Friday, August 31, 2007

There's a monster in my head

I knew as soon as I opened my eyes this morning that this was not going to be the greatest of Fridays. Which is sad, because not only is it Friday, but it's also the Friday that kicks off my four-day weekend.

However, the Monster in my head? The pounding, throbbing, stabbing Monster behind my left eye? He let me know right away this morning that he wasn't going to let me have a good Friday.

That's right folks, I woke up with a migraine.

I really shouldn't complain. I mean, I get maybe three or four migraines a year. But that's only because I take a daily dose of a preventative medicine, which is supposed keep the Monster tame and subdued. On the flip side, when I do get a migraine? It's awful. And it hurts. And at times, I think it might be less painful to chop my head off rather than deal with the Monster.

Obviously, the Monster has been feeling a little feisty lately. I had a few small nagging headaches this week. But nothing that a few ibuprofen couldn't handle. But this morning? There he was, ready to make my day a living hell.

And today hasn't been fun. I took a dose of the super good, migraine killing medication I have this morning before I even stepped in the shower. And while it calmed the Monster down, I still don't feel normal. My head's a little fuzzy and still kind of aches. My eyes hurt. The fluorescent lights in my office? Not fun. The stomach? Yeah, it's a bit queasy. I really don't have an appetite, but I know I should really try to eat something, just because I haven't eaten anything all day...and the Monster? He loves when I do that, because then he just gets worse. I just don't feel right. All that put together makes work a little difficult.

Right now I'm trying to force myself to eat a plain bagel. Maybe that will tame the funky feeling in my stomach. And hopefully I'll be able to finish up work fairly quickly and just be able to leave work. Because you know what sounds good right now? Lounging in my recliner, in front of the TV while thinking of nothing. Because hopefully then, the Monster will go away.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Wednesday web update

I don't have much, just a few random thoughts.
  • I'm happy to report there have been no cricket sightings in my apartment tonight. Of course, I probably just jinxed myself.
  • While work has kept me busy, I think the prospect of my upcoming four-day weekend has made the week drag by super slow.
  • I think the people at the library think I'm a speed reader. Why else would they tell me that two of the books are in that I've been patiently waiting to read since May are now in, sitting on a shelf with my name on them. This will be the second time I've attempted to read one of them. I'm not sure if you're allowed to put a book on hold for a third time.
  • I'm on my way to getting back on track with the running thing. Not only did I log 8 miles on Monday, but tonight I headed out for a 4.5 mile run. It felt good.
  • I can smell college football in the air. The Badgers kick off their season Saturday. I can't wait.
  • Did I mention I successfully finagled a four-day weekend out of the upcoming holiday weekend? I did. And I'm excited for the break.
And that's all I've got.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And I'm supposed to go to sleep in an hour?

Guys, I've got a major case of the heebie jeebies.

Here I was sitting, minding my own business while adding some tunes to my MP3 player. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a dark spot on the baseboard.

"Ugh," I thought. "A spider."

But I haven't had one of those in my apartment for awhile, so I wasn't too bothered by it. I get up from my chair to get a better look at what kind of spider I'd be dealing with and to judge just how much paper towel I would need to employ for the scoop and flush method. Then I realized. I wasn't dealing with a spider.

It was a CRICKET!

Yes, those awful things that were invading my apartment a few weeks ago. It was another one. I'm not sure how this one managed to get in my apartment as I very carefully scan the area surrounding my door before I open it to ensure none of them get in.

This one? I would have noticed if he hopped on in when the door opened. Yes, he was THAT big. And brown, which was odd because the little buggers are usually black. But anyway, there he was, just chillin' on my baseboard.

I ran for the paper towel, grabbed a hunk and wadded it up to make sure I couldn't feel him when I scooped him up. And it would have worked...if I had gotten him on the first scoop. Nope, instead he JUMPED! The cricket jumped away. And he bounced off my legs, shudder. It took me several tries before I successfully grabbed him in the paper towel. Praying that he'd stay in the paper towel (because he wasn't in there too good), I ran to the bathroom and flushed him.

