Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Either incredibly boring, or incredibly illuminating. Or neither!

Perhaps you're wondering just why the CilleyGirl vanishes from the face of the earth twice a year, most notably during the month of December.  Perhaps you're not!  Oh well, you can please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time or tickle ferrets with your toes. 

So anyhow, I thought I'd try to convey an idea of what it's like around here.

First, the big deadline at this time of the year is designated by statute as December 31.  Given how the weekend and the New Year's holiday falls this year, that is extended to January 3, 2012. 

In mid October, I start thinking about year end. 

At the beginning of November, I start pointing out that I am thinking about year end. 

By Thanksgiving, we really need to get our asses in gear.

Hopefully by December 1 we are ready to start preparing for the year end deadline. 

All around and through this, my boss is talking about how he wants to do things differently this year, implement some grand new scheme, blah blah blah.  To sum up:  He wants to fix what's not broke and take as long as possible to perhaps notice that. 

This year we started prepping around December 15.  In other words:  Really fucking late.  Plus the other full time employee in my office was fired.  Yippee!!  (those are sarcastic explanation points).

Moving along.  I have a spreadsheet with every active file in the state listed.  For 2011, there are currently 942.  For each of those files, here's pretty much what needs to be done.

  • Pull current year assessment data.  We may already have this on file, or it needs to be looked up online or we have to call to get it.
  • Compare the current year to the prior year.
  • Summarize the most recent year's appeal with the outcome.
  • Summarize the number of units or square footage and the vacancy.  Track down the information in filing if we have it, otherwise request from client. 
  • Calculate income and expenses.  Ditto on tracking down the paperwork.
  • Cap the income to determine a value.
  • Compare against any appraisals or sales.  Ditto on tracking down the paperwork.
  • Give it the sniff test.
  • Make the call whether to appeal, to not appeal, or to pass it up to my boss for his call either way.
  • If appealing, draft the petition.  Some times this means a trip to the copier.
  • Note the outcome on the master spreadsheet and route the filing back wherever it now needs to be.
942 times, I do this.  The shortest time to do this is probably 10 minutes.  On something new and/or complicated, it can take an hour or longer.   Most fall into the 20 to 30 minute category.  Thankfully each file does not take an hour because that would mean it would take more than 23 weeks to do this. 

And I really can't stay awake for that long.

Oh, and I forgot to mention:  After the review and preparing of any petitions, they have to be re-reviewed for completeness (i.e., are they signed) and then they are copied, logged, and sent out the door. 

I really need a day off!

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Poetry Monster

I don’t want to be

Soft and flabby.
I want to be strong and lean.
I don’t want to be seen
As no lazy girl.
I don’t want to be lumpy, bumpy, or frumpy;
I want to be seen.
I want to scream
That I gleam
With good health
And a complete sense of self.
The way I should.
That’s how I want to be.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where did December go?

I tend to have a loose grip on the concept of time throughout the year thanks to my job and by the month of December all bets are off.  I'm so focused on my year-end deadline -- officially December 31 but your mileage may vary due to how the holiday/weekend falls -- that I forget about every other date in December.  Mainly, Christmas.  Or Hanukkah, if you swing that way.  Or whatever.

Anyhow.  The fallout from the recent personnel change at work has not been so bad, at least from my perspective.  Which is really the only perspective that counts, right?  Seriously though.  Do you work with -- or are you -- someone who, if they had to replace you, it would take more than one person to fill their shoes?  Or, conversely, do you work with someone where you have a sneaking suspicion that their job could be done by a hamster on crack with ADD?  So far, we've fallen somewhere in between. 

I've found out about a few "WTF??  Why would you do things like that???" things where clearly the time, she was a'being wasted.   I don't know if resulted from her taking over a convoluted process that she never changed to make more efficient or maybe she just liked reinventing the wheel on a regular basis, but there are some things.....  I'm all about not wasting time, mainly because I am inherently lazy.  I've got better things to do with myself.  If I can do it faster, better, stronger, I will.  Because I am the Six Million Dollar Woman.  And because why on earth wouldn't you?

Maybe it's a consequence of the results-oriented work environment we have in this country.  Where keeping your ass in your chair for forty hours a week is all that really matters.  If TPTB were to find out it only took you 20 hours a week to do your job, you would't exactly advertise that.  If you took you 60 hours a week to do your job, you would do things faster, right?  If you had to fit it all into 40 hours, I mean.  Is this making any sense?  Long story short (too late!), my uninformed opinion is that about 20 hours worth of work a week was being stretched into an average of 45.  I still don't know where or how we're going to squish that extra 20 into the rest of our work lives but it is better than 60. 

It still leaves me shaking my head, though. 

Well, as I said I'm focused on getting through to January 3.  Odds are not looking good that I will make the January 1 resolution runs.  So far, I'm not sad about that either.  It's been fairly chilly here in the PNW lately.  I'd rather catch up on my sleep under a nice, toasty down comforter :)

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whatta Monday

I'm trying to stay awake through my last hour or so at work so I thought I'd pop in here.  I'm sleepy because of the benedryl, and I took benedryl because we got our office Christmas tree (or winter solstice bush, if you prefer) yesterday and I am allergic to evergreens.  Good thing I live in the Pacific Northwest, you're saying?  Yeah, outside trees don't bug me (except in high pollen season) unless I rub one all over me.  Then that's bad.  But inside there's a lot less air and too much pollen/tree/mold/whatever.  Around 3:00 I started wheezing and I don't have my inhaler with me (note to self:  bring inhaler to work tomorrow) so I dug some little pink pills. 

And now I'm not as wheezy or snorfelly (that's a word, really) but I'm ready to pass out on my keyboarrrrrrrrrrrrrdrfsdasfdasdflkaoie ,mna,mncliux,kanlkldlkja.

Friday we had a lovely shakeup at work.  This is a really small office.  My boss, another attorney who works part time, me doing legal work full time, an office manager full time, a part time bookkeeper, and a secretary/data entry/file clerk/receptionist who is a temp and works a little less than full time. 

Ten minute after getting here on Friday morning, I am now the only full time employee.  We no longer have a business manager.  The plan to divide up her job duties?  There isn't one.  "We're just all going to pitch in a little."  Because, you know, she didn't do anything actually important and vital that we might want to make sure keeps getting done on a regular basis or anything.

And no, I still have yet to sit down with my boss to discuss being compensated for the last three people that left and I absorbed a big chunk of their jobs.  Now there's four.  Bah. 

And being the type of person who prefers to have all the trains run on time, I'm stepping up to herd the various cats around.  I guess I don't have to; I'm not obligated and I could just let it all blow up to hell.  But I know that that would cause me infinitely more stress in the long run.  Better to be my responsible self and try to make sense of this all.

But I WILL get paid for this.  Dammit.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Awesome Body Plan update!

Here's the plan so far....

1. Make appointment with allergist to get the good drugs to make the sinus problems all better. 

This one is all done!  I went to the allergist's office today and we talked about exactly what symptoms I've been having.  I'll be on a course of antibiotics but also on a heavier round of prednisone.  I'm having less problems with mucous and more with inflammation and the prednisone targets the inflammation.  Probably going to get a CT scan in 2012 to figure out if there is more than can be done -- maybe surgery -- to stop these sinus infections!

2. Make appointment to visit prospective gym(s).

Not yet, but I got a call out of the blue while I was at the allergist's today from my former gym.  They're offering me $29.99 per month for a year to come back -- I was paying $65 a month before.  It'd be $39.99 per month after that on a month to month.  I do like having the indoor track, it's a convenient distance from the house and office, and I doubt I could beat the price at the other places I was looking at.  The other places are much nicer but ideally my old gym will someday finish that remodel....  I may just end up going back to these guys.

3. Tour prospective gym(s).

See above.

4. Sign up with gym.

I'm going to pull the trigger on the old gym by next Friday.  Then I can cross three things off my list!

5. Rid kitchen of grains, legumes, and processed sugar.

I threw out the leftover brownies last night.  I have peanut butter but I never really eat peanut butter anyhow; maybe I'll bring that in to the office for somebody else to eat it.  That leaves just one hamburger bun (to be eaten tonight) and a few english muffins (this weekend's breakfast).  Then I think I'm all purged...

6. Create workout plan to build base mileage back up.

7. Decide if I want to do marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

I am signed up for the Portland Rock 'n Roll Half next May.  I still hope to do the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2012.  Starting to lean towards signing up for the half marathon training....

8. Sign up for either marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

9. Implement base mileage plan.

10. Start marathon or half marathon training.

11.  Take Vitamin D and fish oil supplements.

I started doing this again this week.  I really think it helps my mood to be a little sunnier...

Stay tuned!

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The CilleyGirl with the CilleyPlan

I thought I should start writing down the steps I need to take to accomplish my 2012 Awesome Body Plan.  Let's see....

1.  Collect underpants.
2.  ???
3.  Profit.

Oh wait, that's the underpants gnomes' business plan.  I need an Awesome Body Plan.

Okay, let's try this....

1.  Make appointment with allergist to get the good drugs to make the sinus problems all better. 

This one is all done!  I go in tomorrow at lunch time.  Gimme prednisone baby, yeah!

2.  Make appointment to visit prospective gym(s). 

3.  Tour prospective gym(s).

4.  Sign up with gym.

5.  Rid kitchen of grains, legumes, and processed sugar. 

6.  Create workout plan to build base mileage back up.

7.  Decide if I want to do marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

8.  Sign up for either marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

9.  Implement base mileage plan.

10.  Start marathon or half marathon training.

That's all I got so far.  What do you think?

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, December 5, 2011

She stirs, she scores!

I made turkey broth from Ollie's carcass and then cream of turkey soup yesterday.  Absolute home run on both!


Can you see the specks of soup between her eyes and on her nose?


Gigi says "Yum!"

I ended up not using a recipe so much as a formula.  The basic formula is four parts broth to one part heavy cream; I used half and half.  Before adding the liquid, melt four tablespoons of butter and mix in four tablespoons of flour.  If you want a thicker, richer soup, add three beaten egg yolks to the butter/flour mixture.  This I didn't do.  Salt/pepper/spice to taste; I added kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, parsley, garlic salt, and chicken bouillon granules.  Except for the pepper, it was about three tablespoons of each.  I tripled this recipe, so adjust your quantities accordingly or to your taste.  It also wasn't as thick as I wanted -- I wanted it to coat the spoon but not stick to the spoon -- I added about six additional tablespoons of flour mixed with some water.  That came out to the perfect consistency for me.  Oh, and I added about three cups of chopped turkey, both dark and light meat, once the soup was the consistency I wanted.  Overall, extremely tasty although maybe just a tiny tad too salty -- I think I could've done with a tablespoon or two less bouillon -- but I would definitely make this again.  And I made so much soup and broth that I can freeze a good portion of it.  Yippee!

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fondling Ollie

So.  Thanksgiving.

Ollie turned out fine but I did not like the sugar and spice rub I tried.  The cloves, the nutmeg -- just the wrong tastes in my mind. 


Here is naked Ollie.  Sadly, he came with his own bondage gear so I didn't get to tie him up myself.


This is the sugar/salt/spice rub that I rubbed into a naked Ollie.  While not so good on turkey, it'd be find on say dessert.


Ollie, after he's been rubbed down and wrapped in saran.  I kept walking around all morning, saying "He's dead, wrapped in plastic" in that Twin Peaks accent.  Remember that?  Pretty hard to avoid Twin Peaks when you live in the Pacific Northwest. 


He may not have tasted like I expect a turkey to taste, but he sure came out pretty.  And he was moist.  Today I took his stripped down carcass and made broth.  And that smelled like turkey should.  Tomorrow I make cream of turkey soup from scratch.  Yum!

Gigi is doing better.  The night I wrote about how she was in mourning, we took a walk to the mailbox and then we went for a long car ride.  She sat in the back seat with a huge doggy grin on her face the whole ride.  Even when I left her in the car for about 20 minutes while I got some sushi, she was so happy just to be out and looking around with new sights and new smells.  We've had a few digging incidents this week but not every night and not as bad.  Today we've been hanging out and petting each other.  She's keeping my toes warm right now.

I've been thinking about goals for the new year.  I'll do a formal recap in January but I know that I sucked at meeting my goals for 2011.  And I'm finally starting to get the running bug again.  I haven't had it since the marathon, and when I realized that Gigi was sad about Maggie being gone I also realized that I've been very sad too.  It was the day after the marathon that she crossed the bridge, so the timing makes sense.  While I don't want to be out in the cold and wet right now -- I've got a wicked squared to infinity sinus infection again, almost enough to send me to urgent care today -- I'm starting to plan for 2012.  I'm leaning heavily towards signing up with a marathon training program through Fit Right Northwest, a local running store.  It's a great bargain in my opinion, $120 for 20 weeks, two in person training sessions per week.  It would run from the end of January to the middle of June, culminating in the Vancouver USA Marathon. 

In conjunction with that, I'm planning to sign up with a gym again by the middle of this month.  I would need to back into running three times a week by the end of January, in order to avoid a recurrance of a stress fracture.  The gym I'm looking at also has a nice selection of group classes, with ones that I would want to take at the times I would want to take them -- in other words, at o'dark thirty. 

I know I say this every year, but I am really sick of being fat.  I know the goals I have in mind for my body.  I want to to be lean and strong and muscular.  I want to have control over what I can do.  I'm not going to do that by doing nothing, or even doing a little.  I've got to make what is likely to be a big change; the little ones that build on each other don't work for me.  I tend to forget why I'm doing what I'm doing.  I need to go cold turkey on my life in order to make a new one. 

But more on that later.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Woof. And gobble.

Did you know that pets can mourn?

I knew this but have never experienced it until now.  It's been about six weeks since we lost Maggie and today I finally realized that my poor Gigi bear is in mourning.


I didn't notice for a while because at first she didn't seem to realize Maggie was gone.  Or if she realized it, she didn't seem to care.  She ate a little less but I figured that was because she didn't need to chow down right away lest somebody else eat it for her.  And she didn't have somebody else's bowl of food to chow down on either if they hadn't finished it all right away. 

Not long after Maggie was gone, Gigi discovered how lovely her singing voice is in the wee hours of the morning.  Yes, eight o'clock is wee!  I realized today -- at around 3:00 a.m. when she woke me up -- that she's gradually starting singing earlier and earlier. 

She's also been tearing up the area rugs into a pile.  First it was just one time, now it's several times during the night.  The past few nights I've had to come down and lay on the couch with her in the early hours to settle her down.  It's now escalated into the same behavior as when fireworks go off.  This morning I found her waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs, then she made like she was ready to head out the front door with me, wherever I was going.

I thought about all that and realized:  My doggie is in mourning.

So now what?  There are actually several sites with some good recommendations on dealing with a mourning pet.  Thankfully they all say don't go out and get a new pet to replace the lost one.  I'm just not ready for that. 

One thing I noticed in the recommendations is to change up your dog's routine, like taking them for more walks or walks to new places.  Unfortunately, Gigi can't go very far any more but I did realize that whereas I had been taking her on daily walks to the mailbox every day I'd stopped doing that about two or three weeks ago when the weather turned crappy.  After that was right about the time her behavior started to deteriorate.  I think we'll do some car rides too, just to be out doing something different. 

In other news, I do have a thanksgiving recap planned but there are pictures and I haven't downloaded them yet.  Soon.  I know you're all dying to hear about the Ollie fondling.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gobbledygook

Howdy everyone!  Did you have a fabulous weekend filled with fun stuff?

Yeah, me neither.  Laundry, bills, grocery shopping.

Yep, yesterday I pilgrimaged to the store to find a bird to sacrifice to the gods of haute cuisine.  Or, in my case, hot cuisine. 

Ha ha!  I crack myself up sometimes. 

Sometimes?  Who am I kidding?  All the times.

Anyhow, my fridge now holds a 12ish pound free range turkey.  Not so free anymore though, are ya?  In more ways than one:  Ollie was a $1.99 a pound. 

Why Ollie?  Because everyone names their turkey Tom.   And Ollie lends itself so well to post-feast rhymes.  Like "Goodness gracious golly, delicious was ol' Ollie!"  And, um, "We've eaten Ollie, now let's put up some holly!"

Whatever.  I'm much better with limericks.

