Gratitude!

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While I have a love/hate relationship with all of my tech gear, I do greatly appreciate the affirmations Bia sends after each and every run.  And yes, I realized today as the screen flashed, that I am indeed grateful.  Grateful for nearly 8 full months of injury-free (which, btw, I’ve come to learn doesn’t mean “ache and pain free”) runs. Grateful for a happy college frosh. Grateful to have ventured far and wide this summer, and grateful for close-to-home adventures as well. 

Running

I’m still aiming for that sub 2:00 half marathon, and as the fates have it, I’ll get two shots at it this fall. There’s the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on Sept. 21 here in Jersey (the new one).  It’s got a reputation as being either either 12.8 or 13.4 miles long (way too many turns and tangents) and a bit boring, but it’s also very flat.  Three weeks after that, on Oct. 11, I have to be in Hartford, Ct for work, and lucky for me there’s the Nu Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. This event has a great reputation, both for its course and for the food offered at the finish line.

Although I’ve set my sights on these two races (which are fast approaching! Yikes!), my summer of fun has made my training feel, well, less than intense. But when I look back at my workouts, I realize that I’ve been plugging along at a fairly good clip, with the exception of week 2 in Europe, when I skipped my long runs.  My weekly mileage has been inching up there from the mid 20s to close to 40 this week (37.7!).  My running club has also offered some coached speed workouts, so the past few Wednesday nights I’ve laced up again for some shorter, speedier workouts. 

Who knows how this will all pan out.  I feel strong.  All the niggles are being kept at bay. Last week I ran an 8 mile tempo run in the morning (increasing my pace each two miles from 9:30 to 8:40 over the 8 miles) and then did my 6x800s (3 min recovery) at 8:12 pace for my speed workout. And I didn’t fall apart.  Even better, I could have done more. Which makes me think that the only obstacle between me and my sub 2:00 goal is my head. But are there workouts for that? 

Sewing & Knitting

There’s something about being separated from my sewing machine that made me nervous about breaking it out again. So yesterday I ramped up some courage and whipped up a pair of these city gym shorts.

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I was between sizes, and vainly choose to go with the smaller of the two. Apparently, we ate well in Europe and I’m still fighting that battle of the bulge.  But this was all stash fabric/leftovers, so I’m considering it a wearable muslin.  The win though is that my sewing machine is not a stranger any longer.

I’ve got a couple knitting projects in the works:

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I’m working on the stripy one now–it was my Europe airplane sweater, but given that the flight was so short (I’m really used to those 14 hour trans-pacific trips), I didn’t get much done.  I’m on the body now.  The other sweater I’ve got to resize for my bulkier yarn.  Plus I’m going to color-block it. 

Local Sightseeing

With Thing 1 gone, we took advantage of being a family of 4 that can all fit in the mini cooper and took a day trip into NYC to do the Highline.  This has been on my bucket list for quite awhile.  The Highline is a reclaimed elevated rail line on the lower west side of Manhattan (between the mid teens and 30th st thereabouts) that’s been recycled into a walking park.  It’s sorta fabulous, to be up over the streets of Manhattan in a park-like setting. 

It was crowded (yes, it is a holiday weekend), but we had a great time. Homemade ice cream sammies, a random parakeet, great views.  The Highline is definitely worth the trip.

Speaking of Thing 1, I still have not ventured into his room, but today we had our first Sunday FaceTime call.  I guess it’s a bit of a family tradition–we (my siblings) all call my mother on Sunday.  And other days, of course, but when we went off to college, the Sunday phone call was the given.  So I told Thing 1 that at the very least, we would be talking on Sundays. Today’s call was probably the longest we’ve spoken in a very long time, but all appears well, and, best yet, he looks so content. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s the best you can hope for.

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And then there were two…

Thing 1 has officially flown the coop. Albeit with our help and two car loads of crap meaningful things. Funny how everything he deemed important (including the aeron miller desk chair he got from his grandfather for graduation) fit into either the mini cooper (the chair) and the prius (everything else), but when I opened the door to his room, it was as though he had not left. There’s still a roomful of crap meaningful things everywhere.