And now I have fears that there are more crickets hiding out in sneaky places around my apartment. And that wouldn't be cool. Because in case you haven't noticed, me and crickets? We're not the best of friends.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I finally did it

The 8-mile run that I've been putting off for ages? The one I was supposed to do two weeks ago, but skipped because of the weather? Then I was supposed to do it this weekend and skipped it because I needed to sleep Saturday morning in preparation for the DMB concert and then I skipped it Sunday because I was working on 5 hours of sleep.

Well that 8-miles is done. Finally.

After a bit of rain this morning, it shaped up to be a somewhat decent day. Kind of cloudy, so it didn't get unbearably hot and humid like I thought it was going to. So around 3 p.m., I decided I was going for a run after work.

When I started, I didn't really have a set distance in mind. I knew I was going to go 6 for sure and maybe tack on an extra mile or two depending on how I felt. And for a while there, I thought it was going to be 6 and done. I just wasn't feeling it. But eventually the yuckiness went away and I settled into a rhythm and ran. Up Main Street, past the marina, over the bridge and through a bit of downtown. An intersection around Mile 4 was a bit awkward, when my boss spotted me and beeped a few times. I managed a wave and a slight smile and kept going. Dreading what he was thinking when he saw me and what he'll say tomorrow. But my response? "Oh, I was at the halfway point of my 8-mile run when you saw me." That might feel good.

Other than the wind I was running into on the way back, the last 4 miles weren't too bad. Mile 8 was a bit difficult. I just wanted to be home. But seeing as how this was the first time I've ever ran farther than 7 miles, I was kind of expecting it.

The time it took me? One hour, 37 minutes. Not super fast, about a 12 minute mile. But I think I slowed down a bunch after Mile 5 or so. But still, I'm OK with running a 12 minute mile during the half marathon if it means I can run the E-N-T-I-R-E thing.

Now I can say I've conquered the 8-miler. Next up, 9 miles later this weekend.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Eat, drink and be merry

What could be more fun than a night of good music, good drinks, mud and of course the Dave Matthews Band? Simple answer. Nothing.

Amanda and I made our annual trek to Alpine Valley yesterday for the Dave Matthews Band concert. Except this year, the venue should have changed its name to Mud Valley due to the muddiness of the venue, which can only be expected after getting doused with more than a foot of rain in the last week. Let's just say we got stuck pulling into our parking spot. And the hillside? Yeah, that turned into one giant mud slide, which thankfully I avoided taking a trip down.

Pre-show activities included our mini-tailgate in the parking lot. Instead of grilling we opted for sandwiches from Jimmy John's. Although the smell of all the other grills surrounding us made me curse my little grill that I left sitting in my garage because it doesn't work. And the Slim 1 just didn't taste as good as a juicy burger would have. So I drank and consumed margarita flavored Jell-o shots that Amanda had laced with vodka.

Before we knew it, it was time to head in to secure some seats on the hill. We walked in, successfully made it down the hill without falling and secured a spot of straw a few feet up from the concrete moat dividing the pavilion seats from the lawn. Then we got to people watch. And lo and behold, but who walked by? Krista's sister. Out of all those people, what were the odds?

The opening band, The Roots, they were OK, but nothing I would write home about. Although they did play this one spiffy tune that involved the melodies of "The Star Spangled Banner" and a few other patriotic songs.

The Roots finished up, the roadie took his sweet time vacuuming the stage and finally, after about 45 minutes, the lights dimmed and the boys took the stage. Let the fun begin.

