Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Construction Incentives

Since we moved to our new office space and I started my running commute in November, there has been construction on the SMU campus, which I run through. 

Initially, I had to run about 5 seconds out of my way to get around the construction.  Then the intersection opened and I could run straight through, but one side of the street was closed.  Then more recently, the other side of the street was closed.

Through all these months of construction, I've never had to alter my route significantly (i.e. changing it by any more than a tenth of a mile).  And no one has ever complained or said anything about my running through a construction zone.  Obviously I'd never run where it seemed unsafe, but usually the active work zone was fenced off, and I could run safely outside the fence. 

Well, last week, with the dedication of the new presidential library happening, I guess they had a real incentive to wrap things up.  Nothing like having 5 presidents come to town to get you to meet your deadline. 

Today, for the first time ever, there was no campus construction on my commute.  There's still one other stretch about a mile away that is a couple blocks of construction, and today, that work zone moved one block south, I think they're tearing up the street and repaving it one block at a time. 

I guess it's commentary on my life that a lack of construction becomes blog-worthy.  Oh well.  Things are just clicking along otherwise.  Busy at work, happy at home, feeling great all-around. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

FMM: ABCs in 2013

My weekend was busy and felt like it lasted forever, which I guess is a good thing.

Friday night, we went out for pizza with a big group of friends to a new location of a favorite pizza place.  It's authentic Neapolitan style pizza, and as with all authentic Dallas pizzerie, it's amazing right when it opens and the ingredients and pizzaioli are top-notch.  Then, usually, after it's been open for a few months, the pizzaiolo moves on and the quality goes down.  But for now, it was great.  We had a fun night.  I ended up talking to a guy most of the night who is moving to San Fran this week and is originally from Dallas (surprisingly rare).  His parents are Chinese though, so he speaks Chinese!  While we were actually conversing in Italian most of the evening (this was a group of Italian-speaking friends), I threw out a few sentences and questions in Chinese.  It was much fun.

The highlight of the weekend was a 5k Saturday morning.  It was a hilly course (well, hilly for Dallas), and it was warm and humid, but I ran surprisingly strong.  I was only about 30 seconds off my 5k PR.  Really, with better weather and/or a better course, I feel like I could have made up at least 15 more seconds.  That means I'm really improving!  It was quite exciting.  I think I'm going to race again next weekend.  I want to race frequently in May and see where I end up before I start marathon training in a few more weeks.  Hubby ran the 5k too, which was fun.  And a bunch of my running friends were there.  I ended up with an age group award, which surprised me -- most bigger races do age group awards by 5 year blocks, but this was age groups by 10 year blocks.  So I really didn't think I'd get one, but it was my lucky day (and not a big field). 

We came home and just hung out watching TV for a while.  I was stalling since I was being punished in the afternoon. 

Here's the back story to my punishment:  Friends who moved were getting rid of their guestroom headboard and offered it to us.  As our guest bedroom is just a box spring and mattress, I was excited.  Hubby thought it would look great.  Since his car is in the shop from his accident a few weeks ago, he decided to rent an SUV so we could go pick up the headboard. 

Well, since I was traveling for work a lot last week, he went to pick it up on his own.  Because he's seriously that awesome.  I didn't have to ask, I didn't have to nag, and I was seriously thinking we'd do it together this past weekend.  Well, he brought it home and he was pissed at me.  The headboard was for a queen bed, and our guest bed is full.  Argh!  And since they had a neighborhood yard sale coming up, he had to drive it all the way back to their house so they could sell it.  He was so frustrated that he'd wasted about 3 hours of his days off dealing with it, so the punishment was that I'd have to waste 3 hours of my days off doing the grocery shopping (usually his chore). 

I actually felt like that was fair.  I felt so bad that he'd wasted so much time dealing with the bed.  And I haven't grocery shopped in years, so part of me thought it might not be so bad.  

The junk food I bought, things my husband would normally never permit being brought into our house.  It's a lot, but it has to last me for years until I grocery shop again!  My vices (none of which he will eat): 

Among other things, I got Kraft mac and cheese, and organic mac and cheese, wasabi peas, yogurt raisins, yogurt pretzels, a block of cheese, a can of Pringles, bottled water, granola bars with chocolate, and a big box of not healthy cereal.

