Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Apparently Krista thinks I'm fabulous. And I'm not going to argue with her.

There are some other people here in BlogLand who are pretty spiffy themselves.

There's Teacherwoman, who totally rocked Octapolluza while settling into a new school year. I wish I had her motivation to get back into the gym.

And Daily Tragedies? She's mastered a dozen words of Czech during her journey to Prague. I wish I had the courage to travel to a foreign country where I couldn't speak one word of the language.

She may love the Buckeyes, but Sara appreciates a good dose of college football.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Rugrats get dressed up

This weekend I helped supervise a Halloween party for 16 kids...all who were under the age of 6.

And let me tell you, while they were a fun bunch, watching 16 of them for 3 hours? That was enough to make me drink. Which was OK considering I went out for some of the Halloween fun of the Big Kid variety after they all went home.

Seriously? No Badgers for a third week?

Remember this weekend how I was whining about not being able to see the Badgers take on Indiana? Because the game was being shown on the Big Ten Network?

But I was somewhat OK with the game not being televised on my local cable carrier, if only because I would be able to see the Ohio State and Michigan games.

Well, apparently I spoke too soon. Because when Bucky takes on the Buckeyes on Saturday, a match up with the No. 1 ranked team in the country, I won't be able to watch it from the comfort of my recliner. Because the Big Ten Network snagged the game. And my cable company won't carry the channel. Grr.


Here I thought I would be able to contain my anger about this channel until the basketball season kicks off. Apparently not.

It looks like I'm going to either have to find some friends with a dish that gets this crappy channel or else I'll have to ditch my cable and affix a dish to the outside of my apartment. Because missing my Badgers? That's unacceptable.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The network or my cable company, which do I hate more?

Let me just say I HATE the Big Ten Network.

Seriously. Two weeks in a row I haven't been able to watch my Badgers because they were being televised on that stupid network that my cable company doesn't feel the need to carry.

Granted last week was a blowout to Northern Illinois. But it might have been nice to be able to watch them play Indiana. Just because. Two weeks? That's crazy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This being a cop thing is kind of fun

A quick refresher:

  • I shot the Bad Guy 4 out of 6 times in the face. My first attempt at ever shooting a gun.
  • I also got Tased that night.
  • We've learned how to lift fingerprints from evidence.
  • We played hide and seek in the county's old jail, with fake guns. It was an attempt to teach us how to clear rooms. I got to hide in a nasty corner of the jail, where the window sill was covered in a one-inch layer of dead bugs.
  • We learned about traffic stops and arrest tactics.
And this week? Well first we got to be negotiators. The folks who try to get the crazy, armed people to come out of a building without killing anyone or themselves. The crazy I had to deal with, "Dennis," demanded that I provide him with a helicopter, Snoop Dog and Ted Nugent. Hmm. Oh, and he wanted a cold pizza. "Dennis" eventually came out of the Walgreens, without killing any of his hostages. Although he did get a bit perturbed when I chuckled. Seriously, Snoop Dog? Flying a helicopter?

But after learning how to negotiate, it was time to play dress up. In SWAT gear. Which by the way, it very heavy. And quite bulky. But check out that gun!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This crying over television shows? It has to stop.

Was I the only one or did anyone else bawl like a baby when Meredith and the Chief put Meredith's mom to rest?

Because I totally bawled. Like a baby. I admit it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's no longer the quite neighborhood I grew up in

Two reasons why my parents decided to move from my childhood home a few years ago.

Armed robbery by use of axe. What was robbed? Marijuana.

And good old shots fired in a domestic situation. According to TV new, I went to high school with this upstanding citizen.

Both incidents happened within four blocks of the house I grew up in. The axe robbery? Just a block away.

Just like Dad said, the neighborhood's going downhill.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I slept. And that's about it

I had a major case of the "Blahs" this weekend.

As in, I had stuff to do, I just didn't feel like doing it.

My digital clock read 11:00 before I finally rolled out of bed Saturday morning. The alarm had gone off earlier, but I switched it off, opting to sleep a bit longer rather than get up, shower and drive up to Appleton to meet my Mom and aunt for a lunch date. I eventually made it north to swing by the hospital to introduce myself to my newest cousin - Harrison Hunter (yeah, I'm not a fan of the name).

With temperatures hovering near 70, it would have been a perfect day for me to squeeze in a run after the cousin introduction. But I didn't. By the time I made it back to my apartment, all I felt like doing was throwing on my sweats, popping some popcorn and watching "Goonies."

I was supposed to go watch football with some of my co-horts from work who are in my fantasy football league. But it was gorgeous today, so I skipped out, with intentions of getting a nice bike ride and a run in. Instead, I found myself sacked out in my recliner, finishing a book and taking a nap.

