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Wednesdays were Wonderful

And we still remember. Here the excitement of weekdays past lives on.

Saturday, the 13th of December, 2008

Count on Sarah to get us together even on a non-Wednesday. Your correspondent can’t remember much about the party... this must be attributable to the special Amy Martini(s), the shots courtesy of Brian, the excellent choice of wines, not to mention pumpkin pie home-cooked by Peter... it all added up.

The party came with a set of rules, as befitting the military background of our gracious hostess:

Fans of M. Python will note with approval that there was no rule six. And it was a bit like an Australian philosophy department, with Andrew’s down-under heritage shared by another Ozzie. We did notice a few surreptitious violations of rule one, but they were fleeting. Dave & Liz showed up looking like they were ready for more action than a properly devout Christmas party could provide. But they were on their way to a hash party, which tends to focus on celebrating the here-and-now rather than the eternal. They did make the there-and-then fun for all of us! Wish we had pictures from later on!

Sarah’s friends, and friends of friends were all smart and interesting people. We hope they learned not to grapple with Sam, who used Taj as a veritable demo dummy to illustrate how every big guy has an Achilles heel... elbow, wrist, shoulder, etc. that can be locked and blocked in seconds. No need to go punching people. You get your way with leverage.

And in the end, some kind of leverage must have worked, because Sam looks pretty comfortable in the next photo here. Special awards go to Sarah's legs, or rather leggings, which she got that very morning at a race she ran as a relay with Desa. Need we say that they won? Whenever the Energizer Bunny starts to bonk, he can get a little energy from those two.

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Wednesday, the 10th of December

Races were the talk of the town during the run, both recent and upcoming. Amy, Peter, and Sarah all threw lucky sevens, doubled down, and drew straight flushes at the Vegas Marathon. But somehow they still had the energy to stay with the Groove. We respect that! Others were looking to the future, for example the Arizona Ironman, which seems to be a popular one. Also look for the half-Vineman to be a big party. And Wildflower registration has also started; at least “veterans” have already gotten e-mail notification.

Mark "2Daddy" Warren showed up and ran with us, finding a window of opportunity in his scrambled schedule. Hoping for food too, but apparently the needs of two new daughters and the mom called him back. Maybe next time we will all assemble at their place. The kids get free drinks!

And then on to our favorite spot, the Nayb, where Brian always orders the beer and Andrew the pizza, to start the scene. People add to the orders but we always make sure that everybody gets fed. There’s room at this manger. Desa and Sarah have lots of girl talk. Taj is brewing up his own posse, bringing in new blood to the Groove. Josh shows up, though we didn’t notice him running. No wonder, we always see him at the Y pumping iron. That doesn’t make it easy to run the next day. Or perhaps there’s something about him his new wife doesn’t know?

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Wednesday, the 3rd of December

Neither rain nor snow (rare!) nor dark of night has kept our group from the swift completion of their appointed runs. A few of us were going short today because of the upcoming Las Vegas Marathon. But that didn’t stop anyone from cutting the rug at the Neighborhood. We cued up our own songs on the jukebox, shared pizza and beer, and generally partied as best we could. Sam treated us to some palm-reading... hard to tell if he was just a good cold reader (more likely “warm” since he actually already knows us). But we suspect that however it works (a bit like dowsing) Sam is probably right.

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Thursday, the 27th of November

A.K.A. Thanksgiving. We now have some photos from the Thanksgiving Day 4-miler. Thanks to SB Pix for catching almost all of us... except Andrew, who appeared to be invisible. Must have been running too fast! If you were in the race and we missed you, let the Webmaster know and we'll try to find your photo. Congtatulations to all who raced!

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Wednesday, the 26th of November

Groovers who showed up this Wednesday evening deserved a prize: it was cold, dark, and at least threatening to rain. It didn’t quite, but it sure wasn’t easy. Why not just take a short-cut to the finish: a dinner at Andrew’s place? Lots of people showed up for that. A rough count was 18 attendees, quite a haul. Like fish, they were eventually thrown back, but not before filling themselves with some pre-Thanksgiving victuals.

Lizzie brought Emily and lasagna: one of those went right into the oven; both warmed us right up. There was pasta and salad, wine and beer, light and dark chocolate. Jessica brought some Limoncello, a tasty citrus liqueur, that kept the host smiling. Audrey the cat seemed to approve of the company: though she didn’t come down the stairs she admitted admirers into her “throne room.”

Even though several attendees had an important race the next morning, they all stayed late and made sure there wasn’t too much alcohol left for Andrew to get into. (In fact, these spirits are still being propagated along to subsequent weekend activities.)

