Tag Archives: Sunday

Summer Sunday Stats #1: Two Weeks, Two Days.

Our house is full again.  The Siren and the Unfocused Kids have been gone for 15 days.  First, they drove to our shared beach house in Delaware with the Siren’s mother. I used up some frequent flyer miles and joined them for last weekend, then flew back to Chicago Sunday night, worked Monday and Tuesday, then met them in Philadelphia (where they had dropped the Siren’s mother to spend a week with her brother) to drive to my mother’s place in rural New York.  We had a nice visit, then started the drive Saturday evening and got about 250 miles in before stopping for the night and doing the rest today.  Breaking the drive up into two pieces felt positively luxurious compared to the one-day drive home from Brooklyn last Thanksgiving weekend.

I’m glad to have everyone back home — the house was eeriely empty while the Siren and kids were gone.

On Writing: I think my word count for the week was something like 150 — I just didn’t have a lot of time to work on Project Hometown, even on the plane.  The week before was a little better, but not a whole lot.  The total word count for Porject Hometown is now 11,586.  I also mapped out a pretty good short story idea that I would like to work on in the coming month.

“Jimmies” was rejected, with the most encouraging rejection letter yet — it even implied that more than one person had read it.  I’ll send it back out again this week, but it’s time to finish something new.

On Running: Not bad.  I had a good 8.5 mile run from our hotel to my mother’s on Saturday morning; I was slow, but it was uphill almost half the distance, which is a big change from my usual Flatland routes.

Hope your summer is off to a rollicking start.

Spring Sunday Stats #10: Four Weeks To Go — The Last Man on Earth Posted on His Blog…

Four weeks until my 40th birthday.

I’m also 24 hours into the 10 Days of Bachelorhood — the Siren has gone to the beach with her mother and the kids.  So far, I’ve gone to see Star Trek (loved it!), mowed the lawn (meh), rode my bike to the lakefront and ran on the lake path (yay!), done some work (meh), read some of the latest Repairman Jack novel in the hammock in the backyard (spoooky), listened to loud music (rock on!), practiced with my real nunchucks instead of the foam ones (ouch!), and started talking to myself (uh-oh).  We are already past the longest I’ve ever been alone in the house, and it’s too damn quiet.

Right now I’m making dinner.  Not the way I usually make dinner, by ordering it, but actually making dinner.  If I don’t update my Twitter account within a few hours after posting this, please call an ambulance.  How long do you have to cook a hamburger in a frying pan, anyway?

On a brief, serious note, I’m following the crackdown on protesting students through Twitter accounts — there’s more than what the mainstream media is reporting, and if you’re interested, it’s all there.  Just check the hashtag #iranelection and you’ll find it.

Enough about world events, time to talk about myself some more.  This week’s stats:

On Writing: 1,945 words in Project Hometown, with the possibility of getting a little more done tonight.  Almost all of my writing was during my commute, plus lunch hour on Friday.  It’s really starting to flow now, which is nice.  I didn’t do any other writing, although I’ve jotted down a couple of short story ideas that I might play with over the next few weeks.

On Running: 10 miles today, in 1:27:06; not bad, considering that first I rode 5 miles through traffic to get to the lakefront so I could run on the path for the first time in around two years.  Then I rode 5 miles back, which wasn’t as painful as I thought, although traffic was worse on the way home.  I got in two mid-week runs for another 8.5 miles — not quite 20, but not too shabby, either.

All in all, last week was a pretty good week.  This weekend was OK, but it’s weird being alone in the house.  I expect I’ll spend more time in the office than usual.

Spring Sunday Stats #9: Five Weeks To Go.

I realize it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted, but I’m insanely busy at work, the last days of school have lept us hopping, and I’m staring at 40 like a deer in the frakking headlights.  In five weeks, I turn 40, and I’m trying to figure out whether I qualify for Social Security yet.

