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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose!

My yard is going to be violently assaulted very soon by the sidewalk people.  Cedar Rapids is putting in sidewalks in all the old neighborhoods (of which mine is one of them) .  My backyard runs into the street behind my house, which is where the sidewalk is going.  This means strange men with lots of heavy machinery will be using half of my backyard as a parking lot/place to destroy all my flowers.  Last year, Bud and I completely removed a large flower garden from the very back of my yard, since this was going to be completely decimated and most likely become part of the sidewalk.  Just a few days ago, the city put in their stakes again, and painted lines where they will be on my lawn.

Unfortunately, this means even more of my side garden will be run over, dug up, and obliterated.  My goose flowers ( I have no idea what they are called!) and some yellow lilies stand in the way of progress, so they are on the chopping block:

A friend gave me a few of these plants because I thought Bud would get a kick out of their resemblance to geese.  I have found out they spread--which is a good thing, 'cause now I can dig some up and share the wealth before they're gone.  Tomorrow morning I will be out in the yard, saving some geese!  Bud says not to be so upset about losing the flowers;  I just don't have the time to dig everything up and move them.  I did save most of my plants from my back garden last year, so I'm happy for that.  I feel sick about the houses down the street who have beautiful fully grown trees in their front yards that will be torn out to make way for the sidewalk.  What a shame and what a waste.  I've already shed some tears about the flowers, but if I had to lose a tree, I would really be upset!  So, I am lucky it's just flowers.  To make my self feel better, I stopped at Hy-Vee last night and bought some perennials that were 75% off and planted them around the front and side of my yard this morning.  Next summer, I will have some new plants to enjoy.

I also managed to transplant these from the condemned zone in my back yard.  Phew.  I've had them a long time!
On a brighter note, my lavender plants,  which  have  survived two winters in Iowa, are  now the prettiest and largest they've  ever been:

So, no parties in my backyard this summer.  That also means I won't have to mow part of it--see I did manage to find a ray of sunshine in this whole sidewalk mess!  Did I mention I also have to pay for half the cost of the sidewalk, and then shovel it in the winter?  Yep.  :{  Oops:  ray of sunshine gone.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Foiled Again!

Once again, Mother Nature has rained on my running plans!  I set my alarm last night to wake up early this morning and get in a run before going to work.  Instead of waking to my radio, I woke to thunder and lightening, quickly followed by pouring rain.  

This is getting old.  Yesterday it was oppressively hot and humid--no running in that.  I did manage to run on Friday morning--a five miler.  It felt good, although I quickly worked up an ugly sweat!  Then I went to the gym and biked another 5 miles.  I have to get my bike down from the garage so I can ride the trails around town.  Help me Bud--I can't get it down by myself!

So here I am again.  A new week, with a weather forecast that makes me grin from ear to ear--no rain all week and cooler temperatures.  Yeah!  All of my running clothes are clean and ready to go.  Here's to a week of 20 miles (do I dare think I  could do more?) and getting ready to start my half-marathon training, courtesy of Fitness magazine.  

I've been looking at the Garmin 110 GPS watch.  It's my new obsession.  I struggle to find places to run around town that will get me a decent distance, yet stay safe and keep me from being bored. The Garmin 110 watch is simple--it has a GPS that tracks how far you run, and your running time.  I can just start running, and keep track of my mileage by looking at my watch, instead of trying to figure it out on  I'm saving my pennies for this one!  Hopefully I'll have it before the end of the summer.  

Well, back to work after a week off.  My running may not have been up to plan, but I did manage to get things checked off my to-do list.  I also read a few books, too.  You can see my reviews on my other blog,  I attempted to write down all the books I've managed to read  so far this year, and I think I made a pretty good dent.  

Off to have breakfast and then off to work.  I think I probably have a lot of stuff to sort through when I get there--a busy day ahead!  Have a great week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Day With The Kids

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  Humidity finally went away (just for a short time), the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for a road trip.
I took Laura and Cole on a trip to Marquette, Iowa and the Effigy Mounds National Park.  The Effigy Mounds Park was spectacular, and we arrived early after a  1.5 hour drive through some of the prettiest Iowa landscape around.  Cole didn't see it, as he was passed out in the back.  I guess I woke them up too early! :)

The Mounds are all on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  There are wood chip trails that take you up and around to see the mounds.  Some are conical, some are in the shape of bears, and some are compound mounds--conical mounds connected together.  We were lucky enough to see every one of these types of mounds.  The conical mounds were built to bury the dead, but the animal mounds were usually there to establish territory.  The Great Bear Mound is 137 feet long and 70 feet wide at the shoulder.  You can't walk around the mounds, since they are 800-1400 years old, but once you spot them, they are everywhere!  It's amazing they have survived so long.

