Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Days Since Thanksgiving

Overall, our trip to the OC for Thanksgiving was great. We mostly hung out at my parents house and did not much. I was totally fine with that. Usually I get very stressed out about trying to see everyone in such a short period of time. The only activities we had really planned was doing a run with my dad and seeing the Lunch-Bunch peeps.

Thanksgiving morning, my dad, husband, and I went to Mile-Square park for a run around the perimeter. Yup, 4 miles. We did the run in about 40 minutes. This is getting us ready for a 10K we want to run sometime in the spring. Running outside is a little tougher than running on the treadmill, and running on the grass is a lot harder than running on concrete.

The day before Thanksgiving, we went to Buca di Beppo for dinner. That was pretty good. I try to avoid chain restaurants, but this is one that I would definitely return to.

Friday night I went to a Tai Chi class with my mom. It's like a violent form of Yoga. About 15 minutes were spent pounding our bodies with our fists, 15 minutes were spent in a sit-up position, bouncing our bodies, and the rest of the time was spent doing some pretty hard stretches. I definitely got tired and even broke a sweat, but I am not sure if I would return. I like the harder, more intense workouts like running, boxing, playing soccer. I don't even like swimming that much because I can't tell I'm getting a good workout since I can't feel the sweat. On Friday we also went to an old car show near my parents' house. It was pretty cool. I liked the shiny old trucks, including a Hudson, which I had never seen before. The show was total eye-candy for my husband.

On Saturday morning, I had a late breakfast with my lunch-bunch friends who were in the area. The Lunch-Bunch is a group of five ladies that used to hang out all the time, including at lunch, all through high school. We try to get together at least once a year, usually during the holidays, to catch up. Due to everyone being so busy or so far away, we only get 2 or 3 ladies together at one time. The great thing, though, is that whenever we get together, it's as if we were never apart. I love it.

We left Saturday night for home and made the trip in about 6 hours. That is a pretty good time considering there was plenty of traffic and we even came to a standstill for a few seconds (from 80 mph). Major was a total pain. For the last three hours of the trip, he would let out a cry every 10-15 seconds. It was pathetic but he wouldn't shut up. Not even in my lap.

I started playing indoor soccer. I had my second game on Monday night. I am having fun with it. It's definitely a good workout, and different from the other types of fitness programs I usually do. The only thing is that it's a short game--40 minutes, but with subs we only end up playing about 25 minutes--and some of our game times are at 10:50 pm. That's late!

It's definitely nice to be home, although I don't like being back at work.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dirty Laundry and Treasures

Since we don't own a washer/dryer, we weren't going to have much to do at my parents house (and hence the second post today), and we had room in the car, we brought some dirty laundry so that we could wash while we were here. My parents just got a new washer and it's pretty sweet. It handles big loads so after I loaded all the whites (yes, Jay, you do have to separate the colors from the whites), I still had room so I ran around the house looking for more stuff to wash. I found a towel (I'm not sure it was even dirty) and rummaged through the parents' and brother's hampers. I didn't know laundry could be so fun!

Another thing I love doing at my parents' house is rummaging through drawers and cabinets, finding stuff that bring back the memories. For example, I found a Mickey Mouse Soccer Player Christmas ornament that a friend had given my a while back. I also found old pictures, my old drivers license (with a picture I actually liked), postcards and letters I've sent to the family, and so much more. I won't bore you with the details, but my parents' house is really a trove of treasures. For me, at least.

Oh, and I try to stick to looking through the drawers in my room or the common areas to respect privacy. I'm not a snoop.

Live from The OC

We are at my parents' house in Orange County. And we are suddenly all 5 inches taller, 30 lbs lighter, super tan, and the husband is bulging with muscles. That's what happens when you go to the OC. Even Major, who accompanied us on this trip, is 12 lbs. lighter.

The drive down last night was uneventful, but long. It took us 7.5 hours with a 45 min. stop for sushi in Pismo Beach. Major cried the whole way. He's getting pilled for the drive home. When we arrived he was loving all the attention. But he hasn't stopped whining since this morning.

All the cats are officially on a diet. Major has to eat special, pH balanced food (that is really expensive) and we no longer have the continous feed container on the floor. Now they usually get a little dry food in the morning, when we get home from work, and before bed. If we are feeling generous (or loving), then they get a little can of feast in the evening. When we took Major in to the vet for his blockage, he noted that Major was overweight, but very sweet. As soon as he said "diabetes", we committed to the diet. And we are also thinking of getting pet insurance for the kitties.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Week Ends

The last week at work was crazy busy. I didn't have to work any nights or weekends, but I did usually end the day with my brain fried and no desire to look at another computer again. I had a bunch of simulations I was running and it was a constant game of checking my runs/results, creating a new model, and rerunning it. We have a fast approaching deadline and very little money left, so I was basically switching between 10 screens on my computer. This week will probably be about the same, but fortunately it is short.

