Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sleep the clock around.

Well, in the end yesterday, the run, the gardening, and the wedding were all good, successful in turning a grumpy kind of day into a day that was all about sunshine. This morning looks overcast again and I'm trying to decide if I should head to work before going to Jeff and Katherine's housewarming party later on. Once again I'm feeling more like staying on my couch than anything else.

With yesterday's nuptuals I think our wedding juggernaut is almost over. We're going to Carlton and Sindy's post-wedding-stravaganza in Australia in a few months and then to Brett and Jess's enormous wedding in Ohio in the middle of next year. And I think those are the last ones on the map for a while. It seems like we've hit the tipping point where we know many, many more married people than unmarried people. If this year's pregnancy and birth rates among our friends are any indication, then the wedding juggernaut is being replaced by a baby juggernaut at lightning speed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I am (almost) ready for some football.

High-level: There are two slots remaining in my fantasy football league. If you're interested, send me email and let me know. It's a free league with an open draft, and draft is in about a month.

Details: This summer hasn't felt like summer, for some reason. We've had some beautiful weeks, but also a few more cloudy days than we've had in previous summers since I've lived here. But I don't think it's about the weather. Somehow I'm just not feeling very summery this year. I can't really figure out why. Maybe it's all the time at work, or maybe it's the fact that as I type this, it's overcast and gloomy outside and I kind of feel like going back to bed instead of going out for a long run, gardening, and going to a wedding (which is what the day really has in store for me, starting in about 15 minutes).

Rather than dwell on it, I'm trying to get back into the spirit of summer as much as I can. But I'm kind of undermining that by also looking ahead to the things that I enjoy about fall. And one of the things that I enjoy about fall is football season. And one of the things that I enjoy about football season is fantasy football.

So if you want to join, let me know. Or if you think you can fix my summer blues, let me know that too.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

On Big Love and blogs.

Harry Potter and Tony Soprano both ending their significant storyline presence in the same year? Hardly seems fair.

Be that as it may, I am really enjoying this season of Big Love. If you're watching the show and you're not reading the Margene blog on the HBO site, you're really missing out. HBO started the blog during the hiatus between seasons, speaking through the voice of Margene the character to provide some interesting background on Margene herself and her introduction to the Henrickson family. The blog is now updated weekly after each episode airs. I think it's connected to how much butt Ginnifer Goodwin is kicking this season in how she's playing Margene's character; HBO has created a rich, textured back story for the character that surely must enrich the actor's tools for playing her. It's also a really clever way for HBO to get a regular sense of how fans are finding the season, not to mention an interesting read (via the blog comments section) to see the perspectives of the many different kinds of viewers come together (LDS vs. polygamist vs. none of the above, Utah vs. non-Utah, etc). I was thinking about whether HBO could use other characters from other shows to accomplish something similar. Maybe I'm not very imaginative, but I have a hard time seeing it working as well for most other cases. But for this show and this character, it's awesome.

Only a few hours until Harry Potter arrives!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heirloom tomatoes = love.

This past Friday we weren't able to get to the Phinney Ridge market before it closed, so this morning we head over to the market on Broadway in Capitol Hill. That market started right around the time we moved to Phinney Ridge, so we'd never been and didn't know what to expect. What a great market! We were expecting something pretty similar to the Phinney Ridge market, with most of the same vendors and farmers with stuff to sell. Well, although there was certainly some overlap, the Capitol Hill market had a much more comprehensive produce selection with many more farmers, while Phinney has a narrower range of produce farmers but a broader variety of vendors overall -- more cheese vendors, more bakeries, and more vendors selling food to eat on the spot (pizza, crepes, and Ethiopian food all being represented at the Phinney market).

