Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wonder where I've been? Me too...

All I can say is that my plumbing is problem-free for the moment (thank goodness!) and that this little guy has been the focus of my daily life for the past month:

I named him Scout and he's a 13-week-old Labradoodle Retriever. He's keeping Oatmeal company and he's such a good little doggie!

Anyway, Happy Holidays from the PaNaMa/Oatie/Scout Household! May you find sweetness and light in 2007!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Do Not Go Gently Into That Marathon...

Yeah, so I sat perched on the fence about running this race for so long, I wound up plunking down $30 more than the usual fee for the priviledge of the day before to register for the half.

That was my first mistake.

When I woke up at 6 the morning of the race, it was snowing. Relunctantly, I dressed quickly, had a light breakkie and headed out the door.

That was my second mistake.

I raced out of the house so quickly, I had forgotten my Gu.

That was my third mistake.

When I got to the starting line, I realized my pace pod battery was dead.

That was my fourth mistake.

So, I guess it goes without saying (or writing) but I'll write it anyway...this race SUCKED and it was the worst I'd ever done. I was soaked to the bone; freezing cold; I had no idea how fast I was going; I completely ran out of energy and hour and a half into it and while I finished, my time was abominable and I'm too ashamed to share. Aw hell. I don't care.
Can't win 'em all, eh? Sigh!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Is it safe?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Earlier today I had four wisdom teeth pulled which, all things considered, really wasn't that bad. I was surprised when they started me off with nitrous oxide, followed by twilight drugs, and then they sent me packing (or packed---in gauze that is) with enough Percoset to make Matthew Perry reconsider rehab. And yet--and yet--my Colposcopy, which is scheduled for November 13, involves no drugs unless, of course, I save these nasty 'sets for then, which is maybe what I'll do since I really and truly don't need 'em now. Hell, I still have a desire to run the Dawg Dash on Sunday.

Ask me in about 8 hours from now, though!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
My dear husband took this while I was still under. Nice, huh?
Rent-a-pooch courtesy of Dr. Tidwell.

Anywho, Na and I had a nice time in the O.C., catchin' up with the crew and goin' to Dizz Knee Land. This was the first time I tried California Adventure and while it ain't no Magic Kingdom, it's definitely good for the little 'uns. Na loved "meeting" Kitty and Boo and Woody and Buzz and Frozone and Bear in the Big Blue House. I thought his head was gonna explode when he "met" Mater and McQueen from Cars. I loved the Muppets in 3D. How could you not?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
He still enjoyed the Magic Kingdom and for me, well, you can totally tell Disney is changin with the times. The Swiss Family Robinson lost the lease on their treehouse and it now belongs to Tarzan and there's talk that Tom Sawyer's island will be converted to a Pirates Playground. It's bad enough they added Johnny Depp to the Pirates of the Carribbean! Pirates are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HOT! Especially fake ones!

I had serious mixed emotions about Disney changing the Haunted Mansion for Jack Skellington and his gang from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Hey--it's not a bad little movie, but it disturbed me when we were all in the elevator and I did NOT hear "There are no windows and no doors!" No worries, though, I asked one of the dead guys at the door who told me it was just for the season. Phew!

If you go with little kids to Disneyland, do yourself a favor and book a package through their site. The value was enormous and we got to do the character breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel which was phenomenal! You wanna talk cupcakes, K10? These were GOOFY'S CUPCAKES, liebschen. 'Nuff said!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The main reason I went to Orange County was to go to my 20 high school reunion which SUCKED MAJOR ASS! If it hadn't been for seeing two of my high school buds (one being a lifelong dear friend the other being my prom date) I would have bailed within two minutes of walking in. Serously. It was THAT bad.

Let's put it this way: my friend and I DID NOT (I repeat) DID NOT tell each other about our dresses until she was in the car coming to meet me at the reunion. So we both had "O" dresses. By the end of the night, people were calling us "Big O" and "Little O". Sigh. Some things never change except maybe that of the dozen or so women there, at least 15 of them put on about 40 pounds since high school.

So here I lie with four stinky gum holes and no chance of eating anything solid today and feeling hungry because of the blood seeping into my stomach. Ew, I know but it's nice to share with you, dear reader! I'm watching movies on my laptop and icing every 20 minutes. Don't you wish you could be here too?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Screw it. I'm goin' to Disneyland

Mr. Na and I are off to the O.C. for a Disney bender. My 20th high school reunion is this weekend. Whoopie! At least it'll get my mind off of wisdom teeth extraction and cervix scrapings.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

"You're 'here' and cervical cancer is 'here'"

Thus spoke my gynecologist yesterday as he spread his arms wide and made two fists--one demonstrating my cervix and the other cancer. And while the distance between the two was vast, I still cringed when he told me I'd had two bad pap smears in a row, thereby making it to the bonus round for my first ever Colposcopy complete with biopsy, if needed.

Yeah, so I know--it's a fairly common procedure and one in which many women have walked--er, hobbled away from it dysplasia-free, but fuck you if you've never had it done and you think it's a walk in the park. In fact, I would personally like to come to your house and drag you down the street on your nose. A mile or so would do. That would give you a rough idea how much slicing off a piece of my cervix will hurt me. And just how do I know this? I've had an endometrial biopsy before where they take the equivalent of a juicebox straw, thread it into your cervix and scrape off a piece of your endometrial lining just to have a nice look-see. So basically anything, unless of course it's a blunt object belonging to the opposite sex, touching my cervix is a no-no and certainly one that involves sharp edges is just flat-out wrong.

Since I have to have this done sooner than later, I've thought about having Pa wheel me straight from having my wisdom teeth pulled to the Colposcopy table across town.

I wonder if the twilight drugs will last that long?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Dandy Warhols/Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Showbox

Initially when I heard the double bill was playing down in Portland, before they announced their date up here in Seattle, I had visions of sneaking Mr. Na into the show since Pa was slated to be in Europe. But alas, no sneaking was required and I happily plunked down $30 for a ticket to see both bands here at the Showbox--still, to me, one of the best venues in town if you want to get up close and personal and the like.

I expected the worst from Anton Newcombe, given his history of unstable behavior during shows and so I retreated to the upper bar area, back by the sound board so I could watch the fireworks from above and stay out of any barroom brawls. But actually, Newcombe was quite subdued--if subdued is the right word for it. I'm not quite sure what illegal substance he was snorting onstage, but it only affected his banter and not his musical skills. For what it's worth, he's an incredible musician and the band he brought was complimentary to his talent.

Maybe it was the heat and the fact that we were all packed like sardines in a sweaty, smelly can--but by the time the Dandy Warhols came onstage, I was wilted. I think, too, the fact that Pa had just flown in after two weeks of being in France and England, took a cab home, showered, shaved and dressed, and took a cab to meet me in the Green Room at 11:30 p.m. (he didn't have a ticket to get into the show) may have had something to do with my waywardness...but honestly, the Dandys were just not as lively as they were last year. It seemed that they, too, suffered from jet lag and so I wandered to and fro to my Pernod-sipping husband who sat watching the bouncers chase after some hipsters who tried to sneak in.