Once we traveled up the incline, we hit the Eagle Rock Viewpoint.  Spectacular views of the Mississippi River (which Cole kept calling a lake).  It was peaceful, quiet, and in spite of the bugs, a place to linger.

After checking out the museum, we drove to Marquette and ate a picnic lunch sitting along the Mississippi River.  By now, Cole had finally gotten his terminology correct!  This from a kid who has driven across the Mississippi River  countless times to visit relatives in Illinois.  I guess it's a little confusing when you see it from a different place.

After lunch, as a surprise I took them to Spook Cave, which was a few short miles up the road.  Spook cave is a cave that requires a boat ride and a jacket.  It's a cool 47 degrees and we were prepared!  The cave is accessible by boat, and you take about a 20 minute trip through parts of the cave.  It's fun, and not at all scary.  It was named Spook Cave by people who saw a hole in the ground and kept hearing strange noises.  They asked someone to investigate, and the cave was found.  There have been boat rides available since the late 1950's.  Thanks to Bud for suggesting this!  We went there a few years ago during a drive around Marquette and the lovely town of McGregor.

After our trip to Spook Cave, it was time to go back home.  We had a great time seeing something different.  There are so many fun places to go in Iowa that aren't far--maybe a few hours away at the most.  The Effigy Mounds National Park was only $3.00 for me, and the kids were free.  What a bargain!  Laura and Cole had a good time, and were very well behaved.  I blame that on waking them up out of a dead sleep at 7:30 a.m.,
 and shoving a donut at them for breakfast.  Oh, the fun of being an Auntie!  Besides Cole's wish that he had worn all camo  instead of just his  camo hat ( I don't know the logic of this one), we managed to have a perfectly lovely summer day in Iowa.  
I dropped them off at their house, drove home, and passed out on the couch.  Those kids just wore me out!  I'm not used to being responsible for anyone else but me.  My sister is nuts to let me take them near a large body of water, climb way high on the edge of a bluff, and stick 'em in a boat that travels into a cave.  Those kids are nuts, too!  I wonder if it's a family trait?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vacation Day #2

So far the past few days I've watched the radar for upcoming storms, washed dishes, and read two books.  I've attended a Father's Day brunch, ate too much, and taken a few naps.  I've paid some bills and played Luxor 2 --I lost again.

I've gone outside, shouted "Yuck!  It's so humid!" so many times I've lost count, then gone back inside where the air is on and I'm much happier.

I've stared at my to-do list, and then set it back down.  I've made a few dinners for Bud and I, and watched another episode of True Blood.

I've taken my niece and nephew to the bookstore, and watched my nephew play the bongos for fun during a kid's event.  He refused to sing with the karaoke machine.  He can't sing when people are watching.  My niece, however, has no problem singing and belted out a few tunes.

He did, however, sing along to the Bee Gees in a women's clothing store and play air guitar.  I think it was the Cherry Pepsi he'd inhaled about an hour before.  It finally hit his system.  If only I had a video recorder!  I've got to figure out how to do more than answer my cell phone.  I know there are many hidden thingies  on it, I just have no clue how to use them.

Now I'm home again, sleepy from a mexican food lunch, and listening to a storm whip up outside.  Tomorrow is Tuesday.  I am making plans to actually accomplish something tomorrow.  I'm not sure what, though.

Running, perhaps?

After all, tomorrow is another day...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crossing Off The To-Do List

I made a list the other day of tasks I want to accomplish in the next week.  I have a few days off, so I have no excuses for lazing about!

I woke up this morning to a sunny day and slightly humid weather.  Perfect day to start crossing off the list.  First on the list:  wash the outside of the house.  As you can see, I use state of the art equipment:  a bucket of soapy water, a garden hose, and a brush on a long extension (thank you, Bud!).

