Friday, August 22, 2008

Shop For a Better Future

Have you been wanting to use your powers of shopping for good? Are you looking for lovely jewelry? Are you thinking of getting an early start on your Holiday gift list? It just so happens I can help you.

One of my co-workers is helping me with my fund raising and will donate all the proceeds of her jewelry sales to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You can find something in almost any price range. The event will be at my place on Tuesday night (August 26th), but if you are too far to drive, check out Dana's site. If you see something you like or have questions, send her an email at Any purchases made before Sept. 1, 2008 will count towards my fund raiser. Just please make sure to tell her that it is for my event (she doesn't know about this blog, so please reference my name).

Happy Shopping and as always thank you for your support!

Arugula: Food of Elitists

I used to think that I came from a humble background. I am the kind of person who knows how many homes I have, my credit limit and my cash assets within a $50 error of margin. I never thought I would be considered an 'elitist'. Come to find out, my familiarity with the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store make me an elitist dilettante of some sort. Who knew?

It seems the down to earth, humble folk like my co-worker and her presidential candidate (who has lost count of his homes) have a special elitist test--a litmus test of sorts. Apparently, if you wave a few arugula leaves in front of someone and they don't run and hide, they are a bona fide elitist. See, humble folk like John McCain and George Bush may seem like millionaires many times over, because of their expensive shoes and million dollar 'cabins', but they don't touch the arugula. They stock their refridgerators with non-fancy foods like iceberg lettuce, Pabst Blue Ribbon (no foreign beers like Budwieser) and real American cheese. Only out of touch elitsts would know about arugula and how to use it.

On a serious note, can someone please explain the following to me:
1) Why do Republicans hate arugula so much? I mean as far as leafy greens go, it's fairly innocent. Why not hate on Swiss chard--at least it sounds much more elitist.

2) How can a guy with more houses than he can keep track of, a monthly credit card bill higher than five years of my pre-tax income and an heiress wife call someone raised on food stamps an elitist with a straight face?

3) Why do politians think we're stupid? Seriously? If you have nothing better to talk about than Paris Hilton and salad greens, you're not ready to lead anyone, anywhere.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Tragic End of My Olympic Dreams (or How Nadia Comaneci Betrayed Me)

In 1976, I fell in love with gymnastics. At the tender age of three, I would watch the Olympics and try to do whatever Nadia Comaneci did. As I recall, I was a great imitator of hers, jumping and trying to do splits. I would crawl on top of the coffee table and try to balance on the edge. I was then, as I am now, single minded in reaching my little goals. I became so obsessed, that I would sit still as my mom tried to pull my non-existent hair into little pigtails. I'd tumble across the floor and stand up, triumphant with my arms in the air. It seems I was quite entertaining.

My obsession did not wane. I continued to tumble, balance and wear pigtails for years. When my campaign to be renamed Nadia failed, I named my stuffed rabbit and my favorite doll Nadia. In the absence of gymnastics classes, I taught myself how to do cartwheels and handstands. I never fell off the thin strip of cabinet in front of the kitchen sink that doubled as my balance beam (except when my brother grabbed my ankle and pulled me down). I was on my way to becoming a homemade, world accomplished writer-gymnast.

So you can imagine my joy in third grade then, when during winter gym class, we had a gymnasium full of real equipment. For the first time, I was in the same room with a balance beam and uneven bars. UNEVEN BARS! I could never improvise those at home. I was in heaven. All winter we practiced our 'routines' and were going to be graded just before Spring Break. I couldn't sit still for weeks, dreaming of my victorious 10's A's.

The day finally came. I wasn't allowed to wear a leotard like all the other girls, but for the first time, I. Did. Not. Care. Nothing could ruin my joy and excitement. I was finally going to be the little Midwestern Nadia. I was going to be discovered and train for the Olympics, where they would make an exception for my attire not being the same as the rest of the team's.

It was my turn. I got on the uneven bars, and started my routine with great pomp and enthusiasm. I don't know what I actually looked like, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't a threat to Nadia Comaneci's record. When I dismounted, I raised my arms, stuck out my chest and dazzled them with a huge smile. Time stopped as I waited for the applause.

Everyone laughed. Coach Z and Mrs. B tried to stifle their laughter, with no success. Finally, Mrs. B composed herself and said, "Thank you for a very interesting performance. Please sit down."

As I walked to the opposite wall of the gymnasium. I felt like my brains would boil and my head would explode. I didn't know what had happened, I just knew I was being mocked by the entire third grade. I had done everything, just as Nadia had and I was mocked. She caused me to be mocked. AGAIN.

And that's how Nadia Comaneci's record was saved and my life as a world famous gymnast came to an end.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Loneliness

I haven't seen my friends in a while, mostly because none of them are returning my emails or messages. I'm not sure why, but each August for the last few years, I have health problems. I go through tests and scans I find offensive, fall into a funk wondering why I face this particular problem and wonder when my friends are going to respond. Or even ask themselves why I'm silent.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

George Carlin Missed

I got up at my regular Saturday time and watched M go to his bike ride. We don't run today, because we're running AFC tomorrow (woohoo!). So I'm making my daily list and had the TV on, watching Dogma. I love this movie. Among other things, Carlin's Cardinal is pretty funny. Also, Alan Rickman is in it. Good stuff.

Add to my little morning treat, stumbling on this Carlin quote:

"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?"

