Gah, crappy day...end to a crappy week.

I want a "do over" on this week, ok? My "runs" since last Saturday's race have stunk--2 of 3 consisted of as much walking as running and my one full run was so slow. I now seem to have come down with DH's cold (just in time for the weekend, how nice...just hope I can still do an 11 miler with my friend who is running a half marathon with me 4 weeks from this Sunday) and last night I found out that a dear friend of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer. At least she's remaining relatively upbeat about things--she's joking that she's going to bleach her hair blonde before it falls out and then she thinks she may opt for double radical mastectomies (to head-off future issues with cancer) and get breast implants, instead.

The really shitty part is that her mom has terminal lung cancer, so not only does she have to deal with her own illness, but she's trying to care for her mom at the same time. It's this sort of garbage that has me leaning further and further into the atheist camp with every passing year. No loving god would ever heap this much shit on a single person and who wants to have anything to do with a deity who is an asshat?

In less unhappy news I have been working to get my datenighttoys.com site listed with search engines and set up on Google AdWords for pay-per-click advertising. So far no sales, but I'm still learning how to optimize my search keywords and page ads to get the most click-throughs/page impression, as well as the most hits for the least amount of $$. I'd love it if I could make a few hundred bucks/month off of the site, since it pretty much takes care of itself and I simply take the 35% commission. My only expenses are for the web hosting of my entry page (cheap) and advertising. I don't have to deal with order fulfillment or customer service.


Charming, my ass!

Last night I slept OK, even though my race-worn body really needed to sleep like the dead...that little stinker kitten we rescued slept in our room for the first time since we found him a week ago. In the garage he was Chase the Charming, but in the house he seems to be "Chase: Ninja Warrior Cat." He slept well through the night, though we frequently woke to him up by our heads purring like a machine. As soon as it started getting light he went into crazy mode and started bouncing off the walls and attacking our hands. I'm tired. ;)

Now he is passed-out on our bed. I should take an afternoon siesta, myself.





Just after 10AM I crossed the start line for the Old Boys' Brewhouse 1/2 Marathon. I started to Pat Benatar's "All Fired Up" and crossed the finish line to Faith No More's "Be Aggressive." And blew my PR outta the water by 10:32 (av. pace/mile under 9:30). I rocked that damned race! I had great cheerleaders, too, complete with a HTFU! banner around the 11.5 mile mark that kept me pumped for those last grueling miles.

There was some question as to the length of the race based upon maps I had seen online, but it was so well marked for mileage on the course that I am certain it was a full 13.1. Overall this was definitely one of the most well organized and enjoyable races I've ever run...almost the entire thing is on an asphalt bike path that runs around Spring Lake--our old stomping ground. I can't wait to run it again next year and feel so psyched for my HM in Grand Rapids in 5 weeks...that course is a bit less hilly, so I'm hoping to maybe cut another minute or two off of my time for that--but if I don't it won't break my heart, as I had such a great time today.

The first 3 miles were my usual "let's get this warm-up crap over, already." At around mile 3 another runner in an orange skirt and white top caught up with me and we stuck together for the next 3 miles. She is a personal trainer and a server at our nearest Logan's, so I recognized her. She's 11 years my junior and was telling me that she has also lost considerable weight in recent years--this was her first half marathon. I lost her on a hill around mile 6 (I do loves me some hills) and didn't see her again until the finish (she was a few minutes behind me and still placed 2nd for her AG--out of 3, I think...damn fast 30-somethings that I had to compete with).

The rest of the race I was alone. I passed 4 more runners between 6 miles and the finish, so I was so thankful to have my iPod for company. In usual form I pretty much maintained a consistent pace for the entire race. I really can't wait to someday have a Garmin to see the complete breakdown of pace over the course of a typical race. I sure do seem to be Ms. Consistency.

There were a total of 102 racers in the HM, I placed 76 overall (7/9 in my AG--one of the larger AGs in the race), so not bad. I'd really love to someday place in the top half of an event, but this was a pretty competitive field.

After the race I enjoyed a nice raspberry ale (our race swag included a pint glass with $2 refills all day for racers), a wet burrito, and lots of water. I'm really glad I didn't wear my 3/4 length tights--I was perfectly comfy in my skirt and even a little too warm in sunnier parts of the course. We were pretty sheltered from the wind until the last few hundred yards approaching the finish. I think the temps were ~65º with low humidity and not a cloud in the sky--perfect day.

And for my shoe whoring happiness NB was one of the sponsors and I got a gander at the 903...a bit less gaudy than the 902 (my speedwork shoe--I'd love to try it in a long race, but for now I limit it to shorter runs of 4-5 miles), but still appropriately flashy.

This will definitely go down as one of my most memorable races--and without any negatives. It was really a wonderfully blissful run.

