Sunday, January 31, 2010

At least night's Endurance Sports Award, Cody MacCasland, an eight-year-old double-amputee, was honored as Challenged Athlete of the Year.

During a brief back and forth on stage, Cody happily professed to having beaten two kids in his last swim race who had legs. (Can you imagine being the parent of the losing child, and having to console them? What could you do but enroll them in piano lessons or art classes.)

My brother and husband were with me last night, and afterwards I asked whether they felt just a little lazy after hearing Cody's story. They confessed that they did. I did, too, and I've done two half ironmans.

I've decided to do a third, but it doesn't seem like nearly the undertaking that any Challenged Athlete might accept.

I'm reminded of Hey Nostradamus!, where the protagonist, speaking from the dead, recounts a perfect evening where he stripped down and ran exultant circles through his neighborhood. He declares something like, "I wish that I could've run naked through the streets every day of my life."

I'm not suggesting that anyone, physically challenged or not, break laws of decency. But perhaps a little more metaphorical streaking, and a little less status quo, would do us all good.

Friday, January 29, 2010

JD Salinger: Half-pipe Thrasher

From the outside, you might think JD Salinger didn't do much with his life. 91 years on this planet and 4 books in 15 of those years, the last of which was published 45 years ago. Just a few interviews. Sort of like Forrest Gump running. And then, one day, not. I wonder what he's been doing since 1965.

We'll probably never know, but I like to think he's been learning the art of underwater welding, training a bear to dance, and performing some sweet ollies. Wouldn't that be cool?

At last night's Tri Club meeting (Chris Lieto and Craig Alexander; you totally missed it), I spoke with a friend who's recently switched from real estate to nursing. I used to write fiction, but now I am moving into nonfiction. Change is good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Throw Your Hands in the Air and Wave Them Like You Just Don't Care

Today was my first run in 17 days, the last one being day I turned 31 (which still seems like a clerical error). It is good to be back on the roads.

I spent part of the run behind a jogger who'd periodically pump his fist while listening to (I can only assume) uptempo music.

I am in the middle of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. It is Murakami's meditation on running, and also on writing. At one point he talks about a mutual understanding shared by all long-distance runners. I agree. I think people who enjoy running share plenty of character traits (which I won't go into here, Murakami does a much better job in his book).

I have never pumped my fist to music while running. But I completely understand the feeling.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Something Other Than the Sausage-making Metaphor

"Writing goes something like this: think of idea, collect material, find the right angle, do something else for a while, get sudden idea and write it down, think some more, plan, organize, think, write, rewrite, proofread, rewrite, proofread, proofread, finalize. Writing feels a lot like wrestling an alligator. A fair amount of violent thrashing is part of the struggle."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Storm Week: Friday Finish

In this picture are three other photographers, all shooting the waves. Water decides to come out of the sky, and Californians flock to the coast to document it.

Today there's been some rain, some pockets of nastiness, a few gusts, and calm sunshine. If you're patient enough, or look in the right places, things improve.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Storm Week: Thursday Thrashing

(No lunch outside today.)

Mother Nature unleashed her full wrath on the southland today. I'm sure there were better storm photos to be had. But since I wasn't about to venture out into today's apocalypse dry-run, this is what you get. Shamu didn't have to get out of his cage, and I wasn't getting out of mine, either.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Storm Week: Wednesday Wimp

(Diary of a Wimpy Dog)

The brunt of today's storm has yet to arrive, and yet I couldn't get Louie out the door for a walk. I think it's the poodle part of him that doesn't "do" water. Pick up his leash on any sunny day (which, let's be honest, is almost every day in San Diego), and he bounces up and down like a pogo stick, so anxious is he to get out and see the neighborhood sights.

Something tells me that by Friday, after being cooped up for five days, he'll be willing to venture out in a shower.

(This video might not play for you. It's a "known" blogger issue. Which means you just need to keep coming back and trying. How's that for suspense?)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Storm Week: Tuesday Drops

(The view out my sunroof.)

Don't let the subtitle fool you; today's weather was much more than mere "drops" falling from the sky. We're talking hardcore rain and wind. V and I watched a Sparkletts delivery guy lose two dozen empty bottles off a cart to the gusting wind. This is the kind of weather you get in Michigan and Ohio and places with real weather. Watch out, rest of the country; San Diego is increasing its meteorological currency.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Storm Week: Monday Yellow

Since rain and foul weather are forecast this whole week (and throughout most of the state), I am proclaiming it Storm Week on Stray Carrier Pigeon. Each day I'll be posting a picture of the great outdoors, and the mess Mother Nature is making of it.

The rain really came down today, but anyone can get a picture of rain. What's better is what occurred early this evening, when the rain tapered off and the sky became yellow. Yes, yellow. Either the humidity reacted with sunlight or San Onofre blew a gasket. Anyhow, it sure is beautiful:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Title Will Be Free of a "Beet the Jets" Pun

I planted them in July. And they grew. And grew into the little red nubs that will stain your fingers better than Easter egg dye. Today seemed like as good a day as any to pluck them out and turn them into a salad. Just in time for a meal before the Chargers cream the Jets.

(The garden. And the help.)

(The haul.)

(Lettuce, beets, walnuts, goat cheese, and croutons. Finished with a balsamic vinaigrette.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Now 25% More!

(Wasabi-ginger, maple-bacon, and pomegranate-tangerine.)

In a rebuttal to my last post and its discussion of portion size, I offer the lollipops that arrived in yesterday's mail from my brother. 1.1 ounces each of sugar, water, and all manner of natural and artificial flavors.

My brother lamented that, while tasty, they're too large. And yet, Dum Dums are too small.

Which is why Nerds are still the classic, perfectly portioned candy. I wonder if Willy Wonka is interested in a bourbon-white russian variety.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Now 25% Less!

For several years now, a "half-gallon" of ice cream (the equivalent of 2 quarts) has been 1.75 quarts. Then last year, my beloved carton of creamy-sugary goodness was shrunk again to 1.5 quarts. I've known about this (and the peanut butter conspiracy) for a while now. But when I put a half-gallon of Dreyer's cookie dough in my grocery cart yesterday, I got riled up all over again.

A half gallon isn't 1.75 quarts. It isn't 1.5 quarts. Volume measurements aren't like women's clothing sizes; they are exact.

Maybe I wouldn't be so upset if this packaging change didn't involve the vice that I embrace most. Or maybe I'm offended by the complete disregard for words and definition. Or maybe I just feel like it's one more instance of the world being turned upside-down. All I can do is console myself with a metric chart and a bowl of ice cream.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Sometimes, on one's birthday, it is just as satisfying to do something for a friend as it is to have a friend do something for you.

Monday, January 4, 2010


After almost a month away, I finally have something new to blog about. And it deals with, well, blogs.

Today, a neighbor asked me about starting a blog. Which was flattering (although what do I really know about this crazy medium, except that people love watching parts of your personal life--like what's in your pantry). But it came at a funny time in my life, because this blog has sat silent for nearly four weeks.

It wasn't that I was out clubbing downtown or taking advantage of the bargain-basement hotel room prices in Tijuana and couldn't be bothered to blog. Rather, I've been home. A lot. While I love teaching ESL, it's not enough for me as a career. It's something I want to do in an alter-ego way, although probably without the black mask or cape...unless I can get some type of tenure--then I'll be teaching in flip flops.

But anyhow, as I've been rethinking how I want to use my writing skills in a full-time job, I've taken a break from writing here.

But it feels like a good time to return. Welcome back, me. And soon: welcome to the blogging world, my neighbor.