Monday, February 22, 2010

Mini Updates

  • My financial solvency is being threatened. Ugh. Our renters have moved out and we need to find new renters ASAP. Paying two mortgages is going to kill me. If you know anyone who is looking to rent a house in Phoenix (Glendale, technically), send them to Thanks.

  • Frankie competed in a Top Dog contest yesterday at the PetSmart Charities PetWalk. He didn't win. They had to compete in 3 events - costume, trick and vocalization. I think the judges gave me some points on 'creativity of costume' since they all laughed when I said he was dressed as a coyote. His trick was the best of all the competitors and he even did it on the first command. We did "Are you a boy or a girl" seen here. However, we got a big fat zero for vocalization because Frankie happens to be silent. Really, he only barks when someone comes in our house, which is impossible to replicate on stage at a park. Bummer. But the whole crowd and the judges laughed at his trick, so that was cool.

  • Saturday night when we were driving home, there was a stray dog by our neighborhood park. I made Pat turn around so we could try to capture him. I was on the verge of panicking, too, because I thought for a minute it was Frankie. I was freaking out that he got out. How could he get out? Why is he 6 blocks from home? OMG! Then I realized that 1) it wasn't Frankie and 2) it wasn't a dog. It was a coyote. In my neighborhood. I guess I'll get to stop complaining about feral cats soon. Hey, neighbors! Bring your cats inside!!!

  • Frankie had an agility trial this weekend. He was a crack baby on a few of his runs. He calmed down and rocked the jumpers course, til I stutter-stepped in front of him causing him to drop a bar. Frickin' handlers always ruining everything! He did Q in one of his standard runs, so it wasn't all a waste.

  • I am failing poor Oliver. I am supposed to be teaching him to walk nicely on a leash and maybe do a few tricks. Instead I'm just enjoying him bouncing around the house like Tigger and cuddling with him when he gets tired. I need to get off my lazy ass and do it!

  • I am also failing Christy. After last week's poor running performance in the GUR, I vowed that I would run 3 times this week and 3 times next week to prepare for our race on February 27th. I've only gone running once. Once! And it's not that I haven't had the time. I'm just in a state of lethargy that I can't shake. Also, soccer has been canceled a few times so I've not been getting any of my normal running in, either. I need to get off my lazy ass and do it! While I'm at it, I might want to go to the gym, too. Time for a confession....I've been to the gym only once in the past 2+ weeks. Good bye, abs. Hello, jello. :(

  • Topic: Adult Content. Now, I don't have a thing for "boobies and swearing", but I really like what this guy Kevin has to say about what is real adult content. Don't worry, this link to his post is not taking you to a porn site!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Last year in the Great Urban Race, our first urban adventure race ever, Christy and I got 3rd place. Since we are not runners, that came as a total surprise! Now that we are seasoned urban adventure racing veterans with a whopping FOUR races under our belts, we had high hopes for this year's GUR. Top 3 for sure! And this year, unlike last year, top 3 wins money!

Ah, stupid, cocky girls.

We went back to our original team name - Storming the Castle - and Christy made us costumes to match. Pretty cool, huh?
There were 199 teams entered this year (up from last year's 161). At noon we got our clue sheets and we were off and racing. We called our internet support, Kiri - the world's best googler, and started solving. One clue has a picture of a statue to go visit. I thought I knew all the statues in downtown Phoenix, but I was wrong. I had never seen this frog before. However, the background looked like Arizona Center, so we decided to risk it and run there first. I knew if I was wrong that could ruin our chances to come in top 3 and even potentially keep us from qualifying for nationals. But, I was a little flustered about which clue to do first and this at least provided action so we took the chance. And woo hoo! I was right! Frog:
From there we were going to take the light rail and do a few of the clues up Central Avenue. While on the light rail, Kiri checked bus times for us to get to Encanto Park. One was coming shortly and it would be an hour before the next one, so we nixed the Central clues and opted to go to our furthest point. Since the bus seemed to be late and one Central Ave clue was across the street from the bus stop, we ran over and did the eating challenge - get an ice cream cone (which you didn't even have to eat. Weird.) and take a picture with the monkey: We ran back outside and still no bus. There were a number of teams waiting so we knew we hadn't missed it. We decided to run to the next and the next and the next bus stops til the bus came for us. Sadly, the bus never came and we had to run the 1.3 miles to the park.

