Friday, November 30, 2007

Family Time

Family and Friends are what it’s all about, am I right?! And, there’s no better time than the Holiday Season to be with F&F… especially when they travel to you ;) As it should be… family should congregate at the home of the member living in the most desirable location – G’Vegas, baby!

So… the weekend before t’giving, Sally and Doug packed up their conversion van and trailer (like the rednecks they’ll soon be) and headed toward the SE region. Their first stop was at the new homestead in Franklin, NC. They unloaded what will be the 1st of many loads of… “stuff.”

After a brief stay at their new place, they continued to Greenville…. Arrived at my house Sunday evening. It was SO great to see them! We quickly did some catching up and headed to bed. The next morning, the smell of coffee filled my house (love ya, dad!) when I got up for a run.

Monday through Wednesday were working days for me… but, when I got home on Mon – Sarah was there! Ok, exciting times! This was the 1st time since Christmas 2006 that the 4 of us were under the same roof! Crazy how close we remain. “I’d like to thank text messaging, cell phones, email, blogs, our local mail carriers, etc… for keeping my family up to date on my happenings.”

On Monday night we walked downtown to a new, cool restaurant: The Lazy Goat (imagine Mediterranean tapas if you will). Great food, and even better conversation full of hilarious stories. We made friends with the waitress (Jennifer)… asked her for some t’giving food dish ideas. Her recipes sounded so good, I got her email address and have continued correspondence.

On Tuesday Dad and I got up at 4:50 for swim practice. It was great. We split a lane and did 24X50’s on :50 (alternating hard/recover). Then I coerced him into joining me for 8X200 (alternate IM and free… the last 3 were all-out). Over 4,500 yards when all was said and done. Yeah, I’d become a better swimmer if I had to swim with him every week… that’s for sure.

On Wednesday, my kitchen experienced more cooking that it’s seen in many, many years. Sarah and Mom were busy with baking casseroles (contributed via email by the Lazy Goat waitress, Jennifer), mixing things, chopping, blah, blah, blah. It all smelled really good. Wonderful job ladies! Thanks to Dad, my garbage disposal is working again… and thanks to Sally & Sarah, we know my oven does work!

Thursday – Ah, Thanksgiving. I decided to prepare for the meal by doing a longer run. While I was out enjoying the beautiful morning, running over crunching leaves, and going over the things I was thankful for (including the ability to run and the yummy smells in my kitchen)… Mom and Dad busted Granny out of Assisted Living.

We all met up at Aunt Libby’s (literally 1.5 miles from my house). So, the house included: Libby, Paul, Art, Al, Lea, Lea’s Boyfriend Anthony, Anthony’s brother Vincent (hum, who’s wondering about their heritage ;), Sarah, Sally, Doug, Granny Flo, and myself. While things heated up in the oven… we broke out Cranium, the game. Good way to weed out the “intellectually weak” family members, btw.

Finally, now starving from the long run, we sat down for THE MEAL of all meals. YUM: corn bread stuffing, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, cranberry sauce, broccoli casserole, dressing, cheesy potatoes (Thanks Aunt Carol!!), Turkey, apple pie… and then seconds of it all.

The rest of the day was spent digesting the above dishes. Another game of Cranium. Trying to learn a video game (Halo – some guy thing). Introducing my dad to… hilarious. Meeting Al’s girlfriend (so cute).

Friday: Libby, Paul, Sally, Doug, Sarah, Art, and Myself headed up to Franklin to check out the cabin. It was truly a beautiful drive into the mountains (marking what would be the last weekend with leaves on the trees). Their new place is amazing. Seeing some of the “Long Family” items already unpacked in the living room made already feel like home. I think we’ve already scheduled t’giving ’08 at the Cabin!

The former owners came to show us around (and brought donuts & hot tea… so hospitable here in the South). Somehow the decision was made to “winterize” the cabin… many, many steps… which included using a shop-vac to suck water out of the toilets. Well, while the homeowners tackled that job… Sarah, Art, and I worked on getting a fire going (duh, we were in the mountains and it was getting COLD). Finally got some flames going and avoided hypothermia. Snacked on turkey sandwiches. It really was a fun day, and I’m already looking forward to family trips to the Franklin Cabin! (ps, will also be an amazing place to ride… ye-haw!)

All the while: Lea, Anthony, and Vinny were somewhere in the woods camping it out for the weekend! Good for y’all… Lea, I’m proud of you for sticking it out!

It’s true, I’ve got a pretty set routine going for myself in my little house. Having Mom, Dad, and Sarah was different… but, just having them there made it feel like home. When they left on Saturday, I suddenly felt a sense of emptiness (where did my couch buddies go?!). Can’t wait to see them over Christmas (in another very desirable location: Mexico!).

*Since Thanksgiving, I’ve heard GREAT family news from the other side (Dad’s). My cousin, Erica (Coeur D’Alene, ID), just got engaged! AND… she got into tri’s last year! Kip (the fiancĂ©) has done IM CDA 3 times… and she signed up for 2008! Oh, athletes all over the family. Here’s a pic of the happy couple. Again, CONGRATS Erica! The Long’s are all excited for you! You guys are too cute.

