Monday, October 22, 2007

Keine Ahnung

This is what I thought during much of my GRE-taking session that occured last Saturday. It means "no idea" as in " I have NO IDEA" (Ich habe nicht keine Ahnung)...but I love school. And I want more.
Why is it that standardized tests accompany and terrorize us throughout our educational career? There are assessments for kindergarten, both at the beginning and the end of the school year. Grades 1, 4, 6, 8 AND 10 include at least a week of the dreaded testing for the children, at least in my state. Not to mention the weeks of preparation that the students endure to get to those hours of testing that requires filling in hundreds of little bubbles. And then, the pre-SAT, the ACT, the actual SAT, the AP tests, the graduation exit for seniors--is there no relief???
Apparently not. The final for General Chemistry is a standardized test. A timed standardized test. SO unfair! I can do chemistry, ok? At least, gen chem. But timed? WIth my final grade as ransom? That is just stress. Another one waits, this time at the end of the organic chemistry series. I guess the American Chemical Society can just DO that.
Then, graduate school. The GRE is only the general test; there is a GRE Subject test as well. Or, if you prefer to be a lawyer, you get the LSAT; a doctor, the MCAT or the DAT. If English is your second language or if you wish to teach English as a second language, there are tests for that as well.
I know, I know, there are standards we all must achieve before we can move on. Yes, I realize that standardized tests are a convenient way to find the level of education to which a person has progressed. But what about those of us who know the material, yet the set-up and structure of the test points directly to our weaknesses? Could there be another way to prove to our prospective educators or employers that we are capable of the tasks and rigours required without having to know how to figure the area of a trapezoid? (it is A=1/2(b1+b2)(h), BTW)
Believe me, I studied. For weeks, and using the practice materials the testing institution itself recommended and even gave out. I practiced! I learned new vocabulary, practiced figuring (by hand) standard deviation and reviewed many algebra and geometry equations and theorems. But I still did poorly.
There is hope, however. There was actual writing involved (yay!) and I did graduate magna cum laude from my undergraduate university. May the admissions committee have mercy...please LET ME IN!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Credit Card and a Penny

When I run in the mornings, I usually run up or down Kamehameha Highway. This is not my preference; there is simply no other place to run that is longer than a two-mile route. I run along the shoulder of the highway, often running into the "rough" to avoid puddles, buses and trash cans. It is necessary for me to look down at the ground for most of my run to avoid stepping off the road or rolling my ankle on any number of tree pods or rocks. Thus, I find things. Mostly, I find trash or cast-off items of clothing or lone slippers, which I leave on the ground. But on almost every run, I find money. Which I pick up.
Now you may think that this is strange. Do I need the lone penny I find on my run? Not necessarily, but I admit I am a trifle superstitious, as in "Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck." I cannot resist that chance! Now, however, I pick up whatever change I find along the way.
Truthfully, this habit was originally started by a friend of a friend. It was my friend Lynette's friend Gerry that picked up every piece of change she saw on her runs over aseveral years and ended up finding enough money to fund a trip to Disneyland for her family with the money! No joke! When she got sick one year, Lynette and I started looking for change on our runs to give to Gerry so she wouldn't feel like she was missing out on her findings. Now that I run on a road where I have to look down most of the time, I find change and copy friend Gerry. My record (in change) on a run is $1.32. I once found a ten dollar bill in the gutter during a 5-K race ad still managed to place in my age group despite stopping to pick it up! Last Saturday's long run yielded 32 cents. This morning, as I was about to cross one of the footbridges on my route, I found someone's bank card. If I were a dishonest person, this would be a jackpot! But I picked it up and brought it home to see if I could contact its owner. Oh yeah, I also found a penny.

ps.this picture was taken during the 2006 Honolulu Marathon. The runner you cannot identify is me, I swear.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Middle Name

I begin this post with an apology to my sister who tagged me for a middle name meme some time ago. (Sorry, Michelle!) I have to admit that even though my middle name is (thankfully) short, I still found myself unable to finish the assignment. Then I realized that I will never be as clever as some people and that it did not matter if I was witty either. I am merely shooting for not droll! So, here goes:
M: mother-in-law. Yes, yes, I know: 36 years old is a tender age to have something so significant as a daughter-in-law, but there it is. As of August 10th, I am, in fact, a mother-in-law. Soon, I will move to the next stage: grandmother...probably while my own youngsters are still in grade school...weird.
A: adaptable: since I have moved umpteen times in my life, I feel that my skills in adapting to change are somewhat refined. I can even adapt to the possibility or rumours of change! Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't...I'm OK with that--something my husband appreciates about me.
E: enteric: now, this one seems off, since 'enteric' means 'of the intestines'--but what I mean by this is that I often take action by gut instinct; hence, the reference to the intestines. If it doesn't feel right in my gut, then I am not happy about it. This 'gut instinct' is wrapped up in the 'still small voice'...