One clue called for taking random pictures of strangers. There was a grid of 9 options and you had to pick 3 to make a tic-tac-toe line. Throughout the race we got 3 strangers wearing sunglasses:a stranger wearing a Diamondbacks jersey and a stranger bouncing a basketball:
At the park, we met up with our ground support. One clue was to find either a real Valentine that said "Racing my way into your heart" or a candy heart that said "tweet me". Christy's kids have a bazillion bags of candy hearts at home so her spouse found the one we needed and brought it to us. Hey Wayne - ground support is NOT cheating!

After running that far, I was kind of thirsty. We didn't have camelbacks this time, so no immediate thirst quenching. Problem? Nope! Not when there are picnickers around! I saw a family with a whole case of water. I got out a dollar, handed it to a startled man and said, "I'm buying a water from you!" and grabbed a water bottle and ran off. He called after me, "Do you want a cold one?" and pulled one out of his cooler for me. I ran back and took that one, too. :) How often do you suppose a girl dressed in a knight costume forces unsolicited business on a man on a picnic?

At the park we had to do a dizzy bat challenge. I spun blindfolded around a bat 8 times (talk about dizzy!!) and then Christy verbally directed me to a base. The other challenge at the park was to lasso some horns. I let Christy do this one. It only took her 2 or 3 tries. She should be a cowboy!
Then we had to go back to Central Avenue. There was one stop halfway there so we opted not to try for a bus. We ran/walked through some neighborhoods. Why hadn't I been working on my running?! Ergh. I kept having to stop and walk. Christy never complains and will run as long as I can, so it's totally me that slowed us down. ERGH.

Walton Park (the location of which Kiri had to guilt out of Wayne):
Other than all the running (have I mentioned I hate running?) we were doing pretty well. We stopped at the Heard Museum where they gave us a picture of a Native American statue which we had to replicate by building it out of play-doh. Fun!

NFBF had found a clue for us in the newspaper classifieds and had gone ahead to verify the location. The clue was to take a picture with an authentic 1930-40's trolley. NFBF waited for us at the trolley museum. He talked to the trolley guy for almost an hour! The trolley guy had an affinity for trolleys that was not quite normal.
After the trolley, we caught a light rail back to downtown. We waited about 6 minutes for the light rail, but it was worth the wait. It would have taken us 20+ minutes to run that far. Had we been faster runners to, through and from the park, I think we could have been on the light rail that came by 15 minutes earlier. Ergh.

The last stop was the sister cities signs. It took Kiri and NFBF a while to figure out the clue, as Phoenix has about a zillion different sister cities. Christy's kid actually found the exact location by finding the info on wikipedia and then google-mapping the coordinates. They sent me a text of a picture of the pole, but it looked different in real life perspective and I ran us right by it twice. Ugh - more minutes lost.
Despite our slow running and our overrun of the sister city sign, we were feeling pretty damn optimistic as we ran the half mile back to the finish line. Yay- there were hardly any people there yet! Woo hoo! Did we win? Second place? Third place?? The volunteers cheered us, greeted us, took down our number and the race organizer came up and said, "Congratulations! If your pictures check out, you are.....fourth place!" Chirsty and I both slumped down in defeat. Fourth?? GRRRRrrrrr! Fourth?! Ergh.

No money. No medal. No nothin'. Frickin' fourth.

Later, Pat asked if we had fun. The response? "Yeah, but that doesn't matter!!!!"

Total distance = 8.75 miles - 5.5 running and 3.25 on light rail.

While we were waiting for the costume contest (maybe we'd still win something!), we went to the Diamondbacks Fan Fest which was going on next door. Thousands of people milling around the ballpark and 2 girls dressed as knights. We got lots of weird looks and a few questions. One man said, "Either you're from the Renaissance Festival or we are under siege!" :)
There were about 25 teams competing in the costume contest. We had to get onstage and take turns explaining why we should win. The contest was based on audience applause. Since there were so many teams, they had to have a semi-final round of the top 5 to determine the winners. We did make it to the top 5, but were beaten by these girls, whose team name was "Juan on Juan":
It was a top 5 kind of day. I guess that's not all bad, right?

