The Mind is Willing

I'm SO ticked off right now. Today I was all psyched for my first 10-mile walk. My previous longest distance is about 6.5 miles. I've done that a handful of times over the past few weeks. But, today it was supposed to ramp up to 10 miles.

Supposed to.

My feet have failed me. Or maybe it's my sneakers which have. I had previously developed a rather large blister on my right heel, and a smaller one on my left pinky toe. They both had seemed healed and weren't the least bit tender anymore.

Well, evidently whatever caused the blisters in the first place hasn't been remedied. Because they're both back. With a vengeance. Twinges faded into nothing as I eased into my walk, after about half a mile I felt great. Then, around the 3.5 mile mark some discomfort kicked in. Around mile 4 it was more like pain and I was compensating in my stride.

I called Joe (it was our plan all along that he'd be coming to pick up Sasha around the 4-5 mile mark and I'd continue without her, she's still shy of her 6-month birthday, after all). He met me about a mile later. Although I was feeling kind of better, I decided to check out my feet while he was there with the van. Good thing I did.

My feet are kind of a mess. New blisters have formed under the old mostly-healed ones, and I have two new small ones forming on my right pinky toe and left heel. I think they're compensatory since I was adjusting my stride to alleviate the discomfort.

Anyway, a trip to Dick's is in order today so I can get new shoes. I'm not sure how long I really ought to stay off my feet. And, I'm not sure what I ought to do to recover quickest from this.

I'm SO ticked off at not completing my walk. I have never been any sort of even vague athlete, and I actually am now at the point where I really love my walks and I really feel good getting the exercise, and covering the miles. But this pain sucks. A lot.



Another Winner

Go see this movie. You'll be glad you did. I can't believe Pixar keeps making excellent movies.




Completed 100+ miles of training walking today for the 3-Day in October

Exceeded 30 lbs of weight loss at my Weight Watchers weigh-in

(yay, me!)



Jerky Delights

I just have to take a moment this morning to send you on a mission. If you like beef jerky (and, really, who doesn't?) ... get thee to your local Target store.

We're big fans of dried meat products here at Chez Dugan. Truly. I've even been known to splurge on more exotic turkey jerky and buffalo jerky as Christmas stocking stuffers for Joe. Sadly, beef jerky itself is a splurge. I don't know why a packet weighing under 4 ounces has to cost five or six bucks.

So imagine my delight when I ventured down the snackfoods aisle of my local Target store and discovered their own "Market Pantry" brand of beef jerky for less than $3 a packet! "You get what you pay for," I thought, but bought some anyway to try it out. And, it's quite good. Some bits are the more traditional leathery tough jerky, but some are moister, thicker strips. Quite wonderful.

It's now one of our weekly Doctor-Who-watching-with-Seth staple snacks. Yum!



McKean Visit, II

Today we started packing to go home tomorrow. I'm ready. The kids would stay another month, I think. But, they don't realize a month-long visit wouldn't be as jam-packed with meals out and activities as a week-long visit is.

Where'd I leave off?

Well, I forgot to mention one of the "highlights" of the earlier part of the trip. Namely, Emily threw up a few times the first night we got here. Then the next morning as we ran our errands, we noticed the Krispy Kreme light was on. Free doughnuts! Well, Mom and Matthew got free doughnuts. About 5 seconds after we walked in, Emily spewed breakfast (and grape juice ... eeew!) all over the floor and entry-way rug. I don't think they want us to return any time soon.

Monday we putzed around in the garden and then ran over to Home Depot for some things Dad needed. We hit a matinee of Surf's Up! And it was quite funny. I think the mockumentary style made it. Otherwise, it would've been just another goofy penguin movie.

We'd been looking forward to Tuesday ... a SeaWolves double-header. And family Buck Night. 75-cent hotdogs, etc. Nice! Well, except for the weather. We spent an hour in the car waiting for the rain to stop, so they'd maybe start the game. When it fizzled out, we headed over to the stadium. We got some ballpark-style dinner, and then they announced they were cancelling both games. Bummer! Worked with Dad (watched, really) on our picnic table he's making for us. Dad and I saw the dual passage of the ISS and STS-117. They were very bright (at least as bright as Jupiter, at the moment) and about two finger-widths apart. Very nice display. I like this site for checking on when you can see satellites pass overhead.