It was a sweet set list. Take a look for yourself:
Dreaming Tree (tease)
Two Step
You Might Die Trying
Loving Wings
The Song That Jane Likes
When the World Ends
Louisiana Bayou
Crash into Me
Corn Bread
Dancing Nancies
Grey Street
Eh Hee
Stay (Wasting Time)
Dream Girl
Tripping Billies

I liked the new stuff I heard, particularly #27, which totally reminded me of that song from the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" And Boyd? He was on fire last night. I swear, every time that man takes center stage for a violin solo, I worry that he's going to break that poor electric violin. And wishing that I could play like he could. Last night, no different. I was envious. And mesmerized as he dueled it out with Dave during the jams in "Tripping Billies" and "Two Step." The man may not be attractive, but he's amazing to watch. And in Saturday's cool move of the night, they brought out one of their roadies to play electric guitar during "#41." And that roadie? He was amazing. He was so into it. It was cool. In the "awe" moment of the night, I had to stop and smile as I thought of Krista's wedding and her sister when Dave took to the stage and opened the encore with "Sister," the song Krista's sister sang to her during her wedding.

Now getting out of Mud Valley was tricky. Since we couldn't just all turn around after the lights came up and start walking up the hill, there was a major traffic jam. It felt like we were a herd of cattle, moving towards our certain death at the slaughterhouse. Elbow to elbow. Shoulder to shoulder. We were jam packed. There was no sudden moving, not for the little high school girls complaining about being claustrophobic, not for the drunk guy next to me who momentarily passed out standing up and then looked like he was going to barf. Nope. We were stayin' put. And the folks behind us? They were starting to get a little rowdy, so I was glad when we finally starting to kind of move. But that didn't stop a brawl from breaking out two people away from me. Punches were thrown, one guy was choking the other guy, a girl who I can only assume was the girlfriend of one of the fighters was trying to get involved. Yeah, this would be an ideal time for the security folks to get involved before a large brawl breaks out and we all go sliding down the hill in the mud.

But luckily, Amanda and I eventually got out of the venue and back to our car. Sadly, my flip flops were caked in mud and beyond salvageable, so I made the decision to leave them in the parking lot and slipped on the extra pair I brought along. If anyone finds a comfy pair of orange Nike flip flops, enjoy!

Instead of lounging around, and putting our feet up while we waited for the parking lot to clear a bit, we decided to try to head out right away. We got about 20 feet from our original parking spot when we stopped in traffic. And this 6-foot, 7-inch paramedic from Peoria, Ill. came up to our car and started chatting with us. And he was cute. And funny. And there might have been some flirting and I may or may not have passed along my phone number.

We eventually got out of the parking lot and made it back to Amanda's house in 'the burg around 4 a.m. And instead of driving the last 45 minute leg to my house, I crashed at her apartment and caught 5 hours of sleep before getting up and heading home.

Since I was working on 5 hours of sleep, I wasn't so productive today. I didn't clean my apartment. I only did one load of laundry that absolutely had to be done. And I didn't get my 8-mile run in this weekend.

But I saw DMB. And they played some of my favorites, including "Grey Street" and "Two Step" and "Dancing Nancies." And Amanda and I? Yes, we ate, drank and were merry, for tomorrow we may die.

Can't wait for Alpine 2008.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What do feet, music and football have in common? Absolutely nothing.

A few things:

The foot: It still hurt this morning when I got up, but at some point today it stopped hurting. Granted it still hurts a tiny bit, but I no longer find myself limping. That's a good thing. I was tempted to go for a short run this afternoon, but I decided to skip it, mostly because my foot isn't hurting at the moment and I kind of want to keep it that way. And I still have an 8-mile planned for tomorrow morning before I head south for my annual Dave Matthews Band concert.

DMB: The concert? It's tomorrow. And needless to say, I'm excited. I was especially happy when I looked at the forecast and saw a picture of a sun and no mention of any rain. Unfortunately, I forgot about the mud. After getting hammered with rain this week, I'm sure it's not going to dry out overnight and yes, Alpine Valley will be one big mud puddle. Standing on that hill, while trying not to slip down it, all night should be a real treat.

Football: High school football starts tonight and I'm heading out to a game, one that I have absolutely no personal interest in. Actually, it's a work related thing. But still, I'm excited to watch some football. Just not so excited for the late, 8 p.m. kick off.

Diet Coke: I spilled it on myself today. All over my white capris. At least it was after I met with the chief justice of the state supreme court.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Everty other step I take

It hurts to walk.