I'm flying solo this holiday and am looking forward to it.  You know, with family you get (hopefully) good food but all the attendant drama.  If you go to friends you tend to get better company but the food may not be right.  Like if they only serve stuffing, no mashed potatoes.  Or no black olives with which to decorate your fingers.  Or other weird stuff; everybody's got their Thanksgiving quirk.  Plus, you get their drama. 


So, on my own. 

I'm usually pretty basic with the bird -- garlic, butter, sage -- but I think this year I will try a sugar-and-spice-cured turkey recipe that I found.  It means I'll have to get up a normal hour (i.e., before noon) to feel up the bird with various sugar and spices but then I can have breakfast and still be hungry for dinner.  As you may have suspected, my holiday weekend shopping included the fixin's for eggs benedict.  Because I can

My other Thanksgiving staples are mashed potatoes with giblet gravy and rolls.  That's it.  I've never been into stuffing since my parents always put in the evil onions and celery (ugh!).  My stepdad hates cranberry sauce so while we'd usually have that jelly kind straight out of the can for my mom, I never got into that either.  Sometimes there would be one of those green bean casseroles, but usually we just had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and rolls.  I'm not even doing a pumpkin pie this year; I've had a craving for apple and you can get away with having that for breakfast (or pre-breakfast, as the case may be) so I don't feel horribly guilty if I eat the whole pie over the course of the long weekend. 

I've decided not to do a Thanksgiving run this year.  The weather forecast is for SUCK and I'm pretty sure my sinuses are rotting from the inside out.  Being out in the cold and wet holds no appeal for me right now.  I've been mainlining Vitamin C, trying to hold on to whatever level of health I'm at right now. 

Any turkey day plans out there you want to share?

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Ramblings

I HATE - Snorfling.  I am so tired of sniffing and sneezing and being stuffed up.  I had that flu thingy which of course turned into a sinus infection as they always do, but now I seem to be getting a cold on top of it all.  Do I really need sinuses?

I HATE - People who copy or print the same damn thing over and over and over.   Our office motto is "Death to trees!" 

I LOVE - That I am obligated to sing along and dance whenever "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" comes on the radio.  I can't not do it.  I also picture that cat food commercial that used that song in my head. 

I HATE - The fact that I have a cellular phone that is great for everything but making and receiving phone calls. 

I LOVE - That my college boyfriend calls me every year on my birthday to wish me a happy one. 

I HATE - That my stupid cell phone never lets me pick up his call to talk to him.  I will defeat you, cell phone, just you wait. 

I LOVE - That any Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, or Lindsey Buckingham song could be all about the relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.  They aren't all about them.  But they could be.

I HATE - Spending a whole bunch of time to find some useless piece of useless information and then, after conveying said information, am asked "What about the prior year?"  Well, if you had asked me to find that out for the prior year I would have but you didn't.  And it's a useless piece of useless information so who really gives a fuck?

I LOVE - Being able to indulge a bad mood.  I'm being (fairly) nice and all on the outside, but inside my head is a different story.  Muwahahahahaha!

I HATE - People who don't know how to do their jobs.  I don't mean people who do things differently than I think they should be done, but those who have actual rules and stuff to their job that they either do not know about or don't feel like following.  I work with a lot of government entities where there are laws about how they do things.  Way too many couldn't care less about that, or that they are breaking the law.  Although...

I LOVE -- Being able to point out that if they don't do their job I'm going to institute proceedings to have them fined a few thousand dollars for each incident of dereliction of duty.  It's not often that I get to that, but there's no better way than to bring down some of these bitchy little power mongers in these tiny little counties.

I HATE - That feeling sick is making me so damn grumpy.  And the weather isn't helping.

I LOVE - That David Bowie's "Changes" remind me of ninth grade homecoming and cute boys in gray tuxes with pink ties and cummerbunds.  Good times.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Facebook Experiment

Hello my cilley friends!

I'm doing an experiment through Facebook and would love to have your help.  Yesterday I created one of those posts that has you list X number of people on your profile list.  I want to see how far it travels.  So if you see a post that starts "You are in a fairy tale" and then lists the seven dwarfs, Snow White, Prince Charming, and the Evil Queen, please leave me a comment saying when you saw it and how many times you saw it.  I'm just curious to see how long it lasts and how many people pick it up.

Thanks!

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

Haven't done one of these in a while...

1.  Today I am wearing slacks that I haven't worn in several months because I figured they'd be too snug.  They're the skinniest slacks I have and my other ones weren't fitting well so these would've had to be off the menu as well.  Today they're a little loose, so yay, although I haven't really lost any weight.  But I have noticed my clothes fitting better since I stopped marathon training.  What's up with that?

2.  The radio station I usually listen to at work started playing Christmas music yesterday.  Bleah!  No Christmas until after Thanksgiving at the earliest.  Heck, in my family it's typically no Christmas until December 17, this being because my Dad's birthday is December 16 and the habit kind of stuck out of deference to him.  So I popped out the Pandora, looking for something peppy, something snappy.  I was hoping for some classic rock, but somehow whenever I start out with that on Pandora it inevitably morphs into emo rock, like Creed and crap.  Which Creed is fine and rocks and all but in an emo way.  I decided to start instead with my boys, the Monkees, and go from there.  MUCH better!  Everybody's so happy in those songs and singing about it in three part harmony.  Right now is a live version of "Here Comes the Sun."  And it has, y'all.  It has.

3.    I don't think I'm going to do the Turkey Trot at the Zoo this year.  For one thing, I just went to the zoo.  For the other, packet pickup is such a hassle -- it's only on Wednesday and I have to try to fight my way over to the zoo and back during my lunch hour to do it.  I do still want to run on Thanksgiving though so I may do the one in Tigard that morning instead.  For that race, first 300 to register get a pie!  And it's also only $25 and starts at 9:30.  It's chip timed too.  AND it's on my nemesis course in Cook Park.  Hmmm....

4.  I'm going to shill for Swagbucks again.  Since I joined at the end of May, I have earned enough points for $50 worth of Amazon gift cards.  That's free money people!  I earn most of my points by using Swagbucks as my web search engine (it's hooked up with Google) and by surveys.  It's so easy and you don't get flooded with spam, etc. for doing it.  If you sign up, tell them cilleygirl (at) comcast (dot) net sent you.

5.  I'm still pondering what I'm going to do for Thanksgiving itself.  Been thinking about going up to the ranch, but it's a six hour drive each way and there may be snow in the pass.  I'm checking with my bestie from high school who lives up that way to see if she'll be in town for the holiday weekend.  If she won't be, then I probably won't go up there.  The drive is really draining, especially if the weather is bad.

6.  I love my job.  Still working on a raise, but I do love my job.  And I'm good at it.

7.  Did you hear that couples are flocking to Vegas so they can get married on 11-11-11? 

8.  Students are rioting to protest the firing of Joe Paterno?  I had no idea so many students were for facilitating child rape.  Have they read the allegations?  One of the assistant coaches reported he actually witnessed Sandusky assaulting a 10 year old kid IN THE PENN STATE SHOWERS.  TEN YEARS OLD.  You know what tips the scales on the rape of a child, is more worthy?  ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING.   Least of all football.  Get some perspective, you dumbfucks.

9.  Sorry, but the whole failure to report sexual assaults on college campuses really pisses me off.  Particularly since I have a vagina on me at all times.

10.  And there is Herman Cain.  Enough said.  I'm still annoyed over the whole Clarence Thomas thing.  I don't care about what anyone does legally with a consenting adult.  But other than that.  Sexual harrassment means this guy believes that women are worth less than men.  Yes, please, I want that as my president.  Gah.

11.   Take a deep breath now.  Okay, I'm trying to get back to your regularly scheduled programming.  Here, check out this photo of child star Jonathan Lipnicki.  Yowza!  Reminds of Jerry O'Connell's transformation a decade or so ago.  And that of Anthony Michael Hall.  Remember when he turned up all buff in Edward Scissorhands

12.  The Muppets are coming!!!  There, that makes me happier.  I may have to go see that movie on Thanksgiving weekend.

13.  Ambien also makes you run marathons.  I speak from personal experience on that one.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Recap: The Big Day

My 41st birthday was fabulous.