Am I supposed to wax poetic about his leaving? Everyone else is (about their own Things, not mine). Yes, he will be missed, and his chores will have to be re-appropriated, but he has been oh-so-ready to get out of Dodge for a good six months.  So I call this one a win. He’s admitted to nervousness, and I can’t blame him. By the time I had left for college, I had moved a half dozen times and started over in just as many schools.  My Things have been lucky to have spent their entire lives in a single town. They’ve never been “the new kid.”  That can be a huge plus, or, depending on how you look at it, a negative as well. But Thing 1 has never shied away from meeting folks, and even as we were leaving, I overheard him introducing himself to a group of complete strangers, so…I think he’ll be fine.

On the way home, Thing 2 asked me why I wasn’t crying, like all the other moms.  I related to her a story about when I dropped Thing 1 off at daycare when I went back to work when he was 12 weeks old.  I told her that before Thing 1 was born, and everyday for those 12 weeks I was home, I was so focused on that first day of daycare.  I read everything I could get my hands on to prepare for that. I made sure he had enough diapers and extra clothing, that I pumped enough breast milk, that I packed supplemental formula and even crackers (for crying out loud) just in case.  The daycare had video surveillance that the parents could tap into, and I made sure the tech guy at work had set that up beforehand.  And then I dropped him off.  And I was oddly calm. I handed my baby over, and the world hadn’t ended. I drove to work, and worked, and picked him up 9 hours later. And he was still alive, and better yet–cheerful.  Not so bad, I remember thinking.

Until day 2. It wasn’t until then I realized that day 1 wasn’t a special occasion. It was our new normal. I had steeled myself for day 1 without thinking beyond that. So knowing that I’m a slow learned, I suspect Thing 1’s absence will hit hard most likely when I take our annual First Day of School photos and he’s not standing there, outside our house, barefoot, because he can’t find his shoes. 

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Last, but not the least

Amsterdam.

Of all the cities on our itinerary, this was the one I was most looking forward to.  I had heard so many stories for so many years…I thought for sure these last few days of our trip would be the most rewarding.

Funny how expectations can be so elusive.

Don’t get me wrong–Amsterdam is a fabulous city. My hotel booking snafu turned into a great Air BnB find (a houseboat!). While we didn’t do much museum or church hopping in the other cities, I was determined to see both the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks Museum and they were both outstanding.  But, after four relatively smallish cities (not sure if Brussels qualifies as small, but it felt smaller than Amsterdam), this city left me a bit shell-shocked.  I couldn’t quite get the hang of dodging mopeds in the bike lanes (really, what is up with that? It seems really, really wrong), and there were soooooo many people. Everywhere.

First, our digs.  Air BnB turned out wonderfully. The houseboat was just as described, and quite convenient (just slightly beyond the Anne Frank Museum).  I really appreciated that it was slightly beyond the canal rings, as it was very, very peaceful and quiet.  We even had a rooster for a neighbor, but as his coop was in the shade, he never crowed before 9am.

Our first full day in the city we explored all those wonderful, narrow, meandering streets.  We found this great shop, Droog, which was right up my alley:

Day two was museum day.  I gotta tell you, looking at art just never gets old. Pictures in magazines and text books don’t even begin to do it justice.  Both the Rijks Museum and Van Gogh were incredibly busy with enormous crowds, but I still felt as though I could take my time in front of each piece and just soak it up.

What I loved at the Rijks Museum were the displays of cultural artifacts. The dollhouses were exquisite (and not toys, I learned, but rather for the women of the household to display).  I also LOVED a display of whalers’ caps, and it was noted that the caps were found on a sunken vessel, still attached to the skeletons’ heads (ok, a bit gruesome), and that it was by the colorwork on the cap that whalers could be identified.  I was also pleased to learn that Van Gogh used yarn for his color inspiration.

We capped off our stay with a great Algerian meal our last night.

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Of course, nothing I do ever ends without any drama, and our return trip was full of it, ranging from my tripping UP the steps of the houseboat (taking out both my knees in the process), getting hit by a people mover at Schiphol (apparently those cars don’t have brakes, or maybe the drivers just don’t like to use them), being questioned at length by immigration on our marital status, and then even more of the same by security at the gate before boarding (are we that unusual or suspicious a couple?).