And here's a photo of part of this week's haul of groceries.  Several bags were already put away.  Somehow for just the two of us, we spend about $300 per week on groceries.  I think we're doing something wrong...
Overall, it was a beating.  I will gladly trade my household tasks like laundry in exchange for having him do the grocery shopping.  After the shopping on Saturday, we didn't really do anything Saturday night.  Hubby was detoxing (while I shopped, he went out for drinks with one of his coworkers), and I was just tired. 
Sunday was also a big day in terms of running.  I went for a run with friends in the morning and I was pleasantly surprised.  I held my former marathon pace for all 10 miles, the downhill first 5 and -- more critically -- also for the uphill second 5 miles.  Of course, improving that pace by about 25 seconds per mile and holding it for 16 more miles is a different story, but this run at least made me feel pretty good about it.
After the run, we went to Torchy's for tacos for breakfast.  I had the fried avocado again, and tried the independent (which is fried portabello mushroom).  I think I like the avocado more, but they were both good.
Then I went home and got cleaned up, started laundry, took a little nap, then went out to meet a group for breakfast number 2.  One of my former running buddies moved to Minnesota a couple years ago, and he was back in town.  I'd missed out on the happy hour and dinner plans (a downside to being off facebook), but he texted me and I was able to make brunch.
I had awesome cinnamon apple pancakes that were really more like a dessert.  And there were plenty of mimosas...  The rest of the day Sunday was low key.  Laundry, visiting hubby at work, packing clothes to take to work for the week, and not doing all the stuff on my list.  Oh well. 
It was, all in all, a great weekend.  And now, back to Monday...
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FMM: ABC’s of Me
Here’s how it works…you’ll choose topics about yourself, your likes, dislikes, etc. according to each letter in the alphabet, and share a little with us. Oh shhh…you know you love it.
A.  Abs.  The part of my body I most wish I could wave a wand over and make look awesome.  I'd love to have a six-pack. 
B.  Berlin.  Where I will be on Sept. 29 this year, hopefully running the marathon of my dreams.
C.  Cats.  I am allergic to them but hubby really wishes we had one. 
D.  Dogs.  I am allergic to them too and am very afraid of them when I encounter them not on leashes while I'm out running.  Terrified might actually be a better description.  Dogs on leashes don't freak me out.  Dogs not on leashes when I'm not running don't really freak me out.  But dogs not on leashes when I'm running are scarier than texting drivers and rapists in my mind! 
E.  Efficiency.  One of the things I prize most.
F.  French Laundry is one of the best restaurants in the country, near San Francisco, and I'm thinking about talking to my brother to see if all 4 of us should try to go one night when we go visit them in November.  Think the bill would be over $300 per person though, so not something I want to undertake lightly! 
G.  Grapes are something I eat almost daily, love them. 
H.  Husband.  I've been married just over 4 years and one week now.  I'm so glad I didn't get married younger than I did since I feel like I did a lot of growing up before we were together.  I'm very lucky to be with him since I really think he's a better person than me in many ways.  He has a kind soul, I have a bitchy soul. 
I.  Italy is probably my favorite place in the world.  From the time I was in high school, I always said I'd consider changing my last name when I got married if it was Italian.  Funny enough, my husband's parents are Italian so his last name is Italian, but I still didn't change mine.  We go to Italy together about every other year, and hubby goes without me most of the other years to see his family there.  He also has family in the US (his parents and brothers). 
J.  Jerry Maguire, still one of my favorite movies of all time. 
K.  Kathy, my mom's name; Katie, my local bestie's name; and Kathi, my favorite attorney to retain when I have a case go into litigation in Pennsylvania, which is frequent.  I love lots of ladies with first names beginning with K apparently! 
L.  Liechtenstein is one of the remaining countries in Europe I have never visited and I am working hard to make sure it is on our itinerary for our vacation in the fall.  I do want to increase the number of countries I've visited -- I'm around 40 and I haven't been to a new one since 2010, when we were in Russia (2011 was Italy and France, 2012 was China, and I didn't count that as new since I was in Hong Kong in 2001). 
M.  Marathons are the races I keep coming back to.  I like shorter races a lot, but something like a 5k hurts so much for 20 or so minutes (well, more than that for me), but at least with a marathon, it never feels quite as painful, it just lasts so much longer.  I really, really, really want to run a particular time this year in Berlin.  But I just love the hard work and the many variables that go into running a marathon. 
N.  Nuts are something I can't eat because of a very serious allergy. 
O.  Ottawa is somewhere I've never been.  So is Oman.  So are Oswego and Okinawa.  But I have been to Oklahoma and Ostuni (Italy). 
P.  Photos.  On vacation, I take thousands, and I love that now it's digital so I can quickly retake if I don't like the first one.  But now that I'm off facebook this year, I find that I'm not taking as many as I did before.  I should work on that.  My memory is poor, so photos are important. 
Q.  I used to work with someone who goes by "Q" (his real name is Quitman) and he almost always had an upbeat attitude.  We've both left the firm, but I need to make plans to have lunch with him one of these days.  It's so easy to let those past connections slip, even to people you really like, when getting bogged down with the day-to-day.  I need to make it mor of a priority. 
R.  Running is my favorite fitness activity by far.  It's so efficient (hard to burn more calories in less time than running), it gets my heart rate up (on an easy run, my average heartrate is in the 160s, on a hard run, like the 5k this past weekend, my average overall was in the 180s, and for the last mile, my average was 191), it keeps me social (I rarely run solo), and it helps me stay ambitious.  I have yet to find another physical activity where I can sustain high heart rates like that for a period of time. 
S.  Seventeen used to be my favorite magazine when I was growing up. 
T.  Tacos are one of my favorite foods in the last year or so.  We live a couple blocks away from a really trendy taco place, so that's great, but even just bean and avocado tacos at home, I can't get enough.
U.  Underwear.  I just recently learned that some people when they start running wear underwear with their lined running shorts, which is just shocking to me. 
V.  Virginia is where I went to law school, one of the top 10 in the country and I think the absolute best in terms of lifestyle and quality of education combined.  Loved it.  And loved the job prospects that came with it. 
W.  Warm is the type of weather I prefer.  My dream climate day would be in the mid-50s overnight, about 80 for a high, and about 75 in the office. 
X.  Xrays.  The last one I had was about a year ago from when I fell while running and thought I broke my finger.  The doc said it wasn't broken, it was just torn ligaments, but now, 13 months after I fell, it is still slightly swollen and misshapen, and I still can't grip small things like bottle caps with that finger. 
Y.  Yellow is a color that makes me look ill when I wear it, so I rarely do, but I love how sunny and happy it looks. 
Z.  Z is the nickname I use for my best friend.  Her name is Elizabeth, and her now-husband sometimes called her Z, and I've adopted that.  She has twins who are 6 and she lives in Virginia where we went to law school.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Commuting with Presidents

I wanted to post this yesterday, but since I took photos, I didn't want to do anything that could be seen as compromising security, so I waited until today.

As you may know, I run to and from work 2.5 days per week (I work from home 1, drive 1, and get picked up .5).  It's just under 4 miles each way. 

Originally, I thought I'd vary my commuting route, increasing distance sometimes.  But instead, I always run the exact same route.  There have been very slight variations due to construction, but minimal; it has always been the same route, never any other streets or anything -- just sometimes up onto a sidewalk or grass, or onto the opposite side of the street, if something was under construction.  Never anything that would be measurable on my Garmin.

There are several "points of interest" in my mind along my commute.

On my way to work, I start in our 'hood, filled with restaurants and furniture shops.  Then I'm in a more residential area for a little while, then past an auto repair place (where my hubby's car was yesterday!), then onto a running trail. 

I run on the trail only about a third of a mile, then I'm in one of the little "cities with a city" in Dallas, generally known for its higher property values.

After that little section, I'm onto the SMU campus.  I run between the track and the pool, past several buildings, and down a street with several fraternity houses.

Then I run past the new George Bush Presidential Library, and onto another street.

Then it becomes less exciting.  I'm still within the "cities within a city," but it's mostly just houses, some prettier than others.  So the landmarks I count don't mean anything to anyone other than me.  There's one house that I've never been in, but I have run with someone who lives there and I know his wife's name, so I consider it my emergency bathroom stop.  Then there's another section of the street under construction (in this section, I run straight through the construction, one side of the street has always been paved, and no one seems to care if I run around the little barricades).  Then I eventually pass the house of one of my best friends and her husband, who was formerly my boss at my last job.  Then there's a hill, a turn, and then into a strip mall parking lot, where the office tower where I work is at the far end.

