Monday, December 31, 2007

Silver and Gold

Waiting at the airport yesterday I browsed the British Esquire magazine's list of things not to do after you're 30, which, in addition to sage advice like avoid doing it on a futon and/or with the receptionist, included the recommendation to not make new friends. It's too much effort, the magazine advised.

Having surpassed that wondrous age by 3 1/2 years I must respectfully disagree with Esquire's assessment. Since I hit 30 I have become good friends with a bunch of new people, and there are a few more friendships in the early stages that I expect to only get better. These friends have accepted me and encouraged me and become my family when my immediate family is hundreds of miles and a well-protected border away. They've let me be me, and loved me for it. That's been especially valuable this year, when the me I've been has often felt so unlike the me I'm used to being (did you follow that?).

So, thanks guys. I think you know who you are. I love you tons and what could have been a crap year turned out pretty well because of y'all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A UFF Christmas Letter

Dear Family & Friends,

It's time for the first-ever, possibly only-ever, Ultra Fine Flair Christmas Letter!

Let's just say that 2007 had its ups and downs. January included a trip to California and various forms of combat. Quote of the month: "Please! If you must throw up do it in the toilet not in the sink."

February included some deep thoughts and a nephew (born to my stepsister, in case any of you are wondering about Garth's fertility, which is still TBD). In March I baked some pies, then shit fell apart and I left my luggage at the airport and had my rental car towed within a matter of days. I also moved into the BP (but didn't actually blog about it until May).

Charlie was the big news in April. Rereading those posts reminded me that this year was crazily awesome.

According to the archives, May was a tough month. You can read 'em if you'd like to put your life into perspective (trust me). Speaking of perspective, in June I started the Perspective series (which I love and should really do more of), and in July I ran in Central Park and listened to music in Prospect Park. In August I learned to cook in a "kitchen" the size of a postage stamp.

And in September I moved again, this time to Bachelorette Pad: Loft Edition. I flew to SF in October where I set a personal record in a half-marathon (2:12), and ate a delicious burrito.

In November I ran the NYC Marathon and spent 5 of 8 blog posts that month talking about it (SUCKAS!).

And that brings us back to... December! Tomorrow morning I'm off to Toronto for the week, where I will eat too many Timbits and try not to fight with my family - you know, the usual.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love,
Gillian

Merry Christmas!


Kitty Cadeau
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Photo: Damaso Reyes

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Baking: The Other Therapy

I rescheduled therapy tonight in favour of staying home to bake Christmas cookies. My return from Argentina was delayed yesterday by a missed connection in Miami, which turned into a day in Miami spent enjoying a decadent brunch at the Delano in South Beach (at which there was a HARPIST, for real, and quite possibly the nicest waiter I've ever encountered), a mani-pedi, a viewing of The Golden Compass (B-, mostly because I really enjoyed the animals and it made me miss Memphis, and also Dakota Blue Richards *really* reminded me of LaFarlow, and finally because Eva Green is just so nice to look at), and some kickass people-watching at the Lincoln Mall (during which the acronyms BBA: Big Boob Alert and HCA: Hot Chick Alert were used extensively).

Argentina was wonderful. I probably ate the equivalent of an entire cow, and enjoyed much wine and dulce de leche. I rode a horse on an estancia (that's Spanish for "ranch"). One of the highlights of the trip for me was dining at Casa Felix, which will get its own post because it was just that good.

For now though, I'm considering options for the coming year. Sparkly D inspires me as always and makes me think about change change change. While I'm not planning to move away from NY just yet, I'm plotting improvements for 2008. January has already been designated as hotbody month (which will hopefully work in my favour come Valentine's Day!). I'm also planning to run the Berlin Marathon in September.

My brain is also desperately in need of exercise, and as such I'm going to take some kind of course. Options include but are not limited to:


The options are kind of outstanding, eh? In fact, in looking up those links I almost registered for half of them. Right now the improv class is pretty high on my list, as is that (or some other) photography one, and that bread class is happening this Spring, No Matter What.

The last batch of cookies is out of the oven and I have molasses in my hair and I'm tired and happy. Vote for your fave class(es) or make other suggestions in the comments if you're so inclined. I promise not to be offended.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holiday Cheer

BP:LE is feeling a lot cozier these days. We could still use a good couch - I've been trolling Craig's List in my spare time and found a few promising items, but nothing worth investing in yet. I'm not even sure where we'd put it, but I dream of a couch that is long enough for me to stretch my whole 173cm out, and deep enough for me to do that while sharing with another person (or a cat, as the case may be).

We're 5 days into Advent, aka the countdown to Christmas! And presents! In my family, however, the presents get started good and early with our annual Advent Calendars, which my mom thoughtfully assembles and mails out (usually on or around December 1). Growing up, we had felt calendars with a little pocket for each day from Dec. 1-24. My mom made these calendars, and they hung on the wall by our stairs with a little gift in each pocket. Every morning Dos and I rushed to open that day's gift, which might have been a fancy eraser, or part of a Lego kit. Last year I made one for the G-Man and totally spaced on it this year - hopefully things will settle down a bit in January.

A couple of days ago I got some junk mail from the Oprah Magazine people that offered a life makeover. I rolled my eyes and thought, "I've already had about four this year."

Next week I'll be on hiatus, relaxing in Buenos Aires and enjoying all that city has to offer: Steak, wine, shopping, and siestas. Sweet, sweet siestas.

Hasta la vista, babies!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

1978 Wedding Guests


Matching Hotness
Originally uploaded by briannak.

Last night was the Movember Gala Parté. My mom *made* that outfit I'm wearing. More pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Home Again Home Again

I saw the inside of 8 different airports last week. Some more than once. Remind me not to become a traveling salesperson.

Things I learned in my travels:

1. I know way more Stevie Wonder songs than I thought.
2. Waterloo is a significant technology hub (give me a break, I haven't lived there for over 10 years).
3. The martinis at Pantages Martini Bar & Lounge in Toronto are small and overpriced (and damn that strong Canadian dollar!).
4. The martinis at Vault Martini in Portland are generous and cheap.
5. Portland has the largest number of strip clubs per capita in any American city. It also has a naughty and delicious doughnut shop whose slogan is, "The magic is in the hole."
6. The weirdos on the West coast are way weirder than the weirdos on the East cost. Seriously. West Coast Weirdos (WCW) want to be weird WITH you, or to you. East Coast Weirdos (ECW) are just off being weird to themselves. I much prefer the latter.

Now, onto the holiday season - which, for my Canadian readers, begins here in the US of A this weekend with Turkey Day - yes, people really call it that. In fact, I heard one woman this afternoon say, "Happy gobble gobble" and had I been drinking something I'd have spit it all over my monitor.

I've decided that this will be the Winter of Dance! On Saturday night I went with some friends to a Salsa lesson/dance evening in Seattle, and it was super fun. Tonight I attended my first belly dancing lesson, where I learned that I have mad pelvic skills (a fact that will go on my dating resume) and how to make figure-eights with my breasts (a fact that will NOT go on my dating resume). I'm going to try to find a super, ultra beginner hip hop class, too, and maybe when I go to Argentina next month (oh, did I mention I'm going to Argentina next month, and you're not? SUCKA!) I'll try some Tango.

