Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

A friend of mine recently blogged about this website. Someone (Arukiyomi?) has put the 1001 titles from Boxall's book into an excel spreadsheet. All you have to do is put an "r" next to ones you've read, and it computes the percentage of total, as well as telling you how many you'd have to read every year until you die in order to finish the whole list.

As an English major, teacher, and editor, I had high hopes that I would have read a fair number of these books. Turns out I've only read 57 of them (that's only 5.69%)! There were a lot on there that I've been meaning to read, and a lot more that I've seen the movie (does that count?). But only 57 that I've actually gotten around to reading. I'd have to read 18 a year for the rest of my life to finish off the list. Yowza.

Maybe I should have stayed more active with that book club I used to be a part of. There are several titles on the list that they covered!

How many have you read?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pflugerville Tri

I competed in the Pflugerville Triathlon this morning, my first race since the half-iron and my first sprint in almost a year!

How'd it go, you ask? I'm not quite sure where to even begin.

Maybe I should start with how I fell off the wagon so hard after Wildflower that I haven't really worked out more than 5 times in the last month and a half. And how I hadn't run in over a month at all. And how I'd only been in the pool once. I'm actual living proof you can go from ironman-badass to washed-up-triathlete-with-a-beer-belly in only 6 weeks.

Or maybe I should start with the fact that my age group was 10-29 year olds and I got beat so bad on the swim by a 12-year-old it took me 12 MILES to catch her on the bike. Or how about that 76-year-old man who won his age group (he was the only one in it) who beat my time by 4 minutes?

But aside from all the laughable foibles of the morning, I was reminded why I love the sport. A sprint race (500-meter swim, 14-ish-mile bike, 3.1-mile run) is the perfect triathlon for me. It's the perfect distance for racing as hard as you want and still finishing with a smile on your face. The distance is accessible to first-timers and seasoned pros, making the atmosphere one of "we're just out here for fun." It was a marked difference from my half-iron experience, and one that I was glad to be reminded of. I will always be glad that I did a half-iron when I was young enough and still had enough free time to do it, but I'm also glad that intense single-mindedness is gone.

I'm glad I'm back to the level of the sport where I can train and race for fun, rather than survival.

And I'm celebrating with a cold one.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New look, same great taste!

Dear faithful blog readers (all 3 of you),

I'm sure you've noticed the new look of Chausovsky Happenings. I got a little tired of the dots and haven't found a background yet that I like better, so for the time being, solid colors it is. I've also added a little slide show and, if you'll look to the right-hand column, a list of photo albums. All this is just an attempt to make the time you spend here a little more interesting.

If any of you are blog savants and don't mind coming over to help me spice things up even more, there's a cold beer in it for you!

Thanks for the reads,


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Goodbye Hil and Jay!

Two of our good friends are leaving this weekend to join the Peace Corps; they'll be living in Swaziland for the next two+ years, helping with AIDS awareness and prevention. We had their "going away" dinner last night, and I can't believe that I won't see either of them again until November of 2010!!

At dinner, Hilary asked for an update of what we thought would be different when they come back. It was such a fun discussion--it was very telling about how much goal setting we've done (or haven't done) and what our visions are for our lives for the next two years.

On a personal level, we hope to have a kid in that time. That led us to speculate about two new cars. We'd still be at our house. Alex predicted that he would still be at his current job and still quite happy with it. I didn't know what to think/say about my job--I know that I won't still be a contract employee for that long, but beyond that....??? I may find a permanent position with this company; I may find a way to stay home with possible kid; I may find a job I can do from home; or I may find a totally new and different job! While that uncertainty is unsettling to a certain degree, it's also kind of exciting. I'm the kind of person who could very easily get bored if I thought I was just stuck in a job interminably, with no sign of change in sight.

It was also interesting to make predictions about other family and friends. I think my brother, at least three of my cousins, and two of my friends will also be having (more) kids in the next two years. I predict my sister will be in love and in a serious relationship (both at once instead of just one or the other!). I think Alex's brother won't be living in Austin any more. I think that my parents (all of them) will be getting ready to retire quite wealthy, and I think Alex's parents will be happy and healthy.

On a bigger level, there will have been a new president for almost two years at that point, more than enough time for the country to become disenchanted with him and start all the griping all over. (I guess in that sense things will have both changed and stayed the same.) We were in disagreement over whether we thought the economy would be better, the same, or worse. I think hybrids will rule and that there will also be a new trend in cars (but not sure what that trend will be--mini cars? electric cars? flying cars?). I think there will be more incentives to recycle and that being "good stewards" (to borrow my dad's phrase) of the planet will be "in."

And, unfortunately, I think the New Kids on the Block reunion will have fizzled, plunging the fab five back into relative obscurity.

What do you think the next 2.5 years will bring in your lives, the lives of those around you, and in the world?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

#98: Put change in someone's expired meter

Alex and I met his brother downtown last week for a lunch. Eugene has recently started a very cool internship for an international political and economical consulting firm. Sounds cool, huh? Anywho, we lucked into a metered parking spot only a block from the Quizno's, and as luck would have it, it still had 30 minutes left! We were basking in the awesomeness of our good fortune when we passed a large van on the other side of the street whose meter was blinking an angry red "Expired." We already had the change on hand from what we were going to put into our meter, so I realized this was the perfect opportunity to help someone out and cross this task off the list. What's more, the van had a handicapped parking rear-view-window-hanging-thing. Not only was I going to help someone, I was going to help someone who probably needed it more than others! I dropped a quarter into the slot and was prepared to feel proud of myself.

Nothing happened. The meter still impatiently insisted it was "Expired." Dang it! I had another quarter on me, and $.50 was nothing compared to the satisfaction I would feel saving a handicapped driver from a stiff parking ticket, the cruel exaction of a heartless officer. I dropped the second quarter into the slot and saw the display flash to 15 minutes. Surely that would be enough time for the driver to get back to their vehicle! In the world of parking tickets, where $150 can be decided by mere seconds, 15 minutes was an eternity. Feeling elated that I had saved someone from an afternoon ruined by a ticket, we sauntered down to the Quizno's and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch.

45 minutes later, as we strolled back to our car, I saw that the van was still parked in the same spot, and the angry "Expired" flashing notice had returned. I was out of change, and my good mood at saving someone from a parking ticket was depleted with every red flash. Geez, didn't these people realize that meters expire??? Clearly they weren't all that concerned about getting back to their spot, and there were no ticketing agents in sight. I decided they'd be fine, with or without me dropping any more change into their meter (if I had had any, that is).

So, my $.50 was sacrificed to the meter with no good to show for it. I didn't save the driver from a ticket, giving him just enough of a window to get back to his van and leave before his expired meter was discovered. Maybe I'll try this one again in the future and hope for a more effective outcome.

On the other hand, maybe a ticketing officer drove by in those 15 minutes of safety, while Alex and Eugene and I were blissfully munching our sandwiches. Maybe I did do some good. I think I'll go with that. It's the thought that counts, right?