If you've seen the news lately, you may be able to guess which part of my commute was exciting yesterday.

I started the first mile plus of my commute with a friend who met me.  She's generally joining me for part of one commute most weeks as she took a break from running and is just getting back into it.

Well, yesterday 5 US presidents were in town for the dedication of the Bush Presidential Library.  Which is almost exactly at the halfway point of my commute. 

Here's my normal commute route:

Yesterday's route had a very slight detour around the halfway point (my turn to the right was a couple blocks north of where it usually is). 

That was because of all the security checkpoints. 

There were 5 Presidents right there on my commute route attending the dedication ceremony:  Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Carter. 

I felt so underdressed for my run, it was odd.  Usually I see a few runners on the trail, then a few students at school, then a bunch of construction workers, then occasionally some neighborhood dog walkers or a few runners.  But yesterday, practically every single person I saw on my commute was in a suit. 

My local bestie got to attend in her official work capacity, but I didn't see her among the crowds entering the security checkpoints.

Another interesting note was that instead of the usual vehicles along my run, I saw lots of sedan limos, black SUVs, and charter buses.  Plus almost all the SMU golf carts, and of course lots of official police vehicles. 

I figured the occasion was significantly momentous that I'd stop to take a few photos.  Usually I never stop on the run, and today I was worried I'd look suspicious when I'd run, stop, pull off my i-fitness belt, pull out my camera, take a photo of security, then put it all away and do more running.  But no one said anything. 

The slight detour resulted in less than 5 hundreths of a mile longer than my usual commute, so basically no extra time.  And it will be a commute I'll remember. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Not to Wear

Observed at the airport:

Seriously?  I don't think bare midriffs are appropriate at an airport.  At a club, at the beach, especially as beautiful as she is, it would be fine, but that outfit for a plane just made me wonder what the thought process was.  "This would be perfect in the event we need to use an emergency slide; the 4 inch heels are very practical for walking through terminals; my stomach doesn't need to be covered just because I'm on a plane." 
Sounds horribly judgy and I hate myself for writing this post. 
I am in my late 30s but I remember when people dressed up to fly.  And I also understand the opposite theory -- wearing essentially pajamas or sweats on an international flight so you're comfortable.  But in no way does the outfit above strike me as a logical or reasonable selection. 
While I'm on the subject of clothing choices with which I do not agree, can I mention that my secretary wore a see through chiffon shirt to work with a black bra a few months ago?  Setting aside that it was very ill-fitting (and she is overweight), and setting aside that she is over the age of 60, it just wasn't appropriate for an office.  Someone with a model's body at age 22 shouldn't be wearing a chiffon shirt in an office environment.  Seeing my secretary in it made me feel a bit like hurling. 
Ugh.  It just sometimes seems like common sense isn't as common as I usually assume. 
I think I'm in a pissy mood today.  Sorry.  No idea why such a judgmental side is showing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

FMM: Inside My Head

My weekend is best forgotten. 

I was in Philly for work last week, I flew home Friday night, and I fly back today (Monday).  So it was questionable whether it was worth coming home for the weekend in the first place.  But hubby didn't have much vacation time that is unclaimed this year, and we wouldn't want to spend the weekend apart, so home I flew.

I had a very funny experience at dinner on Thursday night in Philadelphia.  I'll have to post about that later.  And on Friday, we ended up with a great result (defense verdict!, I hugged our lawyer I was so happy!).  After we got the result, our attorney there offered to drive me to the airport.  And since I also retained her for the case that we have going to mediation next week, she knew I'd be flying back soon, so she offered to take me on a leisurely drive to the airport to show me where to run next week.  Then we headed to the airport, and I got some work done before and during my flight.  Got home eventually around 10:30 p.m. and wasn't feeling great.

By Saturday morning around 3 a.m., I became pretty certain I was going to die.  It had to be food poisoning but I still have no idea what could have caused it.  I've only had food poisoning twice in my entire life -- once in October in China, and then this past weekend.  Oh, it was horrid.  I spent the entire day Saturday on the bathroom floor, with the exception of about three separate 20 minute increments during which I'd dragged myself back to bed.  Hubby was working and kept texting me to see if he should come home, if I needed to go to a hospital, or what.  I couldn't even keep down water.  But somehow, by about 5 p.m., it had blown over.  I was still out of it and laying on the bathroom floor, freezing, when he came home around 6.  I actually thought I was paralyzed.  It's hard to describe, but I'd been thinking about trying to move my legs so I could get up and go to bed (I was so cold!), but my legs wouldn't move so I had it in my head that I was paralyzed.  He lifted me to my feet and I was actually surprised to realize I wasn't paralyzed.  So I went to bed and slept without incident for about 12 more hours.  Insane.

Sunday morning (I must have been delirious), I went to meet my friends to run.  Taking in 0 calories on Saturday and actually purging probably all of Friday's calories, I knew it wasn't going to be good.  But we had easy miles on the schedule, and I knew there would be a slower group I could hang with.  I considered cutting it short, but it just felt so good to be moving, that I ended up doing the whole run and just feeling pretty worn out.  I napped most of the day yesterday.

And now I'm getting my stuff together to head back to the airport -- I'm super-nervous about today's flight for two reasons.  First, I'm flying with my boss and the last trip with him was a DISASTER.  But that should be okay today.  More concerning, however, is second, there is an air traffic control furlough issue, and they're predicting delays.  So far, 14 flights delayed and 2 cancelled out of DFW.  While I'm hesitant to be excited about any food at this point in my life, tonight we have reservations at 10 Arts in the Ritz in Philly, and I've been dying to try that place for a while.  So if we're significantly delayed, I might miss it. 