I've also acquired a set of Pimsleur Spanish CDs - who knows, perhaps UFF will become multilingual.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

North American Tour '07

UFF is taking it on the road - today I'm in Toronto, aka T-Dot (if you live here) and T-Not (if you don't and think it's ridiculously expensive). Yesterday was spent in the booming metropolis of Waterloo, and tonight I head to Portland, Oregon for my first visit to that fine city. It's all worky, unfortunately - even my parental visits were limited to brief hugs, but I'll be back just in time for the X.

I'm off to ride the TTC. Later skaters.

Friday, November 09, 2007

NYC Marathon 2007

The morning started out with subway, ferry and bus rides to get me from Brooklyn to the race staging area at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. I didn't really know what to expect except a lot of waiting. Over my race clothes I wore sweat pants and 3 long-sleeved shirts, one of which I planned to start running in and dispose of on the course (all the clothing discarded by runners at the race start is donated to various charities). I couldn't get in touch with my fellow TNTers (um, guys?) and so I mostly killed time by observing my fellow runners in various states of race preparation (for example, applying band-aids to their nipples). I was in the Green start (I guess the race organizers didn't hear about my special relationship with orange) and lined up according to my race number - 33488, and right near the back of the pack. After the gun went off at 10:10, it took me approx. 45 minutes to even cross the start line! The first 2 miles were over the Verrazzano Bridge and the views were amazing - many people stopped to take pictures. I was mostly trying not to go out too fast, which is something I often do and knew would be a big challenge with the energy of the crowds in Brooklyn.

A friend who's run NYC twice had told me that for the first 8 miles you don't even notice you're running, and he was totally right. By the time I got to Park Slope (my old 'hood), I just felt like I was at some awesome party that had been thrown in my honour and was attended by 40,000 of my closest friends. I barely glanced at my watch for the first 10 miles.

As I'd practiced in training, I kept scanning my body to see how I was feeling. And to my great surprise, I kept feeling good! I passed my head cheerleaders just before Mile 14 (and about a mile before the Queensborough Bridge, which is also the biggest hill on the course), and while I'd planned to stop and chat with them for a few minutes, I felt so good that I smiled and waved, grabbed my Gu, and kept right on running. (Insert Forrest Gump jokes here.)

The biggest surprise on the course came in crossing the dreaded bridge at Mile 16. I'd run it twice in practice and both times had felt completely whiny about it. On Sunday when I started that climb, I honest-to-god did NOT know that I was even on THE bridge. I even heard other people saying, "Oh, we're on THE bridge" and I remember thinking, "Suckas, this isn't THE bridge - save it." Then - I was in Manhattan! And I was like, hey! That was THE bridge! Good times.

First Avenue was indescribable - imagine 4 usually-busy lanes of a NYC street, closed to only runners, and cheering crowds at least 4 people deep on either side. It was incredible. I kept realizing that I was smiling and happy, and in the few moments I felt bad I remember thinking, "Holy crap! I'm running the NYC Marathon!" and when I was tempted to walk I'd add, "There's no walking in marathons!"

I'm SO grateful to everyone who came out to cheer, especially Bob, Joel, Andrea, Justin, Leslie (& Kerner), Dog, Sparkly D (who extra-rocks for flying from Toronto for the occasion), Bri, and the extra-special straight-from-Waterloo AS A SURPRISE Sweet Sirrah! herself, of whom I am entirely proud not only for an uncharacteristic show of spontaneity but for buying a ticket ON THE INTERNET. Thanks also to everyone who was hitting their browsers' refresh buttons to find out where I was on the course. (Technology rules.)

A few months ago I talked to another runner who'd run a few marathons, and she claimed there's nothing like the feeling you get when you cross your first marathon finish line. I think I'd add to that, there's nothing like the feeling you get when you cross your first NYC Marathon finish line.

More photos to come... I'm sure I've missed stuff that's interesting so post questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them (come on, someone ask me about the nipple band-aids!).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Marathon Photos

Just how many blog entries can I milk from running a marathon?

I promise a recap, then onto other fun things, including but not limited to belly-dancing classes and making my own sourdough starter.

Today, though, the photos are up, and they are so great that I'm entirely tempted to spend $95 for the CD of all of them!

A few faves:




Tuesday, November 06, 2007

To Tide You Over

A full recap of my experience running the NYC Marathon is in the works - for now you'll have to settle for this small victory (image compliments of LaFarlow):


(As I crossed the finish line I heard someone say, "Hey, Tom Cruise is over there!" and I literally thought, "F*ck Tom Cruise.")

Monday, November 05, 2007

26.2 in NYC!

I finished the NYC Marathon yesterday in 4:47:51. Yay! Then I walked backwards down some stairs.

Complete race recap coming soon! Thanks for all your support!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Gone Running

Back in 26.2 miles.

[You can find out where I am with the Marathon's race tracker - you'll have to click around a little on that site to find it. My number is 33488.]

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Informal Survey

Do you think eating copious amounts of candy corn counts for pre-marathon carb loading?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Optical Illusion


My legs are just not that ripped.

Email Blogging

Last weekend in SF I couldn't login to Blogger using IE 6 (which, wtf?) so I had to install Firefox to keep you all apprised of my life events. It didn't even occur to me that I could blog by email until someone brought it up at work today, so I thought I'd try it out. If you can read this, it worked!








^ This space intentionally left blank.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Hallowe'en is upon us.

I don't know if I can fully express my love for this holiday (which I would argue should actually BE a national holiday, but then I wouldn't get to draw a spiderweb around my eye - see last year, at right - for work. It's kind of like birthdays - I mean, I understand not wanting to work on one's birthday, but what about all the desky birthday happiness? But I digress). This afternoon I purchased orange lights to deck out the bar of BP:LE (yeah it has a bar, sweet eh?) and my costume is SO AWESOME I can't even believe it - AND it's one of those packaged ones from a Hallowe'en Superstore! I cannot reveal the details yet, but I'm going to an '80s party (at which I was Cyndi Lauper last year - that link is for you, Farlow!), and I'm dressing up as someone who has been my nickname since I worked at Corel.

Also, my favourite cousin is visiting this weekend! Many pictures to follow. In the meantime, get carving those pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

11 Days and Counting

The NYC Marathon is only 11 days away. I'm officially tapering, which means more sleeping, slightly less running, and ideally paying more attention to what I'm eating. Starting tomorrow.

Following a kickass weekend in California, a red-eye home (sans Bliss Shut-Eye kit - so sad) and (most of) a day at the office, I'm unwinding with my pals Ben & Jerry and back-to-back episodes of ANTM (thank you, CW, for putting the full episodes on your Web site).

On the most recent episode, Tyra advised one of the girls: "Never dull your shine for somebody else." I'm sure that some combination of sleep deprivation, consumption of 1,200 delicious calories and PMS are contributing to my sentiment that that's wise cousel. And, of course, fierce.

In other news, earlier today I decided that I would use the word "nonsense" more, and then flummery popped up on my Google home page as a word of the day. Not only is it fun to say (try it: flummery!), it means "empty compliment; unsubstantial talk or writing; mumbo jumbo; nonsense."

