October 20, 2006

How to Make it Rain in Spain

an instruction manual in one part.

Go running.

No, seriously. All I have to do is go for a run. Oh, sure - I can wait all morning for the dark cloud-o'-doom to pass overhead; I can watch amazed as it appears to laugh in the face of winds so strong they resemble those used by Va. Tech aerospace engineers during their experiments in the wind tunnel on campus. I can make the decision that it must be holding off until the evening and head out.

I ran about half a kilometer and then *splat*.

Oh, the joys of running outdoors.

I have recently re-discovered my love of running. I knew that I love it, of course, but I hadn't participated in running for, well, years. I'd also like to admit that the only kind of running that I truly enjoy is running which occurs outdoors in the cold, wind, heat, sun, rain, etc. Granted, I go to extremes to avoid the heat and sun, and I'm not overly fond of the cold and wind, but I love to run. More importantly, I love to run in the rain.

There are many reasons for my love of running. I know that my body enjoys it. My heart-rate increases and my muscles ache afterwards. The farther I run, the more I relax. My body falls into a rhythm with my steps and my breathing. I can think more clearly, and I remember.

That's right, I can think more clearly and I remember.

There are physical benefits to running and there are mental/emotional ones as well. I know that the physical benefits are specific to the sport; I am not saying that one cannot reap similar ones from other sports, only that running facilitates them in its own specific way. The mental/emotional ones are, I believe, gained by individuals in different ways. There are a multitude of ways to gain clearer thinking, and each person chooses and utilizes his or her own favorite method.

I know, I know, why this topic? Why do I think the audience wants to know about my love of running? Actually, I don't. I write this for me and not you. I still think you're wonderful, no doubt. My reason for this topic: the idea for this post came to me while running in the rain. It did not just poof into my head, but rather came to me in a very round-about way that all began with my remembering things from my past. This is really why I love running. I never use any headphones while I run. This is partly for safety; I'd like to hear the cars and mopeds thank.you.very.much; it is also because without them, I think. My body relaxes, and my mind can wander. I think about things that I subconsciously don't allow myself to think about otherwise.

Back to the *splat*.

My first thought was something like Dude! I can't believe this! The dude-usage is a new habit I am trying to break. My Dude!-use began as I started the game Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy for the second time over at SlyK's apartment while our families were out o' town. Since then, Dude! has been a word.of.choice around here. Even the dog is tired of it. Incidentally, lurkers are the bad guys in the game, which I have played and beaten. It is easy-peasy, this official status determined by the fact that I beat it, and also - lots of fun.

The bad, bad (but not so smart) lurkers in the game set me to thinking (yes, I am southern) about the status I employ on pretty much every site I read. The connection? Why, audience, you know that one already: a lurker reads but never comments!

One of my favorite writers is dooce. About a year ago, BU! introduced me to her site. Like a good little lurker, I have read all of the archives and continue to read each post-of-goodness as it arrives on the site. I have never commented there; I should, because it provides me with such entertainment and she deserves to know that she has yet one more fan, but thus far I am a lowly lurker-in-hiding. This brought me full-squiggly-curly-q back to the dude phenomenon. You see, the name, dooce, is a direct result of the author's dude-speak. See there? There are others, much more famous than I, who have and do experience the art of speaking dude. If you want to know how Dude and Dooce are related, then go on over there and lurk-ify yourselves. Dooce is one all of the audience should know - so get to reading!

All of my wandering thoughts about Dooce and Dude!-speak brought me back to the lurking because ultimately I was more focused on when my very own dude-use began how to rid myself of it. Yes, I know: I have already explained that.

Yet another wonderful thing about running: my wandering mind occasionally fully explores certain topics. This translates to my re-visiting them and therefore you get to do so as well. Whoop!

I have now followed that half-circle (we really didn't go a full one, don't you agree?) back to the lurking. As stated, I lurk on the websites I read every day. I do not comment. I am fairly certain this is directly related to the fact that I am an introvert. [I know, why have a blog if you are an introvert?!?] If I were more out-going, I would comment everywhere, and btw - I'd get more people reading my blog that way as well. Maybe that is another reason I don't comment. I don't really think I'm ready to publicize the fact that I write about my life online. In fact, I have only directly told a handful of people. And by handful, I really mean five or less.

These thoughts logically pushed me into thinking about who I have told about my blog. Well, there is Mr. Magic Fingers himself (not those kind of magic-fingers, people), who can WOW me at every turn with his magic-ness. I met him in college, and every time we get to visit with one another, we end up talking about real things full of meaning. Then there is K-O, who could walk on her hands all the way around the elevators in our dorm when I first met her(!). While running, I remembered that I called her Ray back in college. We won't go into why, exactly, but there was a very good reason. The other person I told is BU!, who has his own very *key* site...and yes, I pretty much lurk there as well.

All three of these fantabulous people are people to whom I could tell anything. We are not related; we do not live anywhere near each other (especially now that I am in Spain); I haven't seen two of them in three years; however, I know that I could tell them anything and it would be safe, accepted, and attempts would be made to understand me. Additionally, if I were to ever ask for help, they would give it. I cannot explain it; I just know they would do these things. We have had arguments; we have had a falling-out; we have lost touch and regained it, and at this point in our lives, we still (at least occasionally) communicate. I think of each of them every day, although I don't believe they know that, and I value them. These three are the definition of the word friend.

My thoughts about these three people (I cannot tell you how excited I was to remember the Ray part, because seriously, I had completely forgotten about it) got me to thinking (more proof: me - southern) about the fact that my relationship with them is mostly online. Yes, indeedy, I lurvs me the Internet. I have spoken to Ray on the phone once here recently (yay for late-night practices), but aside from that, I communicate with them via email, IM or blogs. Granted, one of the reasons I communicate online is that I am now 6+ hours ahead of everyone I know. When I take the time to think about these things, though - you know, when I am running - it is obvious that many of my relationships are of the online variety. In fact, I distinctly remember late-night ICQ conversations with Ray through the wall that separated our dorm rooms. Yes, she was RIGHT.NEXT.DOOR. but we talked on the computer. I also remember talking with BU! online for hours. We were living in completely different parts of town, so that one makes a little more sense, but as he will tell you - he prefers IM or email to phone conversations (and maybe even the in-person kind) any day. Mr. Magic Fingers absolutely prefers the in-person variety of conversation and interaction, but is adept (what with the magic fingers and all) at the online type as well. I have had many a conversation with him that way indeed.

I heart online friendships. They are just as meaningful, and occasionally more revealing and honest than ones that are only in-person. Perhaps that is only true for those of us who are introverts, and I realize that the opposite can be true as well, but for me and in my experience, they are (Dude!) wonderful.

Having thought about all of these things...running...in the rain (*splat!*), I realized once again how much I love running. Not for the physical benefits, but for what it provides for me mentally. I get to remember. Had I not been running, I would not have remembered Ray, ICQ, Magic Fingers and WOW, and a variety of other things. This caused me to think about how I began running, and more importantly, who influenced me to the point of loving to run. That one was easy. Mr. Myers is the person who showed me how great running could be...although the intervals were killers and the 10-mile runs were not much better. He taught me how to begin to run, how to increase the distance, how to really push yourself physically to get better at what you are doing, and most importantly, he made it fun. That is hard to do.

He made such a lasting impression that here I am, ten years later, still running. In fact, Señor CC and I have recently begun running together. When we first met, he told me that 'Riss' of M&M fame had asked him once what he looked for in a girl. He responded that he wanted someone who would run with him. More specifically, he wanted someone who would run with him in the rain. As silly as that may sound, I do believe that the fact that I did run with him when we met was just another thing on his list of Why She's The One. You know, if he had one of those lists. I am so glad that I love to run. It allowed me to remember this misplaced information as well. It makes me smile because I know that at least to a certain degree, he got exactly what he wanted. As long as I can, I will always run with him.

I think it might rain today...

Such A Boy!

In honor of Cooper's third cumpleaños, I present to the audience the following: proof that he is, in fact, ALL BOY.

Yes, dear audience, that yellow contraption you see off in the distance is a tractor. In true boy-form my doggy was awed, amazed, and fully captivated.

October 13, 2006

October 12 of 12

Ahhhh - another month has passed and it is time once again for 12 of 12. This lovely post idea comes from the mind of Chad Darnell. Señor CC and I had family visiting us in Spain this week, and today was their day to fly home. I know, I know! You, like me, are so very excited at the possibility of visiting the airport. Doesn't everyone love that place?

M&M arrived Saturday evening, and Travel Drama was in its element. Apparently, it enjoys following M&M around on their many adventures. We told Travel Drama that if it could fit into our tiny european car with all of us and the luggage, then it may indeed come along.

Yes, we did.

Yes, it did.

This is a story for another day. For now, I shall leave you with today's 12 of 12:

6:29; Sotogrande, Spain

Here it is. The bag that met all of the requirements. Goes over my shoulder and across my body? Check. Main large compartment zips shut? Check. Will hold mighty camera and purse-like objects without looking like it holds mighty camera and purse-like objects? Check. Colors, etc. that I can live with and that won't get all dirty? Check.

6:35; Sotogrande, Spain

Tuesday we traveled to Seville, the land of flamenco and feria. These beauties were on sale all over the place. What are they? Why, they look like little flamenco dresses for wee-ones. Almost. They are for wee-ones; however, they are not full dresses, but aprons. What fun! So many uses. Can learn to cook in fun fluffy dress, or can play dress-up with your colourful dotted costume. We shall see if the wee-ones themselves see it this way.

7:13; Sotogrande, Spain

My doggy appears to have a problem. Yes, we are getting him help. There has been an intervention. My doggy sniffs bugs.

7:28; Sotogrande, Spain

I know what you are doing. I see that their bags are packed; they're ready to go. No I WILL NOT sing. I will not look at you either. I will ignore you and hope that I get to come along or that you all stay. Stay. HEY, STAY HERE!!!

7:33; Sotogrande, Spain

Hooray for the Nissan Note! All of the luggage fits, a little snugly, in the back end of the car! Woo Hoo for tiny european trunks. Gotta love the orange...goes well with all of that maroon I wear...

7:55; La Línea, Spain

We all say goodbye to Señor CC when we drop him off at work. This street sweeper was sitting there waiting for its daily poke through the town. The streets in Spain are the cleanest I have seen anywhere.

10:08; Málaga, Spain

After dealing with that Travel Drama just.one.more.time, M&M are checked in and on their way. This is what the Málaga airport looks like at 10 on a Thursday morning. It is a very busy airport most of the time.

10:09; Málaga, Spain

Here is the front of Terminal Two. This terminal handles all check-ins and 90% of the arrivals. This is just about the only view where you cannot see all of the construction going on to enlarge the facilities.

11:51; Sotogrande, Spain

I don't really know yet what, if anything, goes on over here for Halloween. I am suspecting that many tricks are carried out by the local bird community. I do know that there is SOMETHING in our chimney and that it is tormenting our doggy-chomp to pieces. A ghost? A zombie? An over-sized spider? Or...oh, my...another stinking BIRD?!?!?!?

13:00; Sotogrande, Spain

I take a break on this clear day (you could see Gibraltar and Africa from Marbella - quite a long ways) and enjoy the river view from the terrace.

13:01; Sotogrande, Spain

Soon chompy-lones realizes that I am not "working" and asks me to play. With this...his so-called "bestest of the bestest fantabulous toys in the whole ginormous universe"...he IS just a doggy. And it still squuueeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkksssss. So...yay.

14:07; Sotogrande, Spain

Last one: working on the pictures for this version of 12 of 12. Maybe I'll actually submit it before the day is done. We'll see if blogger cooperates or not!

Over the last few days we all travelled to Ronda, Seville, Tarifa, Gibraltar, and of course did some interesting things in-between. I am sure that I will write about it all soon. For now, I have more laundry and then a possible nap to take care of. Yes, me tired. Enjoy your 12th, and check out all of the others over at Chad's. Hasta luego.