It was a perfect fall day.  Temperature around 50 degrees, bright blue sky and sunshine.

I love fall.

It went exactly as I had planned.  I slept in til almost noon then had my favorite breakfast, eggs benedict.  Then I was off to the zoo!


With the temperature weather, just about everybody was out and about.  Including at my very favorite exhibit at the Oregon Zoo, the otter!


I spent a good thirty minutes with this little guy.  He was taking advantage of the sun to give himself a bath.  He was scrubbing with his little paws and at the same time his little feet flippers were scrubbing away too. 


Then he would wriggle around on his back for a while...


Then he would do flips, side to side and back to front.  But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:


You'll notice that front to back flips apparently afford the best opportunity to clean the southerly regions.  (Let me know if the video link doesn't work, this is my first time using YouTube.)


This guy is also known as the horny otter. 


The polar bears were enjoying the sun. 


As were the tigers.


It's always great when the animals are all out.


This was the first time I've ever seen this guy awake.


I can't decide if I like this shot or not.  I was trying to get the giraffe's reflection in the pond but he's so damn tall it was tough to get it all until he obligingly bent down. 


Now this shot I do like.  This year's Christmas card!


I almost never take pictures of people that I don't know but the circumstances cracked me up.  I was trying to get some pics of the goats and then this little girl comes running up to this goat yelling "Rawrrrr!" with her arms up.  Her mom immediately chastised her (I was laughing) so the kid gets down to the goat and I took the shot.  What makes the picture for me is knowing immediately what came before it.


The hippos were very obliging and I immediately felt the urge to diet.


I saw this little guy on my way out.  It's a beaver, in case you can't tell.


The reason it may be hard to tell is because he has smashed his little nose and teeth right up against the glass of his tank as he's swimming for all he's worth.  It was the funniest site.  He'd do that for several minutes then he'd do a flip then smash back up against the glass and start swimming all over again.  Not sure where he was trying to go but he was giving it all he had.

Now for the best part of the day.

My second favorite exhibit at the zoo is the lorikeets.  That's a lorikeet I have for my profile picture here on Blogger.  Here's a better look from an earlier visit:


The lorikeets live in an aviary that is open to people, meaning you go in and they're flying around.  You can also buy a cup or two of nectar and feed the lorikeets.  Normally you get two or three landing on you for the nectar.  There weren't that many people in the exhibit and the guy who gave me the nectar said they were unusually hungry that day. He was not kidding. 

On my birthday, I had at least twelve on me.  At the same time.

It was fun at first and then it started to get a bit like a Hitchcock movie.  Particularly when one landed on my shoulder and took a liking to the sapphire stud earring I was wearing.  He decided he wanted it for himself and starts tugging at it.  With his beak.  Meanwhile I'm holding two little paper cups of nectar, one in each hand, with two to three birds sitting on each hand plus they're sitting on my forearms, shoulder, on top of my head, and on my chest.  So I head over to the keeper inside the exhibit for some assistance before I lose part of my ear. 

We get most of them off but one lorikeet -- dubbed Mr. Orange, I learned later -- got so excited by everything that he started making his way from my elbow up to my hand.  With his beak.  That rapidly began to resemble a pair of pliers pinching my bare skin.  Luckily I was still with the keeper and she noticed my "ow.... Ow.   OW!" and pulled up my sleeve and got him off me. 


This is post-massacre.  As you can see, I brought my boobs with me to the zoo.  They split their own admission ticket.

Once I was all out of nectar and no longer the subject of birdie attentions, I noticed that my arm hurt quite a bit.  I went back over to the keeper where we discovered that Mr. Orange -- the keeper told me "he's a little shit" -- had actually broken the skin in three spots.  So off we went to get the first aid kit.  One of the bites bubbled up quite nicely from the hydrogen peroxide.  Eeek.  This isn't the greatest picture, but here's the damage:


I had three spots where the skin was broken -- look for the red spots, the brown spots are moles -- two really good ones, and they all bruised up to the size of silver dollars.  They've all scarred and the one closest to my wrist is still sensitive because he got the tendon and nerves right along the radius.  It twinges every time I use the mouse. 

I have to keep telling my mom that no, I'm not suing the zoo.  Despite the wounds, I had a blast.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Friday, November 4, 2011

The good news is, I don't completely have the flu.

The bad news is, I don't completely have the flu.

My boss I'm sure was not thrilled that I followed up two days of birthday vacation almost immediately with two days of sick leave, but what can you do.  Sore throat, wicked sinus headache, fever, chills, and aches.  I won't come in with stuff like that, in part because I hate it when other people do and then I catch whatever they've got. 

I'm starting to feel better although my sinuses keep choking me.  Very happy tomorrow is the weekend so I can sleep another 20-plus hours.  Overall, I guess it's a good thing I was healthy enough thanks to running that whatever bugs have been stalking me never fully got a grip. 

Once I feel up to it, I'll be posting about my fabulous birthday and the not so fabulous (for me, at least) Runaway Pumpkin Half.  I never wanted to drop out in the middle of a race so badly in my life and it was not the way I wanted to end my 2011 race career.  Not sure what I'll do about the latter, I need to get healthy again first.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'd like to thank the Academy...


I've been nominated!

I would like to thank the fabulous Ms. Kim at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls for nominating me for this bloggy award.  It's been awhile since I've gotten an award so I was very happy to be a recipient.  Even if I do think it's mostly out of revenge because I pointed out that she went to a crappy undergraduate institution that drools and is much too fond of sheep.  (But I like her a lot anyway.)

The rules of this nomination are:
I get to tell you seven random things about myself as well as pass on the award to seven other great bloggers.

Nominees, in order to accept this award you must:

-Thank and link back to the person who awarded you
-Write seven random things about yourself.
-Award seven other awesome and inspiring bloggers.

Without further ado then, here we go.

1.  My hair is naturally curly but when I was growing up straight hair was in and I hated it.  (Both my hair and that straight hair was in.)  I even got it permed once.  Bad stylist for letting me do that.  It turned out horribly.  I went back to blow drying my hair straight and then curling it with a curling iron.  What was I thinking?  I've had a fabulous stylist for years now and my hair takes about three minutes to fix.  I just blow it dry and it falls exactly into place. 

2.  I can't eat cream puffs due to a cream puff incident when I was a teenager.  Being a latchkey kid and thus home alone for several hours every afternoon, I taught myself how to cook.  First just food and then things like bread and so forth.  One day I decided to make cream puffs.  We had this Mexican vanilla that apparently was waaaaay stronger than normal vanilla.  As in something like four times stronger.  Which I didn't know.  So I used too much and between the tasting of the filing and then eating some of the cream puffs I got soooooo sick.  I've never had a cream puff since and just the idea of them turns my stomach.

3.  I also did not know there was a difference between sugar and powdered sugar.  Hey, I was about 12.  My stepdad very bravely had a piece of the cake and frosting I'd made from scratch.  He proclaimed it good, but crunchy.  We tossed the rest.

4.  I seem to be on a theme now.  I also made cornbread from scratch.  It was good but extremely dense.  Like you couldn't swallow the piece in your mouth dense.  It sat for a few days with only one piece gone and then we tossed the rest out of out to the dogs.  And by tossed I mean threw out the kitchen window onto the deck about five feet below and 12 feet over.  It bounced, with no pieces falling off.  Our dog Katie picked up the whole thing (from an 8x8 pan) and then carried it around the backyard for about a half an hour, criss crossing her path to hide her scent, before finally burying it to save for later.  We were in tears, we were laughing so hard.

5.  And last but definitely not least, I never could master making biscuits.  I think I kneeded the dough too much because no matter what I did they always turned out to be the consistency of hockey pucks.  Which is what my stepdad started calling them right away -- "Hey, you made hockey pucks!" -- as I tried for a couple of months to get them to come out right.  He would toss one down on the kitchen lineolum for the dog and she'd bat it back and forth across the floor until knocking it down the stairs, at which point she'd eat it.  The dogs always loved it when I cooked.

6.  Might as well stay with the food theme.  I refused to eat cheesecake for years just on general principle.  Is it cheese?  Is it cake?  Tell me!  I finally agreed to try some when visiting family in New Mexico when I was about 15 and now it's one of my favorite things.  My brother had the same objections and the same reaction when I talked him into trying some.

