Monday Mindspacing Vol. 122

1) I try new recipes constantly.  99% of the things I cook are things I have never cooked before.  That is not in the least bit an exaggeration.  I like trying new things but it can be tiring when I want something simple to cook.  It's also problematic when I halve a recipe we really like.  I often halve recipes so if it doesn't turn out well or it turns out well but we don't love it, we're not stuck with tons of leftovers.  I need to fix myself.
2) I tried Kleenex's new Cool Touch and they're amazing!  The coolness is so weird!  And ultimately unnecessary.  Ah well.
3) I have a recurring dream that I'm falling from very high.  It terrifies me every time and sometimes starts me awake as I try to catch myself mid-air.  Recurring like weekly.  I hate it.  Apparently it means I'm stressed about some part of my life.  Um... yes.  I want an income.  Preferably from fabulous job.
4) I've been planning the Thanksgiving menu for weeks and I'm STOKED about it!!  I'm thisclose to setting it!  Our first married Thanksgiving.  Awwww!
5) I have no patience for basic fitness articles that tell you things like eat small portions and don't start drastic diets you can't maintain for a lifetime.  I know it's practical and there are still people who need to hear that but it wears me out to see them pop up with such regularity.
6) When I was in elementary school, I loved polysyllabic words.  If I'd known the word polysyllabic, I would've liked it, too.  In geography, my favorite word was archipelago.  In language arts, onomatopoeia!  (I liked to spell it, too.)  Boo!  My favorite dinosaur was triceratops.  Apparently some people don't think this is a dinosaur anymore???? *weeps*
7) Can we have an age limit on tarted up Halloween costumes?  I know there's this "movement" for women to be tasteful with their costumes this year (sigh... must we make everything a grand gesture?) but I feel like that applies quadruply if you're 35 and over.  30?  If we agree on 30, I missed my last year.  I'm okay with that.   I saw some costumes that made me gasp in their inappropriateness in the 40+ set and I just want to try to stop it.
8) I think about running all the time.  I got irritated Saturday and I wanted to go running.  I don't want to mess up my schedule and risk injury, though so I stayed in the house.  I'm thinking about changing one of my 30 Before 30 goals to run a 10k.  These goals are making me a bit nuts.
9) Did y'all watch Next Iron Chef?  Loved it!
10) The show "House Hunters International" has THE most stereotypical and borderline offensive music for every country.  It's ridiculous.
11) I just remembered I bumped into Pharrell when I was at Hampton for undergrad.  I was leaving a basketball game and walking backwards talking to my friends.  He saw me coming but I didn't see him.  One of my friends said, "Watch out!"  I turned around and we were less than a foot apart.  I gasped and apologized.  He was very polite but as we continued in our separate directions I remember thinking, "What in the world? Why wouldn't you go around??? My group was on a collision course with yours... Strange."
12) The Tribe Called Quest doc made me remember that.  The music was good of course but the film... meh.


Rowland... A Trip to the Country

I learned something about my husband when we were planning our trip to the 5k... and it disturbed me.  He wanted the 4+-hour trip to start from home the day of the trip.  I knew the idea of me waking up to leave at 3 a.m. and sleeping on and off in the car before my first 3-mile run was a bad one so I began looking for alternatives.  But that wasn't what disturbed me. 

I realized my dad's hometown was en route to the festival and I was geeked!  I hadn't been in a good 15 years so I asked my dad where we could stay.  When he said my uncle has a nice trailer that he uses when he's in town, I was ready to hit the road!  I told Rashan it was country... He didn't know I meant cotton field country.  
Rashan was shook knowing cotton fields were in walking distance.
I was incredibly confused.  I thought Rashan knew both of my parents have country roots.  Straight country.  Cotton fields, dirt roads.  All of that.  He was uncomfortable when we hit the first dirt road.  And his nervousness started rubbing off on me.  Not cool.  And that was what disturbed me.  So it's not that you just like the city, it's that you've never been to the country and it makes you uncomfortable.  And most of all, there was nothing I could say to make him relax.  Umm... 

