April 25, 2010

it speaks for itself

solid gold, baby

I did it! In 24:01 -- if only I'd looked down at my watch I could have broken 24 minutes!

nerd alert

April 24, 2010

roadkill

So, I've been having this problem recently with my running, and that problem is that I am a competitive lunatic. The scenario plays out this way: I get dressed for a run, usually at work, and to make it easier on myself I say, "Today I'm just going go relax; I'm not going to worry about pace. I'm just going to hang back and mull some things over in my brain and take it easy." It's easier for me to get out of the office and onto the trail if I promise that it won't be hard.

Then I go out and I try to make my first mile easy, which is harder than it sounds, since I usually think I'm going an average or even slightly slower pace only to look down at my Garmin and discover I'm running, like, a 7:40 mile.

Inevitably what happens next is I come upon some poor soul, or maybe even a group of poor souls, who are casually biding their time, running at their pace, maybe talking, maybe lost in a running reverie. And they're going maybe 10-15 seconds/mile slower than I am. I think to myself, "I should stay behind them, I should pace off of them and just RELAX ALREADY and quit being a fasthole." But inevitably I can't control myself; I inch closer and closer behind them until I'm drafting. Then I turn into a ninja. I try to make myself very quiet so they won't know I'm drafting, and I try for several hopeless moments to STAY SLOW, JERKSAUCE.

Then of course I'm spotted, and I feel sheepish for drafting in a FREAKING RECREATIONAL RUN and I sheepishly pass.

The next scenario that occurs on the run -- and I swear, these things happen in this order every time -- is I come across someone ahead of me who runs at exactly my pace, or maybe just a second or two per mile faster. I see them up ahead, I gauge their speed, and the rational, non-jerk part of my head says, "Don't do it!" But the universe conspires against me and that person stops to tie her shoe, or stops so his dog can pee, or maybe I have in advance (honestly) decided to make this one section of the trail my 'sprint' section.

So, I pass. Of course when I pass I make sure I have perfect form and look totally awesome.

Then I spend the entire rest of my run, which can be anywhere from half a mile to two excruciating miles, fretting that I'm going to get passed back. An old belief of mine, back from my sprinting days, is that you never ever ever look back to see where your competition is. In sprinting, you don't look back primarily because doing so throws off your speed; in every other form of running I think it just makes you look intimidated.

Also, it tips off the person you've just passed that you're an over-competitive nutjob.

The reality is, I love to race. I'm a very competitive person by nature and I love to go fast. But I haven't truly raced in years, since I'm now a middle-of-the-pack distance runner (rather than a sprinter). I'm no competition in the events I enter now because I'm inevitably going up against people who can run a 6-minute mile or better. Of course, I can race within my cluster of like-paced runners; I can race people the last 100 yards or so to the finish (I have a good kick); I can race against my own pace. But at the end of the day I still mostly end up finishing 25th or 85th or even further down the roster, depending on the size of the race.

I bring this up because yesterday, during my weekly Friday run with friends, we were chatting about pace (we were running about a 10:15 mile) and they were teasing me about how much I had to slow down to stay with the pack. "What's your 5k pace?" a friend asked, and when I answered (I train at about an 8:15 mile), another friend said, "You know, there's a 5K on Sunday that I bet you could win."

...

So, YOU GUYS. guess what I'm doing tomorrow morning??!

April 18, 2010

p.s.

I should also mention this:
number 20

it feels good. thanks for playing, number 20.

going bald

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

I'm officially two weeks away from conquering the terrifying number 24. on may 2, I'm headed to oaks park to have my head shaved by st. baldrick's, a charity whose participants go bald to raise money for children's cancer research.

I'm simultaneously excited and terrified. I've wanted to shave my head for more than ten years but I've never had the courage or the excuse. a few years ago my former college roommate shaved her head with st. baldricks and I was so. jealous.

cutting my hair short, which I did in october 2008, has been an interesting, though unintentional, exploration into my own feelings of femininity; as much as I wish it weren't so, by default I feel less feminine with short hair and therefore have to "act" my femininity harder than I ever did with long hair. with short hair I have been more likely to wear makeup, more likely to don dangly earrings; I think I might even dress differently now. it turns out that long hair equals feminine by default, which is something I never considered until it was gone. I don't mean to imply that I'm sorry that hair is gone -- I'm not. I do, however, occasionally lament the feeling that I'm slightly farther under the radar with short hair.

I can only imagine that being bald is going to throw me even further away from most ordinary notions of girlishness. I'm already mentally preparing myself for the potential looming desire to wear makeup EVERY day (these days it's only when I feel like it) since, after all, what little hair I now have left to hide behind will be gone. I'm also beginning to believe that it's likely I will stop wearing my glasses for awhile, although I've long felt as though they're one of my fundamental defining characteristics. I haven't found too many photos of bald women with glasses that appeal to me; without hair, they just seem too present.

in other words, let's turn everything on its ear, mkay?

but don't let all this pontification fool you. I'm really psyched to buzz off my hair. just imagine: weeks and weeks of not having to worry about my hair at all. short hair makes short work of hair styling, but baldness will get rid of the concern altogether. roll out of bed and go.