So our haul this morning was much more dominated by fruits and vegetables -- and what a haul we got! We've already had a delicious lunch of Pugliese bread, garlic, good olive oil, heirloom tomatoes from the market, basil from our garden, and a little Parmesan cheese. I really like when we manage to create lunches like that from the market and our garden. We also ended up bringing home an obscene amount of berries, including marionberries and tayberries, the latter of which I haven't tried before but seem to be sort of midway between a raspberry and a blackberry but a little less sweet. We finished out our take with more heirloom tomatoes, baby bok choy, white flesh nectarines, a lemon cucumber, some pickles, zucchini, and a soft pretzel that was unlike Philly soft pretzels but was pretty tasty nonetheless.

Now we just need to figure out what to plant in the remaining space in our garden. I guess we'll need to take a trip to one of the nurseries to see what kinds of things we should be planting in July.

We were talking the other day about whoever it was who described Pacific Northwest cooking as a bunch of really great ingredients looking for a cuisine. That seems about right to me.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

License to stamp.

Today was Puzzle Safari 007: License to Stamp. Can you feel the dorkiness? Yes, I think that you can.

There were some slight rule changes this year, but the principle was the same: answers to puzzles are locations around the Microsoft main campus, so at some point during each two and a half hour round, each team of four people needs to send one person off with the logbook to all the locations the team has found in order to retrieve stamps. Only one person from each team can run at a time -- there's only one logbook per team -- and on my team, I am the runner. This means I spend the first hour and forty-five minutes or so solving puzzles with everyone else and the last hour and fifteen minutes running around campus to try to collect stamps before the time runs out.

In past years I have had theories about the distance that I actually cover during the event. I'm out for two and a half hours total, which is a long time, but there is a lot of starting and stopping to hunt for stamps and answer phone calls from teammates with new solutions. This year for the first time ever I wore a GPS device while running so I have some idea how far I actually went. Check out the map here:

The route is crazy! Not my fastest time ever because of all the starting and stopping, and I lost signal inside pretty much every building, but my watch did a pretty good job capturing the distance anyway; I estimate from the corrections on the map that I ran about 1-2 additional miles beyond the 10.5 that my watch captured.

The whole event was a lot of fun, and I'm not just saying that because Chris is one of the organizers.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summertime, and the living isn't as easy as it was.

I grew up in a small town called Ringwood, about 30 miles northwest of New York City. It was close enough to the city that we had a lot of NYC transplants in the town -- and close enough that "the city" unambiguously refers -- and far enough away that we didn't have any traffic lights. Ringwood was a great place to grow up right up until you turned 15, when you were ready to leave but not yet old enough to have a driver's license.

Ringwood was the kind of town where people went into their houses in October and didn't come out again until late April, which may be why I find that almost all my memories of growing up that are anything like nostalgic take place in the summertime. Summer days were all the same and run together in my head into one big blur that is 14 years long, and yet I have enough individual memories of every-day activities that in reality they could not have all taken place every day. There are the Choctaw Trail memories -- running around outside with all the other kids on the block, playing all the games I mentioned in my previous blog post as well as several others; having sleepovers with my neighbor Colleen; running through the sprinkler on my front lawn -- and there are the Cupsaw Lake memories -- swimming lessons and volleyball lessons and arts and crafts and learning to twirl baton yes twirl baton and swimming out to the faraway docks after hours to play all the games that the lifeguards didn't allow during the day. I remember the year that Kool-Aid filmed a commercial at the lake and donated waterslides, I remember swim meets against other lakes, and I remember Paul, the hot lifeguard with a whistle-twirling problem.

So the thing that's totally weird about all this Ringwood stuff is that it formed my idea of what summer is supposed to be. I have occasional and fuzzy memories of other times of year, of individual events and stuff that happened in school, but it doesn't have the same sense of permanence in my memory. The school memories feel totally distinct from the memories of the place that I grew up, maybe because in my case they mostly were (since after the age of 12, I no longer went to school in Ringwood). But I always come back to the summer stuff like a junkie looking for a better fix; whatever summer is like now, it can't measure up.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Things that I have not blogged about.

