| Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
But DUDE, what're the odds? I'm here for one friggin' week and we have an EARTHQUAKE? I should buy a lottery ticket.
Update: Wow! It made the SMH website. I didn't feel any of the aftershocks... but then again, I was frantically running down four flights of stairs and worrying about getting squished by a falling bit of masonry.
Monday, July 28, 2008
On Saturday morning, we went for a walk around the neighborhood and spotted a garage sale. They had a sweet plastic kids' slide for $8... and after some haggling, I bought it for $7. Then I had to lug it three blocks back to the Carbo house. We set it up in the back yard with some foam mats for protection. Penn... LOVED IT.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Week 3 distance: 13.4mi (21.48km)
Week 4 distance: 9.7mi (15.6km)
Week 5 distance: 16.45mi (26.3km)
That's a 22% increase over my last long distance week two weeks ago. I made sure to have a nice cool-down walk at the end of my long one today, and I took the time to stretch in the backyard afterwards. My lower back is still feeling pretty good. My left hamstring and shin were giving me a little trouble today, but nothing too serious. Here's to staying healthy all the way until October 12!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Last night I caught a flight from Los Angeles to Oakland to visit the Carbos for the weekend. The kids were all asleep by the time I got here... but this morning we're all getting to know each other. My sister had the excellent suggestion to bribe Penn with some new toys and he seems to be warming up to me. Indie is just the sweetest, happiest baby I've ever seen. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures...
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Last night I left work and walked a few blocks over to Compatto Yarn Salon. That's the knitting shop I found on my first day, and I knew they were having a sock knitting night. I'd brought my long-neglected Rhiannons along. There were five ladies sitting on the sofas in the back, happily stitching away. I introduced myself and a couple of them recognized me from a question I asked on the Ravelry LA forums. Everybody was really friendly and I had a great time. (My favorite bit: One of the girls who works there was like, "Maybe while you're here we can teach you to knit continental!" I chuckled and explained that I'm perfectly able to do continental and use it whenever I do two-handed fairisle, but in general I just prefer my silly old inefficient method of throwing. I think that threw her for a loop, so to speak.) I was surprised and fascinated to learn that one of the other knitters works on political campaigns, and she happily whipped out a photo of herself with Barack Obama. Cool! We debated the merits of the Australian electoral system as opposed to the U.S. Of course, sitting in such proximity to such gorgeous wool made Stash Acquisition inevitable. I managed to escape with only a ball of hot pink variegated Cascade Fixation (for making a hat for my niece) and a gorgeous golden skein of Pagewood St. Elias, a scrumptiously soft sock yarn made with Blue Faced Leicester wool. I'm going to try to make it back for next week's group too.
So I saw this cute little interview with the Sock Victim on Miss Fee's site. (She got the idea from here and here.) The idea is that the knitter asks their non-knitting partner some questions about their hobby. I sent the list to the Snook last night with a request for his answers. This morning I got my reply.
Snook: "Hmmm. There's a reason why I don't have my own website you know."
I expected as much.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
There's an amazing office complex between the apartment and work called The Water Garden. I've walked and ridden past it on the bus a few times now so today I decided to explore. It was so pretty! There are several interconnected fountains and plazas with meandering pathways between them. The sun was shining with a nice breeze. I got some lunch - chicken quesadilla with spanish rice and guacamole - and sat myself down on a bench.
Yeah, that first one is me on the bench by the tree. What, you thought I wasn't the type of person who'd balance her camera on a trash can, hit the timer, and sprint 30 feet to the nearest bench? You were wrong. I have no shame.
So I've moved out of the swanky hotel downtown and into the staff apartment a few blocks from work. It's pretty nice! Somehow it just feels a lot more relaxing to come back to a place with a kitchen and a couch. There's a grocery store nearby so I headed over last night to get some supplies. Man, I forgot how amazing American grocery stores are. You guys just have no idea. I was walking around in a daze, like some Eastern European immigrant getting my first taste of capitalism. I'm pretty sure my jaw was open the whole time. And this wasn't even, like, a Super Walmart or anything. It was just a normal grocery store. I was freaking out. Too. Many. Choices. Everything so cheap. It is both the pinnacle of American achievement and a symbol of its decadance. I love it.
