bullet points...

...are a total copout. And yet here we go!

  • Up before dawn this morning...and rather than hit the snooze button I put the leash on the dog and headed into town. I absolutely love waking up on my feet...doing a mental and physical inventory, watching the sky lighten, getting my brain moving along with my feet. So, even though the hound is the occasional PITA (pain-in-the...), I'm glad for the morning companionship.
  • I haven't run since last week. And I'm starting to miss it. Teaching after work until late this evening, so today's not the day. But tomorrow? Most definitely. I may try to be a badass and skip a week in the training program...and I may die a hot, sweaty mess on the pavement. Stay tuned!
  • Did I mention I'm teaching after work? A beginner voice class. It's super fun, and this week we're just singing...the frustration will be, as always, not enough time to spend with each person individually. So do I open up a night each week and take some private students? Dunno...things will be pretty busy this year. Still thinking about it.
  • Went to Deep Creek this weekend. Met some awesome friends out there, and made some cool new friends, too. And the dog? In the water? Priceless...we couldn't get him out. And hubby was just as happy as the dog to hang out on the dock, feet in the water. Remind me why I don't live there full-time?
  • Came home last night from work - I'll preface this by saying that I had been home to check on the dog less that 3 hours prior to getting home in the evening. Opened the door, and the dog was by my side, tail between his legs, shaking. For the better part of the evening he was submissive and cowed, and I couldn't figure out why. I think the cat knocked something over in the bathroom that made a big noise and scared the dog. Which means that I definitely do NOT have a guard dog in my house...so all you would-be robbers, just bring a crash box or yell really loud, and you can have anything you want. Sheesh.
  • The biggest news? We sold our house on Friday!!! After a month and a half of prep, we had a contract in about six days, and closed last week. The new couple that purchased it were awesome - just married, and in very similar circumstances to hubby and I when we bought it 5 years ago. And the best part? No extra mortgage, and a more relaxed hubby. YAY!
  • And since I'm now officially a Virginia resident, I'm off to the DMV for a new license. So that I can register to vote absentee, since we'll be in Houston on the audition tour on Election Day. I won't weigh in on either side, but I do hope you're voting. Because if you don't vote? You don't get to bitch or crow about the outcome.


Week in review

  • Ok, so the running thing has been a little harder this week. I've been achy, feet and knees and lower back, so I'm taking an extra rest day or two, hoping that it feels better. While I'm training for a race, I'm really trying to cultivate a new mind set, and it's starting to take hold.
  • The pup had his first birthday! YAY! And has totally been el diablo since...pulling on the leash, humping everything in sight, and being aggressivetime for a little visit to the vet, and a little snippage, I'm afraid.
  • Work is gearing up...lots of applications to read, trying to find some hotel alternatives, and hello, packing? Especially since we're not checking baggage this trip... awesome... But we had a site visit from a director who'll be staging a commission for us. Nice guy! Looking forward to hearing more from him.
  • Hubby picked up the last boxes from the old house this afternoon...tomorrow morning we turn over our little Potomac townhouse to its new owners. I hope they enjoy it as much as we did! And can I tell you what a relief it'll be to only have one house? HUGE!!!
  • To celebrate, we're heading west to a lake for some R&R...it'll be rainy all weekend, but a little lakefront house with a fireplace and enough towels to wipe off the dog, and we'll be all set!
Have a great weekend, all!


Grrrr... (venting below: be warned.)

Maybe it's just that kind of day, but I'm out of sorts.

I ran this morning, but the announcer dude messed up in the middle of the workout and didn't give me my earned break, which got me feeling pissy and angry.

Got a voicemail from mom in tears...called her this morning, hours after she initially called, and she's still crying. And I'm so far away. There's not a thing I can do...heartbreaking and so frustrating.

Talked to my brother, and he's caught up in his own issues that are affecting his livelihood - he tries to do the right thing, and is suffering because others aren't so scrupulous.

Looking down the barrel of a long day, made longer by this nasty attitude I'm harboring and the level of distractions.

And, since I'm growling, and am at work, one work-related growl. Please, opera company applicants, send us a headshot that at least looks professional, even if it's not. Cutesy poses, hair that obscures your face (! Seriously? How am I supposed to know what you look like when I can't SEE. YOUR. FACE?), obvious retouching, a shot that's more than 5 years old (we can tell. I promise.), these things do you no favors. None at all. You've been warned.