Anyway, since it's Monday, here's my Friend Making Monday post!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Inside My Head
I like… running fast enough in a race to set a personal record.
I don’t like… having my laptop battery die during a flight. 
I love…my sweet husband.  It took a lot to deal with unshowered and immobile me this weekend, but he did it, and he even did it lovingly and sweetly -- he's so much better than me.
I dream of… running the marathon of my life in Berlin this September.
I wonder… what is going to happen at our mediation in Philly this week; it's one of my three biggest cases (out of over 100).
I know… I'm going to have trouble getting in my scheduled run tomorrow morning while out of town.  No idea where to find a track, probably not enough motivation to do it on the streets, so my run may be a treadmill attempt, or an easy run on the streets.
I went…to an all vegetarian trendy restaurant in Philly for dinner one night last week (Vedge, check out that menu!).
I think… I need to wear something dressier than I'd like to fly today, given our dinner plans and my boss being on the same flight.  Ugh.  Jeans, a t-shirt and running shoes would be nice...
I plan… to get more on top of my case load at work next week.
I regret… eating whatever it was that almost killed me over the weekend.
I do… yoga when there's time, but lately it hasn't fit into my schedule well (i.e., I haven't made it a priority).  I miss it. 
I drink… way more water on a daily basis than anyone I've ever met (I'm frequently over 300 oz.).
I wish… I could maintain the weight loss induced by this weekend!  That's the silver lining to food poisoning, a number I haven't seen on the scale in I don't know how long.
I am… sad that my speed training class is ending this week and I'll have to train without a coach for a month until marathon training starts.
I am not… ready to race a 5k next weekend, which is on my schedule.
I need… about one week with no emails, phone calls, or distractions to get completely caught up at work.  Maybe even more than a week.  I hate being so far behind. 
I hope… that I can get home to Dallas early in the week and then not have to travel again for work for a while.  Twice in two weeks is more than I like. 
I want… to bring a big salad from Eatzi's to the airport.  That should be safe to eat, but I'd have to leave for the airport about half an hour early to make that happen. 
I sometimes… think I want to use vacation days for a staycation to just hang out at home.  But then I realize that I love going on real trips too much and I'd rather use my vacation days for that.  I guess the best solution would be to have 8 weeks of vacation or something so I could do both to my heart's content! 
I always… have about 1,000 things on my to-do list.  Sending emails to reach out to old friends, projects around the house, things that need to be done for work, plans to be made for the future.  I can't imagine ever being done with it all. 
I can… run faster than I ever thought I would when I first started. 
I cannot… remember where I parked at the airport 95% of the time, so now I always take a picture on my cell phone. 
I avoid… voicemail as much as I can.  I suck at leaving messages and I absolutely hate checking my messages. 
I will… get more organized after this work trip is over. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to go back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Subdued Celebration

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary but we celebrated last night since I'm heading to Philly for work today. Out for dinner at the best restaurant on our block.  

It's someplace I used to go all the time when I was single, and just hang out at the bar.  They still know me by name and bring me a drink before I even have to order.  Gotta love that! 

Hubby made the reservation in my name so it meant they knew it was a celebration for our anniversary, we got my fave table, and one of my fave servers (technically, my favorite probably, but there are three I adore): 

I celebrated my 30th birthday here, and as usual for any special occasion, you get a special signed copy of the menu.  For anyone who watched Top Chef, Trey Wilcox was the sous-chef at this restaurant when he went on the show.  Always amazing food.  Rarely anything vegetarian on the entree menu (it's Texas, that's kind of par for the course unfortunately), but the chefs can always be trusted to make something amazing: 

I started with a shaved artichoke salad: 

An intermezzo to cleanse our palates.  Mine was grapefruit and blood orange on the left, some kind of granita on the right (maybe goji berry?): 

My entree.  Usually I just request anything vegetarian and let the chef choose, but one of the sides on the menu was french onion mac and cheese, and oh, that sounded so good.  Mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods, and this did not disappoint: 

Dessert options. I have a nut allergy, so our choices were the second, third and fifth options.

Cheese options to end the meal, which we considered but didn't do (but I took a picture because so many of these cheeses sounded great and I want to try them eventually):

Earrings.  Hubby knows I'm not really a diamond person (did a huge project on conflict diamonds in college and have never wanted them since).  But before he knew that, he bought me a diamond necklace (the one I lost and found).  I wear it frequently because of course I love that he gave it to me (and it is beautiful).  And I've never said it, but I've thought simple diamond earrings to match would be nice.  And now I have them!

For dessert, we chose to share the fifth option, mini hucklberry fried pies with vanilla balsalmic swirl ice cream and heirloom apple butter.  Plus espresso and limoncello.  And dessert was even better because after I got the earrings, I went over to the other side of the booth to give hubby some kisses, so we were right next to each other to share the dessert.

Well, there were two truffles to end the meal, but I forgot to take a picture quickly enough:

So there's a recap of our fourth anniversary celebration.  Maybe we can watch our wedding video this weekend.  I am coming back from Philly for the weekend, but then flying back there on Monday.  Ugh!  It won't be too bad though, because I think we have an awesome plan for dinner Monday night and my boss is going too next week, so I'll have plenty of company for the awesome dinner. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Sadness

I posted this morning about my nostalgia for this race, and my excitement today for all my friends running the Boston Marathon.  Even though technically I could have run it this year, I didn't register for it, instead hoping to do speed training all spring and very little distance running.  Here's how my day unfolded:

I got to work late (that whole thing about running to and from work means I have to bring all my clothes and lunches for the week, plus my laptop, to the office on Monday mornings).  Then I spent pretty much all morning sitting at my computer tracking my running friends.  Not working.  Oops.  Tracking my friends is apparently my Marathon Monday tradition if I'm not running.  

All morning, I'd been taking fun pics on my cell phone of how my friends' splits were unfolding.  Planned to do a fun post about it tomorrow morning. 

My first shot of the morning, before anyone had gotten to the half-way point, but all had passed at least the 5k mark, so they all had projected finish times (the middle column): 

Then I was able to click on individual names to see exactly how their races were progressing:

Here's a friend who scared me, with the 8:44 average pace for a 5k, but it turns out it was just a porta-potty stop:

What it looked like when almost all my friends were about halfway done:

Here's one of my best running buddies, running steady, but faster than his predicted 3:15 (crazy fast in my book), because he was getting on a flight shortly after the race back to Dallas since he's expecting his first baby this week: 

Here's another running buddy, the one who was pacing me at my disatrous 15k the weekend before last.  Clearly, he's running faster than I did during the 15k, and he's doing it for an entire marathon!  Amazing splits: 

Here's a friend who decided she wasn't feeling great, so she let up on the pace early and said it was her most fun Boston ever: 

Another friend encountering the Newton Hills and easing up on the pace: 

And then finally, I have finish times for all nine of my friends: 

The last friend (third from the top in the photo above) crossed the line with a gun time of 3:56. That was almost 1:00 my time. I spent another 15 minutes or so checking exact Re-Q times that friends needed to see who is in for next year, and who isn't.  (For reference, you have to qualify to run Boston, and that means meeting a minimum required time.  For men under age 35, you need a 3:05, for women under 35, you need a 3:35.  Then about every 5 years, you get about 5 more minutes (for example, at my age, I need a 3:40 or faster).) 

