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August 2008

Surprised By The Olympics

Nastia Luikin and Shawn Johnson won gold and silver medals, respectively, in women's individual all-around gymnastics" at the Olympics in Beijing.  (In case you weren't paying attention.)  This is a big deal for US gymnastics and the first time it's ever happened. Yang Yilin of China won bronze.

Am I *that* into gymnastics?  Not at all.  

We've been tivo-ing stuff and watching bits and bobs of it. I watched Michael Phelps win a few, but then, honestly, got a bit bored. He's awesome, he's going to win. Moving on. It's not like watching Tiger Woods because he occasionally hits bad shots and the fun is to see how he's going to win anyway. Michael Phelps just goes fast from start to finish and kicks everyone's butt. More power to him. We've watched a few other things, women's beach volleyball, some equestrian (with Kurt's mom who LOVES the equestrian events) and if there's badminton on, we'll watch about a minute of it because it's amusing.  

So I was watched the women's gymnastics (even though I already knew the outcome, but didn't care) and am always amazed at what these girls can do. It's mind blowing, really. When it came down to the floor exercise, Nastia was second to last, Shawn would go last. Nastia was in gold medal position and Shawn in bronze. Nastia finished well, pretty secure in her gold, hugging her dad (who is her coach and also a gold medal winner in gymnastics -- no pressure!) then Shawn went and she did a great routine to clinch silver. But what got me choked up, surprisingly, was when Shawn finished and ran down to her coach and teammates and had that look of pure joy and relief, she was going to cry happy tears at being done with it and doing a GREAT job. I recognized that look and feeling. Um, no, I don't mean I can relate to an Olympic athlete, but when we ran the Honolulu Marathon in 2001, I started bawling at mile 26 (there is .2 to go from there). I was overwhelmed by the event, the culmination of six months of training, of being in my original hometown, of being with Kurt and our two team mates. We did it! That's the feeling I recognized and it was sweet and surprisingly moving.

Way to go women!  

Track and field is getting going this weekend.  Can't WAIT for the hammer throw!

Nice Kitty

At the zoo in Hamm, Germany, big momma tiger, Shakyra, gave birth to five babies a few days ago. Apparently no one knew she was pregnant.  Nice surprise!


Oooooh look at that little dewd.  mmmmm.

(I have to get my fix with still photos of tigers since the !#*%@ Norwegians took down the baby lion cam.)

(Photo from Reuters and found on yahoo.)

Foreign Currency--Czeck Korun

I went through our foreign currency jug before going to London to pull out any pounds/pence and Euro/eurocents I had handy for my time there.  I just went through my bag of Euros and I have $75 worth of Euro and $89 worth of Macedonian Denars.  (I though I might as well take them along as who knows if I might have gone over there.)   I hope I get to use them all in the not too distant future. 

The foreign currency jug is full of money that no longer exists, mostly European.  I kept notes from (the former) Czeckoslovakia because they are so pretty.  Here they are -- fronts:

and Backs:


Very pretty.  (Click for bigger.)

MetBlogs London and Misc Monday Items

Waterlily So my good friend in London, "Padster", just got initiated into the MetBlogs Family! Woot! He posted his first item today. Check it out -- London Metblogs. I am looking forward to many more of his posts. I hope some day to be back in London, working and blogging along with him.

Waterlily The extra pieces of tile are ready at the tile place and I've put a call into our Handyman to schedule him to come back and finish up. I sure hope he can come tomorrow, or heck, even today and get the last gasp done.

Waterlily Just heard from the Serbians who are in town for Siggraph. I've consulted in the past for a group of VFX companies in Macedonia and because of that work was contacted by a group in Serbia. (Usually it is also because the United States Agency for International Development, aka USAID, has a hand in helping these companies get consultants to improve business in these "developing countries.") (By the way "Developing Country" is what we now say instead of "3rd World Country.")

Waterlily At lunch Kurt and I watched some Men's 8s crew races.  OMG that brings back such visceral memories of blistered/calloused hands, dark mornings in Marina Del Rey, my heart racing a million miles a minute while sitting at the start, in the half slide position.  (Same with swimming, just hearing that voice: "TAKE YOUR MARK."  [[shiver]])  Then just looking at the boats and the rigging and oars, all the equipment we muscled in and out of the water every day and when it came to loading boats for races away from LA, derigging, tying them to the trailer then doing it all again to put the boats together at our destination.  Crew is about teamwork, no doubt.

A Quick Look Back

There's that old saying about how "Someday you'll look back at this and laugh."  Well, in the insanity of that last day returning home from London when I was getting off the plane and going through immigration and it was all beginning to hit me that things were MESSED UP, there was one grimly amusing moment.

As I was heading to the exit and handing off another piece of paper to some other official, he looked at my luggage -- 5 months worth of luggage -- piled high on my trolly* asked "How long were you gone?"  "Five days." I said. He looked at me like I was a crazed clotheshorse? A newbie traveler? An idiot? I said "I was supposed to be there five months."  He shook his head, smiling and waived me through.  I laughed in that, "yeah, it's frakking hysterical" kind of wry way and moved on. 

*See, I was there for so long, now I'm speaking like Madonna. 

Olympic Coinkidink

Found this while browsing through olympic websites.  


Every spring and summer, the children of Beijing have flown beautiful kites on the currents of wind that blow through the capital. Among the kite designs, the golden-winged swallow is traditionally one of the most popular. Nini's figure is drawn from this grand tradition of flying designs. Her golden wings symbolize the infinite sky and spread good-luck as a blessing wherever she flies. Swallow is also pronounced "yan" in Chinese, and Yanjing is what Beijing was called as an ancient capital city. Among Fuwa, Nini is as innocent and joyful as a swallow. She is strong in gymnastics and represents the green Olympic ring.

I do generally spread good luck as a blessing wherever I fly, just not these past few weeks.  

I Call It: Kompromise Kitchen

So yesterday (the previous post) I put up photos of the tile replacement action thinking that by the end of the day today we would have a finished countertop to share.  Oh silly me. I forgot that things are not easy for us now, that it's all about compromise.  We can't use our new sink until we have a serious kitchen redo (more space, complete layout rearrange, new cabinets, etc) and we can't have the decorative tile we ordered and we ran out of bullnose and 1/4 round pieces.  (We ran out because we had to use more around the old sinks, the new sink didn't need them...)  


We will order the remaining pieces we need and the guys can come back and finish. That will be late next week some time.

In the meantime, here is how it looks at 80%:

It's not going to be great.  It's going to be a compromise.  In general, yes, it's new, it's fresher, it will be much better than duct tape and disgusting grout.

Then we will paint.  (We will paint.) Then Kurt (flooring expert) will put down the floor tiles we got last October.  Then the Kompromise Kitchen will be done.  (I'm crossing my fingers while I type this.)