Right now I am watching the MLS Cup. It's New England vs. Houston. I would like New England to win so that they can have another team to brag about (besides the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics). But Houston does have De Rosario who is a pretty awesome goal scorer.

I recently decided that I am going to introduce myself with the Spanish pronunciation of my name instead of the blah! English way. It can sometimes sound awkward because it's pretty obvious what I am trying to do. However, if I just sound confident, I should be fine. I tried it earlier in the week and the response I got was, "what a beautiful name."

Yesterday we had our end-of-the-season party for the soccer team I was coaching. It was a fun party. I got thrown in the pool. I had been warned of the posibility by the assistant coach (who had hosted soccer parties at the same location in the past), so I was prepared with a swimsuit. I was sitting on a lounge chair next to my husband when the team swarmed me, picked up my lounge chair, and tried to throw me and the chair in the pool. I screamed, they put the chair down, I got up, and they pushed me in. Before the party, we had a daughters vs. parents game--Blizzards vs. Geezers. The parents easily won the game. The final score was 3-2, but I think a few goals scored by the parents were actually ignored, and they also eased off a little. That usually happens. In college, the alumni always beat us.

I already miss the team and the assistant coach. I had a great time coaching. It was frustrating at times but overall it was a great experience. I think I'll help out with the spring select team (it's like an all-star team that travels to tournaments).

Tonight we have a volunteer appreciation dinner. My husband had said he would go with me but changed his mind when he realized Tom Brady was playing a the same time. If only I could throw a football 60 yards for a touchdown.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

It's Sunday morning. So far my weekend has been great.

Yesterday was my little soccer team's last season game. We tied. We didn't make playoffs. Four out of the 6 teams in the division are advancing to playoffs and we are not one of them. I feel like a total loser. Actually, not really. It will be nice to have my Mondays and Wednesdays back to do what I want (not much). I enjoyed practices, but with the time change, we had to compress our practice down to 1 hour and it's so hard to get more than 1 drill plus a scrimmage accomplished in that time. But putting all this aside, I think the girls had a pretty good game on Saturday. We played the team that was either in first or second and we tied them. The smallest girl on my team is a pretty good passer, but she seems terrified of going after 50-50 balls. When she played forward, she always seemed to be at the back door, but never was strong enough to win the ball and take a shot. The assistant coach and I had discussed this and we would always shout at her whenever she was near the ball. This seemed to encourage here but it was usually not enough. Yesterday she was once again at the back door, waiting for a cross. The goalie came out for the ball, but the little girl intercepted the ball and tapped it into the goal. It was great to see her score. We couldn't get the win, but this was a great way to end the season.

We went to a party yesterday. I didn't drink very much. I basically didn't want to be hungover in the morning. I think it's a sign that I am very old that I prefer not to drink so that I can have my peaceful Sunday mornings to go grocery shopping before everyone else does, to bake muffins and squeeze orange juice, or to blog! God, I'm old.

Our Scottish visitor has a new name for Major...Poncho! If you've met all 25 lbs of black blob and fur, you know that Poncho is a suitable name. Poor Major. He's in the hospital. He was blocked and couldn't pee. We've been through this drill before so we are not too worried. He's turning out to be the most expensive cat in the world. But I guess pound for pound he's a pretty good deal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Scottish Visitor

Evil prevailed. Yay! I won't go into this anymore because the Patriots said it all.

Anyway, we have a Scottish house-guest for a couple of weeks. His name is Mark and he is one of the MLS Coaches for the AYSO region. He basically plays soccer all day. Lucky him. So far we've been watching lots of movies such as Borat and Freddy Got Fingered. We think he's enjoyed the American culture.

My little girls won this past weekend. Finally! It was nice to win after so many weeks of playing hard but losing 1-0. If we win this coming weekend, I think we will advance to playoffs.

While it was nice to gain an extra hour of sleep this past weekend, I hate coming home from work and it being dark already. I also moved my practices to run 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm and 1 hour practices are not enough to get anything decent accomplished. At the same time, I do like that the weather is getting cooler and the kittens are wanting to cuddle with us.

Happy hump day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Good vs. Evil, blah, blah, blah

A couple of weeks ago, my husband pointed out the outrageously bizarre and funny Gregg Easterbrook preview of the Colts vs. Patriots match this weekend. Easterbrook titled this football game as THE BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.* I thought perhaps Eastebrook had taken cues from the White House and was seeing everything as good or evil, and nothing in between. I expected everyone who read this to point out that Easterbrook had lost his mind. I never expected any other credible sportswriter to claim the same. I was wrong.