Wait. Let me rephrase that. It hurts every time I take a step with my left foot. Specifically it hurts on the side of the middle of my foot. Kind of in the arch area, but not really.

I can't think of what I did that could have left me with a hurting foot. Maybe I bruised it somehow. Because it kind of feels how a bruise feels when you press on it really, really hard. But then again, it doesn't look bruised.

I've tried ice and ibuprofen. But it still hurts. Maybe it'll go away on its own.

Until then, I'll just limp around in my semi-unprofessional pink flip flops.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don't worry, it wasn't loaded

I totally got to play with guns today.

And the best part? The cops suggested it. Although they probably regretted asking as soon as I answered the following question, "You know how to hold a gun, right?" with a big fat no.

Photo by Shu-Ling Zhou

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Be warned, the following is whiny

Allow me to whine and ramble for a few minutes.

I'm lacking motivation. Seriously. It seems like the last two weeks or so, the last thing I've wanted to do is go outside and run. And normally it wouldn't be a problem. But remember, I've decided to run this half marathon. And it's in a month and a handful of days. That's getting awfully close to all of sudden not really want to run.

I'm not sure why I've lost my urge to run.

It might be the weather. I mean, who wants to run multiple miles when it's 90 and humid? At the same time, the thought of an 8-mile run on an overcast, cool day when it looks like it's going to start pouring at any moment isn't so appealing either. Ideally, I'd ask for temperatures hovering somewhere around 67 with some puffy white clouds. Not too hot, no humidity and no chance of downpours. Then maybe I'd get my butt of my couch and go outside and run.

I can't blame my lack of motivation entirely on the weather though. During the week I'm fine. I come home from work, change my clothes, lace up my sneakers and head out for a run. Sure I might grumble. I might drag my feet a bit, but eventually I put one foot in front of the other and I head out for a run. And after a mile or so, it feels good. I won't lie.

But this weekend? I thought of every excuse in the book in order to avoid my 8-miler. Oh it looks like it's going to start raining. The weather man says it's going to rain all day. It's too cold. I'm tired. My bed is so comfy. This Lifetime movie? It's the best thing I've ever seen and I can't miss it (because we know they'll never replay it...yeah right). Maybe it's because I worked this weekend, so I didn't really get a lot of time off for myself. And what little time I had? I didn't necessarily want to spend it running.

Maybe this is why people sign-up to do these kinds of things with other people. A training partner is a built-in motivator. Excuses don't fly when you have someone you'll be letting down if you blow off a long run.

Anyway, I'm starting to get worried about my recent lack of motivation. I hope I haven't hit a brick wall that I won't be able to get passed. Mom doesn't think I should be too worried. But I am. I still haven't run 8 miles. And race day is approaching awfully fast. And deep down, I know I'll be able to run the 13.1 miles. It's just this funk that I'm going through at the moment. But still, I wouldn't be so worried if this funk had appeared, oh back in June. Or even July. When it shows up at the end of August, that's when I worry.

Chances are today's 8-miler has been scraped. I might get motivated enough to head out for a couple of miles, but I doubt 8 miles will be run. Maybe I'll squeeze it in tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just pencil in another do-over week.

I don't know. But hopefully this funk lifts soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The weather man better be wrong

It wasn't raining when I got up this morning. In fact it was cloudy and cool, perfect weather for an 8-mile run.

I seriously considered running my long run this morning. Getting it out of the way. But I didn't. Instead I watched cheesy Lifetime movies before hitting the shower at noon. By the time I was clean, it had started to rain. And it hasn't stopped.

The forecast for tomorrow? It doesn't look so good. Chances for rain all day. Not good. Because I don't really like running in the rain. A few sprinkles? Those I can handle. A steady downpour? Not so much. Thunderstorms? You're crazy.

Yet that's what I might have to deal with tomorrow. When it's raining and the radar's covered in green and yellow. And I still have an 8-mile run staring me in the face.

I shoulda run this morning.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why I don't listen to the radio

I don't like the radio. I'm not a fan of hearing the same six songs over and over.