Eventually I got a 3.5 mile run in, but my bike? It felt neglected as it stayed parked in the garage.

I'm hoping my case of the "Blahs" is just a result of too many busy weekends in a row. That my body needed some down time to just do nothing. Hopefully that's the case. Because I have another busy week at work ahead of me and the next chance to relax might not come for awhile. And if that's not the problem, then I have to worry about the "Blahs" being a sign that I'm about to get sick or that they're a side effect of the Great Neck Slicing of 2007, and neither of those would be good.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The screaming and thumping were better than this

Dear Man Who Lives Upstairs:

I'm not sure where the woman who was living with you went. All I know is she disappeared about a month ago and took the baby with her. By no means am I complaining. I mean think about it. No longer do I have to deal with the constantly screaming baby. Or the squeaking of your bed frame and thumping of the headboard against the wall.

It's quiet. And I like it.

But last night? Last night you ticked me off.

See, we both know that the washers in our apartments sound like a fighter jet getting ready for takeoff. Or a space shuttle that's rumbling when it's getting ready to launch into orbit.

In a word? The washers are loud. Very loud.

Yet you, the man who lives upstairs and knows exactly how loud these appliance are, you decided last night that you needed to do laundry. Which I wouldn't have had a problem with.

But you decided to start the laundry at 10:30 p.m.! And me? I had to wake up before the crack of dawn, at 5 a.m., to drag my butt into work.

So when I'm supposed to be drifting off into a peaceful night's sleep, you decide to fire up the washer and all of its rumbling glory. And there I lay. Wide awake. Because really, who can fall asleep when there's a space shuttle rumbling above your head, getting ready for lift off?

Your Cranky Downstairs Neighbor

Monday, October 15, 2007

Raindrops falling on my head? That made me slightly crabby

I wanted to run tonight.

And I still had just enough daylight left. Granted it wasn't so bright, since the sun never came out from behind the dark, grey clouds today. But still. I had time to sneak in a run.

And I was ready to run, even though it was a bit chilly.

And then it started raining. And I don't run in the rain. At least not the chilly, mid-October variety of rain.

So I got home, debated about heading over to the YMCA instead. But I had my heart set on running outside.

And I couldn't.

So for about a half hour I pouted. And crossed my fingers the raindrops would hold off long enough tomorrow for me to sneak a run in.

Octapolluza Week 2 recap

Week 2 was so bad, it's not even funny.

Seven days and what did I manage to do? One lousy 2-mile run. And I managed to stick with one soda a day.

Yes folks, that's all. No gym. No multiple runs. No weights.

Just one run.

Maybe Week 3 will be better.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Boyz II Men, well they were right. It's hard to say goodbye

Goodbyes are hard. It doesn't matter if you're the one leaving or if it's someone else who's about to start a new adventure.

This weekend, I found myself saying goodbye to a dear co-worker, Bethany.

She was one of the first people I met at the newspaper. In fact, I met her before I was even officially employed here in the City on the Water. During my interview, two reporters - one of them being Bethany - took me out to lunch. From the beginning, she was easy to talk to. And then I learned that we both lived in Anderson, Indiana, our stays missing each other by a matter of months.

I started my job and Bethany and I found ourselves working together on a big scandal involving a former public official. We got to know each other outside of work as well, discussing books, playing miniature golf and bonding over an occasional martini.

Now she's off to start a new adventure, back in Indiana. The Hoosiers will be lucky to have her, because I know she'll be missed by many here.

And last night we celebrated. A gathering that involved multiple drinks, a platter of fried food, some delicious pizza and good times with friends and co-workers.

Good luck in Indiana Bethany! We'll miss you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A night to be whatever I want to

I've always liked Halloween.

Everything from the class parties, wearing your costume to school and trick or treating in grade school to the massive party and chaos on State Street in Madison during college.

And my costumes? While I don't remember them all, there are a few that standout.

In second grade I was a dinosaur. And I convinced my Mom to let me take my green face paint to school, because honestly, what kind of dinosaur has a human flesh colored face? That was also the year I got sick in the neighbor's driveway after a long night of trick or treating.

Freshmen year in college I opted for the Cat in the Hat costume. Yes, head to toe fleece, including the fleece mittens and hat. Let's just say that was the year I learned why all the college girls went for the skimpy, slutty nurse or devil costumes. Because head-to-toe fleece and crammed house parties? I was one sweaty Cat in the Hat.

Sophomore year I went the devil in a black dress route. Easy costume. Some horns, a tail and a pitch fork. It was good, and cool.

I rounded out college as a handy, Miss Fix-It and a reporter (who unfortunately really had to work that Halloween weekend).

