Well, my 8 weeks of solitude are coming to an end. Now I just need to get the house in order, cram everything from the last 9 months of my life into 2 suitcases, and find my way to the airport. Nothing too bad, right? Right. Sort of. Maybe.

Cleaning is one of my least favorite things because it's just a continuous cycle. I completely cleaned the whole house about 3 weeks ago, and now I will have to do it all over again because it's messy again. How lame is that? I still haven't caught up on the dishes...and there are so many of them that I could feasibly not do the dishes for at least 2 or 3 weeks (note: this is a theory, not a practice). The problem, though, is that only a few days' worth of dishes fit into the dishwasher at once, so the same key dishes and utensils always have top priority..leaving all of the particularly delicate or odd-shaped dishes out of the loop until it becomes convenient to wash them. I have to say, I am looking forward to some good not-home-cooking from McClurg.

I still miss trays though.

Yesterday I got back from a trip down to Seward to see the Chases. I was feeling pretty good when I got back -- settled down on my bed to check e-mail, caught up with a few people.....and then I fell asleep. I can't imagine why on earth I would be tired! It's not like I had to go exercise with Mark or anything....

Thursday after (a very tasty) dinner Mark had an idea. He had a hankerin' to go roller skiing -- it's active, it's outside, and it's fun. I don't happen to know how to roller ski (but it looks interesting, I may have to learn), so he suggested I could ride a bike instead. We'd go from the fire station to Safeway and back..an easy 6 miles. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I got suited up in some too-large borrowed rain gear and an ever so attractive helmet, and we set out. It was pretty easy at first, I kept up alright, and the bike was a little small, but not too bad. But then Mark started getting a little ahead...."no big deal", I figured, "I'll just catch him on the next downhill". Wrong. You see the problem is while Mark has been off running mountains, I haven't been up to much at all. I walked a lot in Russia, and climbed my fair share of stairs..but that's about it really. So, while a couple of miles of skiing just invigorated Mark, I started getting a little tired. I was relieved to see Safeway come into view..I wasn't quite dying, but I was starting to feel it a little in my legs. Then to my horror, Mark puts his head down and powers past our check point. For the next half mile or so I consoled myself by thinking maybe he just wanted to try out some hills, and we'd be turning around soon. I finally got a moment to catch my breath when someone Mark knew stopped him for a little chat. After he finished talking, Mark came over to see how I was doing, and inquire if I would like to go all the way to the Sealife Center. I looked balefully at the rather massive hill between us and the Sealife Center and told him no thanks, I was quite happy with what we'd already done, and wouldn't mind turning around now. This wasn't quite the answer he was looking for, so Mark worked some of his persuasive magic and said the hill wasn't that bad, and it was all downhill to the Sealife center after it, and that we could take a nice break once we got there if I wanted to. I rolled my eyes and said fine, and struggled my way up the hill.

Our nice long break lasted for about 5 seconds. Then we spent some time debating about which side of the hill was harder. He said the side we'd just come up was the worst because it was longer...so really the worst was behind us, and it was just an easy coast back to the car. I said that this side looked pretty bad from our current vantage point and reminded him that there were still 5 miles between us and the car. In the end, I managed to stretch our break into about 5 minutes, and then we set back towards the car...all the way Mark encouraging me and telling me how it was just an easy straight shot back to the car (untrue, it is actually slanted slightly uphill most of the way). Once we made it back to the car I did have to concede that I felt pretty accomplished.

The next day after dinner Mark looks at me again with that gleam in his eye and says he has a proposal for me. I didn't see a ring or anything, so I figured it was probably bad news. He suggested that today we can just go easy..just to Safeway and back. I said I wasn't falling for that one again (he defended himself by saying that yesterday he said "at least" to Safeway). I told him about the only way I'd go would be if he pulled me...

We had a good laugh about that, but then Mark got a thoughtful look and said there could be something to that idea. After scrounging around the house we came up with the following objects:
-Dog harness
-2 leashes
-roller skis

Can you see where I'm going with this?

Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures of this momentous event...so I have created my own rendering of what it probably looked like via paint:

(if Russian doesn't work out, I'm thinking there could be a place for me in graphic design)

I can only imagine what the tourists thought. We got passed by 6 tour busses and a train along the way.

Mark pulled me the 6 miles to Safeway and back while keeping up a pretty reasonable pace and only complaining about how the bike's weight would kick in while he was gliding and not when he was pulling. When we got back to the car Mark felt so good that we turned around and did another 6 miles (but this time I got there by my own propulsion). I'm pretty sure the only thing this experiment proved is that Mark is a beast (that's a compliment)...however, if this ever becomes a fad, we totally thought of it first.

That's about all that's going on here.

Here are some good links of the day:
(I do apologize that they are not clickable...so you'll have to copy/paste)

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zI3_pnUU3k

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ABAmEl6_Yg

Oh man...Flight of the Conchords makes me laugh. I don't know about you, but watching those sure brightened my day


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Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia