Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Graduation cannot come soon enough

“Listen. If you start crying when you give your presentation, she’ll feel sorry for us and give us extra points.”

I’m in a bit of a whirlwind right now. Wednesdays always are crazy. Edit, write, prepare, teach, edit, run, church, etc.

Our class is going to munity by the end of this week, I’m sure. We’re all going crazy. We have (now) less than 24 hours to make about 200 corrections to our papers. Given to us last night, due tonight.

“Did you cry?”
“No, but I did tear up. It was completely natural, too, after she said we basically had to redo our paper.”
“Well, I hope she saw.”

Here’s the dilemma we’re all facing. We had to create a research project. Do a literature review of it. Create a survey. Have survey approved (which was a disaster in itself). Hand survey out. Code survey (which by itself took over 24 cumulative hours of straight work – no playing around). Interpret results of coding. Discuss in our paper.

In less than a month.

“I don’t mean to discourage your group, but, as this paper is, it will never been accepted by a conference.”
“Oh, you’re not discouraging us. We’re okay with that.”

When I discussed this project with a former professor of mine from my master’s program, he kind of joked with me, saying, “Well, if you hurry, you can get your paper submitted to the AMCJE (big national journalism conference) on April 1.”

He was kidding. I was not. “Actually, that’s a requirement of this class.”

He was shocked. “Oh, I was just joking! I thought this project went through the summer! You’re really supposed to have all this done in less than two weeks?”


He looked at me solemnly. “Good luck.”

Oh, and we have a midterm due next week. Thanks.

“Here you go. One big stupid paper. All 91 pages of it.”

I explained to my professor that the section of the conference we’re submitting our paper in will not accept papers over 25 pages (because she said ours was too short). Ours was 22 pages. She said that didn’t matter. Then, not 10 minutes later, she told another group that their 59 page paper had to be cut down because the section they’re submitting their paper in will not accept papers over 25 pages.

People, I know I’m not a brilliant person, but, seriously, how does that make sense?????

So instead of going to my evening class as anticipated, me and everyone else who is in both of the classes, skipped. We had to. We had to get this stuff done.

Apparently, judging from the 20 e-mails that flooded my inbox this morning, our 91-page paper is not enough. My two group partners are meeting with our professor again today.

“I get off work at 12. I e-mailed K to see if she could meet. No e-mail from her yet. But I am free after 12.”
“See you at 12pm. My schedule is tight as well, but I put priority on this research project with you.”

Four weeks until the end of the semester is SO not soon enough.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet 16

Oh, sweet Che.

Well, no one could technically classify her as "sweet." She could be fairly vicious -- or she was in her youth.

Checheateau Bow Wow. Don't ask. I was in fourth grade when I named her, and her nickname was Che-che. Lots of people spelled it Chi Chi. Drove me insane. But, after studying Spanish (and as Che-che is a Chihuahua), I realized they were right...but I didn't care. She's Che-che. And Che-che will be 16 years old this Friday.

Happy sweet 16, Che-che.

She's my dad's dog now, along with Puddin'. I left her with my parents while I went to college. The dorm rooms didn't want her in there, and she really didn't want to be with me. She wanted my dad. She tolerated me and my mom.

Don't get me wrong. She'd never bite you unless the biting was warranted. Like the time my friend Jenn touched her right where she got a shot that day (poor Jenn -- Che-che ate her up one arm and down the other). Or when my cousin Bryce put his arms inside her pet taxi, aka, her "sanctuary." When she got really mad, she knew how to handle things -- walk away. She'd escape in her pet taxi and sometimes, if she was REALLY ticked, she'd reach out and slam the door. When Bryce put his hands in after she went to her sanctuary...well, I mean, that was just asking for trouble.

I dressed her up. I remember her 1st birthday party. She wore a pink and yellow baby doll shirt and a party hat. It was a windy day. I'd like to think she had a good time.

Dad goes on walks with Puddin', but Che-che is "his" dog. And she knows it. While she doesn't snarl and bark at other dogs like she used to (after all, she's never considered herself a dog; she is the most esteemed member of the family), she has grown tolerance for Puddin' and for my Superdog. How can I tell that, you ask? Well, that picture above? Here's what it started out as:

She's a good dog, that Che-che.

Happy sweet 16th birthday, sweet baby.

