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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in xandra_lj's LiveJournal:

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    Friday, May 13th, 2011
    7:32 am
    Outta here!
    The Term From Hell is now OVER. There are no words for the sheer relief of that.

    I'm going off to hang out with cool people for a long weekend. This is a Most Excellent Prospect.

    Much has happened over the past 2 weeks; will update somehow when I return.

    In the meantime, *exits so you can't see her for dust*.
    Saturday, April 9th, 2011
    5:13 pm
    The time has come... celebrate Most Excellent Events:


    Hope you're having a delightful day! *smishes you in a birthdayish fashion*

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
    12:12 pm
    Small achievements are good too.
    Thanks for the congrats, everyone-- I'm still a bit stunned, but DEFINITELY looking forward to seeing what the summer brings!

    In the meantime, I managed to run for 4 miles on the treadmill today after a 1.5-hour stint of running intervals in the water. I concentrated on form today, and as a result felt no twinges in my foot at all, though it *is* tired now. Yay me!

    This grey weather can go away any time now. Rain is fine, but then bring on the sunshine!

    Current Mood: pleased
    Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
    2:04 pm
    If you're gonna be a geek...
    ...yoy may as well multitask your geekiness, say I.

    (Why yes, I did just watch the first 3 1/2 episodes of _Farscape_ while biking on my trainer for 3 hours, why do you ask?)

    No spoilers, please-- it's my first time watching the show. So far, so excellent!

    (FYI, a bike trainer ride differs mightily from a ride outside in that there's no coasting, no resting, no breaks of any kind. Just sheer pedaling for however long you're riding. Excellent for training. Also very tiring, which is where John and Aeryn and the gang come in for distraction purposes.)

    Current Mood: accomplished
    Monday, March 21st, 2011
    5:21 pm
    As always, it's about the shoes.
    Packing and the difficulties thereof, that is. After a fair number of years of semi-regular traveling, I'm pretty good at fitting clothes and necessities into various types and sizes of bag. At the airport Saturday, I saw a number of young women tugging at ENORMOUS wheeled suitcases, having clearly just returned from Spring Break somewhere warm (the cut-off shorts in chilly weather were a giveaway, I admit), and I couldn't help but wonder what on EARTH they'd put in those bags: each was bigger than the suitcase I'd lived out of for three months in the UK not long ago.

    So yeah: packing, I can do. Until we get to the shoes.

    Shoes don't fold. They don't roll up. And if they're running shoes like I usually take, they really can't help but take up an inordinate amount of space in a suitcase. My Fabulous Sister and I deliberately took check-in luggage on our own holiday last week precisely so we could bring workout gear and not have to futz with the damn shoes.

    This week I'm off to a several-day conference, and since I've got my usual 13-hour day at work tomorrow, I'm doing some of the packing today. As I've just officially started training for a half-ironman race in August (see note below), I need to bring my shoes. (Oh, and my goggles, too-- mustn't forget those.) Fine: the running/gym shoes are packed. But what to wear during the rest of the day? My trusty Nikes, which have the virtue of being unquestionably supportive and comfortable and are at least Gore-Texed? Or boots of some kind, since it's likely to be around freezing and/or snowing while I'm there?

    Sigh. Decisions, decisions-- but there's no way I'm bringing TWO pairs of shoes to this thing.

    Note Below: As some of you may vaguely recall, I was planning to run the L.A. Marathon this past weekend to raise money for LIVESTRONG. That plan got derailed, alas, due to a tendon injury that took about 3 months to recover from. But fear not, for lo! I am determined to complete a fundraising race AND to give my lovely donors good value for their money-- so I've signed up for the Steelhead half-ironman distance triathlon on August 14 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. A half-ironman (or HIM) race involves 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running-- so it's a BIG challenge, but it'll involve less outright pounding on my feet and tendons, I figure, so it's doable. It does rather mean that I need to take my workout gear with me everywhere I go, though...

    Current Mood: calm
    Monday, February 28th, 2011
    9:02 pm
    Back, and the world did not collapse.
    Despite various delays at airports both to and from the weekend, I had a Most Excellent Birthday Holiday Weekend, courtesy of my Bestest Sister Ever, her Fun Friend who joined us, and my lovely and uber-talented friend C who helped make my birthday dinner one hell of a party Saturday night.

    Saw the best production of The Importance of Being Earnest I've ever had the pleasure of attending, and we went to a simply fantastic Jesse Cook concert last night, too, after having gone through a nifty exhibition on guitars at the MMA earlier in the day. The weather even cooperated, so there was strolling in Central Park to delight in as well.

