Sunday, March 30, 2008

time to go to work

and get some rest... Kinda joking, but not really.

In the last 72 hours (+/-), I have:
  • helped paint the entire house
  • spent 5 hours in the car driving to/from race and hockey (I finished and the Sharks won the House championship!!)
  • spent 2:22 running a VERY hilly half-marathon course
  • purged, cleaned and organized every room in the house (except for the kitchen -- the kitchen is the only thing left)
  • washed, folded and put away four loads of laundry (two left)
  • washed and changed all the sheets on all the beds
  • shopped for and hung new curtains in the guestroom
  • shopped for and hung shower curtain in the hallway bath
  • had dinner out with eight of my bestest friends ever!! (German food -- yummy!)
I list this not to brag, but to remind myself that it will be quite OK if I don't get my reading done on the plane and instead snooze between here and LGA tomorrow morning!!

Updates to come this week on the San Fran trip and this month's mileage totals/March Madness results. Peace out folks -- hope y'all have a great week!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Total disarray

that is what my life is like right now. Complete, utter and total disarray.

The painters arrived Wednesday to tape, prime and spackle the house. The actual painting started yesterday, but it is nowhere near complete. And the Elder Child's room, the room that I had requested he begin packing and prepping for paint? Looks messier than when he normally lives in there. All the stuff from the walls and the top of the cabinets in the kitchen are now on the countertops, and the china cabinet contents are placed on the dining room table. Sigh. There's a week's worth of stuff to do around here, and I have exactly three days. OK, two and a half days, since I'm driving down to Waco tomorrow morning for a half-marathon (#4 of 6 in the "Love the Half" challenge). Deep sigh.

So, yeah, not a lot of time for the computer, or much else. Gotta go make a box and start packing.

We made a lot of progress today. Really. The entry and dining room are both completely painted now, as is the kitchen (goodbye, bee-yoo-tiful Lellow kitchen. sniff...), and the dining room is actually staged properly, per the suggestion from the realtor-suggested-and-paid-for -staging-lady. The crap on the kitchen counters needs to be packed away or put under the cabinets, leaving only the artfully arranged canisters, the artfully arranged plate rack and the artfully arranged vase on the counters, and the artfully arranged bowl of fruit on the table. That should get done tomorrow. The den will be done tomorrow, and all the furniture can be moved back from the middle of the floor to the rightful location (all artfully arranged, of course...).

Then the master and the playroom will be painted, along with both bathrooms, leaving only the kids' rooms and the laundry room for Sunday. My in-laws' landscape guy is coming to clean up our flowerbeds, re-lay the pavers on the patio extension and put in a couple of new flowerbeds in the back yard, plus fix the fence that got knocked over in the winds a couple of weeks ago. Next, I get to shop for "fresh, crisp towels" for both baths (which means that nobody is allowed to use them) and we'll be ready for the virtual tour guy to come take photographs of the house. When that is done, the sign goes up in the yard and the game is on. We shall see what happens next.

For now, I've got to get to bed, so that I can haul my happy a$$ out of bed at o'dark thirty tomorrow for the drive down to "The Hardest Half-Marathon in the State of Texas" (it says so, right on that page, lord help me!!). How far is it to Waco anyway??? Like I told my NYC running buddy online earlier today, I'm sure I'm prepared for this -- I know exactly how long it will be! See you on the other side!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Cousins, originally uploaded by ccervant_99.

From last week's game in Surprise, AZ. We're not sure who ended up winning the game, but I don't think any of these guys cared. More details on the trip to come, and more photos, too. Can't do much right now, but didn't want the blogosphere to think I've gone missing.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Greetings from the Valley of the Sun

The sun is good. Vacation is good. Family is great. Mix the three, and you have a sheer amount of bliss.

We've been in Phoenix for a couple of days now. It was touchy as to whether I'd make it out of LGA Wednesday night -- American was still untangling from the 700 cancellations the day before caused by those massive storms at DFW. And then storms and foggy weather moved into the NYC area, making the schedule even tighter. And, oh yeah, it was spring break, so the number of travelers midweek was even higher than normal. A perfect storm of potential disaster.

