Friday, March 30, 2007

Taper - done. Status: ANXIOUS

Today I went on my last run before the race on Sunday. So, I'm officially done Tapering and am now just wandering around aimlessly wondering what I'm doing wrong.

Should I be eating something in particular?

Should I be icing anything? Heating anything?

Should I get dressed now and just live in my running shoes for two days?

If I went into the questions running continually through my mind...

My last run did go nicely, however. Just under three miles without hardly breaking a sweat. So, of all my fears at this point, collapsing before the finish line is not one of them. But, because I'm me, I now need to find other things on which to focus my obsessive behaviors. Like gathering post-race snacks (the kitchen at work is light a full grocery sack of produce), laundering every item of workout attire I own, setting out my clothes, printing every item of documentation ever produced on the subject of this race, programming the directions into Leeloo, and on and on and on.

It is likely that I'll miss the race altogether because I'll be so obsessed with all these ridiculous details that I'll forget to set my alarm clock.

ACK! My alarm clock! What if my alarm doesn't go off??

*Heart Attack*

Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Fence Post

(Witty Title credit goes to Bubba)

Here's a little game I just made up. It goes like this:

The following sentence, "As soon as the fence goes in..." falls into which category:

  1. Precursors to heavy sedation
  2. Things you never say to your neighbors
  3. Words I never want to say again
  4. Reasons to drink heavily
  5. All of the above
With a triumphant and overly dramatic eyeroll, I'm happy to announce that this line item from our Big List of Shit to do With the House is finally being crossed off. And I can I just say,


Ugh. Really people.

Between the nitpicking banter from the neighbors who are "too cheap" (their words, not mine) to split the cost of a fence, the raised eyebrows from other neighbors who are suspicious as to whether our contractors are using "galvanized" nails, the disheveled state of our backyard and the OMG so much of a douche bag contractor, I'm about to run screaming into the woods with a G&T in one hand and a noose in the other.

Thank god all of our house projects don't involve these people. I'd never make it.

I can say though, that I do like our fence. It looks nice. Plus, there aren't any boards falling into my yard. No snaggly nails waiting to snare my dewy flesh. No antique rusted chain link fence growing through age old tree stumps. And NO DAMN IVY.

It's also blessedly tall enough to keep the fabulously irritating neighbors from peering over and yammering with us about any old thing they seem to be thinking about. You know, like the fact that they want "their old fence back."

Um. No.

And so, here's to a lot of weekends where I'll be holed up in my backyard with no one but Bubba, Rocket and the Future Dog to drink deal with.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Yoga Taco Night

Yes, it's pretty much like how it sounds.

This is when I sprint out of work to hit my fave Bikram yoga class, sweat my ever-loving ass off, stretch all out in every direction, totally rejuvenate my body and then drive home, shower and take Bubba out for Taco Bell.

Granted, I usually don't get farther than a bean burrito, but the irony never fails to entertain me. Here I am, still glowing from my total body sweat-a-thon and mowing through a burrito like there's gold at the other end.

To make up for such indiscretions, I try to cook a healthy, homemade meal on nights of the week that aren't designated as Pizza Night (Friday) or the shameful Yoga Taco Night.

In an effort to preserve our arteries, Sunday night I dove into my new issue of Cooking Light and emerged with this little gem. The not too fancy sounding "Parmesan Chicken Paillards (?) with Cherry Tomato Sauce"

Paired with my old friend Cous Cous (low carb living has sent this sidedish into exile) and some organic green beans, this was just the dish to get us off to a good start this week as Sunday Night Dinner.

My only complaint - the size of these friggen boobs! Normally I would expect organic chicken breasts to be weenier than your average frozen ones, but no. These were gigantic and frankly scared me a little. For sure wondering how, exactly, they got to be so large since I'm sure that "organic" does not mean "raised within throwing distance of the Chernobyl nuclear plant."

It did present the perfect opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime comment.

Bubba said, "I'm sorry, but these boobs are just too big."


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You know what they say about big pillows...

...they make up for faraway godparents. Or so I hear, anyway.

My dear little goddaughter, who lives a state away with one of my best friends (her mom, obv.), is about to celebrate her #1 birthday. That is big news in baby land, to be sure. And since I can't be there in person, I'm sending the most enormous play pillow to ever walk the earth, in my place.

This pattern was an impulse purchase during a previous Amy Butler pattern spend-a-thon last summer when I was feeling shoppy AND guilty - two states of mind that don't ever belong in the same room together with my credit card. I made one of the patterns right away and wore it right out for a summertime bbq, but this pattern got tucked into my craft binder, so lovingly gifted to me by my good friend Donk, and didn't see the light of day again.

