Sunday, February 28, 2010

And now, back to our regular program....

Well, not quite back to normal yet. Taking one week off pretty much meant that this week was a busy catch up week for all of us.

Oh, and on top of it, it was Turbo's birthday on Thursday. I'm not sure how it happened that this little boy

The baby pix are not scanned yet, so this will have to suffice...he's about 18 months old here

has become this fine young man

 My baby turned 12. Happy Birthday Turbo!

Some other highlights from the week
  • Ran once on the 'mill and did a threshold training workout (2 x 15 at threshold, which for me is about a 10:30 pace) with a 3 minute cool down (12:00 pace) between the two intervals. I did the 'mill instead of going to the track club workout because I stayed at school too long and didn't have enough time to get home, get changed, and then get to the track. I need to start taking my running clothes with me to school on Tuesdays and change there.
  • On Friday, after a sorta frustrating exchange of emails with some work colleagues (that I won't go into there, other than to say that people who think that they can intimidate me into not speaking up about some teaching practices that I believe are outmoded and downright wrong, really don't know me that well) anyway, after THAT exchange, I decided I needed to clear my head, so I went to run here...
OK...I had some really, way more excellent shots of the actual beach, but they didn't download and were deleted from my iPhone...GAH, so you have to see sweaty me. Trust me though, it was a beautiful day 
  • Oh I was running, I started to feel the familiar tightness in the bottom of my left foot and fear that a mild case of PF is returning. I've been a slacker about keeping up with the proper stretching and lunge matrices which seem to help, so I've got to get back to that. I WILL NOT have another round of PF...not this way...
  • Yesterday (Saturday) morning, I went to dress rehearsal for the play that Turbo and DramaGirl are in because I am on the costume committee.
That's Turbo in the Viking helmet. He's a pirate... They are doing Peter Pan this year...
  • Because I was being the costume queen, I had to miss ANOTHER SDTC long run. I think most of the herd skipped it because it was POURING yesterday morning. I haven't read Irene's blog yet, but I'm sure she'll have a report of the deluge. I was sad to miss the run because I miss the group AND I am getting woefully behind in logging any sort of distance or time on my feet (I think the run was 2 hours on Saturday and I am nowhere near being able to comfortably run 2 hours...good thing that I registered for the San Diego RnR 1/2 Marathon in June and not the full).
  • Instead of running in the rain, Betty and I went to the gym to workout instead. I did a 15 minute warm up on the elliptical, lifted some weights, did two sets of lunge matrices, then did 45 more minutes on the E. Needless to say, my ass hurts today.
Hot chocolate with whipped cream...yum
  • Last night we went out with our friends Huck and Debbie to celebrate Huck's 50th birthday. We went to a local music club called Anthology. I'd never been there before, but it was VERY cool and we listed to some VERY cool music by Acoustic Alchemy, and today I have not only an assache, but a headache as well. 
 This is the beer Walter was drinking. It made me laugh

Debbie and I in a setting far too dark for my lame little iPhone camera

Huck and Walter and Debbie's fingers...I'm not really sure what she was trying to communicate, but it must have been important.
  • In a flashback to our youth, on our way home, Walter and I went through the drive-thru to get a  carne asada burrito from Roberto's in Point Loma (perhaps you have to be local to understand the significance of consuming a carne asada burrito from Roberto's at 1:00 in the morning, but trust me, it is a completely satisfying experience).
  • Finally, this morning, I registered for my first bike event. It's not a race, but it is an organized bike event called the Gran Fondo and it's next Sunday. I'm super excited, although I'm feeling kinda wussy for registering for the 32 mile ride, and not the 53 miler...but as it's my first real-life organized bike event, and since I haven't been on the bike in over a month, I thought I'd take it easy.  The course is one that we've ridden on several occasions (we call it the 5 cities tour), so I know it's doable. The very cool thing about this ride (in addition to it starting in Little Italy, and the pasta lunch at the end of the ride, and the very colorful bike jersey), is that we get to RIDE OVER THE CORONADO very cool is THAT?
So there you have it, mostly back to normal, sans the mimosas with the herd. I'm sure we'll get back to that after the ride, or after Saturday's long run...or perhaps both.