Ooh, something that has me even more pumped...I was just looking at last year's Grand Rapids HM results and my time today would have nabbed me 13th place out of 46 runners in my AG--I was 27th last year (there was a woman who ran that in the identical time to what I ran today's race...and today's race didn't even have a start pad, so my actual time would have put me in 12th).

Damn...I'm on fi-yah!


Back in Business!

My old partytoysr.us domain expired, so I decided to move my adult affiliate store to an easier to find domain/store name, Date Night Toys. Now I need to go through the work of resubmitting to adult search engines so that I can be found on Google.

Chase the Charming

2 days ago Chase received a (mostly) clean bill of health. Tests for Feline Leukemia came back negative, so he was treated for worms, vaccinated, and I treated him with Frontline for fleas when we arrived home. We'll keep him in the garage until Sat. afternoon, that way we can make sure that he doesn't have any respiratory viruses or anything that he could spread to our 3 other feline furbabies. After my half marathon race in the morning we'll come home and bring him in to stay in our room for a few days--so the other cats can acclimate a bit to having him in the house before they have any face-to-face meetings.

He's still such a little love. I think he will definitely be a major lap cat. When we've spent time out in the garage with him he's pretty much all about snuggling the entire time we're out there--and purring...loudest purr I've ever heard on a cat. Amazing the sound that his little 5# body can produce! He loves to stand on our laps and stretch his front paws up on either sides of our necks--hugging. Or he'll lay belly-up on our laps and stretch his paws up as far as he can reach, with this expression of pure adoration on his fuzzy little face. So sweet.

I really hope the other cats don't give him too hard a time. I think as long as he doesn't chase after them and want to play 24/7 that they will accept him relatively quickly. When we brought Erik in he was a PITA...and still is. He's a bit maniacal and went out of his way to harass our older 2 cats...as a result they never really accepted him. If Chase is as gentle with our older cats as he is with us I think he'll be like Thor--well tolerated by the other cats.



Words...words, words...

That little Chase is something else. What a gentle little personality--granted, he hasn't yet been introduced to our kitties and won't be until after a full round of flea and worm meds, vaccinations, etc.--but I really think he's not going to be the little stinker that Erik was when we brought him in as a little urchin. So far he mostly just wants to be nuzzled, loved, touching our faces with his paws or butting our chins with his head. And purring...non-stop. *sigh* What a little doll baby kitty!

A few descriptives for Chase...charming (as in Chase the Charming), gentle, trusting, uber affectionate, friendly, social, polite, bold, intelligent, playful, docile, loyal... I can only imagine how many more positive adjectives we'll find once he is in our house and settled-in.



Chase Pix

Here's more of the little runt:


We're back to 4 cats, apparently. About 15 months after our sweet Gus died a new little rascal has decided to take advantage of our lack of will against feline wiles.

I returned from a short, but crappy run last evening to find the guys zoomin' around on their bikes in the driveway...while being CHASED by a little silver tabby guy of ~12 weeks. Friendliest little fuzzball I've ever met and very bold. Funny watching a tiny kitten chasing after a 1st grade boy and his big, barrel-chested dad on their bikes.

So I go indoors to start fixing dinner (salmon and brown rice). As the salmon is nearing the end of baking I ask Dane if he knows how much longer Derek will be in the garage (detached, on the opposite corner of our largeish lot). His response, "I don't know...he took the kitty out there with him." Danger, Danger, Will Robinson.

So Derek finally comes in as Dane and I are finishing eating. He has the kitty out there...with a litterbox and a fire blazing in the little woodstove and a jar of water to drink from. Oh, boy. Of course, not to be outdone I bring him out dishes of salmon, cat food, and some cheesy milk drink for cats that we bought and never used when Gus was so ill.

He inhaled it all. And next thing you know I'm at the grocery store at 10pm buying Kitten Chow (which was the only kitten food they had). Gah, we have no will power.

I suppose we *should* try to find his rightful "owners," but anyone who lets a little kitty out on his own at such a young age (especially when we had frost in the forecast for overnight) doesn't really deserve such a sweet little friend. He shows signs of fleas and ear mites and I'm certain he's got worms, too. Tomorrow I will be calling our vet to bring him in for a check-up and if he's in good health (ie no FIV or Feline Leukemia) I'm pretty certain we'll be getting him immunized and will start thinking about having him neutered in the not-too-distant future. Our old fart cats are just gonna LOVE us, I'm sure...NOT!

Oh, and the boys have already named him "Chase."





Ahhh...what a couple of weeks. Dane just finished his first full week of 1st grade, culminating in his first spelling test, yesterday. 7/7. I'd so love to take that test to Montague Public Schools to show them how very wrong they were to recommend we hold him back. He's doing just fine in 1st grade and positively loves it. Holding him back would have been the biggest mistake ever, as it wouldn't have addressed the real issue, ADHD.