I absolutely suck at taking pictures during concerts. I blame it on my Nikon Cool Pix which sucks ass; but this woman snapped some amazing photos which you'll have to see (note to CLR, she has some great Marah shots on her Flickr page!)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Des serpents dans l'avion

I know it's a crappy picture, but I couldn't resist.

Pa's back in Paris, giving yet another talk...and he just sent me this snap of a movie poster in the Opera District:

Or, to quote Samuel L. Jackson at the Cannes premiere:
"Serpents de Motherfucking sur un avion motherfucking!"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Backy Skanking at Bumbershoot!

Skavoovie, Loves!

Hard to believe I almost skipped last night's English Beat concert at Bumbershoot. The dog had hives, the kitchen sink was backed-up and I was still so very tired from our little trek out to the Gorge the night before. But I am sooooo glad I went because Dave Wakeling and the English Beat's special guest, Lynval Golding of The Specials were just utterly amazing! They played under the shadow of the Space Needle at the "Bumbrella" stage at 9:45 p.m. and despite the fact that it was one of the last shows of Bumbershoot, it was still packed cheek-to-jowl with Beat Girls and Boys--many of whom remember back in the day when Creepers were in vogue and boys wore porkpie hats driving Vespas.The Beat opened with The Specials' "A Message to You Rudy" and then launched into a dozen or so favorites including "Twist and Crawl", "Whine and Grine/Stand Down Margaret", "Tears of a Clown", "Mirror in the Bathroom", "Best Friend", and "'ands Off She's Mine".

I miss my Rude Boy and expert backy skanker, Pa, who's giving a talk right now in London. But I phoned him after the show to tell him that Dave and Lyn signed my English Beat poster and wrote "Stand Down Margaret!"

I've gotta have this framed!<

Sunday, September 03, 2006

People Talking and Singing Onstage While Members of the Audience Are Laughing, Crying and Peeing

I'm not sure Friday evening's event "People Talking and Singing" --the 826 Seattle benefit at McCaw Hall--can be topped. Ok, maybe the NY event was better but it doesn't count because I didn't go, so there. Several favorites were on-hand including Sarah Vowell, Dave Eggers and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) who did most of the talking while Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab and Postal Service), Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists), the Smoosh sisters and Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave--just to name a FEW--sang, sometimes together, sometimes solo and then as a jam band in the end...but more about that later.

The event was pee-in-your-pants funny. Not just a tinkle trickle either...I mean, having to get up in the middle of Zach Rogue's set and run to the ladies room funny. Yeah, yeah, impolite, I know, getting up in the middle of a performance, but dammit, I forgot my adult-sized Huggie. It couldn't be helped.

The show opened with John Hodgman as the emcee and Jonathan Coulton as his guitar-strumming sidekick who provided intro themes for each guest, including The Scorpion's "Rock You Like a Hurricane" for Dave Egger's first appearance onstage; but before that, the dynamic duo opened with a singalong about a coworker-turned-zombie who pounds on an office door singing "All we want to do is eat your brains. We're not unreasonable, I mean, we're not going to eat your eyes."

And what can I say about Smoosh without repeating what everyone else has said, thereby being redundant? They're two of the most talented teenage girls I've ever seen. It's really too bad the sound guys didn't turn up Asya's mic enough. Her angelic voice got lost among her sister's wicked drumming.

Daniel Handler then called out Colin Meloy, Sarah Vowell and Ben Gibbard to read his three-act play based on his life. In five minutes, the play covered everything from childhood troubles to college lover dumping his ass only later to wind up in a crack house. Gibbard, who played the role of Handler, was also asked to be the Voice of God which, Handler directed, should have the same voice as the one he was using for Daniel Handler.

When it was time to hold out the hats -- or, um, buckets in this case -- the audience lights came up with promises of Dave Eggers providing hugs to $20 donors and buddy punches by Sarah Vowell to those contributing $5 or more.

Before Eggers provided the audience with the tote board total, Colin Meloy made me cry with his band's beautiful new song "The Crane Wife" (the album's due out October 3) and then wowed me as he and Gibbard performed Blur's "End of a Century".

All told, over $10,400 was raised for 826 Seattle. And for being such good donors, we were treated to an onstage jam featuring Smoosh, Colin Meloy, Ben Gibbard, Zach Rogue, and Daniel Handler on accordion as they belted out Meloy's "worst song he ever wrote": "Dracula's Daughter". And while it wasn't like last year's 17 minute-long version of "Hungry Like The Wolf" it still closed the show on a perfect note.

Stay tuned for my review on tonight's mission: MaNaNa goes to the Gorge to see DMB live!

Looky at Meloy and Gibbard sing Blur:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

High School and Plays That Re-Enact High School Suck

Last weekend began with a "Bat Watching Hayride" at Seward Park on Friday evening. I don't know about you, but whenever I think of "hayride" I think of a horse pulled a wagon loaded with hay. And when I think of bats, I think of the huge flying foxes Pa and I saw in the rain forest in Australia.

But we saw neither a horse-drawn cart nor a gigantic flying fox on Friday night. Instead, a Seattle Parks and Rec truck with a flatbed trailer hitched to the back and lined with hay took us around the park to watch bats that were no bigger than Starlings.

No matter, I figured. It was still cool to see so many bats come out at dusk. The truck would've gone faster than a horse-drawn wagon if our guide hadn't felt compelled to stop every 80 feet or so to show us his Barred Owl call; but other than that, it made for an interesting evening.

Saturday morning was a lot better--starting off with Heather running to meet me at the house so I could join her for a lap around Lake Union and then up Roosevelt to Green Lake. We parted ways after 9 miles and I went home, showered and headed to Nordstrom downtown where I found the purdiest little Diane von Furstenberg Vintage wrap dress I bought for my high school reunion in October (I call it my "O" dress because it has "O's" on it. You were thinking something else, weren't you?)

So, until about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, I was pretty psyched for my reunion. But all of that optimism changed when we saw "Rewind 1987" at the Last Supper Club in Pioneer Square. Aside from the "actors"--if that's what you can call them--flitting around unrehearsed and spewing mindless banter about who should be nominated for homecoming king and queen, we picked at cold, stale nachos and drank cheap wine and mused about how much this reminded us of high school because it sucked about just as much. We were given cheesy cardboard Polaroid holders for Polaroids which were never taken and afterwards, shown to this hovel of a room so DJ Trent could play some more lame-ass selections of 80s music until 11:00 p.m. when he pulled the plug and flipped on the fluorescent lights above. All in all, it was the worst $85 we wasted in a good, long while.

But if art is representative of life, then the play did its job and reminded me how much I couldn't wait to go to college.

