Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year, new you?

On my way to work I was thinking how funny it is that this day is so special to many of us...I even wore a dress for the occasion. And yet, it's just the start to another year like all the ones before. But for whatever reason, a new year allows each of us to have hope that we will do better, experience more and live life more fully.

This year, with not only a work assignment looming, but the hope to really choose a few things I'm able to improve upon, I've felt a bit overwhelmed to pick the perfect resolution. Turns out, I couldn't choose just one, but a slew of resolutions for 2009. So in no particular order, yours truly is hoping she can work on the following things this year for her own sanity and personal growth...

1. Say yes/being open to more opportunities (Have you read Yes Man by Danny Wallace? If not, you can now watch the movie.) *This is probably the biggest one for me because ultimately it means being open to guys I'm not originally interested, letting people know me better, making more of a concerted effort to be outgoing and talk to people, doing things that might have me scared shitless (moving to a big city and leaving my friends behind) so I learn something new and expand my horizons.
2. Consolidate and simplify some areas of my life while saying yes to more (does that make sense?)
3. Stop biting fingernails (i do this when i'm stressed, bored, frustrated)
4. Move on, get new job, figure out the whole grad school thing (if i'm going, where i want to go, what degree i'm seeking)
5. Get 8 hours of sleep a night
6. Focus on finances, specifically curb impulse buying and decide i don't need everything i love

2008 was a good year. I got a promotion, traveled a fair amount: Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Denver, San Fran, Seattle, Vermont, Maine, saw a ton of great races and athletes at the Olympic Track & Field Trials, ran my third marathon and a few 1/2s, 10k, and 5ks and learned how to put on snow chains. 2008 was good, but 2009 will be better.

I think 2009 is sure to be a life changer. With the Europe trip set for May and a head full of hopes, I'm looking forward to seeing what a new outlook on life (and the world, for that matter) will bring. I don't plan the adventure to be just three amazing weeks of my life that are like no other. No, I fully intend them to be the catalyst to a domino effect of changes.

So here's to a new year filled with greatness! Go ahead, pop open some bubbly because you deserve it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Not half bad

For the most part, it was good. I sang christmas carols, saw family, laughed with people I haven't in a long while, drank a ton of water, didn't eat a ton of candy, may have had more than my fair share of desserts, and besides last night (a little party with the grand grade/middle/high school crew), I didn't have more than 2 alcoholic beverages in a day. And, I worked out every day but today. I tried, but traffic, exhaustion and mounds of unpacking christmas crap willed it not to be.

Christmas morn the power went out for a bit, we opened stockings and then I took a quick walk before we headed to the grandparents for brunch and present festivus. After the fam got home and opened our gifts to each other, I headed out on a chilly, tough 6 mi run with hills and pace work included while the guys watched some high def action flick. A mom and her two daughters walking their dogs even shared a few laughs on my behalf, most likely in response to my crazy pace and the raspy "hi!" I sent their way as I passed. I did the stairmaster and lunges with weights at the gym. The legs (and ass) hurt, but say "thank you."

Grumpy Old Men, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and several cheesey Hallmark holiday movies brought laughter, no matter how many times we'd seen them or how predictable they may be (thanks Hallmark). Four days off work felt like a few weeks. Four hours with the friends felt like forty minutes. Shopping with mom was fabulous. I was reminded once again how much you grow to value those times with the people you really care about. How precious every moment is, every laugh, every hug, every time you get to catch up.

A little panicked, I pulled out my training calendar tonight for the upcoming marathon in March. I was afraid I had already missed two important long runs after starting my training in early December. But after writing all my long runs in my planner I realized, it's all good b/c I'm actually right on schedule, no panic required. This Saturday calls for a 2h 20m run and I'm looking forward to it. Sometimes I just need to take a breathe and realize that shit's not going to hit the fan because I missed one tiny workout/detail/event. Life goes on, we adapt, we get better with every mistake. This time I was freaking out for no reason.

I'm still wavering on resolutions for 2009. Definitely need to solidify one worthy of the work enewsletter by Wednesday. Hm...

And, while I'm excited for another short work week, I'm not looking forward to Friday, my birthday. Truth is, I love birthdays, just not mine. I'm fine with the whole aging thing (sort of, minus the dying part). I could admittedly stay 25 forever, but I know the wise souls say life just gets better with age. The trouble is in the timing. A mere seven days post Christmas, this girl is never ready for ANOTHER round of presents and celebration. I don't feel like I deserve it. I really should start celebrating my half birthday or just suck it up and find a way to love it. This year, I've decided to take a vacation day and do the day as I wish. I have a run and a pedicure scheduled and beyond that, my hope is to simply enjoy and relax.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Panic? No fear, I've got a plan.

Is anyone else a little panicked about the upcoming few days of feasting? Not to mention Thanksgiving and the past few weeks we've endured of Christmas parties, holiday gatherings, cookies and chocolates sitting on the office table and all that extra indulging because "hey, it's the holidays!" I for one am a bit panicked.