UPDATE: I emailed the nice man who created the 5k workout about the miscues, and he not only took the time to write me back, but also gave me a g.c. for my trouble...he said that out of the hundreds of people who have downloaded the workout, I'm the only one who has written to him with a correction. I'm going to have to go back again, and make sure that I didn't hallucinate and miss an actual cue. Anyway, his name is Justin, and you can find his site at personalrunningtrainer.com


Pennsylvania Turnpike

Drove across Pennsylvania, back home from Mom's (or home from home? or home to home? not sure which really fits...), and bawled like a child almost the whole way. We had a great time, don't get me wrong - chatting and playing with the pup and seeing my brother (two weekends in a row! so cool!) and chasing the cats around the house...the weather was drop-dead gorgeous and we had almost more champagne than we knew what to do with. Almost. Mom looks great, and I'm so proud of the way she's re-inventing/re-discovering herself in the wake of recent events. I know never wanted to do this, and is kinda going kicking-and-screaming, but she's a pretty awesome lady.

But when I left it felt like I was missing something... like I had a story that I hadn't told, or something that I was supposed to give Mom and forgot...this nagging sense that something wasn't right. and it wasn't until about 40 miles into the drive that I realized that it was Dad that I was waiting to talk to. That the visiting rituals and the stories that I wanted to share were things I thought he'd be interested in.


At least it's allergy season, and I can blame my puffy eyes on the ragweed when in polite company. Or when ordering yet another large diet Coke in the MacDonald's drive-through.

So, even though I ran yesterday morning, I went again today when I got home. I was feeling restless, and more than a little raw. It totally sucked - I cannot lie. It could've been the 3 chicken fries I ate for lunch (by the way? totally disgusting. srsly.), or the vats of diet coke I drank on the Turnpike, or the fact that Pennsylvania's rolling countryside totally kicked my a** yesterday. But I did it, and am back on schedule. Week 3? Finished. Next week starts week 4.


Greetings from the Great White North!

Ok, so western Pennsylvania isn't exactly the great white north, but now that I'm a card-carrying Southerner I'm allowed to call it that...but only if I'm speaking with a drawl, I suppose. I'm glad I recapped on Tuesday, because the rest of the week has been a bit of a whirlwind.

Work is going well..things are a little more relaxed, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. I'm so much more productive when there are a million things to do, and while I'm sure that there are infact a million things to do, I'm not writing them down, and they're totally passing me by. Resolution #1 for next week: start keeping a to-do list. In ink, because the computer-generated ones simply aren't working...

We've also started doing preliminary screenings for audition applicants...not to nag, but the deadlines are coming up quickly!

Just finished run #2 for week 3...yup, I totally fell behind. And I was just going to skip day 2 and go right to day 3 but I'm in western Pennsylvania. And it's hilly. Reeeeaaaallllyy hilly. And adding that extra minute to each interval, while mentally totally doable, was not practically applicable. (Read: couldn't make my ass go that extra minute.)Usually taking a few days off makes me feel better when I'm running, but today totally sucked. Gasping during the first interval, how-can-every-direction-always-be-uphill suckiness. On a positive note, it shows a basic deficit, so I know I need to do more hill climbs. Too bad I hate them with an unholy passion...

But the mostest fun part of this weekend at Mom's? Meet Hudson, the newest member of the family! He's only 8 weeks old...and he's HUGE! He's a type of Newfoundland, a Landseer. We drove to just south of Cleveland to get him, and he's a total doll...puppy breath, big feet, and he feels just like a wooly bear caterpillar...the biggest wolly bear caterpillar EVER! Mom's totally going to have to check my car to make sure I don't smuggle him back to Virginny... I love this little fuzzbucket!

Tomorrow? Day 3 of week three. Keep me honest, people. :)


is it legal to recap on Tuesday?

I mean, technically I haven't had enough of a week to recap yet, right?

  • Today was week 3, day 1 of the running program. With the lovely weather, the low humidity and cool air, today was actually pretty enjoyable. (enjoyable...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!) Well, compared to running in the universe's armpit on Sunday, it was paradise. And I turned back to normal color a few minutes faster than usual, which was a total bonus!

