Sunday, May 13, 2007

Where are the PR people when you need them? I thought I heard a kid asking his friend on the Mall the other day if he had gotten the pretend hand grenade from the Public Service event that was about half military.

I made a comment to my friend about how such an object, if it existed, 1) was stupid from a public safety standpoint, and 2) was a glorification of dangerous weapons that kill people. Well, those grenades existed, if you can believe it. Where is the PR vetting for the order of 1000 squishy stress ball hand grenades?

Did we not learn anything from the effects of black toy water guns? how many people got shot when those were pointed at police or other people?

(via Boing Boing).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I've started to take care of the garden at the back of my house. I've watched the roses bud and then bloom, but to my horror, the blooms exhibit black spots and signs of damage. It didn't take much looking to find both green and "wooly" white aphids covering the roses' new growth. As I wanted to work with what I had on hand (city hardware stores are usually a joke), I found some internet recipes for soap-oil-water mixtures for killing aphids. So far, my little mixture hasn't deterred the green buggers at all, but today I sprayed the bushes with a strong stream of water to remove the aphids, so maybe the end of the damage is near?

My grandfather used to be the editor of the newsletter of the St. Louis Rose Society, and he had an impresive collection of very healthy rose bushes, so I should have learned something from him. But I only remember stuffing envelopes, the stinky bloodroot (dried cows blood) he used to fertilize the plants, and my grandmother's attentive snipping of the rose hips. They had many many kinds of roses in their garden, including a bush of miniature "Andrea" roses. I really love the smell of roses, and even the aphids can't take that away. But I would love to see perfect ones growing in my garden this summer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I woke up at 6 this morning to run the Sallie Mae 10k, starting behind the Lincoln Memorial. My friend and I had said to each other that we would try to run together until one of us felt the need to go faster. I was shocked to see that our first mile took 10.3 minutes to complete, and we had been running for 19+ minutes when we got to the second mile marker. Then my friend broke away to run faster, and I figured I would be running more 10 minutes miles. At the third mile marker I was at 28 minutes, and I thought to myself how that was an acceptable time for 3.5 miles, not 3. At mile 5, however, I was at 45 minutes, so somehow I had gotten back to a 9 minute mile pace along the way. And I finished with 56.40, so my average pace was 9.08 minutes/mile.

But the time doesn't matter to me as much as the fact that I ran the whole race wtihout stopping to walk, not even once, even though I had never run that distance before, and I usually took walk breaks during 5 mile runs. The track was beautiful; we ran around Hains Point and had water to left or right side of us for the whole race. The temperature was in the 60s, so I never felt overheated, which I had worried about, because I don't have a sense of what the boundary is for overheating, i.e., when I need to stop and take a breather.

And what's more, I didn't have my iPod.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My team participated in Servathon today, and we chose the Kenilworth Aquatic National Park in Anacostia as the site of our labor. The team leader and I chose the site because neither of us had been anywhere near it; neither of us had even been to Anacostia before. Anacostia was so much more suburban-looking than I imagined. There were homes on quite large pieces of land, some with beautiful porches, some broken down. And in the middle of all this is the Kenilworth Aquatic Park, a vast series of ponds and marsh filled with lily pads and reeds (and some garbage, which we picked up). My team came very close to falling into the "gravy" as we called it (because of the film of oil floating on top), but we managed to pick up some of the trash within reach and to see a snake along the way.


I am making dinner for a couple this coming week, and I am tempted to replicate this beautiful salad I had in Paris a couple years ago, which was made with prawns, grapefruit and cilantro. I don't want to devein anything, though. Do I need to? This salad was so simple and was served on a few pieces of greens at a Thai restaurant in Chinatown near Place d'Italie.

The other option is to make some kebabs with chicken and vegetables marinated in something with lemon. And to have some nice couscous, hummus, and olives on the side.


Not to mention the 10k I am running tomorrow!!! To bring or not to bring the iPod, that is the question. The friend with whom I am running the race told me it's against runners' culture to bring an iPod. Which I guess I understand. But those who adhere to the "runners' culture" can get through a 10k without straining themselves, and without such devices; whereas I wonder whether I will make it without pounding beats piercing my eardrums.