UFF: Adding flummery to the internets since 2006.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Choose Hope

The speaker at last night's Team in Training pasta party was Amy Bartlett, a cancer survivor. She was funny, charming, and inspirational, and she has a blog: I Choose Hope. Check it out. And if you're feeling generous, head on over to my fundraising page.

2:12!

I PR'd this morning! (For all you non-runners, PR == personal record. Hardcore, eh?) That means I won. For me. The course was *hard*, and while I remembered the suck hill at mile 6, I forgot about the one at mile 8. It was tough, but I worked it, and I really wanted that PR. I pushed through and finished one minute faster than my previous best-time for a half.

My final time was 2:12:01, which is 10:04 minute miles. W00t! Afterwards, I spent 2+ hours cheering for TNT marathoners, and this afternoon got drunk from a single glass of white wine. Good times.

Splits:

Mile 1: 10:45 [crowded start - probably good for my pacing]
Mile 2: 10:16
Mile 3: 10:04
Mile 4: 10:36
Mile 5: 9:53
Mile 6: 9:34
Mile 7: 11:20 [GIANT uphill]
Mile 8: 9:04
Mile 9: 10:43 [another big hill]
Mile 10: 10:20
Mile 11: 9:24
Mile 12: 10:19 [gradual uphill in Golden Gate Park]
Mile 13: 9:40

San Francisco Take 2


Aw Yeah
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

I'm back in SF for the Nike Women's Marathon (this year just the half, since NYC is only 2 weeks away). I arrived last night, the weather is perfect, and I have the most luxurious of accomodations. A bunch of incredible women with whom I've been training and fundraising for the past 5 months are going to kick 26.2 miles' worth of ass tomorrow, and I couldn't be more proud and inspired.

Go Team!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Physical vs. Mental Health

Running may counter the calories in ice cream, but ice cream offsets the mental anguish* caused by a 20 mile run.

*OK, maybe I'm exaggerating - but only a little.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Dear Ben & Jerry,

Perhaps I was hasty in my earlier assessments that we've been spending too much time together. It's true that we saw each other pretty regularly - at least once a week, sometimes twice - but who's to say that's too much? Every relationship is different. We get along so well - why should we put unnecessary or artificial restrictions on time that is obviously beneficial for both of us?

And so, fellas, I'm hoping we can get together real soon. I miss you.

Love,
Gillian

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Good Ol' Days

When I first moved to NY in February 2000, I didn't know a single person except for the guy who would be heading up my company's soon-to-be-opened office here, and I'd only met him once. Let's call him "Hal." Hal was a real-life Michael Scott. I'm totally serious. In fact, go read the Wikipedia Overview, because it describes Hal EXACTLY. He was sweet and insecure and well-intentioned and frequently said painfully awkward things that were meant to be funny.

Hal was also very neurotic. He had a label maker that I swear he'd have had sex with if he could have found a way. The guy labeled EVERYTHING, including, I kid you not, the shelves in our office fridge as to WHICH CANS OF SODA WENT ON WHICH SHELF:Hilare, right? And totally without irony. Of course, my co-workers and I found the label-obsession hilarious, and on occasion, messed with it a little:
Hee. (Our sales people once labeled all of their office supplies, including STAPLER, MONITOR, CPU, etc. Good times.)

One day, my officemate came over to my desk and conspiratorially said, "Gillian. You have to come see this." He signaled me into the kitchen and pointed me to his lunch leftovers:
Office pranks? Don't get any better than that.

While we're reminiscing, I must also share with you a photo of the worst sunburn I've ever had, in the Summer of 2000:
Ouch.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

OK, Let's Have An Adventure

Sparkly D is in NY and just forcibly pushed me off the wagon. The conversation went something like this:

D: Gilly, do you like prosecco?
G: Totally. But D, I'm doing this thing where I'm not drinking for a week.
D: OK. I'm only going to ask you this once, but why does it have to be the weekend I'm visiting? Start tomorrow.
G: ...
D: Let's have an adventure.
G: OK. Let's have an adventure.

No Sugar: Day 1

I ran a half-marathon this morning in Central Park and finished in 2:13, exactly the same time I ran the NYC Half in last year. How... consistent. Turns out training notes are useful - last year I had one Gu one hour in, and today I had two (one at 1h, the second at 1:40). I probably could have run it slightly faster, had I not overindulged on Thursday night (see: margaritas, beer, hookah) (see also: this week's resolution).

Speaking of which, I desperately want to snuggle up with my pals Ben & Jerry tonight but I'm so resisting their delicious siren calls. SUCKAS! But boys, save it up for November 4 because that night, you and I are going to party.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Marathon Countdown: 30 Sleeps To Go

After a mere 30 more sleeps I will wake up and run the NYC Marathon. Good times.

Despite my earlier vows, I haven't been so nice to my body this past month. I've kept up with training (ran 20 miles last Saturday!) and have managed to throw in some hiking and yoga, but I've also kept up with the drinking.

In the immortal words of H.I. McDunnough: "That ain't me no more." Starting tomorrow, until after I run the Staten Island Half-Marathon (+ an additional 7 miles) next Sunday, I'm going eliminate alcohol AND refined sugars from my diet.

The latter is going to be a real bitch. I can go without a drink, but I may need a twelve-step program for the chocolate. If I seem crabby, be nice to me. And please don't offer to buy me a drink (or a Ritter Sport), at least until after I finish my second 20-mile run next weekend (at which time you may hand me a martini and a cupcake).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Blogger Play

Mike just posted a link to Blogger Play. According to the FAQ, it's "a real-time slideshow of photos Blogger users have recently uploaded to their blogs." I'm pretty sure I could watch it for hours.

I love the internets.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Charlie at 5 Months

Remember The Amazing Race back in April, and the amazingly cute baby who started the whole thing?

He's now 5 months old:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Timbits Post

Full disclosure: I have PMS and I was in a suck mood when I wrote that last post, but I thought you, my loyal reader(s), deserved a little somethin'. You know what they say, suck-mood Gillian is better than no Gillian at all!

Anyway, I went for a (sucky) run and followed it up with a nice phone call and a delicious cheddar & avocado sandwich (even though there are about 8 servings of veggie moussaka in the fridge - sometimes a girl needs cheese). I'm now self-medicating with Nutella and the internets.

The Other Gillian's comment on my last post and my gluttonous enjoyment of Timbits last weekend have inspired me to write tonight's post.

I'm not kidding when I say that I ate a lot of Timbits last weekend. In a 3 1/2 hour drive, two of us consumed almost an entire box of 40 Timbits. When we were down to about a dozen, we started a Timbit "drinking" game, wherein we would only eat a Timbit when we passed a Tim Horton's (which, at least in Ontario, is about as frequent as you pass a Starbucks in New York City, that is to say, A LOT).

I am happy, then, to present:

The Official Ultra Fine Flair Guide to Timbits

1. This dude used to be the Timbits, uh, dude. I don't know what happened to him (and I'd forgotten he even existed until I started googling images of Timbits). I'd forgotten about him, actually, but I used to have a stuffed one. I know. Weird.