So there I was, wandering around like a slack-jawed yokel, trying to concentrate on the few things I knew I needed: something for breakfast, toilet paper, laundry detergent. And as I walked the aisles, I had a sudden epiphany: Snookums is my dietary Jiminy Cricket. Without him to keep me in check, my impulse was to load up on junk. It took all the willpower I had to buy some actual decent food (I got ingredients to make spaghetti carbonara for dinner tonight)... and even so, I still walked out with Golden Grahams, Pop-Tarts, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. *sigh* At least I managed to get in a good run on the treadmill and start to work off some of the inevitable calories.
ARGH. A couple days before I left, I went to Target to pick up some cropped pants to wear to work here. I figured it would be hot in LA so I'd take advantage of the Australian winter discounts on summery stuff. I found some nice taupe capris and tried them on. Great fit! Maybe even a little big. On my way out, I impulsively grabbed the same size pants in black as well. That's what you do, right? When something fits and looks good, you get it in multiple colours! I packed them both in my suitcase, and I wore the taupe pair yesterday. All good. This morning I went to put on the black pair... and I could barely get them over my hips. SERIOUSLY. I double-checked the labels to be sure, but both pairs are exactly the same size. Yet somehow the black ones are at least two sizes smaller. I'm so annoyed. I can't even wear these. And I'd already cut the tags off and everything, so I doubt I'll be able to return them when I get home. How can there be so much variance in IDENTICAL pairs of pants? :(
"How can I be a schoolteacher - wouldn't that be a waste of my expensive education? Wouldn't I be squandering the opportunities my parents worked so hard to provide? What will my friends think? How will I face my classmates at our 20th reunion, when they're all rich lawyers or important people in New York? And the question that lies behind all these: Isn't it beneath me? So a whole universe of possibility closes, and you miss your true calling."It definitely applies. I won't lie; when I started back in IT four months ago I definitely thought about sending in an update to the alumni magazine. Working in the knitting shop... Well, I wasn't embarrassed to tell you guys or my real-life friends about it, but somehow I worried whether the other alumni would be snickering. Isn't that stupid? I still struggle with feeling like my college education was a bit of a waste (especially when I pay my student loan). If I'd stayed in the US, there's no doubt that it would have opened a lot of doors for me. Overseas, though, most people don't seem to care where your degree came from.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Week 3 distance: 13.4mi (21.48km)
Week 4 distance: 9.7mi (15.6km)
Week 4 distance (including walk): 14mi (22.57km)
So in terms of running, that was a decrease of about 27%. I feel pretty good about that. Tomorrow I'm going to do my morning run along the beach, I think!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Ohmygosh, I can't believe I forgot to blog this! On this past Friday at around 5pm, Lucas Poole and myself became the Mobile Messenger Wii Doubles Tennis Champions! There were 32 people who originally signed up a few weeks ago, and people got paired up randomly into teams. There was a round robin group match (during which Lucas and I didn't drop a single set!) before going into the elimination tournament. It got tougher then, but somehow we found ourselves going into the final against Alek and Eliot. It was a match for the ages. People were standing on the sofa behind us trying to get a glimpse of the match. We ended up winning three sets to one, but every single set went right down to the wire. And the winning shot? I got an ace on a Power Serve. I knew that the receiver would totally be expecting it - I always go to the Power Serve in pressure situations - but some how he didn't! It was glorious. And the funny part is, Lucas might get sent out to the LA office before I leave. Snookums suggested we hold a similar tournament here, just so he and I can legitimately call ourselves WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Anyway, in less than 12 hours I'll be boarding my flight to Los Angeles. It looks like I'll probably be staying here for the duration. I've booked tickets to visit my sister in San Fran on the first weekend, and then I'm making an insane 60-hour visit to Indiana on the following one. I should have Internet at both work and the hotel, so expect to hear all about my adventures as they happen!
