Wednesday, March 28, 2007

ok smarties...

So I do have a headache this morning.
But it's not from drinking all day yesterday, like some who have had to work this week have alleged...
It's allergies.
It has rained on and off for the first three days of my vacation, clearing out a lot of the dust, but it still gets airborne, and right in my face so there you go.
The rain has been great for the lawn and my few plants (OK plant), but she's doing really well now, as you can see.

Despite the headache, I do love spring. If history holds true to form, we'll have one more freeze or something like it before Easter. But it's a big "if," especially after watching Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." I think we should start showing that at the elementary level so kids can grow up environmentally aware, but I digress...
Back to the headache, I swear by the liqui-gels for any ailment, kind of like the dad with his Windex in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Advil is a must, whether bought at the gas station or grocery store.

But if I were hung over while on vacation, I'd stick to coffee the next day. With Kahlua and Irish Creme.
A bit of the hair of the dog kind of thing. :-D
Cheers again, and have a great day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good morning, Mary

Ah, the best part of vacation is that you can have a bloody mary instead of coffee while reading the paper in the morning.
Sorry for y'all who have to work today.

Anyway, back to Mary...
These are must-haves for the perfect bloody mary -- tomato juice, worcestershire sauce, celery (I was out), celery salt, pepper, Spanish olives, tabasco sauce, limes (OK, this is a given for any household, people). Look for that tangy, spicy flavor.
In a pinch, a mixer will do if you haven't been to the store...

It's good to start with a great vodka.
This is my choice. (No money changed hands, it's just true).
Actually, vodka is a great all-day drink. One can start with a bloody mary, move to a screwdriver (OJ for you rookies out there), switch to cranberry juice (a Cape Cod), then end the evening with a vodka tonic.

Believe me, don't mix your grains or you'll make yourself sick switching poisons...
I speak from experience, I used to be a bartender.
Here's to all of you hard at work.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cross- training

OK. No running on Sunday, but do you know how long it took me to do the lawn yesterday?
Four hours. It was a great workout because I am sore in lots of places that I haven't been since I started running.

It had gotten to the point that one could no longer say I was trying to create a Native Texas Garden. No "wildflowers" there, just weeds. Crappy and out of control.
With spring in full force, I had to do something. I had to be a good neighbor and clean up the freaking lawn already!
It's funny, my neighbors on either side mowed right after I did. People across the street, too. At least we will all have groomed lawns together.
I had to rid the yard of the overgrowth the old fashioned way at times -- pulling -- and also I used a nifty device called a Weed Hound. Check it out at Home Depot...
It's kind of funny, none of the other women on the block do yard work. I don't know why they won't help the guys. Not even sweeping or picking up.

My Mom used to love yard work. I remember her using a push mower just because she liked the extra workout it provided. That memory came to me yesterday as I was mowing. Doing the yard is fun for me now.
It was good to work outside, feel the rays of the sun and slight wind and listen to the birds on Mom's birthday. It was sweet...
So I'm on vacation this week. I will spend my mornings here, drinking coffee, reading the paper and surfing the Net.

No doubt, it's my favorite spot in the back yard, day or night, any season.
The red-tipped photinias provide just the right amount of shade and privacy, which is good for having bloody mary mornings in the middle of the week. :-D

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My greatest gift

I've been told I have her hands. Possibly the curly hair. Maybe even the smile.
When I have a good laugh, I like to think that I can hear her, enjoying the moment, watching her giggle until she cries, her cheeks a brilliant pink.
She laughed with her whole body. That's probably where I get it.
I wish I had a picture of her to share (can't figure out my scanner quite yet).

She's buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. My Daddy and I take her flowers every time I am in town. It's become something just he and I do together. He misses her, as do all of us.
Had she lived, my mother would have been 85 today.
Diabetes shortened her life. Dora, that was her name, died in 1991 at 69.
It's funny. Mom hated her name, but she'd be tickled to know that there's a little cartoon character girl with the same moniker who has her own TV show and millions of children all over the world love to go exploring with her.