2. The best Timbit variety: Chocolate. That's one there on the right, behind those two honey dip Timbits. Chocolate Timbits are perfectly chocolatey and cakey, but not too sweet. When I open a restaurant, chocolate Timbits are going to be on the dessert menu. I'll serve up maybe 3, in a little box that looks like a full-sized Timbits box. It'll be awesome. So will the profit margin.

3. Speaking of honey dip - they used to be my second favourite, until I discovered the French Cruller. It has just the right ratio of icing-y outside to creamy, puffy inside, and I'm kind of amazed that Tim Horton's gets the texture exactly right.

4. After chocolate, French Cruller and honey dip, my next favourites are: Sour cream glazed, apple fritter, old-fashioned sugared and old-fashioned plain. I'm kind of medium on the jelly-filled varieties, although I like them better than filled doughnuts (again with the better ratio, kind of like Hallowe'en-size chocolate bars - yum).

5. Down with Dutchies. Raisins don't belong in stuffing, and they certainly don't belong in doughnuts. Nature's candy, my ass.

6. If you want to smugg^H^H^H^H^Hbring Timbits across the border, stop at a Tim Horton's BEFORE you enter Terminal 3 at Pearson International, or you will be very, very sad. There is a Tim's on the Canadian side, which you can see through the glass once you're at your gate. It's heartbreaking.

Long Time No

Did you miss me?

Once again I'm grateful for the magic that is RSS.

Anyway, here's what's up:

Last weekend was spent in The Bruce, hiking and eating lots of delicious meat (and don't even talk to me about the number of Timbits I consumed. Also, any good intentions I had of running remained just that - good intentions. I did hike, though, and took some pictures with Sirrah! & Gregoire's camera, which I won't see again until I upload them somewhere myself at Christmas.

Memphis is the feline queen of BP:LE, and has on multiple occasions put Grapple in his place.

I still have a bunch of unpacked, unstored boxes. I tolerate them for a few days at a time, but today they are seriously adversely affecting my feng shui, and I got on a bent this afternoon to find them a home. According to a nice gentleman at American Self-Storage, a 4x4x4 space should do it and will only run me $31/month. Now I just have to get off my ass and move them.

That's all you get for now. I'm going running.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Birthday :-)!


:-)
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Today be the Smiley's 25th birthday! Arr!* I was lucky enough to visit its birthplace yesterday.

The eternal question: Nose or no nose?


*It's also, apparently, Talk Like a Pirate day, as evidenced by the pirate flag on Flickr's logo. Who thinks of these things?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Best. Quiz. Ever.




You Are Orange



Bright and intense, you embrace the world and all its opportunities.

Change does not intimidate you, even if it's a complete life overhaul.

You're a very real person. You aren't scared to show the world who you are.



(via How About Orange)

Martinis and Marathons

Last Thursday DC Dave was in town and invited me out for dinner with a bunch of Sales people. We were at a relatively swank restaurant in my 'hood and were waiting for a table, so I ordered a martini (Grey Goose, straight up, olives, very cold). I have fond memories of my first martini - it was on my 28th birthday at Daniel, also waiting for a table, and I decided I could be Grown Up and order a martini, and that at a place like Daniel it'd probably be as good as I would get anywhere. For better or worse, it was delicious. Anyway, while I can remember the first time I had a martini, on Thursday I couldn't remember the LAST time I'd had one, so I decided to splurge.

It should be noted here that a martini is not a slippery slope to drunk. As Bob put it, it's a big hole. And I stepped right into it, voluntarily. My martini was followed by a glass of Zinfandel, which was followed by the dessert cocktail (which was SUPPOSED to be shared with the other three people at my table, but by the time it arrived one person had left, another was on her way out, and DC Dave is, apparently, a lightweight). I made the sacrifice and drank 'er down, because I am just that generous.

Those drinks were followed by a shared bottle of wine at BP:LE, which was followed by a late bedtime (1:30 a.m.) and an early morning. By 4 p.m. on Friday I was considering freebasing coffee to get the caffeine into my bloodstream faster, and I was asleep by 9:30 on Friday night.

Despite that tale of woe, Saturday morning I managed to haul myself up to Central Park at 7 a.m. to run - GET READY - 18 miles! The last two of those were particularly tough, and I did think about the martini (and the subsequent fermented beverages) and figure that with 47 (yikes!) days left, I'd better stick to that promise I made back when there were 60 days to go and lay off the tasty beverages.

But I'll tell you right now that November is going to be a fun month.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hard at Work


Paws
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

What she did while I ran 16 miles.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

DYKWIL? Volume 3: New Neighbourhood Edition

1. Seeing Cameron Diaz filming a scene for a new movie right outside the door to my new apartment!

2. That my routine training run takes me across the Brooklyn Bridge and back.

3. Seeing the Empire State Building every morning when I step outside.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

T-Minus 60 Days and Counting!

Last night I decided to trek to Central Park to join the TNT group there. I am SO GLAD that I did. For one, I didn't have to run the same loop around Prospect Park for the upteenth time. I also found a running partner who was slightly faster than me, and managed to stay with her for the 6 mile loop, which resulted in my fastest 6 miles EVER with a pace of 9:25/mile! (Since the first mile was a warm-up and took me 10 minutes, I averaged 9:19 for the 5 mile tempo run!) I went to practice feeling tired and a bit under the weather and came home feeling like I could have run another 6 miles. Good times indeed.

The NYC Marathon is just 60 days away. This last 2 months is where all the training will really count. In addition to my weekly TNT group runs, my training schedule includes:

The NYC Marathon Long Training Run (18-20 Miles)

The NYC Marathon Tune-Up (18 Miles)

2 Half-Marathons (Grete's Great Gallop and the Nike Women's Half-Marathon) (I love that half-marathons are part of my training schedule for something else!)

+ Some other 20 mile run (hopefully a trail run with TNT)

It's time for me to buckle down with eating properly and drinking less. The acquisition of a new kitchen was well-timed!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Where's The Door?


Where's The Door?
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Just as boxes are irresistible to cats, a cat at the end of a lamp box is irresistible to me. She crawled in, and I set the box upright. I know I'm going straight to hell for this, and the hilarity was totally worth it.

So far BP:LE is working out just fine. I have unpacked many, many boxes. One stack has been designated for storage, and there's still more stuff to cart to Goodwill. (I know, makes a lot of sense to move that stuff in the first place, right? Shut up.) Yesterday I did laundry WITHOUT LEAVING THE APARTMENT and this evening I baked cookies and made dinner ALL AT ONCE with stuff on the counters (did I mention there are counters? More than one, even! Good times). Memphis is quite content (when she is not trapped in a box).

More pictures soon.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

New Digs


New Digs
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

We moved into BP:LE today. Memphis has already hissed at our new roommate (one of the humans; she hasn't met the other feline yet). She seems content, if a little suspicious.

Friday, August 31, 2007

People I Love: Lisa

I interviewed Lisa in Fall '06 as a co-op student for the team I manage. I hired her because during the interview, she didn't know an answer to a question I asked and said as much, and when I explained what the answer was, she said, "Oh, cool, yeah, I didn't think of that," so incredibly sincerely that I kind of loved her.

