Monday, September 29, 2008

I did better than last month

Remember how last month was absolutely awful in terms of reading? You know, the month where I finished a grand total of one book? And it would have been OK if it was a super long book. But it wasn't. I wasn't impressed with my reading totals for the month.

Thankfully, I think I got back on track this past month. I'm not sure what I did different, maybe because there were no Olympics to distract me. I'm not sure. But I do know that I did better this month.

I finished four books this month for a total of 2,015 pages. That brings my total to 33 books and 11,403 pages for the year. Not bad. Remember, the goal for this year is to read 40 books. I think finishing seven more before the end of the year is doable.

Anyway. What'd I read in September? Have a look:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Rites of Spring (Break): An Ivy League Novel by Dianna Peterfreund
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

I loved Breaking Dawn. Actually, take that back. I loved the whole Twilight series. Good stuff. If you haven't picked them up. DO IT!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What happened?


Seriously Bucky. What happened to that 19-0 lead? And what's up with the ineligible man down field? If he hadn't been there, the two-point conversion was good and the game would have gone into OT.

Like I said. Ouch. Painful to watch.

Better start getting ready for Ohio State next weekend. At least it's at Camp Randall.

Why are you reading blogs? It's time for the Big Ten!

It's 2:30 p.m. Why aren't you watching the Badgers take on Michigan? I am.

Seriously. You're missing the Big Ten opener. And there's a chance we could actually beat Michigan this year. At their house. On their turf. It would be fabulous. You don't want to miss it.

Go. Now. Turn on your TV. It's on ABC.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It was too nice to be cooped up inside

My alarm went off at 4:50 a.m.

No, that's not a typo. It really started buzzing at 4:50 this morning. When it was still pitch black outside. I fumbled around and hit the off button, got out of bed and shielded my eyes against the bright light when I stumbled into the bathroom, still half asleep.

By 6 a.m. I was at work. More awake, but still tired. And still thinking there was something not quite right about being at work when it was still dark outside.

But I worked. And when the clock hands hit 3 p.m. I was done. And I left.

My original plan was to head over the YMCA, maybe sneak in a run and a little time on the stationary bike.

But it was nice outside. Sunny. Temperatures in the mid-70s. Barely a breeze. Absolutely gorgeous. It would have been hard walking into the YMCA and running on a treadmill to nowhere while looking out the big wall of windows at the beautiful day.

So when my car got to the corner, I turned right instead of left and headed home. I threw on some shorts and a tank top, grabbed my iPod and filled my water bottle up and hopped on my bike for a 16-mile ride.

It was so much better than the YMCA option. I enjoyed the ride. It was nice and peaceful. Just me, my tunes and my bike. Granted there was a bit of traffic, including a few cars that almost hit me because they absolutely refused to cross the center line to pass me, even though there was no oncoming traffic.

I savored all 74 minutes that it took me to finish the 16 miles. Because I know the kind of weather we had today isn't going to be around for much longer. The days will start getting a bit more fall-like and chilly and the sun? It's going to start disappearing sooner.

Today's ride? Perfect.

And now it's time to shower and settle in. Because tonight? It's the return of Grey's Anatomy. And I'm excited.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seriously. Lawn mowers need to be banned at that hour

Tell me something. Does grass grow really really fast between the hours of sunrise and 9 a.m.? Because that's the only reason I can think of to justify what happened this morning.

My landlord? He decided to start cutting the grass this morning. And the clock had just struck 7 a.m. And of course he decides the best place to start his morning grass cutting? Right outside my window. Which was wide open.

I don't think my alarm had even gone off yet. So there I was, woken up from a sound sleep by a loud industrial strength riding lawn mower.

Not happy. Not at all.

The landlord better have a good explanation. Like the grass was going to crazy and grow an additional 6 feet if he had decided to wait another hour or so before starting. Because 7 a.m.? That's way too early to start cutting grass.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I can understand a few strands going missing, but it was getting ridiculous

When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I'm not an expensive shampoo kind of girl.

Rather than spending a ton of money on the pricey stuff, I'd rather go to Target, walk down the aisle and take my pick. Herbal Essence, Pantene Pro-V, Garnier Fructis. Heck, every so often I might even buy some of the Suave knockoffs.

In other words, I don't spend a lot. Maybe $4 a bottle. A bit more if I buy the big, long-lasting bottle. Never do I spend $35.60 for a bottle of shampoo and condition.

Until yesterday that is.

Yes. I paid $35.60 for a bottle of shampoo and conditioner. Any other day I'd walk away and find my way to Target and my old standbys. But yesterday was different. Because I hope that $35.60 is worth it.

