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Winter Sunday Stats (but it feels like spring): 1/29/2012

Everything you need to know about last week: I’m even posting this a day late.

Running: None. Zero. Nada. Null set. Zip-a-rooni. A goose egg. I got sick again, just a nasty cold, but having really only just recovered from my second round of bronchitis this season a couple of weeks ago, it knocked me on my ass until the end of the week. At least I made it to taekwondo and weapons practice with the Boy on Saturday morning, but I skipped any kind of run on Sunday, even though I was feeling all right — the doctor’s last threat of pneumonia made a lasting impression, plus I’m inherently lazy.  

The Girl missed our usual Saturday Martial Arts Extravaganza because she was in Lisle for the day, kicking ass at her first Science Olympiad invitational.  Why yes, those are TWO shiny new gold medals hanging in her room, thank you for noticing.

Writing:  Not my best effort. I wrote 1,029 words this week, (total for the draft is now 85,338). I only wrote on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and even then, less than 200 words per day on Monday and Thursday. But any forward motion is still progress. I’m getting back into the groove, at least a little. We’ll see how I do this weekend.

As an experiment, I have uninstalled Ad0be Flash on my MacBook Air. There are security issues with Flash, and I’ve read that it can keep running in the background even after you’ve closed your browser, slowing the processor and draining the battery.  To the extent I need Flash for something, I open it in Chrome, which has Flash embedded into it so that it shuts down completely when you close the browser.  So far, I haven’t needed it much – most Y0uTub3 videos run in HTML5 now (I had to opt into YT’s HTML5 group), but it’s still used for video on a lot of other sites, such as news stations (and clips of The Daily Show).  I haven’t noticed any huge improvements, either, but it’s only been a couple of days.


Winter Sunday Stats: January 22, 2012.

Running: 7.26 miles today, sloooowly (1:30:06, average pace of 12:25 min/mile) mostly because of the snow, although I didn’t get out until almost 11am, still without breakfast, which meant that my fuel tank was even emptier than usual. I did run a little longer on the treadmill during the week, which more than made up for the drop in my long run — my total distance was 14.77 miles for the week, and so far I’m at 47.9 miles year-to-date. Next week (weather permitting) I’m going to try to get my Sunday run back over 9 miles. I’d like to be back to 10 mile runs by the beginning of February.

Writing: Including 340 words today (the kids’ Sunday fencing lesson = guilt-free weekend writing time), I wrote 1,914 words in Breezeway this week, bringing the total wordcount for the project to 84,309.  I wrote at least 100 words every day this week except for Wednesday and Thursday (and I’m kicking myself for blowing those days, because I had no good reason for not writing).  I’m slow, easily discouraged, and tire easily — it’s like exercising a muscle that has been allowed to atrophy.  But there are moments when I feel like it’s starting to come back; on Tuesday evening, for example, I sat down at 10:30pm intending to spend 20 minutes writing before going up to bed, just so I could check the box for the day.  I looked up 45 minutes later, not knowing where the time had gone, and realized that I’d knocked out more than 700 words.  It was “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY,” repeated 78 times, but I still think that’s progress, don’t you?

Final note: On top of the snow and the lack of food (or caffeine — I really need to stock back up on Espresso Gu), one other thing that probably slowed me down during my run this morning is that I played only podcasts during my run today, instead of mixing some fast-paced music in with the talky stuff. I am, however, at long last close to finishing Dan Carlin’s nearly six-hour final episode of his Death Throes of the Republic series about the decline and fall of the Roman republic. Good thing, too, because I just downloaded his latest episode, which is much shorter: only four hours.  I can’t say I would ever wish my commute were longer, but his Hardcore History show comes close.

Winter Sunday Stats, 1/15/2012

Running: 8.28 miles today; 14.2 miles for the week; 33.1 miles year-to-date. I feel like I’m completely over the bronchitis, but I have to work my way back into running, in terms of both distance and pace. I didn’t have time to fully rebuild between the first bout in November and the Christmas relapse, so I lost a lot of strength, and I know better than to push it too hard, especially now that winter is finally here. It was 19 degrees when I left the house this morning, but I was lucky — there wasn’t too much bare ice on the sidewalks, and there was almost no wind.

Breezeway: 357 words today (also the total for the week). Total word count: 82,935. I’m taking another shot at finishing this draft. I’m sick of this novel eating away at me. Breezeway is my 2009 NaNoWriMo winner — I wrote the first 51,000 words by 11:59pm on November 30, 2009 — and I’ve written just over 30,000 in more than two years since. Time to finish the damned thing or move on.