That first semester I didn't spend a lot of time with her, but she always showed up for events (even dressed up as a Happy Camper [at left, with Giselle aka Joan] for our Hallowe'en party - although I admit it hurt a little when I told Lisa that I was going to an 80s party as Cyndi Lauper and she asked, "Who's that?") and had just wonderful spirit. I saw her once during Winter term when I was in Waterloo to do interviews - she and her sister Laura came out for drinks with Sirrah!'s husband and me, and when Greg and I returned to the very pregnant Sirrah! Greg announced that he was sorry but he was in love with someone else. That's how charming this girl is.

Lisa came back to NY to work for a different team this summer, and ended up in a sublet about 6 doors down from the BP. We had regular Monday night movies (including "Josie and the Pussycats," "Charlie's Angels," and most recently, "Adventures in Babysitting") and shared countless pints of i.c.e.c.r.e.a.m. (she spells it every time she says it, and now I do too). I beat her once at Settlers of Catan (it was totally an upset - even MY money was on her). She taught me about improv and biters and Teen Girl Squad and reminded me that persistence works. And even though she's an athlete and an engineer and a writer and a sister, she is totally uncategorizable.

Lisa, if I could write and cast the role of Gillian's Little Sister (GLS), it would be all you. Thanks for being an amazing friend this summer. I love you (metric) tonnes.

P.S. This post is totally biting Lisa's People I Like series.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

15 Things I Do To Avoid Packing

1. Poke people on Facebook
2. Go to the deli
3. Pet Memphis
4. Call Sara
5. Rip CDs (seriously. SERIOUSLY)
6. Eat ice cream
7. Send text messages (LATHE'D!)
8. Reminisce
9. Look at the intarweb
10. Hope someone calls to invite me out for a beer
11. Drink the last beer in the BP fridge
12. Listen to Gwen Stefani (OK, there is singing and dancing involved here too)
13. Miss Lisa
14. Read Get Naked
15. Blog

Procrastinate This, Sucka!

Saturday I move into BP:LE. A few weeks ago, with the help of about half a dozen kickass girlfriends, I packed up loads of crap from my old apartment in preparation for the move. Sadly, the BP (v1) remains intact. I've looked around a few times to approximate how many boxes I'll need, and mostly thought, hey, it'll be fine. How long can it take to pack this place up? I've only lived here for a few months!

And so, in the week leading up to the big move, I have cleverly overbooked myself so that my packing follows the law of all packing (and software development and wedding planning): It will take as much time as is available to do it.

Last night, La Farlow came over to watch a movie. Then I baked banana bread, which I took out of the oven at approx. 12:30 a.m. Tonight, we had game night at work! I got home from that at 10:30, and now I'm blogging, but it's ABOUT packing so that kind of counts, right? I actually canceled my plans for tomorrow night (a leftover birthday mani-pedi) just so I'd have an evening to pack, which I'm SURE will be long enough, right?

Guys?

Monday, August 27, 2007

That, Too

Gillian: I love xkcd today
Gillian: SO MUCH

Brianna: you would
Brianna: i found it a bit overly sugary

Gillian: I am nothing if not overly sugary

Brianna:
you're just shockingly uncynical

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Under 3 Set

Dig my mad toddler skillz, yo.

And while we're on the topic of kiddos, you totally have to check out my godson Griffin hip-hop dancing:



(Via Accidental Ocelot)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Adventures in Cooking

For those of you just joining us, this is the "kitchen" in the BP.

OK. It's a bit better now. I painted and fanagled a bigger fridge, and put up shelves. But that sink is useless.

I haven't cooked a lot this summer. See above. This past weekend, already feeling nostalgic about leaving Park Slope, I hit up the Green Market at Grand Army Plaza. Sans plan, I picked up a few delicious items, including heirloom tomatoes, beets, scallops, goat cheese, a French baguette, and New Jersey white peaches. A quick surf of Epicurious and a call to Candace inspired a menu of Spinach and Beet Salad with Walnut-Crusted Goat Cheese (based on this recipe for Hazelnut-Crusted Goat Cheese Salad), Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Port Reduction served with heirloom tomatoes, and Peaches & Cream (freshly whipped, sweetened with a bit of maple syrup) for dessert. If your mouth isn't watering by now, you should really have that looked at.

The best part about the menu was that I had almost everything in my tiny pantry (I even had bacon in the freezer). My trip to the grocery store was quick and painless, and a bottle of ruby port only costs $10.99 - who knew? Also: I got to light stuff on fire (that's the port reducing over there on the right). Good times.

I'm psyched about cooking this Fall, and to take full advantage of the delightfully large kitchen in BP:LE, I might even trek back to Park Slope for the market. You never know.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Haystack

My friend D started blogging again after a 2 month hiatus. Check out her latest post, replete with pictures of Sunny's garden which is at its most perfect this time of year. I'm sad to be missing it.

Also: Read about her Fluevogs, which cracked me up (and I have those same shoes!).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Public Record

GILLIAN is walking along the Brooklyn-bound platform of the Metropolitan Ave. G Train stop. She hears someone singing on the Queens-bound side and looks up.

BILL: Duh du duh du du du-du duh duh

GILLIAN: Hey! Tee hee! Where do you live?

BILL: Greenpoint.

GILLIAN: Sucka!

BILL: Uh, you have further to go.

GILLIAN: Good point.

BILL: So, when are you going to give me a project?

GILLIAN: Next week - I'm off tomorrow and Friday. I'm baking Aaron's wedding cake.

BILL: Aaron's getting married? I didn't know that. When?

GILLIAN: Saturday.

BILL: Will you bake my wedding cake?

GILLIAN: Of course! I told you last year that I would.

BILL: For free?

GILLIAN: Duh, yes. When are you doing that?

BILL: I don't know if I'm ever getting married.

GILLIAN: But I thought you guys... This year? Or next year?

BILL: I don't know what we're doing. I am so afraid of commitment. I don't know what I'm doing next Tuesday.

GILLIAN: I hear you. [pause] I'm getting divorced.

BILL: WHAT? You're joking.

GILLIAN: No, for real.

BILL: Whatever, you're not serious.

GILLIAN: No, I am. [holds up ringless left hand]

BILL: Oh my God! That makes me so sad!

GILLIAN: No, really, I'm OK. It's for the best.

BILL: [looks around, realizes they're yelling to hear each other and there are other passengers on both platforms who can hear the entire conversation] [clasps hands in front of heart] Aw, that sucks! Come over here! I want to hug you!

GILLIAN: [looks at the train tracks and rolls eyes] For real, Bill, I'm OK.

BILL: What? But... But, you just celebrated your one-year anniversary!

GILLIAN: Yeah, but we weren't living together at the time. I moved out earlier this Spring.

BILL: Oh my God! This breaks my heart! How long were you together?

GILLIAN: Almost 6 years.

BILL: [hands still clasped in front of chest, bows dramatically]

GILLIAN: Really, Bill, it's for the best. Trust me. [pause] Also, it's kind of surreal that we're having this conversation across two sets of subway tracks.

BILL: [titters] Yeah, I know! [pause] But, I read your blog! You guys seem so together!

GILLIAN: OK. You know on the right side, the Favourite Posts section? Go read Late Night Blogging Gets Serious.

BILL: I read that!