I'm also really looking forward to the st. baldrick's event, where several of the honored children will be in attendance and may even help cut our hair off. (I hope so!). a good friend of mine is also participating, and several of my friends will be in attendance to watch. I had hoped to raise $500 by event day, thinking the sum to be a little high for only two weeks' worth of fundraising, but my friends and coworkers have TOTALLY OUTDONE THEMSELVES and have already bumped me past that line. I LOVE YOU GUYS. Now I'm shooting for $750, which is the "VIP" sum that gets me my choice of shave times :)

If you are interested in helping support st. baldricks -- or you'd just seriously pay money to see me shave my head -- you can donate to my campaign at my participant page.

April 17, 2010

assorted

so! I've been back since monday morning but I guess I should tell you that the rest of the MOLA conference was also awesome: a few more sessions on various librarian-related things (dramatic rights licensing, rental houses behind the scenes), a banquet (where I did in fact eat an Omaha steak), and the SCOTCH TASTING!

glasses galore

despite all that scotch, and the wine at dinner, and the extra hour I stayed up talking video games with a fellow librarian, and the three hours of sleep I got before having to get up and board a plane, I managed to be a normal, functioning human being for the flight home and even went to work straight from the airport, like a good little bee.

the sun has finally made a hesitant return this week, and one night this week I came home, threw my stuff down, changed into shorts and a sweater, and strolled through the neighborhood to the grocery store. a friend commented recently that all the bright colorful foliage of the season makes her want to yell "BAM!" every time she sees it, and I understand that impulse.

we bloom & bloom
happy tulips

everything is growing with such enthusiasm.

DSCF6358
giant noble fir?

especially the moss.

what Oregon does best

we can finally see the sky! cue collective sense of jubilation:

at last

April 11, 2010

MOLA: Saturday (part 2)

Saturday morning was rough: I slept fitfully and had barely eaten anything on Friday, so I awoke feeling like a sack of death. My eyes were stubbornly bloodshot and I felt like I might boot it at any minute. Breakfast -- which ended up being three slices of toast, two cups of juice, and a little bacon -- helped. Coffee also helped. But in the end, I've been functionally exhausted all weekend. It's OK.

The first event of the day, after setting up the registration desk and some of the vendor tables, was the business meeting. It was fun to listen to the roll call (a microphone is passed around and each person states their name and their member organization) because there were so many names I knew from emails back and forth but who I had never met. I got a special little shout-out as the intern, which was especially great because afterwards a number of folks came over and introduced themselves.

My first breakout session of the day, after the business meeting and a group lunch, was the Ricoh users group. Yup, a session entirely devoted to A PARTICULAR BRAND OF COPY MACHINE. I had expected to learn some new copier skills, but it ended up being more an overview of the capabilities of the various models, and a lot of story- and experience-swapping. I learned more in the session about how people cope with their problems and the really insane needs that some organizations have. I also feel fortunate to work for a company who takes my copier needs seriously and who bring me along whenever we get a new machine. I got a great checklist of things to look for in a copier, and a good idea of what to put on my list for the future.

There is no way to make that last paragraph less geeky.

My second session was "Hands-on music repair and binding" with Metropolitan Opera librarian Bob Sutherland. Bob is kind of a mythological figure in my mind; he's been doing his job at the Met for a long time, and is one of the best in the business. Joseph Colaneri, one of our relatively frequent guest conductors (who also conducts at the Met), is always urging me to call him the next time I'm in New York. "I'll introduce you to Bob. You'll be amazed by that library." I couldn't imagine just popping by -- a little librarian like me! -- but now I understand. Bob's session was awesome mainly because it was so interesting to hear what they do there at the #1 opera house in the country. They unbind any parts that are staple-fastened and they rebind every part and score. And when I say "rebind," I mean they hand-sew each binding. I've taken a book-binding class, so the actual binding lesson was a review for me, but that was SO OKAY. Bob is so generous with his time and knowledge, and seemed very sincerely pleased that we had an interest in the subject. I daresay that he's as much an archivist as a performance librarian. We are all archivists to some degree, but he clearly has a real passion for it. He showed us a part from Verdi's Otello, one the Met orchestra used up until the mid-1990s. It was stamped "Metropolitan Opera: 1888-1889 season." I admit I secretly teared up a little at the magic of that.

Saturday night was the Omaha Symphony concert; the program started with several recognizable 'space' themes -- the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001: A Space Odyssey music), along with the themes from Star Trek, Star Wars, and E.T. The second half was Holst's The Planets, accompanied by images of each planet as the music played. It was a great idea; there were several kids' groups in attendance. It was a nice night: I couldn't get over how beautiful the performing arts center is. And the symphony's music director gave us a very sweet shout-out just before the close of the first half; he told the audience that no music that you hear at any orchestra performance anywhere would be possible without librarians, and he had us stand up so we could be applauded! It was a nice gesture.