Our plane was delayed coming in from wherever, but then it arrived and couldn't get to the gate because of the outgoing plane before it still being parked there. We were pushed from 8:40 (normally a hideous time to leave as it is, since that puts my arrival at home once all is said and done at well past midnight) to 9:30, then 10:45 and then at 11:45. The problem with that, an issue most of the casual travelers were unaware of, is that LaGuardia shuts down at midnight, and if you don't get out well before then, you ain't going nowhere. About 10:00 pm, I got a text message from AA telling me that we were pushed forward to 10:45, but that seemed impossible seeing as the flight to Tampa was still at our gate. Hmmm. this will be interesting. Meanwhile, I was on the phone with family all night, and they were assuming I was already home packing for the vacation trip. Nope, still at the gate at LGA. It was getting dicey. They finally got the incoming flight to the gate and emptied it. Then the fun began. At 10:45, the gate attendant told us that our flight had to be fully loaded, with all passengers seated and all overheads closed, with the door shut by 11:05, or our flight crew would be out of time and wouldn't be able to take us home. And that meant we weren't going home at all. I bet you have never seen so many people move so fast to get on an airplane. It was pretty hilarious, actually, and begs the question of why they don't board planes this quickly on a regular day. We boarded from the back, two rows at a time, and people actually moved quickly. Nobody fought and fussed over the overhead space -- in fact, by the time I got onboard with the rest of Row 9 at 11:01, there were empty bins several rows back. Even when the plane was fully loaded, we had spare room overhead. Amazing, since usually you can't cram a small purse in those things, especially when you're loaded with family travelers. The last first-class passenger (they got on last, and none of them really seemed to mind) boarded and the doors were shut at 11:03, so were good to go with two minutes to spare. At that point, the captain came on the speaker and let us know we'd set a record and would be underway momentarily. Huge cheers from the plane ensued, and everyone was in a ridiculously good mood heading out.

So I did get home from the short week in NYC, but I didn't arrive at my house until 2:30 AM. Which was just enough time to pack and take a two-hour nap before waking up and getting the family ready for the trip to the airport at 6:00 for an 8:00 AM flight. Sigh. I didn't even climb into my own bed because I didn't want to wake my husband up. No need for both of us to be sleepless. Turns out I planned to sleep on the plane but didn't since I was engrossed in Atonement. I'm about 3/4 done with it -- I'm still waiting for Briony to make amends here for being a brat. I should finish with it on the way home Monday morning.

So far, we've gone to see the dinosaur exhibit at the Phoenix Science Center (how can you resist a 40-foot inflatable dino on the roof of the building?), a Western town where TDP DinoBoy panned for "gold," a Mexican marketplace-type place, and a baseball game. Today we'll either catch another game or do an amusement park, and then probably a hockey game tonight. The boys are having a grand time playing with their cousins, and we're just generally kicking back and enjoying the time together.

I went for a nice 4 miler yesterday morning -- I found a park/country club near the hotel that made for a nice route. Today my sister-in-law is coming out with me in a bit. I did miss Thursday's 3 miles -- after the nightmare night and then a full day of activity I just couldn't get to the gym here at the end of the day to get it done. So I've missed two days in March. Phooey. No matter -- I 'll just keep going on until the end of the month and we'll keep pressing to get it done every day.

That is all for now. Have a great weekend! I know I will!

Monday, March 17, 2008

too much going on

and not enough time.

March Madness continues -- I missed one day in Vegas, but am back on track. No long run to speak of since Cowtown, though. That will have to change pronto to keep on schedule for OKC in a month.

Getting the house ready for showings is a royal pain in the a$$, but I have to say, it does look nice. Spare and boring as all hell, but nice and decluttered. Nobody told me that my life and our history is in that clutter, though!** Painters will be here next week.

It's been in the mid-70s and sometimes higher between Nevada and home. Now I have to go back to the mid-30s in NYC. Pffffbt. Gotta boogie -- something tells me this week's flights (especially the security lines) are going to be un-legendary.