I was hungry, thirsty and had to pee, so I finally got up from my computer. I made lunch, filled my water glass, went to the bathroom, and came back to my desk to begin the stream of "congrats" texts that I wanted to send everyone.

And then, at about 2:00, I got a call from my local best friend to ask if I was watching the Boston news.  I thought she meant tracking my friends.  I said I hadn't been watching, but I'd been looking online and it was great, so many PRs, so many great races.  Then she said to go to a Fox Boston affiliate station and told me about the horrible explosions that had happened at the finish line. 

I then spent another hour-plus not working, but glued to my computer and to my phone, checking in on each and every one of my friends. 

And my phone was also buzzing with people checking in on me.  Friends who don't live in Dallas who didn't know for sure if I was running it or not.  Cousins who didn't know.  Local running friends checking in to see who I'd heard from, just going through the chain to make sure everyone was okay. 

And of course I was reading news reports and looking at photos in the interim (from cnn):

And then looking at the finish line, devoid of people except for clean-up crews.  Instead of a stream of charity runners trailing in (they don't need to meet qualifying times), and a crowd of spectators cheering them on, the bleachers were deserted, and the street filled with emergency vehicles:

While of course I'm glad that I wasn't running it this year, and that everyone I know personally is okay, the current news reports are that 2 are dead and about 50 injured (and about 27,000 unable to walk, but unrelated to the explosions). 
It makes me insanely sad, as I'm sure it does others. 
This may be the saddest post I've ever written.  I will say, it makes me want to run that race again. 

FMM: Twenty Questions

The big excitement today is that it's Marathon Monday!  I think every runner looks at today as a special day.  The Boston Marathon is always held on Patriot's Day.  And even when you're not running it, many runners involved in their local running community become terribly unproductive at work today, spending the day on the BAA website tracking their friends' progress.  And when you get to the point where you've gotten your BQ, meaning you're qualified to run it, you always feel a little jealous and sad today if you're not out there running to Boston, feeling the energy.  Even when you had 1,000,000 reasons not to run it again, there's this bit of nostalgia, especially when you know you could have.  But in the spirit of the marathon, this morning for boot camp, I wore my Boston shorts and singlet from 2011.  Anyway, very excited to track my friends today.  Looks like they'll have good weather and I hope for lots of PRs. 

Our weekend was busy.   We had a dinner party for 10 people to celebrate the fourth anniversary of our rehearsal dinner. We invited everyone in Dallas who came to Italy for our rehearsal dinner.  I meant to take more pictures. Oops.  Here are the crappy cell phone pics I remembered to do: 

Our anniversary cake -- the cake we had at our Dallas wedding reception was similar in decoration and flavor -- strawberry with strawberry mousse filling.  Ordered from the same bakery that did our Dallas reception.  No real hope of recreating the cake we had in Italy...

After appetizers are mostly gone -- only 3 tarts left, spinach dip almost completely gone.  Wedding "guest book" (a platter signed by all our guests) is in the background. 

Veggies -- before I put out the dips (but see the little dip sign I made?): 

A single grilled pizza crust before things got underway -- build your own pizzas was our entree, so we made the dough (meaning my husband did, he's Italian so I joke that it's in his genes), then we grill one side of it, then everyone tops the grilled side and then we grill the bottom. 


Remnants of pizza toppings and sweet potato fries:
The rest of the weekend was good but uneventful.  We were both hung over on Saturday, so we spent most of the day in bed and/or watching tv.  Sunday was just stuff around the house and shopping for an anniversary present -- linen is the theme for year 4.  Woo-hoo, wild and crazy...
Anyway, now on to Friend Making Mondays.  It's a long one this week!
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Twenty Questions
1. Share something that you enjoy doing when you’re alone.  Watching bad TV (Lifetime movies or Law & Order repeats). 

2. What do you plan to eat next? Well, just finished breakfast so next will be my typical weekday morning at work snack -- a whole wheat tortilla filled with spinach and blue cheese crumbles. 

3. When did you first travel on a plane? Where did you go? No idea, I think I've been traveling my whole life.  First flight I remember was when I was 4 (less than 2 months away from being 5).  We were on a little plane that could land on water and we were flying into Alaska on the Fourth of July.  Seeing fireworks from that plane was amazing, probably the best experience of my life to that point. 

4. Do you currently have a crush on someone? If so, share a few of the reasons why.  Funny question since we have our fourth anniversary this week.  Our anniversary always makes me feel more loving and in love.  Less irritated by the little things that are part of everyday life, more filled with an overwhelming reminder of why I want to spend every single day for the rest of my life with this sweet man. 

5. List one thing that disgusts you that probably wouldn’t bother someone else.  Hearing (or seeing) people clip their nails in any place other than a nail salon.  I beg my husband to do his when I'm not at home or else go outside on the porch.  I hate, hate, hate that noise, and thinking of nail clippings makes me want to hurl. 

6. If you could buy a new car tomorrow (and money was no object) what would you buy? My dream car is an Aston Martin Vanquish convertible: 

But there's actually more of a chance that I am going to order a new car soon.  Right now I have a BMW 325 Ci convertible, and it's getting old, so I'm starting to worry at some point, it's going to get expensive.  And since we're going to be in Germany in the fall and I've always wanted to do European delivery of a BMW, we've kind of been talking about doing that.  I think it's unlikely, but it's on the radar.  Part of me is just to cheap though.  It would be cheaper than buying a new BMW here, but it's not cheaper than a fully paid off car! 

7. Who was the first person who broke your heart? First person was probably a guy in high school named Mike.  Oooh, I liked him so much and he liked me, but no where near as much. 

8. If you could spend the night with a celebrity tonight, who would it be? Hmm, I'm not really into celebrities in general, but I guess I'll pick runner Meb Keflezighi.  He pulled out of the Boston Marathon this year because of a calf injury, but I'd love to hang out with him and hear all about his thoughts on the race, how it was run, etc. 

