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Phrases of the day?

“On your left”

“Car back”

And me?

I did very well, at least in my mind, and completed the course in 4:30:38 (68.xx miles, according to my computer, and an average speed of 15.1mph). I slowed down on the hills, but always made it to the top and without having to stop and die. I probably passed more people than I was passed by. And I definitely passed a lot of people on the hills. And I felt really good throughout.

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

But typing will have to wait until my right ring finger decides it wants to obey my brain’s comands. It’s not numb, but feeling asleep and a little slow to respond right now. So until typing is more than a 9 fingered endeavor, hasta.

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Good omens for this weekend:

3. Met with Dr. M, my boss, just now, and brought her a giant list of experiments since I was having trouble figuring out my priorities. She basically crossed off all but three and told me to focus on those, and then we’ll be ready for the paper. And she wants a draft of the paper, with all the data that I have now, by next Monday. Now that’s really close, but I have a large part of the draft done. Plus, this means I’m almost on my way to publishing my first grad student paper. How awesome is that? And it’s just a really good feeling to know that she thinks I’m doing well in my work, and that even if lab work is going crappy sometimes, the big picture outlook is still good.

4. While backing out of my parking spot, noticed that the car next to me was from a midwestern state, the same state, in fact, where John is from. He has his redneck roots, alright. Plus they had a dive flag. How may cars with dive flags are to be found in the Midwest? Practically none. Taking this as a good sign of things in general, diving in particular.

And so far, I think I’ve remember everything I was supposed to pack. I just jinxed myself, didn’t I?

Now I’ve got to unpack the entire bag and check that my brain is in there just in case. And maybe a bra or two.

The Big Ride is tomorrow. And I’m starting to get nervous.

It’s not a “I’m not sure I can do this” nervous. It’s just a nervous-nervous. Maybe because I’ve built this up in my mind to be such a hugh goal to work towards, and now it’s here.

I’m as ready as I can be, which may not be perfectly ready, but I think I did my best. So I just need to calm down, make it through the day at work, and I’m off to the East Bay for the ride. John will show up tonight after work, bringing my bike.

Good omens, as I read them:

1. Mom took me to a really tasty Greek restaurant last night that would probably normally be a special treat kind of place for Husband and I. We split a salad, a shrimp in tomato and feta appetizer, and the lamb chops. My mom said the lamb chops were probably the best she’s had since Australia. And oh my god they were delicious! So tasty! Especially with a little lemon juice. We each scarfed one, then sadly decided we were too full from the salad and shrimp (if only we’d known!) and brought the other two home to John. Who promptly devoured them while we watched. Oh so tasty!

2. I’ve officially lost the 20 pounds the doctor told me I needed to. This Is AWESOME! I’ve been struggling with weight loss issues for years, and I’m feeling really proud of myself over this. My goal is another 10, so I’m not giving up. But for the first time in years, I like my body. I’ve never been particularly ashamed of it, but I’ve never particularly liked walking around in a swimsuit prior to suiting up for diving, nor walking around in a somewhat tight tank top. Now I don’t really mind at all. When I reported this to Husband, I recieved proper congratulations! I figure his love is just more concentrated now that I’m smaller! If you figure from my max weight ever, I’ve lost about 33 pounds. *grin*

No negative omens to be found anywhere yet. *knock on wood*

Tomorrow’s supposed to be sunny and beautiful. Here comes the farmer’s tan! I can DO this! Go me! Woot!

There’s a solitaire widget on my computer called Gallery, which is lots of fun. I try not to play at work too often, but every once in awhile there are times when I’ve got 5 or 10 minutes, and there’s not much else to fit into that space, so I play until the timer sounds. Then it’s back on the training wheel.

One of the great things about this game, I think, is that the computer gives you all sorts of statistics, such as Minimum, Median, Mean, Maximum, Mode and Scores, based on the computer’s random playing of each game that is presented.

In any particular game, I like to try to beat the computer. I was surprised when it first happened. After all, given an inifinite, or at least large, number of times in which to play a given set of ordered cards, you’d think that after 5000 scores, the computer would find the lowest. Not so.

The computer just gave me the following stats:

Min: 3
Median: 28
Mean: 29.481
Max: 57
Mode: 27

My score? 0 out of 96 left on the board.

And just in the knick of time.

*beepbeepbeepbeep*

Not that I’m competitive or anything.

There are hundreds of languages in the world, most of them very beautiful to listen to.

Then there’s baby talk. Spoken by adult people. To other adult people.

Combined with large amounts of giggling laughter that sounded like a cross between a hyena and a donkey.