You know what's funny, though?  He asked me if one field had tobacco in it.  Okay.  I know I spent part of my childhood down here and my grandfather used to grow it but what do I look like being able to recognize tobacco in the field???  So funny.  After we dropped our bags, we went to see my grandparents' old house but couldn't find it.  I called my dad and he helped us out.  Turns out it was right around the corner.  It looks nothing like I remember it.  I had been warned it wasn't in the condition it was when my grandparents were alive so I honestly expected much worse but it was still strange.

My grandparents' graves
Next we went to "visit" the grandparents.  I felt like the graveyard wanderer.  Before December 2010, I hadn't seen any of my three deceased grandparents' graves in 15 or more years.  But in the last year I've now seen all of them?  I saw my mom's dad's grave while making my film about him over the last year.  That first visit was really emotional because I had learned more about him in a week than I'd known in my entire life.

At this grave site, I didn't get emotional in part because I kind of remember them but also because I was on the phone with my dad.  You know what he said, though?  That he was honored that I was visiting his ancestors.  Awwww.  I also saw my great grandma's grave (grandma's mom).  She was a landowner and business owner (a store called Rag Mop).  I didn't even know she was buried there.  We also saw the grave of my oldest uncle.  He died the same year as my grandma and used to call me JamesEllen (which at the time I haaaaated) because he said I looked exactly like both of my parents.  I thought of him on my wedding day because of that.  My SIL met my mom and said, "You look just like your mom!"  I said, "Wait til you see my dad."  LOLOL!  My dad walked in and she goes, "Whoa."  LOLOLOL!  So hilarious!  I definitely look like my dad's entire side.  That's cool but sometimes I wish I had some features readily identifiable as belonging to my mom's side.  You can see I look like my mom when I'm with her but I don't really look anything like her side.

The giant headstones
Back to the country in North and South Carolina...  Have you guys heard of South of the Border?  If you've driven anywhere near Interstate 95, you probably have.  It's only 15 minutes from my grandparents' house so it weighs prominently in my memories of them.  So of course a trip down there necessitated a trip to South of the Border.  Dad gave me directions there, too.

I had talked to my favorite aunt, currently the family historian on that side, who told me we have another family graveyard right next to South of the Border... on yet another dirt road.  Rashan was so put out!!  At this point it was quite hilarious!  Can you please calm all the way down??? Please??? Merci!  At this family graveyard, there were two family headstones taller than me (granted I'm only 5'1 but still).  Can I get one of those when I kick the bucket??  I don't know nearly enough about this side of the family so clearly I have some work to do on this side.  My aunt has traced back to 1865 and has agreed to pass it on to me.  Whee!
Sombrero tower ride
After grave time, we headed over to South of the Border!  This Sombrero tower had super cheap rides... IDK why we didn't hop on.  I went through phases with SOTB.  As a kid, of course I loved it.  The stores with trinkets, the rides, the bright colors.  As a teenager, I was obviously too cool for it. I'll let you know, I've turned a corner into nostalgia.  It reminds me of my childhood and the store is filled with things I would buy to amuse myself and others if not for limited space and varying levels of taste.

One thing my grandmother INSISTED when we visited her was that her children take her grandchildren to get ice cream.  So you know I had to go get ice cream, right?  Rashan was like, "But... you have to race tomorrow. You can't get ice cream."  I listened to that about 7 minutes then I said, "Pleaaaaase can I get ice cream????"  Why did I do that?  Like he's my trainer and/or controls what I eat?  I have no idea.  LOL

The ice cream parlor

Coffee ice cream $1.95
Afterward, we went across the street and wandered around the "pantry".  It was full of Southern jellies, jams, candies and snacks.  Some I approved of, some I was dismayed by...  Want to know some I was dismayed by?  Beet eggs (WAY TO RUIN EGGS!!!!), chicken skin cracklins (I'm crazy for this since I like pork cracklins... it's just that I've never even heard of chicken skin cracklins), packaged boiled peanuts (wait... you BOILED THEM, then put them in a can/bag. no.) and packaged fatback (I love fatback but fatback in a bag????).  I didn't want but was okay with scuppernong grape jelly.  You know what I didn't know you could still buy?  Candy cigarettes.  I told Rashan he should buy some for his nieces and nephews and he declined.  Then almost a week later, I realized they would've been PERFECT for my Donatella Versace costume!  Hater!
South of the Border at night!
My friend pointed out that that picture would've been even better if I was a few inches higher.  That sombrero would've been on my head... HILARIOUS!!!!

