Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday musings

I hope everyone had a great weekend. It is lunchtime on Monday and I'm just sitting at my desk, talking to you. You should feel honored . . . it is sunny, mid-80s, no work deadlines, and the golf clubs are crying out to me. I'd rather be here with you. Of course I am honored by you stopping in to see what is happening in my life.

It was a busy weekend.

Friday night, Susan's oldest daughter, MAC, had a soccer game. They were playing one of the better teams in the county and finished with a 2-2 tie. MAC played strong and looks better every week. She had a nice steal, attacked a 2 on 4 situation and scored a goal in the first minute of play. The other team was good and had a lot more shots on goal but our goalies played great and kept the damage minimal.

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed out for a quick run. My legs were still sore from Thursday evenings workout and at first I thought I'd have to quit. However, after about a mile of stumbling through the neighborhood, I finally loosened up and got in a very nice 5 miler. It was sunny and the at 8:00 the temperature was a very nice 60 degrees. A beautiful morning for a run and now I wish I had stayed out there longer. However, we had a day full of activities planned and I needed to get on the stick.

After the run, I went over to Susan's to help her in the yard some more. After moving the doghouse (kids are amazed at simple things like pipes for rollers under the doghouse), picking up and planting more impatiens in the front flower bed, we took a break and went to a nearby garden shop to let the girls pick out flowers for their "OWN" flower bed. It is a shady area and I helpd steer them to the shady plants. MAC and E both got coleus, caladiums, impatiens, foxglove. We also got some sun plants for a little area that sees lots of sun. We spent a couple of hours Saturday afternoon raking back mulch in the natural area, prepping the ground for planting, and showing the girls how to layout their "gardens" before planting. I personally enjoy working in flower beds and it was fun to watch and teach the the girls. After that, Susan and I went to work on ripping out ivy and cutting down overgrown shrubbery. I also chopped roots and pulled up stumps from the shrubbery. We stopped working about 4 ish since MAC had another soccer game.

We had a snack and headed to the soccer field. It was a 6:45 game and the weather was wonderful. We sat next to some of Susan's friends who has a daughter on the opposing team. I am not a coach and know little about soccer but on the way to the field I was describing to MAC how well the team from the previous night played defense and how they kept stealing and intercepting. I told MAC to layback on throw ins. Told her how to let her man look open and as soon as the thrower starts to throw, break in front and steal. I showed her how to stay on the field side of the girl and use the sideline as an extra man. Showed her how to stay just out of the other girl's vision. Guess what . . . . she had at least 10 steals, blocks, or knock aways. Everytime she'd do it, she'd give me a thumbs up and a grin. She had a couple of breakaways and one on ones but couldn't score. The game ended 1-1 and all the spectators felt it was a very well played game. Half of her team went to the same restaurant (unplanned) and we all had a great time.

Sunday we headed to church and sunday school and after that we went to an art show in downtown Birmingham. My legs were still surprisingly sore from the elliptical work on Thursday. We bought a few things at the art show and headed to Susan's house for dinner. We stopped by the market and we each picked something out for the grill. We had Talapia, asparagus, fresh pulled corn, all cooked on the grill along with a Caesar salad. All in all, it was a fun and busy weekend.

Be sure to go by Amy's website and read her story about the proposal. Yes, Troy finally asked her. I played phone tag with her but have not gotten to speak directly with her. The story is good and you can tell she's just a little bit giddy about it.

I would say go to Susan's blog but for some reason, SHE HAS NOT UPDATED SINCE APRIL 10!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007


Yes, it seems that I hear the word FRIDAY sighed, shouted, laughed, and cried all around the office. I'm sure most of you are hearing and feeling the same thing. When I was younger, Friday was just another day. Now I find it more and more a demarcation of sorts . . . a boundary between my "have to" life and who I am actually wanting to grow up to be. Does that make sense? Does it mean that I am finally growing up or does it mean that I am heading into my second (or third) childhood?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been staying true to my running. At least four days a week I've been out there, slogging aroud, trying to get back into shape. I've been running about half of my runs in Susan's neighborhood where there are lots of rolling hills. I think that will pay off.

Yesterday afternoon I did a quick four miler, half of which I ran with Marc "Animal", my neighbor. We were taking it semi-easy since we were both whining about tired legs. We had a nice chat during the run. He seems to be doing well after losing his mom last month. After my run, I called my mom and dad and let them know I was still alive. Of course, being parents, they're curious about how life is . . . . How do you answer that?

