Thursday, June 22, 2006

Writers at Work: Day 4

I've been too busy to post. And too busy to sleep. I'm averaging 6 hours a night. It's not good, I've had to resort to REAL coffee.
All the editors and agents and faculty are great, and quiet. No real problems.
The readings have been great. My favorites so far: Ralph Berry read his story "'bus"; Bruce's poetry reading; the fellowship winners reading with the judges (we've brought them out of their afternoon ghetto!); Cheryl Strayed's reading.
Have I mentioned how nice everyone is?

I went hiking with Ralph, Jesse Lee, Janet, Dave, and Jenny yesterday at Millcreek. It was fantastic, beautiful, if a bit hot. No one fainted, so I consider it a great success. I will post photos at a later date.

The downside of all my activity, of course, is that MB hates me and resents the fact that I spend 18 hours a day away from the house. Son hasn't freaked out too much, but I think he'll be ready for some Mom Time when his camp is over this week.

And thanks to Sylvia and the whole Writers at Work Board for giving me the Executive Committee award. Very kind.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Writers at Work: Day 1.5

Writers at Work is in full swing, with all the insanity that entails. I have to say Day One was good all around. But let me start at the very beginning.

Sunday: Arrivals! I picked up Bruce Beasley and Suzanne Paola and their lovely son who wants to be called Penguin. They were my professors at WWU and I'm so glad they are here. They are both fantastic writers and, more importantly, lovely people. The Dinner at President Sylvia's house was loads of fun. We had a brief wine panic solved by Middlebrow and others. A delicious repast complete with yummy potatoes (courtesy of HighTouch) and an amazing Rum Cake (a la Strange Polkas and his grandmother's recipe). All the guests were lovely. It was fun!!
Who can you spot in this photo? Along with Strange Polkas, this photo includes Janet Holmes, Cheryl Strayed, Julie Culver, Dylan Landis, and various Writers at Work
Board Members.

Monday: I woke up at 4:30. Why? I could not sleep. I finally got up around 5:30 and had some cereal, then laid down and tried to go to sleep. Finally got up, for good, at 6:30, went to Alchemy for coffee, came home and made breakfast, then wandered up to Westminster around 7:45. The Registration Desk quickly erupted into chaos. But all was well, mostly.
Took Son to his day camp at the Museum of Natural History. Dropped of MB with Son, so he could ease Son's transition.
Took the New York Agents hiking at Alta. They are lovely people. I feel bad for making them hike over snow in their slippery sneakers, but there were no complaints. A photo, perhaps?
This is Miriam Altshuler and Emily Forland. You might not be able to tell, but at this moment a mighty wind was about to knock us over. It was a nice hike, and today my knee hurts for no apparent reason.

Last night Suzanne read with the Nonfiction Fellowship winner, Brenda Sieczkowski. It was a great reading. I was exhausted and had to come home to collapse in bed.
Today, Son has the flu. So it will be a mellower, quieter day all around.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Red Butte Garden Concert Series: Part Del McCoury Band

On Sunday, Middlebrow and I were indoctrinated into the local phenom known as the Red Butte Concert Series. The band was not one we knew, but we like Bluegrass, so what the heck! The opening was great: Old Crow Medicine Show. Very good. Nice accents. The whole package. Here is Middlebrow snacking on some homemade Chicken Curry Salad and a beer.
Here are our woefully overexposed lower parts. It was bleeping hot when we left the safety of our home, thinking, hey, it will be fine if we get there right when the gates open at 5:30. No problemo.
Here is the stage, empty, with the people in front of us. We didn't care if we could actually see (we could) or what we saw (a lot of people, only two or so we recognized). The show was great. And I had to make only one trip to the car: for a blanket. Necessary. It was cold up there!

Lessons learned for next time:
People get to these concerts way too bleeping early. For John Hiatt: be content with mediocre seats. Woman in front of us in line recounted story about sitting in line at 8 in the morning for Chris Isaak. Who do we love enough to queue up at 8 a.m.? No one.
Bring more beer.
Pants are good.
Blankets are good.
Work on bladder control, as we do not want to spend latter portions of concert in port-a-potty line.
Cookies are good, but run out too early in show.
Engage babysitter and tell him/her will be home way past 10.
Don't bring too much food.
Fleece may be necesary.
Above all, be ready to have faith in humanity restored. Nothing lifts the spirits like a bluegrass version of Robert Cray's "Smoking Gun."
Many people, children included, can have fun and picnics in relatively limited space.
Wine and beer help people get along.
Be glad, after all, that you never succumbed to the desire for a tatoo.
Contentment is readily available; when at the Red Butte Garden listening to music, one can think of a multitude of reasons to be happy. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Playlist/ Summer Update

