Thursday, August 31, 2006


Homeward Bound

Last night was a big night for me. In addition to the weather being more agreeable, humidity-wise, than it had been in a while, I accomplished a sizable personal goal. Yes, I actually did my first 5 mile run. That last half mile sure did hurt, but it was totally worth it.

But let's hold our applause. Because I have to double this distance in about 6 weeks for the 10-miler, I decided to sign up for a 10K (6.2 miles) in my dear, sweet, quaint hometown of Charlottesville as incentive to push my training and up my mileage. I'm looking forward to the familiar geography and some friendly, familar faces.

Personally, I think I might spend the entire 6.2 mile run figuring out what I'll have at Bodo's, but really, that's silly. I always know what I'm going to have a Bodo's. I've been ordering the same thing since the 8th grade.

Would anyone mind just crossing their fingers for a moment for me, though?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


OO-ee, OO-ee baby, won't you let me tell you 'about my.. sea cruise

Strictly by the numbers: (perhaps pictoral evidence to be provided later -- only because I haven't personally moved into the age of digital photography and I'm waiting on Target to get my 35mm film back. Please take this opportunity to crack any and all "What, you still use 35mm cameras?!" jokes now....)

Friday, August 18, 2006


Someone else's snakes beat me to it...

I am stupified to figure out which is worse/more strange:

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Baby, Let's Cruise

Wow, you lucky dogs, two posts in less than 24 hours! What is the world coming to? Clearly my busy summer vacation has had me juggling my precious time between Judge Judy and the gym. Finding time to tool around on the internet? Phooey!

In a means to celebrate his exodus from academia (and sadly, my ultimate return to it. {Aug 28th: LAST YEAR OF NUSING SCHOOL. Be there.}), we are scheduled to be aboard the Carribean Princess on Saturday evening to embark on another delicious 7 day cruise to the Eastern Carribean (barring any typhoonish surprises from Mother Nature..).

I am of the opinion that whoever invented cruises (Christopher Columbus? Blackbeard? A viking?) should be cannonized for sainthood. 7 full days of constant entertainment and stimulation. 7 full days of 24 hour buffets, all-you-can-eat lobster dinners (which is O for me..ew), cookies at bedtime and breakfast on the balcony. Should the ship encounter disaster and begin to sink, I'd stay with our brave captain -- because I'm sure I could get a few more laughs from the comedian, another OO, AHHH at the magician, maybe actually win BINGO and get back to the buffet for the brownies before we were actually submerged.

Because Princess Cruise lines wants to let every passenger's friend and family member live vicariously through them, they've provided a 24 hour (what isn't 24 hours on those ships?!) live webcam feed from any ship in their fleet. At any point, you can log on and see where we are -- most likely, it'll be a seascape (my mother's chief complaint: "All I can see is the ocean, I want to see you on the ship.") -- and sadly, there are no crowds of colorful natives streaming into the water to greet us and carry us back to their camps as their kings. At times it rotates and you can get a sweet view of the ship. And although I cannot guarantee that I can be on that upper bridge to wave at you, you could imagine me somewhere on deck, deleriously draped over a pool chair with my favorite book in hand trying to catch melanoma.

Be on our cruise in spirit. Select "Carribean Princess". Once viewing, you can also elect to see any nuptials in our very own Carribean Princess wedding chapel. (My mother's strict command: "Don't you dare get married on that cruiseship. It wouldn't be funny." I appreciate my mom's understanding of my sense of humor that getting married on a vessel by its captain would be "funny" to me. And, indeed, an homage to my seafaring brethren.) On the last cruise, the Betrothed and I had our "Muster Station" in the wedding chapel. It was a fire drill of sorts before we set sail where everyone grabs their life jacket and meets in a preordained location and we get the safety briefing -- specifically: when and when not to call "man overboard" and "abandon ship". I thought it would be most entertaining for the prospective vacationer to log onto the wedding chapel cam to see over 100 people crammed inside with life vests on.

{Sidebar: Interestingly enough, one of our safety directions was to not throw anything off the ship; don't be an oceanic litter bug/fish, essentially. This included lit cigarettes. Shortly, as in days, after we disembarked that cruise, the next rabble of passengers to come aboard didn't hear/heed that warning. They lit the ship on fire. (If you look closely enough at the picture, the upper level of a long, windowed-room is the 24 hour buffet. Thankfully, I don't think it sustained any real damage. )We were blessed to have been the last full-cruise on that ship before tragedy struck (and incidentally, we were rooming on the other side of the ship and wouldn't have been charred -- it's likely I would have slept through everything, really.) and it headed over to Europe for some serious plastic surgery. You can see that, too, on the webcam -- see "Star Princess". }

We set sail on Saturday and head for St. Thomas and St. Maarten and then hit the Bahamas on the way back. We've got a tough life, don't we?

Be sure to visit us at sea, via webcam. I'll be sure to pour out some rum punch for all of you.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


A Masters, A Party, A Frightening New Game -- OH MY!

