Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'Twas the Weekend Before Christmas

When someone’s answer to a question is “I don’t know…go ask Santa”, you probably aren’t going to be getting that reliable information.

The weekend before Christmas we signed up for the Reindeer Run 5K. It was a for-fun event, meaning they weren’t shelling out for timing chips or going to the effort to track times and post them after the race. Normally, I wouldn’t participate in anything “for-fun”, especially running…which I have to say I would NEVER classify as fun. So why did I sign up for this 5K? Cuz the website for the event said this:

Ho Ho Ho … Go! The Life Time Fitness Reindeer Run is a healthy and festive holiday tradition for the whole family — with 5K and Kids K fun runs, a costume contest and a chance to meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves! Prizes for costumes will be awarded for group costumes (prizes to 8), pairs and individuals.

You know I love a costume contest! Christy and I decided to try again with our gingerbread men costumes. Christy added cute little beanies.

Emily and Nicole (and their friend Paula) went as Sugar Plum Fairies.

Christy finished the run in 28:05, I finished in 29:06. I hate running…so I walked some. :) After the run, we waited around for the costume contest, which according to the website was supposed to start at 9:45. There were lots of people in costumes, but the crowd was thinning out as the race had ended quite a while earlier. We asked at the check in table where to go…they had no idea. We asked a guy with a clipboard…he told us to ask Santa. Santa had no idea either. We walked to the start line, we asked the guy on the PA, we walked back to the check in area. Finally we hung out around Santa to wait for some sort of announcement. Nothing. Then a girl handed us some mittens. Huh? Apparently, we were being awarded prizes for…sticking around while wearing a costume? There was no costume contest. “Everyone’s a winner”, she said. Ergh. What a load of crap. Paula summed it up best, “I wanted to see the other teams crying in defeat!”

But at least we got these really cool race shirts:

Christy and NFBF’s annual Christmas party was that night. I convinced Christy to dress like me. She didn’t want to, but since she ran out of time to take a shower and change into “real” clothes, she gave in. Sucka! :)

Girls in green:

Girls in red:
Me and the Old School boys (Richard and Chad, the original Pet Boys):
What do you supposed you’d find in a fridge with this label?

LOTS of beer. Duh. (How did you miss that one? It wasn't a trick question!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Cost of a White Christmas

I got snow for Christmas this year!

If I had been in Chicago, I would have had A LOT more snow, but this was good enough for me to classify as a White Christmas.

"Shoveling" snow:
Even though we didn’t get the joy of Chicago’s snowstorm in Springfield, I felt the effects of their whopper of a snowstorm. We were supposed to fly out of Springfield on the day after Christmas (Saturday) at 2:15 pm, then connect in O’Hare to Phoenix. At 11:00 am, all flights were scheduled to go on time. At 12:30 pm, all flights were canceled due to the weather. I called American Airlines and the soonest they could get us on a flight was Tuesday!! Pat was all for staying in Illinois for three more days, but I missed my puppies and I wanted to go home.

I went online and Southwest still had tickets available for their evening flight out of St. Louis that day. Amy and Lane hadn’t left to go home yet, so I was able to buy the tickets ($417 each!) and hitch a ride to the St. Louis airport with them. On our drive to St. Louis, it snowstormed for most of the way:
The crappy thing about all this was that I spent many, many hours looking for the best flight prices to get home for Christmas this year. I checked every airline in and out of Springfield, St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis. I checked one ways and roundtrips, airline websites and cheap ticket websites, even checked a travel agent via my new brother-in-law. We ended up with US Airways to STL on the outbound and American out of Springfield on the return for a total of $525 per person. Yikes! Then the stinkin’ snowstorm ruined all of my hard work! American is refunding our return flight, but we still paid extra to get home on Southwest, making our roundtrip cost $635! What a waste of time looking for a “deal”.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Dogs

While I am home in Illinois with my family, Jen, my awesome dog walker is filling in with a guest post:

"The camera loves me":

"Are we done yet?":

"I only smile when I don't have to wear a hat.":

"Hey! That's my hat!"

"That's still my hat!":

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Sleepless Night


me (waking up): What are you doing? It is 2:30 in the morning!!
Pat (just arriving home from a party): Looking for the gift card I got my mom.
me: Is it Barnes and Noble?
Pat: Yes! Have you seen it?
me: It's in the fridge.
Pat: What?
me: It's in the fridge.
Pat: What?
me: It's in the fridge.
Pat: Why?
me: How would I know?! That's where you put it, I guess.
steps walking away...
steps returning....
Pat: Huh. Never would have thought to look there.