Mr. Na and his friend, the literary character

My friend and her husband are both sports writers for one of local dailies here and because of playoffs and such, they've been dispatched to cover some games in different cities this weekend. Their son, whom I shall call "the boy named after a literary character" is Mr. Na's age and his preschool mate, so I offered to take him in for a weekend of fun, fun, fun while his folks left town.

For the most part, the weekend was partly fun for those two but there was a lot of bickering involved. I've never seen two strong-willed four year-old boys hang out together for more than a few hours, but I never expected them to act like an old married couple. They fought over everything from choo-choos to competing about who can jump higher or run faster and, get this, they were using dirty ol nasty tricks in hurting one another that I thought were reserved only for fourth grade girls: I'M NOT YOUR BEST FRIEND ANY MORE! Yet if you each asked them if they still liked one another, they'd say "yes" without hesitating.

But despite the fracas here, I did manage to get a 10-mile run in on Saturday morning, exploring a part of Seattle I'd never seen. That's what I love about this city--even after 10 years here I still manage to stumble on new places. There are beautiful wooded running trails on the backside of Ravenna, adjacent to Cowen Park that make you feel like you're nowhere near the city, though U Village is a stone's throw away. I connected to the park from the Burke-Gilman and ran the backside of the trail until I came upon Ravenna Boulevard and then caught Roosevelt and made my way down to loop Lake Union.

Later that evening, after we put the little ones to bed and secured the Nana as our glorified baby monitor, Pa and I ventured downtown and caught Little Miss Sunshine which, by far, was the best movie I'd seen all year. I laughed so hard I nearly had popcorn coming out of my nose.

Well, it's Sunday night (sorry, I'm a few days late in posting this here) and our little literary character friend is sleeping in Mr. Na's bed while he and I are watching my favorite childhood movie (which is now his! How cool is that?) His father has just landed from Dulles and will be here shortly and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. All things considered, I like having one little guy to contend with, not two.

Not yet, anyway!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pa, Na, Ma and 66,827 other fans...

After last night's soccer match between Real Madrid and D.C. United, I couldn't understand why we 'Mericans never warmed up to the whole futbol thing. I mean, sure, sure, we had a sellout crowd last night in our little Seahawk Stadium, but soccer has never truly caught on here in the states as much as it has the world over. We care too much about more important sports like, uh, NASCAR or 'Merican Football. And then I thought, well, why not come up with a list of reasons why people should embrace it as our national pasttime:

1)David Beckham

2) The men are hot. And I don't mean just the players on the field either. The guys watching aren't too hard on the eyes.

3) David Beckham

4) The women are hot. There were many beautiful girls drooling over the players--hell, even the soccer moms were babalicious.

5) Did I mention David Beckham? Ok then, how 'bout his cool shoes?

6) The game is only 90 minutes. Perfect for four year-olds and most of us with the attention spans of mice.

Are you there, God? It's me...uh...ohmigod I TOTALLY FORGOT MY NAME

Sunday, July 30, 2006

MTV Turns 25: Where Were You?

In honor of MTV's 25th birthday (Gawd I feel old), VH-1 Classic will be airing "Day 1"--a recreation of MTV's first day, August 1, 1981. All 6 videos shown on the first day (kidding) will be seen in all of their underdeveloped glory! I look forward to seeing .38 Special's "Hold On Loosely". Gawd that man's mane was sexy, eh?

I was one of the few fortunate to have Cablevision in my house in 1981 and so I watched MTV nonstop in it's fledgling years (yep, even during those silly "breaks" when they played instrumental music with a backdrop of space or other psychedelic images). I dug Martha Quinn's mini skirts, black tights and Converse high tops (you mean she went to Colgate?) along with Alan Hunter's wannabe Chevy Chase antics (can you believe he was in David Bowie's "Fashion" video?) and Mark Goodman's REO Speedwagon-esque 'fro. It was, in my opinion, the greatest time for MTV because it brought the likes of Adam and the Ants, Simple Minds, Split Enz, The Specials (and Fun Boy Three AND Bananarama) and, of course, Duran Duran into my living room.

Set your TiVo!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Race Report: Seafair Triathlon

Normally when I know I have a race in the morning, I have a hard time getting to sleep and sleeping through the night before. It's one of those things where I'm so keyed-up, and I know I need to get up so damn early, I can never give myself a moment's peace and wind up tossing and turning until it's time to get up.

On Sunday, however, I lucked out. I don't know what it was, but I slept from 10:00 p.m. until 4:10 a.m. and got up without any problems. I hope that's the beginning of a new trend!

It was still dark outside except for a fissure of light in the east. I knocked on the den door to make sure Mary was awake and headed for the shower. Two of the greatest things known to mankind: morning showers and double-tall lattes were at the top of my to-do list before we left the house.

Mount Rainier came out for us in all of her glory Sunday morning! You know, ten years living here in Seattle and I still never get tired of her majesty. She stood tall like a beacon as we made our way down I-5 to Seward Park.

Anyone who was on the road at 5:50 a.m. had bicycles racked on their cars. We were driving in formation on the freeway, then on to Rainier Avenue South, adding more cars to the flock the closer we got to the event. Of course, none of us could park at the actual park--and so we unloaded the truck about a mile away from the event. Sort of like a pre-tri warm-up, I guess, since our bags were loaded with our gear and we had our bikes in tow.

The sun hadn't quite made it over the ridgeline, so I was quick to put on my wetsuit the moment we set up in the transition area. The air outside was a cool 56 degrees and, in fact, when we made our way down to the beach, we found the temperature of the water to be warmer than the air, and kept our feet warm as we waited for our wave (the last one of the whole race) to be called.

The race announcer was a dead-on Principal Skinner from The Simpsons. So there were a few chuckles from the crowd as we hoped he would say, "BART SIMPSON, the school dress code specifically forbids the wearing of earings unless you're of gypsy extraction". But no such luck!

It was a lot of fun watching the brightly-colored capped swimmers make their way counter-clockwise around the lake and the extra time we had, waiting for our wave, allowed me time to see the mistakes a few made. A lot of people on the edge of the pack seemed to stray farther away from the buoys which basically meant they wound up swimming farther in the long run, and taking extra time getting back on track.

Finally, our wave was called into the water and I found a spot on the outer edge so that I wouldn't get too clobbered by feet or arms. The horn sounded and we ran (as much as one could run on silt and waist-deep) until we felt comfortable enough to dive in and swim.

During the first few strokes I heard a few voices around me shout for help and I thought "My gosh, so soon?" But honestly, if you're not used to swimming in open water or in a pack, it can feel overwhelming and it takes a long time (if you can at all) to catch your breath. I was really glad I had done a few open water swims prior to the tri and participated in a competition, so I knew what to expect. Otherwise, I might have been one of the participants clinging on to a surfboard!