As of Monday, after escaping the Portland blizzard, operation kick my own a** set in, which resulted in a 5 mile run Mon night, a hard 6 mile run yesterday at lunch AND an hour and a half at the gym after work, and a 5 mile run this morning before work. And I'm hoping to get to my parents gym later this afternoon for a short session in addition to a long walk or run tomorrow after brunch and opening presents.

To some of you it may sound a bit extreme to care about working out so much on Christmas when you should be spending quality time with the family, but this girl has no will power. If it's there and looks good, I'll go for it. So, armed with good intentions and some strong workouts, I'm ready to face this Christmas holiday, one cookie at a time. I'm looking forward to spending a few days with the family and hs friends, playing play station and Wii with the brothers and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Grumpy Old Men.

My goals to stay on track over the next few days are:
1. drink lots of water
2. limit alcoholic beverages to 3 max in a day
3. choose one dessert and enjoy
4. don't eat endless amounts of candy because it's sitting in the dish staring at you
5. when tempted to fall into a food-filled, couch coma, get up and take a 10 min walk. you'll feel better and then you can get your nap on. After all, it's Christmas.
6. laugh, a lot.

Oh, and I just got word that my dad and youngest bro are on "operation rescue brother from Portland" at this moment. The other bro has a bmw and lost one of his chains last night on the way home from work, so my dad's 4wd pickup and 4 chains should do the trick. As for what time they'll get home tonight...I have no idea.

And if you're looking to make an easy, but oh so yummy cookie to wow the relatives with (and reverse any of those fabulous workouts you've been doing), look no further than the Super Soft Ginger Snap Chewies. I made them last night to give to a coworker this morning and was reminded of how yummy they smell and taste. Enjoy and Merry Christmas/Happy Kwanza!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Christmas week!

Did Christmas just come and slap you in the face like it did me? I just realized today is the 22nd! It's not like I have a lot of gifts left to buy, baking to do or major plans other than work, laundry and running, but wow. That's what happens when you leave on a innocent little trip to see the Nutcracker with friends and then find yourself stranded for a few days in the worst snow storm Oregon has seen in 30 years. So, this is what I've been up to the last few days...

Baked some cranberry banana bread




Went to see the Nutcracker with a few great hs friends in downtown Portland where snow had been dumping already for several days. Afterward we walked to Pioneer Square just to see the Christmas tree all lit up. We got a bit wet and cold, but it was worth it. The drive back to my friend J's was treacherous w/ 4wd and iced up windshield wipers, but we made it. How, you ask? Because we had NSYNC, 98 degrees and Mariah xmas cds in the car (and yours truly, mamma hen was at the steering wheel).

Walked to the mini mart down the street for mimosa and pancake provisions and cooked ourselves a feast. And later walked to Domino's for dinner, waited an hour or so for two pizzas and carried them back in the freezing rain so we could enjoy them while watching a crappy Lindsay Lohan movie "Just My Luck" on tv that I had never even heard of before (surprise surprise) that the guys even enjoyed.


And drove in the snow, in chains w/ 4wd a long ways, finally making it home. Let's just say what should have taken me 1 hr took 3. I'm tired and had to take a vacation day to scrape my ice encrusted car, put on chains and escape the Portland snow storm. However, all was not lost. I did stop at Gap and get a new pair of jeans, a tank and a cuddly hooded wrap sweatshirt that were all on sale and then used a coupon. Yipee!

Looking back on the weekend, I can see two obvious themes: snow and food. It's no surprise why polar bears get so fat after this weekend. We were literally hibernating for three days, eating and drinking and forced to sit around watching tv and crappy made for tv movies because the wind was blowing ice and snow sideways and the roads were dangerous to drive on.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons

I woke up sick today with a cold and sinus infection with no choice but to stay home, drink lots of water and tea, sleep and try to ignore the massive pounding in my head. To pass the time, I did some wrapping and realized how pretty it all looks, even if you have just a few little packages. Seeing the presents all stacked together with their different papers and ribbons is one of my favorite part of the holidays. That, along with parties (looking forward to dressing up in LBD tomorrow night) and baking cookies.

As I was wrapping, conveniently BOTH of my online orders arrived at our doorstep. The Body Shop products were half frozen with ice crystals on them. It just goes to show how cold it's been here and all over the country. Even Vegas and Phoenix are getting snow! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Suggestions please...

One twenty something seeking creative ideas on possible New Year's resolutions for organization's monthly enewsletter. Will pay in cookies/baked good of your choice if your resolution is chosen.

Ok, so I'm asking for your help dear readers. Our enews goes out at the beginning of every month, for which I often write a few stories for and edit the entire thing b/c no one else seems to have editing skills worth a darn. Well, our enewsletter editor (AKA marketing and communications director) had the grand idea of featuring the entire staff and our New Year's resolutions in one of the stories. "Bah hum bug" I say, but I still have to do it. So, I need your lovely, creative, appropriate ideas. I could always do the standard "I'd like to lose 5lbs" or "To stop eating every baked good in sight," but really, who wants to settle for mediocre when they could have awesome??