Speaking of finished damned things, my imaginary internet friend and 2009 NaNoWriMo rival John Mierau DID finish his damned thing, science fiction thriller Enemy Lines. He released it last spring as a podcast serial (if you haven’t heard it, why not give the first episode a listen?), and now he’s converting it into e-book and print formats.  He’s raising money for the editing and cover art over at crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, so if you like what you hear, maybe you’ll join me in kicking in a few bucks to help him put out a nice-looking package.

Printers Suck.

Just thought I’d mention it.

Shut In For the New Year.

I’m currently trying to recover from my second bout of bronchitis since the end of October — a delayed reaction to the trial, I think — and haven’t left the house since Christmas Day except once to pick up a vacationing neighbor’s mail. I worked at home all week, doing things that needed doing before year-end, but haven’t even made it around the corner to Starbucks. And it’s been two weeks since I’ve been out for a run, which is about the point where I go from being a little twitchy to wanting to jump off a building. The Siren’s been sick all week, too, while the kids are in fine shape and are starting to bounce off the walls because Mom & Dad won’t take them anywhere.

That said, we’ve had a pretty good winter break. We took another shot at introducing The Boy to Doctor Who with the Christmas special, which he loved, and introduced both kids to Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes. One of the joys of having older kids is that we can occasionally have a family movie night that doesn’t involve talking animals.

The Boy turned 8 years old the other day, and his latest passion is electronics; between his Christmas and birthday presents, he probably has enough parts in his combined electronics kits to build a supercomputer.

The Girl, on the other hand, got a home genetics kit and is planning to genetically engineer her own strain of bacteria. Probably just when I finally get over the damn bronchitis.

For New Year’s Eve, the Siren made a fantastic three-course fondue dinner, even more elaborate than last year’s. We went through an enormous box of poppers and noisemakers, and after the kids finally went to bed, the two of us stayed up until midnight laughing our asses off reading Damn You Autocorrect in bed. Because that’s how we roll these days.

No big resolutions for 2012, just trying to reboot after an unexpectedly difficult year. Step one: tomorrow, I leave the house.


On Sunday night, I arrived home with the Siren and the kids from the beach. Our trial team finished examining the last of the witnesses on Thursday, August 25; the Siren drove the kids out on her own earlier in the week, and I was going to fly out to meet them on Friday.

Irene. What a bitch.

The beach town issued a mandatory evacuation order — not that the Siren needed to be ordered away from a hurricane — and we spent the first three days of our postponed and reduced vacation in a Philadelphia hotel, then had just four and a half days instead of our usual two weeks.

Even though I spent at least half of each day at the beach working — the evidence is in, but we have closing briefs to write before the closing arguments, now scheduled for the end of the month — at least we had a few days together before school started up again.  We got home Sunday night, and it was the first time since May 10 that I was coming home and not turning right around again to fly back out west.  The kids started school the day after Labor Day, and I spent my first full day at the office in four months.  To say I’m disoriented would be an understatement. I assume I will loosen up a bit in the next few weeks, but for now I’m still very tightly wound.

You see, I still haven’t unpacked. I’m not sure I remember how.

One Week More.

No, really, this time I mean it. One more week of hauling back and forth to Botox City, and the weekly commute will finally be over. Oh, sure, I’ll go back for a day or two here and there — we won’t have closing arguments until mid-September because the judge wants us to brief the legal issues for him, and there will probably be follow up, but after this week, the most TRYING part of the case will be over (get it? what, did I make that joke already? fine, be that way).

Also, weekend fatherhood sucks. I spent more time with my dad during summers growing up than I’ve spent with my kids the last three months, and my parents were divorced. Trying to step back into that role when you’ve been gone all week, week after week, isn’t easy. Today it was trying to advise my daughter when the bratty girl across the street behaved badly, again — I don’t know that I’d have any good answers for her ordinarily, but I’m so removed from the situation now I really don’t have any idea what to say except that the kid’s a jerk and not to bother about her. Inspiring stuff.

One more week.