No matter how much I wanted to stay on course, I still felt like I was also swimming on a diagonal and straying too far. Halfway around, I looked at my watch and saw I was in the water already for 12 minutes. I felt I wasn't going to make my time. But rounding the third buoy, I managed to pick up a little more speed and I actually relaxed a little until I hit the milfoil. The closer I swam to the beach, the thicker it got until it began covering my face when I came up to breathe! I felt like the creature from the Black Lagoon!

When I hit a sandbar, I got up and walked briskly out of the water. Padding on the timing mat, my watch read 20:57 and I didn't feel too bad. This was, after all, my first tri and I suck at swimming!

There was no way I was going to run to my bike, but I did manage to walk fast and unzip my wetsuit along the way so that by the time I got to it, I was already taking it off. I stepped on my towel to dry my feet and used another towel to dry off my body. I had already pinned my race number on to my cycling jersey but as I tried putting it on, I popped one of the pins and ripped the bib, so I spent some time re-pinning it. It was also tough putting on socks and my running shoes with my feet still wet. I stashed a Gu into one of the pockets on the back of my cycling jersey and donned my helmet and bike gloves. As I reached for my bike, I saw Mary come up from the beach. We traded "good lucks" and I wheeled my bike out of the transition area. The mat beeped and I looked at my watch. I had spent 6:40 in the transition area. What a waste of time!

I started out pretty strong on my bike since the road was flat a wide open. We followed Lake Washington and headed toward I-90 and although my bike shorts were still wet (I wore them under my wetsuit) I wasn't as cold as I had been prior to the start of the race. I passed a few people and switched gears in anticipation of the hill going onto the express lanes of the freeway and made my way on to the top and out of the chute. I rode anywhere between 13.5 MPH to 20 MPH depending on the road. Going across Lake Washington was breathtaking with Mount Rainier to the South and the 520 bridge to the North.

The course was like a bowl with one big steep hill before the turnaround. At the hill, my speed was quickly reduced to about 8 MPH and I just pushed my way through to the turnaround. I had made the halfway mark (6 miles) in 27 minutes. Coming back, I spotted Mary in the opposite direction and shouted "YOIKES AND AWAY!!!!!!!!!" and she smiled and gave me the thumbs up.

I was flying at 23 MPH until we got to the bowl before the end of the freeway. I passed a guy on his left, giving him plenty of notice but as soon as we got off the freeway, I could tell his little ego was bruised that I passed him because the a**hole shortly thereafter decided to pass me ON MY RIGHT without saying a word. I quickly schooled him and passed him again, leaving him in a trail of dust! Ah, I love sweet revenge.

I passed a few more women but there was one woman who seemed to be a lot closer than three bicycle lengths behind me. I never looked back but I could sense she was close especially when the course volunteers were saying "great job you two" as if we were together. She never passed me either and in hindsight, I'm thinking the bitch was drafting me! As we approached the entrance to the park, I slowed down and she flew right past me, having drained me from my last little energy reserves. Curse you, L.V. from Seattle Washington. Nevertheless, we had the same bike time: 48:12.

I dismounted and got to my rack only to find that my original spot for my bike had been taken, and so I hung my bike farther away from my bag, praying that no one had stomped on my stuff and smashed my cellphone and camera. I took off my helmet and gloves and broke into a jog as I made my way through the chute and onto the running course. My legs felt like rubber. At least my transition time was a lot shorter this time: 2:26.

I felt there was no way I could pick up my pace. And despite all of the brick work I had done beginning in June, I still felt pain in my shins and I figured if I could just run the course at a 10 minute mile, I'd be ok, which worked out fine until I hit the hill in the second mile. I was spent. I need to do ALL of my brickwork outside instead of doing ANY in the gym. The hill really knocked me out and I reached for my Gu. Someone coming down the hill called out that there was water at the top and I was thankful--otherwise, the Gu would've gone down a lot harder!

I tried to make up for my slow down as we headed back down the hill--and did so for a bit, but I realized I wasn't going to finish in under 30. We rounded the lake and I saw the finish line, imploring my quads to work harder, but finished in 32:13. Curse you hill from hell!

I felt great, though, despite my lagged time in running. Usually when I'm done with races, I'm pretty winded and I need some time to settle down. But after I finished, I grabbed a bagel, a Jamba Juice smoothie, my finisher's medal, and a water and headed back over to the finish line to cheer Mary in. I was thinking about when I could do another one though I'm planning on running the Seattle Marathon in November and I need to start training for that this week! But what a great experience! And it's definitely one I won't soon forget!

So, overall, my time was 1:50:29. My splits are as follows:
Swim: 20:57
Bike Transition: 6:40
Bike: 48:12
Run Transition: 2:26
Run: 32:13

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Those Crazy Days of Summer

We just returned from a whirlwind road trip to San Francisco--first time we actually took a "family road trip" and you know what? It wasn't so bad! Sure, I think having invested in a portable DVD player for the car made all the difference, but whatever works!

Anyway, San Francisco was lovely. San Jose was hotter than hell (Pa had a few meetings in Silcon Valley), Santa Rosa had the awesome Charles M. Schulz Museum, and Ashland had Shakespeare!

We got home just in time for me to clean the house from top to bottom in anticipation of Mary's arrival tomorrow. I don't even have time to stress out about the triathlon this Sunday...but I did diddly squat last week as far as training. Too late now to freak out about it!

Enjoy our pictures for now. I hope to come up for air sometime in August!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Witches and devils (oh my!)

We saw a private screening of The Devil Wears Prada last night and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I'd never read the novel--am not a really big fan of chick lit--the only novel I've read within the last two years that falls into that genre is The Nanny Diaries and, once again, a pleasant surprise there. But Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci did an awesome job in Prada and I think every single soul that saw the movie last night could recall at least one time in their lives where they worked so hard and had such a royal pain-in-the-ass boss they forgot the meaning of life.

My "devil" came extraordinarily early in my career, thank goodness, because it allowed me to make some adjustments in my work ethics and ask myself some exceedingly tough questions along the way.

I was working for Capitol Records in Hollywood--in the Media and Artist Relations Department back when the now CEO of Warner Bros. was on the rise, promoting fledgling groups like Crowded House. She--the Wicked Witch of the East--hailed from NYC and brought with her all the brash hot-headedness one might expect from a record exec from Manhattan. I suppose living in LA for the five years before this monster came into my life softened my own temperament, which is hard to believe when I have a half dozen aunts who are from Queens and Long Island and spent my formative years in Bergen County, New Jersey, where people like Anthony Soprano really do exist.

But yes, this woman, who replaced another woman who was wooed over at Geffen and was ten times more capable and gentle than Ms. Witch, made my life a living hell and left me to decide that being an A&R rep in the music business really wasn't worth the hassle.

