The numbered list approach to blogging

1. Thank you, Marilee, for being the first contributor to the Poplar Springs 5k fund! Her donation coincided with a particularly fortuitous afternoon’s snaps of the Smith household animals, so here’s a photographic “thank you” from those worthies:


    2. Thanks to: a.) the fact that my husband actually reads the Birchmere‘s occasional missives, b.) my friend Melanie’s quick response to a call to arms, and c.) my credit card, I can report that Mel, her sister and I are actually going to get to see Eddie Izzard.  (John’s not interested, but thanks for noticing he’s not included).  As my mom is fond of saying in reference to hot flashes, “Faint, but don’t fan: it’s a dead giveaway.”

    3. In other theatrical news, we’re going to see Teller’s Macbeth this weekend at the Folger Theatre.  I feel a bit ashamed to say that I have lived in the DC area for a total of over nine years and have never been to the Folger.  Cultural cretin – that’s me.

    4. Who thought of this daylight savings time palaver, anyway?  And who thinks it’s a good idea to extend it?  Clearly someone who doesn’t work for a living.  Feh.

    Shameless Pledge Drive

    So the running thing is going pretty well.  I’m as surprised as anyone.  Probably more surprised, to own the truth.  With that, I decided to seek out a little 5K “fun run” and found one that is perfect for me – the Poplar Springs “Run for the Animals,” in support of a local sanctuary for wildlife and abused or neglected farm animals.  It’s on May 18, so I even have some time to train properly.

    The pledge system is woefully lo-tech, without the bells and whistles of the big AIDS Walk I did last year.  However, if anyone wants to sponsor me, I’ve added an e-mail to my PayPal account especially for this event (I know – not everyone loves the PayPal, but it is easy).  If you trust me and want to support the animal sanctuary, go over to PayPal and deposit the donation under the e-mail 4theanimals ~at~ writingortyping dot-com.  I will probably get all sappy and want to thank people publicly, so if you prefer your donation be anonymous, just let me know.

    If you prefer lo-tech or don’t trust me not to pocket the cash and make off for Bora-Bora and want to mail a check made out directly to the sanctuary but don’t know my address, drop me an e-mail at the same address I’ve noted above and I’ll ping you back with the requisite info.

    Milo offers all the usual incentives for those who donate.  He may even add a few, since he highly approves of the whole animal sanctuary concept.


    I had to take a hiatus from running when I was dealing with the respiratory ick (and then a bout of flu – or something like it – does one really care what it’s called when one feels as if they were run over by a truck?  No, I thought not).  To celebrate my return to it (and to acknowledge that I had grown weary of the last playlist and had sort of mucked with it and ended up playing one song over and over again because it got me going due mostly to novelty, which was wearing off), I cobbled a new one together.  It’s not quite as long as the last one, but since I’m more or less getting my groove back, I’m only doing about 2/3 the distance I was at formerly (“And that’s OK,” I keep telling myself more or less firmly.  No, that whole “reality” thing isn’t going over so well, why do you ask?).

    Anyway, mostly because I think this might amuse my more musically-minded friends, here it is:

    We Used to Be Friends – The Dandy Warhols: A theme song to a neo-noir teen mystery series.  Yep.  It’s a nice walking pace for my warmup, and I think it’s really catchy.  Some might detect a certain girl-power theme to a lot of my running tunes, and they wouldn’t be wrong.

    Gunpowder & Lead – Miranda Lambert:  Ahem – did someone say girl power?

    Read About Love – Richard Thompson:  Irony?  What irony?  I haven’t an earthly idea what you’re talking about…

    Help Me, Suzanne – Rhett Miller: I picked this up on a Paste magazine sampler disc – it’s got a nice mid-run beat that reminds me not to blow out too early.

    Don’t You Evah – Spoon:  This is when I start to get a little tired, and this tune gives me mental images of Keepon.  It’s hard to let your pace flag when you’re imagining a curious, bebopping Peep:

    She’s My Man  – Scissor Sisters:  If it’s hard to let up when you have a mental image of Keepon, it’s even harder to feel tired to this song.