See I have a problem. For the past few months, I've been losing my hair. Scary. It's one of the nasty side effects of the medicine that I've been on as a result of that time when I almost died because of the Monster in my head.

And when I say losing my hair, I mean actually losing it. Not just a few strands here and there. But for a while, it was decent sized clumps. I used to have nice, thick hair. Now it's scraggly looking. And if I'm wearing it down and am not careful, you can see my scalp at the top of my head. Eek! Needless to say, I've been wearing a lot of scraggly looking ponytails lately.

I'm not bald. Yet. In fact, I'm far from it. But my hair isn't as nice as it was just a matter of 7 months ago. And since I'm almost off of that nasty medicine, I want to start working on growing my hair back. Regaining the thickness I used to have. Not have to worry about wearing it down and have to worry about if it looks scraggly or if you can see my scalp.

The other day I went to get a trim, just to get rid of the really nasty ends and get it all one length so that it doesn't look quite as scraggly. I told the hairstylist about my problems and asked her if she had any suggestions. If she knew anything that would make my hair grow back quicker.


I've heard of a couple of other women who have used this stuff. They've had cancer and have undergone chemo and probably lost a lot more hair than I have. But they've apparently had good results, seeing their hair start to grow back within a matter of weeks.

So I forked over $35.60 and bought some. And this morning I started using it. Hopefully it works and is worth the money I paid. I know it'll take a bit of time before my hair gets back to normal. But I'll try it. Because it's no fun losing your hair, especially when you're 28 years old.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It wasn't the Oregon Trail, but it was a trail

I ventured out to the Wiouwash Trail this morning. For the first time this year.

Yes, the trail that I ran on twice a week last summer while I was preparing for the half marathon. And while I've been meaning to get out there this summer, I just haven't. The running thing isn't going so well at the moment. And that's what I'm used to doing out there.

So I've stayed away.

But I've wanted to go. And it's absolutely gorgeous outside today, so I decided I was going reacquaint myself with the trail.

I had the day off today, so I let myself sleep in a bit. Once I got out of bed, I had some breakfast, threw on a tank top and shorts, loaded up my bike and off I went.

The trail? It was wonderful. Riding down its crushed gravel brought back the memories I have of last summer. Those long runs when I thought I would never be done. Running along the trail, never knowing exactly how far I'd gone (although I noticed there are mile markers along the trail this year!). The days when it was hot, humid and miserable, yet I sill found myself running, albeit a bit slower. The bugs that sometimes attacked.

As I was riding today, I passed a few people. Mostly walkers. A couple of bikers. And two people on horses. I think my bike might have spooked one of the horses though since he started jumping around and I was afraid he was going to run me over.

But mostly I had the trail to myself. Just me, my bike and my thoughts. And it felt good. Since I was on two wheels rather than running, I got to explore more of the trail than I have in the past. And it was nice. I rode past some cows, but mostly it lead me past fields and through wooded areas.

I wanted to go farther, but I had to turn around at the 10-mile mark. I had an appointment this afternoon and I needed to get home and have time to take a shower, especially since I ended up having a coat of dust, crushed gravel, bugs and sweat covering a good portion of my body by the time I was done.

I ended up riding 20.25 miles in 1 hour, 44 minutes. Most of it was fine. Except for on the way back when I was riding into a stiff wind. But even that wasn't too bad.

I enjoyed getting back on the trail. The next time I have an entire day to myself with nothing to do and it's nice outside, I might head back. Only this time? I want to go even farther.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The end is getting closer

One more day.

Just one more eight hour shift and I'll be happy. Because then? It's three whole days.

To myself. No work. no deadlines. Nothing.

And let me tell you. After working eight days in a row, I'll savor every minute of those three days. I do have some plane though. Plans that involve my bike, a dragon boat and trip to my parents' house to check in and see how my Dad's doing. Oh and I'll sleep in too.

One more day...

Monday, September 15, 2008

It couldn't stay in the non-evil category could it

Remember how I said my cable company wasn't so evil? Back in the day when they finally decided to get their butts in gear and offer the Big Ten Network?

I was a happy girl. I could finally watch my Badgers and not have to curse at the television because I didn't get the stupid channel where 70 percent of the games were televised.

I take it back.

My cable company? It's inching back towards evil.

This time it's the local FOX affiliate. There's been contract issues. And if they don't resolve it by Oct. 2? No more FOX. And that my friends? Could be very, very scary.

Three words: Green Bay Packers.

Yup. It's the station the Packer games are broadcast on. If it disappears I don't want to imagine what would happen. The entire Northeastern part of Wisconsin will probably erupt in a riot or blow itself up. Or blow up the cable headquarters. Either way. It won't be pretty.