Anyways, all’s well that ends well, and this trip certainly both started and ended well.

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To Market, to market

but not for a fat pig.

The Mister and I are finally home, but the Europe trip saga continues with our stop in Belgium.  The Mister and I and his bag made it to Brussels in timely fashion.  My bag, however, decided to take a side-trip somewhere else for (what turned out to be) a few days.

Of course this would happen on the one trip that I would spend, honestly, months planning for–this wardrobe was the most considered, pinned, matchy-matchy, coordinating wardrobe I’ve ever put together.  Every. Single. Piece. in that bag had to work with every. other. piece., and as a result, I was able to pack for a 2 week trip with only 3 bottoms, 4 tops and 2 sweaters. Nothing in my luggage was irreplaceable, but I did have my tech wool samples in there to show a friend of an acquaintance in Antwerp (who has some cut & sew connections).  So I did not handle my bag’s disappearance very well. It didn’t help that the airline didn’t have a physical presence in Brussels and outsourced its lost luggage to a 3rd party whose only instruction to me at the airport was “call often and we’ll update you” and then subsequently never picked up the phone.

To drown our sorrows (because you can only imagine how miserable my misery was making the Mister), we participated in a beer tour after reaching our hotel.

There were a dozen of us on the tour–a family of 6 from Texas, and then three more couples from varying other places.  The family of 6 was taking their 18 year old son on a “beer trip through Europe” before he started at the University of Mississippi in a few short weeks.  (readers will note that the Mister and I chose to leave our 18 year old at home.) The tour was about 4 hours long, and basically you got about a half of each of 8 different beers. The Texas family was having a hard time pulling their own weight, though, so there was extra going around. (It turns out that the Texas family’s beer of choice is Michelob Light.)  Considering the amount of time the Mister and I had spent at the airport dealing with the lost bag issue, we hadn’t really had any meals before the beer tour.  Add to that the fact that the Texas family was holding out for their Mich Lite, and you can just guess things got messy.

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Thank goodness waffles are filling. And yes, that’s chocolate splattered all over my face. And, as it turns out, all over the only outfit I currently own.

The next day, since I had appointment to make on Tuesday in Antwerp and my countless phone calls to the Finder of the Lost Bag company were unanswered, we spent some time shopping to get myself an outfit appropriate for meeting a friend of an acquaintance (i.e. one that’s not sticky with chocolate, or wet from being washed in the sink). Replacements purchased, we continued sight-seeing around the city, and treated ourselves to a scrumptious meal of mussels and steak frites.

The next morning–MIRACLE–my bag arrived. To celebrate the Mister and I took a nice run to the Cinquantenaire Park.

We then caught the train for Antwerp.

OMG! What a train station! When we got out, I was thinking how familiar this all looked, and then in dawned on me.  It’s THIS train station:

It’s even more awesome in person.

Before the Mister and I set out for our separate appointments, we had time to visit the Cathedral and Rubens.

We only had three short, distracted days in Belgium.  But the food was amazing and the sites were so grand, I know I will be back.

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Magic

Yesterday I saw this on my run around the canals in Copenhagen:

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And I should have known good things were to come.

The entire day was surreal. A leisurely walk (happening upon picturesque public square after picturesque public square) to Tivoli, where we enjoyed the afternoon lounging on lawn chairs listening to music (and actually falling asleep!) was capped off by the most magical of dinners I’ve ever experienced.

On our first day in Copenhagen, we took a running tour; Lena (our guide) brought us to lots of spots off the beaten track, and pointed out what looked like a make-shift hang-out underneath one bridge. She mentioned in passing that the wine purveyor whose building was next to the bridge hosts family style dinners, only in august served under the bridge and specializing in local and organic foods and wines. We thought that was cool, and Lena shared the website with us after the tour.

I couldn’t really make heads or tails of the website (my Danish is non-existent), but I muddled through and got a reservation for two for Friday. At first, I was a bit hesitant. As a tourist, I didn’t want to overstep and be a nuisance for the Danes who probably weren’t expecting an American and Japanese to show up at their event, but at the same time, we wanted good local food without waiting for months for a reservation at Noma.