First and foremost, a hearty congradulations to the Betrothed for having not only, at long last, completed his Carnegie Mellon: Masters of Software Engineering (which appears to also potentially double as a title for a Star Wars sequel, prequel or postquel) with over a 4.0 GPA (I love a good nerd), but completed his masters with constant interuption from me outside the door of the office asking if he was A) Done yet. B) Wanting any ice cream or C) Done yet. Coincidentally, the Betrothed's darling younger sister also verges on completion of a masters of her own in Public Health from George Washington University -- pending completion of a pesky thesis of sorts. All in all, with 2 Masters in our very presence, it called for nothing short of a killer fiesta.

So this weekend we all converged on Pittsburgh, PA to ensure that both were congradulated properly with much IC Light (in the metal cans) and a less-than-satisfying pre-season Steeler game. The grill was warm and the laughter and goodtimes flowed freely.

Friday evening, the Betrothed and I arrived at Pop-Pop's (the Betrothed's 91 year old grandpa who is so unbelievably 'with it' for his age and was loudly singing along with his Patsy Cline CD as we pulled up. Yeah, we heard him from the front yard.). Full of delicious chinese food from dinner and a little itchy for some sport, we began fidgeting with the large blue exercise balance-ball that belongs to Pop-Pop (actual Pop-Pop usage of the exercise ball is currently unknown. But mental images of this 91 year old on the exercise ball is fairly impressive.).Thusly, "Bathroom Ball" was born.

In all honesty, Bathroom Ball has been in the works for over a year. Without rules, a valid point system or even a proper name, I was the uncontested MASTER of Bathroom Ball -- a game, that at it's very base elements involves rolling said large blue ball across the finished basement into either the laundry room (no huge feat) or making it ricochet into the basement bathroom (pretty damned impressive)-- the door of which sits perpendicular to the line of your shot. Spending the night at Pop-Pop's meant that after he was tucked in bed, a few people meandered to the basement to play some pool, belt out a tune on the player piano or roll the large ball around the room. And now, with a boring Friday night on our hands -- and 3 or 4 Bathroom Ball shots already having been made by yours truly -- the Betrothed and I set out to create the very fundamentals of the game that is bound to be at the helm of the new wave of party games. (Secretly I think that the ever-organized man I'm about to marry thought that implementing rules and points on the game would up his chances of beating me without ever having to make the Bathroom Ball shot)

I give you: BATHROOM BALL.

The objective of Bathroom Ball is to quite simply roll or "pinch" the ball about twenty feet from a seated position on the Ottoman across the basement floor to the laundry room/bathroom corner. Your goal is to clear the bathroom door with the ball -- points only awarded if the ball makes it more than halfway into the bathroom. You can score slightly less points if you can make the straight-shot into the laundry room without touching anything -- "nothing but door". And the least points area awarded for a shot that ends up in the laundry room, regardless of how many "nips" it might make of the walls along the way. A "pincher" is given 5 rolls to amass as many points as possible, and the first player to 20 at the end of the "inning" wins.

Yes, I did make a diagram:

Within a matter of an hour, the game was the hit of the party and most of the Betrothed's family and friends were clammoring for their favorite Pincher to get the coveted Bathroom Ball shot. After a pinch, the crowd literally fell silent in anticipation of the ball's destination. Each winner was crowned with a rather delightful winner's sash made of, what else?, TP. The sash was passed from winner to winner for, seemingly, hours.

(Sidenote: An extra special greeting to one of Saturday's party goers and a rowdy participant of the aforementioned game. In addition to comic relief, she was partly responsible for the strange gastric-nomenclature that befell the aspects of Bathroom Ball. Don't be fooled into thinking that we'd call the act of rolling the ball "pinching" if we weren't calling the ball the "loaf". Well done, M.)

Does this indicate a level of strange mental illness among the future in-laws? Perhaps.
Does Bathroom Ball have a commercial future? Probably not.
Did I spend the ride home thinking of how I could make our first floor into a revised version of Bathroom Ball? You bet.
Do I suspect that given an opportunity to spectate one round of Bathroom Ball that you'd be lined up on the wall like a 5th grader to "play the winner"? FOR SURE.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I got nothing to do today but smile

I blog today to share my good news:

After many, many weeks of anxious waiting, I am pleased to say that I have been awarded yet another scholarship by the hospital. With tuition and fees all paid for, I feel a drink coming on.

It really is true -- when you are meant to be on a path, God clears away all the brush and makes your path clear. I have had nothing but blessings and fantastic opportunites just pouring into my lap since I started on this nursing journey.

It is a feeling of such content knowing I am where I am supposed, even meant, to be! Ahh, today is a good day!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


We've Got Spirit -- Yes We Do!

It's a tough world out there. It's a hard job weaving and meandering your way through the daily rat-race of society today. It's hard for anyone -- from the lowest, lowly piece of lint to the most mighty, millionaired CEO. Seems nothing comes these days without a fight and a crapload of luck and will power.