7.  I have a rule about birthday cake:  If it is your birthday, you must have cake.  I don't mean that literally.  I won't force you to eat cake or anything.  But I think you should have your favorite treat on your birthday.  If you want baby peas, have baby peas.  If you want chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and no filling unless it's chocolate, that's the kind of cake you should have.  Nothing is worse than someone getting you a crappy birthday cake.  So this should mean that as I head off to my office birthday lunch, there should be chocolate cake.  With chocolate frosting.  And no filling.  Unless it's chocolate.

Now to pass on the fun.  BUT since it was just my birthday and I am still of course the Empress I am changing it up a bit:  If nominated, you have to list seven silly things about yourself.  (Please note that if I've seen you do this already I won't nominate you again here, there were lots of folks that I find inspiring but that had already done this.  Though if you want to tell me seven silly things about yourself....)

Ready, Set, Go!

- Heather at Will Run for Coffee
- Julie at Running on Purpose
- Michelle at Runn Princess Runn
- Julie D. at The Finish Line Diaries
- Meredith at Therapeutic Runnings of a Mom
- One Crazy Penguin!
- and... Michel at Baby Weight My Fat Ass

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Planning a Birth Day

I might have mentioned that my birthday is this week.  Did I mention it?  Are you sure?  Well, in case you missed it earlier, my birthday is this week.  Thursday, to be specific.  I'm a Scorpio to the core.

And in case I didn't mention it, my birthday is in two more days.

I've been planning out what to do on the day of my birth.  I was born very early in the morning, and hopefully my mother will not be making good on her long-standing threat to phone me at the specific time, a la City Slickers.  She's been saying she would since 1991 when the movie came out.  So far, she's always fallen asleep before the golden hour.

Fun fact:  Jayne Meadows was the voice of Mitch's mother in that movie.  Did you know she was also married to Steven Allen?

I took Thursday and Friday off from work.  Growing up, big tests were always scheduled right around my birthday.  In college, it was always semi-finals.  A few years ago I decided I never wanted to get up early on my birthday again so now I always take the day off.  (It goes without saying that I also don't want to work on my birthday.)  Last year when I turned 40 I took the whole week off. 

The plan for my birthday is to sleep in.  Then I'm going to get up and indulge in a big ol' plate of eggs benedict.  I make an excellent eggs benedict. 

Next I may go to the zoo.  I was definitely going to go to the zoo, then I found out that the Annual Squishing of the Squash is on Friday.  Except that (a) it's at 10:30 a.m., (b) there will likely be lots of rugrats children there as a consequence, and (c) it's supposed to rain on Friday.  Thursday's weather is supposed to be nice (as it should be -- did I mention it's my birthday on Thursday?).  So Thursday sounds like the better option, even if I miss the squishing of the squash.  Unless I sleep in really, really late (totally possible), I think a trip to the zoo is on for Thursday. 

Zoo grounds are open until 5:00 p.m. so getting there in the afternoon would perfect for the next part of the agenda:  Sushi!!  I realized I could again go to one of my favorite sushi places over in Beaverton for my birthday dinner.  This will probably be solo; I tend to like solitude on my birthday.  I ponder what I will do with myself for the next year, much more so than I do for New Year's Eve.  My work schedule has made New Year's pretty much a null holiday for me.  Besides, it makes more sense to contemplate your life on the anniversary of your birth, rather than on New Year's.  Unless your birthday is on New Year's.

Speaking of birthdays, mine is this Thursday!

Likely I will take my sushi home with me to keep me company while I watch my latest DVD of Midsomer Murders.  I do love a good death to counteract a birthday.

What is your must-do on your birthday?

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dreams of a Sub-Three Half

Shh, don't tell, but my secret wish is for a sub-three hour half this Saturday.

It may remain a dream, at least for 2011.

Sunday Julie and I went out for a longish run.  It was kind of a toss up as to how far we were going to go; five miles, six miles, and seven miles had all been bandied about.  It would depend on the route we ran and how we felt.  For me, this was the first run post-marathon.

We intended to go torture ourselves on Terwilliger.  I only live a few minutes away so I was going to get to the meeting place first.  Imagine my surprise when confronted with this.

It was Run Like Hell!  Which I had not only completely forgotten was on Sunday but also that it would come that far up onto Barbur.*  They didn't look exactly like this when I saw them but they did look awfully rough.  That could be partly due to zombie costumes but I'm betting it was more to do with the fact that I saw them right about at mile eight after climbing up the long Barbur hill.  It was also just shy of two hours into the race, so I was likely seeing a lot of runners like me.

I texted Julie of the problem and to meet me at the nearby Freddy's where we decided they probably wouldn't let us bandit even a small part of the race course, so we headed off to Sellwood Park to run the Springwater Corridor Trail.  Where I really was not feeling it at all.  Still with the pinched nerve issue in the hip, and fresh twinges in the latest suspected stress fracture site.  The hip seems to sort itself out after about four or five miles and it was something I could run through this weekend (just didn't feel like putting myself through it for a training run).  The potential fracture site is a tad more worrisome.  I hadn't been having much of a problem with it for several days until I started to run.  It works itself out after a short while, but afterwards was (and still is) fairly sore.  My grand plan to do a few more races and to get a sub-three half before the end of the year may not materialize. 

Well, if that's the case then so be it.  It was a beautiful day to run on Sunday with a gorgeous view and great company.  And a couple of guys -- completely not together -- who were running with their arms mostly down by their sides, palms just over their thighs.  Who runs like that? 

Maybe they were leftover zombies.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

*True story:  At first I couldn't figure out what race would be coming that far up Barbur that I didn't know about.  So I'm searching my brain (BRAAAAINNNSSS), saying to myself "What the hell?"  And then it hits me -- it was Run Like Hell! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I don't wanna run but I do wanna RACE!

I'm a little burnt out on actual training but I still want to run.

Well, maybe the first part isn't entirely accurate.  I'm a little burnt out on getting up at the butt crack of dawn to run.  It's dark and it's early.  Really, really early.  Times like this I wish I lived where it stayed light up super late all the time. 

But then I'd probably have snow as a trade off. 

Anyhow.  While training is imperative in order to run a marathon -- so, you know, you don't get a stress fracture or anything -- it's a lot less important for shorter distances.  Like 5Ks.  Even kinda half marathons.  At least when you're like me and slow as dirt and pretty much okay with that.

Yet I do want to race.  In 2009, the first year I started running I ran something like 30 races.  It was a lot.  It was also expensive.  I didn't run as many in 2010, only 15 races, partly because I had a lot less disposable income and partly because I was marathon training.  And partly because I more or less quit running after the Eugene Marathon. 

It's my story, I get to have three partys if I want to!

I also ran more races in 2010 than I might have otherwise because I was part of a running league (and I won my division so neener!) and they counted as points.  This year, I haven't done many races at all, again due mainly to money and marathon training.  As the long runs get longer, I find it hard to race at the same time.  My good intentions to race say 3.1 miles and then finish out the balance of the run afterwards never work out. 

Now that training is done, and given the fun I had at the Portland Marathon, I've got the racing bug again.  Still no money but we've all got challenges to overcome.  So, piggybank permitting, I'm thinking about finishing out my year with some of these:

Nov 24 - ORCC Turkey Trot 4 miler

Nov 26 - Winter Wonderland of Lights

Nov 28 - Hot Buttered Run 5K

Dec 3 - Ridgefield Holiday Fun Run 5K

Dec 4 - Jingle Bell Run 5K

Dec 11 - Holiday Half

Out of these, I definitely will be doing the Turkey Trot at the Zoo.  The rest, I may just flip a coin.  I looked at doing the Ridgefield Holiday Fun Run last year, I did their Fourth of July run in 2009 and it had a great atmosphere.  Plus it's seriously cheap -- $15 with a canned food donation.  I think that includes a shirt. 

Anything coming up on your race calendar I should know about?

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Am a Crazy Person

A few weeks ago I learned about the Runaway Pumpkin Half.  I thought it looked like a lot of fun and all the cool kids were doing it but money has been a huge issue in recent weeks plus I started having potential stress fracture thingies (technical term) a couple days after the Portland Marathon so I put the race out of my mind.