I'd much rather listen to CDs in the car, where I can choose to subject myself to the same 11-track over and over again. Because, guess what, if I own the CD, chances are I like most of the songs on a disc.

Besides, if I listen to the radio, I don't run the risk of pulling for an approaching emergency vehicle. Because that's what I do when I hear sirens. I pull over.

And it never fails, every time I hear that new Rihanna song, "Shut Up and Drive," I pull over. Because there are sirens. And when I hear sirens, I pull over.

Even if its only a song on the radio.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A day of nothing

Today was one of those random days off I get in the middle of the week. And maybe it was because I was still trying to catch up from my weekend of wedding and family reunion fun, but I got absolutely nothing done. So I give you, in bullet point form, my day.
  • Spent a good chunk of the morning at a high school football practice, getting bitten by flies as I waited to talk to the coach.
  • Since it was on my way home, I made a pit stop at the library. I ended up picking up more music choices than books though.
  • Checked in with those crazy kids from "Days of Our Lives." Even though I haven't watched that show for a month or two, I still knew what was going on since "days" in Salem seem to take 3 weeks or so.
  • Took a nap.
  • Went for a 3.5 mile run. It was good. I averaged a 10:30 minute mile, which is decent for me.
  • And now it's time to put my clean sheets back on my bed and read a bit.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tonight I ventured back to Millers Bay

After wanting to crawl into the green, algae infested waters of Millers Bay last week, my running shoes and I have been taking a break.

As in, I haven't ran in almost a week. But tonight I knew I had to, even if it was going to kill me.

I headed back out to Menominee Park after work tonight, ready to run the trail where I nearly died last week. I admit, I was worried. What if I'd get out to the point, turn around and have nothing left in the tank again? What if I couldn't even make it the 2 miles to the point? That wouldn't be so good, especially since 5 miles was on today's plan.

But I ran. I put one foot in front of the other and ran. At first it hurt. But I think that was mostly due to the quasi-uncomfortable shoes I wore to the wedding last weekend. Somewhere around the playground, the achy feeling in my feet disappeared and I was running pain free. And before I knew it, I was at the point and turning around.

And I didn't feel like I was going to die. I was happy. I picked up my pace a bit, glanced at my watch somewhere around 3 miles and was impressed with the numbers that were being displayed.

And did I mention, I still felt good?

Soon I was passing my car, on my way to the last .6 mile loop around the lighthouse. Before I knew it, it was 56 minutes since I left, I was back at my car and I had covered my 5 miles. And I didn't hurt. Or die. Actually, I felt like I could have kept going.

After the awful run I had last week, I really was starting to rethink this whole half-marathon thing. I mean seriously, if I couldn't even finish a short 4 mile mid-week training run without feeling like I was going to die, how in the world was I going to run 13.1 miles? Tonight, I felt much better, like I had been feeling up until last week.

And that 13.1 miles? Bring it on, because it's totally doable.

Monday, August 13, 2007

She's married!

I now present you with a weekend's worth of wedding fun, in pictures, because I'm still to tired to think and my feet still ache.

Let me introduce you to...

The Browns

The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was a blast. I'm thankful the Browns let me enjoy their special day with them.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I don't think my list of "Things to Do" ever ends

Friday's are normally quasi-relaxing. The hustle and bustle of the beginning of the week is gone and I'm starting to slip into weekend mode.

This is not one of those Fridays.

It feels like I have a million and one things to do before I leave work today. I'm hoping I get it all done before I leave at 3 p.m. Because if I have to stay longer than 3 I think I'm gonna cry, since I've been at my desk since 6 a.m.

But once I leave work, the relaxation can't start. No no. It's still going to be crazy. There's overnight packing to finish, the Focus needs an oil change, a wedding gift to purchase and my feet need to be pampered. And can I squeeze in the week's long run tonight?

But all of the craziness of today will be worth it. Because tomorrow? Tomorrow my dear friend Krista becomes a wife. And her wedding? It will be fun.