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant about 5 miles south and it was quite good.  Then we headed back to my uncle's place.  Y'all.  That happy face Rashan had?  Gone.  He couldn't get comfortable.  He couldn't sleep for more than 10 or 15 minutes.  Um... what?  He was making me nervous.  I had to go in a room and leave him to get some sleep.  Then I woke up at 2 and couldn't get back to sleep for hours.  I told him he needs to know we will be going to the country again when we go to Mississippi to see my mom's side.  He's not ready.  And I'm not ready for his nervousness.  -_-  Pray for us.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 121

1) Terra Nova really does nothing for me.
2) I don't know how I carpal tunneled my hand (did you know that was a verb???) Saturday night but I woke up Sunday displeased.
3) I'm so excited some of you guys want to go running now!  We should do a blogger meet-up at a 5k!!!
4) We need more people at the Nerd Girl-hosted blogger book club.  Read The Hunger Games by December 5th and join the discussion!
5) I need interrobang (‽) to become a thing.  I love the word, I love the meaning, I love the punctuation mark! I also enjoy the snark ( Irony mark full.svg ) punctuation! The future of punctuation article amused me greatly!
6) I have unnecessarily short patience right now. Tis bad.
I think he's ADORABLE in this pic!
7) Rashan and I went to two parties this weekend.  Friday was a costume party.  I was Donatella Versace & Rashan was static cling.  He won most creative for an idea he found on the web and I assembled in five minutes.  LOL  Saturday was an Oktoberfest party so I made a cranberry apple pie that was a hit!
8) At the Saturday party, the hostess said we flirt like we just started dating.  :)  I thought that was the cutest thing ever!!  Who else would I want to flirt with other than my husband?? NOBODY!
9) OMG! We found out my brother-in-law is coming to Savannah for Thanksgiving which should also mean our youngest niece and nephew (ages 2 & 4) are coming.  I loooooove them!!  They're so cute!
10) I missed Hampton Homecoming yet again.  I've now missed it as an alum more times than I've been.  Ah well.  Plenty of time to right that imbalance.
11) I want to read more books.  Have you read anything good lately?


#9: Run a 5k

In July 2008, I found a 5k I wanted to run.  Now finding a 5k to run and running a 5k or even training to run a 5k as you know are not the same thing.  They don't even look like the same thing.  One's all talk, the other is ACTION!  For the last 3 Januarys, I've made a new year's resolution to run a 5k.  What took me so long?  I've never liked to run.  Ever.  Not even when chased.  On the playground, I preferred to just say, "Okay okay! You caught me!"  Seriously.  LOL  I never ran all the way through the mile in school.  I just didn't like to run.

But back in 2008, Losangelista & 1969 ran a marathon and a 5k respectively.  And I was like now wait a minute.  I DON'T WANT TO BE LEFT OUT!  And I felt like if Liz can run for 26 miles, I can run for 3, right?  I'm already in great shape so it shouldn't be too big of a leap!  Then I went to grad school.  And not only did I not run, I barely worked out.  Twas bad.  I knew when I created my 30 Before 30 list, running a 5k absolutely had to be on there.  It was one of my easiest additions.

Once again I found a race, I even hired a trainer (then fired her when I found out she wasn't a runner) and hired a new one who runs marathons to get me in shape to run.  Then 7 weeks ago, I started the Couch to 5k (C25K) running plan.  The general idea is that through interval training you build up to be able to run 30 minutes or a 5k.  I was hooked from the first week!  In week one, I felt very capable.  Week 2 was a bit harder, but still cool.  Each week I felt more and more proud of myself as I hit new milestones.  Then I registered for my first 5k.