As it turns out, completely out of my mind.  Last night I was texting with the Fruit Fly about my birthday dinner and she reminded me that she was running the half that same day.  I had forgotten about that race until she mentioned it, and then a little voice in the back of my mind said "you should run it."  So after a couple of hours, I checked out how far the drive was to the race (about 90 minutes) and how much it was ($65).  I was still thinking I'd pull the trigger a few days before the race, then I saw on the website that not only did registration close on October 25 but that you had to register by October 20 -- you know, that day -- to be guaranteed a shirt and a goodie bag. 



I'm all about the shirt and the swag.  Why else would I run a race? 

So now I'm signed up.  And so is the Fruit Fly and Kim (and her famous boobies!) and then Julie (who fixed her blog - yay!) texted me this morning to say she was in too.  Rumor has it that 2012 will be the year of the half so I would say we're in a good position to do that...

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Birthday Countdown!

In exactly one week it will be my birthday!


For the first time in a very long time, I am planning a birthday dinner for myself for next weekend.  Usually my friend S just drags me out to buy me dinner. 

It's somewhat of a challenge to arrange this dinner as some of my potential guests have different dietary needs/desires.  Sushi appears to be definitely out.  At least two are vegetarian so that precludes a juicy steak dinner.  At least one is a dedicated carnivore like myself, although he's fairly strictly meat and potatoes whereas I'm slightly more adventurous.  And then of course there is me, the birthday girl.  Having my own dietary quirks I am sensitive to those in others.  But I'm still going to eat at a place where I really want to eat.

Dinner is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 29 at the Raccoon Lodge in Beaverton.  If there are any readers in the area who want to come help me celebrate let me know and I will send you an invite when I firm up my plans. 

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday's Musings

1.  After a long, long week it was an uneventful weekend.  I again slept a phenomenal amount on Saturday, getting up around 2:30 p.m.  Ah, sleep, my favorite avoidance coping mechanism.  It is getting more normal around the house, the Bear and I are settling into our own routine without the crazy dog.  Bear has been moving around better, probably because a crazy dog isn't walking over her or knocking her down several times a day.  We even played Tug of War, which is interesting with an old, somewhat crippled dog.  It involves mostly her head and a lot of snarling and growling at each other.  Ever arm wrestle a small child?  It's a lot like that.  But with more sound effects.

2.  I'm wearing jeans today that I haven't been able to wear in several months.  Yay for depression coupled with a lack of money and appetite.

3.  I surfed some recipes yesterday trying to get myself interested in cooking (and eating) again.  Made my very first tater tot casserole last night.  It was very tasty.  Not healthy, but tasty.  Next weekend I'm going to make BBQ wings and drums.  Perhaps with tater tot casserole.

4.  I finally put some new bumper stickers on my car.  One is the Run Oregon sticker from Foot Traffic that I've had for months and months.  The others were ones I got at the marathon expo from One More Mile.  I now have "26.2 Been There, Run That" and "Running is a mental game and we are all insane."  Love that last one.

5.  I'd like to run a half marathon between now and the end of the year but I don't want to actually train for one.  Since I (a) am broke, (b) need to spend more time at the office as we get closer to December 31, and (c) I strongly suspect that I've developed a new stress fracture in my other leg I think I'm just going to have to go with the "It's good to want things" position and take some time off.  Still planning to do the Turkey Trot and the First Run stuff though. 

6.  Now I feel really slow.  Maybe I should race with a turban.

7.  But not the beard.

8.  Every once in a rare while I feel the need to peruse the blog of my ex-boyfriend's wife.  Just to make sure I'm still winning.  I am!  One of his complaints about his first two marriages (we weren't married, FYI and thank god) was that his wives were all wrapped up in doing their own thing and he was on his own all the time, blah blah blah.  If you read his current wife's blog you'd be hard-pressed to figure out that she actually has a husband what with all the activities and shit she does.  Oh, and as time goes by the kid gets less cute.  The universe, she has a sense of humor and I am laughing along with her.   Sadly I just learned the wife was volunteering at one of the water stops during the marathon, under the Morrison Bridge.  Damn, I could've accidentally thrown up on her or something.  Then again, it's not her fault she's married to a dickhead.

9.  Now I'm looking for blogs that celebrate singledom.  Hmm, are there any?  I'm thinking maybe not -- I mean, look at this article.  It's all "Don't slit your wrists quite yet -- he's still out there waiting for you!!"  What if you're not frustrated?  What if you could give a shit about whether he's out there waiting?   I wasn't born lacking.  I am complete as I am.  Ooh, this is good.  Maybe I'm just a quirkyalone.

10.  Yeah, I think that's it.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Running is FUN. Running a marathon is even FUNNER!!

At first, I felt like I had to keep defending my marathon time.  Yes, it was much slower than my Eugene time.  I was pacing a friend, that's why

As if I needed to justify my time.

You know what?  I don't

I had lost sight of the fact that when I signed up for the Portland Marathon, it was because I made a promise to a very bestest friend:  I will help you beat your 2010 time. 

And that's exactly what I did.

Know what else I did?

I had an abso-fucking-lutely fabulous time doing it.

I realized this morning that I couldn't remember the last time that running had been fun. 

Once we got started -- and don't get me started about how they put us in the walkers' corral.  I love people walking a marathon.  I totally do.  I just don't want to dodge and weave around them for the first two miles, which added almost a half a mile to our race distance -- it was fun.  I felt great.  (If we ignore the whole Ultima drink debacle.)  My first time running pain free in WEEKS. 

There were portapotty stops.  Just look at my Garmin stats:

Average Pace Per Mile:  16:10.
Average Moving Pace Per Mile:  14:44.

If we hadn't had to make all those potty stops -- almost 45 minutes worth of time.  Our last three miles were faster than our first three miles.  Isn't that awesome?

There were lots of bands on the course and neither of us was running with music.  Which meant I sang.  A lot.  Particularly from after the St. John's Bridge, meaning in the last eight miles I was being completely silly.  One band started playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" as we went by.  I sang almost the entire thing.  Even though we couldn't hear the band anymore.  I did YMCA with arm movements.  I made up lyrics; Wheels on the Bus is an immortal classic the way I sing it.  We even did the Jaws theme at one point.  It seemed appropriate at the time.

And above all, I had fun which is how it should be.  And Julie got her PR, which is how that should be.  Next year I'm still aiming for the Marine Corps marathon and maybe I'll do Vancouver USA in June since I had to sit it out this year.  Those races, I can have my own time goal. 

But it's almost better to run for your friend's goal. 

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the Highest High to the Lowest Low

I ran the Portland Marathon on Sunday.  Despite getting sick from the course's electrolyte drink and not figuring that out until around mile 15, I had a great time.  And I invented ten new refrains to the song Wheels on the Bus

I came home from the race to learn that my dog had relapsed.  Monday morning, my sweet baby crossed the Rainbow Bridge. 


I love you, Maggie.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

T Minus 1 and Counting

Got my bib, shirt, etc.  One More Mile was there are the expo, I picked up a new tech tee that I might end up wearing tomorrow.  On the front it says something like "I'm the reason you have someone to pass" and on the back it says "If you can read this I'm not last." 

I think that sums it all up for me.

Saw Jeff Galloway and Frank Shorter there but didn't stick around for their talks. 

RainWatch 2011:  There is an 88% chance of rain at 5:00 a.m. that drops abruptly to only a 32% chance at 6:00 a.m.  Overall they expect less than a tenth of an inch of rain so if luck holds we'll only get sprinkled on.  They are forecasting 50 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and up to 60 by 2:00 p.m. but mostly cloudy.  I am definitely wearing a short sleeve shirt tomorrow and probably will not wear the wrist gaiters.  Sounds like the perfect running weather to me!

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Marathon is Coming! The Marathon is Coming!

Less than two days before the big event!!  Who's excited?  Are you excited?  I'm excited!



RainWatch 2011.  We're now up to a 70% chance of rain for Sunday.  Oh wait, it's dropped to 60% since this morning!  And only a 50% chance of rain by the afternoon.  Since I will still be out on the course by the afternoon.  Sounds like it will mainly rain in the morning.  Just enough to soak us all by the start, I'm sure.