Meanwhile, did I mention that my dad is finally retiring at the end of the month?  He’s 72, and has worked 6 days a week since roughly the Kennedy administration.  You can bet I don’t complain about my hours too much when I’m talking to him.

I’m going to have to keep this short — the kids just got back from playing with the neighbors (from what I can tell, the younger boy from across the street hit Junior in the ass with a whiffle bat, which pissed him off, so he and Unfocused Girl took their sidewalk chalk and came home).  Next up, stats and the usual whining.

On Writing: Project Hometown now stands at 8,640 words, which means I’ve written 4,218 words in it since my last post.  I also submitted the revised and greatly reduced “Jimmies” (now down to around 3400 words from 5200) to a semi-pro online market.  The editor is posting some of her comments on slush submissions on Twitter, which is simultaneously fascinating and unnerving.

I have to admit that the outline I did for Project Hometown over the winter has been an enormous help, and is largely responsible for me being able to make any progress at all.  I want to recommend the Snowflake Method again to anyone who is interested in putting together a detailed story outline and character information before starting a new project.  After writing Meet the Larssons with nothing more than a few pages of notes I threw together just before I started and having so much trouble with the first draft and then the revisions, I’m very happy with the results from outlining first.  The extra work up front is really paying off for me now.

On Running: Pretty good day today.  The weather was ugly – gray, cool, drizzly – but not actually that bad for a long run.  I did 10 miles in 1:27:08, which is better than I’ve done through most of the spring, although not as good as last week.  I had two mid-week runs (one intervals, one not) on the treadmill at the gym over lunch, for a total of 18.86 miles for the week.  Not perfect — I’m shooting for 20+ per week — but considering what the last few weeks have been like, perfectly acceptable.

Last week my Sunday time for 10 miles was even better:  1:24:06, on a beautiful, sunny day, warm but not too warm.  I’m working on improving my stretching and easing back on the painkillers, which seems to be working.  The ITB pain in my hips that was bothering me all through March, April, and most of May hasn’t come back except for the occasional twinge, which is good.  My hamstrings are still incredibly tight, but I’m working on them.

Junior’s looking for me, so it’s time to go.

Spring Sunday Stats #8: Staring Over the Edge at 40.

It’s Memorial Day, in memory of the soldiers, sailors, marines, and others who have died for our country, including the 4300 Americans who have died in Iraq.

My father came in from NYC on Thursday and stayed until lunchtime today, his longest visit since I moved to Chicago for college in 1987.  We had a great time; the highlight of the weekend was the long afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  He’s retiring at the end of June, and I hope that this is just the first of many longer trips.

I had a very frustrating week (starting with the Sunday/Monday Frequest Flyer Fail), but seriously, what else is new?  The work piled on, and I seemed utterly unable to get anything actually accomplished, just felt like I was on a treadmill from hell.  Thankfully, it was a short week.  I worked at home on Friday, and managed to get a few open loops closed out before the weekend.  This post is late enough, so let’s go straight to the stats.

On Writing: Between work and my father’s visit, I wrote next to nothing, just 150 words in Project Hometown on the train home from work on Thursday.  I did write my piece of a viral story yesterday, maybe 200 words, which was fun.  I’m not sure if today counts as part of the past week, but since it’s a holiday, I’ll claim it; I wrote 362 words in Project Hometown this afternoon.  The total is now 4,422 words.  I think that’s far enough along to post a meter.

I’ve been sitting on “Jimmies,” and need to get it out.  I also had an idea for a new short story last week — a time travel story I like much better than the last time travel idea I had — and may take a shot at that sometime soon as well.

On Running: 20.5 miles for the week, best in months.  I dealt with my frustration by running early Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, even though I was exhausted.  Not long runs, just 3.75 miles each, but that got me 11.25 miles during the week, plus 9.25 miles on Sunday at a respectable 1:19:32, or 8:35 min/mile.  A great long run, much better than the last few weeks.