Everything was perfect–delicious appetizers and wine to start–and then we moved under the bridge to sit at this long picnic table where our host encouraged us (in Danish) to get to know our neighbors, and that by serving others first, we will appreciate our meals more.

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We started with these small lobsters (they had a more accurate name, but basically they were tiny lobsters or giant crawfish) and salad, then roast vegetables, then pork cooked on the bone, then taken if the bone and charred over a grill, then a wonderful berry desert. The wines changed with each course.

But the best part was the company. People from all walks of life–all having heard of the event by word of mouth. We across from a young couple–the young man was a food consultant and had cooked at the event in past years. An older couple was on the other side–they belonged to a wine club. Another couple worked in the pharma industry. Yet another had lived for a short time in the US. Further down the table, someone was celebrating a birthday, and everyone sang the Danish birthday song (which is not even remotely close to Happy Birthday to You). The host (who also cooked) was surprised to have us in his group (we were the first non-Danes to have participated) but he didn’t change anything. He introduced each course, but didn’t translate anything into English. And he didn’t need to–the food and atmosphere were self-explanatory. I think one of the things I appreciated the most was how unpretentious it all was. This event is in its 7th year and only happens in august. If there was something like this in my area, it would all too quickly become exclusive and celebrity-driven. Instead, it was a lovely meal, offered by a gracious host, shared by friendly, welcoming people–could there be anything more perfect?

The dinner started at 6:30. We didn’t finish until 11:30. We had plans to return to Tivoli to see The Simple Minds at 10pm, but you know how it is once you fall into Narnia…

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So long Stockholm!

The Mister and I just finished our 3 short days in Stockholm–seemingly even shorter because one was spent in a jet-lagged haze (after a nighttime flight from Newark). But what a lovely city!

We rode the hop on/hop off bus, took a canal tour, and a bike tour, but my favorite spot was the Nordisk Museet and their textile room–a gallery filled with drawers, each was like finding yet another present under the Christmas tree!

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Inside? A treasure trove! (Forgive the randomness of the pics–the wordpress app’s not letting me make galleries)

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The museum was also having an exhibit on stripes, just about my favorite pattern ever (after tartan, which of course is stripes of both the horizontal and vertical ilk)

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We both enjoyed Swedish food, maybe the Mister just a bit more than me, given his affinity for fish of any kind. I was good, though, and didn’t turn up my nose at the pickled herring at breakfast. However, going without iced coffee (especially in Sweden’s heat) has been hard. The 2nd morning, I figured I just make some myself, by adding my hot coffee to mug of ice. The dining room though didn’t have any ice, and suggested I ask the front desk. The front desk informed me the ice machine and cups were on the 4th fl. I climbed the stairs only to discover I needed my room key card to access the stairwell door. I returned to the dining room for the key, climbed the stairs again (oh, did I mention this was after my 7 mile, 5×1000 with 400m recovery workout? It was.), opened the door, found the ice machine, and discovered no cups. I returned to the dining room, grabbed 2 cups and once again made for the stairs. Finally! I put the cup under the dispenser and waited. The machine gurgled and spit out one (!) ice cube. Of course it missed the cup and skidded across the floor. I almost cried. But as I moved the cup, the machine started up again. Thank freakin’ god! I returned to the dining room to my cold toast. But it was the best lukewarm coffee ever!

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Now we’re in Copenhagen. Since I’ve got the coffee thing figured out, I expect breakfast to go much more smoothly!

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Planes, trains and automobiles

and legs, of course.

Every time I embark on one of these trips, I figure worst case scenario, at least I’ll get a good story out of it. And lordy, Montana does not disappoint in the story department.  You have been warned. Grab your bevie of choice and take a seat:

Planes

Because air travel rarely goes smoothly, the stories start here.  My friend Pat and I were flying together and we met up at Newark airport at 2:30 for our 4pm flight. Of course we had to start the weekend off (yes, the weekend. Even though it was only Wednesday) with a pre-flight beer. Because of impending weather, our plane departed nearly 90 minutes late. We flew through a maelstrom of thunderstorms, dodging each and every one (the flight was so smooth, you could have balanced an egg on a pinhead).  We landed in Chicago only to discover that this plane was also delayed, so we headed miles away to another terminal for yet another beer (Goose Island Matilda–delish), which wasn’t the smartest move as we had a wicked looonnngggg journey back to the original terminal to catch that flight.  We had a few minutes to spare, and decided to…wait for it…enjoy yet another beer.