**case in point -- they "strongly suggested" that we not only paint over the burnt orange walls in the study (wahh!) and remove the Longhorn stained glass piece in the front window, but that we take down the National Championship shield on the front door. Now for all you can tell, just *anyone* might live here!! No worries -- we've already got the "theme," as it were, planned for for the media room and office in the new house. heh -- take away my burnt orange, my a$$!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

another day

another three miles. Walking again -- this is just not a friendly running town, at least not this part of it. I need to go out in the morning to get some good pace to it, so I'm not dodging the drunken tourists (and their kids in their strollers!!).

On the upside, I did decide to get over my righteousness about this place and put down a little money on the slots. I put $11 in the Texas Tea machine (was there any doubt that I would choose another one? Really?), and about ten minutes later cashed out with $17. Not bad. Then I took that ticket to Wheel of Fortune, where I really didn't understand the game, but just kept hitting buttons until it hit and I ended up with $21. So I cashed out again and headed back to the MGM Grand, calling it a night. So I nearly doubled my money. I don't understand exactly what I was doing at the time, but I guess it worked. Wahoo. Whee. Whatever.

It's still not too late for me to call it an early evening, so peace out, folks. I promise more substantive content soon enough, and I still owe Ellie a meme, but those are not for today!

Monday, March 10, 2008

3 miles

done. I need to do a better job getting out in the morning. These evening runs are hard to do, especially when I'm bone-dead tired and just ready to call it a day. But if it were easy, it wouldn't be a challenge, now would it? I would just really like to get in something more than the minimum one of these days. All in good time, I guess. For now, I'm just happy with meeting the challenge, especially while I'm at the conference this week and a little off the regular game. Later days, folks!!

March Madness continues

it was tight this weekend -- but the March Madness challenge continues. I had to fly into Lost Wages for a conference, leaving at 12:30ish, so there wasn't much time for a run Sunday morning if I wanted to maximize time with the boys. So I knew I'd have to go for a walk later after I arrived at the hotel. I also knew the schedule was packed as soon as I arrived, what with meetings with the team and a dinner at Wolfgang Puck's planned (split the tuna tartare with a friend -- awesome -- and then had silver-dollar sized crabcake appetizers as dinner -- yummy!).

So it was late when I finally made it out to the strip for my 3 miles (GMaps Pedometer actually puts it at a little more than that). And the walk solidified two things for me -- 1) I *will* get this challenge done this month, even if it's just walking the minimum each day, if I was able to get them done this weekend; and 2) I *really* don't like the casino strip area of town. So many people walking around with these huge drinks in their hands, smoking and acting ridiculous. The guys standing on the street corners shoving sex trade cards in people's hands. So many lights and flashy, trashy excess. And when I say "trash," I mean both skanky girls in costumes and actual garbage -- there was actually more trash on the streets than in NYC, which I would have found hard to believe before now, but for all the um, scents of the city during the summer, they do a pretty decent job of keeping it maintained, especially considering how many people live and visit there. Here in Vegas, not so much. But enough about my feelings toward Vegas -- and, I'm sure there are areas of town that are very nice, and the outskirts certainly have great natural areas for climbing and hiking and such that I'd love to explore if I had the chance. But i won't on this trip, so unfortunately, that is my impression of this city remains as it was the first two times I visited (for this same conference).

Anyhoo, gotta boogie -- I'm very grateful for the two-hour time difference between here and Texas -- it did end up being very late when I finally made it back to the room so I at least caught up on some sleep once I shut the curtains and blocked out the alien green glow from the MGM's uplights outside my window. This week is going to be busy with meet-n-greets and client meetings and such, so it's going to be exhausting, but I'm bound to make the most of it. TTFN!

Friday OWN -- 3 miles at the hotel treadmill (in my street shoes since I didn't pack my running shoes from the city apartment -- I think I'm still having some residual pain on the top of my foot from that, but it's improved since Friday PM)
Saturday OWN -- 55 minutes (translates into more than 3 miles at a 15-minute mile pace) at the mall during Elder Child's 6:00 AM hockey practice at the mall ice rink. I made it six laps around the mall (two upstairs, three downstairs), with ridiculously consistent lap times. I'm talking within 6 seconds of 9:18 each time -- it got to be a game and it was actually fun!!
Sunday OWN -- 55 minutes up and down Las Vegas Blvd. Started at the MGM Grand and walked to Treasure Island before doubling back.