Friday, March 19, 2010

CR: Oh, I can't even come up with a title for this one...

Boo! Put a laxative in her coffee. That’ll keep her busy.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was the writer of that particular text message. It’s going to be one of “those” days.

I keep forgetting I have actual work to do today. Okay, okay, it’s not “forgetting,” it’s procrastinating.

And I’ve discovered this lovely little Web site, which increases my distractions (already found a 10K I want to do!!).

But, in reality, I’ve had a very busy week, as usual, and Fridays are usually designated “chill days.” Finish up the little bit of work I haven’t accomplished through the week and…well, plan for the weekend.

This weekend looks like it will be even busier than last weekend.

Work (UGH). Birthday celebrations (Yea!). Run (Yea!). Travel (Boo.) to see family (Yea!). Eating fried fish (Yea!). Travel home (Boo. Seriously, can’t we invent a transporter from Star Trek yet??). Baby shower for this super creative lady(Yea!). Run/bike (Yea…but when??).

And next weekend looks just as busy…

I’m ready to sleep late. Just one day. ONE DAY out of seven. That’s not too much to ask, is it? ONE. DAY.

I seriously can’t remember the last time I slept late. And I don’t have kids. What’s making me get up early?

Oh, yeah. LIFE.

WOOT! And, due to the marvelous invention of e-mail, I have already recruited one person for the 10K (even though she’ll be doing the 5k walk, but, still, the more, the merrier!!).

By the way, keeping with the random traditions of Fridays, I’m hankering for some crawfish. It is that season, after all. Man, I want some crawfish...but it’ll be a pepperoni lean pocket for me. Followed up by the other half of my Godiva raspberry chocolate bar. Yum…

And this random number keeps calling my phone. I should call it back. They’re calling about my retirement stuff. That’s probably important.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring break

Those two words are so beautiful to my ears right now. Granted, I'm still working and teaching, but I will be taking no trips to Super Duper University this week.

(Even though I spent Saturday in the big univ. town coding surveys and will be heading there twice next week -- class and symposium -- but that's okay. I don't have to go This. Week.)

I'm doing more training for the church triathalon (from now on referred to as "tri" because I don't think I'm spelling it correctly). I finally swam last week and had a shock hit me like cold water: I'm not a great swimmer. In fact, I'm a pretty bad swimmer. I did make it 800 meters (that's 8 laps -- to the end of the pool and back counts as one lap), but a lot of it included doggy paddling, or some variation of doggy paddling. And turns out I do need goggles. And a swim cap. Oh, and my confidence level fell about six notches because I was swimming right next to a swim team. They swam laps around me. Literally.

Thankfully, though, I actually did what I consider a "mini-mini tri" (as the tri I'm doing is a sprint tri itself) yesterday afternoon, and it went VERY well. The church tri will consist of: a 400-m swim, an 11 mile bike race, and then a 5k. So yesterday I ran 3 miles (just .1 mile shorter than a 5k), swam 800 m and biked 8 miles. I feel the extra swimming made up for the biking.

What made the day even more successful was how much better on swimming I did yesterday than the first day. I was shocked, actually, at my improvement. Instead of struggling to swim "properly" 25 m I was swimming entire 50-m distances without having to switch to doggy paddling or swimming on my back (which is easier for me but slower). I felt very empowered.

Just a basic 4.5 mile run today. No running partner, though, you want to run? =D Lol!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wish List

Somehow, during the first class of the quarter today, I got to talking about my sweet Superdog.

Well, I mean, she is amazing.

And, don’t get me wrong, I love her. When it thundered Monday night and she was scared, I rolled over in the bed and cuddled with her until the thunder stopped and she quit shaking. Of course, when I rolled back over to sleep, she started panting, but she’s a little quirky, too.

I love animals. I grew up wanting to be a vet – until I realized that I pass out at the sight of blood. No, seriously. I have.

As a kid, I was the proud owner of (not all at once, mind you) multiple dogs, multiple cats, a hedgehog, hamsters, gerbils, a newt, an albino frog, random fish, raccoons, turtles, rabbits…Have I left anything out? It’s natural that I would want a large menagerie of pets as an adult.

I almost brought home another pet a few weeks ago. I went to the animal shelter. BIG MISTAKE. I cried for days afterward because of one black dog. I still have doubts as to whether or not I should have adopted her right there. But, as my husband pointed out, I can’t save them all.

