Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Red Zone

With my second half marathon under my belt, and no current desire to even think about the next one*, I've set out with a new goal--to finally improve that 5K time.

*There will be a next one, I'm just not ready to commit at this time.

Improving my 5K time was what got me into this whole crazy Urban-Cow-Shamrock'n-green-sparkle-skirt adventure in the first place. See, just over a year ago, my friend Matt and I were talking about my 5K time. I'd just missed a sub-thirty 5K in December, and I was asking his advice in how to get faster. Somehow, we got on the subject of me running a 10K. I said something silly about not being ready for that distance.

This earned me a Look. "You can run a 10K."

"Well, eventually..."

"No, now!"

Okay, okay. I signed up for a 10K, ran it in April, and then two people told me, "You should run a half!"


But...the idea took hold. And the rest is history.

All of this is to show how/why I put my plans for a faster 5K on hold. When training for longer distances, I actually slow my average mile down--it's about endurance. So I haven't exactly been burning up the track lately, and that's okay.

But now, with even the thought of signing up for a half making me want to crawl under a rock, I'm happy to dust off that particular goal. Which is how I ended up, this morning, running one-minute intervals in my "red zone," which is defined as that point where a runner is using a lot of energy, is feeling uncomfortable, and cannot sustain conversation beyond random grunts and the occasional, "come on, you candy-ass," gasped out while hoping no one overhears. Well, at least that's the red zone for me. It also involves some ominous churning in my stomach, so it's a good thing I get one-minute walk intervals between those red zone intervals...because no one in this neighborhood would appreciate me upchucking in their pansies.

And yet, there's something so invigorating about running in the red zone. My body feels stronger, more powerful, when I'm going full-bore. Everything is is working--legs, arms, heart, brain--to maintain speed and power. Yes, it's uncomfortable, but the triumph I feel when I finish that interval and take a quick break to recover is huge--just as big as the triumph of crossing the finish line at a race. It reminds me that every time I lace up my running shoes, I'm doing something to get better at this sport--and how far I've come since that first mile-and-a-half with Gershom in January 2010.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Most of the time, I hate disorder in a big way. My desk at work, backed up to my colleague's is a hilarious study in Neat Freak vs. OMG Where'd I Put That. I'm the Neat Freak. I have folders, binders, bins, labels...yeah, I'm that person.

So stepping into Almost Perfect Used Books in Roseville can either be hugely rewarding, or hugely frustrating, depending on my mood and/or how much time I have. I love a good book store, and this one has something like a gazillion books. 

Don't believe me?

This is the kid's/young adult section, two years ago. Now
it's even MORE crowded with books on the floor.

The books are pleasingly organized into sections--contemporary romance sits apart from historical romance...but they're in completely different parts of the store. The only problem is, that's where the organization stops. They've run out of shelf space.

So again, it all depends on my mood. Most of my visits are simple in-and-out visits to drop off a bag of books to add to my trade account. When I have the time and patience, however, I like to dig out my mining gear and do some digging.

Of course they carry this poorly-written nonsense...which
was a staple of my preteen years.

Not just "plays" or "poetry," but a whole section devoted
to the Bard himself.

I find this whole "let's fanfic the hell out of Mr. Darcy"
thing slightly overdone.

They have so many books they sell random ones in paper bags.

With trade credit, I usually walk out of there with a nice stack of books, and I spend under $2 because I'm only obligated to pay tax. Today I left with six books, one of which was "cash no trade," so I spent $16 for one hardback and five paperbacks (one of which I could buy for my Kindle for $6, but essentially got for next to nothing today).

Unless I'm dropping off books and leaving immediately, I never expect my trip through Almost Perfect to be quick. For starters, there are simply so many books to peruse. And secondly, when I do get tired of digging, the line for the one register is usually a few people deep...though "register" isn't the right word for it. See, nothing in Almost Perfect is computerized. 

You read that right.

They use a calculator and a tablet of receipts. 

Credit is kept track on about 10 Rolodexes that are crammed full (and yes, perfectly alphabetized). They take cash and check, but no cards of any kind. 

This is the "pending" stack of books to be processed into

And somehow, no one minds. Maybe we put up with the slow line and the slightly-harried husband who runs the cash box because there's something rather comforting about being in a place where you have an actual conversation during the transaction, rather than staring at a card-reading machine. Maybe it's the ambiance of being surrounded by the smell of books, or knowing that the woman who runs the whole operation knows exactly where to find any book you might want. 

You just wait in line with your ridiculously large stack of books, and happily wait for your turn, knowing you're going home with far more books than you'd dare buy in one trip to Barnes and Noble. 

As for what I bought today:

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Week in Instagram (Week #122)

As we move in to April, I get one glorious week off...and then things get crazy for a while. It's already starting.


Tuna Time is very important 'round here.

I made a ton of waffles and then ate them all week for

So cute!

Who else is this chipper at 7:00 on a Sunday morning? 

Out with the old plan (half marathon), in with the new (faster
5K time).

I stared at my closet on Sunday thinking, "I have nothing to

I got back to the weight-lifting this week.

Monday Selfie, just 'cause.

My kids totally get it.

Mom's new project. 

When your hair won't cooperate.

When you're glad you just sing, instead of playing piano, for
this one.

As opposed to ignoring the music?

"Bedtime? We cuddle." 


New skirt. : )

My kids love this song. I love this song. So much love for
this song.

The Spring Musical (Guys and Dolls) is coming together...

Out comes the clarinet again. 

This made me laugh. I follow "Shakespeare" on Twitter.


We did an improv game in choir on Wednesday. They have
trouble expressing the music sometimes.

Ten minutes before class and the teacher doesn't want to move
from her chair.


Last night, you were insulting me, dude.


Lynn leading the orchestra.

I got home BEFORE the sun went all the way down. 


Sunshine girls.

While getting ready for work, I hit a high C#. Rare note for me
I hit it again that evening, with witnesses. 

Happy Birthday, Frappuccino! 

No rush, Mr. and Mrs. Goose. No rush at all...

This is the props shelf for the musical. Yes, that is an empty
Marlboro box.

Kyle (drama teacher) and David (music director) hamming it
up at the piano.

Let's do this.

The score is so messy. 


"Why do you have to go to work all the time?!"

Selfie with my girl before leaving.

The last day before Spring Break means movie. Usually I
work in my office while the kids watch, but they were
appalled I'd never seen Mulan before, so I dragged out my
beanbag chair and watched it.

After work, some wine. : )

I love California for many reasons, but near the top of the list
is avocados.

Makeup off, hair down, wearing pajamas...let Spring Break

Mom spent time working in the garden on Friday. This new
rose is in honor of my dear Little Dude, Harley.

I didn't Instagram this, just took a cool panorama.

A gardener I am not.

We party hard around here. By 7:45 I was drinking tea and
watching NASA TV.

"What is this sleeping in? It's Caturday, woman!"

"Looooovvvve meeeeeeeee...."

I was dusting and admiring how cute my room is.

Millie wouldn't stop head-butting Harley's old collar. She
remembers him, 

A lot of good memories. You can see teeth marks on the name
tag--he used to chew on it.

Mom and I went on a movie date this afternoon. It was just
as good as the first!


A pretty poppy outside the theater.

We found a broken bird egg in the front yard. : (