OK...I'm off to get caught up on your blogs...what have you all been DOING lately?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blog Therapy

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your comments and prayers and supportive words last week. You have no idea how much it meant to open my RSS reader, or email and see another comment from one of you wishing us well or mentioning that you were thinking of us, sending positive thoughts, or just saying "hang in there." This is one of my favorite things about my blogging, running, athlete friends, that we are all there for each other in this virtual friendship.

This blog has become a therapy of sorts for me. I don't write much about anything that is truly profound or earth shattering (e.g. OMFG...the herd ran again this weekend, had a flat tire, and drank mimosas!!!! GAH!) but every once in awhile, the Hefferblog gives me an opportunity to go on about something serious, and after I've written about it, and you all have commented that I'm not a crazy lunatic with only a tenuous grip on reality, I feel better....or at least I feel better knowing that there are other crazy lunatics with only tenuous grips on reality out there keeping me company. Not writing this week felt strange. Funny how something I didn't do until about two years ago could become so much a part of me.

I've thought A LOT this week about whether or not I would even write any more about my mother in law's passing. It's a difficult topic for me. Let's just say that MIL and I had a complicated relationship. I was the shiksa who married her youngest son, and we didn't particularly hit it off from the beginning. My part of the blame is that I am a sorta bossy, opinionated, stubborn woman who doesn't easily ask for advice...her part is that she was also a bossy, opinionated, stubborn woman who wanted to give me lots of advice.

I also partially blame my brother-in-law. When Walter and I were getting married, we tried really hard to blend both Catholic and Jewish traditions into the ceremony, not a particularly easy task. I did LOADS of reading and research. We included some readings from the old and new testaments. We lit a unity candle. We were married under a chuppa.  Then, I realized the day before the wedding that I'd neglected to get a glass to break at the end of the ceremony, a Jewish tradition. I'd read somewhere that a light bulb works best because it gives a really good popping sound. So, I asked BIL to get something like a small light bulb and a handkerchief or cloth to wrap it in so that Walter could smash it at the end of the ceremony and everyone could shout Mazel-tov!

Who knew that BIL would decide that the light bulb/handkerchief was a cliche? Instead he slipped a full champagne class into a...

Christmas stocking

You read it right...with my name in glitter on one side, Walter's name on the other.

Although we were pretty surprised, both Walter and I laughed, completely getting the joke and the symbolism. We still have it.

MIL, on the other hand, was decidedly NOT amused, and let us know. Even though I had nothing to do with it, I think she still blamed me.

I know she didn't understand my running (I overheard her once say to someone that she didn't know how I could abandon my children and go train for a marathon) and although I think she had some idea that I wrote this blog, I don't believe that she ever read it. I know for certain that she didn't particularly appreciate my sarcastic sense of humor (Really! I'm sarcastic...didn't you know?); in fact, I tend to believe that she was mostly offended by what I usually think of as my "clever commentary."

I had to be very careful all week about that clever commentary. Early on in the week, I made a comment on a friend's FB page that was a little silly, and Walter told me (sweetly but directly) that he just wasn't ready for it I stayed off FB and my blog for the rest of the week. I know enough about my lack of a filter to be careful.

Then, as I sat listening to eulogies this week, I was reminded of the old adage that women marry men who remind them of their fathers and men marry women that remind them of their mothers. I never really considered myself much like MIL, but the truth is that I probably am. We both love our families furiously and protectively; we both like to give advice; neither one of us would be called a shrinking violet. Strong-willed, stubborn, bossy. These are words I've heard used to describe both of us.

And in the end, how could I not credit the woman who raised a son like Walter, AKA the best husband in the world, the one who puts up with me and my crazy-lunatic-with-a-sometimes-tenuous-grip-on-reality ways.

She was a wonderful grandmother to my kids. She baked them cookies, made them lunch, babysat them when they were babies and toddlers, gave them loads of advice (which they were far more willing to take than I ever was).