He's rapidly making new friends in his new school and his best friend is a girl in his class who is also in 1st grade (the classroom is combined 1st & 2nd grade) and TALLER than Dane. This is the same little gal who was playing "kiss tag" with him during the first week of school.

His teacher also seems to really enjoy having him in class. Earlier this week I stopped in to ask her a question when I dropped Dane off (Derek had a class down in Holland to attend, so I was taking Dane to and from school 2 days this week) and she said that she wants to start a journal of funny things Dane says. Apparently he had told her the previous day that he needed to keep a pencil behind his ear to help his brain work better. She was puzzled by this and asked him why that would make him think better and his response was "Uncle Dan (my best friend's DH) told me that he keeps a pencil behind his ear to help him think." Apparently Dan had a pencil behind his ear a while back and Dane asked him why he put it there...his response was the brain thing....


After dropping him off one of those mornings I did my last long run (just over 14 miles) around Spring Lake. Pretty convenient, since the half marathon I will be running next weekend will go around the lake, so I know the course pretty well (when we lived down there we often biked around the lake, so it was already fairly familiar territory for me).

Speaking of Spring Lake, I am also working on my resumé for a part time job at a new fitness club in the area. It's one of those 24 hour joints with key cards that is staffed only a few hours/day. It would work perfectly for me to drop Dane off and pick him up from school AND have regular access to treadmills for running indoors when the Winter weather is nasty. I have my fingers and toes crossed that I at least get an interview.

That's really been a sticking point for me in recent years. I've had minimal luck landing interviews for entry-level jobs. I think a lot of employers don't want to consider a person with 2 BAs...but I don't have the experience in any field to pursue anything but entry level, so I'm in that proverbial spot between a rock and a hard place. I applied for a one-hour photo lab position at a Walgreens that is opening 10 minutes from us in a month, called to confirm that my application was received, and the guy I spoke with said they would be calling applicants at the end of this past week to set up interviews. The phone never rang. I'm more than qualified, but I'm sure they'd rather hire someone who has minimal qualifications and won't be as likely to demand more pay or leave when something better comes along.


Ladies' Man Strikes Again!

Sheesh. My kid is some gifted Romeo, apparently. Every classroom he has been in has found him fending off the affections of little girls by the end of the second week. I know not where he gets this trait, as NO ONE on EITHER side of our families is skilled with the opposite sex--least of all my kid's parents (Derek is a self-proclaimed geek and I have been a geek/nerd magnet since as far back as I can remember).

Today I picked Dane up a few hours before his school's open house. Upon asking him how his day was he told me about a girl who was following him around the classroom trying to kiss him--he claims she finally caught him and kissed him on the knee. I only half believed this tale...until we were at open house.

As we were making our way off the playground a little girl was running in our direction. She abruptly stopped just after making eye contact with Dane...then suddenly a complete come-hither expression crossed her face and she teasingly asked Dane "wanna play kiss tag." I kid you not. Derek and I both looked at each other in shock and utter amusement.

3.5 days into 1st grade and my kid already has a girlfriend, apparently. And she's taller than him, which says something, as he is 75th percentile height. She's also a very pretty little girl (dark, wavy hair and green or blue eyes)...needless to say, my kid does have good taste (like father, like son...heh).



School Daze

There's my "baby" on his first day of 1st grade at Walden Green Montessori Day School. He's already so much more mature than he was even 6 months ago. Derek drops him off at the curb in the morning and he trots right in to the building and gets himself to his classroom. No drawn-out hugs and kisses sessions in the morning like we did every morning of Kindergarten.

In the evenings getting information about his day out of him is damned near impossible, though. Basically all we know at this point is that he really likes his new school...which is great, as he was pretty apprehensive before school started. He was pretty upset by the prospect of having to make new friends and have a new teacher.

Tonite we have an open house at his school to attend, so I really look forward to seeing more of what he's done the past couple of days and to meet more with his teachers and maybe some parents of his classmates.

Next week he will start staying after school for an extra hour or two in after school care, as Derek is taking him to and from school each day. His work is just a couple of minutes from Dane's school, so it's pretty convenient. And next week I will be concentrating on my own job hunt. This week I have been occupied with school stuff and a photo order for my best friend and her riding student.


How is this even possible?

As of Tues. I will officially be mom to a 1st grader. I'm flabbergasted. Since Dane will now be in school full days it's time for me to find a job. I'm hoping for a part-time one-hour photo lab job at the Walgreens that is being built in our community. Low-key and fun. I should still have plenty of time for running (got a marathon to train for next year), yet be bringing in some income.