Being three beers into this trip, you would think I’d sleep this last leg of the journey–Chicago to Bozeman, nearly a 3 hour flight.  Luckily this last leg was basically a flying tin can with plastic folding chairs from the local church basement stapled in to the floor serving as seats.  Very plush.  Even better, across the aisle were two young women who clearly hadn’t seen each other in years. Or at least five minutes.   The entire plane was treated to a play-by-play account of their lives.  Unable to sleep, I passed the trip by looking out the window at the scenery. Which, after Iowa City (which truthfully I could only identify by looking at the skymap in the in-flight magazine), was basically 2.5 hours of blackness.

We arrived in Bozeman at 11:30pm (this is 1:30am for me), collected our luggage, met Tommy (the captain. oh my captain of the trip) and since there were 15 minutes before the airport bar was to shut down, had, yes, you got it, another beer.

From the airport we headed to the C’mon Inn. I kid you not.  The next morning, I was amazed at the surroundings.  Whereas most hotels sell cute plush animals, the C’mon Inn took that concept to a whole new level:

We spent Thursday provisioning.  The men bought tents, camping and cook-out gear, food, water, gatorade for our trek. I went to yarn store to find supplies for this:

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I was successful–mine will be off-white with a chocolate brown bottom and a deep aqua for the stripe.  Very happy.

After a trip to the Montana Ale Works for yet more beer (!) and a final hot meal, we made our way to the camp ground for the next day’s start to the race.

Trains

A big part of the appeal of this trip for me was the camping.  Having done other “run through the night” relays, I knew I’d appreciate getting out of the van, stretching, and actually sleeping, even if only for a few hours.  That, and I love tent camping. The weather in Montana was perfect for it–warm, warm days and chilly, chilly nights.

While the west coast folks lived up to their Pacific Northwest stereotype and brought their own tents, us east coast people didn’t. We divided 3 tents amongst 11 of us–and I ended up sharing with Alan and Pat. The first night was really cold and tough to sleep.  Alan, although he brought his own special needlepoint pillow from his living room, couldn’t quite figure out the zipper on his sleeping bag and shivered all night long. (a word to the wise: it helps when you fold the sleeping bag lengthwise, not widthwise).

The second night was much more comfortable, and I quickly fell asleep before 9pm (even though it was still light out!).  Everything was perfect, until about 3am when a freight train went through our campground, blowing its (extremely LOUD) whistle the entire length of the state of Montana campground.  As it was going by, I’m just lying there on the ground thinking “damn, i’m 48 years old, lying on the ground, sleeping without a needlepoint pillow, in Montana, and a train just woke me up? Who does this?” As the train receded, Alan spoke up: “did a train just run through our tent?”

Our third night was much less eventful, although each of the mornings were stressful, waking up and dressing, folding up tents and sleeping bags, packing bags and coolers, and then playing Tetris trying to squeeze it all into the back of the SUV in the dark all for 5am or 4:30am start.

Can you believe nothing got left behind? I still can’t.

Automobiles

Probably one of the more sublime aspects of these relays is how freakin’ slow you have to drive to cover 232 miles in 3 days.  You’re barely going faster than the runners, but you’re in a car.   This time around we were even slower, as one of our vehicles got a flat tire on the first day:

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Lucky there was a spare.

And the same car got a flat on the 2nd day. Lucky we had a 2nd car for its spare.

And that same car got a third flat on the 3rd day. Lucky we had a 3rd car for its spare.

And that same car got a 4th flat just a few miles beyond the third flat on the 3rd day. Lucky we had a 4th car for its spare.

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(The flats moved in a counter-clockwise direction around the car).

Coincidentally, before the race started we all got bibs with shortened team names.  My team was the Creek Jumpers (shortened to Jump).  Our other team’s name was Wagon Wheels, shortened, perhaps karmically to “Wheels.”