Ms. Witch would get herself into a lather if the Mango Koala Water (think Talking Rain) wasn't cold enough for the staff meeting and you could hear her incessant screaming orbit the round tower from the 8th floor in which we stood, practically down to the lobby thereby shaking some gold records loose from the walls. She'd scream at anybody and everybody--flinging spit through her bucked teeth--and she let everyone have a dose of her napoleonic complex--anyone who wronged her and that basically meant anyone who didn't wipe her ass correctly.

My tenure, during Ms. Witch's reign, was relatively short--in part because there was no way I could put up with her bullshit and because I, along with many others in her path, failed to live up to her expectations. I wasn't fired (never been), but darn near close. I moved on to Corporate PR where I still encountered many other wicked witches, but how I learned to deal with them I owe eternal thanks to Ms. Witch.

I have reason to believe (with facts to prove it) that there are a lot of women in the media industry who feel they must steamroll over anybody who's in the way. And there are those whose own lives are so completely miserable, that their one mission is to bring everybody else down. It's a lesson I learned from Hollywood--but having lived there--not by watching a movie.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You GO Girl!

Ugh, if I hear that catch-phrase again it'll be too soon I tell ya. I positively loathe "girl power" and last week at the Danskin clinic at REI it was just this one, big giant estrogen fest that left me feeling nauseated.

In some small way, I can understand why the Danskin Tri is so girl-centric, though. It happens to be the largest Sprint Triathlon event in the world and the Seattle race boasts about 5,000 participants; but what is truly extraordinary is that it attracts women of all ages, shapes and sizes. There must have been about 500 women in attendance last week, and a good 2/3 of them were overweight by about 50-150 pounds. Likewise, the median age there had to be about 40. There was a woman sitting next to me who registered for her first Tri and she was 62! In fact, the Danskin Tri athlete extraordinare: Sally Edwards is 58 and had just completed her 104th Tri last weekend.

But that isn't what turned me off about this event. I say all the more power to anyone who attempts to do a Tri in their lifetime. It's definitely a huge accomplishment. What bothered me was the rallying around being a woman, emphasizing that we just do things differently from those "other" people. What sort of message is that?

Perhaps there's a small amount of bitterness behind my rant in that Mary and I attempted to register for the Danskin two weeks after enrollment opened in March and we were turned away because it was sold out. Instead, we chose SEAFAIR which, in and of itself is a good race, it's just not as nationally-known and might not be as well-run as the Danskin, which has been going on over the last 17 years. Yet last week, the spokespeople opened registration to all of the attendees, pissing off a large portion of those of us who either already signed up for another race or had friends who wanted to do the race but were denied entry. I thought that was really schmarmy.

I left REI frustrated--not only because there was another opportunity to register for the Danskin, yet no one from corporate said anything about this when I called and emailed them last March; but also because the spokespeople said NOTHING about the actual race itself. Instead, it focused on the importance of training and provided women with some essential tools to begin a training program. Important to some, but not to me since I've been training for the swim over the past year and began the Tri training immediately after my marathon in April! I hoped for information about what to bring, what to eat, what to do during transitions, blah, blah, blah. Instead, I just got a Bic Soliel disposable razor and a Cubic Zirconia from Helzburg Diamonds. Wah, wah, wahhhhh.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Can't I just dog paddle?

Last night I went to a tri clinic at Greggs in Green Lake. It focused mainly, of course, on bicycles since that’s their business. I got a lot out of it even though I’ve been biking most of my life (and half of that with the same road bike!) and it put me at ease about the race. The worst thing that could happen, in my opinion, is that I get a flat. But even then, there are three Greggs employees on the route, just in case something does happen to someone. Besides, the course is only 12 miles long and it’s on the Express Lanes of I-90, so it’s not as though this is a particularly challenging part of the Tri.

What scared me was after the bike discussion when I heard a few people talk about the swim portion. Sure, I’d read that swimming in a group as large as a Tri competition means basically swimming in such a huge cluster you’re likely to get jostled and bumped the whole way; but what really made me feel nervous was the experienced folks in the room talking about getting hit in the head or elbowed in the ribs or having ones goggles ripped right off their face. The bike guy at Greggs advised those of us who hadn’t raced a Tri before to get in the open water with a group prior to the race to see what it felt like to have people swim directly over you. He also suggested ripping our own goggles off and swallowing a mouthful of water just to get “acclimated” to a competitive swim setting. My nerves spiked then since I’ve been swimming in the safety and comfort of my gyms 80 degree Olympic-sized pool, which is usually pretty empty when I go to swim in the mornings.

So the guy next to me mentioned that Green Lake is hosting an open swim competition on Sunday, June 25 at 9 a.m. Participants can choose to swim either a mile or a half-mile and wetsuits are permitted. When I got home last night, I looked it up online and realized if I wanted to participate, I’d have to register by TOMORROW—which didn’t give me a lot of time to hem and haw over it. So, I mailed it in this morning. I look at it this way—despite the fact that it’s a “competition” I certainly wont swim it that way. Instead, I’ll just do it for the experience of swimming with a large group of people so I’ll have that feeling prior to the Tri. I’m a bit nervous about it, but I’m always that way before a big “something” I’ve never done before. As I put the envelope in the mailbox last night, Pa asked, “Are you really going to swim in Green Lake?” “Yeah, why?” I asked. “Aren’t there things like Pike in Green Lake?” “Dunno,” I replied. “Don’t Pike Fish look scary? Like CrocoStimpys or something?” At that point, I just wanted to smack him.

Of course, he’s referring to one of these:

But in reality, they really look like this:

I’d prefer swimming into the cartoon character, myself, but I guess I don’t have that choice. My friend, who’s doing the Mercer Island Tri in September, will be out of town on the 25th, otherwise, she said, she’d do the swim with me in Green Lake. So I’m basically on my own. We’ll see how it goes!

Tonight is a huge Danskin Tri clinic at REI downtown. Sally Edwards will be there to give people tips on everything about racing a Tri. I’m looking forward to it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You Shall Know Us By The Color of our Face Paint

Pa’s making pancakes right now and the intoxicating smell has somehow wound its way up to my office, so my tummy’s rumbling and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to hold out! The house is abuzz with excitement as Pa and Na load their plates and move into the den to watch the TiVo’d World Cup match between Ukraine and Spain.

We’re not big sports fans around here, though Pa and I have fierce college football rivals (my USC to his Michigan) but when it comes to soccer—specifically Ukraine soccer—you’d think we were die-hards. It’s our way of bringing home a little piece of nationalism to Mr. Na who, at four, is becoming quite the little kicker himself.

In Donetsk, where Mr. Na was born, soccer is a huge deal. As piss poor as that city is, their soccer stadium is a massive temple to their gods—the Schactor team—and Pa and I repeatedly kick ourselves for never having gone to their team shop while we were there to get Mr. Na a hometown jersey. It’s one of those things you just can’t buy online and until we actually make it back to Ukraine, he’ll be without.