(Yeah, right.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Weekend of Second Places

Sometimes second place is good and sometimes second place is not so good. Second out of 80+ is good. Second out of two is not so good.

The first second place was good. VERY GOOD! Christy and I (competing as Storming the German Castle) came in second place in the Scavenger Dash. Aren't our costumes cute? We bought them cheap in New Orleans because their zippers were broken. Christy fixed the zippers, took in mine so it would fit and most importantly, added pockets to the apron for our cameras, phones, maps and clue sheets. Voila! Custom-made racing attire!

We started the race at Friday's in the ballpark. At noon they gave us the go to run to the other side of the stadium where our clues were raining down from the sky. Well, kinda like that...they had volunteers throwing them up in the air. We sat down for a minute, called super-star Googler Kiri and mapped the clues. Some of them were fairly easy since I already knew where they were, such as the clue that showed the picture of these kids:Others required google assistance. Gandhi quote at Release the Fear? Where is the Drowsy Chaperone playing? Beads and Findings? Kiri made short work of the ones we didn't know and we took off running. We were supposed to take a picture in an elevator and also get a photo of getting arrested by a cop or a security guard. My office building has both elevators and security guards.

The security guards said they would get fired if they did that, so we were only successful with this blurry elevator shot.
We found a shamrock brick at the Orpheum, where Drowzy Chaperone is playing.We found Norma Jean's star at the San Carlos hotel. This was another easy one to find for us downtowners. While we were running to the next stop, we saw two policemen across the street. We sprinted up to them and one said, "Let me guess. You want to be arrested, right?" The other guy looked at his partner and said, "It's YOUR turn to take the picture!" Hee. The last clue in the downtown area directed us to the YMCA for a challenge, but it was only available from 12:30-3:30. It wasn't quite 12:30 so instead of wasting time waiting, we caught the light rail and went up to Camelback to Beads and Findings. There were a bunch of teams on the train with us. When we got there, we sprinted across the street and down the block and were one of the first teams to the store. Each of us had to make a glass bead bracelet, at least 7-8 inches of stringed beads and 3 knots. Everyone's hands were shaking from running and from trying to be fast. It was pretty funny. Christy and I finished ahead of most of the teams.

We were hoping to catch the light rail back south because we had to go a little over a mile to Steele Indian School Park. No luck. We ran to the park, which is 2.5 acres, in search of this statue. Kiri had told us it was in the middle of the park by the lake and a nice dog walking lady directed us right to it. That's not our smoothie on the table. Some poor man had chosen this table for his family picnic. I wonder how many pictures he had to take!

Our next stop was a little over a mile away. After a brief panic that we were stuck inside the fenced Veterans Memorial Hospital campus, we ended up on 7th Street. We only went about a block before a bus came up! Woo hoo! We took it a little over a mile. I wasn't exactly sure where MacAlpines was (clue: voted best soda shop in the 2006 New Times) so we overshot it a bit. We ran back 1/2 mile. The challenge was for one teammate to either put together a 100 piece puzzle or to eat a frosted cupcake with no hands. Before I could even offer Christy the chance to do the puzzle, she had pushed me in front of a white cupcake and said "EAT!" Ummm....okay! It was delicious!! It wasn't easy to get it all out of the wrapper, but nothing stands between me and my sugar so I got it done. :) Not surprisingly, I did this faster than the other two teams who got there at the same time.

I asked the girl at the counter for a glass of water. She said yes and then proceeded to putz around and chat with some other people. I was very, very thirsty but there was no time to wait for her so we left. The next stop was the Release the Fear statue, made of 4000 tons of melted down weapons. It was a mile and a half away. We weren't so lucky with the bus this time and had to run the entire way. I know a mile and a half isn't that far, but you should know by now that I hate running!