Giving New Meaning to the Word “Interminable”

Like the mighty Mississippi, this never-ending trial just keeps rolling along, overwhelming everything in its path — other cases, any shred of a personal life, family vacations, you name it. It looks like both sides won’t be done putting on witnesses until sometime the week of August 22, probably Wednesday or Thursday. None of the lawyers on either side has been very good at predicting how long things take, but the judge has made it clear he wants to hold us to these dates, so maybe this time the schedule will stick. It wouldn’t be fair to say he’s losing patience, but he has indicated a couple of times — more in response to opposing counsel’s questioning than ours, I should note — that he doesn’t need to hear things more than three or four times. I can’t blame him.

So three more weeks of traveling west for trial testimony, then two weeks for each side to prepare closing briefs before the Junior Associate and I fly back for closing arguments in mid-September. Doing a brief before the closing isn’t the usual practice — just like on TV, you usually do closings right after the evidence is all in — but this isn’t a jury trial, and there’s a fair amount of law to consider in addition to the 25 years of history that both sides have presented through  their witnesses and hundreds of documents since trial began in May.

We arranged weeks ago to postpone our usual August trip to the beach by a week, and today the Siren and I need to sit down with a calendar and figure out whether to postpone it again — if that’s even possible, given the schedules of the other family members who use the house — or if we should just give up on the 813-mile road trip this year and spend the limited time we’ll have between the close of the evidence and the start of school closer to home. Maybe we’ll rent a place on the Michigan shore for a week instead. I’ll have to work on the brief wherever we go, so we need reasonable internet and cell service (no camping this summer, apparently), but we need to do something and go somewhere for at least a week where the Siren, the Unfocused Kids, and I can all be together uninterrupted for a while. We’ll all be disappointed not to go to the beach together, if that’s the decision — the Siren took the kids and her mother out for a week in June, so at least they’ve been, but the August trip has been our family time since before Junior was born, and even considering letting it go feels like opening a door we had taken great pains to board up.

Meanwhile, I need to pull out the copies of Yoga for Runners and Martial Arts Over 40 that the Siren gave me a while ago. Between sitting on my tuchus all day in court, sleeping on hotel beds (“Heavenly” or otherwise), then strapping myself into a tin can for hours on end twice a week, I’m slowly twisting into a pretzel.

Signing out, once again. I’ll try to check back around Labor Day.

It’s June 30, so I must be done and headed for home. Not.

Psych! The joke’s on you, imaginary internet people — We’re only halfway done with the trial, at best. I’ll be going home tomorrow, all right, but only for a couple of days. I’m flying back here on the Fourth of July for another week. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Hmm. Maybe the joke isn’t on you after all. See you in August. I hope.

Trying Times.

I was reminded a few weeks ago by Jeanne that I haven’t posted in a while. Of course, I hadn’t posted for a while before then, so what else is new?

The current excuse is that I’m on trial on the West Coast. That is to say, I am trying a case on the West Coast, as an attorney, not as a defendant. We started three weeks ago, took a two week break (long story) and are starting back up again tomorrow. The forecast calls for me to be out here for the entire month of June. It’s going to be a grueling month, unless something changes. Something can always change — things change all the time in this business (like any other), but not always for the better.

A little travel every couple of weeks — like a day or two — adds spice to the same-old same-old; day after interminable day in the office makes me want to hurl myself onto sharp objects. But week after week, coming home only on weekends, if then? Been there, done that, the first year the Siren and I were married. It wasn’t, to be blunt, any fun. I get twitchy without her after all these years, and while Skype video calls make being away from the kids slightly less unbearable, the time difference makes it hard to connect before their bedtime. We are less than 25 pages from the end of The Hobbit, with Bilbo, the dwarves, the wood elves, and the men of Lake-Town about to plunge into the Battle of the Five Armies along with the goblins, orcs, wolves, and eagles (sounds like more than five, doesn’t it?), and we probably won’t be able to finish it until Saturday. I have a copy on the Kindle app for my iph0ne, so I can read it to them over Skype, but it’s complicated to set up in their room and time it correctly, and I have only managed it once in the last several weeks.

We’ve also had some personal/family issues. At the top of the list, my stepmother of 35 years died last week, just 5 weeks after her cancer diagnosis. I’m not going to go into detail here — wrong forum, wrong time — but let’s just say that I’ve been doing a fair amount of compartmentalizing.

Not only do I not have the mental energy to work on my novel, but I’m not even going on F2ceb00k during the week until this is over. That’s just how little free mental RAM I’ve got.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been working on this case for 4 years now, and we’re finally reaching the denouement — I’m glad to be able to see it to the end. But I’d sure as hell rather be at home.