must concentrate on eating right instead of eating whatever I want, just because I work out. It's time to get serious, because I know it would be easier to run these long distances if I weighed less than I do now.

I love the Public Service Announcements that are out there designed to get parents moving with their kids. I think it's sad to have to remind people to do that, but I sometimes can use the reminder, and I applaud the program. I try to get my kids to play outside with me when we have time. We love to walk the dog, go for a bike ride, or sometimes just play catch or work in the garden. But every once in a while I get in a slump where there are so many activities, that we slack off on the outside play time. So I do like the PSAs that remind me to get moving. Here's one of them that I saw on fitsugar.com:



Cute, isn't it?

I got Bumblebee a shirt that says "My Dad is the MAN." She loves it and wanted to wear it today. She's really starting to understand letters and all of that. She looked at the shirt and picked out the words 'My', 'Dad' and 'Man'.

My Packers decided to hand the sucky Bears a win last night, despite a good performance by my man Brett Favre. Sigh. It was painful, and even more so since I stayed up past my bedtime to watch it.

Well, that's about all I've got for today. Busy week ahead, as usual.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Progression of School Pictures

I have picture frames here at work that house my kids' school photos. Each year, when I get the new pictures, I put them in front of the last picture. Hollywood just got her 8th grade pictures back. She says she hates them, but they are great. Except for the fact that she looks like she's seventeen in them.

All of her old pictures are still in that frame. This morning, I pulled them out and looked at them. There's her first grade picture where she's missing her two front teeth. She's wearing a pretty light green sweater and has her hands beneath her chin and the sweetest little smile. Her freckles are visible on her tiny little nose.

Then there's her second grade picture, the only one we have of her with short hair. It's an adorable shoulder length bob, and she has a cute little red clip pulling her hair out of her face. She's wearing a black and white hounds tooth jumper over a white shirt. The jumper has red heart shaped buttons on them. So sweet!

Her hair is longer again in her third grade picture. She's got teeth that are too big for her mouth, full of the spaces where her new teeth will eventually grow in. She's wearing a dark purple turtleneck sweater. I remember third grade being a tough year - girls were mean at the school she went to, and she got into a few spats that hurt her feelings.

She still looks like a little girl in her fourth grade picture. Her hair is really long in this one, and it's parted straight down the middle. Her teeth have filled in and she looks so much like her dad in this one that it's kind of freaky. In fourth grade, Hollywood was into sports and school. It was her first year at the school she goes to now, and it was a good transition for her.

Fifth grade is when it all starts to change. She's wearing a black shirt that has a rhinestone studded 'B' on the chest. Her hair is long still, and she just looks older. Not a little kid anymore. This was her Avril Lavigne stage. She dressed like Avril, sang her songs, started hounding us to buy her a guitar. I can see that little Avril in this picture.

In sixth grade she's wearing a pink shirt - which is pretty odd for her. She's got a few layers put in her hair and is wearing lip gloss. She looks older than in the past, and vaguely Barbielike. Maybe it's the pink shirt. In sixth grade she started to notice boys as more than playmates. She had her first 'boyfriend' (if you can call it that in sixth grade without giggling) and things began to get interesting.

I don't have her seventh grade picture in this frame because Hollywood hated it. It was an odd angle and her neck looked really tiny in it.

But her eighth grade picture just changes it all. She's wearing a small amount of black eyeliner, but no other makeup, and yet she looks so mature! Her hair is long, with a few visible highlights. She's wearing her boys' football jersey, because pictures were taken on a Thursday, and the team wears their jerseys on Thursdays before the games. She's the football manager, so she gets to wear one too. You can actually see that she has breasts in this picture, Lord help us. She honest to God looks like she's seventeen. And she's beautiful.

It's so strange looking at this progression. She's the same kid, only older and filled with the knowledge that each experience has given her. In each picture I can see where she was in life on the days they were taken. Where, oh where did that toothless first-grader in the light green sweater go? The one who would cry for hours (seriously) if she saw a kitty who'd been hit by a car on the side of the road. Oh I know she's still there, deep inside that girl wearing the football jersey... It's just hard to see her grow up so quickly!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's Official - I'm Crazy

My very first race is on Saturday. It's a 5K and it's an "easy" race because lots of the people attending will be walking it. I am looking forward to it, and hope I can do well.

Since I completed the One Hour Runner program a few weeks ago, I find myself slipping. I'm not following a specific training program anymore, so it's easy to say "meh - I'll run tomorrow night instead." And that's bad, because I've come so far. In April I couldn't run 400 meters without gasping for air. Now I can run for an hour. I can't let that progress atrophy like it will if I don't set a goal. So, I've decided to train for the 20K run that our city has each spring called the Dam to Dam run. It'll probably take me forever to run that far, and I'm sure everyone will fly past this turtle, but I'm going to try it.

Wish me luck. I'm going to try to get my brothers and my sis-in-law to join me for it too. They're the only other people I know who are crazy enough to give it a shot.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Motorcycle Guy and His Keys

On my commute home today, a guy on a Harley cruised up next to me while traveling on the Interstate. Of course he didn't have a helmet on. (Iowa is one of the few states that don't mandate helmet wear, don't ask me why...) I could probably go on about that, but this biker's lack of a helmet isn't the point of this post. We were going around 70 MPH. As he sped up beside me in the four lanes of traffic, he let go of one of the handlebars (do they call them 'handlebars' on a Harley? That seems like banana-seat bicycle terminology, but I'm getting off track, and we don't want that) to reach into his pocket and grab hold of a huge key ring with a bunch of keys attached. He fumbled with the key ring for a few seconds and then he put it back into his pocket.

There are several things wrong with this scenario, the first of which is that I was riveted by his actions, and was therefore not paying attention to my own driving. And that's not good. But, wow. What if that dude would have dropped those keys? Would his instinct have been to lean back to catch them? Would he have had to wait until after rush hour to scurry into the lane without getting hit by a car to retrieve the keys? What would the keys have looked like if a few semis had ran over them?

I think the real question here, though, is: What in the name of God did that guy need keys for at that particular moment? He was on a moving motorcycle, for Pete's sake! They clearly weren't the keys to the Harley, and I can't imagine why else he would need to get those keys out of his pocket at that particular time, unless:
  1. He has severe OCD and had to physically take the keys out of his pocket and inspect them to make sure he could get into this apartment when he got home.
  2. His crack pipe was buried beneath the keys in his pocket and was digging uncomfortably into his, er, leg, and he had to rearrange things.
  3. He was a secret agent with the CIA, and the keys looked like keys but were really a tracking device and he was speeding up to toss them into the open window of a suspected terrorist's Honda.
  4. There was a tube of chapstick attached to the keyring and he was in desperate need of that waxy lubrication to ease his chapped and swollen lips. (I can almost understand this one, being the chapstick addict that I am in the winter months.)
I love making up stories about people I don't know. What are your theories on this one? Why would he risk his safety to pull out keys he obviously didn't need at the time?