I decided to run the Oyster Festival 5k at Ocean Isle Beach partly because my family used to vacation down there but mostly because you got free entry to the Oyster Festival!!!!  Do y'all know how much I love oysters?  I love them as much as Bubba loved shrimp!  I'll eat them however you'll serve them. Raw, steamed, broiled, fried, in stew, with toppings, with only a bit of lemon and some horseradish, with cocktail sauce, just gimme the oysters!!  So I trained and trained but before the race, I'd only ever run about 1.6 miles, which is about half of the 3.1 miles required for a 5k.  That made me a little nervous but I figured if I ran for the 22 minutes I was scheduled to run for Week 6, Day 3 of C25K, I could probably go a little further and if I needed to walk, I could do that, too.  But I also knew if I stopped running, it would be harder to start up again.  I went ahead and set a goal of 45 minutes.

Rashan and I spent the night in the city where my dad was born and raised (more on that later) and took this picture at nearby South of the Border so we'd only have to drive about an hour and 45 minutes as opposed to 5 hours before my race.  I had oatmeal, a banana and water on the drive down. We picked up my race packet which included a shirt, a wristband for the festival and chapstick and I was ready to go... but there was still over an hour until the race started. 

The ocean object of our ogling
I wasn't nervous, just READY!  It was kind of cold when we got there but I knew it would warm up even without me running since the high was 78 that day.  We ogled the ocean for a little bit then sat in the car, then watched the kids run the one-mile fun run, then I paced.  Can we get started yet???  Please???

The horn sounded at 8:30 and we were off!  Now I wish I could say I had photos of me running but the start and finish were at the same location and the official photographer was apparently only at the start and took sporadic pictures.  That means I have 0 pics of me racing until the end.  No matter.

I had carefully prepared my playlist so that I would be pumped and ready to go and keep going.  I didn't have a watch but I hoped there would be some sort of timing system.  Couldn't use my shuffle because it has no screen!  But I knew most of my songs were about three minutes so that was my way of pushing myself through.

I'm wearing lipstick because I couldn't find my lip gloss. 
I breezed through the first 10 minutes but then I see these two guys barreling toward me (one of whom I later found out finished the 10k in 32 minutes!!!).  Part of the course looped back for both the 5k and simultaneous 10k so I got to see allllll of the people who were passing me about to hit the one-mile mark.  That was a bit demoralizing.  I immediately wanted to know how many people were behind me but I decided to just wait until I hit the loop to peep that.  It turns out I was the slowest of the people continually running but there were a good 30 or so people behind me so I was cool with that.  I was just so excited to be out there I really didn't care at this point!  I was waving and smiling at all of the course-directing race officials.  I did a little cheer for myself at the one-mile mark and said, "All right! Let's keep going!"  I was sailing along smoothly here and feeling fine!  I kind of lost count of where I was on time but I knew I was around 26 or 27 minutes.  I did a big cheer when I hit 2 miles.  That's both further and longer than I'd ever run!  I felt like a rockstar!!! 

I also realized that while some songs are fun and work for other workouts, they are not so much for me when running.  One of those songs is Ciara's "Bang It Up."  Love it for other workouts.  Blech for my run.  Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad" and "Pump It" by Black Eyed Peas?  Got me dancing on the course.  That's right!  I was running and dancing!  Lol.  I was having a ball!  And it helped that there were people standing on the decks of their beach houses cheering us on!  Somewhere after mile two the inside of my ankle started hurting and I couldn't shake it out.  Usually I can shake it, mid-stride and fix it but that wasn't working.  Then the outside started acting up but I really didn't want to stop.  Once I hit two miles I figured I might as well run the whole thing in. 