We buried her on Wednesday. It was a lovely service with mostly family and a few close friends. Then on Sunday, there was a memorial service attended by over 150 people at the Temple. Both Walter and DramaGirl gave beautiful eulogies which made me proud of them in so many ways that I can't articulate. In between those two days, my and Walter's home was sort of like family central. This is the place where the family came after the burial and where we ate loads of food. This is where we had a kick-ass BBQ with his cousins the night before the memorial (I swear, I only did the tequila shots because I was supporting his cousins...I swear it). I love that our families can gather in our home and feel comfortable enough to just hang out.

On Saturday morning, I went running at Lake BP. I ran a little over 6 miles in 1:04/10:46, one of my fastest 10Ks ever. I got rained on (twice), but didn't really care because I was out running. I was grateful that I have running to keep me balanced, and it sort of helped me to think all this out. Even if MIL never understood what running does for me, she didn't really need to. I know what it does for me.

So, even though she would have NEVER appreciated that with the help of the herd, we renamed a local lake according to the shape that the running path appears to have when viewed from overhead, my Saturday morning run was for Iris, my MIL. Thanks for all you have given me.

Lake BP

Me at the 1/2 way point at Lake BP (if you don't touch the target, it doesn't count!)

Just a gorgeous morning (a moment between the two cloudbursts)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life is What Happens...

I haven't really fallen off the face of the earth this week.

My mother in law (Walter's mother) passed away on Friday. She had breast cancer.

It wasn't the first battle. She had breast cancer 15 years ago, and she beat it.

Then last year, it returned, only this time it was a pretty nasty strain that was more difficult to combat. She tried chemo, which made her feel like crap, and we worried because she didn't seem to get better. Less than two weeks ago the doctors told her that the cancer had returned and that it had spread to her liver, and they gave her 6 months.

I think that my MIL had no intention of lying around for 6 months waiting for death. Like most everything else I've ever witnessed the woman do, I think she decided that she was going to take control of the situation. I think she'd decided that she'd just had enough.

On Friday, surrounded by her family, she passed away, peacefully and comfortably, in her own bed, on what I believe, were her own terms.

I'll be honest, neither Walter or I have done this before, lost a parent that is, and we're pretty much just trying to figure it all out. There's a lot that we've never seen or dealt with before. We saw a lot in those 10 days as she went from being pretty sick, to not getting out of bed, to being unable to really carry on a conversation, to being unconscious, to the end. There were (and continue to be) lots of decisions to be made. How much do we let the kids see and know? (I tend to err on the side of "death is a part of life; they are old enough to know that this is what happens.), funeral arrangements, notifying family and friends, it's a lot.

In any event, I've not done much running this week, or blogging. I finally got to the gym this morning for about an hour and a half. Betty met me and made me laugh (I told her she had to, no pressure though, and she did of course).

Anyway, just wanted you all to know that I am still here and that I'll be back, but I gotta pay attention to the family this week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Turf and Surf - Day 3 of the 3 event/3 city/3 day Tri

Event 2 - The Turf
So...I flew back into San Diego on Saturday night to go to a gala-fundraiser for the Home of Guiding Hands. Walter, as you all know, is the best husband in the world, never fusses about my various adventures with the herd, and for the most part, doesn't ask me to do many outrageous things.

So about a month ago, when realized that I'd triple booked a weekend, I immediately thought about not going to the fundraiser. I mean, I've been to plenty of fundraisers and they're all nice and good for causes and all, but they're all about the same. Getting dressed up and then eating some kind of baked, broiled, sauteed chicken part in some light sauce while somebody gets an (deserved) award and then there's a silent and live auction.

But, Walter said he REALLY wanted me to go to this one, and since he almost never says that to me, I had to go...but to be completely honest, I wasn't looking forward to it. In other words, this was for Walter.

So...I landed in San Diego. It was raining (of course). Walter picked me up, looking all spiffy and suited and all, and we rushed to his office, which is near the airport, so that I could change there.

Yes, I took some pix.