Though I might try.

In the future, when we move out of our cottage into a larger house, I do have a list of animals I would like to live with me. Husband may disagree.

First, I asked for a sheep. I’d still like a sheep. Actually, I’d like a lamb, but as lambs grow up to be sheep, I don’t want our sheep to stomp Superdog. Because she is small, and sheep are dumb. What? They are!

So I said I wanted a potbellied pig. And I still do. Seriously, how amazingly cute would it be to have a 35-lb pig running around your house? =) Course, then my husband said, “Well, if you get a pig, don’t be surprised if one morning you wake up and find the pig missing and me cooking bacon.” Thanks a heap.

Now, I’ve decided I want two cats – we’re going to name them Gumbo and Jambalaya. Even though I have a hard time spelling Jambalaya. And I want two big outside dogs. I said one, but I think I want two. No names picked out for them yet.

Husband agreed to the two cats and a dog – after Superdog passes. But I want one before she goes. Of course.

But, let’s be honest: Here’s what I really want:

I want my Superdog.
I want my sheep named Zelda.
I want my potbellied pig.
I want Gumbo and Jambalaya.
And I want my two big dogs to run with.

That’s right. All together.

Only eight more months til my birthday, after all…

Monday, March 8, 2010

The legend of Smokey

Gather around, young and old, as I tell you the tale of the great cat Smokey.

Smokey was a beautiful, gray feline with a heart that yearned to be an indoor pet and a determination to make his dream come true. He came to us one day, a mere kitten, alone and afraid. I was warned not to feed him but did not heed the words of wisdom. One slice of cheese, and he was mine.

As Smokey grew and became strong and fearless, his natural desire to wander developed. We tried to pacify these longings with a house built specially for him. He turned his tail up at our hospitality, knowing that the small Chihuahua slept inside the big house and not in the white house outside.

Our love for Smokey made us bring him inside for brief amounts of time, as darn cat allergies refused to let him be an indoor pet. He relished these opportunities, scanning what could be his home and even marking his territory behind the Christmas tree (which immediately made him an outside cat once again).

Smokey explored the neighborhood from time to time, leaving us for two or three days at a time to seek shelter by owners who did not have allergies. He still longed for a big house to roam, and we were doubtless that some people had given him a room for a night or two.

One day, a cruel and unusual fate took hold of the sweet, gentle animal. He found himself being held down in a car, taken to some unknown place. He was held down and tortured with needles while his owner – that’s me – watched as he transformed from a loving, kind cat to a ferocious, snarling lion. Smokey despised his necessary kitty shots.

The next day, and $200 later, Smokey vanished.

After a week, we realized Smokey had been angry at us for his kitty shots and had sought greener pastures elsewhere. My heart broke for my pet, and the Voo, who loved to play with him, mourned, too. But no one mourned as much as Superman, who had been the one who first told me not to feed sweet Smokey.

Superman had fallen in love with the gray animal, and no other cat could take his place. So we all tried to get by as best as we could, knowing he was happy at his new home.

Then one spring day, he reappeared, sitting in our front yard, as if he had missed us forever. He bounded up to me as I emerged from my car, and I noticed several changes about my sweet cat.

For one, he was wearing a purple collar. But he also had been neutered.

The grass, it seemed, had not been greener on the other side.

We left his purple collar, and Smokey suddenly seemed content to stay outside, playing with Voo when she emerged from the big house. His little white house outside was home sweet home, and he spent his afternoons lounging in the front yard.

And then he vanished again.

It’s been over a year since I’ve seen any sight of Smokey, but I have no doubt Smokey’s other owners saw their pet resting in our yard and stopped by to take him home. He is probably declawed by now and a resident of a big house, like he so much longed to be.

Oh, Smokey, we loved you so.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pictures from "the" event

First, a trip to the New Orleans aquariaum...which is fairly amazing.

Guess what two people are SUPER excited that we've been up since 5 a.m.? HAHA!!!

Mom and I reached in and petted sting rays!!


Spot the seahorse!

I'm a little fond of owls...THIS is why.

Now...on to the race!!!

5 a.m. remix!!!

We were BLURS going across that finish line! You'd never know Rindy's ankle was swollen to the size of a baseball.