I can't help but think of my Mom today -- I think of her everyday, actually.
And I imagine my big sisters are thinking of her, too, maybe doing little things that Mom liked to do, maybe cooking a meal she'd have cooked. Or maybe one or both of my sisters will sit at their pianos today and play classical songs from her sheet music collection. Torn and tattered, they are priceless to us.
Mom would sing and play the piano for us when we were kids, and I remember her enjoying her quiet time, playing Wagner and Tchaikovsky. Her favorite song was Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy.

Reluctant at first, she was my biggest supporter when I decided I wanted to be a journalist.
She wasn't too keen at me leaving home and town to go to college. But she and Daddy let me go, thanks to my big sister Margaret, who said I'd be crazy not to go since I was on a scholarship. After graduation when she started getting subscriptions to the newspapers I worked for and started reading my stories, she was hooked.
She'd call me her Brenda Starr girl reporter. I couldn't help but love it, Mom did it because she was proud.

She'd be a proud great-grandmother today, paying lots of attention to this little man, and waiting for her granddaughter's wedding next weekend. She'd walk down the aisle with Daddy, and they'd dance as well as two 80-somethings could, both of them crying with happiness.
I miss her, and the greatest gift she left me -- my family -- will endure forever.
Happy birthday Mom.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Strengthening the core

No running today, so how about Dwight on his fitness orb instead?

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz everyone, and happy Friday.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Crafts for a cure?

We ended Wednesday night run at New York Pizza as usual, but last night, we had craft night, too.
It's amazing how much dexterity one needs to take small rings, pull them apart and slide beads and shapes on them and make sure the rings close without looking too jacked up (some of the beads were hard to get on, had to get a little rough with it).

My Team in Training group made this little jewelry thingies with beads for the stems on wineglasses for our big wine tasting and silent auction March 30. One of the mentors brought beer to, um, motivate us a little.
It's a BYOB place because that part of Dallas County is dry. Geez, I can't believe that stuff still goes on. Freaking hick-ass...just saying.
Anyway, the people who run this place are really good to us. They let us pull together tables, let us stay as long as we want/need to.
The owner even poured me a glass of Skyy Vodka when he heard me say I needed a drink. It was free -- and enough for two drinks...I mixed it with some Sierra Mist.

His inspiration worked, I actually made a dozen or so of those jewelry thingies. We actually need about 700 of them...Ugh, as Amy would say.
How'd I do?
Not bad for a first-timer, but I'm keeping my day job, for sure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hello spring!

I drove home from San Antonio on Sunday and the highway was lined with these most beautiful bluebonnets.
They weren't quite as vibrant as this photograph, but just wait until April after a couple of weeks of good rain.
My IT band issue on my left knee is gone (I think so, really). I am easing back into my normal routine, but adding a little extra TnT mileage I need to catch up on.
Today, I ran two, walked two, and it didn't hurt! Eight miles this week so far.

So bluebonnets and wildflowers are my favorite things about spring. Oh, and solid chocolate bunnies, too.
What say you?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tiger Balm and wine (free association Tuesday)

Do you have a perch?
Mine is my leather couch, which faces the fireplace and television.
I've not been on it much, except these days I spend not really just watching TV and, umm, drinking wine.
I lie on the couch and use a rolling pin on my leg to work out the soreness. It really works.
So from this vantage point, there's a good view of the Tiger Balm and wine, as you can see. Only thing missing is the Advil. Damn. Forgot to shoot that. A picture, not the pill.

I had espresso at 4, so sleep will not come easy. Couldn't help it, though. I love the smell of freshly brewed, strong coffee in a newsroom.
So lets free associate:
--Purpose driven life. Did we really say "I want to be THIS when I grow up and THIS is what we meant?
--Once you discover your neuroses, do you really do anything about them, other than obsess about your findings?
--Do you really want to boot all the gays out of the military? Seriously? I can't believe the joint chief won't apologize for his remarks. (It seems like a current event was needed here).
--On being ordinary. Was Meredith's mom right or was she just being a bitch?
-- New strings on a guitar is heavenly. The instrument almost plays itself.