One thing I forgot to mention in my half-marathon post: What was on my iPod. I decided against over management, and just made a playlist that would see me through: 3 hours. I thought if I wasn't done by then, I'd probably being laying on the side of the road letting a fireman revive me.
So I loaded up: all the Beck, some DuranDuran, some Everything But the Girl, some Depeche Mode, My 3 New Songs, some Black-Eyed Peas, "Inside and Out" by Feist, 7 Year Bitch, Aha, Aimee Mann, Madonna, Nirvana, Talking Heads, Techtronic (pump up the jam, pump it up), Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, and a new (free!) song by Corinne Bailey Rae (?).
But honestly, I have to say that for most of the run I was oblivious to the music. Once in awhile, like when I was running down 21st South, I would tune in to the music (It was "Pretty Vegas") and feel better and then tune it out again.
I have to say, however, that when "Inside and Out" by Feist came on, I was in the middle of Hell (remember? State Street?) and it felt like a cool breeze. So I was glad to have it. But I was glad I didn't overthink the order and that I let shuffle take over.
Let go, let iPod, that's what I say.
In other news, Son and I are on a Pool jag. He insists on going every day, though he's working on his first, ever, sunburn. I bought him a "protective shirt" today, so if I can get him to wear it, I think we'll be in business. This is my plan for the whole summer: write in the morning, pool in the afternoon. So far (one day) it's working. I wrote six pages yesterday, but nothing today (today is MBs school day, so that's my excuse). I'll have to average my page count over six days (we all take the Lord's Day off, right?), but hopefully it will work out. My summer writing group insists on a 20 page per week count when we meet on Thursdays, or no beer for you! We have to give ourselves incentives.
I'm going to try to write one page right now, while Son shrieks and uses some incredibly irritating Bob the Builder Cell Phone Book. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My Inagural Half-Marathon

Inspired by the post-marathon logs over at Academom I am attempting to recreate my inagural (that's what it said on my number) half-marathon.
First, let me just say that when I read in some running book that runners should get to the starting line, like, three hours before the race, I scoffed. With a starting time of 6:45, I have to say my plan was to make it to the starting line by then.
I had to wake up and dress Son once I was ready. Middlebrow and Son drove me close to the starting line and dropped me off. I did not sleep well last night, and woke up at 4:30, never really getting back to sleep. So when my alarm went of at 5:30, I was ready. By the time I made it to the starting area, it was a freaking mad house. They had girls singing patriotic songs. Why? I don't know. And the lines for the bathroom! Oye vay! This is why they tell you to get to the starting line three hours before. Because you'll be in the bathroom line the whole time.
Did I get in this line? Yes I did. Another thing I didn't factor in: nervous race bladder.
So after waiting in line, I started about 10 minutes after the "official start time." To make matters worse, I had some kind of watch snafu and didn't time the first mile. So how long did it take me? I don't know.
The first mile was fine, easy, if too fast. I'm not sure how fast I was running. I saw one person I recognized on Foothill (classmate of Son's and family). Mile 2, fine. Mile 3: ooh! This was a tough one. Up hill to 21st South. When I ran this part of the course with a friend, this is where we nearly died of heat exhaustion. Luckily it was only about 7:15, so it wasn't hot yet. Then downhill to Sugarhouse Park. Yeah! I showed my novicity by letting go and just running, fast. I didn't care. I took advantage of every water stop.
The turn around at Sugarhouse Park was fine, not as brutal as I predicted (it was here I thought I'd start to lose it). It all felt okay. I saw another person I knew, who did not see me. I was encouraged by the anonymous strangers who cheered for everyone.
I did not start to lose it (and by "it" I mean my normally cheery disposition) until around mile 7 when there had been no water since mile 4. The half-marathon is the bastard step-child of this race. Around Wild Oats on 11th E I could be heard muttering under my breath, "Where's the fucking water?"
I saw Middlebrow, Son and Friend near my house. I had run this part of the course during training, so I felt fine. Especially since some angel had water in front of her house, and then there was (finally!) a water station.
Then off to Liberty Park, more water there! The highlight of this section was when the marathon leader (yes, a Kenyan!) passed me, with his 2 News media escort. We all clapped for him. He didn't even look tired or sweaty. Did I mention that he also seems to have no body fat?
Miles 10 to 13 were the longest three miles of my life, mostly because State Street is hell. You may not have noticed, but even at 9 in the morning, it has too much pavement, no shade, no sprinklers, etc. It sucked.
Somehow I managed to run faster once I saw the "Mile 13" sign. I'm not sure how. My feet hurt, and I could feel the blisters. But I just wanted to finish.
And I did. I even found Middlebrow and Son and saw Son finish the "Kid's Marathon" (1 K). We got our snack bags and went home. All in all, I felt okay.
Until my stomach started hurting. But no one wants to hear about that. I'll let you know my official (chip) time when I know it.
The last question is, if I got up at 5:30 this morning, what am I still doing up?