And then I came back and flopped into my giant king-sized bed. I need me one of those.

April 10, 2010

MOLA: Saturday (in brief)

DSCF6337
(ConAgra, which is next door)

DSCF6334
(the neighborhood I ran through that reminded me of being a young child: chainlink fences, houses all in a row; cracked sidewalks, brick road, children riding bikes in circles in the street)

hands-on repair and binding
(the incredible -- and incredibly kind -- Bob Sutherland teaching us, in short, how awesome his library is. [his library is the Met])

I fixed a corner!
what I learned in Bob's class (part one)

steak.
Omaha.

MOLA conference: Friday

This morning at the ungodly hour of 3 AM I got out of bed and put on my fancy librarian pants to hop on a plane to Omaha for the 2010 MOLA conference. I'm this year's intern, which means in addition to attending the breakout sessions I'm also working on whatever tasks they set me up with. I'm here to support Jessica Slais, the host librarian from Omaha Symphony, and she & her colleagues have done such an awesome job organizing the event that my tasks have been ... well, what you would expect of an intern: checking in registrants, moving signs around, passing out paperwork. Busy, but relatively menial. (I'm not at all complaining). They've been a great way to meet everybody, although I've met so many people I can't keep them straight! Luckily, they understand.

It's nearly midnight and I've been up since 3 AM, so what I want to tell you is short and sweet: I'm still having a hard time believing that all those people -- you know, the ones who were milling about at tonight's reception, holding drinks, chatting -- do exactly the same strange little job I do. In fact, I've been trying all day to let the idea sink in. Some librarians, as they came to the registration table to get their packet, made jokes about how hard it was not to bring bowings this weekend. We talked about erasers. YOU GUYS. WE TALKED ABOUT ERASERS.

I spent most of my evening tonight talking to Kit Dodd, the head librarian at Syracuse Symphony. While I was at SU, he was the assistant. I knew his name as well as the names of almost every other player. I told him tonight that when we were in school we used to joke about how great it would be to have collectible baseball-style cards for the symphony players; how we would have eaten it up. ("We've considered that, actually," he replied). We talked about the SSO conductors, about all the musicians I remember, about the town. It was AWESOME. It's Kit's first year at the conference too, though he's been working in the library for 17 years, so it was so great to have someone to hang out with. He went to U of Oregon; I went to SU. He remembered eating brunch at a place in Portland; after a few minutes of trying to figure it out by type of food ("really good .. breakfast burrito? great coffee?") we finally figured it out by location: Cricket Cafe, one of our brunch club's favorites.

I guess the weird, alien-universe-ness of this -- being surrounded by people who don't need an explanation about what it is I do from day to day -- will eventually subside. In the meantime, it's pretty amazing. I commiserated with Shannon, a librarian from Dallas Opera, about the excruciating pain of bowing a set of parts with very little time. "I had a tension headache the whole time," she said, of bowing a world premiere in just a few weeks. God, don't I know it. For a week bowing Barber my wrist hurt so bad I couldn't bend it past 15 degrees. SOMEONE GETS IT!

Now it's midnight, and I'm going to flop into my giant king sized bed and watch awesome, crappy cable on one of the two TVs in my room.

April 4, 2010

homecoming

hi blog, remember me? that person who used to occasionally do things and then tell you about them? yeah, sorry about that.

look, I could write you a book and catch you up, but how about a highlights reel instead? since last we spoke:
  • we opened a show
  • we closed a show
  • I ate a lot of candy at the theater
  • I spent two weeks doing nothing but marking parts for Barber of Seville
  • I'm still not totally done with those parts
  • I've been having recurring, upsetting dreams about not feeding or caring for various pets
  • it's rained EVERY STINKING MISERABLE DAY
  • I got my official 15K race results: 1:22:51 -- an 8:54 average mile pace
  • I developed a tremendous & totally hopeless crush on one of our musicians SIGH
  • I bought ridiculous little shorty shorts to run in, which is the next step towards my ultimate goal of wearing spankies
  • Cristina made the decision to move to Australia, which I am pretending is in a far, far make-believe future rather than in 6 weeks
  • I've been feeling lately like I would like to temporarily turn in my adulthood card and go back to bike rides, popsicles, and playing cards with my mom. but I think I'm pushing through it.
things that are the same as always:
  • my car is totally full of barn clothes and perpetually smells like horse
  • said horse still lacks reliable steering mechanism
  • I'm running ... sometimes
  • the end portion of the opera season is exhausting
  • drunken headstands in the living room

so, it's easter. we had a very late night last night involving booze and I woke up thankfully less hungover than I expected to be, but still spent the morning wrapped in a snuggie, eating a giant recovery fruit smoothie and watching it be rainy & cold outside. I'm moony but not grumpy. I haven't done much today, which I'm telling myself is OK but actually I'm unconvinced. we have an egg dyeing kit but no eggs, and I'm caught between the conflicting urges to 1) eat every cadbury creme egg in sight and 2) hoard them for as long as possible now that I can't get them until next easter.

now you're caught up.