Until last Sunday. When I was suddenly overwhelmed with a stifling wave of guilt for only having a boring savings bond and birthday card to send off for the wee child's birthday.

"I must make something!" I said to no one in particular, and then made for the craft binder with a hungry Fat Rocket in tow.

The rest of the day is pretty much history - it involved a few hours feeling up the cotton prints at the fabric store (while wearing my iPod, I might add. WHY is the music always so bad in there?), about an hour waiting for the five hundred year old woman at the fabric counter to cut my fabric down to size and a good solid afternoon/early evening spent dicing up petals, wrestling with moody Velcro and attempting to tame the circus attraction that my pillow was rapidly becoming.

However ridiculous I might have looked trying to pull this enormous creation through the suddenly miniscule foot of my sewing machine, it was all worth it when it emerged as a Big Nap Pillow that looked as much like the photo on the pattern as I could have hoped. In fact, I'm now vividly aware of how similar mine is to the pattern and am mildly ashamed of my lack of creativity when choosing fabric.

Oh well, what do you want for a handcrafted gift at the 11th hour? See. You know.

With the pillow finished to my satisfaction, the significant job that remained was that of wrapping The Pillow Beast.

Obviously I don't have wrapping paper enough to cover it's acreage. Nor do I have a box the size of a bathtub. I don't even have the unnecessarily large bag from my last trip to Bed Bath and Beyond (Do these people even realize how stupid they look putting two hand towels into a bag big enough for a baby elephant?).

What to do?

Why bust out the craft paper and ALL THE RIBBON, of course. Half a roll of craft paper and a spool of pink gingham later and the Biggest Nap pillow is safely wrapped and ready for shipping. Which, thankfully, I have the help of Bubba to acheive. I can safely say that this is the largest thing I've ever sewn and definitely the most awkward hot air balloon I've ever attempted to wrap.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Email from a Craft Rock Star!

Dear Donk,

You are a crafty genius. I am so excited to not screw up my monthly projects now since AMY might be leafing through our Flickr pool at any moment! I mean, who'd have thought that she'd respond so graciously to your email? Not that you can't compose a mean email, but you know...

Plus, who doesn't want a fabulous hand picked prize from Ms Amy Butler HERSELF? No one in our sew~along, that's for sure.

Let's tell the pool about this great news, the new Grand Prize stakes, our celebrity judge and just how fab life can be in general. Oh wait, we just did.

Did you hear that y'all?

Amy Butler herself has offered to select the Grand Prize winner from the pool of monthly winners at the end of 2007 and send them a fabulous prize. Could it be new patterns? Fabric? Oh the suspense!

So - don't forget to post your monthly project photos to the pool and GOOD LUCK!


InStitches : The Clutch

Let me pile on with everyone by saying that, yes, this clutch is hooge.

Huge in a longish, can fit my hairbrush in here lengthwise, kind of way.

To accommodate the two tons of extra crap I'm definitely going to stuff in here since I have so much unexpected space, I decided that a good way to "Make it my own" was to add a removable strap so that I can actually carry the bag.

I mean, "clutch" is a nice thought here, but with my tiny claws, I'm lucky to clutch this purse even at empty status. Surely once I fill it with my necessary items it won't be so clutchable. Or armpitable for that matter. So, enter the strap.

I also needed to make one other change for my personal sensitivities. I'm just not a big fan of the ripping sound of Velcro every time I open my purse. Plus, it reminds me of the dirty nylon wallet my skater boyfriend had when I was in the 6th grade. Sure, it was cool then, but so were BMX bikes, Hypercolor t-shirts and overalls with one strap down.

So, Ixnay on the elcro-vay.

Instead, I opted for a magnetic clasp. Perhaps I'm a bit spoiled, but I like that this clasp does itself. Again, laziness at work here.

It came out really sweet - and with the little leather button I sewed on the flap, I'm pretty happy with the result. Best news here: no riiiiiiiiiiiiip when I open the bag. Bonus: it makes a satisfying *click* when it shuts itself. If only all annoyances could be resolved in such a manner.

My other "make it my own" statement was the strap. I need some time to become accustomed to clutching my bag. Meantime, I will wear it over my shoulder thanks to the fabu strap that secretly buttons inside the purse like so:

I seriously thought this feature would take me all of two seconds to complete. That was before my brain switched into mutant mode and I forgot that installing a buttonhole required the LOWERING OF THE BUTTONHOLE LEG. Duh. I spent a good half an hour saying not so nice things to my machine while Bubba took cover in the living room.

"Oh, the buttonhole leg. Right. Just like the picture shows. 'Lower buttonfoot leg.' Wow."

Once that was done, it took, like five whole seconds to install two buttonholes, slice them open and have my strap ret-to-go. Ah ha. Instructions. Riiiiiiiiiight. Next time to read first before throwing things.

All in all - I am happy with the final product and plan to wear it to Passover when I will need extra room to stow edible food. Gefilte fish? Geez, leave people wandering the desert and they'll eat anything. So that I'm not struck down, I'll let the purse divider keep my salami separate from my slices of cheddar cheese.

Coming photos of the Amy Butler Big Nap Pillow that I'm finishing for my goddaughter's #1 birthday.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Taper + InStitches project

As with all sports, and activities that require proprietary footwear for that matter, there is a special language that goes along with the fun. You know, just to make it more exclusive and intimidating for those outside your special sweaty circle.

Let's take "Taper" for instance.

As in, "Have you started your Taper yet?"

My good friend, and marathoner, Paul introduced me to this fancy runner's term the other night at dinner. I'm sure my look of incredulous disgust betrayed me when I replied, "Wha? Ew!"

And then, sheepishly, "Oh, I mean...I don't know. What is a Taper?"

(If you think Bubba wasn't snickering next to me, trying to stifle immature laughter, then you haven't been with us here long)

Apparently, as Paul explains it, The Taper is that winding down period just before your race where you take your mileage down a notch so you can rest your creaking muscles (and knees, feet, ankles, blistering arches, etc) before throwing yourself headlong into The Object of Your Misery: the race itself.

With full understanding on my side I was then able to reply (without laughing) that no, I had indeed not yet begun my Taper (tee hee). But that, fear not, I would be Tapering beginning Monday (3/26) in prep for my race on April Fool's Day.

And so, I head into this weekend ready to take on my last big run, in fact the longest run I'll do during training (6.5 miles) before I Taper my runs down to 2 mile increments next week in prep for the real deal: 6.2 miles on 4/1.

Sheesh, had I known there was going to be so much math, I might not have gotten involved in the first place.

Sure, I could challenge myself extra next week and try to run these weeny 2 mile runs extra fast, but I don't see that happening. I see me sleeping an extra 20 minutes, then popping on my iPod full of new Fall Out Boy, Spoon and Bloc Party tunes and trotting happily through my Taper knowing that my first race will soon be behind me.

Then I will begin the frightening process of deciding whether to sign up for my first half marathon.

BTW: On the side I've been masterminding this month's InStitches project: the clutch. Oh yes, I am proud of this one. In fact, I'm drooling right now thinking about the little ways I've "made it my own". I can't wait to rock this styley beast with a flouncy skirt and flipflops this summer.

Oh yes, I said flouncy.

Photos Monday.

Happy weekend folks...

Monday, March 19, 2007

And the wheels come off the shredmobile + Running Update

First, let me recount a great moment in the history of Finny...

This past Saturday was the turning point in my 10k training. The point where, according to my training schedule, I would be running a full 6 miles. Granted, a 10k is 6.2 miles, but to me the big moment of truth is the actual treading of 6 full miles. And when I printed out this training schedule from Runnersworld I was actively weary and suspect of this 6 mile marker positively looming on the calendar. FRIGHT.

This past Saturday, however, I checked it off the training calendar like it was MY JOB, PEOPLE! Not only did I do it - I kicked it's ass. In fact, I ran it in the same amount of time that I ran my 5.5 miler a week earlier.

The moment when I passed under the orange tree at the end of my street, known to me as my "home free" marker, I thought to myself,

"Self, you are about to do something you never thought you could do. You are about to finish a 6 mile run. GO FAST!"

And I did. I ran as fast as my little twigs could carry me over that last .3 miles from that tree to my house.

And that, my friends, was a positively great moment in the history of Finny. Next weekend, 6.5 miles. The weekend after that - the race.

Resume FRIGHT status.

As is becoming tradition in our house, I wash down all my long runs with a healthy dose of yard work. Usually involving scary new machinery and ultimately resulting in big yard waste piles blocking our street parking. This week was no different.

Per my original Master Plan, we proceeded on to the rental place to borrow us a little slice of heaven known as a Wood Chipper. We would come to know this fine piece of demolition machinery as the ShredMobile.

After dealing with the mostly off-their-fucking-rocker yard dudes at the rental place, we experienced what can only be perceived as yard work perfection.

We towed home the shred beast, backed it down the driveway (this was Bubba showing off his finely-tuned maneuvering capabilities), pointed the chip shooting arm toward the tarp and set ourselves up to chip/shred the felled tree.

10 minutes later we had a (surprisingly small) heap of mulch, just enough to cover the vegetable beds and future Pumpkinzilla site.

And if you're as riveted by proprietary machinery as I, feel free to indulge your senses with a close-up view of the ShredMobile in action:

So, with the shredding done and the beds covered with a fine layer of fresh mulch, all we had left to do was hook up the ShredMobile and return it to it's rightful owners (the aforementioned lunatics at the rental yard.) Easy like Sunday morning, no?

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

All lightheaded with our weekend success, and not even dirty for that matter, we hook up the ShredMobile to the truck and, after waving goodbye to all our disappointed neighbors (they thought they would finally see one of us lose an arm) we began our slow (no faster than 50mph!) return to the shop.

But no.

We smell a weird smell. I think Bubba has perhaps smoked the clutch from the fine driveway maneuvering one hour prior. Bubba has similar thoughts. We continue driving.

Then Bubba catches a glimpse in the rearview of our neighbor jumping up and down in the street, waving his arms and holding something greasily ominous in his fist.

Go ahead and guess what it was...

Ah, magical - it is the wheel bearing from the ShredMobile.

We come to an immediate halt and survey the damage/make sweet love to our neighbor for stopping us before getting on the freeway.

Damage: The bearing has come completely off of the axle. The tire is leaning inward on the axle and is not AT ALL connected to ShredMobile. There is a greasy mess where the bearing used to be.

After having a minor stroke thinking about the mayhem that would have ensued had we actually taken this thing on the freeway, or over 10 miles per hour, Bubba sloooooooooowwwly returns the ShredMobile and it's not-so-much attached wheels to our house and I make the distress call to the rental place to request a pick-up.

Disaster averted. Mulch-making achieved. Pants filled. Neighbors properly smooched. Relief sighed.

On to the next life-altering backyard project...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

[BOOK CLUB] You Suck, A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Two posts in a day? Yeesh, stop me.

So, for those of you out there following along, this month's book was You Suck, A Love Story by Christopher Moore.

If the title itself didn't peak your interest then you and I are not the kindred spirits I thought we were. Boo.

However, if you went out and got the book (whether it was because of the sexy title) and made your way through it over the last month and a half or so - let's chat.

I was wondering if the premise and story might get some eyebrows lifting, since it's basically about youngish vampires living in San Francisco who, other than vampire-ing around at night, lead pretty normal lives. But that is the beauty of this book, and it's predecessor, Bloodsucking Fiends, also by Christopher Moore (Obviously. Shut up.)

The beauty is this - if you squint hard enough and have enough cocktails, you can pretty easily imagine something like this happening to you. I did. Frankly, I'm planning a little trip to the Marina Safeway next time I'm in SF just to check around for errant Animals or an old blue whore.

There was a scene in Bloodsucking Fiends where Jody is first getting her vampire-y powers and kicks some guys ass at a laundromat. Beauty. Then in You Suck, she talks about how she prefers her life as a vampire because she can walk alone at night, in dark alleys, through rough hoods, etc and never feel scared.

I don't know about you all, but having walked to BART after working all day and half the night, I'd have loved knowing I could defend myself from the stinky riffraff that wanders those streets at night. That's just me though.

Anyway, I don't want to get all preachy and "Woman Power" on you guys, because that is boring. But I like that little side note in this entertaining read that I breezed through in a few short days. I won't lie, I eat up anything he writes, so this was another "run right out and get it because I'm getting the shakes" pick since I've finished all his other books.

It didn't hurt that this episode included a Hummer limo full of cracked out dudes fresh from Vegas, the aforementioned blue whore, the super old vampire from Bloodsucking Fiends that was so much fun the first time and some scintillating vampy love (meow). However, I could have done entirely without the stupid Abby and her wicked annoying vampire chronicles or whatever they were.

Christopher, if you're out there, this was not your best character ever. Just, ugh.

Overall though, a fun read to tie up my Christopher Moore swoonfest and properly adorn the bookshelf with his entire collection. If you dug this book and want to lay your naked steaming eyes on some more, a few of my other favorites were; Fluke, Lamb and Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.

Think me weird all you like, these were all fabulously entertaining.

And, as always, I'm ready to swerve wildly in another direction with the next book: The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. Even though I just saw a preview for the movie based on this book (hello, annoying), I still want to read it. I'm just hoping that while I'm reading it some hammerhead doesn't come up to me and go, "Hey! I just saw that movie. Did you know that XYZ person does XYZ crazy thing that changes the whole ending?!"

Because then I would have to kick.

Meet back on 5/1 and I'll tell you how many were wounded in the reading of this book.


February Institches Winner

Dear Donk,

I am not a slacker. You know this. Which is why you're probably wondering why I haven't posted the winner for February's installment of InStitches. I can see your point.

Without further adieu, let me announce Make it Snappy and her fabulously humorous and carefully crafted sleeping mask as this month's big winner!

There were a couple key things I loved very much about this project.
  1. Disregard for the tedious quilting pattern
  2. Witty sentiment
  3. Reminder that we should actually read the pattern and not just "give it a quick glance and decide that you’ve “got it”, because odds are you do not."
Oh, you have *so* been at my sewing table.

I find that saying, "Eh, I've got it." results in, "Why won't these seams line up?" and "Huh. That doesn't look right." and eventually, "Shit. I give up. Where is the damn pattern?"

So, here's to you Ms. Snappy - you've earned a little extra time underneath that sleeping mask and a wonderful prize that I will ship to you shortly.

Will you do me one fave? Shoot me your shipping address (w/phone number so I can send it via UPS - I promise not to stalk you or leave you sexy voicemails) to finnyknits AT gmail DOT com.
Grazie and congrats!

Ok, back to my contribution to March's Institches project - the clutch. The real work here is explaining to Bubba why OH WHY I need another handbag.

Teehee - I just got this one yesterday :

Vegans - look away...

It smells so leathery I can almost hear it moo-ing. LURVE.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What tree?

I have a weakness for proprietary power tools, I won't lie.

Show me a machine that will do any one task perfectly - and I want to try it. Produce a tool that will make a lot of noise while creating a masterpiece of machined efficiency and you better be ready to either show me how to use it or get shoved out of the way.

Which is why this past Saturday, while I was a skoshe sad to be taking down a tree (albeit a dead one), I was also swooning over the buffet of power tools set before us.

Hedge trimmer - Meooooooooooow! Granted, it's electric, but it's brand new and ready for deployment on our mass of hundred year old ivy (A pox on whoever planted this loathsome vine.)

Reciprocating saw - An old trusty friend. I first experienced the raw cutting power of this fine machine when Bubba let me saw the top off an old Volkswagen. Oh there is just nothing like sawing through steel. Love.

Chainsaw - Hello new friend! You are scary and dangerous and many movies make reference to your massacre-esque nature - however I love you very much. And, by the show of male neighbors circling our house, you appear to have some sort of man-drawing power. Weird.

Bolt cutter - Ok, so you don't have an on-board engine. That's ok! The fact that I, a woman of tiny hands, can snip easily through heavy duty chain link without tearing a muscle or throwing a tantrum in the yard ranks you right up there with the likes of our aforementioned saw friends.

Myriad other tools that were used/destroyed in the yard demolition - A for effort.

What it came down to this weekend was the removal of one full sized dead avocado tree (never produced a single avocado either - boo), one extra large sumac stump, one medium sized sumac stump carefully interwoven with chain link fence, one yard length stretch of chain link fence buried a foot beneath the soil line and a mound of ivy which finally formed a Prius sized mound in our driveway.

Why did we do all this? I assure you that it was not for pure amusement.

We're getting ready to start the long, likely frustrating, neighbor involvement heavy task of replacing our fence. And in order to do so, had to first get rid of all the nasty along the fence line.

And, despite my promises to the contrary, there aren't any interesting injuries to report. Although we did lay to rest a few of our yard work friends.

In fact, despite Bubba's laborlicious efforts, he wasn't even bleeding when we finished the day. Que milagro.

And so, Fence Man is coming this week to estimate for me how many of my limbs we'll have to remove in order to replace our fence with a new one. Thankfully Bubba is handy with all aforementioned tools (Who do you think shows me how to use all these things?) and is capable of holding me down in the event that our estimate is delivered with too many zeros.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Like two bloggers crossing in the night + blisters and the garden

(Please ignore my giant gleaming forehead in this photo. Good lord, is THIS what I look like after a long day at work? Yeesh.)

I was lucky enough last night to get a chance to meet up with American-turned-Italian-back home visiting the States blogger, Sara Rosso of Ms Adventures in Italy for a bit of International Women's Day celebrating at a local Mexican food joint.

Sara was nice enough to invite me to join her and a big group of her long time chums for a little socializing in the name of a holiday that we don't celebrate much in the US. Of course, as you can see by Shelley's latest post, this is something observed a little more actively in Italy, so I was excited to be a part of it here in the States.

Plus, how cool is it to meet up with people you only knew virtually via the blogs?

Cool. Not dorky - cool.

Although explaining away the dork factor when you're introduced as "Jessica, from the blogs" is something of a challenge.

Either way - chalk one up for the blog and it's ability to bring together equally dorky people from around the world (should probably speak just for myself here since I hear Milan is the anti-dork) who never would have met otherwise.

And, while we're at it, I'd like to direct your attention to the conveniently placed link on the sidebar here so that you can easily skip right over to Sara's blog and find out what all the fuss is about.

In other news, I am still blister-free. I'm sure you are all very worried and riveted by my Blister Updates, so I thought I'd tell you that after a four miler yesterday my feet were still blissfully unmarred and rip roaring ready to go for tomorrow's 5.5 miler.

In other, other news, the garden has arrived. In a way.

As it turns out, last year's gardening experience is far enough away now that my voice saying, "I'll never plant from seed again. I'll just go to the nursery like a normal person and buy seedlings." is barely audible. Which explains why the garden arrived in a box on my doorstep instead of in little containers in the trunk of my car like the replacement garden I planted last year after most of my seeds croaked.

Granted, the reason the seeds never had a fighting chance was because I started them indoors way too early and, as it happens, I do not excel at the activity known as "hardening off" seedlings. This is when you take your wee vulnerable spindly sprouts from the warm coziness of your house outside into the big bad (usually much colder) world during the day so that they can get used to being out there on their own away from the safety and non-windy conditions of your sunny window.

That isn't the hard part.

The hard part (for lazy me, anyway) is remembering to:

1. Bring them back in at night when the temp drops to, like, 40 degrees or less
2. Not smash them accidentally while they live in their temporary coffee mug transport vessels.

I'll tell you what, I've come to terms with the fact that this whole process doesn't highlight any of my stronger skills, so I'm giving up on it. At least the "Start Seeds Indoors" part.

All seeds will be started outdoors, in a few weeks, so that they can go through their own Darwinian selection process without having to also survive the clumsy inadvertent crushing from their beloved caretaker, me - Finny "Wrecking Ball" Knits.

For the next two coming weekends, however, we have a much scarier task on hand - the taking down of a big dead tree and the removal of our very own Green Monster to make way for the, TA DA!, future new fence. There will likely be photos of all of this mess, so stay tuned for some interesting injuries.

Still, though, no blisters!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not your average pillow fight

When I was in college I used to host slumber parties at my apartment for my girlfriends and female coworkers (yes, some of those same ones) a couple times a year. To us girls this meant that we were all going to gather at my apartment and do most of the following:

-Eat a lot of pizza/junk food
-Drink a lot of Natty Light
-Watch girly movies including but not limited to: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Father of the Bride, Pretty Woman and anything else with Molly Ringwald
-Wear our comfiest jammies, slippers, ponytails, zit cream
-Do the Cosmo Makeover on my old 486 computer
-Destroy the car of the first girl who fell asleep OR that of a victim of our choosing (typically one of our bosses)
-Play random boardgames
-Talk shit about a lot of people
-Eat a lot of pizza/junk food
-Drink a lot of Natty Light

To guys who heard about the slumber party, this meant:

-We were all going to strip naked, cover ourselves in whip cream and have an enthusiastic pillow fight where feathers would break free from the pillows and attach themselves to our sticky bodies as we rolled around on my floor and touched each others boobies while kissing in that porno-ish pointy tongue way.

Seriously, I heard the exact same story from every single guy.

And it appears that this visual scenario is embedded into the minds of every adult male, because when I mentioned my Girls Weekend to Bubba, he got the same look of lustful anticipation on his face that I first came into contact with after announcing the slumber party invite in the college newsroom, oh so many years ago.

Not to burst any boy bubbles (ew), but grown-up Girls Weekends are about the same, with only a few un-salacious changes:

-We go out for a very nice French dinner or cook elaborate gourmet meals instead of ordering in pizza
-We drink good wine and champagne instead of cheap beer
-The Devil Wears Prada has made an official place for itself in the movie reel
-We talk shit about different people
-We don't destroy things so much as we leave them "the way they were when we got there"

Oh, and now we extend these fetes over a weekend instead of concentrating them into one night of lewdless fun.

Personally, I'm loving the evolution of low-brow apartment sleep-overs into fine dining mountain spa retreats. Sure, it takes more planning and an adequate salary, but the true elements of a quality girlish escape still hold true.

Unfortunately, for all the naughty-minded men out there, this is about as much erotic behavior as was going on at the Girls Weekend:

Good thing there was plenty of food, drinks and PG entertainment to satisfy us girls. You know, so that we don't get bored and accidently take our tops off for a raunchy throw down in the hot tub or anything.

In fact, with the basketball watching and rampant four letter words (ok, so that was mostly me with the potty mouth) it could have been a guy's weekend. Save for the breast pumping and gourmet cooking, that is.

So, as much fun as all us girls had during our fab weekend away, it will likely come as a deep disappointment that although we have grown up a little bit since college, the things we want to do as a group when left to our own devices, has a much less erotic twist to it than most men fantasize about. I can hear little man hearts breaking across the blogosphere right now.


Here's to a fabulously unporn-ish Girls Weekend - ladies you're all awesome and sexy (that was for the guys right there)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


If you have been lurking around here and have somehow not gone over to visit Farmgirl yet (for shame), despite my linking to her constantly, it is high time you did so. If only to get this incredible recipe for bran muffins that don't taste at all like sawdust AND are so healthy that you'll feel like a full-fledged granola crunching hippie bastard.

In fact, they are so good you'll eat two and then think really hard about having a third. But, if you're like me, you won't have the third for fear of The Bran Effect taking place while you're, say, sitting in traffic or waiting in line at the DMV or some other situation that will have you farther than a giant leap from the toi. Not to demean the deliciousness of these muffins with filthy bathroom talk or anything. Sorry.

Anyway, I put some blueberries in mine since I had some left over in the freezer from the last time I abused another one of her recipes and it made the muffins even more delicious. Although, I'm thinking of making another batch with the recommended bananas since it could only improve the texture and flavor.

If you're still striving for perfection after pulling these beauties from the oven, I suggest taking your muffin(s) out to the newly sprouting vegetable garden with a cup of tea and sitting amongst your plants, eating your muffin(s) and watching the finches throw down over the last of the birdseed.

Freakin sweet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


In response to Donk's recent post where she explains the origin of her very flattering nickname that I insist on using all the time, I am compelled to explain the roots of my own nickname which you see before you: Finny.

It is not an iteration on my given name, which is Jessica for anyone remotely curious. Nor does it have any ties to my middle or last name, which I'll just keep to myself. It's not even a cutesy nickname from Bubba with some sordid and barfable romantic story to justify it's existence.

No, it's something more eyebrow raising and questionable than all that.

(This is when those of you with conservative hearts and minds should go ahead and look away.)

It's a remnant from drunken days spent holed up in a college newsroom with a pack of very feisty (and sickeningly hilarious) advertising sales people and editorial types, some of whom are still very, very close friends of mine.

Of these frighteningly funny people, one stood out in earnest as the figurehead for the immature and abusive humor we all loved so much. We'll call him Donut.

Donut and I worked together for about three years. During which time he coined many of my favorite side-splitting catch-phrases and scenarios, most at his own expense. For instance, after rolling into our mandatory 8am pre-press meeting one week with his hair so wildly out of control and so obviously unclean, he took one look at our startled faces and, before we could crack a single joke, plainly said,

"I would like to inform you all that I'm no longer restricting my hair."

To which we promptly replied with resonant hysterics.

Donut was our class clown and we all loved him so. Me, Donk, Bubba (yes, we all worked together in this circus dressed as a newsroom) - everyone. Well, everyone except for the two faculty personnel charged with reigning in our rampant mayhem in the name of producing a weekly newspaper.

Said personnel didn't rejoice in our humor. In fact, "jokes" and their "appropriateness" were a fixed line item in our weekly sales meetings. As it turns out, inside jokes between very close friends, when shared loudly and openly across a crowded and stressed newsroom run by crotchety, insecure middle-aged men, are not as consistently pleasing as they might be, say, when shared over pizza and poker at Donut's house on Thursday nights.

Who knew?

Who knew that making continued and pointed fun of Donut the Drunk for passing out in the middle of a main street in town because he was trying to walk home after doing dozens of shots with one of our clients was not ok?

Who knew that bringing up our coworkers childhood poverty in the form of line drawings posted throughout the building wasn't as funny as we thought it was? (He DID sew his own clothes and then tell us about it. What did he expect? Plus, he was the one who taped up the pictures anyway.)

Who knew that tying "Berg" to the end of every far-fetched nickname because your coworker is a Jew would be unacceptable behavior?

I mean, really. Are we THAT sensitive?

Apparently some people are. (Losers)

What does that have to do with Finny? Let me tell you.

One day I bought a new pair of jeans. The jeans were a skoshe too long. I wore them anyway because with my boots on, they were fine. But then I got to work (the newsroom) and decided it was hard to do chair races while wearing said boots. So, off came the boots. Then I realized that it was even harder to do chair races with the legs of my jeans all balled up around my ankles or spooning my heels.

IDEA! I will cuff them.

So, I rolled them up in big wide cuffs in a Huckleberry Finn-style one might say.

It took approximately 1.5 seconds for someone to call me Huckleberry Finn. It took less than 1 second for Donut to then say, "More like Huckleberry Finn-berg". And even less time for the entire ad sales staff (MY staff, I might add. I was the manager at the time) to officially change my name to Finnberg.