After the phone call, Susan came by and picked me up and we headed to the Y. She was wanting to do some cardio and I had planned on lifting but I decided to go upstairs and check out the cardio room. Keep in mind that I ABSOLUTELY HATE machines. I cannot believe that people would choose to run on a belt indoors when the outside is so much nicer. Anyway . . . Susan said let's do elliptical. Sounded kinky to me so I said "sure!". Little did I know the agony that awaited me. Susan jumped on her machine, programmed it and was doing her thing in a few seconds. I just looked dumbly at the buttons, knobs, and lights. It looked like something from an old horror flick. How do you make it go???? Finally, she felt sorry for me and told me to do a 30 minute preprogrammed cardio workout. Right. Easy to say . . . which button? She helped me through that too and I finally got started. It's not that I am unfit. It is just different. When you're used to running, this machine is very tough to learn, as I quickly discovered. I couldn't figure out if I was supposed to be moving my whole body or keeping my upper body still and just using from the hips down. I am sure everyone in the room was having a good chuckle watching me. I finally got comfortable, picked what I thought was a decent cadence, and shlupped through the next 30 minutes. I kept my heart rate around 125 and the lights on the machine showed that I was working between the weight loss zone and the cardio zone. I guess I did okay for a first timer. Remember that I had just run 4 miles and had never done this machine before. I felt pretty good about it until I tried stepping off the machine and walking. I was definitely a rubberband man! Legs are a little sore this morning but I really enjoyed doing something different.

I also did something yesterday that I had never done before-
I took MAC, Susan's 10 year old daughter, to work with me. For those of you who didn't know it, yesterday was "Take your daughter and son to work day". MAC had been asking about my job and office for the last couple of months. How do you explain to a 10 year old that you work in an office that was the prototype for the DILBERT cartoon? I asked her a couple of weeks ago if she would be interested in coming to work with me and she was fired up about it. I gave her a couple of opportunities to back out over the last week but her resolve just became stronger. So yesterday was the big day and I think that she really had a good time. I showed her some of the things I do. Some very boring to a 10 year old, like updating databases, writing 10CFR50.59 evaluations, etc. However, I also do some pretty cool stuff, like 3D modeling of piping systems. That was a hit. Almost like a computer game! I let her play with Autocad and she learned simple stuff like lines, circles, and she even learned (sort of) how to do 3d solids. We had a nice luncheon for all the kids that were in the office and they were indoctrinated about nuclear power (that is what I do, afterall). I really didn't think that she was paying attention but after lunch, when we got back to my desk, she was asking questions. Very cool. We spent the afternoon browsing the NRCs ( website since they have a lot of elementary information about nuclear power. I helped her pull together some information for a handout and report that she was going to give in school today. At the end of the day, I told her it was time to go and she wanted to stay longer! The difference in a 10 year old and a 47 year old. In her words . . . It was fun.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Welcome back

Yes, I am back to my blogging. I've been out of pocket, out of sorts, and out of time but things have sort of settled for now and I can share my thoughts with you once again. I know that you're thrilled.

Over the past several weeks we have finally gotten some rain. What a relief to discover that all my vehicles were not yellow as the welcome wet stuff washed the pollen off.

Over the last couple of months my running has ebbed and flowed. More ebbing to be honest. Part of the problem was my legs were hurting. Note to self-replace your shoes after 350 miles. Yep . . . I needed new shoes and what a difference. I've run Monday and Tuesday this week and my legs feel great. I did 6 miles on Monday . . . nothing spectacular-just ran. Shelly joined me for a couple of miles and I enjoyed the company. Tuesday I went to Susan's and ran in Mountainbrook where there are no flat roads. Very hilly and tough running but I did a 30 minute loop that was very rewarding. Nothing like seeing everything in bloom and looking at 500k to 1 million dollar homes along the route. Makes me realize how really poor I am! Everyone I saw along the way was friendly and waved . . . if they only knew that I was just a visitor!

As some of you know, I had gotten into the lottery for last Fall's NYC marathon and had gotten in. However, I bailed out due to injury and was guaranteed entry into the 2007 NYC marathon. I received my notification of my entry and all I need to do is send them money. Could this be what I need to get me back on track or just another pipe dream? I think I'll send in the money. I have roughly seven months to get ready. I know that seems like a long time but as you well know, when you're training for a marathon, you need lots of time.

Susan's dad is doing better and is leaving rehab this week to go home. Her computer had died a couple of months ago and I had loaned her my laptop. Last Saturday I helped her pick out a new machine and set it up for her. Hopefully she'll finally get off of dial up and start using all that horsepower she got Saturday.

Watch for a future blog, I am wanting some feedback on an issue and I am putting together a questionnaire. Doesn't that sound like fun???

Have a great day!