Since college, Halloween has kind of taken a backseat to life. Granted, I spent two of those Halloweens packing a U-Haul and moving from Wisconsin to Indiana and back and another two working.

But this year? The party invitation arrived today. The party even comes complete with a theme - A Wedding from Hell. As the invite says, "Costumes are strongly encouraged" and the hosts? They were even nice enough to give us some suggestions. I could be a prenup lawyer. Or a wedding coordinator. Or even the ex-girlfriend of the groom.

All I know is I have just over two weeks to put together a costume to help me enjoy my first Halloween celebration in a LONG time! Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Cold. Dark, threatening looking clouds that looked like they were going to open up and soak us. Gusty winds that scattered the fallen leaves across the road. The mist was blowing off the river. Put them all together and it was kind of eerie outside.

A perfect October night for ghost hunting.

The Girls from Work and I met up with two local "spirit hunters" for a ghost walk through one of the city's oldest cemeteries last night. We started our hunt, walking into what appeared to be the darkest part of the cemetery.

Our guide was telling us all these tales about her previous ghost hunts. Most of the spirits she's encountered have been quite cordial and only one was a bit on the hostile side. And apparently the trail that runs along the back of the cemetery has a high level of "spirit" activity going on, which concerns me a bit since I run on that trail a lot.

By this point, we've wandered our way into a very dark corner of the cemetery. We stopped near a section where a bunch of Catholic nuns are buried. Our guide decides she's going to stop talking and maybe take some pictures, see if any spirits are among us.

"Oh, we have an orb," our guide says nonchalantly.

An orb? What does that mean? Is some nun's spirit going to come after us? Because I really do have reason to worry since my Dad's aunt (who was a nun) told my family we were all going to the fiery resort location known as H-e-double hockey sticks because we didn't got to church. Every. Single. Week.

While it wasn't super scary, I do have to admit, the orb thing? It was kind of creepy, especially when you throw in the weather elements and that we could feel the mist coming off the river.

But the orb must not have been too hostile, because it was there in the second picture our guide took and then it disappeared. Back to where ever orbs go.

We kept on our hunt. Our guide told us a few more stories and all of a sudden we were done.

Then she mentions an upcoming ghost walk along the trail that apparently has a bunch of spirit activity on it. There's been sightings of shadow people. And the ghost of a swimmer (and or biker) who died along the trail.

While I'm not saying I believe in the whole ghost thing, although we did see an orb, I think I might head out for the ghost walk along the trail. Because if it really is haunted? I at least want to have the opportunity to introduce myself to these spirits. Because it's better to run into a friendly spirit rather than a hostile spirit who has no idea who you are.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Octapolluza Week 1 recap

A quick look back at Week 1 of Octapolluza.

Good points:
  • I stuck with one soda per day, and even went the entire weekend without consuming any soda. Good for me.
  • I managed three runs - a 3.5 mile run on Monday and 2-mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Saturday, instead of pounding the pavement, a friend and I went for a 2-hour hike in some state park in the middle of Illinois. It was supposed to be a 3-hour hike, but it was HOT (and for some reason the theme song from Gilligan's Island kept running through my head, maybe not a good sign).

Bad points:
  • I technically had two rest days, Wednesday and Friday. But I did do a fair amount of walking from bar to bar in Chicago on Friday night.
  • Strength training? Yeah, I forgot about that part of Octapolluza. Hopefully I will sneak it in during Week 2.

And speaking of Week 2, it's off to a good start. I had a speedy 2-mile run this afternoon. The speediness wasn't a result of me all of a sudden becoming super fast. No, that was mostly due to the rain that started pelting me during the last half-mile or so.

Some of us don't have DVR

I finally got around to watching the first two episodes of Private Practice.

I don't have TiVo or DVR. And my VCR? Last time I checked it was still awfully temperamental, deciding if and when it would follow my request to record a show. All of those are reasons why I'm thankful ABC has decided to have episodes of my favorite shows available online.

So tonight, I watched the first two episodes of Private Practice. And honestly, I'm not quite sure what to think yet. But I do have to admit, last week's episode, the baby switch? I bawled at the end. Maybe that means I should stick around and watch Private Practice. Because if a show can make you bawl two weeks in, it has to be good, doesn't it?

And thankfully NBC has the same option. Because me? I was sitting in Chicago rush hour traffic while the season premiere of Friday Night Lights was on. And I didn't want to miss it. But I obviously did.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I was sweating just standing there!

Chicago in a word: Hot.

All weekend, but especially today. And those folks who were running the Chicago Marathon? I felt for you. I don't like running short distances when the mercury hits 88, but running 26.2 miles in that kind of heat? Brutal. And my heart goes out to the family of the guy from Michigan who died after the race.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I need to pay to drive on your road?