I know you people have some good ideas, so bring 'em on. For example, for me to say "workout every day" would be silly because I already do that, at least once if not twice daily. But I would like to get more involved in my community, volunteer, give back to the world or venture into my future career and start making some huge changes (be open to new opportunities, guys, cities) in my life. Seeing as this is not the appropriate place to make statements about ones hopes for a new career/huge life change, I need some suggestions. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

19 degrees


That's right, a low of 19 degrees...in Oregon. This might be "normal" in your part of the world, but here, it just doesn't happen. In fact, growing up it was surprising if we had more than a dusting of snow that stuck around more than a day. This week, the week before xmas when parents are frantically trying to finish shopping and wrapping, the kids are trapped at home, unable to go to school because of a little snow and ice covering the city. And another storm is on the way tomorrow will freezing rain followed by more snow...fabulous.

Yesterday, I happily awoke to a blanket of snow. I shoved on warm layers and headed out into the early morn for a nice walk around the neighborhood with a cup of hot cocoa. I came back, scraped a bunch of snow off the car with the help of the roomies, got ready for work and slowly (10-20 mph) made my way to work across town.

Last night I even ventured out for a 5 mile run on the slippery pavement, but not tonight. I'm sure I looked hilarious to cars, especially being the ONLY runner braving the roads in this crazy running town. From head to toe, I was sporting: Nike headband, Native sunglasses (because the bright sun was bouncing off the snow), Smartwool thermal, Nike Dri Fit top, Columbia fleece vest, Burton ski/snowboard mittens (they're huge but oh so warm), Nike spandex pants, Smartwool socks and Nike Goretex shoes. About 15 min in I realized I could barely feel my legs, but hey they were still working so no harm done.

Oregonians know how to drive in some serious rain, but snow, now that's another story. Cars were being towed off the overpass, the honda civic next to me was sliding down the bridge, my tires spun at certain points. I grew up believing that you only drive in the snow in 4WD, so my toyota corolla just doesn't really do the trick (can't wait til the thing dies so I can buy a 4WD or AWD vehicle to take myself to the mountains). So today, when that packed snow turned into a skating rink covering the roads, I happily accepted the boss's invitation for a lift in the SUV. Tomorrow, I might just forge the roads, or walk the 4 miles. We'll see... And just when I was just starting to think it wouldn't be THAT bad living in a colder city during the winter months, I think I've changed my mind. I'd like a plane ticket to Arizona, Florida or Hawaii pronto.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookies, cookies, cookies!

Friday I came home hungry after having no dinner and meeting up with the girls for dessert at 5pm (hey, that's what happens when work holiday parties make you rearrange your fun time plans). And what did I find? A fabulous package full of cookies! Who needs dinner when you have your second dessert from a fellow cookie exchanger? So, what did I find? Not one, not two, but FOUR different kinds of cookies from Erin in Virginia at Pastry Brush.

Enclosed were: Italian Fig Spirals (quite impressive looking), mint choc chip cookies, mexican wedding cakes and my favorite of the bunch, oatmeal raisin with cinnamon chips. I'm glad I participated in this fun exchange. It's fun to send and receive a little bit of holiday cheer to and from people you've never met. Speaking of holiday cheer, I'm now watching Love Actually on the couch with a glass of red wine. How sad is it that Sarah and Carl never actually get together? Very sad, in my opinion.

Saturday, I did my first long training run for the Whidbey Island Marathon in March. It was half snowing/half raining and I was supposed to run for two hours. I armed myself with my ipod, my fav running shirt (a red Adidas number that has hand covers and a hood), a small bottle of powerade and water mixed, a mini luna bar and a little bit of hope that I had the energy to run that long.

As usual, I don't bail on something I've committed to, so this run was no different. I arrived home tired, but not super sore. I stretched and made some blueberry waffles and eggs to celebrate. I'm excited about this training plan. It's one from Amby Burfoot that I used to train for my very first marathon (Portland Marathon 2006) and it was fabulous. Hard to imagine, but my time (3:49) was the best of the three I've run so far, so I'm going back to reverting to the plan that worked.

They've called for snow in the Willamette Valley, but we have yet to see much of anything that is willing to stick, although temps threaten to be in the teens this week, so we'll see. I did however, see some beautiful scenes on my drive to my grandma's house on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Goodshop, you know you want to

This summer, we started doing all of our "searching" through goodsearch.com at work rather than googling. Working for a non-profit, we're able to select our University, search as normal and in turn receive 1 cent back for every search, which we put directly into our scholarship fund.

On top of that, you are able to goodshop on your chosen non-profit's behalf as you normally would through most retailers. The last few days I've been doing some online shopping for Christmas presents and shopped at both the Body Shop (which donates 4% of your total purchases back to your chosen organization) and Amazon (which donates 1.5%). Awesome, no? Basically, it wasn't any different than doing my normal ordering other than going to goodsearch.com first and clicking on amazon/body shop/etc. An added bonus was that I wasn't forced to face the crazy mall crowds. Try to beat that.

If you want to know more about how it works and why it was developed, check it out. Goodsearch.com should be paying me to write this fabulous praise, but they're not. I just think it's that fabulous. Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cookie exchange: completed!