From that point on it was just as likely for me to be called Finnberg as it was for Donut to show up to a meeting with his hair matted into clumps and smelling enthusiastically of sour booze. Which is to say, very likely indeed.

The adaptation of Finnberg to Finny came at the hands of my worldly and sensitive friend, Donk, who, likely horrified by the anti-Semitic undertones of my given nickname, dropped the "berg" and gave it a whimsical ring which you will all recognize now as, Finny.

And so now, as I go by this nickname regularly with Donk, intermittently with some of my friends, irregularly with my parents, in third person with Bubba (as in, "Will Finny be posting this video of Rocket grooming me while I slept" to the blog?) and consistently with the blogging public, I am reminded of the unhinged hilarity of college and the irrepressible senses of humor which I still find startlingly funny even to this day. Inappropriate as they may be.

And if you are offended by this story, my nickname, sensitive topics paraded out in the name of a good laugh, etc, then let me now refer you to the disclaimer at the top of this blog. Most specifically, "try not to cry about it."

So now you know.

Cheers all!
Finny, Finnberg, Jewssica, et al

Monday, March 05, 2007

Running update: YES!

6am: Cautiously get dressed in the dark. Brush teeth. Ponytail hair. Slap on watch.

6:07: Sit down with a roll of moleskin, scissors, BodyGlide, anti-blister socks, new shoes. Proceed to create a masterpiece of blister prevention on both feet.

6:10: A little stretching. A lot of finger crossing.

6:15: Hit the road with fingers crossed.

6:15-7am: Repeat to self, "Does anything hurt? Is that a hotspot? Do I need put on more moleskin? What was that sound? Is my that my ankle? Can I feel my blisters? Are they recharging? Who is that guy? Is he following me? Am I running fast enough? Are my legs getting tired?

7am: Roll into the driveway blister free and commence victory lap around the garden with arms held over my head Rocky-style.

As you can probably tell by my little soliloquy I managed to make it through a run without generating any new blisters or aggravating any old ones. Damn miracle.

Only thing is that I now have this very involved pre-run foot pampering process that I will be too scared to stray from lest I end up back where I started with searing blisters or aching foot pain. So, now I need to go out and invest in a whole wardrobe of anti-blister socks, a six ton bar of BodyGlide and a roll of moleskin the size of Washington state.

And I thought I was high maintenance before.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Running update, or lack therof

As the drama of my continuing foot issues evolve, I'm struck by how little I hate running.

Yes, I said hate.

Prior to this whole "training for an actual race" scenario I was quoted as saying, "Finny doesn't run" quite frequently and with much enthusiasm. I didn't like running. I did it, however, because it was an alternative to hitting the gym everyday, got me outside and required that I interact with very few spandex wrapped middle-aged men. I didn't enjoy it and I'm sure that it wasn't enriching the lives of others so much as I huffed and gagged my way through the neighborhood.

That was until I broke through the three mile mark, however.

Now, had I known that trotting beyond the magic three mile mark would result in such a dramatic change in attitude/ability/hacking I would have done it way sooner. But how was I to know that just beyond the threshold of my torturous three mile sessions was another world of running altogether?

I admit, this attitude adjustment may also have something to do with the fact that I now actively engage in the practice known as pacing, but I like the idea that magic exists and that it can change something from utterly painful to mildly pleasant. Just like that. (Magic: If you're listening, please heal my blisters right now.)

That's the crux though. Now that I've discovered this magical threshold I am not able to cross it because of the ever multiplying blisters on my feet.


In order to soothe my newly burning (and ultimately ironic) desire to pound pavement I went back to the running store to exchange the Blister Monsters for a less arch-y alternative. I managed to leave with a new pair of spaghetti loving, hopefully unblisterlicious shoes, three pairs of anti-blister socks and the biggest stick of BodyGlide (thank you TinkerBlue!) they had in stock.

Admittedly, anything in the store that touted it's anti-blisterness was fair game. With silver dollar sized scorches on the bottoms of both my feet, it was going to take very little to talk me into any proprietary blister cure.

Now I sit, BodyGlide between by tender feets and evil heels, dreaming almost wistfully about the day when I can hit the road again.

I barely recognize myself.

At this point, my biggest fear is that when my blisters finally heal I won't, suddenly, be able to get through even my shortest runs. That the magic will somehow be reversed and I'll be back to the sad wheezing mess I was before The 3 Mile Revelation. That will mean a lot of not nice words and maybe even some crying. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. For now, positive thinking.

Magic: DID YOU HEAR THAT? Positive thinking!