Lansing in 3, 2...

Remember this guy? Culver the St. Bernard? Brethren of Claude the Newfie who once took a bit of a nibble of my Blackberry in an unfortunate turn of events that involved slow motion and "NOOOoooooOOooooooOOOOOOOOoooo!" And flailing? There was a lot of flailing.

Oh, you DO? Because I get to see him this weekend!

It's OK. Take your time. I'll pause for celebratory cheers.

<pause>

<blink> <blink-blink>

<chews nails>

<checks email>

<sends text message>

<forgot what she was waiting for>

Oh. Right. Hi. My annual Lansing Adventure is upon us. Time to visit AJ, my oldest, bestest, originalest and neatest running pal of all time. And her dogs, obviously. Her husband's in there, too, somewhere. But sometimes I forget because DO YOU SEE THAT GIANT DOG? This trip's sort of become my favorite thing about fall, which is going to become really unfortunate in a couple years when they move back to Wisconsin. Also awkward, because whoever moves into their house will wonder who the crazy broad is who shows up on their doorstep every November.

"Huh? What dogs? Who the hell is 'AJ'? No, you can't sleep on our futon."

I've missed AJ something fierce since she and her little family of husband and dogs moved to Michigan. The Summer of 2005 continues to go down in infamy as the best three months of all time--weeks upon weeks of marathon training, laying poolside, drinking Diet Coke & Cherry Vodkas after volleyball games. Ah, the easy life. If I ever reference "the good ol' days," those are it. By a long-shot. We try to replicate the moments as best we can in three days' time, but it's hard, you know? Bikinis in November, and all.

But we've already got a holiday parade and hot chocolates lined up for Friday night, tailgating and a Michigan State University football game Saturday (shhh, don't tell the Badgers) and 32 kinds of awesome lined up for the remainder of the weekend.

I leave in the morning. I just have to make it 'til then. My brain's already squealing.