That's him in the USA jersey up front: 

9. Are you a morning person or a night person? This is a tough question for me.  I think by nature, I am a night person.  But after a few years of sporadic workouts, I realized that the only way to really make sure I get it done is to run or work out first thing in the morning.  Plus, I live in Texas, and if you work out outside, it doesn't get easier as it gets later in the day.  So now, I'm up and out the door to work out before 5:30 a.m. every weekday, and now I sleep in a bit on Sundays, but am still running by 7.  (Saturday is my rest day.)

10. What’s your favorite board game? I tend to love almost all of them, but I'd pick a kind of obscure one called Settlers of Catan:

11. Can you play an instrument? If so, what do you play?  I took piano lessons for years, but all I can play now is a poor version of Silent Night.  C-D-C-A, C-D-C-A, G-G-E-F-F-D (? can't remember exactly, need to be at a keyboard), G-G-F-E-D-C-D-C-A...

12. What is the last thing you ate?  I just finished breakfast, which consists of a smoothie.  Today's was made of spinach, frozen peaches, frozen cherries, frozen blueberries, soy milk, chia seeds, and protein powder.  Plus my array of vitamins -- a multi, calcium, flaxseed oil, turmeric, B12, and chromium picolinate. 

13. Do you wear a watch?  I do at work, though I actually thought it was stolen from my desk about 2 weeks ago -- turns out it was just in drawer under a blanket (which I took as a possible sign my grandpa was going to be okay; by the way, he is recovering). 

14. Do you go to church?  Sometimes (of course I went this month for Easter).  Right now, I run with friends Sunday mornings, so it's rare, and I also have some major issues with the Dallas diocese of the Episcopal church, so that's another issue.  But when I'm home or something?  Always. 

15. Do you ever wish on stars? Usually on the first one I see.

16. Have you ever been on a motorcycle? Yes, but not often.  Unless you count motorini, the scooter bikes all over Italy.  I've spent way more time than I'd like on them. 

17. What is the last thing you purchased? Men's underpants.  Did I mention that the "traditional" fourth anniversary gift is linen?  I really struggled with this one.  Let's hope he doesn't read the blog in the next three days!  Don't worry, it's not all he's getting, but it's the last thing I purchased since it kind of fits the "linen" theme. 

18. How big is your bed? Queen.  And we already have more sets of sheets than we need, and we both love our bedding, so that wasn't really an option for an anniversary gift. 

19. What size shoe do you wear? 8, but of course running shoes you wear much bigger -- I wear a 9.5.  And still every other year or so I'll lose a toenail. 

20. What are you looking forward to most in the coming week? Our anniversary celebration on Wednesday night.  Our actual anniversary is Thursday, but unfortunately, I am going to be in Philly for work. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to go back to her blog and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Preparations Underway

For the last three years, we've always had a dinner party on the weekend prior to our wedding anniversary, and we've invited everyone who lives in Dallas who made the trek to Italy with us for our wedding.  We call it our rehearsal dinner anniversary party.

We have a rehearsal dinner recreation menu -- pizza and fries, both homemade, and then we have anniversary cake for dessert.  We order a small cake with the same decoration and flavor as the cake we used at our Dallas wedding reception that was about a month after we got back from Greece and Turkey. 

So I started working from home at about 6 a.m. this morning, and expect to be done in a few minutes.  Then it will be a flurry of cleaning, setting the table, cooking, and delegating tasks to hubby.  I think our head count tonight will be 9 or 10, counting us. 

The plan for tonight:

Dirty shirleys, the featured cocktail to start

Spinach artichoke dip (hot)
Baked brie and raspberry tartlets
Cheese -- two kinds to slice and serve (sottocenere w/ truffles, and brillat savarin bloomy affine)
Cannellini bean-garlic dip (cold)
Creamy avocado dip (cold) (Greek yogurt and avocado are the basics)
Salsa (store-bought)
Veggies -- sliced bell peppers and baby carrots
Tortilla chips

Then beer and/or wine with homemade whole wheat pizza dough, everyone tops their own, cooked on the grill.  Accompanied by a simple salad (mixed greens, red onion, vinegar and oil), and sweet potato "fries" (cut like fries but baked).

Then for dessert, wedding cake and shots of limoncello!  The cake needs to be picked up from the bakery in less than two hours!

I have a feeling it's going to be a chaotic afternoon...  Will try to take some photos of the finished products to share. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April in Texas ... part deux

Yesterday I was whining about the weather the day before.  Tuesday morning, I got up to go run and it was 70 degrees before 5 a.m.  It was miserably warm (though not too humid), but I went to the track and did my workout. 

Today I'll just go ahead and whine more.  No photo today, but this morning it was 43 when I got up to go run before 5 a.m.


I was actually fairly miserable on the run today.  First workout with my speed coach where I have really crashed and burned.  This is now indication number 4 that I may be overtraining, so it's time to start listening. 

Our scheduled workout was our usual warmup drills, then 1 mile easy, then 1 mile easy with 5 strides, then it was supposed to be 1 mile at 10k pace, 2 miles at 5k pace, then 1 mile easy.  Since last time we did this workout it was 2 miles at 10k and then 1 at 5k, and I'd bombed, having my 5k be slower than either of my 10k miles, today, I wanted to play it conservatively on the 10k mile.  But I had just zero pick-up.  Maybe negative pick-up would be a better way of putting it.  My 10k mile was about 30 seconds slower than last week.  And my 5k miles were dead even with each other, but both 15 seconds slower than today's 10k mile.

I'm a mess right now.  Sleeping, stress, nutrition, all that seems to be fine.  I've just got no oomph.  I'm 50/50 on whether I go to boot camp tomorrow, but either way, Saturday is definitely going to be a rest day.  I'm ready for it.  I just recently took a day off (last week Friday), but I think having so many workouts on Tuesday is starting to kill me. 

This morning, after I ran to work and got showered, per our tradition lately, I asked my accounting buddy to come downstairs and let me into the stairwell so we can climb the stairs together.  It's only 8 flights (we're on the 9th floor), but it's enough to get her heartrate up so it's fun. 

Well, on the climb today, I asked her if going forward, we could reverse our Tues-Wed evening routines.  Since the beginning of the year basically, every Tuesday night we've been walking on the treadmill together after work, then I run home.  Since the time change in March, every Wednesday night, we've been walking outside on my commute.  We walk for about 22 mins and 30 seconds, or sometimes until we get to 1.55 miles (so it will be an even 5k for her), and then she u-turns.  She walks back to the office solo, and I start running and just continue on my way home. 

