July 2008

I really like that song, with Paul McCartney and all.  It’s just perfect for a good day, and yesterday was a good day!

  1. I had a really good run, able to sustain a pretty hard pace the entire run.
  2. It rained!  In Texas, in July, that is akin to a miracle.  (Except last year, Monsoon ’07.  But that was abnormal.)
  3. It was sunny!
  4. I saw the trailer for the new Harry Potter movie.  I love Harry Potter and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I am so, so excited this movie will come out before I leave the country.  Of course I will be in a Baptist compound when it comes out, so I will just have to sneak out to see it.  That will be fun.
  5. It rained again!
  6. 2 days left at work.  ‘Nuff said.  (As a side note, I was told I would have to plan my own going-away party.  Um, no.  Although I was tempted to clear out what is known as the “slush fund” as a bonus.)
  7. Jake’s frisbee team let me play with them!  I have been watching all season, a bit sad that I didn’t sign up due to marathon training.  Of course if I had, either we wouldn’t be on this team, or we wouldn’t be on it together.  But it is probably the best team Jake/we has/have been on since we started playing league, so I felt all forlorn.  Last night they only had 2 females, and since rules require 2 females on the field they played almost all game.  Towards the end they decided to bend the rules a bit so in I went!  And thankfully, I caught what was thrown to me and completed all my passes.  And whoever I was guarding didn’t get the disc.  It would have been mildly embarrassing had it been an off day.  I had a lot of fun.
  8. It was $1.50 cheesecake day at Cheesecake Factory!  My husband, who hates cheesecake for some strange reason, is sweet enough that he went with me so that, using the “one slice per person at this fabulous price” rule, I could in fact obtain two slices of delicious cheesecake.  He is just that nice.  (Lest you be concerned, I did not eat both slices.  I took a few bites of each so it would look like 2 people ate them – I am a first-born, after all, and must at least make people think I’m following the rules – boxed them up, and trotted home to place them carefully in my refrigerator for near-future enjoyment.)
  9. Drumroll please…I am now the happy and proud owner of a Macbook!  Jake has been faithfully scouring Craigslist for quite a while now, weeding out the I-am-a-student-in-the-UK scams and I-will-not-negotiate-this-price-because-this-is-what-I-owe-on-it overpriced offerings until he came across a good deal on a good computer from a nice guy who actually exists.  We have to provide our own computers when we go to France, so we saved up and prayed God would send a good deal…and waited.  And yesterday was the day!  It’s only a few months old and in very good condition.  In all honesty, I am not a Mac person (I am not really a PC person either; I think technology in general is in fact overrated) but I am looking forward to learning.  I am a computer owner!

Jake & I went on a whirlwind road trip this weekend.  Not really a pleasure road trip – his Mamaw (great-grandmother) died.  I have some musings on the topic of death rolling around, which isn’t really unusual for me as death is something I think about quite a bit (sounds morbid but I’m not crazy, at least I don’t think I am) but if I ever write those thoughts they will be a post unto themselves.  Two 16-hour drives in four days isn’t really my idea of a pleasure trip, anyway, although it was nice to see Jake’s family.

pro to driving a Toyota Echo on a road trip: phenomenal gas mileage (and it’s not even a hybrid!)

con to driving a Toyota Echo on a road trip: no cruise control (the gas mileage is partially due to a complete lack of “features”)

I saw this video last week and thought it was really funny.  Guess which part is my favorite?

fast food awards: Chick-fil-A’s breakfast burrito.  I have reveled in the chicken biscuit and the more recent advent of the chicken mini, but had never sampled the delights of their breakfast burrito until last Thursday.  It was delicious and perfect (eggs! peppers! onions! cheese! chicken but not overwhelmed with chicken!) and not greasy at all.  Thin Mint Blizzard at Dairy Queen.  And last but not least, the Quizno’s in Bryant, Arkansas.  They were super friendly and also my sandwich was delicious.  I have never been a big Quizno’s fan but I am now considering it.

After today I only have 8 days left in the workforce!!!  I am so happy and excited.  I don’t think I was cut out to work all the time.  Of course I will be working after I leave but it will be in my house, on my time, doing things that need doing that pertain to my real life.  Yay!!

I thought I had experienced chafing.

I was wrong.