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Saturday, the 22nd of November

Thanksgiving is approaching, and with it the annual UCSB Turkey Trot. Groovers Andrew, Desa, Ricky, and Clay got up early — maybe too early — for a good run on a weekend morning. When students are involved, perhaps we should cut them a little room. They actually do study hard. And of course there was the UNC-UCSB basketball game on campus the night before. In any event, the race started a bit later than announced, but Ricky finished earlier than almost everyone: third place. And Desa fought her way back from sixth woman to second. What a kick! On the “mom-graded” scale we think that should be first.

Later in the evening, we regrouped at Sarah’s soon-to-be old place to celebrate her soon-to-be new place. We met her two smart housemates, UCSB students both. Caroline is studying Media & Communications; Reesa is studying Earth Science. No slackers these. The food, drink, and conversation was equal to that of the most hoity-toity (wherever did that phrase originate?) salon of Manhattan or Nob Hill.

We then kept on truckin’ to the Creekside. Does Eating Crayons sound like fun? That was the band that kept people dancing. Who knew that chomping markers required stage fog?

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Friday, the 21st of November

Groovers gathered at the Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club for a special swim workout on Friday evening, coached by Peter Engel and sponsored by the SB Tri Club. We did a time trial test: six minutes of swimming. Based on that we found out where we ranked and what our time goals were going to be for the next set of 100s. For example, swimming 425 yards got you a 1:25 target. What we learned was that Karen swims like a penguin. Or a dolphin or something. We need an extra lane just for her!

Some of the swimmers decanted to Zodo’s for a really rolling good time. No, we didn’t actually bowl, but we sure knocked down a few brews and sorted out our stories. Getting along with relatives and step-relatives is very important, especially around the holiday season. Unfamiliar faces (for the Groove) were Kim and Dan, from the Tri Club. We watched UCSB do their best against top-ranked Tarheels, while it was actually going down just a few miles away. Little did we expect a scuffle involving a Santa Barbara athlete we don’t really hang with.

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Wednesday, the 19th of November

It’s headlamp season now, and many runners came prepared to help shepherd the others of us along. That stretch by Desa’s place is pretty dark! But a certain four-legged runner had a special light for himself this week. Peter has got Ty (short for Tyrant, but is he really?) a lighted collar. We don’t think it lights his way so much as lets us see him. He is already considerate enough to slow down for us bipeds. Mark showed up, which we thought was a gift from Jen. He says they are a bit at ragged ends, not sleeping enough... but loving it! Merely to keep the legs moving in that situation is commendable.

After that, we were all set to celebrate Ricky’s birthday at Sharkeez and — Sharkeez vanished! Or at least closed. We don’t know what’s up with that but Desa made a quick turnaround and got something started at Madison’s instead. They gave us the goods and more (some extra salads, for example) and we properly celebrated the birthday with some cake that clearly had more calories than we all burned while running.

And we had something else to celebrate: Sarah closed a deal on a condo! With the help of Desa’s husband and best friend Billy she will be living in a place of her own now. She has worked so hard to deserve it. Is it party time yet? Clear out the boxes!

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Sunday, the 16th of November

And here’s an overdue item that continues the thread of birthdays we had going. After all sorts of activity (no pictures) Mark and Jen came up with a Race Plan that came to fruition with the birth of Lila and Natalie. We hope and wish them all the best on the really Long Run they have embarked on.

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Thursday, the 13th of November

Well the 13th definitely turned out to be an unlucky day for some people in Santa Barbara or Montecito. Groovers turned out for the SB Tri Club’s meeting, hosted at the SB Athletic Club (thanks to John Herzog), ready to hear about awards and extol the achievements of the year. He and Stewart had a great slide show going. But soon after the fun began, the power went out. The cause: serious fires breaking out not very far away. We almost adjourned to Joe Sullivan’s place, thanks to a half-serious suggestion by Liz, but Dave rescued things by just relocating to the parking lot and carrying on. We recognized Craig for cleaning up, Rosie for her first season, Sarah for a truly awesome season, and various others we can’t even remember. Kudos to Dave Groom for holding things together and showing leadership.

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Wednesday, the 12th of November

The crew was considerate, and waited just a little past 6:10 for Andrew this time, but then rolled into gear. Lots to discuss and we seemed like a moving classroom as we swept along Carrillo to the Bird Refuge and back. Peter and Ty ran the whole way, that’s six legs in all. (Does that make an insect? And how many gaits are possible with six legs?) Another Andrea joined us, a friend of Michael’s, and Kyle was pacing the pack.

The good old reliable Back o’ Brewhouse hosted the post. Stacy G joined us, (is she related to Kenny G or Ali G?) and told Desa about seeing the real Globe Theatre, where all the world is staged. She also reported seeing one of Andrew’s Z-Boards being played by a band called Pendulum. They definitely rock; here is one of their videos, where they use an older version called the Z-Tar.

Politics is still in the air, with recounts underway. Dave says that as long as Al Franken is in the race, nobody can carp about Sarah Palin. Fair enough. There is definitely enough BS to go around. Lately it’s been occurring to all of us what a long strange trip it’s been, especially for Brian who explained what happens when you mix branches of the Kingdom of Life, namely people and fungi. Apparently he had a wild ride recently, but he looks just the same on the outside.

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Wednesday, the 5th of November

The birthday trend continued, but the baton, on its way from Sarah to Andrea, didn’t make it to Shawna, who couldn’t make it up here to celebrate. But we kept the flame going anyway. A strong headwind on the run, which for once didn’t turn around with us at the turnaround, so we had a helpful tailwind running back. Lots to talk about on the run and off. Liz is still running like a girl, recovered from the Nike Women’s Marathon that she ran with Jayna. Would she advise her clients to run a half-marathon the next week? Do as she says, not as she did... but she did it. She must have only seen the back of Amy in that race, who came in second in her age group! Is all that swimming making her faster? Ricky was fourth in his cutthroat group too; those guys barely touch the ground when they run.

Showing that she too could do a crazy double, Desa ran the half, and then the next day teamed up with Woody to win the women’s trophy at the Muddy Buddy race. We are waiting for pictures from that one!

Now a parent, Desa is watching other ones, and is amazed at the junk they feed their kids. You are what you eat. We made ourselves better with some excellent food at Deano’s, the obscure Mesa pizzeria where we had our first post-election caucus. Some predictions came out, others didn’t. Stacy Georgilas is back from the Old World, to what some think is a whole new world. No, everything is exactly the same, but people see it differently. However, some people’s vision is better — check out this satirical headline from eight years ago. Josh can’t believe that Michelle Bachman is still in Congress. We still need something to laugh about. However, it's a stretch to think that we are really becoming socialists. More likely, with less partisan bickering, we will wind up discussing really important issues, like this.

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Wednesday, the 29th of October

Birthdays: everybody has one. What are the odds that they are on a Wednesday? This time the stars lined up exactly and our favorite A-Teamer Andrea celebrated hers today. Seems like just yester-Wednesday that we had a birthday. When’s the next one? Look out Larry!

All of Andrea’s friends (there are no enemies) turned out at Sharkeez, who were very cooperative in helping us show the world why we are so groovy. The Queen herself looked like she had just come from a salon, not a run. The King was delayed on the 101, which was not the Calle Real (Royal Road) it should have been, but made it for the cake. All these years she has managed not to live up to the image of the “other Andrea” made famous (infamous?) by Frank Zappa. But she was spelled and pronounced “Ondrea”.

And proving that Groovers links are thicker than the 101, in the midst of all the excitement they made a call to Andrew, who was at that moment visting yet another spelling: Andria, née Freeland, now McGhee, that some may remember as a UCSB triathlete and now mom... and still playing water polo. Dad Steve is also a former Gaucho triathlete, shown here at a race in Mexico. Now he’s at Google, and Andrew, whose quest was to consult with Apple on the future of the world as we know it (aka the iPhone) enjoyed this connection (on his iPhone) with the rest of our shrinking world. Can you identify that other Groover on the right? Her birthday is two off from Andrew’s.

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Wednesday, the 22nd of October

Energy is in the air.. if we could tap it we could power the world! Is it the Fall atmosphere? The election excitement? Everybody jumps off at a 5k pace and it seems like sparks are flying as we start running. Maybe because of the dry heat. This time Sarah is a walker, exercising her judgment more than her muscles. We should all have such good sense. But we have a bigger contingent than ever, so there are several different packs of pace, and the speedsters aren’t the only ones on the course.

We go to the back-door Brew Co, an homage to the Grooms, even though they aren’t even there. We get some cred for that, right? There is a World Series game in its ninth inning going on, but we have more important things to pay attention to. Sam is making generalizations about men & women to Desa, who appreciates that things and people are (generally) particularly special and you can’t generalize. Irresistible force, meet immovable object! Sarah is on to Ms. Palin’s wardrobe budget, which just goes to show how many orders of magnitude there are between Alaska and Washington.

Andrew and Amy think the election is going to have the bandwagon effect, where people jump onto the winning team. The alternative would be the thermostat dynamic, where the strength of one side gets the other riled up, so the gap always stays close. It’s a dynamical system (aka chaotic), and we take a snapshot of it on November 4th and call it an election. And even that simplification is over when you allow early voting — Mark “2Daddy” Warren exercised that option. (He will be busy enough pretty soon with his new constituents.)