Before shot - nice that the office ladies room had a full length mirror

Getting set up for the big makeover. You cannot see from this photo how tired I look

Oh...don't I just LOOK like I'm ready to party...

About 15 minutes later....

Ta Da!!!!!

Unlike other fundraisers I've been to, this event was EXCEPTIONAL and highly entertaining. I'd never been to a non-profit organization fundraiser that included: belly dancers dancing with live snakes, a Brazillian drum band that started a Carnival-style congo line throughout the place (complete with semi-dressed women in feather-outfits), and a live band covering Madonna and The Black Eye Peas ...all of which occurred before dinner was even served. I'd have taken pictures, but all I had was my iPhone camera and it took pretty lousy shots, so you'll just have to take my word for it. It was quite an event.

I was pretty sad that I had to get up so darn early. I could have really partied with these people. But I behaved myself, limited my wine consumption to two glasses, and just enjoyed the scene. Even so, by 9:30, I looked at Walter and said:

"Can we go now?"

So we did. But I'm glad I came back for the gala. I'll make sure I don't double book next year.

Event 3 - The Surf
So, even though I'd had limited sleep for the previous two nights, and a couple glasses of wine to help  me sleep, I still woke up at hourly intervals to make sure I didn't oversleep, so I was up by 3:55, in time to shut off the alarm clock before it woke me up at 4:00.

Our plan was to meet at Betty's house at 4:30 for the drive up to Huntington Beach. At 4:28, I pulled up to Betty's, and moved over to the passenger seat to let Betty drive. Yep, you got that right, I let someone else drive. I knew I was tired. In fact, I hadn't even bother getting dressed. I arrived at Betty's  still in my PJs, carrying my pillow and blanket. My goal was to get some additional sleep on the drive up.

Yeah...right...that didn't happen, we chatted and laughed (Alberta slept) and before we knew it, we were in Huntington Beach, where we stopped at a Starbucks for a potty stop and to get some more coffee. Elsie and I also helped some 1st time 1/2 Marathoners put on their shoe tags. They were so adorable, not knowing where to put the shoe tag or how it all worked. I so remember being that person. (WTF do I do with this thing?)

Elsie and me - still not quite awake, but very helpful.

As I was about to pee, Penny called. She was about to enter into a parking lot. Penny, our rockstar, Surf City savior, navigated us into the perfect parking lot AND then she did an Elaine, and was willing to sacrifice herself to save us a key parking space.

We got out of the car and there she was...a vision in Colts Blue...sorta like the perfect bride from the movie Diner.

Penny and me...lookin' ready to run.

Penny (honorary Heffer) with Alberta, me, Betty, Mik and Elsie

It is impossible for us to thank Penny enough for putting up with the herd this week, our various changes of plans and new pseudonyms. As soon as we got there Penny passed out the five swag bags with t-shirts and bibs, which she had picked up for us from the Expo the day before. She called out the pseudonyms on our bibs..."this is for Elise, this is for Mik, this is for... Tiger?"


As you may have surmised by now, Betty bought a bib from some guy off Craig's List. She says he had several piercings tatoos and they made the cash/big exchange in a McDonald's near City College, only she thinks the police ignored them because she was wearing a business suit. I think our emails about the planned and then executed transaction kept Penny entertained for a few hours earlier this week.

Now ordinarily none of us are really in favor of buying a 2nd hand bib, but the story of the bib-purchase is pretty darn funny and makes it almost worth it because yesterday Betty ran as a 27 year old male who put the nickname "Tiger" on his bib. We don't know if he meant it as a personality trait or if he was thinking he was going to score like Tiger Woods with the ladies...In any event, she reported that all day people yelled at her things like:
  • Go Tiger!
  • Keep running Tiger!
  • Atta Girl Tiger!
In any event, we are all thinking of future bib-pseudonyms that will make us laugh as we are running. Complete list will follow...

