Monday, December 17, 2007

Running in a Winter Wonderland

Last night we rounded up some friends and ran the Winterhaven 5K. Winterhaven is a neighborhood in Tucson that takes Christmas decorating to a whole new level. Every house is decked out with amazing lights, music, and all kinds of themes from Charlie Brown to the Bellagio (complete with synchronized fountains). Residents offered hot cocoa and buttered rum to runners literally dancing through the streets. Holiday attire is encouraged for the run, and as an added bonus Ben's sequined vest doubled as reflective wear.

We had a great time running, singing carols, and checking out the lights. As a reward for our fun workout, everyone came over to our place to warm up with some hot cocoa and apple pie. The birthday boy even shared his annual double-decker cookie cake.

Saturday night was my company's Christmas party, hosted at a local resort complete with a Vegas theme. And what's Vegas without Elvis and some showgirls?!

Now we just have to push through these last couple days of work and packing then it's home for the holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Never Ending Semester

This fall semester has felt never-ending for both Ben and I. The first year of the PhD program is notoriously difficult and overwhelming. With the end in sight (his last two finals are on Tuesday) we celebrated by using a study break to attend a late-night screening of the 1984 classic film The Never Ending Story. The film was playing as a part of the "Cult Classic" series at an independent art house cinema in Tucson, The Loft. Our friends Katie and John joined us and we had lots of fun singing the theme song full-out (ok, maybe John and Ben were singing on the inside). Seriously, who didn't grow up wanting a luck dragon/flying dog of their very own?

The rest of the weekend involved impromptu margartitas with Erin and John (thanks for calling guys!), a book club meeting for Kara, and lots of studying for Ben. Thank goodness this never-ending semester is almost over!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Public Radio Rock Star

Last night, I met the NPR (actually PRI, but I digress) equivalent of a rock star. It's true he's never had a hit single or opened for U2, but he oozes coolness, charisma and charm in a nerdy, intelligent kind of way.

Ira Glass (although he was blissfully unaware until last night) is an important part of my life. He's my running partner, a source of interesting insights, and largely to blame for my annoying habit of starting every other sentence with "I heard this piece on NPR about...". Ira makes me both laugh out loud and cry like a baby which causes many a puzzled glance to be sent my way by those I pass on the running path.

Ira Glass is the host and producer of the public radio show This American Life. The show chooses a weekly theme and presents different stories on the theme. The themes range from the obscure ("Kid Logic") to the profound ("Heretics"). I stumbled upon the free podcast last year while desperately seeking something to distract me from the painful long runs of marathon training. Since the first episode, I've been hooked.

As the victim of the majority of my public radio obsession (which extends far beyond This American Life, don't get me started on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air), Ben treated me to an incredible early Christmas to see Ira Glass in Phoenix last night. As amazing as the performance was, the highlight came after the show when Ira held a book signing. My heart was pounding wildly as we waited for a brief audience with the Innovator of Radio. When our turn finally arrived, Mr. Glass was gracious and charming as I nervously explained my love of the show while trying desperately not to come across as the obsessed fan that I am (I'm pretty sure I failed).

After this amazing night of culture, I'll bet we are the only two people who proceeded directly from the presence of Ira Glass to the In 'n Out drive thru window.