Thanks to Miss Molly over at Batter Splattered, I participated in a holiday cookie/ornament exchange. Last night I spent about three sugar, flour and butter-filled hours in the kitchen baking not one, but two yummy cookies for my lucky recipient.

My first choice was these lovely little Peanut Butter Blossoms because they just look so cute when they're finished and who doesn't love choc and pb together??

I wanted to bake two different kinds in case the recipient (Jennifer from Houston, TX) didn't like one or the other. The second, was a fabulous recipe from Joy the Baker for "Sugar Crusted Ginger Chewies." What that means to you my friends, is a fabulous ginger, molasses melt in your mouth cookie. Needless to say, there was a LOT of cookie baking going on. After eating 5, yes 5, I said "Enough! These extras (beyond the 20 or so I sent to Jennifer) are going to the office and the runners." Thank goodness for friends and coworkers who will bail you out when faced by massive amounts of lard, sugar and in general not so favorable to the size of your ass/hips/six pack abs kinds of food. As instructed, they finished off the remainder so all I had left at the end of tonight was two empty plates to bring home. Halleluiah.

I dropped the cookies (and a super cute xcountry ski ornament) in the mail this afternoon. We were instructed to give an ornament (in addition to the cookies) that represents our state. While I really was tempted to get her a John Deere Tractor ornament that I found (because I grew up in a place that's considered the grass seed capital of the world), I opted for the cuter, more tree appropriate ornament. And, you know, we hicks from the sticks out here in Oregon get around by horse and buggy, and come winter, cross country skiis. No, I kid. But I did grow up cross country skiing and doing all kinds of crazy outdoorsy things (all the while crying and complaining to my dad to stop torturing us) so I figure hey, that must be Oregon, right? Either way, I have faith she'll enjoy the whole package, which I so kindly wrapped in cute paper and ribbon. Go me. Happy Holidays...

Now I'm really looking forward to seeing what the person who was matched with me bakes up!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why it's ok to keep on spending...

In other words, I'm giving you permission to keep on spending that extra cash on those unnecessary haircuts, facials, mani-pedis, massages, extra purchases at Target, a night or two out on the town, etc.

On the front page of today's Oregonian was "The $1 you don't spend today is missed by others not far away." Their example: The preschool teacher cuts back on haircuts and highlights. The hair stylist cuts back on eating out and learns how to make her favorite dish at home. The waitress starts adding oil to her car herself instead of visiting Oil Can Henry's. The Oil Can Henry's manager cuts back on family vacations to California and trips to Chuck E. Cheese (yikes) with five children. In other words, one person's small decision to cut back, combined with the choices of others, creates a ripple affect we're seeing across the board through every industry.

So, why did this strike me? I'm going to get my haircut later this afternoon. I thought about waiting another month and then decided, "ah, who cares. It's just another $35." I have however, decided to hold off on my every other month pedicures for a few months and have been painting my own toenails in all the pretty colors I have at home. So cheers to spending! I never said I wouldn't contradict myself on back to back posts...

A few other ways I've been curbing spending lately are:
1. Saving the other half of my extra large bowl of soup I order at a nearby bakery for the next day's lunch
2. Buying the boxed tomato soup for $3 that lasts me for at least three lunches
3. Skipping out on dinner after our Thursday night runs once in a while
4. Passing on ordering beverages with dinner
5. Ordering an americano instead of my cinnamon dolce latte once in a while
6. Not spending on xmas gifts because I feel guilted into doing so

What about you? Doing anything to cut the corners where you can?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Frivolous spending

Do you ever walk into a store, grab the first thing you see, put it in your basket and keep moving with no thought involved? And, it wasn't even something you came to buy. It happens to me more than I'd like to admit.

Well, last weekend was a dangerous one. I was still sick (and still am...3 weeks now!), had my athletic pants and a hoodie on and rocking a bit of a head cold. After meeting up with the runners, I stopped in at a local boutique just to browse. I swear, that was the intention. And then, I saw a pair of Paige jeans I've been eyeing for a while that just happened to be my size.

I kid you not, it was the first pair of jeans my hands touched. All of a sudden, the jeans are on me in the dressing room. I take a quick glance or two at the mirror, say "yep, I'll have to get these hemmed as usual, but they look good." The next thing I know, my REI VISA is being handed over to the sales assistant and bam, I have ANOTHER pair of jeans that will make me very happy, but very broke. I'm hooked and it's getting dangerous. It's time to find a new, cheaper, equally healthy addiction...quick.

Shopping is just one of those things that can be so therapeutic at the moment, but leaves you only wanting more. This holiday season I'm trying to make good choices about what gifts I buy/make/give, rather than just spending to feel like I've met the appropriate $ amount for each person. My family decided we're only giving one gift to each other (i.e. my aunt, grandparents and cousins are each getting just one gift from our family). Now, if I could only put the same thought into my personal spending. Ah, to be single and free to spend as you wish with few cares in the world. Right...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For the Record

I was watching a bit of Britney's documentary tonight on MTV. I know, quality stuff, huh? But honestly, I was impressed. I gave up on her after her two years of drug use, partying, letting K Fed take custody of her kids, etc. But you know what, everyone, even Britney deserves a second chance. It's about time she dug herself out of that mess of a life she was living.