Why do running & walking look the same???
At about this time I got to the water station where they did a great job of cheering me along!  It is there that I discovered I need to practice running and drinking because I almost choked myself.  Wait.  I choked myself but managed to get it under control.  That was scary, but then I went back to being my excited, self-motivating self.  I knew I was getting close but I couldn't tell how close.  A lady speedwalking said, "Almost there" as she passed me and I replied, "THANK GOD!!!"  LOL  Shortly after I passed the three-mile marker, gasped and cheered and looked ahead and wondered why in the WORLD was .1 miles so long???  I saw Rashan and smiled and waved, then looked at the back of the encouraging speedwalker and decided she wasn't gonna speedwalk and beat me across the finish line when I ran the whole thing.  I kicked it into high gear and crossed at 44:12.  Woohoooo!!   I beat my goal!!!  I was PUMPED!!  And shocked!  I kept saying, "I did it! I did it!"  I guess it's a compliment that Rashan wasn't surprised that I ran the whole thing under my goal but I wanted him to be amazed with me!

Look! A medal!
My brother via text told me he was so proud he's gonna tell everybody his sister runs marathons.  LOL.  That is absolutely not my goal at this point in my life.  I want to run my next 5k either at Thanksgiving in Savannah or a "Mistletoe" run locally in under 40 minutes.  I'll do a few more 5ks, then do the Bridge to 10k, then run a few 10ks and see how I feel.  I do need to stretch better after races and cool down.  But overall, the race was very exciting!

Seafood Bog
The festival?  A complete fail.  It's an OYSTER festival, right?  So why did the majority of the vendors serve 0 oysters?  It was typical fair food!  There were tons of beach-specific vendors which also included things I don't care anything about but the food was the reason we traveled that far for a 5k.  We wandered over to the festival around 10 and many people were just setting up.  We did a (disappointing lap) and saw $20 plates of fried oysters or steamed oysters you have to shuck yourself.  I don't know how to shuck and do you know how many oysters I can get for $20 elsewhere?  I just couldn't bring myself to do that. 
There were some oyster gumbos and stews but the non-oyster food far outweighed it.  AND NO RAW OYSTERS!!!!!!  This murdered my poor little heart.  I got a seafood bog that had shrimp, fish & oysters with a tomato, onion & celery seafood broth and rice.  It was quite good but I was stuck on the lack of oysters.  We left after less than an hour and I fell into a deep sleep in the car.  Then the next day I slept for 12 hours!!  Phew!  I RAN MY FIRST 5K!!!!!!!!!!


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 120

1) I like Rashan's face scruffy.
2) Mild cheddar cheese is a worthless product.
3) You know what our next place MUST have? STORAGE SPACE!! It's extra ridiculous up in here.  Sometimes that means a little creativity but right now it's about to mean WHERE DO I PUT ALL THIS STUFF??? Rearranging meant our hiding spots were eliminated in the front room.
4) I'm ADDICTED to the Couch to 5k Facebook Page!! Addicted!!  I use it to encourage me to go run when I don't feel like it and I encourage others when they need it.  I love it!!!
5) I get so excited when people ask me for recipe, cooking or baking advice! :)
6) I MIGHT break out the Christmas music this week.  LOL!  I know it's waaaaay too early for almost everyone I've ever known but when the temps stop being in the 80s and I know it's October, even MID-OCTOBER??? I get that itch!!!
7) I don't like it when people ask me why I'm awake (Because I am.) or tell other people to go to bed.  If this is an odd hour to you, I'm may or may not be happy to be up.  If you're telling me to go to bed... you know you're up, too, right? Oh okay.
8) It makes me giggle when people ask me where my husband is.  I often forget I have one of those until they ask!
9) Have any of you had mincemeat pie before?  It sounds really gross to me.  I'm not saying I wouldn't try it but I'm kinda scared.
10) I ran my 5k & I can't wait to tell you all about it!  Well... I can.  And you can, too!  Later in the week, my friends!