    All in all, it was EXACTLY the break I needed.

    Tomorrow will be full of its own stresses, but I shall strive to take them one at a time. That's really all I can do.

    Current Mood: tired
    Thursday, February 24th, 2011
    10:01 pm
    Stop this damned rollercoaster...
    ... I'm getting the hell off, at least for a weekend. Chaos can resume when I return.

    Got all my papers marked beforehand, at least.

    *exits to pack for tomorrow's flight to NYC*
    Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
    5:35 pm
    Exercise in neighbourliness
    It's really quite remarkable how much easier it can be sometimes to get to know one's neighbours during or in the aftermath of a crisis than it is at any other time.

    I went outside this afternoon to clear off my car and shovel it out, figuring that doing it now would be infinitely preferable than trying to do so tomorrow after tonight's promised deep freeze. Got out there and the drifts were hip-high on me (and I've got pretty long legs), but set to work. A little while later, one of the maintenance guys drove up with another guy in the passenger seat; said guy took a look at me working, hopped out, grabbed a shovel, and helped out. Turns out he's my upstairs-upstairs neighbour, and an interesting fellow too-- I'd seen him before taking his dog out in the mornings, but never said more than "hi" at any given point. So we had an interesting conversation as we shoveled. Then he went inside and I walked two cars down to offer to help the young lady there work on hers, as she'd just started-- turns out she lives a block or so away, but is also an interesting person to chat to, and another local fellow gave us a hand until his wife phoned to bring him (and the groceries he'd just bought) home. Finished the young lady's car, then did about half of the stuff behind the maintenance guy's van before my body started sending me unmistakable "enough, already!" signals-- since he'd told me not to worry about it, I figured at least he'd have a little less to do after shoveling other people's walks and stuff all day. All very pleasant and neighbourly, and I enjoyed it, even though I'm tired now.

    Funny, though-- neighbours setting to with a will and happy to pitch in to help each other? Dandy. Other people wandering over and asking in a faux-winsome little-girly kind of way, "Oh, would you guys be nice and lend us your shovels when you're done? We don't have ANY, and it'll be so HARD..." when we're in the midst of dealing with the stuff ourselves? Not so much, especially when the plaintive one must've been in her late 20's or so. I suggested politely that they try the local CVS to acquire shovels, since they'll certainly need them this winter.

    Nature: Deal Or Do Not Deal. There Is No Room For Faux.

    Happily, I have a new crock-pot recipe cooking away, and it smells lovely-- should be just the warm ticket for dinner!

    Current Mood: tired in a good way
    Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
    5:05 pm
    Exit, pursued by a blizzard.
    Managed to get my morning class taught, other class audited, and necessary brief meetings taken care of, then fled as the winds were starting to pick up and the snowflakes getting bigger an hour or so west of here.

    Now I'm looking out my front windows and marveling at the white-out conditions even here in town.

    Happiness is watching a snowstorm while the aroma of cooking soup wafts in from the kitchen.

    Hope you're all warm and safe, too!

    Current Mood: content
    Friday, January 28th, 2011
    3:19 pm
    It's been a roller-coaster of a week...
    ...with the ups particularly good and the downs especially awful. Both exhausting and rather nausea-inducing, emotionally speaking.

    So I worked out rather a lot this morning: biking, running in the water (the injury *is* getting better, yay!), weight lifting, spin class, then PT. And this evening my most fabulous sister comes to town and there will be pizza and beer.

    Really, that's about as good an ending to this week as possible.

    Hope you all have good weekends.

    *exits to fold clothes and to clean house*

    Current Mood: tired
    Sunday, January 9th, 2011
    2:14 pm
    Long time no post. Happy New Year, everyone!

    There's no easy way to sum up the holidays, so I won't try. Suffice to say they were lovely and different and challenging in a wide variety of ways, and I wouldn't trade a minute of them for anything.

    I do want to think aloud at some point about ideas and goals and so forth-- some members of my flist have done so beautifully already. But that will have to wait until I'm ready to do it.

    In the meantime, I have a small but real achievement to celebrate: I ran the farthest I've ever run in my life today. 14 miles. And wow, did I hurt at the end of it. A soak in a hot Epsom Salt bath has helped, as has some food, and I'm hoping that my sore right foot is nothing more than a recurrence of tendonitis rather than anything more dire. We'll see-- I'm even willing to go pool running on non-long-run days if that'll help it heal. (Heck, I figure my dorkitude already knoweth no bounds, so what's one more element to add to the mix? Embrace The Dorkitude, say I.)

