Friday, October 31, 2008

Greetings, My Fellow Witches!

And a beautiful and Happy All Hallowed Eve to you! Are you going trick-or-treating? I'm going to be working (yes, on a Friday night) on my department's project: "The Trail of Terror!" There is a nature trail that runs behind the school buildings and bus garage and the like, and my boss and other staff members have turned it into a haunted trail. Bonfire, hot chocolate, and hot cider at the end, if you make it out alive...

I wasn't going to post anything about my race last weekend in Cape Cod, because the race itself was kinda shitastic. But I've had time to think about it, and for your reading pleasure (and to help usher in this new season of "giving thanks") I'm posting here my "From The Editor" article from my running club newsletter.

Can you recall the last time you were let down after you allowed yourself to build on the anticipation and excitement of something new? I sure can: my latest marathon adventure. Yep, the one I was sooo excited about because of the key sponsor (Dunkin’ Donuts), and how I’d get donuts at the end of the race. The one where I was going with one sister, one friend-of-sister, two friends, one spouse-of-friend, three children-of-friends, and one mother-of-friend. The one in a beautiful location (Cape Cod). The one where I’d have all of my training come to fruition in the form of a 4:40 finish time.


I should have suspected things were not going to be as they seemed when The Double Dee lost her ID at the airport in Marquette. No, wait- it dropped into a security bin and she wasn’t allowed to look and try to find it because the gate agents said “We’ve already checked, and its not there.” Liars. By the time we landed in Detroit, the ticket counter had called and said- oh, gee!- they found the ID in a security bin.

Another bad sign? When my sister, Katie texts us “Boston is $*!!@# “ and has to do four laps around the airport before being able to pick us up. Another stick in the spoke of us Midwesterners? Traffic round-abouts.

The hotel (the host hotel, even) had our room ready, but the toilet was leaking, and we had to change rooms. And even though the place needed updated decor and a good hosing down with Febreeze, it was quiet and the shower was hot.

The race expo was small but sufficient. Dunkin’ Donuts had fresh coffee and donuts for runners coming to pick up race bibs and timing chips. It was here that another sign showed up: two of our running posse would not be running. One strained IT band, and one nasty case of plantar fasciitis. An afternoon of shopping up and down Main Street, viewing little cuties in their costumes for the Halloween Parade, and an encounter with a store devoted entirely to cupcakes (Cup Capes of Falmouth) brightened spirits all around.

Saturday night the rain came down in sheets and the area was blanketed with thunder and 60 mph gusts of wind. Sunday morning broke with a light drizzle, 94% humidity, and volunteers and spectators wishing everyone “good luck.” I honestly didn’t think I’d need it.

Fast Jessica started waaaay ahead of us (and finished that way, too, in a fantastic time of 3:36), and then I left Katie and Kimmie at mile two. Things were going great, the rolling hills were really tough, I was hitting every mile right on pace, and then just past mile 17, but before mile 18, my left hip went *ting* and popped like a shoulder impingement. My leg literally buckled, and I had to catch myself. Talk about being caught off guard! I managed to get to mile 18 and the next water stop, but resigned myself to the following pattern: running until the pain came back, walking until it went away. I crossed the finish line in 5:24 a bit sore, a bit tired, and absolutely ready for my donut.

Guess what? No donuts. Nope. As a matter of fact, the finish line area went like this: 1) Cross the finish line. 2) Volunteer places finisher’s medal around your neck and offers congratulations; you smile and say, “Thank you.” 3) Volunteer wraps space blanket around you, while another volunteer removes your timing chip. 4) Walk past a table set up with cups of water and Cytomax, mixed in too weak a solution. 5) The End.

No donuts. No bananas. No oranges. No bagels. No “Six Pack Running Posse.” No 4:40 finish time. How do you salvage such a disaster?

You remember to be thankful for being able to finish (my sister and her friend dropped out at mile 16). You remember to be thankful for having friends to comisserate with afterwards. You remember to be thankful that the rain stopped, and the 65-degree sunshine came out to smile on your shoulders. You remember that you bought two cupcakes yesterday, but only ate one. You remember the mantra: “Any day I can run 26.2 miles is a Good Day.” You remember to be thankful for experiencing something new, even if you’ll never repeat the experience again.

