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Archived Entries from July 2009


The Good Stuff

So last night Alex and I were watching a show on WILL public television called "Illinois Gardener." The show is a half-hour long. In addition to the host of the show, there is a panel of two or three "experts" in various fields such as entomology, weed science, horticulture, etc. Usually they have one or two people from the University and the rest are private nursery owners or landscapers.

Anyway. At the beginning of the show each of the panelists reads and then answers a question that was either snail-mailed or e-mailed to the show, then they take callers and the panel attempts to answer their questions. Usually it is little old ladies who have spots on their flowers or whose trees don't look good this year.

I watch the show because a) I'm interested in gardening and b) typically know one or two of the people that are panelists. Okay, I know this lead-in is a boring read, but it'll be worth it.

So last night a younger-sounding guy from Decatur called in. He said that his neighbor has a plant in his greenhouse (clue number one) and won't tell him what it is. The panelists chuckle, and remark that they will need more details than that. The caller says the plant is green and it has seven leaves. I shoot a look at Alex, not that he quite understood what is going on yet. So the panelists start speculating on what sort of plant it could be. "He calls it 'his good stuff.'"

Oh, now, come on. "He's talking about pot," I said to Alex, whose eyes grew slightly wider than they were.

I'm surprised there wasn't muffled laughter in the background of the phone call.

Yet the panel went on, saying it could be this or that. I'm guessing a producer figured out what was going on and disconnected the call and must have given them all a look because they promptly switched to "you'll need to take a picture of it and send it in" and then went right into the next call.

Tee hee hee.

So I got up and ran today, and it felt pretty good. I need to get signed up for that race in Arthur so that I can get my stubborn-driven motivation back.

I've lost eight pounds. So that's good.

"He calls it 'his good stuff.'"

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2009, 6:00 pm
1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


In a Funk

I'm having a problem with my internal chronometer. I've been in a funk the past week or so, and I think I've determined why.

School. Or rather, the lack thereof.

I've been back in college for so long (would you believe that I took Computer Science I way back in the Spring of 2001 to start off this whole thing?) that I think it's connected to me like a parasite or something. Parasite isn't a good analogy. Maybe more like a remora on a shark.

Okay, enough with the attempted analogies.

I've spent the last eight years, or most of that time, with always having some assignment due at some fixed point in the future. I didn't keep fastidious calendars of when things were assigned and when they were due. I just got used to always have something due at the end of the week. And throughout the week that stress and anxiousness would gradually rise until Friday, Saturday, or Sunday I'd do the assignment, turn it in, and the stress level would go back down.

I just had a feel for when stuff is due, like being able to have a feeling that your car is probably going to be ready for an oil change soon and not being surprised when the change oil light comes on the next day.

Well summer school is finished for the year. I got 108/100 possible points on the final exam and finished with well over 100% of possible points for the class. And fall classes don't start for a few weeks. So now I'm here with that feeling of stress and dread about having to do an assignment tomorrow or this weekend.

And there is no assignment. Nothing to do. Just get up and go to work (well, and run, and make dinner, and I do need to change the oil...).

Anyway. I think that's why I get in a funk between classes--my body doesn't know what to do when there isn't anything due in the near future.

At least there's the beer tent at Ag Days on Saturday...

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 5:20 pm
Mood: Eh | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

Well since I decided that I'm not going to attempt the Ag Days 5k (which is in a couple of days) I've been really bad about running.

I've been skipping two days instead of one between my runs, and I haven't been running very far. I did go get new shoes last week, and it has been taking some time to break them in properly, so maybe that's part of it. We're getting into the time of summer where the humidity is gross as well. And, for whatever reason, I've been tired and have been sleeping later than normal (getting up at 6:30 instead of 6:00 or whatever).

I'm not going to run today, even though I should. Breakfast instead. Oh well.

It looks like I may be going to Los Angeles in October. The redhead is going to hate it because it will be for almost an entire week. We'll see...

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 12:01 pm
Mood: Lazy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Anniversary

Fifteen years. Doesn't seem like it can possibly be that long. How nice for me. Well, us.

I skipped running yesterday and the day before and by last night it was starting to eat at me a little. I got up this morning, took Alex to the detassling bus stop, and after going back to bed for a little while, got up and went out for a workout.

Now that I've given up on the Ag Days race the pressure is off a little bit. Today I ran 1/2, walked 1/4, ran 1/2, walked 1/4, and ran 1/2. It was nice and easy, which is just what I needed.

