1. This is me, photographing a group of friends prior to the Santa Claus run on Saturday, December 4. This is also a great view of how much I love books, one of my favorite projects from college, and my leg ... which is smaller than I recall.
2. This is the whole crazy group of Santa runners - Lorna, Di, Justin, Re-Pete, Schlex, Rebekah, Mama Dee, me, Linda and Pete.
3. Same group, with our beards. Ever seen anything so awesome in your life? Didn't think so.
4. Tucson Mike, Racheal and Kaylee were here the end of last week. It was a magical visit, complete with a train ride, the view from atop the Sears Tower, lunch in the Walnut Room (accompanied by the worst server in the history of the planet,) almost skating at Millennium Park, and dinner at Meat & Di's. But the very best part? Watching Kaylee, my little desert baby, enjoy snow. She kept picking up bunches of the fluffy white stuff, throwing it in the air, and saying "This is the best day ever." Yeah, that's enough to make an auntie's day, too.
5. Practice makes perfect. I had my first rehearsal last night for a Christmas show. All music, small cast, very fun. One weekend only, December 17 and 18. Wanna go?
6. I ran last night at the gym. It pissed me off, because I had a much better run than I did at the run over the weekend. Maybe running indoors (instead of on snowy streets) is that much easier. Maybe the treadmill is nicer to my knees. Maybe I'm a wuss. I don't know, but in a half-hour run, I actually ran 23 out of 30 minutes, which is a new record. Now I just have to increase it little by little until I'm running the whole 30 ... and then get to the point where I can handle running an entire 5k. I must be crazy.
7. But I think it might be catching. See, last weekend, several of my crazy friends gathered for this Santa run thing. And much as I know it's not just because of me, they weren't shy about telling me they never would have done it if I hadn't suggested it. Who ever would have thought that I would be the one to organize people and urge them to run? Does it make sense that the slowest runner in the bunch, who can almost but not quite squeak out a 15-minute mile, is the mastermind? Probably not. But fun is fun, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
8. There's also a hidden benefit to being the slowest in my group: I get a cheering section! I can't explain how amazing it felt to have my friends cheering me on at the end of the race. They make me realize I can finish. I love them for that.
9. I also love Christmas music. But not the crap they play on 93.9 here in Chicago. It's the same songs every time I turn it on. Do they not realize that Hall & Oates are not the only people who recorded "Jingle Bell Rock," or that many artists have covered Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"? Seriously. If you must play the same song every two hours or so, at least play a different version! I have about 10 different versions of each of those songs; call me, I'll share!
10. There are only 12 more get-ups until my Christmas vacation begins. Holler.