Monday, November 19, 2007

MDA motivation

I just received some pictures from MDA summer camp. My favorite shot: Philip and I gettin' down at the dance! Philip is the South Carolina Goodwill Ambassador (he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy). Just something to keep me going on this Monday! There is so much to be thankful for...

I've been tagged

Alright, thanks for the "tag" Jen. Here you go....

With this game, I'm supposed to list 5 things people don't know about me (well, except my family & childhood friends, I guess):

  1. I didn't drink alcoholic beverages until I was around 22... yes, it's true. (and I'm still not a big fan of "going out," but I'll hit the bars from time to time...)
  2. I believe in ghosts... and I've seen one.
  3. I was born in the Philippines (my parents were living in Manila, working for CAT)
  4. If given a large sum of money... I would love to remodel my bathroom. I have a dream, of one day having the most amazing shower set-up imaginable. (Well, there are many things I'd like to improve upon throughout my house)
  5. I could survive on PB&J, Clif Bars, oatmeal, mac & cheese, pancakes, fruit, chocolate, and Red Bull.

I tag: Marit! You're it, chica

Friday, November 16, 2007

wonders of the body

Friends, athletes, strangers... I'm sure you'll be fascinated with the following "wonders of the human body." Good entertainment for this Friday afternoon:

- Scientists say the higher your I.Q. - The more you dream.
- The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm.
- You use 200 muscles to take one step.
- The average woman is 5 inches shorter than the average man.
- Your big toes have two bones each while the rest have three.
- A pair of human feet contain 250,000 sweat glands.
- A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball.
- The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.
- The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica.
- It takes the food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
- The average human dream lasts 2-3 seconds.
- Men without hair on their chests are more likely to get cirrhosis of the liver than men with hair.
- At the moment of conception, you spent about half an hour as a single cell.
- There is about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
- Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.
- The enamel in your teeth is the hardest substance in your body.
- Your teeth start developing (in your gums) 6 months before you are born.
- When you are looking at someone you love, your pupils dilate, they do the same when you are looking at someone you hate.
- Blondes have more hair than dark-haired people.
- Your thumb is the same length of your nose.

*At this very moment I know full well you are putting this last fact to the remove your thumb from your nose

Thanks for the fun fwd Becky!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

IM Redneck Riviera

Ah, Panama City Beach.... home to numerous high rise condos, waffle houses, gigantic surf shops... and Ironman Florida!

What a trip, what a race. The journey started on Halloween. I rushed out of work and drove to Gerald & Sarah's house. They were preparing Grace, aka Tinker Bell, for trick-or-treating. I was on candy duty. After I passed out the goods from their front porch, and they returned from the door-to-door begging, we piled bags/bikes/baby into the car and took off (around 7:30 pm).

Our original plan was to drive until midnight, find a hotel, crash, and finish the drive to PC in the morning. Well... you know how it goes... you put two competitive triathletes in the front seats of a car, give them a destination, and you're bound to see them drive until both pass out or you reach the point of interest.

So, after listening to Grace talk/cry/sing/scream the entire way (thank goodness she's so cute) and hitting the usual ATL traffic, we arrived in PC at 3:00 am. Just enough time to get some sleep.

I swear I closed my eyes and the alarm went off 2 minutes later. Somehow, Grace was wide awake (the child has more energy than the energizer bunny)... and urging everyone to say "good morning to the sunshine." (Hey, I'll greet the sun any day!)

We grabbed bags and left for the beach - as we were to meet other SC competitors at the race start around 8:30. What a sight... beautiful white, sandy beaches swarming with athletic bodies ;) Not a bad Thursday morning. G took off into the water for his swim, Sarah and Grace began building sand castles, and I began hunting for our friends. Not so easy to find people when everyone is wearing a black wetsuit! I ran into Jerome who was preparing for his swim... then soon found Peter, Keith, Robin, Gaylan, and Jennifer.

Everyone seemed pumped up and ready to get off their feet. I left with Peter... we went to his "home stay" (an awesome, huge house in a gated community about 10 min away). Barbara, his hostess was so wonderful to take us (Peter, his mom, and myself) in for the week/weekend.

Thursday night we had a huge rave at G's condo ;). Riiiiiight.

.... well, I last worked on this post weeks ago. Sorry for the delay. Since IMFL, I've had the eye surgery (success!!! I can see, CLEARLY). Used my new fantastic vision to watch the DAWGS romp up on AU.... gotta love college football and the SEC (the perfect Fall day in Athens, GA with Dad and Sarah). I also ran a big MDA fundraising event in Spartanburg, SC (raised $76,800... goodie!).

To sum up IMFL: it was a blast. Everyone raced SO well... CONGRATS to Peter, G, Jerome, Robin, Keith, Gaylan, Jennifer, Nicole, Julie, Forrest, Regina, & Frank. I was exhausted just cheering for you all.

Jen, Peter's mom, and I ran one loop of the course while the athletes were out on their bikes. After that very tough workout, we treated ourselves to some WAFFLE HOUSE (oh baby!)... soooo yummy.

Post race was your typical IM scene... Peter getting IV's and me wandering around looking for people I know. I loved seeing Jerome, Forrest, and G finish (all achieving BIG PR's). YES! Celebrated with some Papa John's with G & Sarah.