With that in mind, I stopped by the running store at lunch to try to pick up a small stick of BodyGlide.  Which they don't carry, only the size I already have.  Guess I'll be packing that along with me!  I did pick up some blister sticker thingies, "for the prevention and treatment of blisters."  I haven't opened the package yet so I don't know if I'll use them preemptively or not -- Don't want to put on something untested on marathon that might actually cause blisters.  But if I knock on wood do develop them during the race, it will be nice to have them available. 

I think I've figured out how to get to the race.  I live in the perfect spot to zip downtown -- except for downtown races when they block off the streets between here and there.  Looks like I should (a) be early enough that I'll be through there before they block the streets and (b) be able to go around the block if I need to.  Then I just need to find parking in relation to the start.  Parking is free on Sundays until 1:00 p.m.  At which time I will still be out on the course.

At least 1:00 p.m. is better than the post-race party.  Know what time that starts?  11:30.  Guess where I will be at that time?  Somewhere around mile 18.  These people, they make-a me laugh.

I am too broke to do a pre-race dinner but it looks like I will be at the expo on Saturday around 11:30 and thereafter.  If anyone wants to meet up then, email me at cilleygirl (at) comcast (dot) net and we can arrange to text.  Or you can always tweet me at cilleygirlpdx.  I usually see tweets in a somewhat timely fashion.

If you want to follow my progress, my bib number is 3608.  The Portland Marathon site has a live tracking link.   And did you hear?   The Occupy Portland protestors have camped out in the parks where the race starts and ends.  Political machinations are working overtime in Portland to solve the problems arising from that.  One of the activists said that the protest is way more important than the marathon.  Not to the marathoners it's not.  The day after, sure.  But not on Sunday.

So, goals.  The A-plus-deluxe goal is to finish at 5:59:59.  I'm....optimistic.  That was what I hoped for when I signed up to run Vancouver in June.  The B goal, at least for me, is to beat my Eugene finishing time of 6:26.  Barring blisters and heat stroke, I can do that.  The C goal is to finish in under seven hours.  Barring decapitation and/or amputation, no problem!  There is also something called "swinging the gate" that happens at 1:30 p.m. where they foist you onto an alternate route.  I'd like to avoid that. 

Let's call this the D goal...

All in all, to quote Julie today, we're going to do our best.  Otherwise, popcorn.

Still with me?  Good for you!

I never obsess -- unlike some flies I know *snerk* -- about my outfit for a race.  If I were photogenic in the slighest, maybe I'd care.  But I don't.  Temperature regulation and prevention of pain, that's what I'm all about.  I'm tempted to wear long sleeves because it will be in the 50s on Sunday but I always end up regretting that.  So I'm sticking with my Eugene Women's Half marathon short sleeve and adding my wrist gaiters.  We are supposed to have some wind on Sunday and I'm thinking in particular about the bridges and running next to the river.  I hate having frozen hands during a race.  My regular capris, shoes and socks and smelly hat will round it out. 

And really, what more do you need?

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Doggy Update

We think she had a stroke some time between Monday night and Tuesday morning.  She was worse last night when I got home, had a hard time keeping her feet under her and just basically zoned out.  She was a little better this morning mobility-wise and when I checked on her at lunch she's gotten a tiny bit more of her personality back.  But overall, it's like about 90% of my dog is just gone.  She goes through the motions like she knows she's supposed to be doing this things -- eating, expelling waste, sleeping -- but she doesn't remember why.  Hopefully she will continue to improve but unless it's a dramatic improvement I won't leave her like that with no quality of life. 

Some hard decisions to make in the next several days. 

--the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On Alaska, Rain Watch 2011, Krab, and My Dog Plays (?) Dead

So.

Alaska.  I keep having this urge to move.  Not like move into a new place here in Portland.  More like move to Alaska.  I have no idea why.  Okay, I do have an idea why, right now:  Northern Lights was on TV recently and now I'm re-reading the book.  If you have actual literary taste and don't know what I'm talking about, Northern Lights is a book by Nora Roberts that takes place in a tiny Alaska bush town called Lunacy.  I try to catch it when it's on TV because, as I mentioned recently, I'll watch Eddie Cibrian read the phone book.  Plus this was the movie where they met and had they affair and now country music fans think she's the Antichrist.  Or Antichristess.  I get those mixed up. 

Anyhow.  Alaska. 

I've always wanted to move to a small town somewhere.  Not necessarily Alaska.  Remember that Julia Roberts' movie where she's the battered wife and she fakes her death to get away and then moves to a small town in somewhere like Iowa?  When I saw that movie, I wanted to move there.  Just something about that small-town atmosphere -- at least how it's portrayed in stage and screen -- appeals to me.  It could be that the town is so small that people HAVE to be friends with me.  Because in a town with lots of people to choose from.....

Rain Watch 2011.  It's on like Donkey Kong.  Thank you so much, Portland weather, for deciding to be fall THIS week.  So far, Sunday calls for a 50% chance of showers.  I don't mind the rain except for how that's the only time I've gotten blisters from running.  I think I'll just BodyGlide the entire inside of my shoes.  And maybe pray.  Because there are no atheists with blisters.  Or something like that.

Krab.  I've been trying to get away from the dreaded carbs for breakfast.  Stupid bagels.  I thought to go back to shrimp in the mornings but turns out the bag of shrimp I had had freezer burn and no longer tasted anything like shrimp.  More like water soaked curlicues of flesh.  Not even cocktail sauce could save it.  I'm on such a miniscule budget right now that I was writing down what I was spending for each item on my shopping list.  The big thing of fake crab?  Less than $7.00 and enough for five days worth of breakfasts.  Provided I don't nibble on it in the evenings.  Mmm, fake crab, just like my caveman ancestors used to eat.  If they had a surimi plant and Red Dye No. 5. 

My Dog Plays (?) Dead.  In the long process of waking up this morning, I noticed my dog wasn't in bed with me.  I figured she was downstairs doing some sort of mischief.  Found out when hitting the snooze alarm for the first time that she was laying on top of the hope chest (she jumps on that to get into the bed).  She woke up but just lay there all while I was getting ready.  She came downstairs shortly after I did but got up on the couch and just lay there too.  Not even coming in for canned dog food.  Her nose was wet and cold so beats me what's up.  Maybe I'll have a dead dog when I get home.  Yes I'm morbid but sheesh she's nearly 16 1/2 now.  She's had a good life.  Every day is like a bonus.  

And on that note. 

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Friday, September 30, 2011

You may be tired of the police blotters...

But this one is the "best of" from the town in which I work.  Favorite entry:  "4/28/10 7:57 p.m. An angry looking crowd of people and dogs were seen heading up Country Club Road in apparent hot pursuit of somebody. They turned out to be a runners club."

See?  Actual running content!!

The rest is pure Lake Oswego.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be

That represents the only song I ever learned to play on a piano with both hands.

More fun news stuff (Because I got nothing else.  Except for the tale about the big chunks I ripped out of my fingers yesterday that are now getting fairly ookily infected.  And who wants to hear about that?):

"For a fish, it's a pretty big deal."  Favorite quote:  "We don't spend that much time underwater observing fishes."  Liar!!

Did you know people are all anxious to immigrate to states like Alabama, Indiana, and Utah?  I get the first if you're really into football, the second if you're really into basketball, and the third if you're Mormon.  But otherwise?  Really?

Sadly we can't pass laws about U.S. citizens all wanting to move to Portland.  Go away!  We're trying to stay weird here.

Is this pissing anybody else off?

"He says he has no hard feelings about the shark..."  Favorite quote (other than that one):  “I have a 5 year old son who is already dealing with the fears of shark attacks and seeing this ad will only add fuel to the fire."  Gotta hope she doesn't see the link above about fish using tools ("Mommy!  I dreamt that Nemo was coming after me with a chainsaw!")

Ooh, it's after five o'clock!

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smoked Salmon Schmear

Say that ten times fast!

Yes, my meals today have all been fully paleo.  If my caveman ancestors lived in a strip mall with a Starbucks, a McDonald's, and a Noah's Bagels, that is. 