Movies 2011, Weeks 38-40

September 25- October 1, 2011
168) Blade Runner. Harrison Ford stars in this sci-fi thriller about human-like "replicants" he's sent to track down and destroy.  But sometimes his feelings get in the way.  Pretty awesome at times but the narration?  Oh the narration.  Absolutely terrible.  Definitely a thriller.  3.5 stars
169) The Deer Hunter. A film about a group of friends (including Robert DeNiro & Christopher Walken) excited to go to war until they get to Vietnam and are disillusioned by what they see.  I did not get or enjoy the hour-long build-up to war.  The actual war part was short but horrific.  The aftermath included some amazing moments but also some plodding ones.  Some absolutely useless characters in this one.  I can see why people would love/respect this movie.  It was pretty good in isolated spots but I wouldn't want to watch it again.  2.9 stars
170) Bill Cunningham New York. Documentary about the NYTimes photographer behind the street style column.  He's an awesome guy and now a total superstar to me.  I'll have to join the club on that one.  If you like fashion at all, you should like this film.  Riveting.  4.4 stars
171) Gone with the Wind.  I definitely see why this is a classic despite the steppin and fetchin negroes.  Of course there was a romanticized version of the Civil War but what do you expect about something written by a Georgian?  This movie is awesome!  Such a great story!  Also, Clark Gable??? WOW!!  Also the ending?? Yep!  4.8 stars

October 2-8, 2011
172) AClockworkOrange. Futuristic StanleyKubrick film about a violent psycho and his band of psycho friends.  I really hated watching this creepy, disturbing film.  It sticks with you, it's unique, which of course for many is a great part of the appeal but that is part of what makes it so disturbing.  1.4 stars
173) Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man. A documentary about the public interest man and presidential candidate.  It made Nader a sympathetic character while still bringing forth some of the chief criticisms against him.  But this film was full of far too much rhetoric and too many talking heads.  2.4 stars
174) Just Married. Ashton Kutcher & Brittany Murphy (RIP) star in this film about a couple who get married and then all heck breaks loose in their relationship, specifically on the honeymoon.  Clichéd with some bad acting but not the worst movie I've ever seen.  Some pretty unforgivable musical choices, though.  2.9 stars
175) Ben-Hur. Charlton Heston stars in the epic film set in the time of Jesus about a Jewish prince who vows revenge on a Roman friend who betrayed him.  Pretty awesome throughout most of the movie.  The end was a bit sappy but overall, an enjoyable (if obviously incredibly long) film.  3.7 stars
176) Taxi Driver. Robert DeNiro plays a deranged taxi driver who decides he must rid New York of scum on his mission to save a 12-year-old hooker (Jodi Foster).  I can't understand why Foster was nominated for an Oscar.  Because her parents let her play a child prostitute?  She was barely in the film.  Great cinematography.  3.3 stars
177) Prohibition. Five and a half hour Ken Burns documentary about making alcohol illegal in the United States.  As you see, extremely long.  It kind of made me question whether there was still a demand for these sorts of serial movies and if so, why and for how long?  Of course there was amazing archival and some great storytelling but the music was a bit surprisingly cliché.  I understand choosing music your audience can attach to the time but this seemed to go beyond that.  The interviews looked like they were shot without the assistance of current camera equipment-- grainy.  3.5 stars
178) Scream 4. Wes Craven directs yet another Scream movie.  I honestly went into this wondering why Rashan was getting this.  But it was pretty awesome!  Full of surprising twists and turns.  4.2 stars
179) Spartacus. Kirk Douglas stars as the titular character in this epic film from 1960 about the slave who led a revolt against the Romans.  Directed by StanleyKubric, I liked this FAR more than his other film I saw this week.  Slow at times but much of it was riveting.  3.8 stars

October 9-15, 2011
180) The Station Agent. Indie film about a dwarf who relocates to the country intent on becoming a hermit when his only friend dies.  His plans are interrupted by his neighbors.  Amusing, leisurely paced.  I enjoyed it.  3.8 stars
181) Midnight. Claudette Colbert stars as a poor girl in Paris who poses as a Hungarian baroness.  Cute, old school rom com.  Very fun and somewhat unpredictable.  3.8 stars


Sunny Days

As Rashan tried to sleep after his alarm today, I said, "Good morning, sunshine!"  Then I spoke the words to "You Are My Sunshine," internally laughed at the high fructose in the air and it almost turned into this.  Then I thought about how mad I would be if he woke me up rapping.  Maybe mad is an understatement.  No.  Mad is an understatement!!  I can barely tolerate his rapping fully awake and full of delicious food. 