I came home Saturday from a lonely 12-miler with what looked like burn marks on my chest, shiny & puffy.  They feel like burns, too.


I just finished reading Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher.  Actually, the full title is Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party), which is an extraordinarily long title and also a wee bit misleading because he stresses in the book that one does not necessarily vote Republican in order to fit the bill of a crunchy conservative, although most do.

I really, really enjoyed this book.  It helped me clarify my political beliefs and why I believe them.  Some points from A Crunchy Con Manifesto:

  • Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.
  • Big business deserves just as much skepticism as big government.
  • Culture is more important than politics and economics.
  • A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship – especially of the natural world – is not fundamentally conservative.
  • Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.
  • Beauty is more important than efficiency.
  • The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.
  • The institution most essential to conserve is the family.

The book talks about how these principles apply to economic policy (Dreher claims our economy is driven by consumerism rather than capitalism); the food you buy, where you buy it, and how you prepare it; what neighborhood you choose to live in and what type of home you buy; the way you educate your children; how you live in the natural world and view the environment; and the influence of religious beliefs.  As I read it I continually thought, “YES!  That is exactly what I think too.”  Of course I didn’t agree with every little thing, but it is really nice to know that I am not crazy for being repulsed by unchecked urban sprawl or taking my own cloth bags to the grocery store.

I will be happy to do a more in-depth review (or maybe just a summary; it’s pretty straightforward) if any of my handful of readers express interest.  If not, suffice it to say that Crunchy Cons expresses what I love about being a conservative and what bothers me about standard Republican policy.

…don’t loan large sums of money to people that have no means to repay the loan.

It’s novel!  It’s unheard-of!  It sounds like common sense…and it’s so simple that IT JUST MIGHT WORK.

Causes for celebration:

  • Foyle’s War is back!!  For 3 weeks!!  It’s a British show that comes on Masterpiece Theater, set in England in WWII.  Foyle is a detective who is asked to serve his country by remaining a policeman rather than signing up to fight.  They’re really good, get the first 4 seasons somewhere (Netflix, maybe?  Or you could just buy them, they’re that good) and watch season 5, starting Sunday.  (OH NO!  On the Masterpiece Theater site it says that season 5 is the conclusion…noooooooooo!!  Cessation of celebration is imminent…)
  • THEOLYMPICSARECOMINGTHEOLYMPICSARECOMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love, love, love the Olympics.  Where else can you see one person realize their life dream, another see the dream slip away, separated only by hundredths of a second?  Or hundredths of a point, depending on which sport you’re watching.  The drama of human athletic competition…I can’t wait!!  Swimming!  Diving!  Gymnastics!  Track!  Equestrian events!  It’s even worth figuring out how to get channels at my house.  And if I could find a place to get a one month risk-free trial of Tivo or some other DVR apparatus you’d better believe I’d be signing up for it August 7.
  • Heroes is coming back too!
  • Four more weeks until I exit the workforce!  10 years of my life I’ve been working, and I have way less money to show for it than you’d expect.  I get to quit so I can get ready to move to France, which for me involves a lot of reading since I can’t possibly take all my books with me, and also a massive decluttering project.  Oh, and learning French.

For someone who doesn’t usually watch TV, I seem to be celebrating quite a bit of televised awesomeness lately.  Although hopefully my workforce departure will not have reason to be televised.

  1. First I found out Lisa can’t run with me Saturday, which is Long Run Day.  11 miles is intimidating all by me onesie.
  2. My watch, which keeps track of distance & speed for me so I can monitor my pace, needs its battery replaced after a whopping 2 months of use.  The irritating part is I had to send it away, so I until I get it back I am totally in the dark as to whether I actually run the distance I meant to run…and let me just say that it feels like 11 miles around mile 5, so relying on my keen internal odometer isn’t the most accurate method.
  3. And then, my knees started hurting.  NOT GOOD.  I had knee problems my senior year of high school which took 3-4 months to recover from.  As in, I missed the entirety of cross country season.  It feels the same right now.  It is “just” runner’s knee but I want to train for a marathon, not rehab in a pool or on a bike for a few months.

So, after a really, really good run on Saturday – I started to think, I can actually do this! – I hit a huge wall of discouragement.  If anyone has suggestions for a quick recovery while maintaining my present fitness level, bring ’em on!