I was up early this morning to drive down to Salem to a court proceeding (for our office, not me personally -- I am pure as the driven snow ya know), in the car by 7:30 a.m.  Shut up, it's early for me; I work four minutes from my office and often get up a little after 8:00 to be in the office around 8:30.  Anyhow, I made it all the way to downtown Salem.... at which time I got a call from my boss that our motion to postpone the trial had been granted.  I hung a U-turn and drove all the way back to L.O.  Yippee.

(Kim -- I saw a hot air balloon outside of Keizer and thought of you.  Did you see me waving at you all the way from Salem?)

To get completely random, I've got a question for you all.  Around here, there is much talk about who should foot the bill when search and rescue efforts are sent out for people who get lost or into trouble climbing Mt. Hood.  Usually in the winter and much too often after ignoring weather reports.  Many people think there should be some sort of reimbursement or else mandate GPS tracking devices, etc.  Anyhow, the news about the release of the American hikers jailed in Iran got me wondering if there is a corollary there.  As in, if you hike in or near a place like Iran, do we have to spend tax dollars to get your ass freed?  I mean, I had sympathy for their being imprisoned and all but they couldn't have picked somewhere else to hike?  Really?

Just so you don't think I'm totally heartless, here are some touchy-feeling news stories for you.

Family owned businesses thriving in Beaverton.

Stay in school, yo.  And put sex education back in the curriculum.  With the actual facts.

Snip snip kitty!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  Or, caveat emptor.

Who was shooting the video for YouTube?

(okay, so those last two weren't all that touchy-feely)

I want to be a police officer in Alaska

And even better, there's an article about the officer who writes the Unalaska police blotter.

Now I must go read the back issues of the Unalaska police blotter.  It's been a long day.

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bits 'n Pieces of Monday

I was going to call this "Bits 'n Pieces o'Monday" but that seemed way too damn cutesy. 

So.  How was your weekend?  Most of my weekend was spent in a post-long run hangover with touches of migraine.  Meaning the first part of my weekend was spent running 18 miles.

I'll use the phrase "running" loosely.  The first six miles was more of a limping lurch as my right leg just did not want to get with the program.  I wanted to quit every single second of those first six miles.  Thankfully Julie was there and she kept me from quitting, because right at end of that first loop everything literally fell into place and the pain went away.  Well, the piercing, shooting pain from the back/hip issues went away.  I still had the "I'm running 18 miles" issues to deal with.  Despite that and the sun emerging from the lovely fog -- we loved the fog, it had that cool wet breeze on your face thing going on -- we were running the last few miles about four minutes faster than the first few. 

After all of that joy plus a nap, I spent the rest of the weekend holding down my couch and catching up on television.  Some interesting stuff in the new season:

- Prime Suspect.  This U.S. remake was really good.  I love British crime dramas and Helen Mirren but the one episode I watched of the British version I didn't like.  The U.S. one held my interest.  Definitely going to keep watching this.

- The Playboy Club.  I was bored and it was On Demand.  Plus I'm a sucker for Eddie Cibrian.  I'd watch him read the phone book.  Particularly if he were shirtless.  I was so sad when they killed off his character rather than that fuckwad Eric Delko on CSI: Miami.  Anyhow.  The representation of the era was nifty and it was pretty cool to see the guy die by bunny stiletto.  Heel, that is.  Oh, and the secret lesbian bunny is portrayed as a seriously girlie girl and it was good they bucked that stereotype.  But on the whole?  I'd watch it if there were nothing else on.  For Eddie Cibrian, mainly.

- Supernatural.  I'd heard they were killing off Castiel this season and SPOILER ALERT they did.  Sort of.  I keep thinking I should stop watching this show and I never do.  I have a feeling that TPTB might be thinking the same thing and that this might be its last season. 

- CSI:  The Mothership.  I absolutely love the casting of Ted Danson.  I didn't think I didn't like Laurence Fishburne on CSI last season, but after seeing Ted Danson I realized I did.  I really did mind.  Glad he's gone.

- CSI:  Miami:  Please please please KILL ERIC DELKO.  Beat him to death with Tony DiNozzo if you have to, but HE MUST DIE.

- Glee.  It was meh.  There may be sharks underfoot.

- The Good Wife.  I've never watched this one before.  I liked it. 

- Harry's Law.  Still an awesome show.  Just hope it doesn't spiral downward into WTF??ness like every other David E. Kelley show I've ever seen. 

- The Mentalist.  SPOILER ALERT.  Red John lives!  Can't say I was terribly surprised.  Still hoping that what's his name -- the guy who started out heading up the CBI, who was the slimy President on 24 -- turns out to be Red John.  Gregory Itzin, that's his name. 

I think I'm done for now.  Anything good on your TV that I'm not watching?  Anybody like this season's Biggest Loser? 

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thirteen Things Thursday

1.  I'm knocking on wood as I write this but I've been able to walk normally this afternoon for the first time in weeks.  Seriously, I was thinking of becoming a professional John Wayne impersonator, the limp and lurch was just that bad.  I hope this is the end of that mess.  At least until after the Portland marathon.

2.  Which is in 16 days. 

3.  I know I haven't trained enough for this race but considering that just two months ago I was still rehabbing a stress fracture I'm okay with that.  Still hoping to beat my Eugene time of 6:26 and barring catastrophe (again, knock on wood) it's definitely doable. 

4.  After the Eugene Women's Half, I told Julie we needed a code word for really meaning it if one of us tells the other to go on ahead.  Without the code word, the other person gets to drag, beat, and otherwise cajole your ass forward without mercy.  I think the word will be "popcorn" because why else would you say that during a marathon?

5.  I knew I was taking the day after the marathon off but had forgotten until this morning that I'm also taking the day after that off as well.  Yay for foresight!

6.  Migraines SUCK.  The Excedrin Migraine worked for about an hour but now the headache is back again.  I'd really rather be in a darkened room right now.  Stupid sunny day and stupid office with lots and lots of windows and a view.

7.  I really wish I had a way to notify all of the taxpayers of a particular county that their county counsel is wasting tons of their money just fucking with us.  I swear she's doing is so that she can justify her continued employment.  For example, in the court we work in you can't do formal discovery requests until discovery has been asked for and ordered.  And she knows this.  Yet she just served us with 30+ formal discovery requests, without an order of discovery.  Bitch.

8.  She also doesn't believe a trust can own property.  That's going to come as quite a surprise to the zillion people who have set up trusts and transferred ownership of their property to them.  Dumbass bitch.

9.  I've never watched Portlandia.  Should I?

10.  I can't believe the fall TV season has already started.  I used to start preparing weeks in advance, even making a spreadsheet so I'd know what shows to watch when, what shows to tape, etc.  Back in the VCR days you had to coordinate in order to tape stuff.  I did watch the reboot of Two and a Half Men.  I didn't think it was any better or any worse than with Charlie Sheen -- I do like Chuck Lorre's stuff as it is.  The Dharma and Greg cameo (a Chuck Lorre show) did make the whole episode worth watching though.  The Charlie Sheen roast was pretty good.  Mike Tyson was fabulous in it, and there's a phrase I never thought I'd say.  I mean, the man even made an Iliad/Homer joke.  And it was funny

11.  I was just talking with our bookkeeper about whether I needed to take a vacation day for my jury service or if I would get paid.  I came across this in my research.  I admire the responder's self-control; my response would have started with "You are an idiot, sir."  And I was just commenting on how sometimes courts do run out of jurors.  Imagine just walking down the street and being summoned for jury duty.

12.  Back to television.  I did watch The New Girl.  I found it kind of meh.  The singing to herself thing got real old real quick.  I also caught most of 2 Broke Girls which I liked a lot better.  As I've mentioned before, I typically cannot stand sitcoms so when I actually like one good for them.  I may still not actually watch that one though; the only sitcom I watch with any regularity (that's not in syndication and on when I'm making dinner) is The Big Bang Theory and that's only been in the past year.  I think it's because most sitcoms involve somewhat mundane situations where it would be resolved in two seconds if only people would talk to each other.  The more absurd situations -- the Murphy Brown turkey episode comes to mind as well as anything Sheldon ever does -- are the ones I'll bother to watch. 

13.  Folks are talking about the Run Away Pumpkin Half Marathon on October 28.  Hmmmm......

Cheers,
the CilleyGirl