I dressed in my rattiest clothes, knowing that in my gracefulness, I would drench myself and make a big mess.  And I did!   But it was warm and sunny,  so it felt good.  Starting with my  garage, I moved onto the back of the house, and worked my way to the front.  It may be my imagination, but my house looks a bit brighter and seems happier to be clean.  I feel a huge sense of accomplishment just doing this one thing.  I think that tells you how little I've actually been doing all summer!  After washing the house, I found some of my lilies looking particularly lovely:

Tomorrow is forecast to be sunny and warm with no rain in sight.  Next thing on my list:  washing the seat covers in my truck, cleaning it out, and vacuuming all the gunk that's collected on the floor.  Since it's also sunny tomorrow, washing all my curtains and hanging them on the line to dry in the sun.  And finally, tomorrow night, a lovely dinner and time with Bud.

You may have noticed I haven't run at all this week.  When I ran my race last weekend, I fell before the race in a hole and ended up pulling a muscle in my left leg.  I didn't feel it until that night, and all day Sunday my leg was aching.  So I decided to take a week off, have a break, and reconnect with that part of me that likes running.  Next week, I start again.  The week after that, I begin training for my next half marathon on September 5th.  This time, I'm going to follow a week by week training program and see if it makes a difference.

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Happened to My Garden?! Aarrgh!!

I went outside today to mow my yard on the one sunny day we've had for about a week.  While everything is growing and blooming at least a month ahead of schedule, a horrible event took  place in my flower garden when I was tucked safely in bed:  a dinner party.

The guests:  Deer.

The menu:  My flowers.  

Namely, my lilies, my Black-Eyed Susans (just about to bloom, too) and my Cornflowers.  

Eaten down to the nub.  No flower left.  Not even many leaves.  The stinky white daisies I have were untouched.  My lavender was untouched.  The lamb's ear--not even a bloom out of place.  

Why couldn't they eat the hosta blooms that I cut down every year, because they make my hostas look like some crazy alien space ships?  Why not eat some of my stinky daisies?  The daisies are determined to take over the world.  Geez, deer need to eat Creeping Charlie.  I would have no problem with that at all!

Besides my decapitated flowers, I found the evidence in the grass:  deer droppings.  Not only were they too big for a rabbit, but it would have had to have been a Were-rabbit (see Wallace and Gromit!).  

Not too many flowers for me this year.  *sob*.  Bad deer, bad bad deer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marinated Broccoli--A Tasty Summer Dish

Bud and I have planted broccoli in our garden again this year.  Last year, we made a few mistakes: we planted it all at once, and waited a little too long to harvest it.  So in anticipation of weeks of fresh broccoli, I've been searching for new ways to serve it.  We love to eat it roasted, but wanted a change that would go really well with summer grilling.  I found this recipe on

Marinated Broccoli

4 Tsp olive oil                          1 tsp honey
1 TB water                                1 garlic clove, minced
1 TB white wine vinegar           1/4 dash cayenne pepper
                                                                       1 1/2 Tsp lemon juice            
                                                                       2 C fresh broccoli florets      2 TB chopped sweet red pepper ( I used a whole red pepper)

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the first 8 ingredients; shake well.  In a small bowl, combine broccoli and red pepper; add dressing and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve with a slotted spoon.

Bud and I had this last week with grilled chicken.  It's got a great sweet-tart taste and a hint of cayenne pepper.  It got a thumbs up from both of us!  Perfect for a picnic or potluck since it has no mayo and is pretty darn healthy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rain, Geese, and a Not So Elegant Stumble

Today I ran the Cedar Rapids Run the Flood Race.  The day started out with lots of thunder, lightning, and rain.  It stopped by 8:30; the race was at 9 A.M.  It was muggy and more storms were threatening.  If a person could run the 7 mile race in 60 minutes, they stood a good chance of not getting rained on, and getting through before anymore storms hit.

I was not one of those people.

First of all, Bud and I were walking in Green Square Park, when I managed to find the only hole in the grass, and proceed to step into it, and fall very clumsily onto the ground.  It was a jolt!  But, I was fine.  I think later today I will probably feel it.