--Lyrics with beautiful, deep meaning (U2):
...See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out
It was a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
Beautiful day...

(Yep, trying to learn how to play that...beautiful song).

--Does class, race, orientation play into any part of your day?
--Want or responsibility. Do you have to make a choice about either?
Why should we choose, ever?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Clear and 80 degrees

Early March and it already feels like summer.
The earth is enjoying getting green again.
(Sorry you North and Easterners)!
Isn't this a beauty? Bradford Pear, wonderful spring-flowering tree.
This was a wonnderful day that began at 5:30. Saturday morning run at Grapevine started at 6:45 as the sun rose.
It was funny -- today's clinic was about injuries. I have a nagging one.
I was told ice, massage, gentle movement, patience and time would heal my knee and the IT band.
Everyone seems to think that it won't affect my marathon training and I have plenty of time to prepare before June 3.

Meanwhile, here's Niki enjoying romping around the yard. I had interrupted her snacking on grass.
She's getting frisky but still can't stand being either inside or outside for too long.
She is ready for her spring shave.
I'm welcoming the sun.
PSA: Anyone reading this who plans to find themselves in the Dallas area March 30-31, come to our Team in Training Wine-tasting and Silent Auction in Grapevine.
Local wines, food, goodies, etc.
It's $25 a ticket and goes to a good cause. : )
Can you believe it's almost summer?!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Friday, March 02, 2007

It's in the eyes

NEW YORK -- I was star struck this week.
I came to New York for a board meeting for a professional organization in which I serve, I saw two very renowned journalists -- Mike Wallace at Penn Station, and Christiane Amanpour. Amanpour was the speaker at a scholarship banquet and was charged with inspiring the students who aspire to be journalists.

I hate to admit that it's rare to be ignited and inspired halfway into life about career. It's even scarier when the beacon of truth inside is in danger of being lost.

Once I became a professional, I didn't think I would continue to be captivated by renowned journalists. I actually think it's nice that although the years in this uncertain industry have left me jaded, the trailblazers still display that passion that originally settled inside each journalist in the early years.

I once worked for the same newspaper as Molly Ivins, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
I met her only once really, as she was based out of Austin and I was in Fort Worth. She was a very big and robust woman with the reddest hair I believe I had ever seen. A true Texan, she was humble and seemed to enjoy the brief conversation with the kid I was, barely in my 30s then. She still had that wonder in her eyes, whiskey and vinegar in that blood.

So when I saw Wallace at Penn Station on Thursday, I didn't want to say anything,I just wanted to look at him, watch his movements and demeanor. He seems to ooze conviction. I really didn't want to bother him. He noticed anyway -- I got a wink from the man with bright eyes and brilliantly leather skin. It was sweet.

That evening, a ballroom full of student journalists and professionals heard Amanpour speak at this banquet to honor scholarship recipients. Her passion is noticeable, her story interesting, no doubt. The way she explains her life, saying she came from a "privileged" family in Iran sounds like a riches to rags to riches story.

She said she and her family lost everything and had to flee Iran in the Islamic revolution of the 1970s. It appears that experience made her discover her humanity, and what she is today. She was inspired to be curious, ask questions, tell stories.

She did a little inspiring, too, as did many other colleagues that night, including my pal Sammy.

In a taxicab ride after the program, my friends and colleagues Elizabeth and Margarita and I talked about the speech. We agreed Amanpour has led an interesting life, certainly on the edge. We also debated -- as all journalists do -- about the whole "privileged" admission.

Margarita reminded us that everyone has a story of struggle and how instances of extreme loss can alter a person, change everything about who they are.

I know I pursued this career to make a difference. It still feels honorable. I may not land in career brilliance like Ivins, Wallace or Amanpour did, but I keep company with inspiration and motivation.

I am glad to say most of my colleagues still have that light in their eyes, as you can see. I hope I can keep mine for a very long time.

P.S. Damn, I didn't workout once!