She's on board with switching the days, so now on Tuesdays, instead of walking a couple miles on the treadmill and then running 3.75 miles home, I'll just do the 3.75 miles -- some walking, some running.  And on Wednesdays, when I don't meet my friends to run in the morning, I'll have a couple treadmill walking miles, and then the run home solo. 

This plan will hopefully help. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April in Texas

I feel like it's tradition for me to do a blog post in early to mid April every year complaining about the weather, usually about the first unseasonably warm morning, but either way, something about crazy Texas weather.

Last year, I posted about the multiple tornado touchdowns that occurred while I was at work on April 3, 2012. 

In 2011, I posted (complained) that it was over 70 degrees at 5 a.m. on April 8, 2011. 

Well, yesterday, April 9, 2013, here is what we had at 4:45 a.m.: 

Since most people who see this don't live in Dallas, basically I live very close to downtown Dallas.  It's indicated on the center-right of the map as "LOVE" (Dallas's airport is named Love Field).  And yes, at 4:42 a.m. yesterday, it was 70 degrees. 
I ran with my friends (we had 800 meter repeats at the track, dreadful, but my times were steady and solid, I just felt like death).  Then I had breakfast and all, and then ran to work.  Showered, worked a full day, and then put on my clothes to walk on the treadmill with a co-worker and then run home -- and my clothes were still somewhat wet from the morning.  Disgusting!  I am not supposed to be sweating that much in early April.
But apparently, at least every other year, I am.  Well, if my choices are sweat in early April or snow on more than a freak occasion, I'll choose sweat.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chinese Vacation Resurgence

Two very funny things have happened in the last two days. 

An email from a friend yesterday saying, "We got your post card from China today."

And on Sunday, a phone call from my mom asking me to guess what they got in the mail on Saturday.

Yes, more than five months after we left China, some postcards we sent are now being delivered.   And these were post cards, so it should have been pretty easy to see that there was no contraband included or anything. Mind-boggling.

Wow!  When we were in Zhujiajiao, we stopped into this postal museum that was showing how the Chinese post started during the Qing dynasty, and going on and on about it.  Way more information than we wanted to soak up toward the end of our trip, about a topic that wasn't particularly intriguing, but my take-away impression from the museum was that the Chinese knew what they were doing when it comes to mail.

Apparently not.  Haha. 

Well, at least my friend and my mom knew that we were thinking of them back in October when we wrote. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

FMM: TV, Movies and Me

My weekend was uneventful and a bit of a bummer in some ways. 

The race I worked so hard to run (a 15k) was a disaster.  I couldn't even tell you what happened.  Pace-wise, I didn't go out too fast, but my heartrate was too high.  The pace was relatively fast for me, but it should have been something I could maintain for 9 miles.  Not easily, but do-able.  But alas, it was not.  I think I must have hit my lactate threshold somewhere in the first few miles, so the last 10k was just ugly.  I had a friend pacing me and he stayed by my side, but when I realized my goal time had become theoretically impossible, I just wanted to quit.  I guess it was good that I kept running, but I slowed down so much.  I ended up finishing, and I managed to place in my age group, but that was small consolation considering my finish time was so poor.

I don't know what's going on with my running lately.  This is now two races in a row with a spectacular crash and burn.  My mileage is steady, nutrition seems to be good, sleep is fine (even with added stress of my grandpa's stroke this past week), legs are actually feeling good, it's just that my lungs/heart/mind seem to be ready to quit much earlier than they should.  I am performing much better on training runs than in races.  Sigh.  I just want a great race where I feel like I perform as best I can and kick some butt!  Is that too much to ask?  Oh well, there will be other races...

Anyway, the rest of the weekend all I wanted to do was wallow in my disappointment, but I met running friends for brunch both days, helped a co-worker move into a super-cool downtown apartment at the W (view from her  new porch is below), and generally got a bit more organized (cooked a real dinner last night, did several loads of laundry, packed my work clothes for the week, etc.). 

Pretty cool view, no?  I think that pool is on about the 9th floor, and the big stadium in the background is where they play basketball and hockey games in Dallas.  She's really excited about the new place.  We mostly moved china and art, things she didn't want the movers to touch. 

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

TV, Movies and Me
1. If you could be a recurring star on a show that is currently on TV, which show would you choose? Amazing Race. I've never actually watched the show, but I think it would be the best fit for me. If I have to choose a show I've seen, I'd go with Rick Steves, even if it's just Europe, any travel is good. In terms of scripted shows, I'll choose The Americans, which is on FX in its first season and is about Russian spies living in the US in the 80s.

2. Name the movie that you are most embarrassed to admit that you love. Neither is particularly embarassing, but I love Dirty Dancing, and I can quote 95% of Pretty Woman verbatim I think.

3. Name one show that you’ve never seen and would love to watch. Downton (Donton? Dontown? Downtown?) Abbey. So many friends like it, but we just don't have the time or interest in watching another show.

4. Do you ever go to movies alone? I've done it before but it's been more than a decade I'd guess. My husband goes alone sometimes, but if I go, now it's with him or with friends -- both are rare.

5. If you could only watch one TV show for the next year, which show would you choose and why? I guess the practical part of me would choose Today Show so that I'm up on my news. For fun, I guess I'd pick Law & Order. As much as I love watching The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette), I don't think I could stand it if I didn't get to watch anyone else.

6. If you could star in one reality show, which one would it be and why? Again, I'd go with Amazing Race. Travelling around the world, why not?! I wouldn't even be too picky about my partner -- of course my husband would be my first choice, but with a good friend, with one of my brothers, with a sister-in-law, whomever, it could be fun.

7. If someone rented a billboard for you, what would it say? Tough question! Probably something PETA-style to try to get people to realize how horribly cruel it is to eat meat. Either that, or something about running. But really, I wish more people thought about what they ate and the suffering associated with it.

8. Who is the most famous person with whom you have been in the same room? Most famous ever, I'd say Pope John Paul II. For a while, I was thinking maybe he was the most famous person in the world. In 1995, thinking world-wide, I'm still not sure if there was anyone more famous.