Oh, and I suck at holiday crafts. Spent $62 at Michael's and the craft I decided to make just isn't as cute as it was on martha stewart's website. Luckily, I have some pretty ribbon, cute cupcake papers and other festive things to spread some holiday cheer. On the way to work this morning I realized it's only three weeks until xmas. Time to bust out the Mariah Carey, Charlie Brown and 98 degrees Christmas cds. That's right, 98 degrees. Don't hate, you know you wish you owned it.

But my most embarrassing (and awful) xmas cd has to be Hanson's Snowed In. Can anyone else top that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shiz hath hiteth the fan

The truth is, I don't like the way the media always plays things up, especially this dive the economy's taken (and tropical storms and terrible human interest stories), but things didn't really hit home until yesterday when a good friend found out she was being laid off and will soon not be employed by the company that has employed her for about five years now. This is the second friend I know who lives in my city who has been affected. It sucks and it has me thinking if I didn't work for the state, man I could be in her very same spot.

And, in other business, I've been messing with my blog layout. The other one just seemed so narrow and maybe too dark? Not sure. It seems like those on wordpress tend to have more flexibility with everything in their blogs. And, I'd really like to spiff this thing up with some pretty designs or something, but I'm html handicapped so that will have to wait. It frustrates me to no end that I don't have proper html and photoshop skills.

Anywho, I'm thankful for job security and if this whole economy thing is affecting your life, just know that even those with jobs are constantly thinking about you and in general, ways to curb spending and save where we can. Because it's only a matter of time before any of us could be in the very same spot. It even has me reevaluating my career ideas and thoughts of going back to school. And at other moments it has me thinking "surely this will blow over in a few months," so keep living your life. Don't be afraid of the what ifs.

How about you? Anyone having friends/family who have been laid off, reduced hours, etc?

Oh, and I just remembered that my dad who is a foreman at a large company has had to reduce his crew to only eight hour shifts (at a place where overtime was common and necessary) and he in turn clocks just eight hours but often puts in about ten. He's a dedicated guy, what can I say? Ok, so maybe this time the media isn't exaggerating as much as I'd like to believe... Heads up kids, it's a tough world out there, but I believe in you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Night

I was watching Diary of a Mad Black Woman, circa 2005, thanks to Comcast On Demand (which I have recently discovered it's fabulousness, by the way). Do you know what I'm talking about? This weekend while hanging out with the fam, my mom discovered the fitness section where you can watch all kinds of workout videos. There's everything from Carmen Electra's Striptease to SuperSculpt Abs to Jillian Michaels Biggest Loser workouts. So, what did I do? After my two hour sweat fest on Saturday at the parents' gym (lunges with a 30lb bar included), I decided to do FOUR of the On Demand workouts. Yeah, let's just say it's Monday and my butt and hamstrings are still sore.

Anyway, one of the other great pieces of On Demand is the free movies, hence the Diary of a Mad Black Woman. And in the current state of our economy, it can really save the pocketbook from those lazy Sunday afternoons at the movie theater watching some random movie for $8.50. So last night I flipped through On Demand's free movies and chose one that sounded mildly entertaining.

On of my major weaknesses are "sappy crappy" movies as I put it. My close friends know all too well, often saying "oh yeah, that one's right up your alley" when referring to my recent chick flick. I guess when you don't have love in your life, but you'd love to find it, romantic comedies are the next best thing. So, what are some of my favs? Ten Things I Hate About You, Love Actually, Save the Last Dance, Grumpy Old Men and Love & Basketball. When I heard this quote from Orlando (Shemar Moore-previously on Young & the Restless), my heart skipped a beat. Gotta love chick flicks for always having men say the right thing at just the right moment, especially when that girl he's talking about could be you.

"It's so easy to say no sometimes out of fear, so how about taking the hard road and just saying yes this one time? What's so wrong about being right? 'Nothing I guess.' Yeah, nothing. So, I'll see you tomorrow? 'So you're asking me out again?' This wasn't a date, remember."

So, what's the point of all this? I loved it, every second, every time he said exactly what I hope a man will someday say to me. But honestly, I get it. I get that although he's just a character who was fed a line, the words are so true and based on fact and someone's real experience. The longer we keep saying no to the things we're afraid of, the harder it's going to be to one day say yes. The harder it's going to be to make up for so many no's, so many years of missed opportunities.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo: Failed, but not forgotten

So, it's the last day of November and I didn't blog daily, but I posted a LOT more than previous months. And you know what? It felt good. Just when you think "how could i possibly think of something interesting to write every day?" you realize that a) you started this blog for yourself and b) people are interested in each other and knowing what goes on in other peoples' heads.

I made the blood red orange margaritas I mentioned earlier. It was fun to squeeze all the juice out and blend it together, but it really didn't taste all that fabulous. There's this stuff called sugar that they usually put into the sweet and sour margarita mix that makes it taste oh so yummy. So surprise, surprise, squeezing fresh oj out of the oranges, adding a little tequila and ice does not a sweet margarita make.