Now, normally donkey references involve either the movie Shreck or an Albanian that I know, and this involved neither, sadly. At least one of those would have made it more palatable.

Fortunately, half of the instigating presences of this noise have left the vicinity.

Let’s hope they don’t come visit again for a long, long time. We can all get work done that way.

Last night, while putting my time in on the bike trainer, I watched Jeopardy.

I love that show. I have copious amounts of trivial knowledge, apparently, and Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit are great ways to use it. Probably the only ways to use it. And while I’ll never try out for Jeopardy (you put me in front of a camera and I wouldn’t know my own name), John and I play Trivial Pursuit a lot. We have 3 or 4 editions, actually, and for one of them we have specific boxes that we each use. We both like to read all the clues and answers while the other is thinking, and at this point we’ve played so much with that particular edition that we have to have our own boxes because we know most of the answers to most of the questions. I suppose it’s good learning, as well as tons of fun.

Anyways…

Last night I was watching a Jeopardy from several weeks ago (I love the DVR I gave John last Valentine’s Day–great dual present!), and one of the catergories was “Movie Quotes” or some such thing. Now, John and I do this great (to us) thing where one of us will be reminded of a movie quote, and force the other to guess the movie. A good friend of ours, Dave who was a groomsman in our wedding, even referenced this during his toast, saying it was a sign we’d go far. I hope!

So I figured I’d skunk this category.

And then I didn’t know a single one! I didn’t even know 4 of the 5 movies! Godfather 3 I’d at least heard of. Sheesh. Takes me down a peg or two, I suppose. Lots of fun, even so.

And a good way to pass the time on the bike when I’m not outside. Yelling at people on TV amuses the neighbor’s, too, I’m sure. Especially when it’s an obvious (to me) answer and none of the three know it. Even better during the Teen Tournament. I may not know a whole lot of pop culture, but good god do those kids know nothing. And there’s a Young Kids Tournament coming up.

*rubs hands together in evil anticipation while cackling*

Things that have amused me in the last 48 hours:

1. While biking Saturday, I was headed up a hill as a guy in a car turned out of a business and headed down the hill. He came to a screaching halt, stuck his head out the window, yelled ‘hi’, and waved. I, somewhat startled, waved back. No idea who he was. Spent the next 15-20 minutes, or the rest of that set of hills, trying to figure out who he might have been. Still no idea.

2. Realized, somewhere around mile 40, that I hadn’t been hit in the face by a bug yet. Spent the next 15 miles desperately trying to avoid bugs in the face. Survived. Then realized this meant a total of 55 miles, only 10 shy of the amount we do in The Big Ride next weekend. Very proud of myself.

3a. Attacking The Hill, and making it to the top, then thinking ‘That wasn’t so hard’, only to have to stop promptly just over the top and relearn how to breathe. But I still made it up, and it wasn’t all that difficult. Not like last time at least.
3b. Analogies to cross country, and how that training comes in handy: “Attack the hills! You just have to catch the person in front of you! It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up!” Thanks, coach! I may not run much, and definitely not since I took up biking, but your advice has stood me in good stead more in the last two months than it has in all the years since high school!

4. Passing a speed sign that tells cars how fast they’re going relative to the speed limit, and having it tell me I was going a whopping 9mph. Speed demon, I am not, apparently. At least going up hills.

5. Passing a father and his young son at a mural downtown, and hearing the son tell his father, “Angel fish!” Father: “Yes, good job!” Now, I’m all for supplying self-confidence to children these days, but that was NOT AN ANGEL FISH! That was a Garibaldi! I repeat, not an angel fish! And what’s more, we live in California–the garibaldi is the state fish of California. For pete’s sake, people. I don’t think it’s necessary that everyone know trivia like that, but still! State fish!

6. The zillions of squirrles you find around here, each and every one of them reminding of me of Amy, my sister, who is terrified of squirrels–she once was attacked by one. It decided to use her as a climbing post, which she, needless to say, did not approve of. The species has been held in disdain ever since, but it makes me laugh.

7. Discovering that, in addition to two donkeys along one possible bike route, another possible route not only has two cows and multiple chickens, but also ducks! Enough to keep me smiling through the hills. And plenty of livestock to converse with while taking a breather.

8. Drinking enough water to become certifiably aquatic, which resulted in four of our last five car rides together with the following conversation:
Me: How long until a bathroom?
John: Awhile.
Me: That’s too long.
(Eventually, around time 4) John: This is becoming predicatable. I think you’re cut off.