And so the rest of the weekend was uneventful. With that behind me, I can focus on my next marathon adventure and the coming of the new season, Winter. I know that after the rush of anticipation and excitement of these big, new things- and any disappointments along the way- I’ll remember to give thanks for the smaller, more familiar ones.

And there you have it. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It Is Time

Itineraries are printed off and double-checked. Fast Jessica and the Fast Doctor are already in Boston, and me, the Double Dee, Katie and Kimmie (how cute do they sound?!) are touching down tomorrow.

Breathe in tonight, crisp Great Lakes air; breathe in tomorrow, salty Cape Cod sea spray. Breathe in and out Sunday morning; repeat for 26.2 miles (approximately 4-5 hours).
Breathe in, cross the finish line; breathe out, catch your tears of joy.
Breathe in, delicious donut smell; breathe out, and begin planning the next run.

So goes the weekend for me. I'll report back on Tuesday (unless I get all fancy and update from my crazy-too-many-functions-for-one-piece-of-technology phone) and let you know how everything was, donuts included!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Renovation: The Saga Continues

This (below) is what it looks like in my kitchen as of 9:00 pm Friday night. Notice the beautiful new window, and beneath it, the space where my kitchen sink once was.

And this (below) is where my kitchen sink is now. Resting haphazardly among old cabinets and dog poop, taking in the ammonia smell from the rabbit hutches.

After that was taken care of, Mr. Fix ripped up the old linoleum from under those cabinets, and stripped the last bit of flooring. This morning he is putting in a new subfloor before fixing the plumbing and installing base cabinets. The ripping up stuff with a crowbar looked like this:

Ah, yes. Just a flurry of activity. On a happy note, I'm learning to mess around with the camera I've had for three years now. Hence the photo above, capturing Mr. Fix's activity.

And on a bummer note, got a call from The Double Dee this morning. She is going to Cape Cod next weekend for the marathon , but has come down with a nasty case of physical-therapy-needing plantar fasciitis, and will not- "unless there is a case of Divine Intervention"- be running with the rest of the crew. If anyone else out there has had this condition, you know it sucks, big time. And if any one of you out there is a runner, especially a distance/marathon runner, you know what a drag it can be to train train train, and then get injured. But, in true Double Dee fashion, she was optimistic and upbeat. Don'tcha just love your optimistic friends? They can make you smile whether you'd like to or not.

Enough chit chat for now- Mr. Fix and I are going to fiiiiiinnnnnaaaaallllllllllyyyyy get appliances. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Call It Fall

Crisp air, bright flowers with dying-back vegetation, and one week until my marathon can only mean its officially Fall, or if you prefer, Autumn.

Besides making art, gloating over my winning pick for Project Runway , and being busier than all get out at work, I'm considering adding to my proverbial full plate. I am about 80% sure I'll be going to the only craft show I've ever gone to (sponsored by my mother's school/church) to sit and socialize with Katie and Hanukkah, and hopefully make some cash. The show is the weekend before Thanksgiving, which gives me about one month to pull some tricks out of my hat. It may mean taking Fridays off of work for awhile (not a bad idea...). I'm going to play non-committal again and say "We'll see."

Other news? Mr. Fix has finally begun constructing our kitchen cabinets. Yay! I've been told that the base cabinets will be installed this weekend, which means no kitchen sink. That's right: no kitchen sink. I can deal- I'm not really what you'd call a "cook" and have certainly advocated for the exclusive use of Chinet at least once before now.

I've just re-read everything I've just written, and you can't even tell I'm going to kill the dog, can you? I sound normal and upbeat, right? Good. Because I came home from work around noon today to find the #**!@ dog asleep on my new couch. Death is his mistress now. (And lest you be disturbed by the notion of me actually murdering the animal, please note that my husband does not let me near any firearms- or even chainsaws and stuff- and that said animal will be relegated to basement living for the rest of his pathetic days.) Aaaannnnnddddd....onward.