I came home Wed night after my run to find my roommate's purchase of a Tofurkey for his sister unthawing on our counter. Blech. I just can't fathom how vegetarians can enjoy eating meat imitations. Anyway, I had to snap a photo because it was so hilarious.

I'm actually relieved tomorrow is Monday. It's crazy how long this four day weekend has felt. I'm looking forward to getting back in a routine, escaping all the holiday food and drinking and getting some serious shut eye. I am truly thankful for my friends and family who I was able to share the last few days with. The holidays remind us just how lucky we are. And speaking of being thankful, this girl is one lucky duck. My team came through with the win last night. Bowl season, here we come!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Civil" war

It's a big day here in Oregon. Civil War. Beavers have the Rose Bowl on the line after beating USC and Ducks are vying for the Holiday Bowl. I'm not gonna lie, it would be cool to see an Oregon team (and especially not USC) go the Rose Bowl for a change, but I still want my Ducks to win. I think it's going to be a close game. After a two hour sweat induced workout it's time to get out of these stinky clothes put on the green and yellow and give those Beaver fans some hell. Happy football watching!

PS- Did anyone else go out to brave the stores yesterday? I like to drag my mom to Target and Fred Meyer around 5am just to see all the crazy women snatching cart fulls of 50% off socks like our cotton supply has run out. I got my three pairs of socks and then moved on to Target to gawk at the line wrapped around the entire store just to purchase a $5 dvd or reduced price guitar hero. Truth is, I'd rather do my real shopping for a little bit more $ than risk getting trampled or elbowed in the face by the other guy that wants the itouch/rock band/camera/etc. Plus, forgive me, but who has the money to buy those crazy big xmas gifts? Not me!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yummy yummy in your tummy!

One of these is seriously in my future. And if that doesn't make your mouth water, well I guess you'll have to wait for the turkey and stuffing.

And, if I had a few hours to spare tomorrow after running the 5k before heading to Thanksgiving at grandma's, I'd try my hand at baking this cranberry apple pie. Yum, maybe later. Check out the fabulous feast of food Chels and Susie cooked up over at We are not Martha. Truth is, I'm a sugar girl (hence the margarita and pie). I could pass up almost everything on the dinner table tomorrow for my grandma's marrionberry cobbler.

So, what am I thankful for? A grandma that spends all week preparing for Turkey Day. My family and friends that make life truly enriching. A few days off work. A job, a place to live and healthcare. College football.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's foggy out there and up here

Folks, we're going on day ten here of sickness. My voice sounds like a man, that is when it decides to make an appearance. Nyquil is my go to sleeping aid so that I can actually get some shut eye without hacking up a lung in the middle of the night. I've gone through half a container of Zicam, daily packets of Emergen-C, a bag of cough drops, thanks Riiiicola and I'm still sick. Yuck.

Against my better judgment, I ran a foggy five miler last night with the group cuz I just can't stay away. How pathetic is it that I risk additional days of lung wheezing, man-voice just to go running with the crew and have a glance at and maybe exchange "heys" with the new hottie in our group? Eh, it was worth it. So cute. And somehow, it's ok when he's unshaven and has bed head.

I was thinking about that recently. The way we excuse away certain things we once deemed unacceptable on others. Like the ex that I told myself was ok to date even though he was too young and wanted to play football more than figure out his future because he had a smile that made me melt and a great body. And now, looking at the newbie I think "wow, at one time I would have said your teeth were a no go." Teeth! Ridiculous. Slowly, but surely we grow up and realize that the superficial things aren't quite as important as we once thought. And things like maturity and goals for their future just might be a teensy bit attractive in the whole dating scheme. Go figure.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today's DailyGood, not so good

I think everybody should just turn off their TV machines and make up their own songs about whatever comes to mind-their couch, their friends their loaves of bread. Everybody's got their own songs. There should be so many songs out there that it all turns into one big sound and we can put the whole thing into a pickup truck and let it roll off the edge of the Grand Canyon.
--Beck Hansen

Fact of the Day:
Happy people spend a lot of time socializing, going to church and reading newspapers -- but they don't spend a lot of time watching television, a new study finds. That's what unhappy people do. Although people who describe themselves as happy enjoy watching television, it turns out to be the single activity they engage in less often than unhappy people, said John Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland.


Dear DailyGood,

Since when did Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, Jon & Kate + 8 and Little People Big World become such a crime? Thank you for telling me I must be unhappy because I indulge in a few weekly favorites. I'll politely pretend that these rules don't apply to me because well, they're just shows and I read books, watch the news, read the newspaper, go to athletic events and go running with two run clubs on a regular basis.

Thanks!
Sass

PS-If you ever find me laying on my couch for hours on end 7 days a week, then you can call me a shmuck who needs to find happiness, but not until then.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Success!

All in all I'd say today was full of successes. So why not a list?