My cousin in Frankfurt sends me daily commentary and photos of World Cup as he’s dead-center in the thick of all the festivities. I’m amazed by all the fanfare as, like the Olympics, people from all nations have flocked to Germany to cheer their favorite team. It reminds me of the World Cup festivities in 1994 when I was living in D.C. Yet somehow Americans never quite grasped the whole soccer fever, though we’ve tried. It’s just not as exciting and glamorous for us folk as, say, American football or auto racing—which, to this day, leaves me scratching my head. Please, anybody, clue me in as to why this is so? I’d take David Beckham over Matt Hasselbeck or Matt Kenseth ANY DAY and not only for the hottie factor, either—but for Beckham’s grace.

Well, I’ve lost all self-control and now I’m headed down to gorge on pancakes and watch the game! Meantime, please enjoy some photos from Frankfurt!

Monday, June 12, 2006

You know you're out of control when...

You stay up all night trying to perfect a Herbie the Love Bug cake for your kid.

The weather could not have been more beautiful for Mr. Na's birthday party. We decorated the house in red, white and blue (and are seriously considering leaving all this shit up through 'til the Fourth of July!) and the kids loved beating the crap of of the Herbie pinata in the driveway!

Mr. Na made out like a bandit, getting some super-duper-kick-ass presents (including a toy leopard-spotted VW Bug!) All in all, it was a fine time!

Friday, June 09, 2006

SIFF'in It, Part Deux

Actually, I wrote this earlier in the week and just never posted it here. Aw well. It's still pretty timely!

Last night was another SIFF double-header, and the two films we screened couldn't have been any more different from one another; but they were equally entertaining.

Factotum (based on Charles Bukowski's novel) was excellent I love Matt Dillon -- I really do. I think he's a highly-accomplished actor and this role was a tough one. He plays a drunk who goes through a series of jobs, usually getting canned on the first day for wandering off to the bar; and though he's pretty wasted most of the time, his wit is dry and sardonic. Living in cheap rooms, with or without his drunken love interest (played by Lili Taylor) he writes short stories and submits them to Black Sparrow, who actually accepts one of his pieces, titled similarly to Bukowski's works like "Poems Written Before Jumping out of an 8 Story Window" or "All the Assholes in the World and Mine". I was bummed that Dillon did a no-show last night at the screening, but I guess he had more important things to do last night like tape an awards show. Woo-hoo.

So we walked down to Pacific Place from the Egyptian and shopped at Nordy's as a palette cleanser for the next film. Thank God, too, because I don't think I could've sat through both in one theatre, back-to-back. We went from gritty and raw to pouf pop.

The documentary on George Michael was enlightening in that it took his "Behind the Music" one step further with Michael explaining the whole Sony Music lawsuit and why he seemingly disappeared off the charts here in the States while continuing to sell millions of records in the rest of the world. I don't "love" George Michael--I grew up with Wham U.K., so to me he's like this cousin I have whom I enjoy talking to during the holidays but don't keep up with much any other time during the year. But I think he's very talented and had a lot of bad shit happen to him that pretty much took the wind out of his sails.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Mr. Na!

Hard to believe our little guy is four today. Where the hell has the time gone? I looked at pictures of him when he first came home and nearly broke down sobbing because he was so little, and now? now the kid's ready for a Herbie!

The cupcakes are frosted and ready for his preschool party this morning and I've made a solemn vow not to do anything today other than play with Mr. Na after school. We'll see how that goes!

Monday, June 05, 2006

For the Love of Herbie

As soon as Pa gets home, I'll be working on my Herbie the Love Bug practice cake number two. Number one was totaled earlier today in a rollover accident, creating a cakey, gooey, burnt mess on the bottom of my oven.

How was I supposed to know that the cake pan would become too top heavy and tip over? It's torture I tell ya and I'm really getting tempted, at this point, to fly out my friend, the best damn cake sculptress of the world; but she's got twins who are turning four in a few weeks too, and she's probably swamped with wedding season. The next best thing, she's offered, is technical support via phone.

Good thing I have enough foresight, at least, to do a practice run (or two) because I'd be in a far worse state if it was Saturday night and I had to turn around and go back to QFC for two more boxes of Duncan Hines and a box of unsalted butter. Besides, I'm working with Fondant for the first time in my life and while Krissy says it's about as fun as playing with Play-Doh, I'm a little skeptical of my skills--or lack thereof--in the cake decorating department.

You know, if I step back far enough and say, "Wait a sec, this is just for a 4 year-old," I'd probably curl into a fetal position and demand to be left alone; but I can't help but WANT to make this stupid cake (actually I'm making three--no, four, now with the one totaled, not including the cupcakes for Preschool). Perhaps it's just me being eager to please, doing everything in my power to create memorable experiences for Mr. Na. Or I'm as manic as I sound.

Either way, God willing, I will post the finished product when all is done.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

All I want for Christmas is my (kid's) two front teeth.

So there I was having a somewhat ok day given the fact that my hay fever has reached an all-time high and I had very little sleep last night when I get the page at the gym from daycare to come upstairs. Lucky me, I had just finished swimming, I had showered and gotten dressed.

I could hear Mr. Na's screams from the stairwell. And when I came in to the daycare area, he was standing on a chair, at the sink, blood gushing out of his mouth and when he saw me, howled with his sanguine-stained mouth: "MAAAAAAAAAAAA-MAAAAAAAA!"

I saw it right away--his front two teeth had been pushed back further than the other eight who--up until five minutes prior--stood perfectly aligned. My first thought was, "Jesus, I just took him to the dentist YESTERDAY!" and then I saw that massive amounts of blood pooled from the gumline and boy, oh, boy it's true what people tell you--that headwounds are the bloodiest.

It took a long time to calm him down and I asked the women at the daycare for an icepack, which seemed to help stanch the blood--and even then I wasn't too sure I wanted to see the damage. I gave him a play-by-play of everything we'd be doing to get into the car and leave and even told him we'd be seeing his favorite dentist lady again (he gives anyone rave reviews who gives him a fire truck toothbrush) and still, despite his incessant screaming in the women's lockeroom (where I still had my gym bag and purse) and in the parking garage (where I had to phone my husband then the dentist) I knew if one of us, namely me, wasn't able to pull it together, we'd be hitching a ride back home from West Seattle.

The dentist assured me he would be ok. And while he might lose his left tooth from his fall down the slide--teeth first--there won't be any damage to his permanent teeth. He's sporting a David Bowie smile right now, but hey--it's better than having completely broken teeth.

Meanwhile, I'm on the hunt now for all things Herbie for his 4th birthday party--which is rapidly approaching. I ordered a Herbie cake pan, personalized Herbie invitations, a Herbie mylar balloon, a Herbie pinata, Herbie stickers--everything short of a frickin' VW Beetle. I'm glad this little mishap happened this week and not next because it might have put a damper on the festivities.