So, we went back to the ballpark last night for a new double-header. And it was Baseball BINGO night. Each time the SeaWolves were batting, there was a code for each possible outcome. Right fielder flies out -- B9, Catcher singles -- G53, etc. I was playing 9 cards, and got exactly 0 BINGOs, even between two games! Matthew did get a nice shot on the "Jumbotron" screen, boogying to some song between innings. :) The SeaWolves and the Altoona Curve split the double-header.

Today we're already mostly packed up. I think we're going to take the kids for a round of mini-golf. Mom and Dad have a high school reunion planning meeting tonight. Other than that, I think it's a good day to veg. Long drive tomorrow.



McKean Visit, I

Well, Thursday was a long day. Such a long drive to make with no one to talk to. The kids watched a couple of movies, and helped out with digging food and munchies from the cooler, and napped. But mostly they were quiet. And I was bored. They got whiny/picky/grumpy/irritable coming up I-79, by which point I was equally, if not more so, whiny/picky/grumpy/irritable. So I sort of melted down on them. Fortunately we all got it together before we got here.

Friday we ran a bunch of errands. Forgot my toothbrush, broke my sunglasses somewhere around Altoona, needed bigger life jackets for the kids, etc. Nothing too exciting. Although, found a great Father's Day gift for Joe. For only $6.50. :) It'll dress-up (fill to the gills) his office at the college. He has a bunch of cool stuff in there, already (including this, this, and this). Dad has just given me his old slide rule from the Academy to add to Joe's nifty math/toys collection.

And then, after Dad got home from work, we all went out on the boat. Matthew caught a sheepshead, and Emily caught a small white bass (big enough to keep).

Saturday we went to the funeral home for my mom's Aunt Arlene. The kids had their first experience with the whole funereal situation. They handled it perfectly. I figured I should expose them to that sort of thing before it's someone they actually know and love. And, I think it was a good choice. We had Aunt Deb with us for this, and then she went with us to the Erie Zoo Member Day celebration. Free food, drinks, carousel and train ride can't be beat! It was a warm, sunny day and we had a ball. I'll post the pictures of the Lorikeets climbing all over Dad when I get them off his camera.

Oh, and Dad & I saw the ISS/STS-117 flyover on Saturday night. The earlier one (roughly 9:30pm) was impossible, too low and lost in all the light. Sunset is pretty late here. But, the later one (around 11pm) was gorgeous. Bright, long-lasting, arcing WAY up through Polaris. Even got a good flare out of it, making it about as bright as Venus. It was well brighter than Jupiter through most of the crossing. This site is a good one for knowing when to look.

Yesterday was church and Father's Day, of course. We went out on the boat again. Em and Matthew did most of the fishing. Em even caught a couple of fish entirely on her own. All-in-all we wound up with 3 small gobies, 3 nice perch, a zebra mussel, and ...
this thing. We really weren't sure what on earth it was. It was about 10-11" long. After we figured it out, and the fish commission Penn State intern chick confirmed it's native and has a substantial natural range, we released it back into the lake. (Dad had even pulled over to another fisherman, "What big, black, has four legs and lives on the bottom of the lake?" Sounded like he was waiting for a punch line. But, the guy said, "Might be a water dog." Guess that's the large lake-version of a mud puppy.)

Saw the space station fly-over again last night. Along with some nice views (using Dad's spotting scope) of Jupiter and four moons, the unlit portion of the currently crescent moon, and Saturn. Wish I were with Chris and his telescope for all that.

No idea what's on tap for today. Right now Mom and Em are working in the garden. And, I suspect I've procrastinated about as long as I can get away with.



It's a Good Thing, Right?

Well, since I didn't get a call today, it seems I didn't get the last teaching job I had a shot at. I sent out about 15 resumes, got 3 interviews, 1 second interview. But, apparently, no job out of it.

I'm actually kind of pleased about it. More than I thought I'd be. I really like where I am, and who I'm currently working with. I even like that it's part-time. My principal is fair and decent and has gone out of her way for me (getting my formerly grant-based-therefore-ephemeral position into the actual budget and even expanding it by 175%). It's just not the same kind of money as full-time, obviously. Want to do more to help us get ahead.

Likely there will be another round of job openings in early August (the ads have dwindled away to nothing over the past couple of weeks). So, it's not a sure thing, yet.

