June 28, 2011

The Flower Girl Saves the Day

So, you may recall, that last winter, I hired an illustrator and created a children's book from a story I made up for my neice to give it to her as a Christmas present.

She loved it.

It turned out very well, and I'm quite happy with it. You can see a preview of it on Lulu.

Lulu offers a promotional program called Global Reach where you pay them a fee and they list your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and "other retail sites."

I signed up a while back and they informed me it would take 6-8 weeks for my listing to show up.

Today, on a lark, I searched on Amazon and finally found it.

They listed it for $147.65. You know, the paperback book written by a no-name author and illustrated by some talented but not very well-known illustrators. Ummmm.... What?

Let's see, you can buy it directly from Lulu for $15. You'd think they'd pick a mark-up for Amazon that allowed them to clear the same margin or something a little higher. I would not think the mark-up would be around 1000%.

Unfortunately, I'm much too busy to do anything about this right now except complain on this blog. But one of these days (after Europe), I'll chase 'em down and ask them for a refund or to explain how their pricing is in any way a good faith offering.

In short -- Consider yourself warned about the Lulu GlobalREACH Distribution service.

June 24, 2011

Summer is Officially Here

As of 10:16 AM on Wednesday, the days are officially getting shorter. I can't believe how quickly the first half of the year flew by. But, it did.

In personal running news, weekly track intervals feel like they are paying off. Despite last night's barbeque, I ran my 3 mile loop at a nice 8:41 pace this AM. That's the fastest I've done the 3 mile loop since late April. I'm nowhere near my historical speed bests, but at least I'm headed in the right direction.

I must say, training for a 10K is much more manageable than training for a marathon. First, the overall mileage commitment is lower, so it takes less large chunks of time and sleep. Second, and perhaps the more enjoyable reason, you get to run faster, so the miles you do take less time than if you were doing them in marathon training.

Last night, I hid from the start of BBQ and watched the US outdoor track and field championships Women's 10K. Shalane Flannigan went out alone and stayed there to finish just under 31 minutes (30:59.97) -- I hadn't seen her run before, but I now understand why she is referred to as the current best U.S. female distance runner. Kara Goucher ran a great race for second (31:16.65) and Jennifer Rhines held on for third (31:30.37) after Kara dropped her, pushing to keep her lead when she saw Desi behind her on the big screen. Desiree Davila (one of my heroes) met the Class A standard time and a set a huge PR (31:37.14) for a solid 4th place. If any of the first three women are unable to run at World's Desi will have the opportunity take their place.

Tonight is the 5K, which I'd love to watch. The start list includes many of the 10K folks. Shalane promised to give it her all, while Kara indicated she may not run it if her coach doesn't think it's a good idea. Desi is on the list, and I'd love to see her run because she's almost certain to PR again and I'd like to see her show her stuff in a shorter race. Since she isn't guaranteed a spot on the 10K team, she may be willing to go all out in the 5K in a way that no one has seen her do in competition before. Unfortunately, the race is only available on TV (which we don't have).

In all honesty, it's probably for the best that I can't get sucked into all track and field, all night. The end of June is a rough time on a transactional attorney. I have way more to do than I have time to do it. So, now that I've finished my workout, today and tonight promises to be nothing more than working through a large list of work tasks. I'll fit in a couple of breaks for a healthy dinner (yumm leftover roasted veggies and beets from BBQ) before doing some yoga and heading to sleep.

Tomorrow, after a quick trip to the track for intervals, we're headed to beautiful San Diego for a wedding (and maybe, if I'm lucky, we'll be in the hotel during one of the re-plays of the 5K).

June 17, 2011

Yellowstone, Other-wordly

A view of the run-off from one of the hot springs, depositing brightly colored mineral and bacterial deposits on its way to the river. Note the snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Bright turquoise bacteria like it very hot -- 200F+ which is boiling at Yellowstone's altitudes in the 5000-6000 ft. range.

When the pressure builds, the geysers go. Search for videos of old faithful and boiling mud pots if you'd like to see some spectacular sights.

We saw tons of these. I assumed they must be baby meese. Brother informed me that they were Elk cows. Makes sense. I just wonder where all the boys were, we didn't see a single Elk rack.

The colors indicate temperature. If you had to choose your adventure, go for the red, as blue and turquoise are the hottest...

Bison, Bison everywhere. Zoom in for a look at the bison beh-behs. (Note the steaming thermal features in the background and the fact that it's snowing on May 30th).

And, of course, no trip to Yellowstone would be complete without a visit to Grand Prismatic Spring -- Too huge and brightly colored to believe without walking the path around it.

June 14, 2011

Mellowing Out

This week, E and I (each) have both had more than two separate (and unrelated) people tell us "You look like you could use a vacation."

That's a bummer, since, ostensibly, we just got back from one.

And, it was, in a way, a vacation. It was wonderful to see family, to run a marathon, to enjoy the beauty of Coeur D'alene, Yellowstone, and to drive parts of the country that many never see.

But, more importantly, the trip was really space and time to process and do all the things we needed to do in our very complicated business and personal lives prior to moving back home from 3+ months of a temporary existence in the Seattle area. Oh, and while we process that stuff, we needed to remain available for those in our business lives that claimed they couldn't let us go completely dark, so, believing them, we couldn't completely "check out."