And if that isn't enough, think about this.

No FOX would mean no Kiefer Sutherland. No 24.

If all of a sudden I can't watch the Packers or 24, the cable company would return to its evil status. I would be a very very unhappy Badgergirl. Even if I could still watch all of the Badger games.

I did it agin

Mark it on your calendars.

For the second time in 5 days. I ran.

I know it's not a huge deal. But for me? The girl who went almost two months without running? Lacing up the running shoes and hitting the treadmill to nowhere's a big deal. I did 2.5 miles tonight. And it didn't suck quite as bad as it did last week.

Now I just have to keep it up. Because honestly? If I could start running 3 or 4 times a week again? That would be fabulous.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

At least I had the radio

I wasn't complaining about working tonight.

After all, by the time 9:30 rolled around, I had my work done and had time to flip on the TV and watch my Badgers take the field against Fresno State.

But soon it was halftime. And time for me to go home for the night.

And the ability to watch the Badgers? Gone. Because I don't have cable. And tonight's game? It was on ESPN2. And listening to the game on the radio? Yes, it's OK. But it's not the same. Especially when it's a 3 point game with less than a minute remaining.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The treadmill wasn't so scary

It smelled like dead fish when I walked out of my office building today. And if that wasn't odd enough, the "1812 Overture" was being blared out of loud speakers right down the street.

Add some humidity and I was glad I was heading back indoors to end my recent running drought.

That's right folks. Tonight I stepped on the treadmill to nowhere and logged 2.25 miles. Yes, they were slow miles. And hard miles. But they were miles. Ones that I ran. Even though it was painful at times.

And it was everything I thought it was going to be.

Because I know running's not easy. Especially when I haven't put one foot in front of the other for a run since July 24. That's too many days for me to count at the moment. But I do know it's a lot of them.

And I intend to not let that happen again. Starting tonight, I'm getting back on the running track. Because I kind of miss it. Well, I miss it when it's not so hard. But it can only get easier if I keep doing it.

Seven years ago today

Seven years ago today a pair of jets crashed into the World Trade Center, changing our lives - and America - forever.

It's hard to believe it happened seven years ago and the memories are still so fresh in my mind. And try as I might, I can't say it any better than I did last year.

Our lives have regained some sense of normalcy, but the events of that day have never escaped my mind. And even though the footage of those planes hitting the towers was played over and over in the days and weeks following the attack and on the anniversaries, it still doesn't seem real and I still shudder when I see it.

And today, the seventh anniversary of that horrific attack, I still grieve. And I remember the 2,974 victims that were killed: 2,750 connected to the World Trade Center, 40 in a Pennsylvania field and 184 at the Pentagon. Those numbers do not include the 19 hijackers.

I will never forget you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Running would have made it more painful

It's been almost two months since I last ran.

Two months. That's a long time. So long that I'm basically going to be starting over again. Struggling through a mile or two. It'll be hard. And it will probably suck. And be frustrating.

But I was ready to do it.

I was going to start running again yesterday. Granted, I was going to opt for the inside, treadmill to nowhere option, but I was going to run. As painful as it was going to be.

When the pain starts before you even get out of bed in the morning? Not so cool. And it makes running a bit difficult.

That's what I was dealing with though.

See, I was learning how to dragon boat on Saturday. There's a dragon boat festival in a little over a week here in the City on the Water and I'm part of the team from my work. So Saturday I had to go learn how to be a dragon boater.

It was hard. A lot of rowing. And you get wet. And you're in a gigantic canoe-like boat. With 21 other people. Including a drummer. But it was fun. And I was stiff and sore on Sunday morning. I expected that though.

What I wasn't expecting was not being able to sleep Sunday night because my back hurt so bad. Just in one spot, on the left side, above my hip area. It hurt to to lay on my back. I tried sleeping on my side. That hurt. And sleeping on my stomach? That hurt too.

I barely slept and was almost in tears when I called my Mom at 6:20 in the morning. On her advice, I called my doctor's office and talked to a nurse, who asked me all kinds of questions. She ended up telling me it sounded liked I tweaked a back muscle while I was dragon boating, but that it would get better.

So lots of Tylenol, ice and BioFreeze filled the next two days. And I decided against trying to run, thinking it would probably make it hurt more. But it worked. Slowly the pain went away. And last night I could even sleep! And today? Nothing. No pain.

Even though it didn't hurt, I decided against trying to run today. Thought I'd give it another day or two. Heck, maybe I'll even wait until next week. After all. What's another few days when it's already been almost two months?

At least these criminals can win. So far.

