30 October 2006

Halloween Eve

Halloween in San Francisco is a time honored tradition. Years ago, people would stream into the Castro District, partying and having fun until the wee hours.

Things have changed a bit. While people still stream to the Castro, since 9/11 security has gotten tighter, and so has tolerance for bad behavior. There were lots of problems with fights (the Castro is not a violent area, but when you get that many people in one area, well, stuff happens), so I believe alcohol has been banned. The area swells to at least double the normal population, as people from all over come to visit the legendary fiesta.

I attended this party a few years ago. It was an awesome time; back in the days before security was too tight and people were just having fun. I saw a man scale a pole, for no real reason, the Pussycat Dolls perform burlesque off of a fire escape on Castro Street (they may have been men, though), and, I saw Jesus (pictured above).

It is like something magic happens at Halloween. Becoming someone new, apparently, is something many people can't pass up.

22 October 2006

Just Did It!

Just Did It!

The Nike 26.2 Marathon & Half-Marathon was today, and I just did it! I did the half, and it was such a thrilling experience.

This was the third half-marathon I have completed in as many years. While this may not seem like a big deal compared to some (I met a woman yesterday who does at least one full marathon a month!), but it is to me. I was the person who swore she would never do an endurance run, couldn't even think about it, etc. Imagine my surprise when I was compelled to join Team in Training and do my first race, and then sign up for 2 more!

I didn't train really for this race - the longest distance I ran was maybe 5 miles and that was with a bit of walking when my knees pained me. I went in with the attitude that I would go as far as I could, then walk the rest. If I could run half of it, I would feel a-ok, and I wanted to finish in less than three hours.

The day started with a 5.45am wake up call. I was meeting a friend at 6.15am to walk down to the starting line. I had been hydrating for a few days as that was my biggest fear. We got to the starting area and were greeted by throngs of other women runners (the stats I read were 15,000 total runners, 150 of whom were men). You could feel the excitement in the air, especially from the many first timers. I remember that feeling when I first did this race, it is awesome.

There was music blaring and people scrambling to find their pace group. I personally never found mine...there were too many people to fight through so I just kind of stood where I landed. They had us count down, 10, 9, 8...then the gun went off and we were on our way!

The weather was perfect, probably high 50s at the start. I took off running and felt awesome. I got through the first two miles at a very quick pace; although I knew it wouldn't last, I was pretty impressed with myself! I stopped at about mile 2.5 to try to use the restroom, but the line was too long and I gave up. There were people cheering all over the course, and even though they weren't cheering for me, their cheers were encouraging.

I ran solid through mile 5, then took a quick walk and ran the rest of mile 6. Mile 7 introduced a mile-long hill, and I walked it. On my way up the turn, a woman slowed down and said to me, "You've got this, no problem." It was nice, and really encapsulates what I love about this race. I have said it before, I believe, that I am tired of seeing women tear each other down. We see it all the time in magazines, on reality TV, and in real life. And this race is about the opposite, it is women supporting and celebrating with one another. It is quite incredible.

By that time I was hungry and needing some energy. I had left my e-Gel packs in my bag, so they did me no good. Finally at mile 9 they gave us some Clif Shot Blocs, and I have to say, they were delicious! I walked a bit more and then we were on the downhill. YAY!!

Soon there were only 3 miles left, and I ran most of them. I couldn't believe I had that much energy left. I had a good talking to with myself, telling myself to suck it up, that my knees didn't hurt that bad and I could do it. I never saw a sign for miles 12 and 13, so I really wasn't sure where I was when I exited the park. Then I saw the finish line. It was right there, within my reach!

I picked up my pace the best I could and ran towards it. I thought of those that were with me throughout the race - both my grandmothers (who I had done previous races in memory of) and my Papa, to whom I dedicate this race. I got choked up thinking about them, and of all the others who were running beside my fellow racers. The pain of my knees was nothing compared to what those memories went through. It pushed me to finish strong, and finish below what my target was. And there was an SF Firefighter, dressed up in a tux, handing me my little blue Tiffany's box containing my finisher's medal.