    Lovely and sunny out there today: it was -11C when I left, and probably only -3C or so when I got back-- 14 miles takes me a while. (A sense of scale for Chicago folk: 14 miles is roughly the distance on trails from Grant Park downtown up to the northernmost reaches of Lincoln Park and back, plus a bit extra.) The new running jacket and hat I acquired recently were utterly FTW, too-- both breathable and windproof, which made the whole experience a lot less like exercising in a sauna (running in cycling jackets has that effect).\o/

    Hope everyone else is enjoying the day. Work prep starts for me tomorrow-- I deliberately and determinedly took this week OFF, and a good thing, too.

    Current Mood: accomplished
    Friday, December 17th, 2010
    5:55 pm
    Am heading North tomorrow for the holidays. I'll be checking in when I can, though I suspect this will be an unusually busy Christmas this year.

    Happy, Joyful, Merry, and Relaxing Holidays to all!

    Current Mood: packing
    Thursday, December 9th, 2010
    3:25 pm
    Done. Finally.
    After two marathon-length days at work (except I'm pretty sure I can run a marathon *now* faster than the length of time I had to spend on campus), exams are read, numbers are crunched, computer systems are vanquished, grades are posted, and I am D-O-N-E done.

    OMG, I am so very tired. It's ridiculous.

    Know what else is ridiculous? Sitting in my car in the REI parking lot this morning and my back suddenly deciding to go into spasm for NO REASON AT ALL. Srsly? I've been more or less ill all week with stress-related tummy issues, so now that those are easing off the stress decides to wander around and settle in my back?

    Fuck that, said I, and asked my recalcitrant stomach what it wanted for lunch. For the first time since Sunday there was a definitive answer: "A burger and fries," it replied. "All righty, then," said I, and drove us all off to the local Five Guys burger place for just that. In terms of the way my body has responded to nutrients recently, that meal has been the best food I've had in almost a week: nary a complaint to be had. (Plus it was a really GOOD burger, and fresh hot fries made from real cut potatoes, too. Yum.)

    Moral of the story: Sometimes happiness is kicking term's ass out the door and having a good lunch.

    Current Mood: exhausted
    Sunday, October 3rd, 2010
    8:26 pm
    Sometimes, at the end of an OMFGinsane week, what I need is a beer.

    So glad I got to have one when a friend called up and asked if I was free for dinner-- she's just back from Europe (again-- she's one of the more frequent fliers I know, which is saying something), so we went to the local pub. Popcorn and a burger patty with guacamole and a beer over good conversation. Yum.

    I need to have people over for dinner again sometime-- it's been ages since I did that.

    That is all.

    Current Mood: tired
    Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
    2:34 pm
    The sun is shining...
    ...which is no bad thing, especially since it's supposed to get cold this weekend. (Just in time for the weekly awesome social bike ride, which I will go on despite the weather's attempts to be thwarty, SO THERE.)

    Other non-bad things about today:

    -- I got my workout done, despite the fact that my footpod thingy crapped out on me so I've no real idea how far my Garmin thinks I ran on the treadmill before strength training. Also, running on a treadmill is bleah central. But I got it done anyway.

    --I headed out to REI potentially to pick up a couple of things, only to be told by a helpful staffer that they've got a big sale (plus coupon) coming up next week. Dandy-- I left with only one thing (for the bike ride this weekend) and will get the other stuff next week. Saving $ = Good.

    --I emailed a couple of friends I've not talked to in a while the other day, and they both wrote back today expressing glee at my note. Reestablished Contact With Cool People = YAY!

    I must now get to work finishing up and printing off a Thing, so I can walk over to the post office and express mail it where it needs to go. Then I have to come back and write another Thing that has to be emailed Friday, so that I can then turn around and bash my conference paper into shape before Monday. Oh yeah, and I have a class' worth of papers to mark this weekend, too. *headdesk*

    One thing at a time, though.

    Current Mood: busy
    Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
    10:05 am
    So far so good.
    10:02 AM: I've done a cycle interval workout (appropriately named "Suffer-O-Rama"), showered, eaten, commuted, swum for 25 minutes, picked up gas and emergency hair products (because I left my small pot of Magic Hair Goop in my travel bag, grrr), and am now sitting in my office ready to face the day.

    There's something to be said for momentum.

    ION, I am working on Being More Like The Kitty in terms of my attitude towards Stuff, including my current Thing Wot Is Taking Up Increasing Amounts Of My Brainpan. We'll see how it all goes.