  • My sleep schedule is totally ausgefricked because the pup is convinced that something is attacking us every night between 2 and 3am. Monsters, other dogs, axe murderers...something's got him all riled up at totally innappropriate times of night. I'm thinking of slipping him a benadryl at bedtime...maybe one for each of us...

  • Got Thai food and saw a Songwriters' Circle at Jammin Java on Sunday night. Went with a group of new friends, and seriously brayed a few times, I was laughing so hard. (I'm a fan of funny, creative women!)

  • I was a little surprised at my initial reaction to the show...the last time I had been to one, it was at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh when I was performing with JT. We had a great time writing and playing together, but had a huge fallout at an inopportune time and our paths totally diverged. (i.e. I moved. Out of state. I made the decision to move while she was giving me the silent treatment... reactionary or just bad timing? Even I'm not sure...)I can't remember what the fight was about, although I'm sure that it started because I said or didn't say something important. I miss writing with her, but don't think that we'll ever be friends or work creatively together...it makes me nostalgic and more than a little sad. But it also makes me curious as to what I could do if I tried. Stay tuned...

  • Voice Class tonight! We're singing more, dealing with fewer diagrams, and maybe even getting to work on a song...terribly exciting. We're also taking about matching pitch and amusia. At dinner on Sunday, CoolNeighborGirl shared a story about choir, and being asked to leave because she couldn't sing. I hear so many stories like hers, and I find them cruel. I also find that those folks are often some of the most devoted music fans. There's a longer, meatier post in this point, but I'll point you toward this article for a ray of hope...


Hell, yeah!


after a weekend full of family and fun,

and maybe an adult beverage or three,

on a day that, according to the weather service, would be better spent inside due to heat and humidity akin to what you'd find in my brother's armpit,

shortly after noon (=full sun),

Rahree finished week two of her training program.

And I not only finished it, but I finished it without totally dying.

(although you can't tell from the shade of my face in the photo, can you...)

After totally boinking on the last two runs, today was actually a little easier. Maybe it was because it was a totally stupid day and time to run? Maybe because it was the most difficult workout to date?

Or maybe it was just because I rock.

Take that, bitches!

[And by bitches, I mean my lazy, fat, soon-to-be alter ego. Crisco, begone!]

If you're interested, here's the program I'm using. You can buy it on iTunes, too.

To celebrate? Dinner and a show with friends. It feels well deserved, and will be a nice way to wrap up the week.

pictures from the weekend

Scenes from the International Children's Festival at Wolf Trap. These were from the claymation booth in the Arts & Technology Pavilion...

...and these were from the light drawing booth..

The technology exhibits were super cool, and even more impressive in that the vast majority of them were run by teenagers in tech programs from area schools.

We saw the New York Goofs, Scrap Arts (Awesome percussions ensemble who make their instruments from recycled materials - very cool!) some Kung Fu demostrations, Jordanian dance, and visited booths for different activities. The kids were given passports, and got stamps for visiting each of the different booths. It was a steamy day, and we stayed for about four hours before we all melted and ran home to the ac.

These pics are presented courtesy of Mr. Bubble and a jacuzzi tub. When we bought this house we hadn't counted on the appeal of the big bathtub with the jets, but it was a HUGE hit!

We had a great time this weekend with Mo, and Niece and Nephew! And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm ready for my nap...


Talk fast!

there's totally not enough time this morning for a thoughtful, well-written blog post AND a shower before I go to work. So here's bullet points! (Delivered with enthusiasm!)

  • Brother, niece and nephew coming into town for the weekend! Childrens' Festival! Mexican Breakfast! Drinks with SingleGirl! Building forts with the piano and an air mattress! Fun!
  • Dog-related neck problems...taking one more day to loosen up before training day 3. Feeling slothful! Hooray for muscle relaxers!
  • Audition season is approaching! Lots of email questions! Some better than others!
  • Hair cut and dye by a new salon! Super dark, and back to being kinda short! A little bit goth! Loving it!
  • Back in touch with a bunch of high school friends on Facebook! We're all older! How did that happen?!
  • Thinking of friends in Houston! Beware Ike! Be careful!!!
  • Closing on the old house in two weeks if all goes well! Here's hoping all goes better than well!
  • Running late! For work! Must shower and go to the office! In that order!
  • TGIF, y'all!

But never too busy for five...
  1. family
  2. weekend
  3. reasonable excuses to buy scooter crunch bars. in two flavors
  4. reunions
  5. introductions


the universe is conspiring against me!

well, maybe i'm being a touch dramatic...