GILLIAN: Well, read it again. Use your mad reading skillz this time.

BILL: OK OK. So...

GILLIAN: So, I moved out, and in September I'm moving to DUMBO.

BILL: I love DUMBO! It's so different from anywhere I've lived or know. [crosses arms in front of chest]

GILLIAN: Yeah, it's a 3,000 sq. ft. loft shared with 3 other people. I'm psyched.

BILL: Who are you living with?

GILLIAN: Strangers. I met them briefly last week.

BILL: I can't believe you're moving in with people you don't know. What if one of them is crazy?

GILLIAN: Then I'll move out. It's month-to-month.

BILL: Huh. [crosses arms in front of chest]

GILLIAN: [Glances at other passengers on platform] I feel like this is some kind of performance art and we're reading from scripts.

BILL: Totally.

The Queens-bound train pulls into the station at that moment, and Gillian and Bill wave goodbye across the platform. Gillian watches Bill through the moving windows of the train, then watches the train pull out of the station.

LOL Caturday


Thanks to Dog for the caption.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Perfect Moments

This morning I went for a run, and after Tuesday's cross-training extravaganza I felt cricky and sore and, well, not awesome. It was overcast and humid, and I ended up walking the last mile. As I approached the park exit, I noticed the light was just lovely, and the trees were that perfect August green, full and layered. The sun squeaked through the clouds in places and dappled the trees and in that moment everything felt perfectly beautiful.

An hour later I was waiting for the subway, listening to Cyndi Lauper on my iPod and a line in the book I'm reading made me laugh out loud:

When somebody tells you that a certain boy isn't good enough for you, that person has usually not just moved all alone into a crap apartment in a city known for being south of a city that people have heard of.
If you pay attention, the Universe comes through.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Arrivals Gate

The other morning my iPod shuffled over to one of my favourite Ani DiFranco songs, "The Arrivals Gate." I have listened to this song countless times and have the lyrics memorized, but for some reason that morning when I heard it, I *got* it, and it seemed so applicable and wonderful. For a moment I wished I'd understood it a few months ago -- but months ago I wasn't where I am now, so that would have been impossible, anyway.

Gonna go out
To the arrivals gate at the airport
And sit there all day
Watch people reuniting
Public affection so exciting
It even makes airports ok
Watching children run
With their arms outstretched
Just to throw those arms
Around their grandpa’s neck
Watching lovers plant kisses
Old men to their misses
At their arrivals gate

Watching a mother
With a mother’s smile
Don’t tell me to move
I just wanna sit here for a while
I have determined
It’s a sure cure for cancer
Watching excitement turn family dogs
Into dancers
At the arrivals gate

I got me a white bread sandwich
With some shredded lettuce
And I got me a ringside view
For my quaint little fetish

I just wanna drain my pink little heart
Of all it’s malice
And kick back for the afternoon
In this fluorescent palace

Everybody’s in a hurry
Here in purgatory
Except for me
I’m where I need to be

At the arrivals gate
I'd always taken this song literally, and really, it does reinforce my appreciation of airports (I already like them a lot because: traveling and buying trashy magazines and hunting for outlets). But when I heard it the other day the song had entirely new meaning.

It's really easy to resist change. We cling to what we know, even if it isn't awesome, because it's somehow less scary than the unknown. The thing I wonder is, do we really know the things we think we know? As a friend reminded me a couple of months ago, we're all in periods of transition and uncertainty, all the time. So why are we so afraid to absorb and move with the changes, instead of resisting them?

Call it purgatory, or whatever you want, but yeah, it's all of us, all the time. And today, I'm where I need to be.

Stretch


Stretch
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Perfectly lazy Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Internet Makes Me Giggle

Tonight as I was leaving work, my friend Chad, who's staying Chez BP for a week or so before he embarks on a 2 month trip to Europe, called me to tell me he'd forgotten to bring with him the address of where he was meeting someone for dinner. I couldn't recall the address myself, and asked him if he had GOOG-411, the Google Voice Local Search.

I don't know where I heard about GOOG-411, but I've had it in my phone for a while and have used it a handful of times. It's free (yay Google!) and the times I've used it, it's worked about as well as any other company's voice directories that I've used.

Chad didn't have The Goog, so I told him I'd call and get back to him.

When I was prompted for the name of the business, I said, "Otto." The first option was for Otto's Shrunkenhead (who knew?) on East 14th St. The second option: Otto Restaurant Enoteca Pizza on 5th Ave. Bingo! My choices were then to wait to be connected, or say "Details" for more info. Since I needed the address, I chose the latter and was THEN presented with the option - get ready! - to receive a text message! My brain barely managed to process the awesomeness of that option but I managed to yell "Text message!" into the phone. While I was STILL CONNECTED I received the following text:

Otto Restaurant Enoteca Pizza
212-995-9559
1 5th Ave
New York, NY 10003
http://m.google.com/u/B2hK5I

Not only did I get exactly the information that I needed, I then proceeded to forward the message to Chad so that he would have all the details right on his phone! That? Rocks.

Gentle reader, please, for me, store this number in your phone: 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411). I promise you that it will come in handy. You can thank me when it does.

P.S. According to the GOOG-411 Web site, the service is still only available in the US. Sorry, loyal Canadian readers. But you guys still have exclusive access to ketchup chips.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What A Girl's Gotta Do

Tonight's dinner: A slice of toast* with Nutella, half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked Frozen Yogurt and a glass of red wine.

I really can't wait to move into Bachelorette Pad: Loft Edition, now with more kitchen! Coming September 1. Stay tuned.

*Toasted, sadly, in the oven. I hope that BP:LE is also equipped with a toaster.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Orange

A few days ago Dog sent me a link to these fruity-scented USB drives and was surprised when I picked strawberry over orange as my top choice. Later that same week, Lisa told me that I could add her innovative Facebook profile mod that, in addition to Likes and Dislikes, lists Indifferent Tos. She was surprised (or perhaps just disagreed with my opinion) when I listed "orange popsicles" on the third list. (She also said that if I stole her idea she wouldn't even write biter on my wall, and if you have no idea what you just read, don't worry, that just means that you're over 25. Note: I was perplexed at the term "biter" but just this morning realized that I've heard it before and didn't even get it at all. And, that reference was from Dog and apparently now we've come full circle.)

Anyway. This post is supposed to be about things that are orange, and why orange-flavoured things usually don't make my top 10 lists.

When we were kids, my mom used to take my brother & I grocery shopping and let us each pick a flavour of Kool-Aid or Jell-O. Garth ALWAYS picked orange. Like, every single time. And every single time I picked a different non-orange flavour, so our cupboard was half orange-flavoured stuff and half misc. I kind of separated orange from the other flavours in my mind at that point. Since there was always an abundance of it, I seldom choose it even now when there are other options. I'm sure there's a PhD (or at least Master's) psychology thesis in here somewhere about the lasting effects of familial eccentricities.

[The main exception to the orange-flavoured things rule is Creamsicles, which are perfect just as they are.]

Sunday, July 29, 2007

DYKWIL? Volume 2

1. That in NY, $2 will get you a PBR or a delicious falafel.

2. Concerts on boats. Whoever thought of that should get a raise and a vacation.

3. The Statue of Liberty.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Old and...

I have agreed not to call Lisa "young and impressionable," however, sometimes the fact that I'm, uh, older than her is inescapable.