If voting is not simultaneous, what exactly does the election measure? Could it be like this marathon, with multiple winners? Desa’s students are reading Macbeth, and Shakespeare is always relevant to politics. In any case, when all else fails, we will be able to prevail upon our Mercedes-driving Groover to push her “panic” button.

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Wednesday, the 15th of October

Who needs to save the drama for our mama, Obama, or even the Dalai Lama? We have enough of our own to go around! Andrew returns from the remote North with a job offer from Mark/Space and a new stepmother (but no glass slipper), and Sarah returns from a trip she wasn’t expecting to take. Who knew that duathlons involved flying?

The ocean is getting pretty cold, as James Joyce more colorfully observed. Amy was brave enough to test this but she reported on the ice cream headache. Looks like the winter of our discontent will be starting soon. Back to the pool!

The pack started out fast and stayed that way, perhaps sped by the cool autumn air. Pretty soon we will be needing our headlamps to negotiate the return trip from the Bird Refuge. And at the turnaround, who did we see but Sarah, totally in character catching up with (and passing) the pack.

Afterward we celebrated her birthday in style at Joe’s Famous Café, which lived up to its name with good service and ambience. The whole place knew we were special and that we had a birthday girl. The conversation was as lively as ever, with Sterling and Andrew agreeing that all money is really a bet on the future. As long as the trash gets collected tomorrow.

We will continue to celebrate Sarah’s birthday and life Friday evening at Dargan’s Irish Pub. 8 PM. C’mon down!

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Wednesday, the 8th of October

The year is on the wane but the Groove is waxing. We welcomed back Peter from the ancestral land of Scotland (and his post-travel cold) where the word for “mother’s milk” is “whisky”. He prefers the Santa Barbara pub fare, actually. Which reminds us of the classic joke that heaven is where the Brits are the police, Italians are the lovers, French are the cooks, Germans are the mechanics, the Swiss are the bankers; and hell is.. well you can figure out how that goes!

And Jody is returned from the equally remote Alaska, where the word for “Ironman” is “Iditarod” and they swim with polar bears. (See our note of 16 September.) She works with energy and still has a lot. Massage therapist to the stars (that’s all one word) Kelly Knowles showed up, reminding us of the classic puzzle: if she massages everyone who doesn’t massage themselves, who massages her? Probably the whole Brew Co was listening in to the discussion of the escapades that went down at Josh's bachelor party at the Spearmint Rhino. Our lips are sealed. Sam and Craig told us how much we missed out on the great weekend surfing. And we had a great work story from Greg about the crazy boss. Who hasn’t had one of those? The goal is to become one.

Not present were some stalwarts: Lizzie had to work, but Dave held up his end (no, not like that!) by showing up and sharing brews & burgers. Andrew was up north talking to Apple about iPhone programming and attending the wedding of his 83-year old father. Is that where he gets his stamina? And Desa and Billy were celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary. What were you doing fourteen years ago?

Special thanks to correspondents Amy and Sarah for this installation.

Wednesday, the 1st of October

The weather has us all singing “Heat Wave”, and that makes swimming all the more attractive. Even though the Carp Tri is over, we had a great contingent swimming today. And even though Drea has two wetsuits, she left them both behind today. How did she maintain buoyancy? We’re sure she didn’t hold her breath for the whole swim.

But those runners who started out with shades were left in the shade by the time they finished: no sunlight left by 7. The pack had plenty of energy today — geez, didn’t they race hard enough on Sunday? But as Amy learned, it doesn’t beat you up like a straight run does, even if it takes the same energy. Maybe people were just still buzzed from the fun weekend... and the rest got a contact high. Ann Marie ran her farthest yet — even farther if you scale by body size! How many paces was that?

Back to the Neighborhood for dinner... we were worried that they missed us. We worked on the fourth leg of triathlon: ping pong! (Or is it beer? How many parts does this race have?) After we left the tables some serious pros came around to show us how it was done. The girls had a discussion about dating and synchronization... how long do you wait to make or break? Suffice it to say that we think Amy is always right. Desa is still blissed out from her post-race massage from Kelly. Another satisfied customer. ☺ Andrew was debriefed about last week’s lecture by Mark Juergensmeyer, which he squeezed in between Carpinteria packet pickup and camping. Brian suggested that the $700 billion (you know which $700 billion we’re talking about) might be better spent bailing out the bereft mortgage-holders. If that be socialism, make the most of it. People contemplated going up to Lake Lopez and entering Tinley’s Adventures at the last minute. Apparently it’s still possible.

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