I've got a good bunch of criminals under my wing. Well, at least a bunch of criminals who know how to put points on the board and win a game.

Yes folks, Crime & Grime is back for another Fantasy Football season. And I love it.

Unlike last season when my crooks went weeks before winning a game, this season's version is off to a good start, grabbing a victory this week. Granted, my opponent made some poor roster choices, but still. My win. And the Criminals are 1-0.

Like last year, I wasn't around on draft day, so I let the computer do my picking. So who's featured on Crime & Grime this season?

Jon Kitna, Marc Bulger and Vince Young at QB
Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, Darren McFadden and Selvin Young at running back
Plaxico Burress, Javon Walker, Laveranues Coles and Bernard Berrian at wide receiver
Vernon Davis at tight end
Phil Dawson's handling kicking duties for the criminals
And Seattle's defense is full of crooks.

We're only a week into the season and I've already had to do some rearranging. The Chicago defense I originally had? Gone and replaced with Seattle. And Vince Young's on his way off the team already. I've got too many quarterbacks, he's hurt, probably hobbling around on crutches and I need to find another tight end. If it goes through, by this time tomorrow Young's gone and Dante Rosario will be able to call himself a criminal.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

He survived

Good news. Dad's tonsil-less and he lived to talk about it.

Granted, he kind of looks like a Mack truck drove over him. And he can't really talk at the moment since it kind of hurts. But he made it through.

The surgery took a whole 30 minutes this morning and Dad was back at home and sleeping in the recliner by the time I even left work at noon. I still went and spent the afternoon with Mom though. And part of my duties? Babysitting Dad while she went to go get his pain medicine.

Now he just gets to lay low for the next week or so. Sleep. Lounge in the recliner. Keep himself doped up on some strong liquid Vicodin. And of course get used to having no tonsils.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm not the one they'll be slicing open today

I have to go to the hospital.

And for the first time, I'm not going for me. This time? It's for my Dad.

He's having surgery tomorrow. It's supposedly nothing too serious. He's having his tonsils out. Yes. You read that right. My 57-year-old father is having his tonsils out. A procedure that a lot of little kids have done.

Apparently my Dad's tonsils have been bothering him for a couple of months. Not that he told anyone about it. That is until he went to the doctor about a month ago, his first visit to the doctor in almost a decade by the way. My Dad's not a big fan of doctors, can you tell? Thankfully he's pretty healthy.

Anyway, his doctor sent him to a specialist, ironically the same ear, nose and throat doctor that sliced my neck open in May 2007. The specialist's verdict? His tonsils were so inflamed and infected that he was pretty sure they'd never go back to normal. So out they come.

At first Dad wasn't too worried. After all, my nephew just had his out this spring and "he bounced right back," Dad said. Yes. But my nephew's 3. Dad's 57. There's a bit of an age difference there and I'm guessing a there's going to be a bit of a difference in recovery time.

The past week or so, as Dad's heard all these horror stories about how long it takes an adult to recover after having their tonsils out, I've seen him get a bit more nervous. And it's rubbed off on me.

I trust his doctor (after all, he sliced my neck open and I lived to tell about it). I know he's going to be at a good facility and the surgery really is pretty routine. But still. He's my Dad. I worry.

So tomorrow I'm working a half-day. I'll be sitting in a courtroom in the morning, while Dad's lying on an operating table and my brother's keeping my Mom company in the waiting room. Then I'll head north to be with my family the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Maybe cable isn't so evil.

I seriously need to think about forking over the money and getting my cable back.

Consider the following:

I could be watching Andy Roddick take on Fernando Gonzalez in a U.S. Open fourth round match. Roddick's amazing. His match Friday night? When he came back from almost two sets down to win it in four sets? Incredible. And I don't think I even need to argue about the eye candy factor.

But I don't have cable. And the tennis match? It's on the USA Network. Which means, I don't get it.

So what have I been kind of sort of watching for the hour and a half? 90210.

Needless to say, I'd rather be watching Andy.

It's a short recap this month

I'm not sure I can even call this a reading recap. Doesn't a recap require more than one thing? It's a bit hard to do a recap when you're just going over one thing.

But that's all I've got.

During the month of August? I read one book. Uno. Singular. A book. That's it. Hey, I was busy. There were Olympics to watch. Records to see fall. Gold medals to be won. I didn't have time to read.

Except for that one book. A total of 331 pages. But it still counts towards my yearly total. I've now read 29 books and 9,388 pages.

So what'd I read?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I recommend it. Seriously. It's about elephants. And the circus. How could you not enjoy it? Go ahead, read it. I promise, you'll like it.

Even if it is the only book you read in a month.