Friday, July 18, 2008
The third swap in the "Australian Knitters" group on Ravelry is taking place this week, and I just got my package! It came from the awesome "tasknits" (aka Gill) down in Somerset, Tasmania. She made me a beautiful black beret and matching mittens with red cable trim. I also got a calico bag, a bunch of cool gear from the Burnie Ten (a famous 10K race down there), a bookmark, and some chocolates. Thanks, tasknits! I used my work webcam to snap a quick picture of my hat and mittens:
My own swappee's package will be sent at the very last minute tomorrow. It's been a crazy week.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It's going to be a little weird to be away from Snookums for so long. I refused to get schmoopy about it though. It's like those people on Survivor; I get so annoyed when they start crying after two weeks without their wife. It'll be fun to have this little adventure on my own, right? (And you know he'll be enjoying bachelor life back here...)
I've been having fun reading this epic Metafilter thread about some blogger who was denied espresso over ice at his local coffee shop. The coffee shop owner claimed that it's because espresso over ice goes sour and icky, and anyway most people just turn around and make "ghetto lattes" with it. The blogger felt like he should be able to order whatever he wants, coffee-snobs be damned. The MeFi discussion pretty much covers the whole spectrum. I was particular interested when people started bringing other service professionals into it. Like, should a good bartender serve a customer single-malt scotch and soda? Would a true culinary artist acquiesce to a customer's demand for risotto with a side of spaghetti? Should a real music fan refuse to sell a treacly Steve Wonder hit? Or - to make it relative to my own experience - should a yarn store employee sell a newbie Feathers yarn to make their first scarf?
Personally, I tried to talk people out of bad decisions. If I felt they were going to be disappointed with their project, I'd tell them why their chosen yarn wasn't really suitable for their pattern. Then I'd suggest alternatives. But I'd never go so far as to refuse to sell them what they wanted. If they want to kill themselves making a aran jumper out of cotton or a six foot long scarf out of Feathers, so be it. We'd had a "Knitting Nazi" working at the store before, and it's just not good for business.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Week 2 distance: 12.4mi (20.01km)
Week 3 distance: 13.4mi (21.48km)
That's a much more modest distance increase of only 7%. Good, huh? Unfortunately I did feel some pain in my lower back on the second run. Stretching and anti-inflammatories seem to be helping.
This surprise work trip to L.A. means I'm going to miss the Bay Run next weekend. I'm sad about that, but at least I'll be back for the City 2 Surf. The company apartment over there apparently has gym access, so I should be able to run on a treadmill in a pinch.
Update: The presentation? ROCKED. Who would've guessed that my high school speech team experience would turn out to be my most marketable skill?
Sunday, July 13, 2008
We caught a great film on the TiFaux this weekend: Orson Welles's Macbeth. The Snook walked in during the very first scene and guessed, "Genghis Khan?" No, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that based on some of the wack costumes they wear. The landscape and setting are crazy too. It took me a long time to figure out that the giant rocky mountaintop where everything seemed to take place... was actually Dunsinane, the castle. It was really surreal and atmospheric and weird. There were characters (that crazy medicine man/priest with the long braids?) that I didn't remember from before. Some characters would drift in and out of Scottish accents. Yet the story was still there, complete with all my favorite speeches*, and it was still powerful. I liked Welles's touch of having some of the soliloquies be voice-over instead of spoken aloud. The shots of "Birnam Wood" marching through the mist towards the castle were unexpectedly eerie and beautiful. This one is definitely recommended, if you like your Shakespeare on the weird, expressionistic side.
* Snookums was slightly disappointed though that his favorite speech got cut. It's the scene directly after Duncan's murder, when the drunken porter goes to answer the door and goes on a long ramble about the effects of alcohol on the male anatomy.
Friday, July 11, 2008
(Except I don't have a basement. And I don't have $14,000. And I live in Australia.)
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Snook: "Sunday ROAST?!"
Poor kid's going to get that reaction her whole life.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Oh, this is glorious. The railworkers have threatened a strike next week for the busiest day of the Pope's visit. BRILLIANT. I'm actually serious; I will happily walk the 8km to work if it means that World Youth Day gets buggered up that little bit more. Which reminds me: The official WYD "Uniform and Accreditation Center" happens to be located at 1 Grafton Street, Chippendale, if anyone wants to, you know, protest. Or something. Me, I'm just hoping I can walk down the street to my house without being fined for annoying a Catholic.