Champs with food and medals!

Tasting sweet victory at Cafe du Monde.

Be still, my heart.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The sweet, sweet taste of victory

We did it. We ran 13.1 miles yesterday.

And I hurt so very much today.

This was certainly a milestone experience in my life. From starting to train Aug. 22 to actually completing a half-marathon, my FIRST half-marathon is something I'll never forget.

(Yep, there's a reason there's "first" in there. You know you're addicted when your body is aching all over, yet you still make plans for next year's race...)

My parents drove Hubby and me down to New Orleans for the race, and the ride down was an experience in itself (especially since the day began at 5:15 a.m., but that's another story). We visited with Superman's family, went to the shockingly full-to-the-brim-with-screaming-yes-screaming-children aquariaum (where Mom and I petted the sting rays!!), and ate a fufilling crawfish pasta dinner. Great day, great night. Was in bed in our way cool hotel room by 9 p.m.

And I couldn't sleep. I was extremely exhausted but could NOT fall asleep. I tossed and turned, excited about the race, nervous about having to wake up at 5 a.m. for said race, and unable to sleep because of the crazy car noises outside the hotel.

I checked the clock finally at 4:09 a.m. and willed myself to go to sleep. At 4:53 a.m., I decided to go ahead and get up.

Rindy and I were surprisingly chipper at 5:30 when our husbands dropped us off at the Superdome so we could catch the shuttle to the race. It was a chilly morning, but we weren't dressed like some in hats, scarves, and gloves (though we were envious of the gloves). We also had more clothes on than the girls in sports bras and itty bitty shorts. We almost felt sorry for them. Almost.

Also, once the race got started and the sun rose, it got warm. Quickly. We passed dozens of scarves, sweaters, and gloves that had been abandoned all the way to the finish line. Should have done some "shopping," lol!!

The Rock and Roll Marathon and Halfie was amazingly organized. I've never seen anything so well-organized in my life. The company actually does RR marathons/halfies around the nation, so if you're interested in competing in one, I'd suggest that one. Bands were placed in strategic locations around the race, and, overall, it was a super fun race.

That's why I'm doing this again, despite the pain: it was a fun race. People were dressed up in poodle skirts, mini skirts, and Saints' jerseys, and some had made shirts specifically for the occassion. I had a couple of favorites:

"If you can read this, I've just gone Keynan on you." (We had two Olympic gold medalists from Keyna competing.)

"It's not that I'm lazy, but why run 26.1 if you get the same medal for 13.1?"

What made it even better was that I felt like a celebrity running. Volunteers and New Orleans' residents were all along the sidelines for the entire race, cheering us on, saying, "You can do this! Lookin' good!"

(When they yelled out, "Lookin' good!" I'd turn to Rindy and say, "They think we look goooood!" Lol.)

However, they did try to give us some nastiness that was SUPPOSED to give you protein, amino acids, something like that. NASTY. The first stuff were gummy, and they made my teeth slick. And tasted horrible. Rindy couldn't eat them. I choked down three but couldn't handle the fourth. Then, along the race route, they handed us something else in a packet that I hoped tasted like yogurt. So so wrong. Rindy had vanilla, which she said did not taste bad, but she, like I, could not handle the toothpaste consistency of the stuff. And mine was blackberry. Try eating blackberry-flavored toothpaste. YUCK!

About Mile 11, we started hurting. I mean, seriously hurting. I've never hurt so bad in my LIFE. Wanted to cry. But we trugged along. We pushed and pushed, and we finally saw the finish line, less than .2 miles away.

We started running (or, really, jogging by this point). And then I heard Rindy cry out.

Within distance of the end, Rindy, my sweet running partner, twisted her ankle.

It was insane. We were both upset, her obviously more so than me, and I was trying to get her arm and put it around my shoulder so she could hobble to the finish line. But Rindy wasn't through trying.

It was literally like something out of a movie. Rindy, filled with determination, suddenly bolted at full speed for the finish line. I watched in shock for a few seconds and then ran as fast as I could after her. I was behind because she is a faster runner than I am, and then, inches from the finish line, she turned around to face me.

"Come here!" she yelled. "We're finishing it together!"

She grabbed my hand, and, together, we ran across the finish line at 2:49:07.

It was sweet, sweet victory.