This weekend, I registered for the Men’s Health Urbanathlon in Chicago this October, a 10.5 mile race with a handful of obstacles thrown in to make it interesting (climbing over a wall, running up and down the stairs at Soldier Field, scrambling over parked taxis, etc.).  This is the third year the race has been held in Chicago; I’ve registered each time, but both of the last two years have had to blow it off for work.

This year I was confronted with something new:  For the first time, when confronted with the question “Age on race day” I had to answer “40.”  In seven weeks, I’ll be in a whole new age group.    So long, 35-39!  Luckily, Mike is doing the Urbanathlon too, so if I collapse on the course someone will notice and call the Siren.

I also signed up for the World Wide Half Marathon, part of the World Wide Festival of Races, also in October.  This is a virtual race series — everyone runs on the same weekend, but separately – which started with the Half Marathon in 2006 as an idea spread through the Phedippidations podcast.  It’s a lot of fun.

What I haven’t done yet is register for one of the nearby half marathons in June. Gotta get off my ass and deal with that.

That’s enough of this. I’m going to watch Lego Cake or Death again.  We’ve watched it about 10 times this weekend with the kids.

Spring Sunday Stats #7: Frequent Flyer FAIL.

As I write this, it’s 6:10am Monday morning and I’m in Dallas, Texas, at the airport Marriott, getting ready to fly to Jackson, Mississippi for a deposition. I’m waiting for the 6:30 airport shuttle, because I dragged too slowly this morning and missed the 6am.

Instead of a suit, I’m wearing weekend clothes: running shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. Not because of some agreement with opposing counsel to keep this dep casual, but because I had to check my luggage for the first time in years (other than checking at the gate). I had 3 bags last night: my briefcase, my roller bag, and a file box of documents, exhibits for the dep. I had to check either the box or the suitcase; since the box is awkward, I thought I’d probably check the box. Once I got to the airport, though, I decided I’d go ahead and check both.

What I didn’t realize is that the airline would check the bags through to Jackson. When I landed in Dallas, I went to the baggage claim, waited, and when neither my suitcase nor my box came off the belt, had a little chat with the lost luggage guy. He informed me that my bags had arrived in Dallas, and were sitting on the luggage ramp, waiting to be loaded onto the plane to Jackson in the morning. Unfortunately, only the ticket agents possess the ancient magical power to contact the baggage handlers and cause them to retrieve my luggage, and they had all left for the evening to attend a coven meeting or whatever. The lost luggage guy, it seems, was there only to assist with lost luggage: inaccessible luggage of reasonably certain location was outside his balliwick.

I spoke to his supervisor on the phone (the one that can’t connect with the baggage handlers), who told me the same thing. As I hung up and walked away, Lost Luggage Guy said, “Have a good evening!” and I jumped over the counter and punched him in the face.

All right, I didn’t punch him in the face. I did suggest that having a good evening was probably not on the agenda.

I’m going to finish this on my iPhone on the airport shuttle, so please forgive the typos.

I was traveling much of last week (shout out to Peoria!) for work, and had a busy weekend before flying out last night, and it shows in my stats.

On writing: only about 650 words in Project Hometown, including the 500 or so I wrote on the plane last night. I’m on scene 3, and may finish it on the way home tonight. This week, I plan to send “Jimmies” off again, in its drastically reduced form (now 40% off!).

Update: I’m at the airport, back on my laptop. My attempt to regain custody of my luggage has failed, because the airline has it set to go on an earlier flight.  What happened to the post-9/11 idea of not allowing luggage onto a plane without the passenger?  I got myself onto the early flight, too, so at least I’ll have more time in Jackson to deal with any further SNAFUs.

