Friday, July 31, 2009

Cubist Dreams

Last night I had this dream again. I say again, though the dream is never the same, the complication is always the same: I cannot focus my eyes. I close my eyes to sleep or blink, and when I open them, all I see is flashed of bright colors, pieces of the scene I'm trying to see. It is like dreaming a Picasso or Braque during their analytical cubist period, only the colors are so bright, and I only see one piece of the painting at a time. My mind creates the distorted painting in an attempt to meld the pieces together.

Always I'm desperately trying to make out the scene. I open my eyes once, twice. I close them and try to focus on the back of my eyelids before I open them a third time. The scene is in focus, then slides back out.

The story line, I believe, is unimportant. This time, I walked over to the closet in the house where I grew up. It was a tiny thing, but it had deep shelves on either side of the doorway, and when I was a child I made a "reading nest" of pillows and blankets on the floor, and I'd go in there and feel safe and hidden in my little space with a shelf over my head and one over my feet. Anyways, in the dream, I opened this closet door, only in the dream, people from my job had sleeping places in there, like bunks. I think I was trying to do something nice for them, because they are the team working on the inventory, so I was trying to hang artwork, mostly Escher, but also a few other pieces that I didn't recognize (either in the dream or in real life).

Always through the task I'm trying to "see straight". I never do.

I should also mention that the cubist sight hurts. Like when you put on someone's glasses that are too strong for you. I close my eyes against the pain, and try to focus again. There is also a low level of emotional panic and struggle that underlies the dream.

I always wake up from these dreams feeling exhausted. I never remember having one before this year, but I can think of three times relatively recently when I've dreamt in cubism.

I just chase my tail when I try to interpret the thing. The storyline is easy to make sense of. But the cubism? Am I focusing too hard on the little things, or not hard enough? Is my view of the world distorted? Have I forgotten the big picture, or am I just incapable of seeing it? Or is a sight interpretation too literal? Is it about the struggle? Overcoming the panic? A message to stop fighting the current and go with things the way they are?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You know those weeks?

You know those weeks where every day feels like it should be Thursday?

This is one of them. Thank goodness tomorrow actually *is* Thursday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On politics, and kids, and open-mindedness

I just finished an insanely hot, sweaty, miserable 35 minute run. But that isn't what I want to talk about today.

I went to Saturday's Astros game with Preston and probably our best couple-friends. They have two beautiful kids, and the wife, let's call her "Tina" (not her real name), was talking about how they need to go to the Alamo soon so that her son can see it for the first time. She was born and raised out-of-state, and she was telling me about how she saw the imax movie about the Alamo and how special it made the experience for her. As a non-Texan, she didn't understand before she saw the movie. I mean, the Texans lost, right?

All of that led her to say that they didn't even really cover the Civil War in school in the state where she grew up. That up there, they think all of it was about slavery. And that they are all Democrats.

This is where she lost me. I mean, the jump from Texas Independence to the Civil War was huge, but she was using it to make the point that if that state didn't care about the Civil War, then they surely didn't care about Texas. I got that. But that they were all Democrats??? Now, I'm not declaring allegiance to one political party or the other. Ever. I consider myself an independent thinker, and I vote for whomever I believe to be the best candidate for the job. So, with that full disclosure out of the way, does she honestly believe that Democrats don't believe in history? Or teach a biased view of history? Or believe the Civil War was only about slavery? Or don't care about Texas?? I had no words. I continue to have no words.

But I was thinking about it on my run, and it made me really sad, because I believe that that is how kids become biased. How many times do her kids need to hear their mom make a disparaging remark about Democrats before they blindly hate Democrats too? Or bend their political beliefs to the Republican party because "Democrats are bad"? (This, of course, is completely applicable the other way around for parents who make comments about Republicans.)

This brings home several points, not the least of which is remembering how impressionable little minds are. But also, where do we get off judging people based on the group they are in and not on the person who is standing in front of us? Stereotypes such as these seem to me to be the root of all hatred.

I love Tina, and I kept my mouth closed in the interest of our friendship. Just as I kept my mouth closed on a run last year where a Democrat and Republican got into it (civilly, but in a no-win argument) over the presidential election. But I wish I had the words. I wish I had the stones to say what I really think.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You know it is hot when...

77 degrees at 5am feels *noticeably cooler*.

I have been a good girl so far this week. I was careful to not set my expectations too high: no hour-and-a-half workouts before work for me. Just whatever my Woodlands Fit marathon training schedule (though I'm not training for a marathon) says, and on the days it says OFF, 30 minutes of anything I want, as long as it is something. On Wednesday that was biking. I expect on Friday it might be swimming. Or lifting. Or core. Or maybe some DDR... Ah, the possibilities! Not training for triathlon can actually be quite liberating.

