Saturday, June 27, 2009

Travel Makes You Smarter

I'm convinced its true, you know. Not only do you get the experience of visiting a (maybe) new locale, but you get the getting there experience, too. Is there anything better, really, than people watching in the airport?

Last week, my Adventure in Getting Smarter involved a trip to Duluth, MN for Grandma's Marathon . Lake Superior decided to take a mini vacation that weekend, too, so there were no welcoming breezes along the scenic 2-lane, black-topped highway from Two Harbors to downtown Duluth. My (second in two months) attempt at a marathon PR was yet again thwarted (last month, the hills of Cincinnati kept me slow). I need help, is what I learned. And so I've been researching marathon programs, picking the brains of faster friends, and generally becoming obsessed with running.

This week, my Adventure in Getting Smarter involves a little bit of work, a little bit of fun, and even some running. I'm attending a conference in Portland, OR on using the data we gather from testing the kids I work with. Exciting, I know, but Portland is pretty cool. I've been here about eight hours, and not only have I already found a Trader Joe's at which to spend my per diem allowance, but I've also found a local running shop with a Tuesday night running group- "open to everyone, no matter the pace!"

So maybe I'll post again on what, exactly, I learned from this conference. Or maybe I'll post a lot of swear words, crabby from brain drain and data and aggregated results, etc. etc. etc.
Also, Pandora (Internet radio station) is a sanity saver. Check it out, and have a great week.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Ol' College Try

That, dear readers, is Mr. Fix on the left, and our dear old friend, Freddy, on the right.  I believe they're in their dorm room at the Herman Crown Center downtown Chicago.  Or someone's room.  Dateline 1990.  We recently reconnected with the crew via the magic of the Internet, and its been so good to catch up on everyone's lives.  Of course, catching up has brought back memories of the shenanigans we pulled, the parties we rocked (anyone remember the one at the loft above Trent Reznor's place? And how we kept seeing that white owl?), and the people who have now walked on.  *sigh*

Which brings me to the reason for this post:  college.  Daughter #1 is officially a senior in high school now.  She is also the class president (Among her official duties? Speaking at the commencement ceremony next Spring.) and the drum major for marching band (the music program at her school is top-notch).  All of this means that we now need to look seriously at college options.  My luxurious three-day weekends this summer? Interrupted by the need to visit colleges and give them the thorough once-over.

When I was a high school senior, I had already made up my mind about college.  I visited maybe three colleges, and made up my mind the minute I set foot in Chicago that "THIS is where I belong!"  I loved everything about the city and the campus, and really kinda failed to investigate the more mundane tuition and housing.  Well, my mistakes will be her gain.  Not that I regret my decision- not at all.  Its just that perhaps my parents were less than enthusiastic about my choice (and honestly, there were still going to be six younger mouths to feed once I left for college), and probably were concerned about their lack of ability to help out in any way, shape or form.  What did they know about art school? Nada. It made me develop a thick skin, and a very independent outlook on things. Which I also don't regret.

Right now her choices are pretty general, but I can see her beginning to narrow her focus.  Visiting campuses I'm sure will help things along.  I'm wishing and hoping that the process for her will be as serendipitous as it was for me.  No Chicago = no Mr. Fix or Freddy (or Throb, Thor, Dan, Christian, John, Sandy, Roz & Jen...).  Again, *sigh*

Other than those musings, I'm still in fighting shape and ready to give yet another marathon the Ol' College Try.  This time around its Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN.  Weather forecast? Sunny, humid, and 80 degrees.  The high temps lately where I live? 57 degrees.  You can guess how this is gonna go: either I'll acclimate immediately and run great, or I'll buckle and swear the entire run.  I'll keep you posted.

Have a great week, and if you're able, find an old friend and reconnect.  You'll feel good, I swear.