The race started about 8 minutes late--don't know why.  I talked to my co-worker M, who was at the front starting line.  He's pretty darn fast.  I went to the back.  Finally, it started.  We're running, and about a mile in, there are a large group of geese and their babies on the side of the road.  When do they decide to cross?  As the runners are running by.  We were all kinda freaked out, as were the geese.  Feathers and bird poop were all over the place!  We were dodging geese, because the geese kept on coming across the road.  Apparently they were determined to get to the river.  I managed to avoid getting nipped, and stepping in poop.

I saw Bud around mile 2, and then lost him.  I didn't see him again until I was about 30 yards from the finish line.   He thought I was behind him, and he couldn't find me along the route. I was actually ahead of him.  So, not too many pictures.   At about mile 4, it started to sprinkle.  No big deal; it felt good.  Then it started to rain harder.  So, I was one of the unlucky people who ran about half the race in steadily increasing rain.  That's the first time I've ever run in a pretty good rain storm.  I felt bad for all those people who had ipods--I wonder how many are working now?  It was kinda fun to run in the rain.  It was warm enough not to cause a chill, and helped me cool down.

I got to the finish line in 1:15:49.  I was about 4 minutes longer than last year.  I would have like to have done better; I had to stop and walk dang it!  I'm taking some time  to work on a plan to increase my speed.  Bud said start all over again at 1 mile, and I may do that.  I have until Sept 5th, when I will run the BoFest Half Marathon here in Cedar Rapids.

My co-worker, M, finished in 45 minutes, and came in fifth out of 1500 people.  Pretty impressive!  A dog and a small boy beat me to the finish line.  By the time Bud and I got back to his truck, it was pouring, and once home, the thunder began.  I thought about all those people still walking and running, and hoped they made it safely to the finish line.

Onward to the next race!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ryan's Friend, Cody

My nephew Ryan is five years old, and he's on the autism spectrum.  He's improved tremendously in the past few years, and one place my sister has taken him to is Miracles in Motion located just outside of Swisher, IA.  I decided to see for myself how Ryan was riding his horse.  It was such a great experience!

Here's Ryan patiently waiting for his horse, Cody to come pick him up.  

Cody has arrived!  Ryan has to pet him before his speech therapist, Sue, can help him on Cody.

Ryan had a big smile on his face through the 30 minute session.  These are volunteers who help with the kids.  Cody is a very patient horse, and the volunteers are wonderful with the kids.

One final pet for Cody.  Sue worked with Ryan on naming parts of the horse, saying "Whoa" and "Trot" (Ryan's favorite part) and keeping himself up straight on Cody.

After his ride, we walked around the farm, and Ryan stood still long enough to get a picture with his Aunt Susie.  A drink out of a Sponge Bob cup,  a  kiss goodbye for me,  and another session done with Ryan's new found friend Cody.  I don't get to be around horses much, but when I do get to  pet their noses and talk to them, I remember why it's so easy to love horses.   I think I can get a small pony for my backyard.  I'm sure the neighbors wouldn't mind at all!

Monday, June 7, 2010

They Don't Make 'Em Like Him Anymore

My Dad was a pretty cool guy.  He was one of those men who could give you a look of steel, light a match with his whiskers and casually pin you down with his eyes through the smoke of his cigarette. Yes, he was a John Wayne of a man.

This time of year always makes me a little sentimental for my Dad, since the day he passed, his birthday, and Father's Day are all  within a week of each other.  He's been gone for 6 years, and sometimes I still forget when I see a TV show or a book that he would have liked that he's no longer around.  Sometimes I see an older man with "Dad Jeans" on, and realize my Dad wasn't the only one who wore those.  Sometimes I see a customer's hands, and they look just like my Dad's did.  It kinda freaks me out, then I look up and realize it's a stranger who worked  hard all his life just like my Dad.

So, here's a few of the things I loved and admired about my Dad.  Some things I have inherited from him, and others I did not, although I wish the genes had worked on some of them!

My Dad was a mean golfer and a bowler extraordinaire.  He made it all look so effortless.  I, however, cannot even play Wii golf correctly; in actual golf, it's just easier for me to pick up the ball and throw it.   I  am regularly beaten at bowling  by my Great Nephew,  four  year old Bryson.  Me get a strike?  No way!

My Dad could make the best oatmeal for my sister M and I.  He also honored our requests to put "lumps" in our CoCo Wheats.