Betty giving us the "Tiger" pose..."growwwwwwl"
So here's the thing I didn't tell ANYONE last week. With all of the 3 Day/3 City/3 Event drama, I ended up with the start of what I thought might be a pretty bad cold, so that morning, I was pretty hopped up on cold meds and nose spray to keep my sinuses clear. To be honest, as everyone was getting ready for the run, I wasn't sure I would make it to mile 1, let alone through 13 of them. My head was fuzzy. I was UNBELIEVABLY thirsty. And I generally felt like crap. On the shuttle we took to the start, I thought I might pass out. I was a little worried. I had a few moments where I thought that I'd just start the race, then head back to the car and take a nap.

Luckily, after a LOOOONNNNNGGGGG ride, the shuttle dropped us off at the race start. It was a ZOO! It was supposed to be a wave start and I guess they were just using an honor system. Each corral was just jam-packed with runners, as was the area just outside along side each corral. We found a place to stretch a little bit and at some point Mik decided to go in search of a porta potty and started with an earlier wave.

While several waves took off, we made friends with "Dan the Man." These two women informed us that he was "the perfect mate."

 Dan the Man - doesn't snore, hog all the covers and you never have
to worry about the seat being left up.

Waiting for a wave to let us in so that we can start running
By about 8:00, we could see the 2:15 - 2:30 wave in front of us, so we wedged our way in. 

Yes, I know I had no business being a 2:15 - 2:30 wave...whatever. I faked it pretty well in the beginning.

We were off...

I got separated pretty quickly from Elsie, Betty, and Penny (although all were pretty easy to spot due to the neon-dayglo-lime green and the blue tulle), but Alberta and I ran the first couple of miles together.  I told her that I felt pretty lousy, but that I was hoping that the run would either make me feel better, or that I'd feel so lousy running, that I'd forget about the cold. I caught up with Betty and we ran and chatted a bit.

Alberta and I settled into a pretty good 11:15 - 11:30 pace. At about Mile 2 I could see Penny a little bit ahead of me talking to...who was it? GLENN! I sprinted (huge error) to catch up to them, but Glenn had pulled ahead in his PR or ER pace, so there was no catching him.

I won't give you too much of the race details, mostly because at this point, I barely remember them, but overall, I'd say that I did a decent job of training for an maybe a 10 mile race. I was certainly on pace to PR for the first 1/2 of the race, but I knew it was all a facade. The last three miles were pretty ugly.

Here are some of the high and low lights.
  • I really had absolutely no effing clue about the course. Usually, I examine course maps, study elevations, memorize aide stations but not this time. About Mile 3ish, we turned inland. I remember asking some guy if he knew how far inland we were running. He didn't, but another woman behind us gave me some details about the run, including that there was a hill ahead, so to save some energy. Right about then I saw Mik. She was cruising and finished in right around 2 hours!
  • Mile 4 - This is a hill? BAH! This ain't no stinkin' San Diego County Hill! I cruised up it with no problem (yes this would be one of the highlights).
  • Mile 6 - Our brief journey inland ended and we turned right on PCH. I was still feeling pretty good, and had the momentary crazy thought (that I've had at several 1/2 marathons I've done) that if I can keep my current pace, I could PR and break 2:30 (yeah, right!).
  • Mile 7 - I started my 9/1 plan (run for 9 minutes, walk for 1), figuring that would keep me whole for awhile. I'm not sure if it helped or not.
  • Mile 8 - At the turnaround (8.2 miles) I was still feeling pretty good and averaging an 11:30 pace (and this included the 60 second walk breaks). Right before the turn around, I saw Elsie, smiling (she told me later she was having some cramps in her calves, but I couldn't tell...speedy girl finished in about 2:27).
  • Mile 9 - I downed a 2nd Gu (first was before the "hill"). Despite this, I switched to a 4/1 (run 4 minutes/walk 1) plan because I was just started to feel exhausted. My breathing was fine, but my legs were starting to hurt and generally, I just felt like I was out of fuel.
Somewhere past mile 10 and into mile 11, the Gu-buzz wore off and it was over for me...I hit a little mini-brick 1/2 mary wall. Gu numbers 1 and 2 were seeking an exit point. I felt a light headed and nauseous, so I started walking and I ended up walking for probably a good 1/2 mile or so. Part of me wanted to cry. Part of me wanted to throw up. Most of me wanted to just sit down on the curb and wait for someone to come get me. I knew the sun was shining in my face, and I thought I should be warmer than I was. I momentarily considered taking my shirt off to cool off, thinking that would give me some energy, but something in the back of my head told me not to do it. I thought of Irene's experience at the Carlsbad 1/2 at the end of the race and how she ended up in the medical tent. I knew I was a little bit out of it, so I worried about making an unwise decisions where I might hurt myself.

