Monday, October 27, 2008

The Mouse In The Kitchen

It's that time of year here on the central coast....the time when it begins to freeze at night (finally that zucchini plant is starting to die off).  The walnuts begin falling, along with leaves (it's so uncanny, but the leaves seem to fall right into the rain gutters!).  And of course, that means that the critters are looking for warm places to hang out.  Mainly, inside our house.  The kitchen in particular, which makes sense, because there are delicious things there (bread, nuts, the compost bucket, yum yum).  I know there's been a mouse in the kitchen - I have seen the evidence.  He or she has left me a present in one of my cabinets, if you know what I mean.  
When I was little, I used to collect mice (cute little stuffed mice, ceramic ones, etc).  Clearly there was something very wrong with me.  Now that I'm older I am also wiser.  I know that mice are plague- and hanta-virus-carrying rodents, with ugly pointy teeth and creepy eyes.  They give me the willies.  And they need to stay OUT of my house.
My tactic - I put sticky traps everywhere.  And, because one of my uncles made fun of me for not using 'real' mousetraps, I got a couple of those, too.  But the mouse must be either smart or lucky, because I haven't caught it yet.  This is where having pets comes in handy though.  Last week I did find a small carcass out in the yard.  I don't know if it was a cat or a dog that got it, but that animal is my hero!
 I'm keeping the traps out in case any mouse relatives decide to explore the inside world, and I will be keeping score in this latest 'game' that is on at our house (FYI we will be getting buckets of walnuts this year, so my team definitely won the squirrel war!).

Some Thoughts On The Half-Marathon...

Well, I did it!  On October 12, along with almost 800 other people, I ran 13.1 miles from downtown SLO to Shell Beach.  My goals were to run the entire way, and to finish in under 2 1/2 hours, and I did both!  I got some souveniers - a t-shirt, a great breakfast afterwards at the Seaside Cafe (courtesy of Jamey), and tendinitis in my right foot (it's almost better).
The first thing I noticed (not new knowledge) is that I am extremely quick to compare myself to everyone around me (I've talked to so many college girls over the years, and this seems to be an almost universal female condition.  I had kind of thought I had grown out of it).  For example, Jamey dropped me off at the starting line about 30 minutes before the race began, and I sat there for about a half an hour thinking things like, "Wow, she's wearing a really cool wicking shirt.  I probably won't beat her," and, "Wow, she shouldn't be wearing shorts with all of that cellulite.  I bet I can beat her."  This just shows what I know....I came in just ahead of the woman wearing the wicking shirt and well behind cellulite-woman.
At about mile 5, we went under the freeway and right at the side of the course was the biggest snake skin I've ever seen just laying there beside the road!  It was all I could do not to bend down and pick it up and take it along with me - must be a residual instinct from my days as homeschooler extraordinaire.  It was a treasure.  But fortunately I realized how bizarre I would have looked running 8 miles carrying a snake skin, or with it draped around my neck, and I just passed it by (I seriously thought about having Jamey drive back past it on the way home, but by then I was tired).
Here's the funny thing that happened (well, I was amused, anyway).  When I run I listen to my ipod shuffle.  I never know what song is going to come on next, so it makes it more fun for me.  My very favorite song, "24" by Switchfoot, came on at mile 11, so I listened to it three times in a row.  But then I thought I should let it move on, and finish to a different song.  So I kind of wondered what kind of song would come on to appropriately guide me to the finish line.  And it was...."I'm Not Alright" by Sanctus Real.  Classic!  Because at mile 12 1/2, I pretty much wasn't alright.  
Overall, I had a great time training for the race, and besides my foot starting to really hurt at about mile 10, I had fun running.  It's good to know I can do it (and if I can do it, I'm pretty sure anyone else can, too.  Except Max, the dog.  He can't go more than 6 miles).
Next year I am going to see if Jamey and I can make it a date.  Then we can ice our old feet together - how romantic!