I'm anxious. Ready to pack up my work stuff, head home and throw some clothes in a bag.

Because this weekend? I'm off to the Windy City, to visit my college roommate. And I'm excited. It's been too long since The Roommate and I hung out for a weekend.

And we've got fun stuff planned.

Upon my arrival, the plan is to hit up some Chicago bars for a good ole girls night at the pub. And tomorrow, there may be a run along the Lake Michigan shoreline and a hike in the afternoon. We might hit up an improv show at night. The plan also includes some Chicago Marathon viewing - hopefully no runners keel over in front of us because I don't know CPR and it's supposed to be HOT! And don't food, because food? It's good.

So I'm super excited for my weekend trip. It will be fun.

But first, I need to finish up work, throw my clothes in a bag and navigate the Illinois Tollway, even though I kind of think it's ridiculous that the State of Illinois charges me to drive on its highways.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My skin's still crawling

Ewe. Ewe. Ewe.

I've got the creepie crawlies. The heebie jeebies. And this time? It's not because of a cricket.

I was all curled up in my recliner, staring at the TV, because that's what I do from 8 until 9 on Thursday nights when Grey's Anatomy is on. I stare at the TV.

But all of a sudden, the big toe on my right foot felt funny. Kind of ticklish. I glanced down, and saw a dark spot. And it was MOVING!

I flung my foot. The spot left but I immediately jumped up to turn on the lights in the living room.

And there it was.

An earwig.

Yes, an earwig was crawling up my foot.


Needless to say, I grabbed some tissue and employed the scoop and flush method. But I still have that sensation that my skin is crawling. Because earwigs? They're almost as nasty as crickets.

Monday, October 1, 2007

My new challenge

So another blogger, Teacherwoman, has come up with Octapolluza, a challenge to give her an extra push to get out there and bike, swim, run or just generally stay active.

Since the half marathon's done and it's starting to get fall-like here in the City on the Water, even though it's supposed to be in the mid-70s this week, I thought Octapolluza might be a good challenge. It'll keep me running and it will also force me back into the habit of hitting up the YMCA, a building I haven't stepped foot in since March.

So what do I have to do? I'm going to tweak Teacherwoman's requirements slightly, mostly because she's giving up soda. Me? I need my daily dose of Diet Coke around 1 p.m., so soda's staying for me.

Here's the challenge, during the month of October, I'm aiming to do the following:
  • 1 workout per day. That being a minimum of 2 mile run, a 10 mile bike, or 30 minute swim.
  • 1 optional rest day each week.
  • 1 strength training day each week.
  • I'm allowed 1 soda a day. I better savor it.

I started off Octapolluza on the right foot, I got in a 3.5 mile run tonight after work, the first time I've run since the half marathon. And besides the fact that I came home and was literally dripping like I had just gotten out of the shower, it was a good run.

We'll see how the rest of October goes.

I got tagged

There's a game of tag being played on the Internet. And I've been tagged, so here goes.

The rules:
1. Post these rules before you give you the facts.
2. List eight random facts about yourself.
3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) someone and list their name (linking to their page).
4. Leave them a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been tagged!

Eight random things, huh? Well, let's see.

1. Of all the household chores, I think cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite. And of all the bathroom tasks? Cleaning the shower comes in dead last. I'm not sure why. But I'm pretty sure that's why I always put cleaning the bathroom off as long as humanly possible.

2. During a road trip in college, my friends and I saw the sunrise in Luna, New Mexico. It was a glorious moment. Not because the sunrise was beautiful, but because it meant gas stations would open for business, we could get gas for our car and use the bathroom. Two hours later, our car broke down in Rosa, New Mexico. Somehow I don't think New Mexico and I get along. Therefore, I don't think I'm ever going back.

3. I'm a nail biter. I've tried to quit a million times. And I was successful once, for about three months. But for some reason, I started biting again and I just can't stop.

4. I started playing the violin in third grade and the piano in fourth grade. I played all through high school and college. While I have my violin with me, I haven't picked it up in over a year and I miss playing it. But my piano's still at my parents' house. And I miss playing that even more.

5. My favorite class in college was "The Political History of the Modern Olympics." I took it my sophomore year and had to beg an upperclassman to hold my spot in the class until I could register.

6. I never touched alcohol until I got to college. Once my parents dropped me off at my dorm, I think I stayed alcohol-free for approximately three weeks.

7. I used to weigh 50 pounds more than I do now. I can thank Weight Watchers and exercise for helping me take those pounds off, although I'd still like to lose another 7.

8. I'm a very, very picky eater. Although I've gotten better. But I still don't like Chinese, Thai or generally any food group that comes from Asia.

There, that's 8 things. Now I tag Lootsfoz, Deloris and Teacherwoman.