Friday, July 27, 2007

Western States 100 Documentary

It's late notice, but tomorrow, July 28th at 3 pm Eastern Time, (that's noon on the Pacific Coast) on NBC, they will telecast the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race my sister ran in last month. Jeep World of Adventure is covering it. On my TIVO the title says World of Adventure Sports.

I was there for her race and saw the camera crew all around us.

It says this about the episode: THE WESTERN STATES 100: Witness the jaw dropping, adrenalin pumping, sweat flying adventure of the Western States Endurance Run-one of the oldest ultra trail events in the world and certainly one of the most challenging: one day-100 miles Extreme mental and physical preparation are of utmost importance to each runner, for the mountains, although beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and unforgiving to the ill-prepared.

If you want to be inspired, please watch this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Text-messaging that is.

An hour ago I received a text message from Margaret in Fort Worth.

With a handful of text messaging experience under my belt, I decide to get fancy and return her text message with a text message: "Let's get together in August!" I type.

Ten minutes later I receive a text message from Nina in Las Vegas who responds with a text-message: "Sounds great! See you then!"

Quickly realizing my error, though relieved it is Nina I just invited to spend time with, I return a text message back to Nina: "Thank you for the birthday card!" I write.

Only to receive a text message back from Stan in New Zealand telling me he didn't know it was my birthday and didn't send me a card.

If this is an indication of what lies ahead for me today, I think I should just go back to bed and cover up my head.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Feeling smart

The very talented Roz Fulcher awarded me the THINKING BLOGGER AWARD. (what? You don't believe me?) LO0oOK!

I am going to print this lovely award out and pin it to my shirt and wear it every single day for a month!

Thank you Ms Rozzieland!!!

As soon as I was notified I was a winner, I instantly remembered waaaay back when I was in my teens on a weekend retreat at Westminster Woods.

I was sitting in the second row of a very small church/meeting place, nervous as all-get-out because I am about to be called upon to accept an award. When my name was called to come up to the podium to accept my lovely certificate, I leaned down quickly to pick up my thank you notes and bonked my head on the wooden pew in front of me. The sound was enormous!

I could have died.

Nooo, not really died.

It actually didn't hurt me at all, but I was mortified. Could I get any more embarrassed? (well. yeah. I have, but that's for another time; another post).

Amidst the gasps in the audience, I walked up there as if nothing happened. Only to collapse into a horrible fit of laughter ... similar to what the spa experience could have been if I didn't have the life experience I do now, learning how to refrain.

But that was then and this is now. so without any further ado... I want to extend my gratitude for giving out awards for those five blogs I would like to honor in the thinking world.

The winners are:

CRUNCHYBITS Rayne is amazing. It's an appropriate name, really. Because she rains onto so many people with honor and kindness. She's an artist. A photographer. A writer. A crafty sewer. A mother and a wife. And she has a chronic illness that she talks openly about on her blog. OH! And she has other blogs, too... that honors other's writings.

PAULA BECKER You must go to her site at once. You will recognize her work I'm sure. Isn't she great? I can hang out over there for a long, long time and often times I do. I'm quite sure if she noticed I was there, she'd offer me something cool to drink and sit down with me for awhile and we'd chat about Texas....

VALGAL I had the honor of spending dinner with Val in Malibu this past spring. Sitting with her for an hour or two is just too short. Her artwork is amazing. So colorful and her client list is long and tall and filled with colorful people like herself. When she writes stories on her blog (which isn't enough)... you can sit there and feel enthralled. She is so talented and her work is going to be shown on an HGTV episode sometime in the future. Can you not wait for it?!?!

He is a wonderful friend and an incredible artist. We used to work at a software company creating computer games. I was hired there as a temp and I was succumed to bashfullness and didn't leave my cube for about six weeks. One day I stepped out and he announced it to the entire art room. "Lo00Ook! Shawn is stepping out!!" I quickly moved my foot back in (once I saw my shadow) and we had rain all season long! Jim is a kind, thoughtful, sensitive, funny, entertaining guy who will keep you laughing til all hours of the night. He was the art director for nearly all of Toy Story 2. I don't see him nearly enough and I miss him terribly. We live less than an hour away but happy I can see him through his blog amidst our busy lives. (Jimpy? I lost your email address. can you send it to me again?)

KELLY RIDGWAY She's my sister. An ultra runner (running 100 miles in a single day.. not everyday!). She deserves this award because she's a huge inspiration. She has Lupus and she doesn't let it defeat her. While on her runs, she focuses on positive thoughts and uplifting those around her. She is a nurse that goes beyond her call-of-duty. I remember on many occasions at Christmas, Kelly would call her patients up and ask how they are feeling and wish them a Merry Christmas. Most important is that she is my sister. And I've known her all of my life ... so I should know, right?

Thank you Roz. you are wonderful. For those who aren't familiar with her, she is an illustrator for kid's books using felt, fabric etc. Please go look at her blog. She is incredible!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Spa Vacation

Wearing just a robe and my orange crocs, I quietly pushed open a heavy door with a sign that reads: Please refrain from talking.

The seriousness of the room. The importance of the silence. The reality that I was now living this moment caught me off guard.

My entire body convulsed.