It's more like my iPod conspired against me during my run.

All I needed was an extra 30 seconds to catch my breath after a hill. And instead of pausing, it took me back to the beginning of the training track. And, because I can't count and was paying more attention to the wheezing than the music, I had nooooo idea where I was.

So this morning's run, in many way, was a total failure. Sore shins. Losing the beat about halfway through. Aborting the mission early and walking home, singing the Weepies at the top of my lungs. a failure. To the tune of I need to repeat today's workout, just to make sure that I'm not kidding myself and just imagining that I can do it.

But I shouldn't write it off totally. I went. That, in and of itself, is a HUGE step for me. And while the old me would quit at the first sign of failure, I'm going to stick with it. So it didn't go the way I would've liked...ok. I've got another chance on Thursday to try it again.

And now I'll have a nice clear head for work and for class tonight. Because I'm back in the classroom tonight (Yay!), teaching an adult voice class. I don't know if students realize how nervous teachers get for the start of the year, for new faces and new curriculum and such. We do. Excited and nervous. Here's hoping that the class is fun for everyone, and that we all learn a little bit, too. Fingers crossed.


5k training week 2, day 1

...sucked. Ugh.

The running intervals were twice as long, and the recovery intervals half of last week's length. And rather than sticking with a route that I knew, I decided to get adventurous...and ended up at the bottom of a hill every time the voice in my earphones said "Time for your run....ready? Go."


It was hard.

I didn't keep track of where I was in the program, and ended up really running it out much too early...that coupled with the aforementioned hills and I was a red-faced, heaving, sweaty mess. I had to pause the track a few times to walk and catch my breath...


I didn't skip anything, and actually tacked an extra interval on the end. (My penance for not being able to do the whole routine with no stops.)

The next two runs increase the running time, but keep the recovery time the same, and there are fewer repeats. I'm anticipating more suckage this week; more cursing at hills and my fat ass, more stares from passers-by wondering if my face is supposed to be lobster-colored, more frightened neighborhood children. (But hey - maybe I have my Halloween costume? Scary running lady?)

But I'm committed. And I will be throwing myself through at least 2 more runs this week. Maybe I'll even repeat today, just to make sure that it was the hills that were the problem. Because, as I sit here on the porch, I feel better for having done it. (Physically, that is...mentally I'm totally embarrassed by how hard it was.) And that makes it worth it.

And because the voice-over dude in my earphones says that it's next week that things get more intense.


Here's some video of my pooch, who has no problem with running. We got hit with oodles of rain from Tropical Storm Hanna, and he was thrilled with the pond that formed in the ditch. (Forgive my screechy voice.)


what i did on my summer staycation

September is a tricky month in the Rahree household. I have some leeway in my schedule to take some time to decompress...after several months of 6-day (or longer!) weeks, it's a welcome change. And even though this summer ran smoothly (thanks to JW, JB, AD and EM!), I was still having a hard time making coherent sentences. So I asked the boss for a week or so off, and checked in with hubby to see if his schedule would allow us to do some sightseeing and such.

No. such. luck.

September is his busiest month, and I forget that tiny fact every single year.

So I had two alternatives...suck it up and go back to work early, to accrue a few more vacation days, or stay at home. I picked door number two, and it was sooooo worth it!

So here's a little bit of what I did on my summer staycation:

Went to the Farmer's Market! I bought shallots and garlic, all kinds of summer squash and zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil, and a pint of fresh cream, half of which went onto fresh berries and the other half of which went into cherry-oat scones. Yum!

Did buttloads of laundry!(with my helper, of course) and cleaned and unpacked and tidied...all I need now are some rugs, and new hangers for the winter coats that are still boxed up. Everything else is all set!

Drove with hubby and Boo out to Skyline Drive! If you've never been and are willing to splurge on the gasoline, it's totally worth it. The drive is beautiful, the views even more so.Lots of farm stands with fresh veggies and small antique stores dot the area, making it an easy day trip with lots of opportunities to stretch your legs. Took us about 80 minutes from the Nutley Street exit on Rt. 66, so it was totally doable. But if you're one of those folks who gets nauseous on bendy roads, maybe this one's not for you.