Good god. I wish this was a dream.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Marin, one of the girls from my co-ed bookclub (now mostly "co" as we've lost most of our "eds") and my newest soccer teammate, hosted her annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on Saturday. This qualifies as a costume party, right? If you didn't already know, I love costume parties. :)

Do you know how hard it is to find ugly Christmas sweaters these days? They really are a hot commodity. They are selling on Ebay for $25+! Even if I was willing to spend a quarter of a hundred on an ugly sweater, I procrastinated too long to utilize my beloved Ebay. I had to hit the thrift stores and dig through dirty hangers instead. Seriously, have you ever noticed how dirty your hands are after moving around a bunch of thrift store hangers? And how really, really dirty they get if you carry around some hanger-ed items for awhile? Ew. And I'm not even one to be disgusted by dirty, germy things. And still....Ew.

Anyway...the answer to how hard is it to find an ugly Christmas sweater is 9. NINE thrift stores before I found anything! I bought this sweater at thrift store #9. Very Christmas-y, quite ugly.
But at the TENTH thrift store I hit the jackpot with this number.
Yep, that's right! I had TWO ugly Christmas sweaters! Let's check out this red one a little closer:
Have you ever seen so much embroidery? The sweater weighs about fifteen pounds! As if that wasn't enough, there are sequins! And little gold balls! And shoulder pads! Wowza!

And how about Pat's sweater?? The dearth of cheap thrift store sweaters and his residual feelings of pride from the victory that was his homemade KISS costume caused Pat to get all artsy-craftsy again. Felt snowman, spray glitter, cotton balls, little bells. Wow. Seriously ugly. Nice job, Pat. His Home-Ec teacher would be so proud. (And by proud, I mean hanging her head in shame.)

It seemed artsy-craftsy was the theme all around. Everyone went all-out for this party. The hosts in their Ugly Christmas...Snuggies?
Emily also couldn't find a sweater, so she finally gave up and bought jammies and modified them with jingle bells, boa fur and two of her favorite Christmas Beanie Babies. Nicole found a puffy-painted sweatshirt and added embroidery and shoulder pads.
The winners of night were Emily, Pat and Marin's BFF Sarah. Sarah took first place. Her sweater had real lights (battery pack in her back pocket) but I think it was the very ugly shoe/sock combo that tipped the scales in her favor. Merry Ugly Christmas to everyone!

Don't be surprised if my ugly Christmas sweater makes it to a few more parties this year! Did I mention how warm it was??

Monday, December 14, 2009

Big Ass Storm

Every once in a while Phoenix gets weather. It can't be hot and sunny all the time, you know.

Last week Phoenix got some weather. Big nasty storm weather. Destructive storm weather. Big ass storms that do this to my yard:
The trees in my yard are the only pretty thing about my house. And honestly, they are the only thing that mask all the white-trashness of the place. We can't hide behind this tree anymore. Our white-trashness is now laid bare for all to see.


It was quite a great storm though! It was lightening-ing like crazy. The wind (obviously) was insane. The house was rattling, the rain was pouring. It was awesome!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Urban Dare Tucson

Another weekend, another urban adventure race.

We didn't storm the castle this time. Christy and I competed as "Run, Run, As Fast As You Can" because we (meaning Christy) made gingerbread man costumes! Only three teams dressed in costume and yet, we didn't win the costume contest. Ugh. Only 20 teams competed in the race and yet, we didn't win. Ugh. The costume prize went to a birthday girl team who didn't have so much of a costume as a piling of all things obnoxious...birthday cake top hats, boas, bright t-shirts with stuff written all over them. The other costumed team were suns - they had orange and yellow sequined clothes and headbands with sunbursts coming out the top. I would have been okay if they had won, because that's a costume...but a lot of crazy things don't make a "costume". Bitter? Yeah, probably. :)

The race itself was ok. We drove down to Tucson the morning of the race so I didn't have any time to walk the city and figure out where I was on the map. This really hurt us, I think. Aimee and Irene competed, too. This was our first time working with another team. We both had our phone support solve some of the clues (thanks to Kiri and Jamie and Steven and Ves!) but we overlapped some work and weren't very efficient.

While we were still mapping our clues, we took care of our photo dares - one of which was to shake hands with a dog. I like dogs! :)
The first clue we tried to find was incorrectly listed on the internet as being at 270 N. Stone. 270 N. Stone is a vacant lot. More research showed the memorial we were looking for was at the police station, which is at 270 SOUTH Stone. Ergh. Wasted some time looking for that one. Thank goodness for Christy's new Droid so we could do more googling on the fly. While we were in the neighborhood of the vacant lot, we knocked out a few more clues. See: we are gingerbread men! Get it?

In hindsight, I'd say our costumes needed little brown beanies to tie it all together, but people did know what we were. A few people commented as we ran by.

This is the millenium time capsule which can be found "near the art museum". Or inside the art museum and back out to its courtyard.
Then on to 270 S. Church. Finally! We had to find a brick memorial with a particular quote. Everyone had a different quote. All during this time, we were leapfrogging Aimee and Irene. Mostly they were one step ahead of us. We got to the police station first, but they found their brick first. Ours was "it's a great day to fight crime."
They had also already done their bubble dare, which was getting a piece of bubble gum out of a plateful of whipped cream and chewing it til you can blow a bubble. It seemed a lot easier last time. We had to backtrack to it. Oops. Poor map reading skills on my part.