For example, the other night at a party, she was describing "lockdown" in Ontario high schools (something like this). Someone turned to me and asked if I'd had lockdowns when I was in high school, and Lisa started to say, "Oh no, she's too..." and then caught herself and trailed off.

This afternoon I did use the phrase "young and impressionable," and she reminded me that I'm not allowed to use it, and continued, "And I won't call you old and... out of style!"

Ouch. That? Cuts deep.

For The People


American or Canadian?
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

A few days ago, someone arrived at UFF by Googling hot redhead wrapped in american flag.

We at UFF listen to our readers and incorporate your suggestions whenever possible.

Enjoy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Humid

I think this means it's going to be humid:



(84.2°F) And, I [heart] Google.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Do You Know What I Love? Volume 1

1. When you're thirsty and you drink really cold water and you can feel it going down your throat to your stomach.

2. Fresh lemonade (I just discovered this last summer and I can't believe how much I love it) - bonus points if it has some fun herb in it like lavender or mint.

3. Clif Bar's new Maple Nut flavour.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Procrastination

Here's a list of the sh*t I'm supposed to get done tonight:

1. Make a logo/signage for Dos' business.

2. Design the CD label/packaging for Jillian's upcoming show (that's August 1 at the Hope Lounge in Williamsburg).

3. Bake a delicious cake for Gigi's birthday.

4. Learn PHP.

Instead, I'm blogging (lucky you!) - oh, and as I was leaving the office this afternoon, a certain book that I'd pre-ordered was blocking the door. So maybe I'll get all that other stuff done later tomorrow.

I leave you with the lovely Miss Memphis, who seems to be feeling much better these days:

Better

This afternoon K-Dog and I met at the office to GTD our desks. I threw out boxes of old paperwork and already feel lighter. In the purge, I found a bunch of stuff from the triathlon I did 3 years ago, including a sheet of paper entitled WETSUIT INSTRUCTIONS which includes this gem:

TAKING THE WETSUIT OFF
- The more wet you are the better.

Heh.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer Nights

Summer in NYC is magical, really. There are approx. 900,000 fun things to do, and every year when Time Out arrives with its listing of summer events, I load up my calendar with everything I could possibly want to go to and then at the beginning of the week make some tough decisions. Recent juggling to accomodate many top priority events included buying Manu Chao tickets for Tuesday's show even though I already had them for Wednesday's show because Jillian with a J was playing her first show on Wednesday, and I just couldn't miss that. (Tuesday night training was lost in that shuffle, and Mander happily purchased Wednesday night's Manu Chao tix.)

Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Ani DiFranco play in Prospect Park. In addition to her music being wonderful, as usual, I am always struck by how much she seems to be enjoying herself on stage. It's almost like she still can't believe that she gets to do this for a living. It makes me giggle to see someone doing something she so clearly loves and feels lucky to be doing.

Watching Ani tonight inspired me. How great would it be to have so much awesome in your life that that sometimes, maybe even often, the happiness bubbles up and makes you laugh out loud? And that the happy makes you grateful and the grateful makes you happy and it's just one big circle of creativity and contentment and, well, awesome?

Everyone clicked through and read the lulu manifesto the other day, right? And you saw this part?

Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top. Be creative. Do one thing a day that scares you.
Let yourself be inspired. Inspire others. Choose the awesome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hot and Wet in Central Park

Me, Aaron and Lisa after Saturday's race

More pics here, thanks to Melissa!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Run Your Race

Yesterday morning Lisa and I, along with our co-worker Aaron (who, incidentally totally cracks me up and who is LEAVING in 2 weeks to go get married and then roam around South America and then move to Oregon after which I will never see him again and this fact is causing me a tremendous amount of stress lately), along with our cheerleaders Melissa & Jo, subwayed it up to Central Park for the Naples Park-to-Park 10k. You might have noticed that UFF has been rather devoid of training updates recently, and that's pretty much because training hasn't been going awesomely. I haven't run 10M yet this season, and I've been whining about the heat and making excuses for not sucking it up and getting out there more. After yesterday, that's all going to change.

The race consisted of one counter-clockwise loop of Central Park, starting and ending at 102nd St. Aaron & Lisa & I started out running together. Aaron and I were running beside each other and as we approached Harlem Hill, a guy in a blue shirt asked us how we know each other. The conversation was headed toward being a race-day pickup (no, I'm not flattering myself, Lisa can confirm) with such genius lines as, "You look like a runner." Really? Wow! You mean wearing these running clothes, and running, and surrounded by 10,000 other runners? How flattering!

Aaron pulled ahead at that point and Lisa & I managed to lose Blue Shirt Guy to continue on our merry way. It was a very warm morning, and while I ran the first mile in decent time (considering it included Harlem Hill), I slowed down a bit after that, and when I checked my time at the Mile 4 marker I was not on track to meet my <1 hour (or at least, <10 minute mile) goal.

Something really good happened to me at that point, which is that I relaxed into it. This concept is kind of tough to describe. Last summer when I first did runs longer than 9 or 10M - that is, when I'd be running for longer than 1 1/2 hours, I learned that I needed to settle into the run, and just be present in that moment. In a shorter run, it's OK to get distracted thinking about the next rest station or hill or what's for breakfast afterwards, but in a longer run, more focus needs to be on what's happening right now - taking stock of how I feel in my body and my breath, how strong I feel mentally, etc. When I'm able to find that spot, my body relaxes and I'm much more comfortable running. I found it yesterday, and I'm sure that's what gave me the ability to push myself in the last third of the race, and finish strong in 1:02:39.

Last night when a friend asked me how I was doing vis-à-vis the stuff that's going on in my life, I happily realized that I might finally have found some of that relaxing into my life, the way I find it in running. Here's where I am, right now, and being aware of what's going on in this moment will allow me to make appropriate adjustments to my pace and posture so that I can keep going strong.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I <3 lulu

lululemon's manifesto inspires me.

Taijitu Cat


Yin Yang
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Important Survey

Friday, July 13, 2007

Just A Girl

At my first job, there were a few women in the office who discussed their hairstyles excessively. It really pissed me off, because I took my job Very Seriously, and didn't want my cred to be undermined by members of my gender discussing their follicular stylings.

Later, when I moved to California, I worked with a woman (for whom I had the utmost professional respect) who had a seriously great haircut. I was new to the area and needed a hairdresser, and fretted for a while about whether, and how, to ask her about her stylist. Finally I said, "Hey, Jen, I have something kind of girly to ask you." She replied, "That's OK, we're girls!"

Good point, Jen.

I've had an ongoing struggle with my own feminity (read: girliness), which has only recently - i.e., in the past two years - come more naturally. I used to fight it tooth and nail - any gender-specific definition or role or stereotype. My friends would crack up at this, and ask me such questions as, "Between you and DLang, who does the cooking?" to which I'd answer, "Well, I do, but that's because I LIKE cooking, not because I'm a girl." Which is true, but it does also happen to fit a certain gender stereotype.