Speaking of delicious food, I had some salsa last night at my first ever pumpkin carving that was AMAZING!!!  I probably ate 2 cups of it.  Thou shalt not put a bowl of delicious salsa in front of me if thou shall like to have any. 
The first pumpkin I ever carved! And free-handing it!
I also sampled pumpkin ales for the first time.  Delicious!  Most pumpkin-y and delicious awards go to Weyerbacher and Big Boss Harvest Time.  And now that I know Big Boss is brewed in Raleigh?  I feel the need to visit them ASAP!  My sister would love that since it would mean me coming to hang with her. :)


The Rooster

I think it's cute when Rashan and I find stories we've never told each other.  It's particularly strange because we spent hours and hours in email before we spent hours and hours on the phone.  This was after the years and years of blogging we both had done before we ever met.  I managed to accidentally stumble on an untold story last night.  For some reason the rooster popped into my head last night, a day when my daddy was DEFINITELY my hero!  Our hero, actually.  My sister and I. 

We were at his parent's farm in Rowland, North Carolina.  A town I was shocked to "learn" on Wikipedia last night has over 1100 people.  Wow!  That's WAY more than I thought it would have.  Then I remembered he might actually be from Elrod which has just 441.  Still sounds like 400 more people than I've ever seen there.  The last time I went, admittedly a good 15 or so years ago, but still in the 90s, there were a few dirt roads around.  As a Charlottean, this scandalized me!  A dirt road???  In 1990?? 

My grandfather produced all kinds of things on his farm but I only remember squash (prickly things he told me to pick without gloves, then laughed when I yelped... I only have jerky memories like this of him), watermelon, pecans, muscadine grapes, pigs and chickens.  My mom liked picking things out of the garden.  My sister and I would run around in the dirt yard playing, chasing chickens and I was always seeking out a cat to pet.  I had a favorite orange one, a stray, that I tried to take home but my mom hates cats.  I just realized how hilarious it is that we chased chickens!  What???  What year was this???  I promise it was the late 80s!

My grandparents were definitely of the school that children should go play outside instead of sitting up under grown folks.  Stay out of grown folks business.  I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to enact this on other people's ill-mannered children but seeing as I'm childless and people don't generally take to kindly to such interference, I manage to keep my mouth shut.  When we arrived at my grandparents' house, usually for the 4th of July when my dad and his 8 brothers and sisters would converge on the family farm with their families and the children were sent outside.  I can still vividly see the entire house and most of the yard in my head and my grandparents died in 1989 and 1990.

One day, my sister and I were outside running around, chasing chickens (LOLOL) when suddenly the tables were turned.  We noticed all of a sudden that one of the chickens, a rooster, was semi-chasing us.  At the very least he was stalking us and that is not cool.  I was probably 7 which means she was 5.  And I was a small child.  That rooster was probably half my size.  Am I exaggerating?  I have no idea.  In my head I see a huge rooster only dwarfed when we were standing on the porch.  This thing was out to assert its dominance.  So what did it do?  It chased us around that house!  We ran inside screaming!  "Daddy! That rooster is chasing us! We're scared!"  "What??!! That rooster is out there chasing my babies?? I'll show him!"  He stomps outside and gives chase, "Get outta here! Scarin my babies!"  We cheered and jeered as the rooster ran like the rest of those chickens.  Daddy saved the day!