And speaking of major bummers, we were set to see Stewart Copeland this evening at the Egyptian (a SIFF treat) but sadly, his older brother Ian has recently died of cancer and he canceled his appearance. The documentary he's created chronicles the early beginnings of the Police which Copeland shot with a Super 8. I dunno--given that Mr. Na can't have any solids these next few days, we may just have to lie low. So it's back to the garden where I'm still wrestling with my beloved Osmanthus Burkwoodii bushes. At least for tonight!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

SIFF'in It

Pa and I caught two films at SIFF on Friday night: Conversations with Other Women and Nick Cave's highly-anticipated, The Proposition. I thought Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter were wonderful together in Conversations as the divorced couple who ran into each other after 9 years (sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it???? except !!!SPOILER ALERT!!! that couple does the unthinkable and they actually sleep together...thereby making them both feel sad, lonely and depressed afterwards. Well, DUH!) At first, the split screen was a tad distracting, but then it was actually very playful in that it depicted a lot of what each character was thinking. Very nicely done!

The Proposition
was pretty damn heavy and filled with gore but beautifully shot. Guy Pearce and John Hurt--two favorites of mine were pretty good, especially Hurt who does every role over-the-top. I'm not really big on westerns--and have little to NO knowledge of life in the Australian Outback when the British were trying to "civilize" the land; but it's definintely something I'd like to learn.

So what's next--who knows. Pa and I are still SIFFting through the schedule, and as a break from all that heady stuff, we took Mr. Na to the NW Folklife Festival to see some Ukrainian dancers and musicians and chow down the usual "festival food"--not to mention perusing through the usual vendors who sell boxes in which to put your weed. And after attending a birthday party in the afternoon, we saw Over the Hedge which was, ya know, not SIFF material but cute and heavy on the adult references (Mama, why are you laughing? What's so funny?) Besides, how could you go wrong with a soundtrack from Ben Folds? Much better than that syrupy Jack Johnson who RUINED the Curious George movie.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Today was definitely a recovery day for me. I am very sore, but not so much from the race yesterday--even after having twisted my ankle. Last night I stepped on something really sharp in my office and while it feels as if I have a giant splinter under the skin of my heel, there isn't anything there.

My office is the only place where we haven't replaced the old fur floor. We never really intended it to be an office until after Mr. Na moved in. It's actually the walk-in closet adjacent to Mr. Na's room, though it's spacious like ours at a whopping 8'x12' and has it's own cute little window for peering out onto the street. We want to finish off our basement so that Pa and I can move our offices down there as soon as Mr. Na is old enough to move to the first floor, to Pa's office and number two has moved in to Mr. Na's current room.

In the future, my office will be the master bathroom, so we can have two upstairs--one for the children and one for us--but that's a long way off from now. Pa's gotta finish the kids' bathroom first...

Usually when I do a brick at the gym, I set the bike to the "Hill" setting on Level 12 and I wear a heart rate monitor so I can keep my pulse up between 150-160 bpm for 20 minutes. Then I hop off and run on the treadmill with the incline set at 2.0 and the speed between 6.0-7.0 for 20 minutes. It's been hard, though, because while my heart rate has stayed up with the cycling, it goes even higher when I try and run a 9 minute mile immediately afterwards. I need to work on that for the race. I think the best approach is to start out running slower and then increase as my exertion diminishes. Otherwise I'll be huffing and puffing the minute I get off my bike.

Today I rode for 20 and then did a recovery run (much slower pace) for 20. I then swam for only 15 minutes, doing drills. By the time I was done I was ready for a nap!

I finally broke down and invested in a really nice pair of swim goggles. They're anti-fogging which was the worst gripe I had about my former pair. Now I can see everything under the water--it's awesome!

Speaking of gripes, I have one major complaint about swimming as much as I do: I can't seem to keep my fingernails!! I've tried everything but they continue to peel and crack and they look just plain awful--so now I have to keep them "jock-short" LOL! I just thank God for this product, otherwise, my hair would be dead and I'd have to cut it short. That'll never happen! I also have to thank my awesome hairdresser of 9 years who told me to put conditioner in my hair after I've showered and conditioned it there--and then leave in the second application.

Pa is in SF until tonight. Thank goodness he won't travel for another month or so because I need to have my mornings back to work on my manuscript!

Interesting Readers

I've been getting hits on my blog from people all around the world, including readers from the Netherlands, France, Spain and Japan. Here in the States, I have quite a few people who read me on a fairly regular basis, including someone from the University of Georgia and someone in South Dakota. Just thought I'd say "hi" and it'd be really nice if you could come out an introduce yourselves!

Oddly enough, the number one search people do to get to my site is "Sporticus". That just goes to show you how many of us have the hots for that guy!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I Beat The Bridge!

Not only did I beat the stupid, ol' bridge today, but I PR'd on my 8k time. Not bad for someone who woke up at 4 a.m. and had a hard time falling back to sleep because she was bathed in sweat. I HATE that!

The morning was beautiful--such a huge difference from last year's torrential downpour. The sky was Bomb Pop blue and it was just that perfect kind of temperature where it was slightly brisk to stand still and perfect for running hard.

The only bummer was when I twisted my ankle stepping off the curb after mile 4--but it only slowed me down about a 1/4-1/2 mile.

Yesterday I got to try out my new cycle computer and I rode 15.6 miles in 77 minutes. I hit mile 12 in just under 53 minutes, so I want to bring that time down to 45 minutes or so prior to the tri. I'd love to finish in 90 minutes, but we'll see. I learned a new tip yesterday: if you wear a wetsuit for a tri, spray yourself down with Pam first so you don't chaffe. Ew! But whatever works!

Now it's back to butchering--er, uh cleaning up my garden beds. I hacked my burning bushes to pieces yesterday and now they look like shit. I hope they forgive me.

I picked Pa up at the airport on Friday after a week of being in Dallas and now he's en-route to San Francisco. Man, oh man I hardly remember what the guy looks like anymore!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mr. Na and the City of Love

Paris was--how shall I say--tres magnifique. What's not to love? It'll be pretty hard to top this birthday.

We strolled, we shopped, we supped, we saw the sights, and suprisingly Mr. Na got a lot out of it. Of course, if you ask him what his favorite thing about the trip was, he'd reply "playing cars in the hotel room!" but he enjoyed riding the Metro and climbing the Eiffel Tower and the boat ride on the Seine.

It's impossible to do everything you want to do in Paris in only a week's time. Even having been before, I needed at least two more weeks to soak in everything. I missed a Los Angeles photography exhibit at the Pompidou Center, which I thought looked very interesting and the L'Orangerie re-opened on the day we left. But we ate to our heart's content and Mr. Na managed to get some premium playground time in-between sightseeing, thanks to this book that highlighted all of the kid-friendly spots.

