Thursday, October 30, 2008

Megan's Grand Adventure (or how many stupid things can Megan do in one night and still survive)

Yesterday evening, I set out on a master plan to get from my office to church. For those of you unfamiliar with the Memphis Area Transit Authority, MATA buses follow an east/west route. If you need to go North or South anywhere, it is nearly impossible by the bus system. So this is what I did...

6:15pm: Change from work clothes into running clothes in employee bathroom. Note that spandex can make anyone look good.

6:25pm: Stash drivers license in arm zip-pocket of running top, tie office key and file cabinet key onto shoelace, grab Blackberry and bus pass, and lock all other personal items (including clothes worn to work, wallet, and all other keys) in office file cabinet.

6:35pm: Catch bus. Ask nice bus driver where to pull the cord to get off at a certain intersection, and nice bus driver agrees to drop me off at said intersection even though there is not a stop there. (I ride the same bus everyday, so we have a relationship.)

6:50pm: Get off bus. Start running.

For the next several minutes, I learned the following: it is waaaaaay darker at this time of night that I thought it would be, cat-calling is not dead (grrr), running in grey clothes - even on sidewalks - is not recommended after the sun sets, and part of my running route does not have a sidewalk.

7:11pm: Arrive at church. 1.84 miles in 21 minutes - about an 11 minute mile if you take off the time taken waiting for stop lights.

Will I try this again? If it were not for the lack of sidewalk for about a quarter mile of the trip, I would probably do it again. That was the only part of the run where I was seriously concerned for my safety, because cars were coming off of a turn going faster than they should, and I was wearing grey. I think I will definitely try it again when it is light out at 7pm, but I am not sure I will repeat this trek during the fall and winter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Only on MATA

This morning on my way in to work, the bus was quite crowded. Lots of people heading to work or to shopping, some folks chatting, others asleep. And through the din, a little "mew, mew, mew." First I thought it was a crying baby. No babies on the bus. Then I realized it was a cat! Originally I thought the man in front of me had a cat in his duffle bag, but when he got off and the meowing continued, I saw that a young woman sitting in the front of the bus had a cardboard box that she was talking to. The poor little cat was mostly quiet, but sometimes meowed when the bus would start or stop. Jonathan and I have joked about how we are possibly going to get our cat to the vet for her annual vaccinations, and apparently this girl thought cardboard box was best!

It took me back to my mom reading Henry Huggins to me at bedtime. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, little Henry Huggins finds a stray dog (Ribsy) while he is out and about in town. He wants to take the dog home with him, but he has to take the city bus home. So, he puts Ribsy in a cardboard box and carries him on the bus : ) Now when I'm reading this story to my children one day, I can tell them about the day a lady had a cat on the bus!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tired Legs and Bathroom Breaks

Becky and I ran our second 10k Saturday morning, and it went pretty well. We averaged about a 12 min/mile pace, and finished the race a good 30 minutes faster than we did our first 10k last year. We could have averaged more like an 11:30/11:45 min/mile pace if I had just taken a bathroom break before we started the race. I often feel the urge to pee after I've been running for a while, and I had the urge at mile 3.5, mile 4 and mile 5.5. Each time, I had to stop, or else pee my pants. I finally succumbed during the last mile, dashing into the woods while Becky waited at the side of the road. TMI, I know, but I just had to share : ) Despite the walk breaks for my bladder issues, Becky and I finished second and third respectfully in the race. Granted...there were four participants in our age group....All four of us finished within three minutes of one another, and I do feel guilty that I think we could have clinched first and second if I had just taken that one last bathroom break before the start. The half-marathon will be much better, because there is a mile-long line of port-o-potties at the starting line, and there are port-o-potties at every mile marker on the race course. I don't mind taking walk breaks because I am tired, but taking walk breaks for bathroom issues is frustrating!

So after the race, even after stretching a while, my legs and ankles were burning from the workout. Burning in a good way, but also in the way that makes you want to prop up your feet and watch football all afternoon. Did I do that? No, of course not. Becky and I hit the streets again at 2pm, this time sporting our matching "Rhodes Students for Obama" t-shirts, and we knocked on doors of registered Democratic voters to urge them to get out and vote. We hit 68 homes in a low-voter-turnout area of the city, and left a lot of leaflets on doors. Most folks we talked with were excited about the election and promised to vote this week in early voting.

After 1.25 hours of running and 3 hours of walking, I was pretty beat and ravenous! I had a Huey burger (real red meat Huey burger - I normally get turkey) for dinner and promptly fell asleep on my friend Justin's couch while he and Jonathan played video games. We went over to his house to socialize, but I just slept for two hours! Oh, I did wake up mid-nap to pee again...just to round out the day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gag Reflex

This is an excerpt from an article I was reading online via Yahoo. It makes me want to throw up:

McCain, who bestowed the nickname "Joe the Plumber" on Wurzelbacher during the debate, claimed Friday that "the response from Sen. Obama and his campaign yesterday was to attack Joe."
In fact, Obama, his running mate Joe Biden and their campaign have barely mentioned Wurzelbacher. Obama and Biden both attacked McCain for portraying Wurzelbacher as representative of most blue-collar workers, asking how many plumbers make $250,000 a year.
Nonetheless, McCain elicited boos from a fired-up crowd when he said of Wurzelbacher, "People are digging through his personal life and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house. He didn't ask Sen. Obama to come to his house. He wasn't recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Sen. Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks."
News organizations eager to learn more about Wurzelbacher did besiege his house Thursday and discovered and reported that he lacks a plumbing license and owes back taxes.
During an appearance Friday evening in the Space Coast community of Melbourne, McCain revealed that he had spoken to Wurzelbacher for the first time earlier in the day.
"I want to tell you his spirits are good and he's a tough guy. He's what small business people all over this country are about," McCain said to cheers. He encouraged the crowd, "Send Joe an e-mail and tell him you're with him."
Despite his criticism of the Democratic ticket, McCain himself has kept Wurzelbacher in the spotlight, mentioning him repeatedly in his appearances Thursday and then renewing the topic on Friday.
"Joe's the man!" McCain said Thursday during a rally in Philadelphia's suburbs.

Does he think we're not paying attention! Don't criticise your opponent - for something he isn't doing - and then do the exact thing you are criticising him for!! Uggh...politics as usual. I will be quite relieved when campaign season is over.

I will spend my Saturday afternoon knocking on some doors reminding folks to get out the vote! I will be sporting my quite stylish light blue "Rhodes Students for Obama" t-shirt : )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


There hasn't been all that much to write about lately. I know my left-wing nut job posts are only interesting to me (but just remember, without taxes and state-funded health care, I wouldn't have a job....) so I will spare you. I watched Amazing Grace the other night because I needed a good dose of how leaders in government can make a positive change. If you haven't seen it, you should (if you live in Memphis I will lend you my copy), as it tells the story of William Wilberforce, who passed the bill in the House of Commons abolishing slavery (as well as mandating free education and animal rights laws).

Running is going semi-okay. I am on the back end of a cold, and upper respiratory illnesses do not mix well with running. Late sunrises and early sunsets also do not mix well with running. If anyone reading this runs during the fall and winter outside, please give me some tips on how you manage it! We have a 10k this Saturday in Olive Branch, MS, and I am looking forward to the adrenaline of race day! Becky and I had a good 6-mile run a few weeks ago, but since then we've both been off our game. Hopefully this race will be the boost we need to make it through our last 6 weeks of half-marathon training.

Jonathan and I have made it over a month without the car, and we continue to do pretty well : ) I have unfortunately learned that the bus comes every twenty minutes in the morning, so I have been sleeping later and getting to work later! It was better for my work habits when I thought I had to catch the bus at 6:55 : ) I am also attributing the sleeping later with the cold.... We had a dinner party last Saturday to thank the friends who have transported us around this past month. We had a great time, despite my realization right before I put the chicken in the oven that it was FROZEN! That led to an 8pm dinner time instead of 7pm. Jonathan and I joked with our guests that we were just tricking them into holding our eating habits! We routinely eat dinner at 9 and 10pm. We're just Argentines at heart.

Work continues on, and like everyone I have good days and bad days. I'm still trying to settle into management, figuring out the balance between allowing my staff to make mistakes and hand holding so that they won't make mistakes on the front end. Is this training for motherhood? I must admit that with all of the baby announcements adorning my refrigerator, I do long for the day when I am herding little ones around my home instead of herding employees in an office.

Speaking of babies, I attended a baby shower today at work and ate way too much! The problem with bite sized food is that it doesn't feel like you are eating a lot until an hour after the party. We had a fun party, and the mom-to-be was so stunned that it took her a good five minutes to realize the party was for her!

So there is my update of the goings on in my life : )

Monday, October 6, 2008 I was a little angry when I wrote my last post. Since then, the college has assigned our class to a new professor. Maybe it was user error and not so much the actual technology.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Can you say....I told you so?

Warning: This would fall under the category of 'disgruntled posts.'

Last Spring, I got into an argument with the dean of the UT College of Social Work over online classes.  Dean Sowers comes to Memphis occasionally for meetings and to hold 'open forums' with students.  You know, because she tries to keep a finger on the pulse of students' lives (rolling eyes...).  One student stated that she would like more online course offerings, and the dean stated that they are planning to do that.  I raised my hand and stated that I did not think online classes were a good idea for social work classes.  I explained that since so much of social work work, participating in a class where you cannot interact well with your professor and peers would not teach the skills needed for our profession.  I took an interactive course a few summers ago.  We could see our professor on a TV screen, and he could see us...barely.  The course was in mediation, and much of it was practicing with role plays.  The problem is that our professor in Knoxville could not observe the Memphis role plays, so we had no clue if we were doing it correctly or not.  

I explained this to the dean, and she came back with, "Well, Ms. Hulgan, what would you say if I told you that in 20 years all of your client interaction will be done through computers and you will no longer have office visits or field visits?"

I replied, "Well, I would say that the clinical integrity of my practice would be compromised with such a system." it best to get into an argument with the dean?  We politely went back and forth and finally she told me that I needed to be more open minded.

Fast forward to today.  I am paying a significant amount of money out of pocket for my Financial Management class that is an online course.  We were supposed to meet on September 4th, and class was cancelled due to technical difficulties.  We were supposed to meet tonight, and class was cancelled due to technical difficulties.  I have an assignment due Monday, and our class has yet to meet.  

Yes, Dean Sowers, of course, why could I not see that online social work is the wave of the future?