But I'm actually relieved. I was really not looking forward to making the decision between a decent-paying part-time job with colleagues and administration I like at a school I know to a crummy-paying but full-time job at an unknown school with unknown people (plus the new school is beginning a "looping" program this year ... the 1st grade teachers will move up through 3rd or 4th grade with their cohort of students then loop back down to 1st grade for a new batch ... neat idea, but means learning a whole new curriculum each year until the loop repeats). So, it seems it's out of my hands for the time being.


Elsewhere on the Web

'Nuff said.


Ask a Ninja

If you haven't dredged through the archives over at Ask a Ninja. Well, you ought to.



Definitely Worth It

It was a pain in the neck. The cake crumbled uncontrollably. It had to be frozen twice to try to make it solid enough to frost ... in stages. I ran out of frosting halfway through. My hands are stained a nice Smurf blue under the nails. But when Matthew said, "Mom! That's the best cake EVER!" I decided it was all more than worth it.



Nice Agenda

The plan for the day:

6am - workout on the stationary bike while watching a back episode of Lost
6:45am - prep for work, drink SlimFast shake, prod kids
7:55am - leave for work
8:30-11:30am - work (if you can call it that at this point in the year)
noon - arrive home, have lunch, walk Sasha
1pm - see Ocean's Thirteen (pretty good! Complex enough to see again)
3:45pm - meet schoolbus
4:15pm - swimming pool!
5:30pm - hotdogs on the grill (Matthew's birthday dinner selection)
6:30pm - walk to the corner ice cream joint
7:30pm - ready the kids for reading time
8pm - Joe begins SupCom fest
8:30pm - lights out, time for me to watch whatever I want on TV. Woo!



Zoo of Untrue

Quick link I Stumbled upon. One example to whet your appetite:


Life Update

Things are rolling right into summer-mode at Chez Dugan (inside joke from the Reunion ... when someone asked me how "Dugan" could possibly be mispronounced, I filled them in. Most commonly, there's "Duggan," but far more interesting is the French-accented method, rhyming roughly with Rodin.)
  • Joe is partway into his first Summer Term (more than halfway actually). He teaches Mondays and Wednesdays 8am-3pm. He'll have a week off for 4th of July then start up again Mondays and Wednesdays 11am-7pm.

  • He's also beginning rehearsals for a local community theatre production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. He's in the chorus, one of "Gaston's Cronies." Should be fun!

  • The kids last day of school is next Wednesday, but they already have well more than one foot out the door. I have to go to work one more day after that, but pretty much stop teaching tomorrow.

  • The pool is open, a relatively civilized temperature (71-72*), and sparkling clean.

  • Matthew turns 6 tomorrow. 6! My baby boy. He's into airplanes (the Millville Airshow was a big hit this year with him), trains (still), pretty much anything with an engine that moves. We're going kind of Blue Angels-themed with our gifts and cake this year, but he's not having an official kids-from-school sort of birthday party. We're having family over for cake and ice cream, and then heading to the Ocean City Boardwalk for Mack & Manco pizza and rides.

  • Our yard actually looks green and lush right now (the dry late-summer browning is coming starting in July). We've had flowers blooming straight through since late February/early March. In order ... crocus, mini daffodils, regular daffodils, tulips, double tulips, pussy willows, forsythia, pieris, weeping cherry, ornamental pear, crabapple, violets, vinca, lilacs, ornamental almond, azaleas, dame's rocket, rhododendrons, antique-style bush roses, spirea ... soon to come are the day lilies and butterfly bushes ... then after that not much. Guess I need to get some late summer/early fall flowers that like shade and drought. (yeah, good luck!)

Guess that's it for now. Back to clearing out my shelves and filing cabinets for the summer break.



Reunion Pictures

Looking back at the weekend, there are a bunch of pictures I wish I'd taken. Like, a few with me in them, for example. Joe & I at the class dinner. Me with professors Jim Bulman and Beth Watkins. Me with fellow reunion co-chair Darrell Park. Yeah, 20/20 hindsight is a beautiful thing. Hopefully I can get a few pictures to fill in a few blanks from some fellow alums (although those particular posed shots didn't happen, so they simply don't exist).


edit: added some pictures from Alysa Alderman McCormick to my web album.


My "Type"

Inspired by a conversation this past Reunion Weekend. In no particular order ...

John Cusack
Zach Braff
Ewan McGregor
David Tennant
Joe Flanigan



Reunion Weekend

Signing in from Allegheny College. It's been 14 years since we graduated. Can't believe how much I've missed this place. LOTS of memories. Only run into a couple of people we know so far. :)