And now, it's time to go check off Item No. 256 on my list: Pocrastinate - update blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

That time I felt like dying in Millers Bay

That, my friends, sucked.

It wasn't as humid out tonight. There was a breeze, the mercury in the thermometer was only parked around 80 degrees. Surprisingly, it was pretty tolerable outside considering what we've had to deal with the last few days.

It sounded like good weather to get the longer run in that I skipped yesterday in favor of a 3 mile jaunt. So I headed out to Menominee Park for a change of scenery and a 4.5 mile run.

The first two miles went OK. I wasn't overly hot and I wasn't dripping in sweat. But by the time I got to the turnaround point around mile 2.2, I was dying. My legs felt like rubber, I had zero energy and the sweat was pouring off my body. I actually stopped running, stretched a bit and ended up walking for 5 or 6 minutes, hoping it would pass.

I ran most of the way back to my car, stopping to walk for one more short break, but I still felt blah at the end. Once I was done, I sat down on the curb and downed the entire water bottle of water that I had brought with me (and unfortunately left in the car).

I'm not entirely sure what my problem was today. It could have been the weather. But I also didn't eat and drink very well today. Just some Cheerios, a bagel and some Skittles today and I didn't really drink much water at all today. Hopefully it goes away and the running returns to normal.

Because this running thing? It's supposed to be getting easier and that half-marathon? Yeah, it's in 45 days.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A little bit of randomness

The shower? My friends, it's unclogged!

I can finally take a shower and feel like my feet are actually clean! I'm so excited.

However, I was NOT excited about having to clean my shower on a Tuesday night. That's more of a weekend cleaning job. But it was grungy. And kind of gross. And there was this mixture of body wash and shaving gel that was making a ring around the tub. So I got out the shower clean and scrub brush and scrubbed away. And it's clean now, at least clean enough that it can wait until the normal bathroom cleaning day arrives.


It was 89 degrees outside. According to the heat index, it felt like 93 and the dew point? That was 71, and remember, the weatherman always says if the dew point's above 60, it's uncomfortable.

So what did I decide to do? Go for a run. But I cut it short. Instead of the 4.5 miles I was supposed to go, I only made it 3. And I was drenched afterwards. The sweat was just dripping. Gross. And I almost died.


So far tonight, there are no crickets seeking refuge from the heat in my apartment. And that makes me a happy camper.

Battle update: Round 1

Just got off the phone with the landlady.

Apparently she had received a completed work order from my drain. Umm, maybe he fixed somebody else's drain. Because mine? Still clogged. So apparently she's on her way over to fix it, because remember, she's handy, unlike me.

And when I asked about the crickets? She laughed. Yeah, I'm thinking I don't like her so much at the moment.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Note to the landlady: Fix the shower and deal with the crickets

My landlord better get her boxing gloves out, because I'm set to do battle with her tomorrow morning. A battle over a clogged shower and insects, specifically spiders and crickets.

Where do I start? A month ago, I politely asked the landlady if someone could either stop by my apartment and unclogged my shower drain or if someone could show me what to do. That was probably my first mistake, offering to do it myself, because my landlady tried to explain what I needed to do to unclog the shower. It involved twisting part of the drain with a wrench and prying another part of the drain with a screwdriver. Ummm, OK. So I tried. I really did. And my Mom tried. No luck.

Last week when I dropped my rent off, I told the landlady, "Look, I tried doing what you told me to do, but it didn't work. I'm not handy and will never be handy. Could you just send someone over?" She gave me this nasty little smile and said something about how it's useful to be handy. Yeah, whatever lady. Remember that rent check I just gave you? That money not only allows me to live here, but also gives me the option to be unhandy, since there's a maintenance man whose supposed to be handy FOR me!

She kept the smirk on her face as she filled out a maintenance request. "Tub plugged." I left, thinking in a matter of a day or two I'd be able to take a shower without the water collecting so that it's above my ankles after 10 minutes.