On running: I was too tired while I was in Peoria to run; those were long days.  I had one short run on Tuesday morning, then did 10 miles on Sunday morning in 1:32:30, a leisurely 9:15 min/mile pace.  I need to register for a half marathon to motivate myself.  Also, I think I need new running shoes; my Saucony Grid Stabil 5s — best running shoes ever — were discontinued a couple of years ago, and I pulled the shrink wrap off my last pair more than 6 months ago.  I tried a pair of the Stabil 6s and hated them — they felt awful, stiff and yet too thin — but now those have been replaced as well, hopefully by something better.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’ll update tonight with the final report on my luggage, and whether I take this deposition wearing shorts.

Spring Sunday Stats #5: April Showers … Are Tiresome.

It’s been a hectic week here at Stately Unfocused Manor.  Both kids developed a stomach virus on Tuesday and spent much of that day and the next throwing up, making us extremely grateful that they are both old enough to aim.  By Thursday, they were both well enough to go to school, but Unfocused Girl’s school was closed for parent-teacher conferences, so she missed most of a week of school (I wasn’t able to go to the conference, but The Siren reports that her teachers say she’s doing quite well).  Things at the office continue to be bizarrely busy, but I was able to keep most of the balls in the air this week.

In sad comic book news, Unfocused Girl recently received the final issues of both The Amazing Spider-Girl and Supergirl:  Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade.  On her behalf, I would like to give an enormous raspberry to both Marvel and DC for not continuing these titles, which were two of the only books appropriate for all ages with girl heroes.  Spider-Girl, at least, is being continued as a web comic but you have to subscribe to the entire “Marvel Digital Universe” for about three times what subscription to a single print title costs.  It’s probably a good deal if you’re going to read more than one on-line Marvel series, but I don’t know that it makes sense for us.  As for Supergirl, from what I’ve seen of it, the primary title is too mature for an 8 year old (at least, my 8 year old).  She still likes her subscription to Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and we’ll check out a couple of the other Marvel titles, but Unfocused Girl really liked both of these subscriptions; I hope both of the major comic book publishers realize they’re leaving behind a lot of potential readers.

It’s cold and raining today; the kids are over at a friend’s house watching one of the original Godzilla movies, so I can blog without guilt.

On Writing: This week was much better than the last few have been.  I marked up another 32 pages of Meet the Larssons this week, through page 352.  I’ve been doing my mark-ups on the train, but I’ve decided that I’m sick of all the hand-editing and I want to start getting the edits and notes into the manuscript, so I’ve started typing in my hand edits at home.  I’ve typed in the entire brand new first chapter (1733 words) and started the second (formerly Chapter 9), staying mostly faithful to my handwritten drafts and edits but not entirely.

I also knocked out a critical scene from the apocalyptic science fiction novel I briefly outlined a couple of months ago then put aside.  I started it on Write or Die on Friday night (I love Write or Die, BTW; many thanks to Dr. Wicked for creating it!), then kept going that night and Saturday evening; it needs work, but the first draft of the scene is complete at a little over 1500 words.  I don’t know whether I’m going to do anything with it anytime soon, but I’m considering seeing how the story works as a novella that I could expand into a novel later.  A friend of mine (who makes no-budget science fiction movies) suggested that the story sounds like a good no-budget science fiction movie, which would be fun.  Whatever I do with it, after all of the editing I’ve been doing, it was fun to do some original writing.

Finally, on Monday I resubmitted “Jimmies” to an on-line market after an exchange with the editor on Twitter.  I’ve managed not to break the “Get Mail” button in Apple Mail, but it’s been a close thing.

On Running: I had a better week running this week, too, despite some funny knee pains brought on, I expect, by a very active game of tag on Easter.  I got in three runs during the week — none of them long, but two of them were outside — and today slogged through the rain for 10 miles in 1:31:24, a 9:09 min/mile pace.  Slow, but given the weather not altogether unexpected.  I had to wrap my iPhone armband carrier in Saran Wrap to keep the rain from getting into it, which worked well.