Went to the doctor! While I still need to get a baseline physical (Shame on you, Rahree! Shame!), I did hit the dentist (4 cavities...wah waaaaaaaaaah) and the allergist, who provided me with these photos to use for my upcoming class. Nothing like a good illustration of the inside of yer head to get you excited for September, eh?

And today? We'll I'm watching my yard fill up with water, courtesy of Tropical Storm Hanna. This picture was taken about an hour ago...it's even higher now. Praying that the sump pump keeps on keepin' on.

Of course there was abundant bad-tv viewing, magazine reading, decompressing, glasses of wine, walks around town...all of those good things, too. And I have to say that, all things considered, I'm feeling quite refreshed!

And I did it without having to pack a single bag. Go, me. Happy staycation, indeed!

my five?
  1. unstructured time
  2. bad tv
  3. facebook and old friends
  4. being reminded that i'm not in control
  5. nesting


training week 1 - done!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Rahree has finished her first week of training and lived to tell!

And, if I'm totally honest, it got easier throughout the week, rather than harder and more onerous.

I waited a number of days between training day 1 and training day 2... my inner six-year-old was totally in control, and she was in a lather - pouting and saying "But I don't want to exercise! I'm on vacation ! I shouldn't have to do anything I don't want to do!"

But the days that I exercised I felt better, slept better, got more done and was in a better mood.

I know, it's not really rocket science. I mean, how many trashy magazines and newspaper articles and such does a girl need to read regarding the benefits of exercise before she realizes that she should be doing it on a regular basis because, at the very least, it makes her feel better?

Let's do the math. Since I don't have any magazine subscriptions (although once we sell the old house? Oprah, here I come!), I get my junkie magazine fix from salon visits and doctors' offices. I average 9 salon appointments and 5 pedicures yearly, along with probably 4 yearly medical/dental appointments. Let's say that I scan through 2 magazine per appointment, that's 36 magazines per year. Trace that back to my freshman year in college, the first year I was "on my own", and I'm looking at 612 magazines.


And you know that each of those magazines had at least one article about the benefits of moderate diet and exercise.

(it gets more depressing when you figure that the average cost of those magazines is about $4 each. Total? $2,448. That's enough to get a little bit of lipo on those saddlebags, folks.)

Some of you have heard me refer to myself as a "stubborn Pollack" before...I'm thinking you can't deny me that title now. But it takes more than a week (or six hundred magazines, or several thousand dollars, evidently) to change a pervasive mindset, and even though I'm taking it slowly, I'm still committed to changing the way I think about exercise. If I can claim it as a treat, a reward in-and-of-itself, rather than rewarding myself for completing the week's training exercises, I know I'll be more likely to keep doing it.

And that, my friends, is the big goal.

Next week is training week 2, and things will be a little more hectic. Back to work, back into the classroom [I'm a little too excited to be teaching again - more on that later], another dentist appointment (4 cavities...wah waaaaaaah) and family visiting over the weekend. But I'm sure that I can squeeze in a few mornings for me. The good news is that puppy went with me this morning and was a perfect gentleman...which means that we'll both be able to get some exercise!

My five:
  1. accomplishing small goals
  2. surprising myself
  3. challah toast
  4. rocking chairs
  5. time with hubby


out of whack

we had a semi-exploding puppy this morning at 4am. and shortly after that we had a needy, it's-really-nice-outside-let's-play puppy...this following a late evening on the porch with the neighbors and more wine than i should acknowledge in a public forum.

it's only 2pm

and my body is convinced that it's 5 or 6pm. i can't get my inner clock to match up with the one on the wall. i'm evidently on west coast time...

the good news? it's labor day. so i'm spending a labor-free day making chicken chili [toss chopped-up chicken and a few cans of beans and such into a crockpot. forget about crockpot until the house begins to smell like heaven. grab tortilla chips, cheese. use extreme willpower to keep yourself from cracking the lid until dinnertime.] and reading two (! the decadence!) books (a Jason Bourne book and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett) on the couch on my front porch.

i had potato chips for lunch.

at some point, i'll take the dog for a long walk. if i get motivated i'll go for a "run."

but most likely i'll call my mom and brother, make a to-do list for tomorrow, and go to bed early.

here's hoping that your labor day, if not labor-free, is full of the things that you like to do!

my 5:
  1. long, scenic drives in the country
  2. good wine
  3. clearing the air
  4. dawn
  5. time to daydream