The redhead and I took a couple of days off of work and today we're going to Springfield (which she referred to as the "romance capital" to her boss) for the night. We're staying in the Hilton tower, which is a pretty nice hotel ($225 rooms that we're getting for $80 since we're state government employees--sweet!). When we went there with the kids last year we didn't get to go to any of the little bars in downtown Springfield, so that's sort of the plan for tonight. There's an irish pub right down the street that has live Celtic music tonight, so that might be cool. Maybe I'll even try a Guinness...

Nothing fancy, but we're getting away for a day or two. I'm looking forward to it.

Then Saturday I have to take the final for my class on viruses. I need to remember to do that... (And yes, I have over 100% of all possible points up to now, so the final is more of a symbolic finish than anything).

Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2009, 2:32 pm
Mood: Content | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


This Ain't Gonna Happen...

Well I took not one but two days off after my Thursday running debacle in hopes that the rest would let me start fresh for the last two weeks of workouts. Nope.

Again, I tried to run 2 1/4 this morning. Again I made it about a mile and 3/4 before having to stop. Not even a full two miles, which I ran with ease a week or so ago. What gives? I went back on the regular running soundtrack in the iPod. I'm not hungover. It's not like I just ate or anything. I felt good. But it didn't happen.

I don't think I'm going to be able to run this 5k at Ag Days. It's less than two weeks away and I'm not really ready to run a half of a 5k at this point. I can't see getting the rest of the way there in four or five more workouts.

I haven't mailed the form yet (wrote the check and sealed the envelope but something made me hesitate before dropping it in the mail--maybe I knew something that I didn't...).

It says it is due July 29th. Maybe if I get new shoes and something miraculous happens this week.

There will be other 5k races. The smartest thing to do might be to find a local one in September or October and plan for that.

Oh well. I'm still getting in shape, I'm still determined, my gut is totally going away, and I'm finally losing weight. This is *not* at all a lost cause at this point.

And without sounding stupid, the last thing I need to do is force myself to go further and faster than I should be and end up getting hurt or something. That would be stupid.

Keep movin'. Keep movin' on...

Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009, 3:51 pm
Mood: Perturbed | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Totally Worthless

I should have known I was in trouble when I first opened my eyes this morning and it seemed lighter than it should be and for a fleeting moment hoped that it was 7:00 and too late for me to go running before work. Alas, it was 6:03 which left me plenty of time for the every-other morning routine.

Today was supposed to be the beginning of all-running, no-walking workouts. Two and a quarter miles today. Then three days of two and a half, three days of two and three-quarters, and then race day (3.1 miles).

I don't know if it was the music (BNL greatest hits vs. Journey/Journey/Evanescence/Triumph/Van Halen/Triumph). I don't know if I kept psyching myself out, with the little devil on the one shoulder continually saying "you can stop right now if you want and walk a little bit." I don't know if it's just that I suck.

As I exited the park, about 1.75 miles into my run, I *so* wanted to just turn left and run the last quarter mile home and be done. But I ran across the street and onto Park Drive instead, to do the 2.25 route. I made it about another eighth of a mile and just stopped and said "I can't" aloud. I hope nobody was listening.

I walked a little bit, then decided to try to run the rest of the way home. And even that run ended up stopping short. What gives?

My feet and shins hurt, and I know I should actually go invest in new shoes. The shoes I'm using are my wife's shoes from years and years ago. Yeah, how pathetic is that of me. And I walk/run "funny" (doesn't everyone?) and if these things weren't already worn out, I'm sure that I've done them in.

Of course, the stupid man part of me immediately thinks that a few thousand years ago some dude ran from Marathon to Athens in his damn bare feet, so what's my excuse?

And I'm cheap, and don't want to spend the money. Summer is brutal anyway. The electric bill is $300 for the month and the water bill is over $100. And our anniversary is next week and we're going to stay overnight in Springfield and go out on the town. And I have to put new front tires on the redhead's car.

With the state of the state I guess I should just be happy that I'm getting paid at all this month. Idiots.

Well, I guess I'll go eat my eggs and get in the shower and get ready for work. Ugh.

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 12:03 pm
Mood: Irritable | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Future

Yikes. Didn't run today. I ran and did Week 6 day 1 first thing Saturday (it sort of sucked -- 3/4 mile run, 1/2 mile walk, 3/4 mile run, but I did it...). I was supposed to do 1 mile run, 1/4 mile walk, 1 mile run today but didn't. Didn't do it this morning or tonight. It's okay to take off two days, but I've got this race in like three weeks and I shouldn't be skipping days at this point.

We'll see how it goes. I think even if I'm still a week short of training that my stubbornness will get me through the 5k. I've crossed the 2 mile barrier--I should be able to just keep going and do 3 right now. But I'll do my best to stick with the program and I'll get there.