And yet, we still beat ourselves up. Individually, we all have these amazing accomplishments, personal talents, wonderfully delightful stories and memories -- but who knows it? Somewhere we were all taught to keep our heads down during the race, don't make eye contact, and don't ever really pat yourself on the back -- and if you must give yourself any credit, have some decency and don't let someone else see you do it, lest they know how full-of-yourself you really are.

And to that I say, resoundingly: BULLSHIT.

I'm only going to admit this once, but I watched an episode of Dr. Phil. (*A* episode. One. Uno. Any other episodes I may have allegedly watched are superfluous here and were solely due to my summer vacation of daytime TV judge shows, any docudramas on crystal meth, juvenile prisons and any medical oddities not discussed in my nursing curriculum.) Dr. Phil, amidst the entire hour of his self-righteous blather, made a really solid point. When asked to list 10 "cons" about yourself, you can easily, NAY, readily do it. But, if you were asked to make that same list of 10, even 5, "pros" about yourself, assuming you are not in front of your bathroom mirror making out loud affirmations about yourself (ie: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough.. ), you would have some difficulty doing so. Either because you A) don't want to seem big-on-yourself in front of other people who will quickly judge you as being egotistical or worse, B) you don't honestly believe there are that many stand out qualities about yourself. Since I don't have any diplomas on my wall that have the prefix "psych" on them, I'm going to steer away from option B and assume that most people zip-it because of option A.

Yeah, I'm going to say it. I think I'm pretty great. But it's ok, seriously. Because I think YOU'RE pretty great, too. And I think you agree with me, even if you maintain your people-face poker stare while you read this so no one at your office thinks you need to get over yourself.

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't the "everyone is special, everyone is unique, everyone is like a snowflake" speech that is currently being spoon-fed to the generation creeping up behind us. It's just that it's ok to like yourself. And it's ok to say so. And it's ok to have an imaginary cheering section for yourself.

Which is my long way of admitting to you all that I do, in fact, have not one imaginary friend, but a whole mental gymnasium full of them. They have placards with the letters of my name spelled out on them. There's ticker tape involved. Coordinated cheers and chants. Even a pep band. They are all somewhat color coordinated (red being a primary color seen there, clearly) and generally resemble -- if you can picture it -- the "last-4-seconds-on-the-clock-at-the-world's-most-important-highschool-basketball-game-teen-movie-scene". It's great.

And I take them everywhere.

They anxiously gasp and nervously clutch each other when I'm waiting for that "you-got-the-scholarship" letter or walking to the front of the room to get my graded scantron. They have that collective "aww" of disappointment when things just don't go right, but that nod of understanding that somehow it'll make me stronger. I even have that single-clapping-guy who cheers me on through the tough times -- the one who claps, in solitude, convincing not only me, but the rest of the cheering section, that really, I can do it.

Which is the really long way of telling you that I had a 5 mile run slated for today. I had a small mental pep-rally before I left the house, on this, a most gorgeous day. When leaving mass today I was struck by how easy it was to breathe outside. Anyone on the east coast these days knows that it's been hotter than *insert favorite heat-related idiomatic expression here*, yeah, THAT. My newly found running career has been so on-again, off-again as the mercury and the dew point continue to rise. (Yeah, I said 'dew point'. I know my meterology.) It doesn't help that I recently read an article in Runners World magazine about a kid from my highschool (no lie) who just graduated and was slated to go to my college (no lie), but died in my hometown (no lie) from heatstroke this summer. (They even interviewed my old highschool AP American History teacher (no lie) about it). Granted, he was on a 35 mile run, compared to my piddlie 5 mile run. But heatstroke is no-bullshit, man. It's quick, it's unassuming and it's very hard to treat if they don't find your lifeless body-in-multiple-system-failure fast enough. It's making me really question that "challenge-yourself" drive that makes me finish these runs in this insane heat.

So yeah, that 5 mile run today? More like 3.3. Which made me sad. It was just so hot. Really hot. And I could find no shade. The cheering section gasped audibly when I had to stop -- they like to get all crazy when I finish the big runs -- but that single-clapping-guy clapped as I walked home -- making sure I wasn't hanging my head in shame.

True, it would have been easier to kick myself all the way home for not making 5, but why not congratulate myself for getting my ever-higher ass out there at all and making 3.3 (and hey, for not suffering from heatstroke, since I was feeling very dehyrated). So I'm still pretty up on myself about it. Thanks, mostly to, my mental cheering section. 3.3 is pretty sweet. And it'll make that 5 mile run all the more sweet when I do make it, and kick 5 miles' ass. And I'm not ashamed to tell all of you good people about it. Anyone else here burn more than 400 calories before 10:30 this morning?

I encourage you all to put together your own cheering section. Soon. It doesn't take away the easy 10-cons you can think of about yourself, it just makes them less formidable to that growing list of pros that your cheering section will be chanting about in your head. Because, let's be real. If you aren't cheering for yourself, there are very few people cheering for you who don't love you or who aren't sleeping with you. Think about it.

3.3. Go me.
5 miles, you better pray tomorrow doesn't come fast. I'm gonna get you.

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