Now go enjoy a bowl of cereal with your Saturday morning cartoons.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I love the Olympics opening ceremonies with goose-bumpy, hair standing affection. I don't care who is hosting, I love the marching of the nations. As I watch, I want to hug the host country whose citizens' lives are turned upside-down to embrace strangers, knowing they have been preparing for years to throw this world party. When I see athletes from smaller, less recognized countries, proudly bearing their flags and marching before the world, I feel pride for them. I share the joy of athletes from countries too poor to even have facilities to train them; wars too debilitating to acknowledge them; governments too broken to support them properly.

Giddily, I dream for a few moments of a world where borders no longer exist and we all cheer humanity.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Florida Mystique

You know, for years I have been wondering, why do so many strange news stories come from Florida and Germany? Is it because people in newsrooms hate Floridians with a burning passion, fueled by jealousy? Or is Florida somehow a beacon for the truly odd/retarded/insane?

The latest 'news' that makes me wonder about the water in Florida? A grandmother driving around with her three year old grandchild ON THE ROOF OF THE CAR. Maybe in a few years, Florida will become a synonym for 'crazy'. "That guy was SO florida, you have no idea." It sounds right already.

Sometimes the craziness turns to cruelty. My friend Paul had a lovely Siamese, Amy, that was beaten to death. I don't understand what kind of person can do something like that. I know they are still looking for the monster who did this; Paul and a some generous donors are offering a $4500 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of the crazy person responsible. If you have any friends in the St. Petersburg area, please pass on the message and a link to his site:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What Women Want

I realize that my standards are pretty much my own and mine alone. I am for the most part an alien even among my friends as far as my beliefs and interests. However, every once in a while I see things targeting women that make my head hurt. Words like 'empowerment', 'feminism' and 'independent' are tossed around as if they are supposed to mean something to me--but they seem so ridiculous.

I was at the grocery store tonight and saw the cover of this month's Oprah magazine. On the cover? "You Are An Excellent Woman!" Granted, I didn't actually pick up a copy and see what was inside, but judging this magazine by its cover, I have to wonder--do women need Oprah to tell them they are Excellent? And really, are we all excellent? Sure, I think I am--but most of the time that's my ego speaking. If I were as excellent as I think I am, I don't think I'd need Oprah to tell me so from the cover of her magazine.

Of course, if Oprah isn't your cup of tea, there is the crap load of magazines like Cosmo and Glamour, promising you little known insights into his sexual desires, your sexual desires and ways to fit into your jeans without a diet or working out in less than a week. How can you resist these manuals to a better you?

Have you made it home empty handed? No worries. There is a cable channel, just for you! WE--Women's Entertainment! Lately, the only thing I see on this station are Danielle Steele movies and wedding themed shows. Platinum Weddings, Bridzilla!, Wedding Central, Puppy Weddings and a few dozen others that I have successfully missed. Now, I personally love weddings and often wonder what my own wedding would have been like had I had one. But I have other interests. I know other women have other interests. I would like a couple of programs about managing my finances, maybe something that speaks intellingently about women in other cultures, policy issues that impact women in this country. ANYTHING but women acting like they are tulle covered lunatics all night. I'll even admit that curiosity has gotten the better of me on a few sleepless nights and watching these shows. They cover the spectrum from Platinum Weddings, where rich people 'saw it, liked it and just bought it' to what seems to be Jerry Springer rejects on Bridezillas getting into fist fights with their uncooperative family members.

Yes, this is truly women's entertainment. This is the best people can come up with?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

8 Mile

Truth be told, my strict regimen of waking up at 5 am has been slipping. All it took was a few nights of insomnia and the Monday morning runs being canceled. Even in my sleep I know I don't have to be up at 5am to be anywhere, and now that I have reverted to my later bedtime, 5am-ish has become 6am-ish. So my weekday mornings have been starting later and Saturdays are a little bit of a struggle. But I was still going to my weekly training sessions until two weeks ago, when my knee was bothering me so much I had a nice little ice pack collection everywhere I went.

Add to that the knee injury that finally caught up with me and the wretched cold that has made me a little loopy for lack of oxygen. I haven't run for almost two weeks and haven't even been able to crosstrain for a week. Yet, I got up this morning, grabbed my training gear and met my team. On the way, I realized that I am actually enjoying this whole experience aches, challenges and all. I forgot my general promise to share my story during the Mission Moment--which I was called on to do. Most people write something and share it so they be coherent at 7 am and express their committment to our goal. I was shocked to get up in front of the Central and North County teams and tell the story of how this couch potato decided to run a half marathon. I honestly can't say I remember anything that I said--I just know that everyone was saying I did a good job when it was over (please keep in mind that these are some lovely people who won't tell a sleepy woman she was incoherant).

We got into our groups and started running up the Coast. One thing that I love about San Diego is the opportunity to see so many active people outdoors. Before 7:30 this morning, we saw the Breast Cancer team walking south on the 101, a very large group of bicyclists riding north on the 101, a running club, a walking club, ourselves and assorted others out there moving for the heck of it.

The half-marathoners ran 8 miles today. It was wonderful! Not only did I run and survive, I discovered the beauty of Red Vines, had a dip in the ocean with my running partner and ordered a pizza* for lunch from Pizza Port. Brilliant!

All told, I'm pretty sure I'm enjoying running much more than I anticipated. I look forward to running with my team, panic when I can't run and measure each mile as we get closer to the 13.1 goal for the half marathon. I'm not sure yet, but I may be doing this on a regular basis.

*Pizza is my new favorite food. I cannot get enough of it, which in a way is not necessarily a bad thing--Dean Karnazes loves pizza, too.