Week 1 distance: 10.8mi (17.37km)
Week 2 distance: 12.4mi (20.01km)
Fastest mile so far: 10:41
That's a distance increase of 15%. I know that's higher than the 10% most runners aim for, but that's because I'm still ramping up the length of my daily training runs. They're at 35 minutes now, but in a few weeks they'll top out at 45 minutes. Then the only increase will come from my long runs on the weekend.
I'm still going nice and slow on most of my runs (as per Galloway's book), and I'm loving it. I did my long run yesterday at a 12:00/mile pace, and that included taking a minute's walk break after every kilometer. I didn't feel too tired at the end at all. In terms of injuries, my left hamstring has been feeling a little tender lately (I'm trying to remember to ice it each night) and my right shin started to feel a little sore towards the end of the run. My lower back pain is almost completely gone. I've been trying to pay more attention to my form, and I think that's really going to pay off in the coming months.
I ran a "magic mile" on Monday night and managed it in 10:41. According to Galloway, that means I'm capable right now of running a half-marathon at a 12:30 pace. That's actually a little bit slower than I ran it in May, so I'm not putting too much stock in his prediction right now. Or maybe I didn't run the mile as quickly as I could've. It was hard to pace myself over the distance, and I was running on the sidewalk in Newtown (and therefore dodging people). Maybe for my next one I'll make a trip over to the proper athletics track...
Saturday, July 5, 2008
It's been a weekend of special occasions. We're on our way out the door to a special 4th of July BBQ hosted by one of the Snook's sorta-American co-workers. Also, Happy Birthday (well, yesterday) to Miss Fee! And lastly, I was absolutely thrilled to get an email this morning announcing that Matt and Christopher had gotten married in California. Congratulations, guys!
Friday, July 4, 2008
Wednesday night was our long anticipated excursion to A'Mews in Glebe for their Winter Pie Special. Apparently the chef has a tradition of designing a new meat pie each year which is only available on certain days in June and July. This year it was "Black Angus Beef, Madeira, Eschallot & Kipfler Potato Pie with Creamed Parsnip". We were joined Miss Fee, the Sock Victim, Emily the Car, and Clare. (Miss Fee has photos of the pie.) It was fantastic. Without a doubt one of the best meat pies I've had. The restaurant is cozy and inviting, and the staff are friendly and helpful. My only complaint at all is that the prices are pretty high for Glebe, which will limit how often we go there. But if you can afford a fancy night out - and you enjoy a bit of meat - you should definitely try the pie while it's still available...
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Well, that was the boringest medical procedure in history. Seriously. Other than a one-second pinch when they put the IV in my hand, there was nothing painful or scary. I just lay there on a "bed" (which was more like an industrial table) while they pushed the radioactive stuff through my IV. Then they wheeled this big metal contraption over my midsection and I just had stay still for an hour. I could see a sort of a screen above the machine with some sparkly dots on it, which the doctor said was my liver. (Later the dots coalesced into a single big bright spot, which was apparently my gallbladder.) Anyway, I put on my iPod, snuggled under the blanket they'd given me, and pretty much dozed the whole time. Then they trickled something else into the IV and took more pictures for another half hour. It was pretty relaxing... until I was presented with a bill for $500. Ouch. (Apparently Medicare covers the great majority of it though.) No word on the results yet; apparently the doctor has to do some analysis and then send the verdict over to my GP.
As for my superpowers... Nothing yet. I've been trying unsuccessfully to read minds without much luck. I asked the doctor about the half-life and he said it was six hours, so I'm sure it'll all be gone by tonight. I wonder if that's enough time for my DNA to finish mutating?
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
In the continuing Saga of Kris's Stomach... now my doctor thinks it might possibly NOT be my stomach. Apparently if your gall bladder is malfunctioning, it can present as ulcer-like pain. Interesting. So in 14 hours, I'm having a HIDA scan. I'm going to get injected with radioactive dye (!!!) and then scanned to see if there are any problems. Fun, huh? Worst case scenario: They don't find anything and the mystery continues. Best case scenario: My gallbladder is at fault; I have surgery to get it removed; I'm all better; and I get super powers from the radioactivity! I'm kinda looking forward to it.
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