But guess what. It's Monday night, as in tomorrow it will have been a week and my shower? It's still clogged. Actually it's worse. After I take my 10 minute shower in the morning, it now takes over an hour to completely drain. And it's nasty looking. And starting to smell a bit. And my feet? I don't think they've truly been "clean" since this whole ordeal started. And that's kind of gross.

So that's battle one. I want my shower fixed. And I want it fixed now. I've lost all patience.

Battle two? The insects.

I don't like bugs. I never have. But I will kill them...if I have to. In this apartment? I've had to. It started in the spring, with some spiders that managed to get into my apartment. But as much as I don't like bugs, I could handle the spiders. Just grab a napkin and scoop them up. I usually didn't squish them, opting for the flushing route instead.

But it's now August. Meaning those smallish spiders that were getting in in May? They're getting pretty big now. But I'm still able to employ the scoop and flush method.

The bigger problem is the new insect that I've been finding in my apartment. Crickets. Yes folks, you read that right, I've got crickets in my apartment. OK, so it's only been 2 crickets, but still it's a cricket!

The first one was huge! I was watching TV in the dark one night and noticed a dark spot on my carpeting. Thinking it was a spider, I got up and turned on the lights so I could go grab the necessary napkin for the scoop and flush method. Imagine my surprise when I saw it wasn't a spider but a big old fat black cricket. I panicked. How did this cricket get into my apartment? The only thing I can think of was that the Rugrats were there that day and maybe he jumped on in the door when the Middle Child was holding the door open. But it doesn't matter how he got in. Because it was the biggest cricket I've ever seen in my life. And did I mention he was sitting in my living room? I grabbed the napkin and scooped and ran to the bathroom, careful not to put too much pressure on it because I could only imagine the amount of guts in a cricket that size. I flushed. He was gone. End of story.

Or so I thought.

I took a quick shower tonight cause I was sweaty and gross after a bike ride. Nothing was new. The shower was still clogged. Except when I get out, I notice this black thing on my floor by sink. Dripping wet, I grabbed for my towel and realized it wasn't a spider but another cricket! Another one! My windows haven't been open in over a week! How'd that little bugger get in? And more importantly, how long had he been in my apartment? Because he must have been there a little while for him to make it all the way to the bathroom! I tried to dry off quickly, all the while hoping the cricket would stay in one place. He did. I went to scoop him up into the wad of toilet paper, but he jumped away! So there I am, semi-dry, in a towel, chasing after a cricket in my bathroom. I finally got him though and flushed. And he's gone.

So tomorrow, the landlord is going to hear about my dissatisfaction because my shower's still clogged after a week and the fact that I have crickets jumping around in my apartment. Hopefully by this time tomorrow, my shower will be fixed and the crickets will be living where they're supposed to be...outside.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame

I'm almost ashamed to admit it. But today? Today I went to my first Milwaukee Brewers game.

And to think, I call myself a sports fan.

In my defense, growing up in Appleton, when we wanted to take in an afternoon at the ball park, we headed over to the now defunct Goodland Field, to watch the Appleton Foxes, a Class A team affiliated with the Seattle Mariners. I can even say I watched Alex Rodriguez play during the short time he was in the minors. But Goodland Field was falling apart, literally, so the team built a new stadium, Fox Cities Stadium, across town and took on a new name, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. I still watched. Once I went away to school, I spent my time at the Duck Pond, watching the Madison Mallards play. Then I graduated, got a job and headed off to Indiana, where I spent many hours watching prep baseball and Division III college baseball.

My point? I've watched a lot of baseball. I just haven't gotten around to catching a Brewers game. Until today.

My friend Nicole and I headed down to Milwaukee for the 1:05 p.m. game. And we were glad we got there early, as Miller Park was packed and the Brew Crew got down to business quick, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

And all was going well. Milwaukee had a 6-1 lead over the Phillies heading into the top of the ninth inning. Just get three quick outs and mark down another win. Unfortunately, the Phillies had other ideas. Matt Wise gave up a quick two-run homer and was replaced by closer Francisco Cordero, who loaded the bases and allowed the tying run to score before notching the inning's third out.