My one rationale thought was that I would NEVER do this again and by this I mean, I'll never run a 1/2 marathon without training for it.

What I do know is that at one point, I looked down at my Garmin and it said I was moving at about a 20+ minute pace and I thought to myself, "At this rate, I'll be out here another hour" and I know I didn't want that, so I went back to my 4/1 plan, telling myself along the way that I could run for 4 minutes and then walk. If I did this three more times, I'd have less than a mile left...and then I could run it in. So that's what I did. By the time I got to within' a 1/2 mile of the finish, I knew that the end was near and I did what I did in Carlsbad last January, at AFC last August, and in Vegas this past December, I just put my head down and let the crowd pull me in.


Not a stellar finish, but a finish, and I was still upright. I somehow made my way through the finishing chute and was exiting the finishers area when I turned around and there was Betty. We high-fived each other and started walking out, looking for the rest of the herd.

As we were walking through the expo, I told Betty that I just had to sit for a few minutes. She handed me a bag of pretzels (BEST GD PRETZELS I'VE EVER EATEN!) and I started to feel a little clearer and got some energy back.

Right about then we found the rest of the herd (or they found us including Penny and Glenn!)

Me with fellow runner-bloggers Glenn (who managed a PR and NOT the ER) and Penny

Finally, we managed the ENDLESS walk back to the car. Yep, there's nothing like running 13.1 miles, and then walking another 1.5 to the car.

We ended up at my sister's house (she lives in Coto de Caza, which is near Mission Viejo) about 30 minutes away. My fabulous sister fixed us tacos and we had mimosas and we got to take showers AND we got to shop for jeans (my sister has a fabulous jean's boutique called Olivia's Closet which she operates out of her home). Running, eating, shopping - what could be better than that?

Elsie discovered the joy of Zenzah compression sleeves!

I'll be honest. I did a crappy job of taking pictures at my sister's house, including no photos of my beautiful OC sister who was generous and opened her house to feed the herd and let us bathe. I meant to take a group photo. I got distracted by the tacos (they were really yummy).

Finally, we loaded into the car and headed home.

Mik's sister is NOT allowed to tag this picture of her on FB

Yeah...I'll pay for this. Alberta has abs and guns of steel.

So...what am I thinking today?

So with that in mind, I promised the herd, and especially Walter, the following:

I hereby solemnly promise everyone I know and the internet that I will never again run a 1/2 marathon that I haven't trained for. It just wasn't that much fun. I think I've proven to myself that I can gut it out and finish a run that I've started. Lord knows that I have a whole year of doing that.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two Much Better Days