Okay, I feel better now, and my clear mind will make it easier to complete my "fun" work here in my "studio" (just a small room at the back of the house). Start some laundry, turn on the iTunes, and make it work! Carry on! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Couple of Pieces

So, every year our local arts center, the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center, hosts a juried exhibit of Upper Peninsula artists. I entered three pieces this year, and well, we'll see what happens. The first piece (above) is from late 2006/early 2007 and is felted wool. It's title is Glance (David).

Next up is a piece I titled Roots or Wings. Its a collection of smaller pieces that I intend for viewers to "read" from the top left to the bottom right, like a person would text. I know its hard to see all of the individual frames, so I've also included a detail shot. The medium used for this piece is a mix of some watercolor pencil, acrylics, embossed stamps, and machine stitching.

The last piece I entered for consideration is titled Happy Little. It is hand embroidery at its most detailed and labor intensive (for me, anyway).

As I mentioned before in a previous post, I'm working on two new pieces. I'm also trying out a new handbag pattern, with the potential for a craft show with my pseudo sister, Hanukkah (she makes fabulous jewelry , and in her spare time, teaches junior high art in the Chicago area), and my actual sister, Katie (yes, she of the "dragging my feet to the finish line" school of marathon training). It's tempting to commit, even though I'm busy as all get out. For one, they are two fantastic ladies, and we have a blast doing this show; two, I'd get in a visit to the fam before the holidays; and three, I'd get to meet Baby Grace. I'm 80% there...

In a bit of spousal bragging, I'm also posting pics of the three paintings Mr. Fix submitted to the same juried exhibit. For your viewing pleasure, please to enjoy (top to bottom): Media Generated Viruscape, Avocado CP3PO, and SOTA.001. All three are acrylic on panel, and are pretty big compared to my baby fiber pieces.

And lastly, I'm not forgetting, but I am still thinking about Project Runway and how the final three panned out. I guess I knew the judges/producers kept Bipolar Stupid Kenley around for a reason, but boy oh boy did I wanna see Jerrel's designs walk the runway! Did you see those gowns? So much bling! So much shiny shiny to attract a magpie Sagittarius like myself!

Well anyways, my money is still on Leanne. That wedding gown was just gorgeous. Makes me almost want to get married again. Almost. Check it out below.

The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice- it was striking. The other designer to make it to Bryant Park was Korto. And as I have been in the past, I was a bit underwhelmed. Didn't like the wedding dress, but loved the bodice of the bridesmaid's dress. Lastly, Leanne has an Etsy account/store! The Devil forwarded me the address, and I'm more than happy to share it with y'all. Go here .

Now, I'm off to find some nourishment for myself and Daughter #2. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The image kinda says it all: Girls Rock!

I am, of course, referring to the newest girl member of my family: Grace Elizabeth, born October 4th and weighing in at a not-too-traumatizing 8 lb. 7 oz. (considering her older brothers came in at 10+ lbs. each) and a respectable 18 1/2" long. Mother is my sister, Sissy and she and hubby Jack have two sons, Jake and Connor. Finally, some estrogen! Congrats! Now I need to start on that cashmere sweater for Grace!...

What else is up? Well, I'm all done with shiva for Paul Newman. He was so fantastic. I am now recovering from a 16 mile run I skipped last week because I was still sick. I'm better now, and I was talking to my friend, Fast Jessica, and thought out loud that training and running for a marathon is a lot like child birth; months of work and preparation, and right at the tail end of things, you ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" and hobble your way through 16-18-20+ mile runs. The reward is, of course, in the final product (baby or finisher's medal...which do you prefer?). And, inevitably you have that bout of selective amnesia and forget all about the pain you went through just moments ago and begin planning your next race. Or child. Whatever.

Project Runway had such a shitastic ending this week. I could just feel the judges wanting so very badly to punch Kenley in the mouth. And honestly, if I had that reach-through television I've been dreaming about, I'd have offered up my ubiquitous Bucket of Bricks to the judges so they could throw them at Kenley, too. Now we just have to wait and see the finale...are we taking bets on winners? I'm gonna go with...Leanne. Just a hunch, and plus, I like her stuff. Honestly, I'll be happy with anyone except Bipolar Kenley (The Doctah pointed out some very interesting similarities between Kenley and people who suffer from bipolar disorder).

Okay peeps, I'm outta here. Have a great week!