9. Finally having access to a radio in the car, and being able to sing along to my heart’s content, for several hours today.

10. Getting to dive Monastery with friends, namely James F and Cara, and James M and Alisa, and really having it not be as terrifying, or as great, as it’s cracked up to be. Low vis, 7-8 feet of surge, and not great conditions upon surfacing that resulted in the six of us having to do a surf exit. But we did see a gigantic field of sand dollars, which was cool, and several sunstars with stumpy arms slowly growing back. And out at the edge of the dive, around 55 feet, finding a not abrubt but somewhat precipitous dropoff into the Monterey Trench. That was really cool, but somewhat spooky. It suddenly got very dark and the ground just sloped away down to 2000+ feet. While we didn’t see much else, and I’m not totally convinced that Monastery is the be-all and end-all of Monterey diving as some people tell it, it was pretty cool. And I survived without mishap, which is more than can be said of my gear (more on that later) or other people.

11. Going to dinner last night with the above diving friends, and just enjoying an evening of good food and good friends after feeling the accomplishment of my 55 miles. Did I mention the 55 miles part?

12. Going to lunch with the dive group, ordering jalepeno poppers, and watching John shoot cream cheese out of one straight across the table. Hilarious. Resulted in many premature popper jokes.

Things that did NOT amuse me in the last 48 hours:

1. Looking down while biking and realizing my wedding ring was no longer under my bike glove, but half way down my finger and threatening to fall off. Promptly had a heart attack, slammed on the brakes and fixed it. Spent the next however many miles being very paranoid about it. This may be a hazard of losing weight recently. The ring has always been very slightly too big, given that we bought it in the Midwest in winter, when they say your hands are smaller than in the summer, and it was darn cold out. And now with the weight loss (apparently you really do lose weight everywhere–perhaps this should go under the amusement section), I’ve nearly lost it three times. I’m surprised John hasn’t threatened to glue it to me permanently.

2. John dove in his new drysuit, while I still just have a wet suit. We’re saving up money, and I’m not sure why it made sense to get him a drysuit first, but it did. Nonetheless, got chilly today. Water was a toasty 52 degrees. Which sounds warm, but is actually chilly. Quite, quite chilly. I do NOT like being chilly. In fact, I prefers to be toasty warm at all times. Unfortunately, Monterey waters have never cooperated in this matter. There is Caribbean diving in several months, though. Whee!

3. The surf exit. That should be enough said. If it’s that bad, we normally don’t dive. Driving to Monterey isn’t enough of a justification for getting in the water when conditions don’t warrent. Nonetheless, these sprang up while we were under water, and thus we had to exit somehow. Hence, the surf exit. Which resulted in my SS1, or alternate air source, becoming more of a rattle full of gravel than potential life support equipment. No second dive for any of us with equipment that now needs servicing. Sad. At least John is a certified technician, so we don’t have to pay someone else for it. Handy man to have around!

Well, that’s a 12-3 score. Not a bad weekend. Overall, really pretty good. And to all a good night!

Scuba class has come and gone, and so has the headache. Class was great: not the brightest bunch ever, and overly enjoying their low pressure inflators (how do you run through 1000psi in 15 minutes in the shallow end of the pool???), but we had fun. Our instructors, all three of them–
Greg (head instructor), James F and Ben (affiliate instructors), were here tonight, which has been rare of late. I love these guys-working with them is a blast, and they’ve become some of my best friends. John had to work in the shop, but two other Dive Masters, or DMs, were there too. Good times.

The Friday night classes are a lot of fun. We get a lot of people who are nervous, and it’s so great to see them adjust to this sport and discover that they can actually do it! That’s what I like most about teaching. That, and the fact that I never stop laughing with these instructors.

John and I are trying to figure out dinner now that class and basketball are over. USC’s out of the tourney, sadly. Not really, I’m not a USC fan, but I’ve been reduced to cheering for the Pac-10. That leaves Oregon, which faces Florida, and UCLA, which faces Kansas. UCLA’s probably got a better shot of making to the next round, but I like Oregon better. I met some of them in LA, and let’s face it, any team with a star player who’s 5′6” is awesome. Granted, I don’t think he’s really that tall, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

So now where to eat? When I get tired and hungry, I get cranky, and tend to just start repeating things like “Hungry, hungry Me” until I get fed. Did you ever see that kid’s game “Hungry, Hungry Hippo”? Like that. And there’s not a lot of food in the house, and it’s kinda late to go out, and we’re going out tomorrow night, so in the grande scheme of saving money, we probably shouldn’t go out tonight.