Despite an incredible lack of sleep (Alice really doesn't do well on 4 hours of restless sleep), City 1 of the 3 City/3 Events/3 Day Tri was a success. Several reasons for this include:
  • My conference friends, who laugh at my jokes and make inappropriate comments throughout the day (why is it that ALL of my friends have this talent).
Conference BFFs Erick, Jami, Kathy and Me...
  • Why is it that all of my BFFs have the relative maturity of 12 year olds, and all conversations degenerate eventually into discussions that include words like "girth." The fact that Erick teaches Human Sexuality at his college certainly didn't help matters.
  • At one point, Erick was making a point about his HS class and started giving more information than the presenter hoped for...I really wanted her to say "Erick, you're being premature," but she didn't. If she had, I'd have really lost it; instead, I only partially lost it when I shared my observation with Jami
  • Four hours of sleep makes Alice really punchy, thus it doesn't take too much to keep me entertained.
  • Even though by the end of the conference day, I could barely keep my eyes open, I decided to go to the workout room and get some time in on an elliptical. In fact, this probably saved me in the long run because I did not want to get back to my hotel room, crash, wake up hungry at 10pm, then be screwed because my sleep schedule would be WAYYYY off. 
  • Instead, I worked out, had a glass of wine and a fabulous dinner with Kathy at a local Italian restaurant called Umbria, and got a good night's sleep.
  • My computer works just fine water damage at all.
  • I woke up this morning to text messages from Betty, who ran the SuperRun 10K this morning in the San Diego rain.
Today is our one-year anniversary of running with Mik, so Happy Anniversary Mik!
  • Penny just called me to let me know that she felt like a pack rat walking around the Surf City Expo with 6 bags. We discussed parking strategies. I think this is going to work!
  • I'm sitting in the SF Airport, and it appears that my flight is going to leave on time.
  • My cab ride to the airport was only $32, so the A-hole cab driver from the other night DID get a tip.
So...I'm off to Event 2 in City 2 (on day 2)...we'll call Event 1 in City 1 (days 1 and 2) a success.

Boarding now. Next post will be a Surf City race report...and a recap of the comedy that was Betty gets a bib, which I haven't told yet.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Something Like a Bad Joke, Right?

Let's just say that the beginning of this trip was not so stellar.

For most of the day on Thursday I battled with a stuffy nose, a sore throat, a roaring headache, and sorts of other cold symptoms. I was downing Airborne like it was soda pop (yes, I know it's a placebo, but I believe it works, so it does. Need proof? Today, I decidedly do NOT have a really bad cold, so there you go Airborne naysayers...)

My less than stellar start to my 3 Days/3 Cities/3 Events Tri really began with a three hour delay which left me stranded in the San Diego Airport because, apparently, there was a bit of rain in The City and Air Traffic Control wouldn't allow planes to land there.

  • My first error was checking my a suitcase. I thought it'd be easier that way. However, once I did that, I was married to flight 153 to San Francisco and couldn't switch flights to ONE OF THE THREE THAT LEFT. ON TIME. TO OAKLAND...GAH!
  • My second error was packing my eye-glasses in my suitcase because after three hours of being on the computer, bitching about my lot in life on FB, my contact lenses were GLUED to my eyeballs.
  • All in all, I felt better off than the 6:10 flight to SF (which I ALMOST TOOK), in which passengers boarded the plane, then were told that their flight was delayed, and they had to get off the plane. THAT would have sucked even worse.
  • Thank God for blogs and FB. I read EVERYONE'S BLOG since I had some excess time on my hands.
  • I was really starting to think that God was sending me signs that I shouldn't go to SF this weekend. 
Finally...after four delays, including three phone called from the automated Southwest flight updater (everyone who was a frequent flyer received the calls simultaneously as we waited in the terminal, which was sorta amusing) my 6:45 flight to SF got permission to about 10 pm. 

When we landed in SF at about 11:30, I picked up my luggage and caught a taxi into the city.

I kid you not. I was cruising down the 280 freeway from the SF airport into The City, just moments away from my destination hotel, with $23.00 or so on the meter, Twittering with Penny, who was just getting off work, joking about who was going to be able to enjoy a glass of wine first, and suddenly I heard a funny sound behind me. It sounded something like


I asked the driver..."You're not running out of gas, are you?"

"No." He said as if he was really, thoroughly, disgusted with the audacity of my question 

"Flat" (I mean...DUH, don't you know your car sounds?)"

I couldn't help but blurt, "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. YOU DO NOT HAVE A FLAT TIRE!"

But, he did, so he pulled over onto the middle of a freeway off ramp on the freakin' freeway. My only comment was, "you ARE calling me a new cab, aren't you?"

So, I sat in Taxi cab #1 and listened to Taxi-cab Driver # 1, yell at someone in a language I don't understand about something. I don't know what. 

 Me, waiting for my new taxi. Just how tired to I look?

$23.80 showing on the meter...just outside of Daly City

Eventually, Taxi Cab Driver #2 showed up, and we put me, my luggage, and my two carry-on bags (my purse and my laptop) into Taxi Cab #2.