OK, there it is. I know this seems random, and it is, but is more entertaining to read on blogs than random stuff??? Isn't that what it is all about?

ps. this is a picture of me nearly 12 years ago just before (we're talking minutes) I married Dave...that day, I gained a mother-in-law, changed from single to married and went with my gut: Dave and I were married 5 weeks after we met...the proof is in the pudding!

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Little Rant (and a little rave)

OK, I got caught up in a snit with the world the other day on my run and I cannot seem to let it go. So maybe if I share, it will get out of my head. First, let's start with the rant (bad news first, right?)...
It bothers me when I fall in love with a product (or at least serious like), and then the company stops making it. Does this happen to you, too? For instance, I am very picky about how my jeans fit, so when I finally find a pair I like, I try to buy two pairs. But what to do when you go back a mere week later, and the jeans, with the same labelling, fit completely different? I fell in love with the men's Low Rise Relaxed Fit jeans at The Gap and went to get another pair--a relative bargain at $49.50--and brought them home to enjoy. Alas! I put them on and they were thigh-suckers!! I bought the men's jeans specifically because they did NOT suck my thighs, and here they were, doing that very thing! I was disgusted. I haven't bought a pair of jeans since...what to do? Here are a few other examples:
1. Brooks Mach 1.0 running shoes: light, durable, affordable. Imagine my disgust when they announced these shoes were being replaced by another, an "update", an impostor! Needless to say, I bought every pair in women's 11 that I could find (6 pairs). I have not found their equal...and I ran out of them about three years ago.
2. The Body Shop's Indian Gardenia perfume. I LOVE this stuff and, yet, it is nowhere to be found. My good friend Berenice said her favourite scent--Mango oil--is no longer made by the Body Shop either. sad...but true.
3. The blue kind of Neutrogena body wash--oooh, I love that stuff! no can find...
4. A facial exfoliator called Apotek that was the only thing that kept the pimplies off of my forehead in the humid climate where I I have them again :(

oh, the ranting.
Now on to the RAVE:
1. I love fall weather. Lovely air, cool mornings, crispy leaves, gorgeous colours--all accompanied by that wood-stove burning smell in the background. (Michelle and I have discussed this...I am living vicariously through her East Coast fall experiences.)
2. Who has had Zabar's apricot streusel long pastry thing--perhaps my very favourite treat on this planet! I need to go there...
3. I smile when I think of the way my daughter is all warm and snoozy when she wakes up. Her crinkly eyes and bed-head are just the best!
4. Birthdays. Anyone's birthday--but especially mine. They are just so FUN and what a great day to do whatever you want! (within reason, of course)
5. The best socks: my Asics Kayano socks that have a right and left foot. These feel so nice on my arches and I never, ever get blisters wearing them, even if I have just come off of the beach after a run but still have sand between my toes for the last few miles until I get home...
6. Attached to the above are my running shorts that I have 6 pairs of. If they EVER stop making these, I will SCREAM!
7. I appreciate sunrises that only vary about an hour throughout the year. This seems to contradict #1 (where I love the fall, which has continually later sunrises until winter), but I have no fall weather here. This daylight consistency is very good for my love of, it is good for people to see the sunrise. It is so fortifying!
8. Butter. mmmmm, I love butter. I love butter pie crust and butter melted on wheat toast and a dollop on my old-fashioned oats with maple syrup. Butter is good. I run to eat things made with butter...

So this is an abbreviated list, but I was thinking of the little pleasures that make life lovely and fun. Tell me about something that you love...or what have they stopped making that you wish they hadn't? I need replacements, reinforcements! ack!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This morning seemed to come suddenly--when my back-up alarm went off, it read 7am. What!!??! My run is usually finished by that time, or at least half-way. Why did I sleep so long? (oh yeah, late night addiction to Prison Break...) But I am out the door running by 7:15. These are the conclusions I came to on my usual 5-miler today:

1. A head wind is not necessarily a bad thing. Just turn around and there is the extra ooomph you need to finsh the second half of your run.
2. If I make myself run for 10 minutes, 95% of the time, I will finish the run I set out to do.
3. A nice accompaniment to a run is a bus stop full of boys playing their ukuleles.
4. Drinking fountains are very nice to come upon during a sweaty run.
5. People who honk at a runner while they (in the car) are still behind the runner are not very nice people. Especially when seen laughing as they drive off...
6. The hymn "Master, the Tempest is Raging", with its perky up-tempo, is an interesting and helpful song to have in your head during a run. It keeps the stride short and efficient.
7. I really, really like pumpkin pie.
8. I am going to be bummed out if BYU discontinues their Masters program in HIstory.

So that is it. These are the types of things that go through my mind while running. I know, I am a very profound, intellectual type of girl...tee hee!

ps. this is me and my running buddy Karen after last year's Great Aloha Run