My job has changed, in a way, again. It's so complicated and really not worth explaining but basically my funding source has changed from 100% off of one soft-money (grant-based, not tied to state-budget based money) source to a 50%/25%/25% situation that still allows for the current money source to give me a parachute in case any of the other money sources go away.

It's confusing.

And I'm not worried about it. The department I work for is actually one of the players in this whole equation and I'm now involved in a multi-departmental merging of services that will theoretically have me working as a Linux administrator and ColdFusion/PHP programmer on various projects. Quite cool.

And the beauty is that my time is getting "charged" at a rate that covers my salary plus fringes and ICR (indirect cost recovery--a weird University thing where grant dollars pay back money for lights and water and such). And we're, well, making sure we charge "enough" so I'll have sort of a chunk of money afterwards.

Which means I can either start thinking about a new machine (I'm using a G5 right now, still, even if it does have two monstrous processors and 6 gigs of RAM).

OR.... I'm thinking about the RHCE. My RHCT is really only good for a few years more anyway, according to RedHat, which makes sure that they expire after so many years.

I don't know. Grad school is going great. I'll be .375 of the way through this MS in about a week (I'm over 100% of total points right now).

What am I going to do with myself once I am finished with school?

I think learning Mandarin. And starting piano lessons.

I'm going to drive the redhead nuts. Yikes.

Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 2:51 am
Mood: Curious | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Huge Milestone

The day I've dreaded arrived early this morning. Two-mile run. No walking.

I don't know that I've ever run two miles all at once in my life (even though we were supposed to jog two miles at the beginning of track practice in high school we sprinters never did--maybe a lap or two and then let's get to our workout...).

I didn't sleep well last night because of this. When I did sleep I dreamt of stretching, and running. And talking to people about running.

So I got up this morning and put a couple of eggs on the stove to boil, and got my socks and shoes on, and did my warm-up exercises and stretches, grabbed the iPod, and out the door I went.

And then I ran. Two entire miles. All at once. I can almost not even believe it.

Two miles!

Three weeks to go. And no, Michael Scott, "5k" is 5 kilometers, not 5,000 miles. Heh.

Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2009, 11:56 am
Mood: Fantastic | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Week 5, Day 2 -- Complete

Run 3/4 mile, walk 1/2 mile, run 3/4 mile.

And it actually didn't suck. And I almost didn't even run today because I got up a little bit late but knowing that I only had two runs and a walk, no matter the distance, seemed like it wouldn't take much time.

Day three is a two-mile run, without walking. That's been the scary part that all of us is leading up to (okay, actually the 3.1 mile run on August 1st is what this is really leading up to, but my mind has been watching this two-mile continuous run approach for several weeks now).

Same distance I went today, just that 1/2-mile part from Vandy's to the park won't be a nice leisurely walk. I think I can do it, though. The 3/4-mile sections today were both easy enough.

Meeting at 8:30 and 2:00 today. Yuck. Hate meetings.

Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009, 12:15 pm
Mood: Excited | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Green Thumb Sunday

I know, I'm a day late, but I took pictures yesterday and really meant to post yesterday, but then I got talking to Alex and ended up not posting. Well, he talked and I listened, I guess.

Friday I finally got around to weeding and mulching back by the fence and also around the autumn purple ash by the deck.

After pulling weeds we spread newspaper down and put the mulch over the newspaper. The newspaper will provide a barrier to prevent weeds but unlike the plastic crap will just dissolve over time.

Here's how it looked before we started...

Alex helped me load/unload mulch from the car and we used the golf cart to get it into the back yard. And he was a ton of help with the weeding as well.

Russian sage:

Here's a few shots after we finished up.

It looks like the vegetables are also finally starting to produce, which makes me all sorts of excited. I still don't understand why the plants in the pots seem to be doing better than the ones in the ground. I would have expected the exact opposite. Cherry tomatoes are on their way:

Cayenne peppers;

And I think we'll have jalapenos by next weekend. Yum.

Well I started Week 5 of the C25k program yesterday. Run 1/2 mile, walk 1/4, run 1/2, walk 1/4, run 1/2. Surprisingly it went very, very well. Tomorrow is run 3/4, walk 1/2, run 3/4, and then Thursday is a full 2-mile run with no walking. If I can conquer that, my hope will be completely renewed that this 5k thing in August just might actually happen.

I need to write a paper today for my class. Ugh. Sure am glad I've put it off for the past two weeks. (It was actually due yesterday but he bumped the due date back a day because of the holiday--how cool is that?)

Posted: Monday, July 06, 2009, 4:00 pm
Mood: Fantastic | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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