Dude never started his meter (I know. I know. That's what SHE said).

Less that 5 minutes later, I was at my hotel. Since Taxi Drive #2 never started the meter, I sorta assumed that the ride was gratis. I mean, Flat tire. 12:30am. No charge for the inconvenience, right?

So I asked, "how much do I owe you?"

He said, "usually a ride from the airport is $40."

I was sorta surprised that he wanted money, but it was almost 1am, and I was tired, and I didn't want the hassle, AND I'm getting reimbursed, so I handed him two $20 bills.

And he starts yelling at me. I guess he was expecting a big tip.

I said, "You never even started the meter. I have no idea how much I owe you, for all I know, you just got a $40.00 tip."


Now, I need a ruling here...did I do the wrong thing? I mean, I worked my way through college (twice) working for tips. I waited tables and tending bar and I worked in the hotel industry as a first career too, so I'm usually super sensitive to tipping and generally tend to overtip. I walk around with dollar bills when I travel so that I can tip every doorman, bell cap, bag person, checker, whoever. I even leave money in hotel rooms for housekeeping. I mean who does THAT? 

So, should I have tipped the dude? I don't think so, my general rule is you give bad service (like a flat tire at 1am, or you spill a dinner on somebody's lap) you don't get a least, that's how it always worked for me.

Maybe I'm a bitch. At 1 am, it's a real possibility. Taxi Driver #2 let me know that I was.

Finally, I got into my hotel room around 1:30. The "giftshop had wine for sale, but only full bottles, and I figured having a full bottle of wine in my reach at 1:30 was pretty risky, so I decided to not charge it to the room and grabbed a bottle of Amstel Light instead. I managed to get up to my room and it was a handicapped room because at 1:00 am that's all that was left, but it was on the 12th floor and it had a BED in it, so I didn't care. But then and as I was setting my luggage down, I noticed that my laptop case was leaving a water trail.


Turned out the water bottle I stashed in my laptop bag burst leaked and everything in my laptop bag was soaked, including some papers I needed to have for the conference this morning and also including...

My MacBook Pro, which wouldn't start up.


EF,  EF,  EF

So, after freaking out for awhile, I decided to take out the battery, leave the laptop open, and just hope that by morning it would be dry and whatever water might have possibly gotten on the MacBook didn't cause permanent damage. 

By the time I stopped fretting about everything, it was close to 2am.

This morning, I was awake at 6:00 am (when my alarm clock, or bladder, wakes me). I also woke up to this...

 I do love San Francisco...very cool. This would have to be a better day*
* Don't worry; it was. :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

And So It Begins

Suitcase Number One
Destination: San Francisco
Needed: Friday and Saturday
Contents: Slacks, blouses, amenities, and general stuff I will need for two days at a reading conference in San Francisco (contains evidence of student work...and I remembered to pack underware!). Includes one set of workout clothes because I am an eternal optimist and one dress that I may wear to Saturday's Dinner Event (see suitcase #2), or I may not...because I will be, after all, in San Francisco, and I may have to go shopping.

Suitcase Number Two
Destination: San Diego Airport Pickup and then Coronado
Needed: Saturday
Contents: One pair of black pumps. One pair of silver sandals. Faux Fur Coat, Jewelry. To be filled with other items I decide I may want to wear and which I desperately try to describe to Walter, before demanding that he hand the phone to DramaGirl because the girl knows where EVERYTHING I own is! To be delivered to me when I arrive in San Diego Saturday afternoon so that I can finish dressing in the airport or hotel ladies room. (oh yes, I'll take pix).

Suitcase Number Tree
Destination: Huntington Beach - Surf City 1/2 Marathon
Needed: Sunday Morning (about 4am)
Contents: Every, last, imaginable item I might potentially need to run a 1/2 marathon in every, last, imaginable kind of weather. Does not currently contain the Garmin (plugged into a wall and charging) or iPod (which is with me)

Wish me luck this weekend, cuz I'm on my way to do a different kind of Tri. 3 events-3 cities-3 days. I can do this!