Legs

Ah, but the real reason for the trip was the running….and Montana did not disappoint.  The vistas were sweeping.

And the runs were all challenging; especially with the increase in elevation.

My daily totals were nothing special: 6, 7.7 and 6.7, but my paces oh-so-tortoiselike. The ascents were brutal.  The descents wreaked havoc on the quads (I had a 4.7 mile 1220 ft. descent that I felt for days), and the lack of shade! OMG, at times I felt like Icarus (too. much. sun!)

The race started at Headwaters State Park in Three Forks–this is the named source of the Missouri River, which is the longest river in North America–at 4,050 ft.  We went up and down and up and down and up and down, peaking at 9,587 feet in the middle of day 2 along our journey to Hellroaring Creek, one of the three creeks that actually feeds the official source of the river and home to the race director, Don.   This is a small, small race (22 teams of up to 10 runners each), and I really appreciate Don’s effort in giving this race a raison d’etre (beyond the sole challenge of running).  Our running/driving instructions were peppered with quotes from Lewis and Clark (we covered some of their trail), and you could really see how much Don loved this area and how he wanted to show it off.

The race ended on Day 3 with a 3.5 mile leg to Hellroaring Creek and full submersion into the water! I was lucky enough to have this leg, and let me tell you, nothing feels nicer than a dip into an ice-cold river on hot, hot day, except for maybe that beer after climbing out of said river.

My team was the first full Master’s team to compete in the Headwaters Relay. Our prizes?

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(I’m using the branded leather thingy as the world’s largest mousepad.  I’m using the pint glass, well, for pints)

Our official time: 31:47:29.  Hard to believe we fit in all that fun into 31 hours.

our team at the highest point (mid way through Day 2)

our team at the highest point (mid way through Day 2)

 

 

 

 

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BIG day!

A big big day chez Sato…well at least for On the Lam(b).

Prototypes (for my tech wool project) have arrived!

These are very, very rough drafts.  Next step is to have fit models try them on and make adjustments accordingly. Then the patterns are revised with those new tweaks, and then a proper set of samples is made.   There are a few tweaks I’ve noticed already (the crew neck on the women’s l/s is a bit tight), but overall I’m really really pleased.  What’s really great is that my designer and sewist really hustled to get them done for my Headwaters Relay, and there are bound to be at least a few people out of the several hundred there that I can ask to try on the samples and make comments.

Off to Montana!

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Catching Up

Funny how after Juneathon, it’s so easy to fall off the blogging bandwagon!  I’ve got a busy few weeks coming up, and although my life is not a soap opera (it only seems that way at times), let me answer a few questions which I’m certain are on your minds as we head off into August.

cue anticipatory music:

What will become of Luna?!?!?! Is Thing 2 reaching her (oh-so-low) bar of responsibility?!?!

YES! Thing 2 is actually thinking of someonething other than herself! Luna is a well-cared for kitten and Thing 2’s bedroom actually has floor! Which we continue to see on a daily basis! We still have a few days to go, but I think it’s safe to say that Thing 2 has earned Luna a spot Chez Sato.

Now, Luna’s spot may be a sure thing, but that doesn’t mean this will be an easy road. Flipper (our granny cat) is still giving this young kit the evil eye. And Luna apparently does not understand that the yarn (or computer keyboards, remote controls with wrist straps, foam rollers, or mozzarella cheese) is off-limits.  Honestly, I have not had a kitten in my house since I was a kitten myself (all my adult cats have been at least 5 when I’ve adopted them), and I am flabbergasted at the energy and bouncy-ness of this one pound bundle of energy.

Will Paige get over her extreme case of train station jealousy?

I doubt it.

Last week a coworker and I had to take the MetroNorth train to Stamford, CT for a work event.  When I commute in and out of the city, I go through Penn Station, a low-ceilinged, dingy, awful food-optioned pit served by the Long Island Railroad and NJ Transit.

For this trip, I visited Grand Central Station (see? even the name sounds better) for the first time in years. I wish I hadn’t. I almost cried.