Fox sports (I know, I'm going out on a stretch here in claiming them credible) has jumped on the Easterbrook wagon:

"By kickoff time, Tony Dungy versus Bill Belichick will be shorthand for Good versus Evil."

Who knew, Boston is the heart of the axis of evil.

"He's a great coach, maybe even the greatest. But he's also a cheater."

Aren't we all? In the very least, we're all trying to cheat death. That's not very fair. In regards to the Patriots running up the score against Washington:

"There's no need for another debate about running up the score."

In AYSO there's also a blowout rule. Because it's just for fun and who cares what the score is. There's even a penalty if you win by more than 4 goals (it counts against you in tiebreaker for playoffs). If it shouldn't be done in the NFL, then make a penalty for it. I did feel kind of bad for Washington, but mostly because they sucked and were no match for New England. So what should have the Patriots done?

"One might recall a Colts-Ravens game three years ago. Peyton Manning was a touchdown pass from breaking Dan Marino's single-season record. Already up by 10, the Colts intercepted a ball that gave them a first down on the Baltimore 4-yard line. Instead of going for the record, though, Manning took a knee, then another. Finally, the clock ran out. 'That's the right way to play,' said Manning."

Uh, no. If the score had been run up against me and the other team had actually stopped playing to prevent from further scoring, I would have been more upset and embarrassed. It's not over till it's over and as long as the ball is in play, the losing team has a chance. If Manning really wanted to be nice to the Ravens, he would have thrown a few interceptions.

The media doesn't like Belichick because he doesn't give them anything. I personally love that about him. I think you are better off not saying anything going off on a rant a la Hope Solo.

Go Patriots!

*Note that what actually bothered me more in this article besides the good vs. evil rant, is the sexual remarks he would make. For example:

"Cheerleader of the Week: Reader Kevin Ward of Ireland proposes Leigh Killian of City of Tampa. According to her team bio, Killian is a graduate of Appalachian State -- one of this year's cool schools -- and works as a probation officer. Leigh, cuff me! The Bucs cheerleaders' warm-to-the-touch team pose is here."

I shiver every time I read that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Food Stuff

Last night for dinner we went out for sushi. When it was time to pay and tip, I realized that our waitress probably didn't work any harder than the waiters at the Mexican place next door. But since our bill was $75 and a typical bill at the place next door would probably amount to $25, our waitress was going to get 3x's the tip. That didn't seem fair.

Anyway, one day my friend Tim and I were trying to determine which food could be identified uniquely with each state. In other words, when you think of Lousiana, what food do you think of? Well, that's easy (since I was just there) - red beans and rice. So for all 50 states, here you go (my husband gets cowriting credit since he's sitting right next to me and I am making him answer my questions):

Alabama - "I would say Alabama, they eat grits." I've never been to Alabama so I have no idea, but I expect it's not grits.
Alaska - No idea, but I expect something fishy, or maybe something more exotically fishy, like seal.
Arizona - TexMex meets non-Mexican people. You know, like when you ask for your steak "a little more rare than medium-rare".
Arkansas - I'm thinking BBQ (which will be true of many states) while the husband suggest road kill.
California - Probably anything with avocado or sushi. Good stuff.
Colorado - Deer.
Connecticut - We both have no idea.
Delaware - Where's Delaware?
Florida - Fish and oranges. "Margaritas."
Georgia - More oranges. I'm having trouble here with all these fly-over states.
Hawaii - Pork and pineapples.
Idaho - And I da pimp.
Illinois - Hot dogs in Chicago.
Indiana - "Corn."
Iowa - "Corn."
Kansas - Corn.
Kentucky - Fried Chicken.
Louisiana - Red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee.
Maine - Lobster.
Maryland - "Crabs."
Massachusetts - Clam chowder.
Michigan - Ice.
Minnesota - More Ice.
Mississippi - Mud pies.
Missouri - No idea.
Montana - Beef.
Nebraska - Where's Nebraska? "It's like in the middle, somewhere."
Nevada - T-bone steak and eggs.
New Hampshire - Maple syrup.
New Jersey - Really can't think of anything.
New Mexico - Anything with green chilies: pizza, McDonald's, pasta.
New York - Cheesecake.
North Carolina - Ok, this is getting hard.
North Dakota -
Ohio -
Oklahoma -
Oregon - Beef.
Pennsylvania -
Rhode Island - Something fishy.
South Carolina -
South Dakota - Potatoes?
Tennessee -
Texas - BBQ, specifically brisket.
Utah - Bread.
Vermont - Maple Syrup again.
Virginia - Ham.
Washington - Apples.
West Virginia - More ham.
Wisconsin - Cheese.
Wyoming - Don't know.
Washington, DC - Freedom fries.

I need to visit more states.