1. I woke up and still felt sick (day 7 now) and decided to run the race anyway. After all, I'd already paid.
2. C and I ran the 1/2 marathon talking and laughing most of the way and didn't start cussing until mile 10 or so.
3. The four cough drops I slipped into the ass pocket of my running pants were a good move.
4. I ran a 1:51 all while chattering away and still being sick.
5. My mom finished the 5k with her jog/walk routine.
6. I followed my race with an hour long massage just a few hours after I finished. VERY good call.
7. I stopped by Victoria Secret to retrieve my free pair of panties thanks to the cards they keep sending me in the mail. And, I used the rest of a gift card I had to get another bottle of my fav lotion, Love Spell. Who wouldn't love a lotion with a name like that? I thought Playful Professional would be proud of my purchases, coming out of the mall with two items and spending $0. If you want to know what I'm talking about, check out her last Tuesday Totals.
8. I bought a pair of Danskos that I've been eyeing for a while that were on sale! Nevermind that they're more of a spring/summer shoe.
9. I have a party with the runners tonight to celebrate our survival of the 1/2. Just another excuse for a party really...
10. Football game craziness ensued and I didn't have to worry about my team. Bye week! Next weekend...civil war.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who inspires you?

At some point I became my mom's inspiration and I don't know how. I mean after all those horrible years of being such a bitch, wow. This girl was a seriously angry teenager. But there she was every step of the way cheering me on and looking up to me at the same time.

I distinctly remember after running the Nashville 1/2 marathon a few years ago my mom and one of my best friends full of tears and excitement over seeing me finish my very first long race. I couldn't fathom why I had inspired such enthusiasm. All I did was follow a training plan and book a flight and hotel room. And that's where this crazy racing journey began.

Watching 2008 Olympic Track & Field Trials (ignore hideous sunglasses)

Why is it that people doing physically challenging things with their bodies are so impressive to us? How is it that those of us who do them become inspiration for others? It's that knowledge that that woman you saw run the marathon in Beijing can run those 26.2 miles faster than you can ever fathom your legs striding. It's the knowledge that you I could never survive a 1/2 pipe, or a skateboard ramp or the luge.

Well, last week mom, you became my fitness inspiration. She's since sent several e-mails and texts saying "hey, I just finished 45 min walk/jogging on the treadmill." Words I knew I'd hear someday, but wasn't sure when. And then this morning "do you think I can sign up for the Thanksgiving 5k and walk some of it?" I know she wants to run one someday and these words were all I needed to know that someday she will run the full 5k. Maybe not next week, but someday.

Not all of us can run a marathon, but some of us can complete a 5k. Ultimately, it's all about perspective. What one person can do isn't what we all should aspire to because that just isn't fair. Some of us have age, genetics, fear, or determination on our side...or fighting against us. Leave it to mom for a little inspiration and perspective on things.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brooks: Dream Video



Brooks is donating five cents for breast cancer research for every view of this video between Nov. 13 and Dec. 21 up to $25k. The donation will go to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. So go ahead, view away. In college I worked as a Peer Health Educator with the FHCRC to market a smoking cessation program they were testing on our campus. It's great to see important work like this affecting the lives of people you know or could know.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1 Lie and 1 Truth

Lie: Working out at 7am, going to work, dinner with friends, lacrosse game in the cold and then staying out til 2AM and cabbing it home is a great idea, even if you haven't had much sleep this week and are on the verge of sickness.

Truth: When training for something, even just a measly little 1/2 marathon, it is important to get a good night's rest EVERY night, say no to that extra workout even though you want to burn the extra calories and say no to multiple adult beverages past 11PM. Your immune system is worn down, especially when you're doing 15 mile runs and are low on zzz's so any little bacteria or virus will attack your system until it is victorious. Go home and sleep. And remember, what is sufficient sleep for one person might not be the same for another. For me, eight hours is the perfect number, seven just doesn't cut it. Sometimes, I just remember the hard way.

Ok, so I didn't give you the opportunity to choose between which was the truth and which was the lie, but really I think you'd be smart enough to figure that out in an instant. Unfortunately, I wasn't, or I just chose to ignore the truth.

I'm now at work trying to ignore what feels like hot flashes running through my body and drinking an Americano in hopes that the caffeine will make everything better. After all, I stayed in bed most of yesterday and got 10 hrs of sleep last night. Bottom line, don't ignore the truth people. Cold/flu season has arrived.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Unmanageable life collisions

Do you ever have those moments when it feels like everything's colliding at once and you can't make it stop? Just when I think I've dodged the bullet, I turn the corner and another's flying right at me. Duck, cover, repeat. Lately, I've wanted to just take a step outside my schedule and let the events, meetings, dinners, parties, runs and drama go on without me.

I'd like a timeout, no questions asked. No phone calls, texts or facebook messages asking "where have you been? what are you doing? are you ok?" Instead, I maintain my obligations, warily navigating each encounter, trying to stay in the know but outside the drama, confusion, mixed feelings. I hate drama. I hate the tense feeling in your chest when you can't think about anything else but the drama.