The Siren and I are both trying to drop a few pounds, so we’re undertaking a full-blown reboot effort.  We’ve cut out wine with dinner most nights, white flour, and stealing the kids’ Easter candy.  It’s helping, and I’m hopeful that dropping 5-10 pounds will make my knees a little less tricky.  I’ve been negligent about stretching this past six months, so I’m trying to be better about that, and will attempt some exercises to strengthen the stabilizing muscles around the knee.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Finally, I do intend to post about the podcasts I’ve been listening too, including some new ones.  I’ve just been busy.  But I promise to get a post up, if not this week then next.

Spring (again, HAH!) Sunday Stats #3: We Are the Aliens.

Oh, look, another week has gone by and I’m still in this hole.  It’s a very nice, comfortable hole, with many fine features to recommend it, but it remains a hole.  I keep digging, which is probably not the best way to get out.  For every deadline I get through, two more get closer and more pressing.  There’s a ladder, but it just leads to another hole.

One of the people I work with — a senior partner who’s been out of law school twice as long as I have — says that working at a big law firm is like being in a pie eating contest where the grand prize is more pie.

All of this pissing and moaning is by way of excuse, again, for my failure to blog all week, and my inability to comment on your blogs in at least that long.  Rest assured, I’ve been talking about you on Twitter and Facebook, which I manage to keep up with on my phone.

Also, I was sick on Tuesday night and Wednesday. And then I had insomnia on Wednesday night.  And Thursday night was Unfocused Girl’s science fair.

So let’s just go to my pathetic stats, shall we?

On Writing: I started the week getting a few pages edited, but that was it; I was at 311 last Sunday, now I’m at 320.  I hit Write or Die once this past week, 233 words on a little short story that probably isn’t going anywhere, but it’s been fun.  That’s it, though.

I also accepted an invitation to write a chapter for a book in my area of practice, with the first draft due in July.  It’s a great opportunity, professionally speaking, but I’m going to have to work hard to make progress on my fiction-writing around the research and writing for the chapter, since that will all have to be done outside of work as well.

On Running: Before today, the only running I did this week was to catch my train.  The Shamrock Shuffle-on-ice wore me out, and then I got sick.  It was just a little cold, but it left me completely screwed up — I got too much sleep on Tuesday night and then had a nap on Wednesday, then too much coffee to restart after the nap, then insomnia Wednesday night.  All in all, I didn’t have much leftover for running.  I ran 8.88 miles this morning in 1:15:00, all at home on the treadmill because it was hailing, for crying out loud; as I write this, it’s snowing.  I did watch the first 2/3 of The Dark Knight, finally.  So far, so good, I think; I loved the car chase on Lower Wacker Drive.  If you’re stuck on a treadmill, I heartily recommend watching action movies with car chases and explosions — these are especially good for interval training.

On the iPod will not appear this Sunday.  I’m planning to make this part of a mid-week post, or maybe a stand-alone item.  It doesn’t really fit with the Sunday stats, and getting all the links right takes too long after I’ve written a 600-800 word post.

Random moment with the kids:  Junior and Unfocused Girl woke up a little early this morning, surprising considering we were out pretty late last night at a wine tasting party (all parents and affiliated children from Unfocused Girl’s new school).  The kids have both been on astronaut kicks lately, since their visit to the Soref Planetarium in Milwaukee over spring break, and Unfocused Girl has been saying she wants to go to Mars and look for alien bacteria.  When I went into their room this morning, Junior, who is interested in somewhat more complex forms of alien life, was explaining to Unfocused Girl that Martian astronauts actually come to Earth in the night looking for alien life here.  I asked him what alien life the Martians find here, and he said, “Us! Human beings are the aliens to the Martians!”  This was like one of those moments when you can see your kid growing up before your eyes; he’s starting to understand how different people, or tentacled things, can have different points of view.

Then at breakfast he said the word “poop,” or variations thereof, so many times that I had to order him to keep the poop away from meals.