He was a gifted mechanical engineer who never went to school to learn his trade.  He learned on the job, and was self taught.  His drawings were precise and mathematically brilliant.  I can't draw a straight line, or a good circle.  My math skills are what lead me to get  a degree in History, and stay far away from Accounting.

He was incapable of taking a straight-faced picture.  I think the one above is the only picture  I have where he doesn't look like a space alien.  I have luckily inherited his ability to make facial contortions and have them captured on film.  Oh, I am so blessed with a rubber face! :(

I don't think he knew what the heck to  do with five daughters.  But he did fine anyway.

He met Bud, and liked him instantly.  Phew!  It's true, some of us do look for the same qualities in a partner that we see in our Dad.

Dad loved to watch paranormal shows, and I would pass all my ghosty books along to him.  He would promptly read them all and always turned to the ghost show on TV when either I or my sister PH would call him up and let him know what was on.

He loved strawberry shortcake, pineapple upside down cake, and fried chicken.   Dad always had two cups of coffee in the morning, and would make coffee after supper to relax in front of the TV.  Since I started drinking coffee at 13, I blame him!

He was a wonderful grandpa and great-grandpa.  He could finally relax and enjoy some kids.

He would fall asleep on the floor, and my sister M and I would put curlers in his hair.  This was a feat, since Dad didn't have much hair.  Somehow we got them in.  We also liked to put barrettes in, too.  We would talk to him, and he'd open one eye, and grunt.

He never complained when he didn't feel well, when he was in pain, or when he was unhappy.

So as you can see, my Dad was pretty cool.  My brothers and sisters and I know just how lucky we were to have him as our Dad.  Everytime I go outside in the summer, and return home to see even more freckles on my face and arms, I think of Dad.  Thanks to him, I will never have Nicole Kidman skin.  But I don't care.  They're just reminders of who I am, and where I came from.  And most importantly, reminders of Dad.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Really, Am I So Out of Shape?

Last night was our Midnight Release Party for the new Stephenie Meyer book, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner .   We had about 50 kids, which was below my hoped for estimate of 100, but I believe they had fun.  The weather was still muggy, and with it being Friday night, we had a lot of people in our cafe sucking down frappuccinos and eating lots of goodies.  Our red ribbon frappuccino was a hit.

My nieces and nephew came geared up in their Twilight shirts and had a great time putting fake bite and scratch tattoos on our guests.  I was amazed at the girls who sat and put together dreamcatchers from some kits I had there for our guests.  They looked really good, although the color combinations were pretty wild.  You can always depend on the imagination of kids to make something crafty!

Our Twilight Jeopardy was the most popular event of the evening.  L and K were fantastic game show hosts, and did a great job preparing questions to stump the contestants.  My sister  P told fortunes to all the young ladies (and a few adults) and sat with my Renesme doll all night.  Apparently the doll creeped out a few people.  How could that be?  She looked so sweet in her pink summer frock :)

Anyway, by 10 pm I was exhausted, mentally fatigued, and bordering on crabby.  It wasn't for lack of carbs--I had pasta for supper.  I grabbed an iced mocha, and that helped perk me up a bit.  Bud came to check out the party, and as always, I am grateful for his support of these crazy bookstore events.  He read a few magazines, then slipped out before midnight.

So after all was said and done, the books sold at midnight, the store cleaned up, everyone went home with my thanks for helping out that night.  I went to bed around 2 am because once I sat on the couch and turned on the TV, I couldn't get up and move to the bedroom.  You have to know my bedroom is about 10 feet from my couch, so it's not a journey requiring provisions and a backpack.  I pondered just lying on the couch in my work clothes and not taking out my contacts.  Then I realized how ridiculous those thoughts were, and managed to hit the bed.  Then I had to read, and managed a few pages before I realized I was closing my eyes and making up my own story!

Unfortunately, I woke up at 5 am, then again at 6 am, and finally at 7:30.  Aw heck, I'll just get up.  How can I feel like I have a hangover if I didn't drink anything?  Why is it that the older I get, the worse I feel the longer I stay up at night?  Where did those glorious bounce back days go where I could stay up all night, then go to work and make hamburgers and fries for people, working purely on Coca-cola and greasy food?  I probably could have run 10 miles on top of that, too!