This morning, Lisa told me about a friend who's visiting for the weekend who had already seen fit to make judgy comments about things she deemed girly, in particular, Lisa's application of mascara and quantity of shoes.

L: gillian i have 10 pairs of shoes and all are pivotal
L: 2 running, 1 cleat, 1 your bike shoes
G: I have no judgments if you have 100 pairs of shoes
G: and wear so much makeup that people think you're a whore.
L: birks, those new wanna be birk clogs, brown flip flops, black flip flops
L: thats why I love you most!
L: i was like - well I love flip flips- but I need them in brown and black to match
G: Plus, $2!
L: and she's like "wow, you're such a girl"- in an offensive way! meant to offend!
G: You should have said, yeah, you should see my vagina!
G: It's TOTALLY girly!
L: hahahahahahaha YCMU
In all honesty, mascara is one of my favourite things (and as DLang can confirm, I even listed it as one of the top three things that I can't live without on my online dating profile) and while being a boy certainly wouldn't prevent me from breaking out the Great Lash, it's a plus that it's something that was socially acceptable for my mom to show me how to apply. And having lots of shoes is actually really fun, especially the impractical ones (like these excellent Converse I bought a couple of months ago).

I still hate stereotypes and part of my brain is still screaming, "Anyone can have lots of shoes! Lots of guys have more shoes than I do!" but, hey, so what if it is a girly thing? Like Jen pointed out, I *am* a girl. Which not only means that I cry too easily sometimes and have more difficulty peeing in the woods than my penis-enabled peers, but also that I am comfortable hugging people, get to wear pretty dresses, and get flowers on my birthday.

And, I have boobies that are ALL MINE that I can play with whenever I want, which is way more useful than conveniently peeing in the woods.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Don't Make Me SPAM You

It's already July (how did that happen?), and in less than 4 months, I'll run the NYC Marathon. A few weeks before that, I'll be in SF to run the half at the Nike Women's Marathon (the very race at which I popped my 26.2 cherry last year).

And now, as I mentioned back in April, it's time for me to raise some fundage for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Loyal UFF readers, I implore you: Surely if I can run a combined total of 39.3 miles in two races for this excellent organization, you can throw a little money at the cause? Just think, the more generously you give, the less guilty you will have to feel when you think of me running around Brooklyn on Saturday mornings.

Give here. Or here. Give early and often. Maybe, just maybe, I'll post sweaty post-workout pictures.

Only if you ask nicely, though.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Netflix for Readers?

I read about Bookswim this morning on DailyCandy and I was all gung ho to try it out until I noted the monthly fees. I'm lucky if I can get through a book or two every month, and I usually spend around $10/book (used) on Amazon.com, including shipping. Bookswim is charging $23.99 per month to have 3 books at a time at home, so say I read 6 books every 3 months, that's around $12 more than I'd spend to actually buy the books (used). Details here. I'll be curious to see how well they do.

Love Me Do

Once every few months, when I find myself even more in love with the world than usual, I have a little exercise that I do when I ride the subway. I choose a person at random and imagine that I'm someone who just adores that person, and I list all the reasons that I love him or her. I think of it as a love letter to that person. Sometimes the reasons are things that I can observe, like particularly delicate wrists, or a quickness with the crossword puzzle, or a gentleness with an old person or a child. Sometimes I make things up completely, like how sweet she looks first thing in the morning, or how kind he is to my kids. It's easy once I get started, and I find myself noticing (and creating) wonderful things about complete strangers - not a bad way to start (or end) one's day!

I recently started to think about what I'd want someone to think or say if I were the subject of this exercise. That struck me as kind of a neat thing to wonder about, and I'm kind of surprised that I haven't wondered about it before - that is, for what reasons do I want to be loved? And, how do I want to be loved?

Every so often a friend will do something or even tell me something about him- or herself and I'll think, wow, I love you for that. I love you because you can't stand having your hands get wet when you run. I love you because you smell your shampoo every morning, even though it's the same shampoo you've been using for months and months. I love you because you use the same expressions my parents used when I was growing up. I love you because you act out stories as you tell them. I love you because you use regular expressions in IM.

I haven't come up with definitive answers for the questions of why and how I want to be loved, but I think that the more I can love the people around me, the clearer those will become. For now, I'll just keep practicing.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Waiting For 2 1/2 Hours To Cross The Border Will Do This To You

La Fête du Canada!

P.S. I would lose a LOT of Patriot Points (TM Lisa) if I didn't wish you a Happy Canada Day!

Trivia: What are a Canadian's two favourite colours?

Post your answer in the comments. First correct response wins a box of Kraft Dinner!

Drive My Car

DLang and I just returned from a roadtrip to Montréal, where we attended his friend Isaac's wedding. I'm not sure how it is that spending 18+ hours in a car inspires the heck out of me, but for all the cramped-legs traffic-jammed gas-guzzling environmental unfriendliness, I'll take it. I have so much to share and create that I might burst! Sadly however, I also have a sore throat (maybe from all that singing along to songs on the radio?) which mandates bedtime at a reasonable hour. Just wanted to give you guys something to look forward to, 'cause I know it's been slow around here.

Check back early and often for updates this week. I promise them to you. Absolutely.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Colour Blind

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dear Diary:

I did a lot of fun stuff this past weekend:

1. I went on a concert cruise with Brianna & Lisa. We saw a Canadian band call The Weakerthans who have a song called "I Hate Winnipeg," which is hilare. Good times were had by all.

2. I went to Coney Island's annual Mermaid Parade (crazily enough, if you Google "mermaid parade" the second image result is my beautiful friend Monica, when she attended the parade in 2004). I saw some nice boobies!

3. We had a rooftop BBQ Chez DLang to celebrate my birthday. Living as long as Christ is apparently the last major birthday milestone until I start getting seniors' discounts at Kmart. The weather was perfect and the delicious chocolate cake (from the Bakery Formerly Known As Two Little Red Hens) had a big orange G on it!

4. I went to Kari's birthday brunch at Miriam and enjoyed my first Shakshuka (Marc, I'm expecting a comment for that link).

5. I baked a wedding cake redux/anniversary cake, and delivered it to my old 'hood, where I then enjoyed a delicious dosa.

6. I decided that Keith Mars is catching up with Sandy Cohen as my fantasy dad.

After all that, this is still all I can muster as a blog post. Thank god for RSS, or you guys would be outta here.

Suckers.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Not Young Enough To Know Everything


When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
-Mark Twain

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bacon Redux

Turns out Mike's request for an ode to strip bacon was a contest of sorts. Mike has chosen a winner, and it wasn't me. The newly-crowned bacon poet laureate is Mike's friend Jeh, who isn't yet my friend but should be because the man can write, and he truly loves the pig.

Behold this stanza of genius:

O strip of bacon,
you the king of the snacka.
A condiment and a meal,
a sidekick and a hero, like the mighty Chewbacca.
You can read the whole brilliant composition here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's My Birthday Too--Yeah!

Not ONLY does today mark the start of my 34th year on this remarkable planet, it's also the first day of Summer (officially at 18:06 GMT) AND Recess At Work Day! (via the Freakonomics blog/DC Dave)

Conveniently, I'd been celebrating Recess At Work Day all morning, before I even knew it was today.