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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Running, Motivation & Christmas Lights

Tuesday, I did a short run outside for the first time since returning from Belize.  It is not a joke that this is the most difficult time of year to be motivated to run.  The season is over and running friends are hard to come by.  It's cold and I am not used to it yet.  No matter what time of day I choose to run, I always seem to be running in some sort of darkness.  It is just a tough, tough time of year for a runner.

So, I've had to really force myself to get out there, reminding myself of the 5 pounds that I gained in Belize (3 of them have come off).  I have a race in a month, and I want to be ready for it.  I have to run.

What is motivating about Christmas is that people have put out their decorations.  So, I do enjoy running through the neighborhood to see what people have done with their outside lights.  (NOTE: We have not put any up yet because we are lame).  So, on Tuesday, that is what kept me occupied during the run.  I rated each house with a star rating of 1-5, 5 stars being the best.  There were no 5 star winners, but there was a 1-star (we'll discuss that later).

Things that affected the ratings:

Higher ratings:
  • Quantity of lights.  Apparently when it comes down to it, I like a lot of lights.
  • Decorating with things other than lights, such as pine garland and wreaths (Danger: you can also go tacky with this)
  • Difficulty, so you would get a higher score if you actually hung lights along the top of the house and not just throwing things out on the bushes.
  • Correct use of colors other than white.
  • Decorating a deciduous tree with lights, only if each branch is individually lit.
  • Candles in windows.
  • Spotlights on the front of the house.

Lower ratings:
  • Inflatable decorations.  Even lower ratings for more than one inflatable decoration, or inflatable decorations that are a snow globe, make noise, or animate.  In other words, the more money you spend on inflatable decorations, the lower your score will be.
  • Weird or haphazard color combination.
  • Incomplete nativity scene, with the exception of the baby Jesus, which is often missing pre-Christmas.  For example, just Mary and a donkey.
  • Pre-lit objects (non-inflatable) are OK, but less of a rating if, when lit, you cannot tell what they are and they just look like blobs of lights.
  • Anything that plays music.
  • Blinking lights.  Blinking lights can be done in a good way, but 99.9% of people can't pull it off these days.  Leave it to the experts.
  • Using blanket-style Christmas lights on bushes.  Even lower rating if the blanket-style lights are used and they don't cover the entire bush.
  • Christmas lights and decorations, but failure to get rid of the pumpkins and/or Halloween decorations.
  • Seemingly incomplete decorating - such as only putting lights on one bush out of four.
  • Running strands of lights between objects or trees.
  • A sign that says "X days until Christmas" that is obviously wrong.  Don't commit to that sign if you're not going to keep it up to date.

So, my lowest rating this year went to a house that had a TON of lights (good).  They were all white, which is also good.  They decorated nicely.  But, the lights were blinking in a weird way - the WHOLE HOUSE AND YARD would go out at once and then back on - in a random kind of way, not even blinks.  I thought they might even have an electrical short of some type.  As I got closer though, I could hear quietly played music and apparently the lights were blinking to that music.  Hopefully, the neighbors don't have epilepsy.  What a horrible idea!  One star.

1 comment:

Lyss said...

I will run with you - I am completely messed up (finding time to run) with the weight training but I will figure it out! I must!

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