21 days to a habit all over again. Hang the fatigue. A habit can carry me though whatever crap life brings on.

Now, I need a hair cut. And can someone tell me when the jet lag will ease up??

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wimbledon Windmilers 10K Race Report

So, I arrived in London less than 24 hours before the start of this race, which was later than your standard USA race at 9am. So it is safe to say that I was a bit jet-lagged. My Londoner friend also greeted us off the plane with an apology for the "heat". It was warm that morning (the warmest of the entire trip, I'm convinced)... probably high 70's. While that is nothing compared with the Texas heat I've been dealing with, it is still too hot for a race, at least one longer than 3 miles, in my opinion. (And I actually laughed out loud at my friend for calling 80 a heat wave. She used to live in Texas!!!)

The race was fairly small, with less of everything than we are used to in the USA. There were just a few tents set up on the heath, and runners sitting/standing/stretching around until about 5 minutes before the start when we all tromped over to stand behind an imaginary line. There was no chip timing for this race. Presumably someone near the front said, "Go!", and we were off.
We ran by the most picturesque pub with whitewashed walls and wooden beams and beautiful hanging baskets filled with colorful flowers, then farther up the road the windmill for which the running club is named with horses in the adjoining fields. Then we went off road onto nice gravel paths that circled the park for the remainder of the race.
Of course I forgot my Garmin, so I was running on feel. To make it worse, they (again, of course, but I didn't think of it ahead of time) mark their distances in kilometers, so I was trying to do some quick mental math to figure out what my pace was. I ended up realizing, again, stupidly late, that anything under 6 minutes per k would do if I wanted to finish in sub-10 minute miles. (That's why they use the metric system over there - it really is easier!!) Sub-10s were about the best I felt like I could hope for with the temperature and the jet-lag.
After we went off road we ran into what really looked like a primevial forest. Giant trees with their canopies blocking almost all of the light. Everything so very green. Huge green ferns covering the ground. It was absolutely lovely. At one point we ran by a stone and brick wall that was obviously old and patched up and I wished for my camera.
The course was two loops. As I was nearing the end of the first, there was a light rain shower that felt wonderful. As I passed Preston he called out that I was about 30 minutes in. Exactly as I expected. I tossed him my sunglasses and headed out for a second loop, stopping at the only water station on my way back out. That is one thing that I would change. In that heat, there needed to be more than one water station. I was parched!!
The second loop was much like the first, except for me wishing that it was a 5K race and I was already done!
I gave it everything I had to run to the end, where I received a little backpack for a finisher's prize. That was another difference: you didn't get a goodie-bag at the beginning, you got it when you finished. And there were far fewer coupons etc in the thing.
Afterwards Preston bought me a Wimbledon Windmilers technical t-shirt for a souvenir, I chugged some water, and we headed to the bus stop to return to my friend's apartment. There was nothing other than water at the finish line. Another difference.
I love running races when I'm traveling. I really feel like there is no better way to see an area. You also get a feel for people, you get an intimate knowledge of the terrain you cover, and you give something of yourself, ultimately enriching your experience.
Oh! And I climbed St. Paul's Cathedral the next day. Only 530 steps. Easy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Update, what's that?

Today I went to lunch with a colleague that is leaving. I've been lurking on her blog almost since she arrived, and I felt like I had to come out of the lurk closet. So I did. And in return, I told her about this blog. You know, to even out the embarassment.

The potential that the one person who reads this (Billy rocks!) could turn into two... well, it made me feel guilty for not blogging more.

That, and as I said before, I really hope the craziness that has been the past several months is over.

Annnnnd, I've just started to train for my winter of halfs! I signed up yesterday for Austin and Dallas Run the Rock when I heard that Houston is already sold out. (Took less than 48 hours, wtf?? Last year it took months!) I'm currently looking for another nearby option in January since not running Houston messes up my half-per-month concept. I'm thinking the Kingwood half that is on New Year's Day, but that would put a bit of a damper on my New Year's Eve, which we always spend with P's family... we'll see.

So, next up, London pice (probably this weekend), and a race report from the Winbledon Windmiler's 10K I ran while in the UK.

Btw, it is hot here. Really freaking hot. (81 degrees at 4am toay!) Like, an old lady who has been in H-town for 50 years said to me on Saturday that this was the hottest, most miserable summer she had ever seen in Houston. Seriously. The two weeks in the UK, where the air feels like it is conditioned, deacclimated me to the heat. I'm struggling in my runs so far this week, but I'm getting them done. Hopefully in a week or two my body will remember that I can actually run in the heat. Really!

I'm back, baby (I hope!).