This is a list of stuff about me that you might not know. I figure that it is important to include this thing on a blog in order to faciliate smoother, more efficient identity theft.
  • I prefer sorbet to ice cream. Who doesn't like ice cream? Well, mostly I don't like ice cream. Ice cream makes me thirsty.
  • Three outdoor games I played a lot between the ages of 8 and 13 are ghost in the graveyard, kickball, and red rover. We also played something called Easter egg hunt that was sort of a cross between tag and... well, tag. Except you had to be able to come up with novel color terms to get access to base (you know, like periwinkle? crimson? aquamarine? and other stuff from the big Crayola box).
  • I wasn't allowed to watch sit-coms in primetime growing up (syndicated runs during the day were okay on sick days). We were more a private investigator show kind of household.
  • On the whole I did not like high school.
  • Growing up I played softball, field hockey, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, and swimming. In college I proudly added inner tube water polo to this list.
  • My first slow dance was to "Throwing It All Away" by Genesis. I even remember who it was with, but I won't include his name here in case he vanity searches his own name and then discovers what a disproportionate sense of importance this dance had in my life.
  • I used to have a slam book. Twice.
  • I remember the names of every teacher I have ever had.
  • For most of my life until almost the age of 30, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now that I am sort of grown up, I am doing something else.
  • I run with a watch that includes GPS functionality.
  • The two cats that we have now are the first pets that I have ever had. They are also the best pets that anyone has ever had in the history of the world.
  • I am introverted, but extra-social.
  • On the whole I would rather read about it than actually do it.
  • According to the Kolbe assessment, I am a theorist, which means that my conative creativity is in originating concepts, innovating systems, and initiating trends.

And probably some other stuff.

Life is easier with bullet points.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Extracurricular == curricular.

In one sense it's kind of silly to regret that I don't have more time to spend on the things that I enjoy, because I own my time to a very great extent. I work a lot, but I could work less (and mostly I enjoy work). Like everyone else, I have some day-to-day errands and logistics that I need to take care of, but not so many. And so what it comes down to is that mostly I send my time doing the things that I choose to do... and yet I still find that I don't have enough time to do the things that I would choose to do if I had more time.

I run a lot. Outside of work, this is probably the biggest time investment that I make in a single activity week in and week out. But I wish I could run even more, spend more time seeking out new and interesting trails (of which there are many within an hour or two of where I live). Running is my main time outside and I cherish it.

I read a lot. But no matter how much time I spent reading, I have the feeling that I would find it inadequate.

I write some and wish I wrote more. And now we start getting into regrets about time. I feel this as a distinct lack. I feel it as an occupational gap to a medium-large extent. And yet I find it hard to make some of the choices about prioritization that I would need to make in order to address the gap.

I don't swim at all. Though I love it, though every time I travel I end up swimming and resolving that I need to run less and swim more, I nevertheless come back to my normal routines and never manage to change them in this regard. I think it's because, unlike running, where I can just put on my shoes first thing in the morning and go, swimming has a process built in. The barrier to entry is not high, but it is an inconvenience.

I hike occasionally, but not as much as I would like. Most of my outdoor time is running, and truth be told, I'd always rather trail run than hike. But Chris hikes and he doesn't trail run, so this is something that we can do together.

I used to watch movies voraciously, and now I do only sometimes. I'm not sure what happened here. There has been a switch in the last year. Before I worked as much, I had time for more reading and more movies. Now that I don't have as much time for both, I guess reading wins for me.

I cook often, and now that we have a nice farmers' market so close to our house, I have incentive to cook even more. But I cook the same things, over and over and over. I improvise but I improvise in the same ways and within the same boundaries.

I work with kids, but only during basketball season. I love coaching, and every year when the season ends, I think that I should find some other activity that lets me keep working with kids during the rest of the year. So far I have not done so.

There are probably several other things I could add to the list: making or seeing music, more time with friends, more time traveling. I guess it's a question of prioritization and really owning the choices that you make -- and finding a way to be fully engaged with whatever it is that you're choosing to do. And even still there won't be enough time.