I suppose that means we’ll be reduced to roaming the aisles of Safeway until we can find something we’ll both eat. And the later it gets, and the crankier we (by which I mean I) get, and the more I set my mind against junkfood type meals so I can keep slimming down, the worse it gets. I don’t mean to give John a hard time, and he’s pretty good about it, thankfully. He is, however, one of those people who will NEVER gain weight, even if he were to eat 9 bajillion calories a day, so sometimes I’m not quite sure he understand my constant struggle to lose weight. We once went and had a fitness test at the gym, and he was off the bottom of the scale with less than 5% body fat. He’s encouraging, but he also tends to buy a lot of junkfood that then sits around the house, where I may or may not have the will to resist it.

Now I’m really hungry. Time to go feed myself. Mmmmm.

Do you ever get a headache in a very localized place? I get normal headaches, and then I get headaches centered exactly behind my eyebrows, mostly my right one. My nurse aunt thinks these are migraines, but I’ve never gone to see a doctor about them. I can live with them, and lots of aspirin+napping makes them go away.

It also probably doesn’t help that a coworker and I just spent 1+ hours bathing the incubators (and ourselves) in ethanol in order to give them their quarterly cleaning.

I don’t have time for a nap, but aspirin is now in the equation.

If nothing else, tonight I get to be in the pool teaching scuba, which is therapy in and of itself. Especially after a week where no science work has been going well. Some compressed air therapy will go a long way towards making things look up.

And there’s definitely diving in the plans this weekend, which will mark the first fun dive John and I have gone on this year. That is an unacceptable frequency, but hopefully it will improve. We might even be diving Monastery, which I’ve never been to, with one exception.

Last July 4, we stood on the beach, decided it looked entirely too dangerous to attempt, and then watched a group of tourists try to launch a little rubber dingy. And promptly get flipped. Twice. It was hilarious, with the added aspect that there were about 30 of us, and thus had a rescue been necessary, we would have been fine. Ended up doing Lovers 3-2 instead, and having a gigantic barbeque on the beach. Good times.

So Monastery this weekend, if it works out, will be a great new dive site. And if it doesn’t, there’s plenty of other sites in Monterey that ARE NOT BREAKWATER! That’s where we do our training dives, and I’ve been there too often recently, especially when compared to how little I’ve been to other places. This will be followed by tasty dinner and a night of hanging out with some of the dive buddies, hopefully.

Just gotta find a time to get in some biking in there, although the diving should be good exercise, too. John has the whole weekend off, though, so regardless of what happens, we’ll get to spend some time together. Woot!

Basketball on TV tonight, with all 4 games coming down to the wire. Since I didn’t have anything invested in any particular team, with the possible exception of UCLA (Pac-10 solidarity!), and since my bracket is already so busted that it’s not even funny, I just spent the time enjoying good basketball. Spent the second half of the first set of games on the new trainer that John got me. Best husband ever! He figured I would have more time in the evenings to ride this way, since it’s hard to get away from work most of the time. So I got to enjoy riding while enjoying basketball! Two birds with one stone.

It was nice to lay back and enjoy basketball tonight. It’s been a long week, with lots of cloning, and lots of cloning not working, at lab. The problem with being in science is that experiments more often don’t work than they do work. There’s something about it, though, the discovery aspect of it, that draws me in, and I really do enjoy what I do.

Don’t get me wrong–there are other jobs I’d *probably* take in a heart beat. John’s, for example. He works at the Dive Shop that we go to for all our diving needs. He’s got all our diving friends stopping by to see him all the time, which I’m envious of at times. His hobby is also his job, which makes it that much more enjoyable. Then there’s photography, even underwater photography. At this point though, I think photography is more of a hobby than a profession–I’m not nearly good enough. Which leaves science, and I really do enjoy it, especially the potential to help people. I may never actually do anything big enough to directly help people, but every little bit counts, I suppose.

I suppose, if I’ve learned anything recently, other than to attach my brain when I go on vacation, it’s that I need to pay more attention to basketball outside the realm of Stanford/Arizona/Pac-10 and Duke. Poor bracket hopes. That’s what I get for randomly picking for the most part. I even was a good girl and resisted having Duke lose to VCU in the first round just because I HATE them, and what do they do? They lose. And John called it. He’s skunking me in our bracket, regardless.

Still, overall, a good night. Cross your fingers that it lasts. And there may even be diving this weekend!

Mileage: one hour on the new trainer! Sweet!

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I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment here or send me an email at: arizona (dot) girl (dot) 2007 (at) gmail (dot) com