It was a really wonderful day, and I am so glad I did it (even if it was just for the necklace). Ultimately, all the proceeds from this event go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and every little bit helps.

15 October 2006

Home Where I Belong.

The home buying process is a crazy one.

You get ready to make the plunge. You find an agent, who tells you great things about home owning and how fun the process is. You figure out your budget, you get the bank to tell you how much they'll give you, you want to throw up at what the payments are going to be. You figure out that maybe your budget should be a little lower, reset your expectations, and you start.

Your agent takes you out...what do you like, what don't you like, what is again wrong with this place. You wonder how to put into words that you just know this place isn't "it," that there is nothing exactly you can pinpoint as wrong, but it just isn't right.

Then you discover the MLS, the listing service. You get the listings from your agent each time a new one hits the market, and you drop everything to check it out. You go through the listings yourself and bug the agent, hey, lemme look at this one.

You go to more open houses. You find something you like, get excited, then are crushed when, for one reason or another, there is something wrong with it and it isn't a good buy. You keep plugging on, discouraged.

Then you go out and find several that you like. You have to make a decision. And that might be the scariest step yet.

09 October 2006

A New Decade

Today I turned 30. That feels so weird to say, I am 30. At lunch, my boss said something about a 29 year old, and I thought, holy shit, I am not in my 20's anymore. A whole new decade, a new part of life, right?

Funny thing, birthdays. I don't feel any different than I did yesterday, yet, I am in a whole new year of my life. Everyone tells me this is a big birthday, that the 30's are the best, blah blah blah gettingoldcakes, but... It all seems the same to me, thus far. Should I feel different? Older?

I generally don't like my birthdays, I kind of tend to hide. But today, I felt like I was looking at things differently. I stayed at my parent's house last night, so had to take the train to work this morning, and, for the first time in forever, I got a seat. Good sign for the first act of my 30's. I don't know that it means anything, but if I believed in signs I would think this bodes well for the rest of this year. There is so much that I hope...

But mainly, I hope, the seats are plentiful and the rides get better.

07 October 2006

It's Playoff Time

As I've mentioned before, I am a big baseball fan. And come October, baseball should be the dominating topic in any sports conversation (the fact that it's not really burns me...football has JUST STARTED, hockey - apparently - has also just started. This is the PLAYOFFS, peeps. Give baseball its due). It is for me.

This year, I am thrilled that my team has finally broken their streak of losing in the first round of the playoffs. (and, watching the Mets/Dodgers game right now, this guy made a huge error in the top of the 8th, giving the Mets a 4 run lead instead of 3, pretty much making a comeback unlikely) We swept a team not many gave us a chance to beat. We beat the best pitcher in baseball.

[Selfishly, I would have like them to have lost one, because I could actually go to Game 4. I was going to celebrate my birthday, the big 3-0, in a skybox with some friends & family, and maybe get my name in lights. That's not going to happen now. I am pretty disappointed; it was pretty much the only thing I was looking forward to that pertained to my bday. I know, selfish.]

There is an electricity to the playoffs that isn't there during most of the regular season. There is also a real sense that anything can happen. Today it did. The Yankee's, the team with the highest payroll and literally a team of all-stars, were defeated and knocked out of the playoffs by the Tigers, a team who had an awesome season until the very end, but doesn't have any huge superstars. In watching the game today, you could see why this could happen.

The game of baseball requires playing as a team. It isn't just up to the pitcher to get the ball up and away from the hitter, or the hitter to hit a home run each time. It requires that the defense have their head in the games and not make big mistakes. It requires the coach not to put a player who has just started playing a particular position in the game at that position IN THE PLAYOFFS [Joe Torre, I am looking at you]. It requires that your teammates support you even when things are a little tough on the field. Watching the Yankees demeanor and actions in the dugout, this certainly wasn't happening. The guys in the dugout didn't speak to each other; once they got behind you could see the fighting spirit drain out of them. This I don't understand...they are paid millions to play a game every day. We should all be so lucky.