Shaking and trembling as I held my breath, I desperately tried to keep it still. I buried myself toward the wall and then turned my face toward Brenda, pleading with my eyes to do something. To save me from this involuntary physical and emotional spasm I was experiencing.

She looked at me, horrified.

Saying nothing, her face screamed "Nooo, not now, Shaawwwn. Not now. Please don't do this."

I quickly turned around, facing away from her and the others in the relaxation room, hoping to melt into the wall.

"Please God. Please God. Please God." I whispered over and over and over again. "Don't let me---"

And then, in one sudden onslaught of emotions, my body erupted like Mount Vesuvius.

I let out an obnoxious loud, blusterous snorkle. I was surprised how much it sounded like I was crying! But. I was indeed, induced by the laughing bug. Hysterical laughing. Laughing so hard, tears spilled down my face.

And, then, (I like to call it a miracle)... I was able to quickly turn it off.

"Sorry!" I chirped into the room.

I leaned down into a relaxation chair but I sat down too quickly and realized my white robe had folded itself between my legs and was digging into me and was slowly stopping the circulation in my butt. I sat there for a few moments, pretending not to notice.

Then, slowly, and very quietly, I lifted myself back up to re-adjust the robe and in a pretend, fake move, I reached over to the cucumbers to place over my eye lids.

"relax. relax. relax" I keep saying to myself. Over and over and over again.

If you say it enough times, you will find the word relax morphs into other other words such as flaps and sacks.

And now as I am imagining the sacks under my eye lids ... I feel the cucumber sliding down off my eyes and I wonder if anyone is watching me.

I quickly lift my head and glance around the room at the others relaxing. The others don't notice me as they are so poised in their perfect hair styles piled up in such a sophisticated manner. I would have had to hire a hair stylist to even look half as sophisticated. My shadow that is reflected against the wall from the soft lights looks as though my hair is shellac'd against my neck.

Then I hear my name being called out.


I jump up quickly so I don't keep her waiting.

She introduces herself:

My name is Oddie.
"Oddie?" I repeat.
"No. Annie."

And as we wandered down the hall to the unknown, she asks me when I last foliated my face and when I tell her twice a year whether I need it or not and the last time I used a mask was last week but can you believe I still have the same ointment from 1997 ? she giggles and says, "you're kidding right?"

And I'm not. But because I was pretending to be sophisticated, I said, "Well, yes!" And we both laugh. And she believes me in my sophistication.

Until. She spends half the facial appointment removing blackheads around my nose. And when I lean my arm out so she can place it in a heated glove, I can see one of the cucumbers from my eyelids sticking near my left arm pit.

It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience staying at the Watermark Hotel. An early birthday present from my best friend.

It was not just a facial. And a full body massage. But a full 3-day spa experience. Staying in their own Spa suite apartment. We were pampered with impeccable service.

Treated like royalty. Which isn't too far from how Brenda treats me anyway. They say everything is big in Texas.

And with my best friend, her heart and generosity toward me certainly is.
I will never forget it.

Thank you Brenda, from the bottom of my heart for a memory of a lifetime.
I will never forget this. Ever.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Turn Around, Don't Drown

The latest signs springing up all over Texas is Turn Around, Don't Drown.

And there was a lot of it. Our estimated drive down to San Antonio from Dallas was 5-1/2 hours. But I had this sinking feeling that it could take us forty-five hours if every time we saw water on the ground, we would turn around.

And there was a lot of it.

It was a good time to leave when we did. The rains had stopped temporarily though there was still a lot of water on the roads.

This photo was taken while driving through Irving.

Here is a photo of Waxahachie. It's a lot prettier when the sun is out. My dear friend, Julie Miller lived in Waxahachie as a young girl so I have a warm affection for this place. There is a wonderful downtown area, but it was raining too hard to stop, so we kept driving.

Another wonderful town to stop in is Hillsboro. They have some nice little antique/junk stores in the old side of town and an outlet mall in the other side. Sometimes I like to stop in the Fossil Store. But. It was raining so hard we decided to keep driving.

Now we're in Waco. What do you think of when you hear the word Waco? Yeah, me, too. David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. I kept looking out for people turning around on the freeway, but they kept moving forward which I'm glad they did. I think it would be more unsafe for us to turn around on the freeway into oncoming traffic during the torrential rains. (but then again, maybe that's just me).

We got off the highway to see the small adorable town of Salado. It has some cool looking restaurants and little country shops. I really want to stop and explore this town the next time I am there and when the sun is shining.

There were quite a few accidents. I snapped this photo out my side window while driving in Round Rock. When I look at it now, I feel worried that maybe we should have stopped. The door is wide open. No one is around. Could the driver still be inside? And, if they did leave the scene, don't you think someone would think, 'Oh, let me shut the door?"

We are entering Austin, one of my most favorite places to visit. The yellow lights on the left of the sign says TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN. But nobody was. Can you imagine, everyone slamming their breaks and turning around right there on the freeway? Maybe that's what the driver tried to do in the photo above. I think the sign should read WHEN FLOODS ABOUND, SLOW DOWN.

New Braunsfels is a lovely town. It has a great river flowing through it and it's always fun to ride the inner tub down it. Except for on days like these...

We finally arrived in San Antonio. We thiiiink! From what we can see out of our windows. And we were right. And it was an amazing trip. But I'll talk about it in my next post...