Friday, March 07, 2008

it's MARCH, people!!

so why is it freakin' snowing? In Dallas? WTF?? The weather was gorgeous here in NYC yesterday, and I enjoyed the (longer) cab ride through the length of the park on the way to the airport. And as recently as 4:00 pm, there was NO indication from the airlines that so many flights were canceled. Argh. And everything was canceled into DFW so the earliest I could get in was on a 2:45 flight, assuming that it can go today. Which totally throws into disarray the plans I had for my Friday, which included:

  • having the house cleaned... by someone other than me!! Whee! That was scheduled because I was also supposed to be
  • having the realtor come over and finalize the details of putting our house on the market
  • visiting the design center for a preview of the options on the new house
  • having a dessert date with some friends later tonight
  • sleeping in my OWN bed and not some random bed in an airport Fairfield in Queens (all the Marriotts were booked -- platinum status guarantee my a$$)**
  • hanging out with my boys and those crazy cats
So I'm not thrilled with the travel life right now, to say the least. Especially since I'd been up until 3:00 am Wednesday night working on the presentation for next week (I had a walkthrough scheduled with my VP Thursday morning) and had gotten all of two hours of sleep before I waking up to run. Let's just say Thursday was a LONG day and I was none too happy with the thought of loitering around the airport. So, discount chain bed or not, I still was crashed thoroughly pretty much by 9:30. Which is why I'm up and rarin' to go at 3:45 am Central time.
The plan is to work for a couple of hours here, then head to the airport and see if I can get on an earlier flight home. Wish me luck, and I'll see you on the other side!!

**why am I not in my apartment in midtown? Because I am letting a colleague from the project use it next week while I'm in Vegas for a conference (shut up, I have to present TWICE, it's not really going to be fun...heh) so she could save money. And she got in a cab to JFK with the keys to my apartment for her trip to SoCal right about the time I was already at LGA finding out that my flight was not happening. F#$#@ a duck. So, whaddyagonna do but hang out close by, right?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

March Madness, Day 5

3.25 miles on the TM at the apartment, in the horrid little hot workout room on the 21st+ floor. I'd have bailed except that I had arranged to meet my friend for an outdoor run. When we looked out the front door (and even ventured outside for a step), we decided the treadmills were a better bet if we didn't want to get washed away. So it wasn't the 5-6 miler I was expecting but it was something. And another $3 in the pot.

Today is always madness on the project, so I will probably be too wiped to do anything online later tonight. So have a good one for me, m'kay?

And, Ellie has tagged me, so I'll work on that one probably while I'm at the airport tomorrow night. Something to look forward to!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pinkberry Run

So I dragged a friend with me down to Pinkberry tonight. We left the office, walked to the apartment/hotel (she's staying at the Marriott Regency on 49th), changed clothes and then met up again for a power walk. The goal was to take Broadway down to 14th street, loop back to 8th, break for a pit stop at the hallowed ground of Pinkberry (where 250 calories will get you a cup of delightful goodness with fresh fruit that doubles as dinner) before heading back to midtown. Easy-peasy and so much more fun than when I do the same loop by myself, even if we were a bit slower. I had to make sure that I didn't go too fast, and I couldn't break into a run when I felt it coming on since V. has a bum knee (operation and rehab a few years ago, so she can really only walk). But, here are the final numbers:

Total mileage: 4.35 miles
Total time: 1:20
Average pace: 18:32 min/mile

So, not too bad. I think the pace is off somewhat since I forgot to stop the watch until after we'd ordered our Pinkberry and it had been served up to us. So we may have been a minute or two faster pace-wise. No matter -- March Madness is continuing, and there's another $4 in the AvonWalk pot.

Tomorrow is typically a long day on the project, so I'm skedaddling off to bed now. Peace out!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

March Madness

Here's the deal. Last year, when I did the February Challenge, I ran a minimum of two miles every day. Even in the midst of a huge life change, I was able to rise up to the challenge and make sure that I got the miles in every day. With all the tough times I've had lately getting the runs done, and with Oklahoma City coming up in about seven weeks, I've been in need of having something to motivate me, to get me going in the right direction. I've got to buckle down and make sure that I get it done.