Now, back at home, resettling, we just have to do the things we agreed needed to be done on the trip. Oh, and make up for lost time. So the so-called road trip vacation didn't really relax us if you do a net-net analysis (but man was it worth it, in terms of education about that part of the country and just thinking outside of our comfort zone due to the long hours in solitude with only each other).

Slowly, but surely, we've been crawling out of the hole of the undone todo lists. Estimated tax payments due 6/15? Done. Filing all the documents that haven't been dealt with in the last 3-4 months? Done. The rest of the year's travel plans? Done. Business chaos for E's startup? Ridiculous, but we've identified a date I feel I can count on whereby it will all be done, one way or another.

In short, we're moving, slowly, towards a place where I feel like our trip to Europe in July may actually feel like a true (European) vacation.

I'm starting to get excited!

June 13, 2011

Citius, Altius, Fortius

This weekend, in addition to knocking many items off the todo lists, I was a running movie nut.

First, I watched and sincerely enjoyed Without Limits (one of the movies about Pre).

I also finally watched Chariots of Fire, which was such a wonderful story and much more than I expected -- full of history, musical theatre, and amusing portrayals of life in Cambridge and Scotland in the early 1920s. The famous theme song is only played during the introduction and the conclusion, but does not feature in the actual movie at all. Interesting that the song (and that it was a movie about running) was all I knew about the film before watching it.

Yesterday morning, I did speed intervals on a track for the first time in a very long time.

I had hoped to do 15X400 with 200 jogging recovery. Instead, I only managed 8X400 with 200 recovery (the last 4, I opted to walk the recovery).

Holy crap, that was a serious workout.

The total mileage (including a walk beforehand while chatting with R) was barely over 4.5 miles, but I was sore all day as if I'd raced all out for a 10K or more.

Interestingly, my abs and arms were also sore, which doesn't usually happen to me after a run.

Apparently, there's really something to the idea that running fast recruits more muscles and is a better workout than running slower.

I'll definitely be hitting the track a few more times before the Peachtree Road Race.

(oh, and R's fiancé works for Powerbar, so he's sending me a box of products to try so that I'm never unprepared to fuel for a race or long run again. Woot!).

June 11, 2011

Full Plate

The last time I bought toilet paper, I bought a full 24-pack of 1-ply. It's very thin and not soft. Every trip to the bathroom is a reminder that I am not paying as much attention to details as I should be. I'm very excited to use the last roll and treat myself to some fluffy 2-ply tissue.

This morning, I woke after a night of insomnia and fitful dreams. I realized I just needed to buckle down and do a bunch of work - for my business, for E's business, and for our mutual finances and general life stuff. I actually need to knock things off the todo list. It's gotten to the point where I have no other choice.

I felt so disappointed.

I just wanted a weekend at home.

To do nothing and relax.

But, that is not what I get right now, and I have myself to blame. I am incapable of relaxing when the todo lists are too long. The good news is that my business is going very well. The bad news is that I let my todo lists get too long and there aren't 35 hours in the day.

And, we've got a big trip planned in July, so the deadlines are more concrete and immovable than they ordinarily would be.

Here's to hoping that after a weekend of effort, with shorter lists, I'll feel lighter, more on top of things, and less stressed.


June 6, 2011

Vacation's Over

We had a wonderful time driving around the pacific northwest of the United States.

Soon, I will post photos of some of the gorgeous sights and wildlife we saw.

But not now.

My first dream last night was about running.

All of the rest were about work: invoices that need to be sent, piles that need to be handled or filed, and, of course, language that needs to be drafted. Today.

Back to the grind.

June 5, 2011

Mid-Year Review

I'm inspired by a friend's blog post titled, "Where I've been so far this year" so I'm going to follow the theme, too.

Locations (this may be the most traveling I've ever done in 6 months):

Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Atlanta, Pasadena/Los Angeles, Bellevue/Seattle, Whistler, Spokane, Coeur D'alene, Montana (drive through), Yellowstone, Craters of the Moon, EBR-1, Twin Falls (and the gorgeous Shoshone Falls), Reno (CRAPS!), and of course, Lincoln/Rocklin (CA).

Yoga Classes:

0. I hope to change this number soon.


645.6. I've registered for a 10K in July, a half marathon in October, and a marathon in December -- so if I stay healthy and train hard, I just may beat my annual mileage record of 1391.4. This isn't a goal, but if my training plans make it happen, so be it.


12. Not quite halfway to my goal of 30, but much better than the 0/30 I'd finished on March 8th.


The Summer Garden is halfway in the ground. Typically, it's in the ground and done by mid-may, but with all of the travel and wacky weather this year, I'm very behind. Today, we bought a machete (MACHETE!) and E hacked down the remaining weeds in the last two boxes. It took him about 30 minutes to get them all down vs. the 3 hours it took me to do one box with the clippers two weeks ago. Apparently, we actually needed a machete. Who knew?


I've stayed quite busy these last 6 months. Every single new client I've taken on in the bay area this year is based in San Francisco. This is quite a change from my historic client base, which tended to be more peninsula/Silicon Valley centric.