It'll be interesting moving into this next round to see the A's vs. Tigers. These teams are somewhat similar in that there are no real big names (yes, we have Frank Thomas, but he was considered way past his prime when the A's picked him up). They play both play as a team, supporting each other on the field and in the dugout. They are both made up of players with not a ton of experience in the playoffs (there are exceptions, of course, but in general).

I am looking forward to it!

05 October 2006

Airport Code: JFK

I had the great pleasure of flying out of JFK today.

One would think, given the amount of traffic that goes through this airport, they would spruce it up a bit. I will admit that I have always been underwhelmed with this airport, but in the past I haven't had the opportunity to walk around much. Today I did.

I arrived and checked in, then headed to the security line. I swear, this line, though short, barely moved. They only have one little table in front of each machine, so you have to wait until you get to the front to put anything into a bin. Which makes everything SO SLOW. And, when you are behind a couple with a baby, who didn't think to start getting themselves ready until they were in the front (couldn't they have taken off their shoes, or jacket, or pulled the bags out from beneath the stroller).

Once through security, there are signs promising the "Food and Shopping Pavilion." I was hungry, so very excited that there would be a plethora of choices. Walking up there...the shopping pavilion was a few duty-free shops and a toy store where you could get the new Elmo if you spend 300$ on other toys. This gave me a feeling of dread for what my food choices might be.

My feeling was correct.

This great pavilion was a McDonalds, a Deli of sorts, an Italian place, and the typical airport bar/food place. And there may have been a smoothie place. Are you kidding me? In NYC, this is how they want their visitors to remember their city? For those just arriving, this is how they get them excited about the culinary delights that await them beyond the airport doors?

Maybe I am spoiled by SFO, which has a lot of restaurants and shops and things to keep you busy. Maybe I have flown into the wrong terminal, and others are better (I have been similarly underwhelmed by all of the NYC-area airports...). I don't know, but it surprises me.

04 October 2006


It is 1.10am. I am laying in the dark here in my hotel room (NY Palace...fancy), completely unable to sleep. Before I went to bed, I was exhausted. Now that I am in bed...I am completely unable to fall asleep.

So, cruising through the TV stations...

- Why did the lead singer of The Killers make himself so ugly? He was so beautiful in the Mr. Brightside video, and now he looks like some 1980's porn cop. I don't get it.

- Mexican telenovelas are hilarious. Everyone is crying. All the time.

- This Senator Foley is hot news. The more I read of his messages, the more creeped out I am.

- Ann Coulter is an idiot. She was on the O'Reilly show (I know, I know...INSOMNIA!) saying that the Republicans are going to have a bad election year, but it will have nothing to do with the Foley scandal, the wiretapping, Iraq, or anything. It's just going to be that way.

- Even muting Ann Coulter doesn't help. She is a scary, scary lady.

- There is really nothing on this late at night.

- There are a lot of good shows on Broadway right now. I wish I had time to go see them all (they have a Broadway preview channel; it is awesome).

- This Foley scandal is getting more press than the Amish shooting. Very sad.

- Tim Daly is friggin adorable. And that Fergusen character apparently uses "for customer use only" bathrooms without buying anything.

- I need to get up in 4 hours. Why in lord's name can't I get some sleep!?

- Why can't I find any highlights of the A's game. Some of us were working when the game was on frickin' early.

- Watching movies, like Jungle Fever, that were made in the 80's is is fun. I sometimes forget how bad the hair, clothes, and accessories were. Why are they bringing these things back?

- Why doesn't Michael Imperioli wax his eyebrows? A little grooming on those wouldn't hurt him any.

- Ok...Scrubs is on. I love me some Zach Braff. Finally, something quality.

I NEED TO GO TO SLEEP. Time is now 1.30am.