So to make sure I'm compliant, as it were, I'm setting up what we are calling March Madness. For the month of March (3rd month of the year), I will walk or run a minimum of three miles every day. If I don't get up and do them early, then I will not go to bed until they are done. The weather is clearing up nicely here in NYC (even as it got crazy cold and wet in DFW as I was leaving this morning), so the cold shouldn't be an excuse anymore. And I've shared the intent with a couple of co-workers (V. was actually the one who came up with the name March Madness for it), so it's been said out loud and is hanging out there.

The other part of it is this is the bigger reason that I want to up my mileage. Remember that Avon Walk thing? Over there --> on the sidebar? Yeah, well it's time to start passing the hat around and making a dent in my $1800 fundraising goal. Here is where I ask you fellow runners (and any of you other folks reading this, too!) for help. And since I wouldn't ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn't do, this is the plan:

For every mile that I run or walk between January 1 and June 30 , I will donate $1 to the Avon Walk.

For every mile walked or run for fitness, either in training or as part of an event, not just getting from one place to another, I will donate $1 of my own money. I will post my payments on a monthly basis. This means that I owe Avon $159 for the first two months of this year. And by the end of March, it will be at least another $90, if not much more, just by meeting my minimum of three miles a day.

How much is a mile worth to you? A nickel? A dime? Fiddy cent? You know we all keep track of our mileage in that OCD anal-retentive way we have, with charts and graphs and paces and all that. Just throw in another column on the end for the money you will set aside for every mile. At even .25 a mile, a 20-mile a week runner could have raised $20 toward the cause by the end of March. If you can't dedicate a full month, then do it for a week, or just for one day. Anything will help.

Join me in March Madness. It's a good cause, and I bet you end up feeling great by the end of it! With that, i gotta run -- haven't done my three miles yet!!

UPDATE: 3 miles in 35:38 -- went down 7th Ave to 34th, then back up 8th to Columbus Circle and back down the south edge of the Park back to 7th then to the apartment. I started out walking, just to get moving, but then found that I couldn't help but run. Stopped at lights and such so I wouldn't get slammed by a rampant cab, and ended up doing three blocks running, one block walking, at least until I was clear of the park. Just enough time to cool down and clean up before catching Craig Ferguson on the tube. g'night!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Recovery run

for the first week in a while, I didn't have a half-marathon on the schedule, so I did a nice little recovery run: 5.316 miles in a total time of 53:45. That included a break at my in-laws' for water, but they weren't up yet. I also stopped for a bit to look at our new home, or at least the lot that it will be built on. The new neighborhood is just across a couple of streets from our current home, but it's a world of difference. I can't wait to watch it all come together in the next few months. Of course, that also means all the fun things that come along with a new home, things like prepping our current house for sale, packing, and moving. Not so much looking forward to that part of it!

Anyhoo, gotta run -- we have some work to do in the backyard today, and we're hoping to get to the movies later to see the new Will Ferrell flick. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Surprise!, originally uploaded by ccervant_99.

Remember I said there were all kinds of other things going on that were demanding my attention? This is it!!

Better schools, better location, with neighborhood association (and pool! the better to work on my swimming!!) and a whole lot more space. More details later!!

I think she was right

Bev mentioned in my comments that the NYC weather and grey environment was probably contributing to my blahness over the last week. I believe she was right. I went to the gym for 40+ minutes on the Treadclimber* yesterday, before I tucked into a couple of hours of remote work from the kitchen table. That felt great and really energized me. Then today, I woke up about 6:30 and hit the streets for a quick 3+ miler (actual distance was 3.81 miles, covered in 37:53) before my hair appointment. Even though it's damp and overcast today, it's still significantly brighter and warmer than any day we've had lately in the City. So it's definitely done a world of good. And that just goes to show you that you should always listen to someone who's owned a llama. I'm just saying!

Gotta run to get the boys' haircuts. They are looking like wildmen out of the jungle lately. I also have to get my vacuum cleaner fixed -- the last time the Elder Child tried to plug it in, he got a spark and a shock. Hmm, that might have contributed to the state of his hair, come to think of it!! More later!