Sunday, September 9, 2007

Biking with flowers, running in the rain

All week I worked really hard writing a report worthy of publication in a scientific journal about the dog predation incident leading to the deaths of Scooby and his mother. There is a conference next month, and it is really important that I get this written up so that I can present the results. I kept writing and writing but would end up deleting everything because it just didn’t sound right. Finally I realized: this incident is not about predation. Its an issue of human encroachment on primate habitats, rather than about dogs per se. So, I re-cast the whole framework of this thing and started over, for better or worse. On the plus side, my old blog Nicablogua actually helped me in this endeavor. I was able to go back through my entries and create more of a time-line of the gringos’ activities on the land: when they dug the water line, when they began construction on the cabin, etc. So it was kind of cool that I was able to pull some data from the blog. I’ve still got a lot of work to do on producing a publishable paper though.

Many have asked for an update concerning the on-going saga of my hair. Earlier in the week, my mom found a product called “Color Off” that was supposed to restore your hair to its natural color if you’ve accidentally done something to it that made it too dark. So I applied Color Off, and to my surprise, it worked quite well. You’re supposed to leave it on for up to 20 minutes, but when I saw my roots turning red after just 10, I decided to wash it out. The end result is that my hair is definitely lighter than immediately after the hair coloring incident but not quite like it was before. I’m somewhere across between myself and Anne of Green Gables. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures yet but maybe someday I’ll remember to take one.

My latest thing is going to the Farmers’ Market, which is held in downtown Urbana every Saturday morning. We live only about a 1/2 mile away, so it is a much speedier bike ride than when we used to live some 7 miles farther west. I am somewhat obsessed with arugula, which is actually kind of hard to find (and expensive) at the grocery store, but the Blue Moon Farm of Urbana sells fabulous bags of organic arugala at the farmer’s market. Another current favorite of mine is Green Zebra tomatoes, also grown by the Blue Moon Farm. In addition to produce, I’ve also started buying flowers at the Farmer’s market. It makes for a picturesque sight—me riding home on my bike, loaded down with a basket full of produce, and sticking out the top is a bright bouquet of locally grown, pesticide-free flowers. This is Urbana though—so pretty much everyone else is doing the same thing. I love it here.

After my farmer’s market excursion on Saturday morning, I went for a brief run. The sky had been a little bit gray before I started, but about 2-1/2 miles into the run, it started to pour. It was great. For the first time in forever, I finally felt like me again. Instead of heading for home I went farther. Its been so long since I actually felt good while I was running that I had to take advantage of it. Plus, it was a good excuse to be outside in the rain. We’ve had rain a couple of times since we’ve been back home, and I always have this urge to go outside while it is raining—I guess its just another hold-over from spending a year in the jungle. When I finally came home, I was soaking wet but felt better than I had in a long time.

I followed it up with doing a 10-mile run today. Yes: if I am serious about attempting marathon #6, I need to do these long runs. While in Nicaragua I did maybe 3 or 4 runs amounting to 9 miles, but I haven’t done anything in double-digits for well over a year. I was afraid I might be disappointed in my performance—comparing today’s endeavor to my former self who could bust out a 20-mile training run like it was a cake walk. But I must say, I did quite well. There was a slight amount of bleakness around mile 4.6, but I just kept going and got through it, and I even ended the run feeling great. So I’m pretty happy at the moment—I think I can actually pull this off, as long as I can manage my time to fit in all the training runs.

Rob and I ended up the weekend by having dinner with some friends. They’ve got two kids, who have reached the age where they’ve just started playing musical instruments. After dinner, the kids entertained us with their musical stylings—one on bassoon, one on trombone. It was quite precious really. The little boy on trombone made me think of my friend David B., who used to play trombone when we were kids. Remembering this made me feel kind of old, but I was also glad to have come this far.

Alright, I’d better get going for now; thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lis, glad to hear about your Urbana adventures ... and especially that your hair is okay now -- and that you're feeling good and loving it there!! Keep writing ... it is probably very difficult to write about Scooby and that incident. Hugs, Auntie

amypfan said...

This was precisely what I needed to get me through the bleakness of 5:15 am on a Monday morning after a night filled with tossing and turning due to crazy weird pregnant dreams (you were in one of them, by the way). I'm glad the biking and running are making you feel more settled. I'm sure reviewing the Scooby incident is not easy, but hang in there.

Anonymous said...

You made me stop and think about being out in the rain. I just never thought of it as an enjoyable thing until reading how wonderful it was for you. When it looks like rain and I start off on my walk, I always tell my husband to come and pick me up if it starts raining!!!!! I will try to think about walking in the rain differently next time. Mom came through with a "fix" for your hair. Glad to hear that.
Mom's friend, Pat