I'm happy to report that we stayed far, far away from Disneyland Paris and instead went to the most amazing children's museum I'd ever seen: Les Cite des enfants, which is part of Paris' Museum of Science and Industry. Mr. Na got to fix a car, build a house, ship cargo, play with pneumatics, water, grain--you name it, this place had everything suitable for a 3 year-old to get into.

More to come, but for now, please enjoy our pictures!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tellement longtemps pour maintenant, mes lecteurs fidèles et fidèles!

(Translation: So long for now, my loyal and faithful readers!) Ok, all two of you!

Team PaNaMa are off to Paris for a fun-filled week. Yep, this time we're really going. I mean it. No more cancelling at the last minute, like we did in September.

Au Revoir!

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Point in Which I Cram Way Too Much Crap into One Day

I may very well be the only person on this planet who gets stressed out over lists--any kind of list, not just the straightforward "to do" versions but anything that requires any kind of action on my part.

I have lists of library books on hold for me that if I don't check out, they will go to the next person in the queue; I have a giant list on my TiVo of things that, if I don't watch soon, will be deleted; I have a list of things to do freelance-wise; a list of things that need to be done in the garden, before spring turns into summer; a list of people waiting for me to finish this draft of my novel so they can read it; a packing list of items we will need for our trip to Paris next week; a list of things to do to prep the house for our housesitters. The list goes on! All this, on top of my usual weekly "To Do" list.

I'm becoming manic the older I get. My days are spent in hourly, half-hourly or quarter-hourly increments as I try and cram as much shit as I possibly can into one day which results in reading books while brushing and flossing my teeth and scanning media headlines on my laptop while clearing off shows on the TiVo or writing scenes in my head while playing "Candyland" with Mr. Na.

And yet, the funny thing is, if you asked me, "What've you been up to lately?" I'll reply my usual "Not much" because really, all of this stuff just gets absorbed somewhere in the recesses of my brain and goes dormant. I retain nothing! I get characters and real people confused and the lines between fact and fiction become blurred.

This is probably why I enjoy running so much. It's the only time I get to clear my head and oddly enough, while my body moves rapidly, my mind slows down. Strange, too because the time in-between runs, when I move at warp speed, I'm forgetful. Take, for instance, yesterday: I took Moofie with us to the lake to run but I forgot her leash, so the poor dog had to sit in the car and wait until I was done; I forgot my shopping list (thankful that Pa was working home so he could e-mail it to me); forgot my purse at Mr. Na's preschool; and I forgot my sunglasses in my friend's babyjogger.

Running clears all of the clutter and noise out of my head and I'm able to focus on a few things (i.e, my breathing and stride) rather than a few thousand. It's actually easier for me to relax during my runs than it is to lie in "Savasana" ("corpse pose") when I practice yoga.

Over the last five weeks, I've shifted my training from simply running to include biking and swimming in preparation for the triathlon in July. And while the crosstraining, overall, has been fabulous, I really miss the long runs I was doing before the marathon. Long bike rides, for me, doesn't give me the same mental space for some reason and so it doesn't give me the same satisfaction.

I guess I'm weird like that! As if you didn't know!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thomas Dolby at the Fenix

For me, Thomas Dolby will forever be one of the biggest icons of New Wave. And so, imagine my disgust at seeing him in such an awful venue as the Fenix last Saturday night.

The Fenix, in it's former location, was once a great place to see shows. The intimate yet wide open space made it easy to wiggle my way up to the front to see some great performers, including Marc Almond, John Taylor--hell, even Buckethead was mildly amusing if not terrifyingly loud.

But the new space is cramped, flanked by a wide staircase and low hanging balcony with barely enough room on the main floor to accomodate concert attendees, much less TMDR fans who've waited 15 years to see him again.

TMDR did put on a wonderful show, though I was pinned between DJ Trent's table and the fire door door and couldn't hear a damn word he said to the audience, nor see his fabulously elaborate video production. It made me pine for the experience I had seeing him at the Wiltern Theatre during the Lost Toy People tour.

I might've scored a better spot in the venue if I had camped out starting at 8 when the doors opened, but that would have meant standing in one place until 10:45 and suffering through the opening act, Basic Pleasure Model, which Pa renamed Amalgam since they basically sounded like anybody else.

But we meandered through the other levels of the club, since there were plenty of wide open spaces OUTSIDE of the room with the stage and listened to DJ Trent's 80s playlist and even tried our luck in scoring a highly-coveted "purple stamp" that appeared on random receipts for TMDR merch-purchases, which qualified lucky recipients to meet him 15 minutes after the show. I struck out.

And so, my excitement was quelled by a lackluster evening. I was so looking forward to seeing Thomas Dolby, I had dusted off all my records, including one of the first 12" singles I bought--"Hyperactive!" and played them ad nauseum weeks before the concert.

So much for great expectations!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day!

I remember when this first came out in '92. I heard it last night on Kevin Cole's show on KEXP and it's been in my head all day.

The suit that makes the monkey

I am now the proud owner of an O'Neill Reactor wetsuit, which I'll be wearing while I brave the chilly, murky, Nutria-infested waters of Lake Washington while training for and participating in the SEAFAIR triathlon.

I love it, this hulking piece of neoprene. It's way cool and it was on sale for $65 at GI Joe's and best of all, Mr. Na says it makes me look like a superhero.

This weekend is the "Friends of the Seattle Public Library" book sale at Sand Point and as a "friend" I was able to get into the super-huge airplane hangar last night and shop before the crowds. Apparently there are many other "friends" as the place was packed last night--which is a good thing for the library and a bad thing for people like me who can't stand huge crowds. I swear people fart in crowded places just so they can clear the area. And it works, too. There's nothing worse than going to a place right after the dinner hour and succumb to other people's highly noxious gas. Truly nasty.

I made a huge mistake in not reading the fine print on my invitation indicating that as a friend, I could purchase up to 25 books and you can only imagine my frustration when I had to argue with Pa and Na to get rid of the extra 25 we had. Despite that, I am very pleased with my purchases. You can't go wrong with spending only $1 per hardcover book.

I can only blame my mistake on how much I ran around town yesterday. The highlight was having to go to the Northwest Outpatient Imaging Center for an ultrasound. See, I've had this god-awful pain on my right side for about a week now and I was worried that it was either some sort of cyst or I twisted something internally during the marathon. Going for an ultrasound sucks, too, because you have to drink a whole quart of water an hour before the appointment and while you feel like you're gonna pee at any moment, the lab tech takes the doppler and PRESSES DOWN on your bladder to get a good look at your innards. Sure enough, I've got a 2cm cyst which doesn't seem like it's creating a torsion (twist) but it definitely hurts like hell. I'll have to wait to hear from my doctor on Monday, but I just wish the fucker would go away.

Anyway, I'm sure that's more information than most of you wanna know, so I'll leave you now with a little something that Mr. Na picked out at Dilettante for me for Easter.

I think he's trying to tell my that I talk on my cellphone too much. Nevertheless, it was tasty!