So here I am, a mess in the morning.  Drinking coffee, contemplating going out to run, although the weather is rainy and it feels like a tropical forest outside.  Gross.  I have to be back at work at 2pm for another round of fun.  Although this time, I will get home at a decent time and go to bed before midnight!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

One Night in the Life of a Single Woman

Even though I am in a long term relationship with Bud, we don't live together, and so there are nights when we just don't see each other.  Usually this is work related, and if I'm not working, I see it as bonus reading time at home.  Don't get me wrong--I'd rather spend an evening with Bud, but books are a close second.  And sometimes I even read when he's here, watching one of his shows.

Tonight did not work out as a reading night.  It combined many odd moments, and a strange combination of tasks at home that I have just now realized would seem like something from a reality show.

So I left work, stopped at my sister's house, and then had to leave to go to Goodwill to find a baby outfit for my 35 year old baby doll Chrissy. Yes, you read correctly.  I guessed she was a 0-3 month old size baby (with a full head of auburn hair that grows when you pull it out of her head) and bought her a delightful pink summer outfit for $2.58.  I headed to Hy-Vee to get my "I get paid tomorrow!" groceries and missed the memo that tonight was the night to stand in a line at the Chinese counter in the Johnson Ave Hy-Vee.  It was insane there!  The line wrapped around the deli and into the bakery.  No Chinese food at Hy-Vee  is so good that it requires waiting in such a long line.  It was like the good 'ol "there's a blizzard coming!" scenarios we had this past winter.  Madness in the fresh fruit aisle.

I got home around 7pm and made some mint brownies for my lunch with C-Joy tomorrow.  Then, I roasted some tomatoes for a really yummy caprese salad that C-Joy will also have tomorrow for lunch.   All the while, I am watching "The Real Housewives of NYC" because tonight is the season ender.  That means you have to watch two  hours of old episodes to get to the new one.  And it was a classic!  LuAnn sang, Ramona renewed her vows, and Kelly stayed crazy.  I ran to the basement on a commercial break to find my Chrissy doll wrapped in a plastic garbage bag buck naked, but with a smile painted on her face!  Nine years in a basement can age a doll.  And I don't want to know what happened down there when I wasn't looking.  My Barbie 70's house is down there, too.  Right next to Chrissy.

After copious amounts of Orange Cleaner and paper towels, I got the smudges off her body and tackled her hair.  I had to find a brush, because I don't use a brush on my hair, and I had to dig around to find one.  This brush was meant for someone who has baby fine hair with no snarls.  If Chrissy had been a real child, it would have been an ugly mess.  I managed to get most of the snags out of her hair, but don't have any hair stuff to smooth down the bits of hair that are sticking up on the back of her head.  We'll just say she woke up from a nap.

Chrissy is my date to the midnight book release party we're having at work Friday night for the new Stephenie Meyer book The Brief Second Life of Bree Tanner.  We've had two other midnight release parties for her last two books, and they were a smash hit.  I don't expect a ginormous crowd tomorrow night, but am hopeful for a healthy crowd of people dressed as vampires and werewolves.  It should be lots of fun!  So Chrissy is starring tomorrow night as Renesme, who is the half vampire child of Edward and Bella.  The coloring fits, and the freakishly fast growth rate of their daughter also explains the long auburn hair on Chrissy and the creepy smile.  She can read minds, too.

Chrissy is going to stay in my living room tonight.  I will watch where I put her before bed, and hope to God in the morning she has not moved.

If so, I am in trouble.
I am in my own horror movie.

Wait--did she just move?!


The Results Are In!

I previously posted about running another half marathon in September, and asked my readers if I should do it.  The overwhelming response was yes (and Ty said "don't be a wimp").  So, I'm gonna do it!  I shall take up the challenge. 

I will sign up this weekend and be locked in.  I hate to waste an entry fee and then not run the race.  So, friends and family, I expect you to be at the finish line, cheering me on!  Just don't get there too early--I'm one of the slower runners. :)

Speaking of running, I have to get off my duff and run after work today.  I couldn't get up this morning to run before work, so now I'm forced to cram it into tonight's activities.  Luckily the weather will be nice this afternoon and I have an excuse to stop at my sister's house before my run. 

Have a spectacularly wonderful extraordinary Thursday!