9. If you were chosen to be a contestant on a TV game show, which show would you want to be on? Probably Jeopardy, though my performance would probably be mortifying. Or Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire. I might do better at that, but I could see that also being very embarrassing.

10. If there was a movie being made about you, which actor would you choose to play you? I'd definitely go with Gillian Anderson, who was on X-Files, since my husband thinks that's the actress I most resemble. My hair is longer than hers now, and of course it's plain brownish, not red, but at the big firm where I worked right out of law school, my profile picture there bore a scary resemblance to a picture of her -- outfit (suit jacket with a white shirt), collar, angle, haircut, everything. It was funny.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Short Update

We don't know much, but what we do know is good.  And I'm still in Dallas, per my parents.  My grandpa seems to be doing okay.  They said they won't know much for a few more days because there is some swelling in the brain that usually remains for about 6 days.  Then they'll be able to assess more. 

This is all so new to me, which is good in some ways (bad in others, it means my other grandparents didn't suffer strokes, but it also meant they were gone sooner). 

So apparently there is a lesion on his brain that confirms he had a stroke, but it's in the white matter, which is a good place for it to be.

My grandpa has a temporary feeding tube, but was able to talk, though not very clearly.  Both of his legs are working, but he's been having some trouble with his right arm and hand.

They were considering blood thinners, but he already bruises easily, so now it sounds like he's just going to take aspirin every day. 

His mind is crystal clear -- he is at the VA hospital and at admission, he knew his military ID number from WWII, the date he joined the Navy, his date of discharge, all of it, despite the fact it was about 65 years ago.

His sense of humor is intact and the doctors are very optimistic.  I asked my parents what they thought I should do, and they said to still plan to come home this summer, but that there was no need to do it now.  I'm still kind of thinking about it, maybe just flying up tomorrow afternoon for the weekend -- that way I don't blow any deadlines at work, but I'd still get to spend some time with him now. 

Either way, big sigh of relief. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Do you believe in signs?

I found out this morning that my grandpa had a stroke yesterday.  He was apparently in the kitchen (he lives alone in the house where my dad was born and raised).  He passed out.  Woke up about an hour later, spent about 3 hours crawling to the phone, where he called my dad (not 911).  My dad missed the call as he was going to his seat for the Brewers game, but saw the missed call a minute or two later and called my grandpa back.  My grandpa said he wasn't doing real well and my dad could barely understand him.  Unfortunately, my dad and his friend had been dropped off at the game and no one was at home, so my dad started walking toward my grandpa's house (not terribly far actually, a few miles), until my dad's friend reached their other friend who had dropped them off and he picked up my dad and took him to my grandpa's.  My grandpa then didn't want to go to the hospital, but eventually my dad convinced him and drove him himself.  The hospital isn't far away, only a mile or so to the VA (my grandpa was in WWII).  He's been there ever since.  He's apparently alert, but still hard to understand and is very weak on one side of his body.  


I'm trying to decide if I should go home.

After I talked to my dad, I had to head to work. I considered driving, but I figured running a few miles might actually help me clear my head.

I think I had to be close to a morning commute PR -- running sad apparently makes me speedier.

As I was running on the Katy Trail, just before I hit mile marker 1 of my commute, just ahead of me, I heard something in a tree and something bright and blue seemed to fall down to the ground as I was running past. I actually turned and looked because it was so weird. I was thinking it was a piece of clothing or a shoe or a stuffed animal (why on earth a stuffed animal would be in a tree, I don't know). I looked, and it was a blue jay. It was on the ground for a second and kind of looked back at me, then it flew away.

Is that a sign? My grandpa LOVES birds and bird-watching, but he actually hates blue jays. I remember him yelling at them when they were on the bird feeder. He thinks they are mean birds and they scare away the chickadees and the other little ones he likes.

Then I got to work and was pulling together my shower bag and my outfit for the day, booting up my computer and checking email in my sweaty running clothes before I went downstairs to the gym to get ready.

On Thursday morning of last week, I got to work (on foot) and my dress watch was not in the drawer where I usually keep it. My watch was a gift from my dad for Christmas a couple years ago. I love the watch because it is silver and gold, so it matches most all jewelry, and our wedding bands are white gold, rose gold and yellow gold. I looked everywhere for it, and couldn't find it, so the only conclusion I could reach was that I'd perhaps left it on my desk (I had indeed by mistake left it sitting out before instead of putting it in a drawer), and perhaps someone had taken it.

Since I'd been at work fairly late Wed. night (my accounting buddy was walking toward home with me, and we didn't leave the office until after 7), it was fairly deserted when I left.

And since I ran to work Thursday morning, I got there at about 8:20, when there weren't many people here yet. I thought the odds of anyone in our company taking it were very, very small -- the only people I could think were either building security (though I didn't know why they'd be in my office), or the cleaning crew (and I knew they'd been all over near my desk, since my shredding basket had also been emptied, besides my regular trash). So the cleaning crew was pretty much the only explanation I could find.

I reported the missing watch to our office administrator, who told me to report it to our lessor's office administrator, who would report it to building management. I did, and everyone else was as surprised as I was that it was gone. I ran into our lessor's office administrator in the restroom yesterday and she said she'd left money on her desk before and it had never been taken. I told her I'd also left my watch out by mistake a couple times, but this time it was gone. I told her I was probably going to file a police report if it didn't turn up, so I asked her to pull together a list of who had accessed our floor.

Well, this morning, pulling out my shower bag, I decided to go through the entire drawer. It's a "miscellaneous stuff" drawer -- I keep in it my shower bag, my gym clothes bag, my blanket (stolen from an airline decades ago, but frequently used since our office is kept insanely cold), a few Halloween decorations. And there was my watch. In/under my blanket. My shower bag must have tipped over when I closed the drawer and my watch must have spilled out.

Is that a sign? A watch that I got as a gift for Christmas while sitting by my grandpa was lost and now it's found?

If these things are signs, what do they mean? That he'll be okay? That he'll be back to his old funny little self before we know it? That we have more years to make memories and to hear stories of the past? I'm not ready for him to be gone. He is my last grandparent. His wife died on New Year's Eve my freshman year of high school, so 1989-1990 New Year's Eve. I want to hear more stories about the war, what it was like for him growing up, and I want to write them down or commit them to memory. But I'm also insanely busy at work and over-committed with other things right now. Do I drop it all and buy an expensive plane ticket? Or hope for the best and plan to see him when I go home over the summer?