    Fill Me Up  – Shawn Colvin:  A nice bouncy walk home (well, by then I’ve usually blown myself out by running pretty hard to the Sisters, so I’m not so bouncy.  Tosh is usually still bouncy enough for the both of us, though).

    Any favorite exercise tunes?


    The sinus infection really did me in – it took until now to get here.

    But I did it.

    For my next unnatural act…

    …I shall hit a rather arbitrary yet significant milestone. The mile-ometer on my iPod says that I have run/walked 99.27 miles since getting the thing in late August (1st run on August 26, 2007). Dang, but I do love that little gadget. Data is good.

    So early in 2008, possibly the day after tomorrow, I shall have exceeded 100 miles.

    Oh, and Lance Armstrong told me I burned a “significant” amount of calories with today’s run. Considering his fitness level, I suspect sarcasm, but I’m trying to take it well.

    Happy New Year, all.

    30-minute running playlist

    I need to get beyond week 5/6 of the couch to 5k plan, but I’m so proud of myself for running 20 minutes nonstop, I am in a bit of a rut.  Having reached the five minute walk warmup, 20 minute run, five minute walk cooldown stage, which honestly doesn’t need much in the way of podcast monitoring (though having someone automatically tell you when to walk/run when there are multiple intervals is a godsend), I did up my own playlist for a 20-minute run with 5 minute walks at either end.  I’ve run to it now for about three weeks, and it’s so daffy I thought I would share.

    “I Wish” – Victoria Beckham, Soundtrack – Bend It Like Beckham:  Surprise – an ex-Spice Girl in vertiginous stilettos gets us walking.  I really love the soundtrack to Bend It – it’s all ear candy.  This track’s synthesized ra-tat-tat gets me walking.

    “Independence Day” – Melanie C, Soundtrack – Bend It Like Beckham:  “There’s a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one who doesn’t have a fella.”  Maybe, but this is a sweet, soaring tune that gets me past that first, “Groan – time to stop walking,” mode.

    “Inner Smile” – Texas, Soundtrack – Bend It Like Beckham: Um, yeah.  I promise, this is the last song off of that disc.

    “There’s a Girl” – The Ditty Bops, The Ditty Bops: It’s got a good beat, and you can run to it.  Not to mention sly lyrics that still make me chuckle and a great surf-guitar solo.

    “Amigone” – The Goo Goo Dolls, Dizzy Up the Girl: This is where the run gets hard – a long, shallow grade upward (that killer kind: the one you don’t notice at all if you’re walking, but try and jog it and feel the pain).  The drumming on this track is all punk, relentless as a metronome, and it drags me up that hill.

    “Sin Wagon” – Dixie Chicks, Fly: Natalie Maines’ yodeling wail, the sharp fiddling of Martie Seidel, and the rat-tat of the rhythm section gives me a second wind as I get the reward of going back down the hill I just came up.  (My route takes me down trails behind our house, and I do a lot of backtracking to avoid roads, since I usually have the dog with me.  If I were to trace the route on a map, it would look like spiky branches or a deer’s antlers).

    Yes, we just went from folk-pop to punk to country.  Told you it was daffy.

    “Mr. Blue Sky” – Electric Light Orchestra, Greatest Hits: Don’t tell me you don’t have a secret crush on this song, I won’t believe you.  Yes, ELO is cheesy.  Yes, lyrics like “running down the avenue/see how the sun shines brightly” is a cheesy way to finish out a run (especially since at around 7 a.m. when this song usually comes on is about the time when the sun is actually up this time of year), but it does make me smile, and more than that, its brightness, the fact that it’s the last running song, and the COWBELL get my feet moving even faster.  Right around the time when “Mr. Night comes creeping over” is when the cooldown begins, and off we go to the Bops again…

    “Bye Bye Love” – The Ditty Bops, Moon Over the Freeway: …and Amanda and Abby’s sweet harmonies on this tune walk us home for the first cup of coffee.  30 minutes, almost exactly.  And today, it was 2.58 miles, and I beat my personal best time for the mile.  Go, me.