Meaning we went to extra innings and the Brew Crew just couldn't do it. The Phillies put two more runs on the board in the top of the 11th, and the Brewers had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the inning. But it just wasn't meant to be.


But aside from the loss, my first Miller Park experience was a good one. I got to watch a good baseball game and it doesn't hurt that the Brewers are a might nice looking team. I mean seriously, have you taken a look at J.J. Hardy or Ryan Braun lately? Can we say H-O-T? I thought so. And I even came home with a little piece of Brewers paraphernalia -- a Chris Capuano bobble head.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Can you smell it?

The college football is getting so close, I can almost feel the stands at Camp Randall shaking during the season-opening performance of House of Pain's "Jump Around."

And the Badgers are making some news already.

The preseason coaches' poll had Wisconsin ranked No. 7, after last season when they finished 12-1 and beat Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl.

Now I just have to count down the days until the season opener Sept. 1 when Washington State comes to Camp Randall.

Twenty-eight more days. I can't wait.

The cows just looked at me like, "What the hell's she doing back?"

Out a big check mark next to 7 miles. Because it's done. And I now know I can run 7 miles without dying.

I have plans for tomorrow, so I had to fit in this week's long run was a day early. I admit, looking at my training calendar, "7 miles" kind of freaked me out a bit. Especially after last week's slacking and the do-over week. And the fact that the do-over week didn't go so well either. Just a 4.5 mile run on Tuesday and a 2.6 miler that I snuck in last night while at my parents' house.

So waking up this morning and knowing that I had to cover 7 miles first thing this morning? A bit scary.

I eventually talked myself into it though and made it out to the trail. Temperatures were in the mid-70s and it was overcast, meaning no sun! It was actually quite pleasant running conditions for early August. I wasn't going to complain.

So I took off. Mile 1 went pretty well. Since I've been running farther, I've noticed that it takes me about a mile for my legs to quit feeling like bricks or full of lead. It was no different today. For a brief moment or two I was worried. I'd never run the day before my long run before, so I was a bit worried that my short jaunt last night was going to make it difficult to get today's 7 miles in. But after the first mile, the lead feeling went away.

Unfortunately, that was replaced by a slight aching feeling in my right knee during Mile 2. But I wasn't going to let it stop me. I had plans today. Plans that included 7 miles and it was going to get done. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other and the achy feeling disappeared by Mile 3. Which is when I had to venture off into new territory. I took a detour down a country road for about a half mile, past a farm and some cows that barely glanced at me the first time I passed them, but looked at me like I was crazy when I passed them again.

Then it was back to the trail for Mile 4 and the trip back to my car. Up until now, the run was going pretty well, I even had added in a few short bursts of speed. And there was still no sun. I knew I was getting to the point where I might want to take a short walk break, but I pushed myself for as long as I could go.

All of a sudden I realize Mile 5's done and I'm pretty close to the last road crossing before the final 1.3 miles of my run. And I still haven't walked. And at this point, I didn't want to walk. So I kept running. Putting one foot in front of the other. I crossed the first little bridge, which oddly doesn't go over any water. Then it was past more trees. All of a sudden the trees disappear and I'm running alongside the lake and there's a nice breeze. The second bridge, one which actually spans a good chunk of water, appears and I'm on the home stretch. I can almost see the parking lot where my car's park. I realize I've been running kind of slow the last three-quarters of a mile. But since I still felt pretty good, I decided to kick it up a notch. I'm running faster. And the parking lot is getting nearer. I pass the last sign and before I know it I'm done.

My first 7-miler took me 1 hour, 23 minutes. Not the fastest, but also not the slowest. I'm just happy to say that I ran every step of it, felt good afterwards and lived to tell about it.

In fact the worst part of it? The sweat running down my face that mixed with my sunscreen before running into my eyes. Ouch! I don't recommend trying to drive while barely keeping your eyes open because it hurts so bad. But if that's the worst part of a 7-miler, sign me up for the 8-mile journey that's on tap for next weekend.