Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adios, Mi Amigo


This was my last look at the truck while driving away from the lot where I left it tonight.
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The Tour de France!

Yes, that's an exclamation point up there, because I LOVE THE TOUR. At the beginning of this year's Tour, I was a bit down about all of the doping BS (pardon my French - haha, get it? French?) throughout the past year. I survived 2 weeks of the 3-week Tour without watching a single "live update newsflash." Then things got really exciting and I couldn't help myself - I turned back into my usual Tour maniac-self. Well, let's say 80% of my usual Tour maniac-self. Here's a summary of this year's Tour:

  1. A few people got kicked out of the race for doping

  2. A few people got fired from their teams for doping

  3. The race leader in the first set of mountains was kicked out of the race and off of his team for lying about his whereabouts during missed drug tests in the off-season

  4. One guy got booted for doping on the same day that he participated in a "sit-in" against doping

  5. The Discovery Channel team ROCKED THE PELOTON winning 1st and 3rd places overall - Go Disco!

  6. Levi Leipheimer (who came in 3rd place) STOMPED the last individual time trial

  7. The overall winner, Alberto Contador, from the Discovery Channel team, is only 24 years old

  8. Discovery Channel might perhaps be wishing they hadn't already announced pulling out of their sponsorship of the team after this season

There you have it, the 2007 Tour de France in a nutshell.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thoughts from my last day driving my old truck

I took the S-10 out for a spin today to CarMax to get it appraised to find out whether the charity I will support with it will get more money from it if I sell it and give them the cash or give them the truck outright. While all conditions they check (exterior/body, interior, frame, mechanics, etc.) were listed "as expected for the age of the vehicle" they still only offered me $250 - I guess I'm lucky they didn't try to charge me to take it off my hands. Speaking of which, Andy text messaged me while I was there and said, "Throw $20 on the floor and just walk out." Hmph.

Anyway, here are some thoughts I had while driving "Al" for what was probably the last real time.

  1. Sliding into that seat and pulling out of the driveway was like slipping into an old pair of cotton fleece sweatpants - soft, comfy and worn-in in just the right spots. Sliding into the new car seat and pulling out of the driveway is like slipping into a pair of sweat-wicking, 4-way power stretch, therma-fleece running pants - also soft and comfy but more technologically advanced and designed for moving instead of lolly-gagging.
  2. The truck accelerates as fast as a snail on downers.
  3. Country music sounds much better in a pickup.
  4. What with all the creaks and clunks it lets out, I'm really lucky that truck still runs and never left me (or anyone else) stranded anywhere.

I run like an animal

A friend invited me to do a duathlon with her in September. That's a race where you do a run, ride your bike, and then run again. I used to do them regularly but haven't done a training run or bike ride in AGES. This friend is obviously not someone I talk to on a regular basis or else she probably would have never considered asking me along :-)

Not knowing whether I can even train hard enough to be prepared in 8 weeks, I went for a test run this morning. If I can't run a mile already, there's no way I can be ready for that race in 2 months. I stole borrowed Andy's mp3 player and went out with my running shoes on this morning. I ran for 15 minutes (and walked another 15) so I'm guessing I made it about a mile (not including the walking.) I run very slowly.

I don't usually run with music on so that was a change that I think helped me to stay moving when I would've otherwise felt like I should quit. If I can't hear myself breathing like a raspy ogre, then it doesn't seem like I'm doing such a bad job. Plus, I listened to Nickelback, which is hard to sit still during anyway.

Most of the time I have to consciously slow myself down because I can't run very long if I run at a normal pace and I at least need to get back home from wherever I am at the time. This morning I found the perfect song to match my tempo. Never before has a song actually fit perfectly with my stride/pace/cadence.

It figures that it's the song "Animals." Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They say it's my birthday

Today is my birthday and the celebration started on Sunday with a surprise "party" set up for me when I got home from church. Amy decorated our dining room table with party plates and napkins, confetti, balloons, flowers, candles, presents and a cake while we were out.

Yesterday I spent the day with two other dear friends, Beth and Elesa, swimming in the pool and just hanging out doing not much of anything. Dinner was terrific and there was home made ice cream and cake afterward - yum!

When I got in the car to come home, I found a new CD (Rascal Flatts) with a bow on it that Andy had put in the car for me to listen to on the way home. This morning I found a card in the refrigerator which Kevin made.

I don't often feel sappy or get teary-eyed about things that Kevin does but this came close to doing it:


Can you see what he wrote at the bottom? "You are the prettiest and greatest Mama." Of course he should think that, as all kids do, but I don't take that for granted. Plus, when I try to make him write things, he stops at his name and asks me to write the rest. Writing that whole statement himself was an effort the likes of which he rarely makes.

Kevin couldn't wait for Andy to come home to give me presents so he had me call Andy so he could talk to him on the phone. Andy walked Kevin through the process of finding the hidden presents in the car and under Kevin's bed so Kevin traipsed outside in his pajamas and rain boots (it's beautifully sunny here today) with the phone to his ear and climbed through the car to find the pack of socks hidden in there for me. After the presents were found, Kevin asked Andy if he could tell me what we're doing this afternoon and Andy obliged. Kevin told me that we're going out to dinner and to play "MINIATURE GOLF!!" Andy says that was Kevin's idea.

It's been a wonderful few days of birthday celebration and it's more than I expected. I'm very fortunate to have friends and family who care for me.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Kwik-E-Mart photos

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Thank you for loitering. Please come again.

7-Eleven knows what they're doing, joining up with The Simpsons movie. The folks buying Buzz Cola, Squishees, Krusty-Ohs and pink sprinkled doughnuts and snapping pics with their pocket digital cameras outnumbered those who appeared to be locals at the Bladensburg, MD, 7-Eleven-turned-Kwik-E-Mart on this sunny Sunday morning.

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