We stopped at Safeway to fulfill the donate 2 cans of food to St. Mary's Foodbank clue. I got in line while Christy grabbed the closest, cheapest cans. Peas. Ew. There were still two people ahead of us in line. I very politely and urgently asked them if we could cut. They both said yes and weren't irritated at all. The cashier was irritated though. He was even more irritated when we ran off without our change or receipt. Grumpy!

We were supposed to take a picture with the Gandhi quote. This was the first quote we saw, but it didn't say Gandhi anywhere.
We called Kiri to have her look up the quote online. As soon as she answered, we realized there were a bunch of quotes on the sidewalk all the way around the statue. Duh. We are such morons. But we got the right quote photo:

Our last stop was the YMCA stop we skipped earlier. The Y is a tall building so we could see it from where we were. We ran and ran and ran...and it kept getting further away. Ugh. I hate running. Finally it stayed put long enough for us to reach it. The challenge was to sing a few verses and chorus of YMCA....on video. Now the Scavenger Dash have in their possession a blackmail video of 80+ teams. Pretty clever! They gave us a lyric sheet which was good, cuz I really only know the chorus. Kinda. Christy and I kept starting at stopping at different times. However, we danced out the YMCA part like seasoned pros.

We were done with all of our clues. And look! A light rail train that would take us back to the finish! Or is it going the other way? I hesitated for a minute, confused about if it was going north or south. Duh. One way street going south. South! Hurray! We race across the street and around the train. We are at the train door....and it pulls away. Ergh. We decide that if we sprint, and it catches a red light, we might catch it at the next stop. Sprinting. Sprinting. Sprinting. Breathing hard. We see it pull away from the next station. Frick.

So we run all the way back to Chase Field. We finished the race in 1:45. Rick, the organizer (who knows us from adventure racing...which we aren't so great at) looks incredulously at us. "Are you DONE?!" he asks. I think he thought we were there to ask for help or to quit. After assuring him we were, in fact, done, he tells us we got second place!

The winners came in at 1:41. They were on the light rail train that we just missed. Oh, so close! Third place was 11 minutes behind us. Wow! Second out of 80+!! Accepting our 2nd prize movie passes:

Total distance: 11.6 miles - 5 on light rail/bus, 6.6 running.

We also came in second place in the costume contest. The Boxing Bi%ches came in 1st. Could have been the make up!So both of these second places were good. The not so good second places were the Coyotes game that night. They lost 0-6 or something god-awful like that. And then the stupid Colts got second in the Super Bowl. If they had won, I would have won the office pool and $153!!! Jerks.

I think I'll choose to only remember the race from this weekend!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This is going to be short because it's late and I'm sick. I should be in bed already, but I just cannot keep Oliver away from you any longer! He is too cute to keep to myself.

Seriously. Look at that face!

Oliver is my new foster. He is 7 months old and is listed as a shih tzu/rat terrier mix. I'd say more border terrier than rat terrier. He was turned in by his owner because they were moving. I'm not going to go into how annoying this excuse is because like I said, I'm sick and I'm tired and I need to get to bed. This topic would take me forever to fully vent.

Back to the cuteness. He is brindle, but instead of the usual black and orange, he is gray and peach. Yes, peach. Just like the crayon that I used to call "skin-color" as a kid. If he was a cat he'd be a diluted tortie. I don't know what you call dogs of this color. I've never seen one like him before.

Oops - I cut his nose out of this picture:
Unlike my usual fosters, Oliver is not sick or injured. He's in foster because he's a super-model!! He has been chosen to be one of the dogs in the Humane Society's annual "Compassion with Fashion" fashion show. He will be adopted at the event.

He was chosen because he is so cute and so friendly. He likes to give kisses.

My job is to teach him to walk nicely on a leash for the event. I am also going to try to teach him how to share. He's a bit of a toy hoarder. He is house trained, crate trained, good with dogs and cats and kids. He's absolutely perfect! And he has no bad habits. Chewing on dirty clothes isn't really a bad habit, is it? :) This morning he crawled right into the dirty laundry basket so he could surround himself with all the tempting options.

Oliver will be with us until April. The Compassion with Fashion event is Saturday, April 3rd. More info here.