    Current Mood: busy
    Monday, August 30th, 2010
    8:54 pm
    Okay. Done now.
    Done yesterday, to be precise, in friggin' miserable conditions (running in 94 degrees plus humidity, anyone?). But done it was: the Chicago Triathlon, International Distance. 3 hours 19 minutes and change.

    Not surprisingly, my legs are a tad sore today. But NOT injured, I hasten to add. Mostly I feel tired overall (and I was out and about walking today probably more than I should have been), so I've no idea what tomorrow's classes will be like. The prospect fills me with gloom, to be honest. I'm too damn tired to push that start-of-term boulder up the hill!

    Am also feeling the start of post-race letdown, natch. After all the training and buildup, it's inevitable. Still sucks, though.

    Which is why, of course, I've already signed up for a half-marathon at the end of October. (That, and the medal for it is actually a belt buckle-- so I could feasibly wear my medal EVERY DAY without anyone being the wiser, which makes me giggle.)

    And in completely unrelated news, the crock pot is the bestest cooking gizmo ever even in hot weather, because it will blithely cook what I ask it to and NOT HEAT UP MY KITCHEN, and that's just awesome.

    Must now stretch and then sleep. Zonked R Us.

    Current Mood: tired
    Friday, August 27th, 2010
    11:53 am
    *tries not to bounce around too much*
    Yup, it's race day weekend. Looks like a gorgeous one, too, though it might be a bit toasty on the run Sunday (but not too bad).

    Anyone interested in seeing what all the hoopla is about can check out the course maps etc. here:

    I'll be volunteering tomorrow at the SuperSprint and Kids' Triathlons, so will get to cheer the frabjous lylyan on as she speeds on by, hurray! Plus it should be a blast to watch the determined little kids do their race, while reminding some of them to take their bike helmets off before they start the run... (saw one woman last weekend run through transition with her helmet still on-- she was just about to enter the run course when she realized it, got it off, and bowled it towards the foot of a nearby tree before speeding onward.) After that, I'll come back here, collect my bike and transition bag, and bring it in on the El to my friend's place downtown so I can crash overnight without having to get up INSANELY early on Sunday. Transition area opens at 4:15AM, closes to all racers at 5:45AM-- and I don't start until 8:16AM. We'll see how THAT part of the morning goes! After that, it's just being in the moment and doing my thing, which should be fun even if the butterflies doing the watusi in my stomach at the moment would like me to believe otherwise.

    In completely unrelated news, the fabulous dress I was in search of arrived in two sizes from Nordstrom today-- so I've tried them both on and have picked the correct size, and it is indeed as fabulous as I thought. Will take the other one back on Monday, no problems. Score!! \o/

    *bounce bounce bounce*

    Will have some lunch in a little while, then put a few things together before heading to my friend's place downtown and thence to the expo-- Schwag! T-shirts! Body marking! Umptyzillion vendors selling tri stuff and giving away samples! Bazillions of people wandering around with numbers on their arms! It'll be GREAT!!

    *bounce bounce bounce exits*

    Current Mood: bouncy
    11:38 am
    Boosting the signal...
    Many of my flist will already have seen this, but in case you haven't, and if you're at all interested in fandoms of sci-fi (I think) varieties, please do check this out:

    Sounds like a wonderful person is having a dreadful time at the moment; anyone who can help, please do!
    Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
    3:58 pm
    Lookit! troyswann made me an icon! 'Cos she is the coolest Salieri that ever existed!!

    Also, because this is the story of my day, if not my life.

    Actually, I can't beat myself up too much today-- I did an easy brick workout this morning (ran faster off the bike than I thought! Go me! Both bike and run were short, though, as I've got the Olympic-distance race this weekend, in case I haven't mentioned it A BAZILLION TIMES already because why yes, I'm nervous about it, how did you guess?), then went out to the LLBean store and picked up some all-purpose light hikers that I think will replace the ones I had to return (won't know until next week, though, as I'm not risking blisters from new shoes this week, see parenthetical blather above), and did some laundry. Also sent off a revised version of my edition prospectus to the publisher, so we'll see how that goes.

    The rest of today, however, has largely been about waiting-- there's stuff to be done at the office tomorrow, then classes to teach, then more waiting... *cue "The waiting! The waiting! The WAAAAAAAIIIIITIIIIIING..." moment from Shrek The Musical*

    But I'm going to volunteer at the SuperSprint and Kids' Tris on Saturday, which should be a blast-- folks doing the short race, then kids of various sizes and coordination doing THEIR race and being utterly awesomesauce. Yay!

    And in the meantime, I can giggle at my new icon. Thanks so much, Sal!

    Current Mood: pleased
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