The ceiling, which had been covered in plaster (!), was part of a 12 year restoration (finished in 1998–unbelievable to me that I hadn’t seen it yet). And instead of being a bastion of fast food (as is Penn Station), Grand Central HAS. BEAUTIFUL. CUPCAKES. AND. HOMEMADE. POP TARTS. (yes, I tried one. That, and my small iced coffee only cost $8. But that’s beside the point.)

I think people need to commute to beautiful settings. It certainly puts you in a better frame of mind to walk into an expansive, lovely space as opposed to one where you’re continually ducking for fear of hitting your head on the pipes.

Will Paige be trading in her mini for something a bit more powerful?

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No.  Maybe part of the reason Grand Central Station seemed so lovely is that I didn’t have to make my way home through it. Instead another coworker brought me home in style in his 2005 ‘vette. I’ve never ridden shotgun in a muscle car. Let’s just say, they go fast.  A little too speedy for my taste. But it was fun. (oh, and I don’t usually dress like Popeye. The work event was at a yacht club. I tried to dress the part.)

Will Paige’s parents be able to clear their home of 50 years of crap before they need to move?

Not with help like this:

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My siblings and I all gathered at my sister’s beckoning to help my parents rid their home of nearly 50 years of accumulated treasures before they move to their new downsized home in Virginia. (yes, Virginia. Still trying to figure that one out).  We had great fun at the playground and eating birthday cake. Not so much stuff made it into the garage sale pile. Although I did come home with some furniture, art, linens and more.  Amongst the long-lost treasures? My brother’s All Star Little League jacket from when he was 8. Numerous trophies (earned back in the day when not everyone got one). Yearbooks. Many many photos of people we don’t know. Over 200 vases. Nearly as many picture frames. Some even holding photos of those unknown people.  And knowing how my siblings and I are all excellent at leaving things behind (after our visits), I’m certain my parents’ home has even more stuff now than before we started.

How many runners will leave “it” all out on the track in Don’s Birthday Pizza Mile?

Hard to believe, but zero.

Don from my running club hosted a “pizza” mile to celebrate his birthday.  The rules: eat a slice of pizza. In its entirety. Run a quarter mile (one lap of the track). Eat another slice, run another lap.  Repeat until 4 slices and 4 laps (1 mile) are done.  I entered the relay division (two slices, two laps, then a hand off to your partner).

After the very anti-climatic start (lots of chewing sounds, no movement), the race got going. This was hard. After the first lap, everyone figured out that the slice only had to be in your mouth, not fully swallowed, to begin the next lap, which led to many laps run whilst chewing. My relay partner and I placed first in the relay (13:24 for the mile). I think this is probably the only time ever I’ll place first in a race.

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There were plenty of green faces at the finish, but no barf on the track!

 

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Welcome Luna

for the time being…

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Thing 2 found Luna in a park near our home. Supposedly she walked right up to Thing 2 and allowed herself to be captured picked up and brought into our home.  She is with us on a trial basis, and Thing 2 has several obligations to fulfill in order to keep her.  If those obligations aren’t met, the Miser, I mean Mister, will take Luna to our local shelter. Thing 2 doesn’t have a great track record with rule-following. His money’s on the shelter. Mine is on Thing 2. She may not have a great track record, but she’s also as determined as the dickens. It’s been 3 days. So far, so good.  Our current cat, Flipper, is not happy with Luna. In fact, you know that scene in Shrek when Puss ‘N Boots’ eyes get all misty/teary?  THAT was exactly the expression on Flipper’s face when Luna came bouncing into the TV room Sunday night.

So far this summer has been one of ships passing in the night. With Thing 3 at camp, the rest of us float in and out of the house, with the only constant being dinner at 7pm. Sometimes I’m the only one partaking. Thing 1 has the most confusing schedule between his lifeguarding job/restaurant job and then trying to capture the most of his last summer as a kid.  Therefore, it was rather amusing this morning, 3 days after Luna’s arrival, to be greeted by a Thing 1 (who obviously woke himself up to share what he thought would be news): “Mom, there’s a strange little cat in our house.”

Yep, there’s a strange little cat in our house. Hopefully for a long time.

 

 

 

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