The downtown tasks were completed. We had a couple clues south of where our map ended. I didn't have exact addresses (the pitfalls of working with another team), but luckily when we got close to where I thought we needed to be we saw what we were looking for: A Door in a Wing.
And luckily, there was a mailman pulling up right then who directed us to the Cesar Chavez memorial, which was only one block away. And here we ran into Aimee and Irene again. They were finishing their beanbag toss challenge. Each teammate had to toss little beanbags into three holes on a board, like you would do at the fair. I was pretty sure this would take me forever...and it did. Christy got all three of hers in. I was still tossing. She was handing me beanbags as fast as the race guy could get them to her, but still I could just not get one in the littlest hole. After about three weeks of trying (or maybe just three minutes?), I finally got it in. Aimee and Irene were nowhere to be seen.

This is about where Christy hit the wall. I forgot to mention that she had her tonsils out less than two weeks ago and she has been in bed for the past 12 days. No soccer, no nothing. 2 weeks of lying in bed ill can really take a toll on a body. Or as Christy will tell you, on one's legs. We walked until a bus came and hopped on board. We had to go north quite a ways and we were hoping that it would continue all the way. No such luck. It only took us a few blocks north (and a few blocks out of the way west) before it reached the central station. It didn't save us any time, but it did give Christy a rest.

At the next clue we caught up with Aimee and Irene who were having a hard time taking a self portrait with the really tall sculpture. We took their picture, they took ours and we took off towards the last few clues which were at the U of A. We were hoping to take the trolley, but it was broken down in the middle of the street. Bummer.

There was an optional clue to gather 6 non-racers into a human pyramid. This would let you take 5 minutes off your race time. Being loud and bossy sometimes has its advantages. In less than 2 minutes I got these people to do this:The funny thing is that I don't think the guy on the left was a part of this family. I think he was just exiting the store at the same time as them and didn't know how to turn down my bossy insistence that he get down on his knees and let a child crawl on his back. :) He's got a pretty happening comb-over going on though, doesn't he?

The next clue was at a memorial for Philip Arthur Welsted on the clue sheet, Philip Arthur Welstad on the actual plaque. They had a dare set up where we had to do the wheelbarrow. For a whopping distance of about 10 feet. I thought it was a pretty worthless dare, but Aimee said her arms/chest hurt the next day so maybe it shouldn't have been further. The last clue was a statue of John Campbell Greenway.
We were still with Aimee and Irene. We took each other's pictures and headed back to the bar, which was 1.5 miles away. Irene hates running. Christy was beat from all the running we'd done so far. Who would win this race?

Christy ran as much as she could. She was pissed that she had to stop and walk. Did I mention that the doctor said she wasn't allowed to go back to work or do anything physical until Day 14? And this was Day 12? Her legs were tired from lack of use, but she didn't give up. We ran most of the way back and created some distance between us and Aimee and Irene. On the way, we passed someone carrying an actual gingerbread house. I wanted to stop for a picture, but we didn't want Aimee and Irene to catch up. We made it back to the bar in just under 2.5 hours. Aimee and Irene came in 2 minutes later.

Our total distance was 8.21 miles with .5 of that on the bus. Don't tell Christy's doctor that she ran just under 8 miles while she was still supposed to be in bed!!

We finished 6th and Aimee and Irene finished 7th. Not too bad, I guess. And we did have fun. And when it was over, we got to eat pizza! Mmmm, pizza.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mo Does Calculus

In a bragging tone of voice I said to a friend, "Guess what Mo did today?!"
"Calculus??" he guessed.

Pretty much! My Mo has a very analytical mind.
A little background to the story: First, when Pat gets home before me, he lets the dogs out in the backyard. When he lets them back in, for some reason, Frankie refuses to come in. He does this instead:
Second, dinner time for the dogs is usually around 6:00-6:30 pm.

This particular day I didn't get home until 7:30 pm. When I came in, Mo and Georgie were in the house and Frankie was outside. Mo started barking all crazy-like and she ran to the back door. I figured she had to pee, so I opened up the back door. But no, as soon as I opened the door Frankie came in, but Mo ran into the kitchen. Huh? I guess she didn't have to pee after all. She ran right to her dinner spot and started up again with the crazy-like barking.

Ah...I get it. It's dinnertime! And my super smart dog knows that I feed all the dogs at once. First step: get Frankie inside. Second step: yell at me until I feed her.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Happy Birthday, Christy!

Thank you for sharing in all of my adventures for the past 17 years.

Here's to 17 more years of adventures!

I hope your birthday is fabulous (and that you are recovered from your tonsil surgery enough to play the Whee!! game tonight)!