October Goals

September Goals
1) Read 4 books.  At least one teaching book and make progress on two film and/or journalism books.
Surpassed!  I read an additional book.  It was a great month for reading and I'm so glad this is a part of my daily life again!
2) Read an additional 60 chapters of the bible to reach 1155.  
Surpassed!  I got to 1157 and only have 32 chapters of the bible remaining!!!!!!  SO EXCITING!!
3) Watch at least 4 AFI movies.  
Surpassed!  I watched six and have only 8 left.  Hmm...
4) Cook at least 15 new recipes.  
Surpassed!  I will smash my goal of trying 100 new recipes this year and my cooking and baking mojo remains.
5) Complete at least two 30 before 30 goals. 
Erm... I got nothing.  I made more progress but it's frustrating to have so many long-term or fiscally or geographically impossible things on this list.
6) Work out at least three times per week. 
Done! 5k training is still awesome and I'm definitely getting my three workouts in per week.
7) Make progress on the job search daily.  
Done!  Daily may be a bit extreme but close enough for me to feel comfortable with my progress.  Submitted two applications and found several other positions with various start dates.
8) Complete at least two syllabi for future courses. 
Wow... this was a crazy and semi-unrealistic goal.  I've made enough progress on two books that this goal might be worthwhile next month.

October Goals
1) Read 4 books.  This will include completing the film/journalism books.
2) FINISH THE BIBLE!!!  Once I finish, I'll move to daily readings of My Utmost for His Highest.
3) Visit 4 local churches
4) Watch at least 5 AFI movies.  I have only 8 left but they are long and/or challenging films to watch so I don't want to tax the brain too much.  So far I've already watched A Clockwork Orange which is enough to make anyone not want to watch any more movies again.  Ever.  Also one is on long wait on Netflix so I don't know when it will be available.
4) Cook at least 15 new recipes.  I'm quite certain I can do this again.  I need another food-related goal.  Any ideas?
5) Complete at least two 30 before 30 goals.  I have 7 completed, 7 in progress and 16 outstanding... in a little over a year.  I have registered for a 5k this month and I'll finish the Bible.  I'll try to add another in there as well.
6) Work out at least four times per week.  That includes three days per week of 5k training and one day of cross training.
7) Make progress on the job search at least five times per week.  This includes searching, writing letters and resumes and CVs, etc.  I want to apply for at least 4 more positions near and far.
8) Complete at least one syllabus for a future course.  I want to be ready when I get my next teaching position.  Even if I don't get hired teaching these courses, the more practice I get making syllabi, the easier it will be for me to create them.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 119

1) I'm trying to finish this Malcolm X book for the blog book club and it is looooong.  Biographies can be very difficult to read if they're not narrative enough.  This one ventures off into non-Malcolm territory quite often early on in ways that for me can be tedious.  Thankfully it picks up when his wife arrives on the scene.
2) I read some old posts from November 2007 and up popped a comment from Rashan.  I got all mushy thinking about how I never could've imagined he'd be my husband 4 years later!
3) My heart aches for these "America's Sweetheart" types groomed then discarded.  I MISS YOU, MEG RYAN!!
4) I have to remind myself daily not to make the people I love crazy as I go stir crazy from being in the house.  It doesn't always work.
5) I have 3 running partners of sorts who show up on different days and have different fitness levels and of course personalities.  It can be crazy-making because we're a part of a running group where I tell when I'm working out and someone shows up.  I'm hoping at least one turns into a regular.
6) I miss sushi & Mexican food. I don't have either regularly enough i.e. at least once a week for each. 
7) My plan for athletic domination is to outlive everyone.  Then I'll win my age group every time!  Woot!
8) "Happy Endings" is quite amusing!  Rashan and I decided to try it out and we approve!
9) I don't get too bent out of shape over most changes.  I see them as a part of life.  But it takes me a while to agree to changes inside my house.  We've lived here over a year and I'm finallly ready to have a new configuration in our living room.  It's oddly-shaped so it was interesting to attempt but I like it.  I was going to spend today rearranging things but I feel yucky.
10) I want some crazy bright colored fall/winter clothes!
11) I hate quotes... but I like this one!  It fits my life right now and I found it on a blog I started reading recently.
"Press on; nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."  -Calvin Coolidge