If I'm being vague, I guess it's because I can't quite pinpoint it, but it feels like all these separate little things that would be easily manageable on their own are coming at me from every direction all at once and I just can't perform miracles. Guys you're not interested in like you, obvious hints at romantic disinterest go unnoticed, friends you thought you could hug and it wouldn't be misunderstood, your direction in life lacks a navigation device, your future looks bright but you're blinded by headlights that are stuck on high beam, guys who seem so right just aren't looking, twice daily workouts are doing nothing to those love handles, your idiot roommate buys a pistol and doesn't consult you on the matter, you drank yourself to the point you promised you'd never return, that bank account seems to be forever dwindling, your willpower took a hiatus...just when you thought you succeeded, you failed. And you know what, I really hate failure.

Tomorrow's Sunday. I'm running 11 miles, having a Starbucks and succeeding. I'm not putting myself in the line of fire because I just don't have the energy. Tomorrow, I get a break. You hear that world? I need a break.

Friday, November 14, 2008

TGIF

My throat's on the verge of soreness, I'm pretty exhausted and my muscles are flat out tired from all this running, weight lifting and twice daily workouts. But none of that matters because this weekend is sports central. Volleyball and a men's lacrosse game tonight (and a little boozing) and then the last football game of the season with perfect fall weather in the forecast. Hopefully, a nice Oregon win over Arizona will put me to sleep early tomorrow night to prepare for an 11 miler on Sunday. Next weekend...the 1/2 marathon.

Go Ducks!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ski Season: Bring it on!


This girl is very happy. Ski season is looking even better thanks to this little beauty that arrived in the mail yesterday. Last week a coworker sent me a 60% off friends & family sale on all Merrell apparel (hey, that rhymes) and before I knew it, this $219 jacket was mine for just $88. Jackpot!

I can finally say sianara to that big blue men's jacket I've been wearing since high school ski team. All I need now is the $54 for a lift ticket and a four wheel drive vehicle and I'm good to go.

PS- You better believe I was watching the CMAs last night. Someday, I'll be there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What does security mean to you?

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
--Helen Keller

If you need your dose of daily good, visit Daily Good and subscribe. It's easy, fairly pain free and often sends you little bits of goodness like this quote.

FAIL

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday so I didn't exactly succeed at posting daily for NaBloPoMo. But, I'm ok with that because instead I had dinner and laughed my ass off for an hour straight playing Mario Cart and Mario Bros. 1 with a few friends. There's nothing like some serious video game action for a night of fun.

All is not lost. I'll try to post daily from here on out. I don't know about you, but I could seriously use some more sleep and maybe a little coffee right now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Music Monday

I went to a Matt White concert a few weeks ago and this short, red-headed Australian girl came to open for him. Anywho, I think I was more impressed with Lenka than Matt, although he is pretty talented (and attractive). I immediately went home and downloaded their recent albums from itunes.

Both of their songs are on tv and such (Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, The Hills, Men in Trees, etc). His song"Love" was the theme for the recent Gap "vote for ______" campaign. My favs from Matt are "Best Days" and "Love." What can I say? I love songs about love, or the opportunity to fall.

And be sure to check outLenka. My favs are "Knock Knock," "The Show" and "Live Like you were Dying."

So I want to know, what's your song/artist of the moment?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Apologizing for nothing

Do you find yourself apologizing for certain things for almost no reason?

Truth. My standard apology is prepared for my affinity to country music. I grew up in a smallish, grass seed town where going to the rodeo on New Year's Eve was a big event. No joke. Don't get me wrong, not everyone in the city of 40k were farmers, but we had a taste of that lifestyle now and then.

The presets on my radio are set to country, pop, hip hop, and more country. Cd's and itunes? Pretty much the same. If I ever drive people somewhere who I'm not super close with, I find this bumbling mess of words falling out of my mouth trying to explain away the music selection while automatically turning the volume to 0 or switching it immediately to a more widely-accepted genre of music.

Last night I found myself apologizing and excusing my lack of knowledge on actors/actresses. I cringe inside every time someone asks "who was in that movie?" or "who sings this song?" GAH! I don't freaking know! I spat out "um, some famous people whom I should know their names, but don't. Um...oh yeah, the Tooly McTool from American Pie?" And finally it came to me, "Sean Patrick Scott!" To which he replied, "it's ok, you don't have to apologize for not knowing their names." Oh yes, yes I do.

Thank the heavens above, I remembered one of the actor's names. I'm really great on details and noticing the little stuff in life, but for some reason when it comes to people I have no interest in personally knowing, I can't remember their names. I mean, one hot actor/actress looks pretty much like the next. Yeah, maybe I should get my eyes fixed.

So why is it that sometimes we find ourselves apologizing for our little quirks that make us special? Like somehow those things are going to turn people away. I guess the moral of the story is, embrace your quirks. Because that's why people want to get to know you instead of the next Joe Shmoe. Holding back only closes people off from getting to know the real you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Long story short...

I meant to run a casual 10 miler this morning in an effort to ramp up the mileage for a local 1/2 marathon I'm running in a few weeks. But I found myself doing a tough 15 will hills and wind. Sometimes it happens. You don't turn when you should and you underestimate how long it really will take you to get back home and bam, you've done an extra five miles.

On the up side, I did get whistled at (definitely my favorite part of running - not). And, it looks like a perfect day to cozy up in jeans and a sweatshirt, read a book and drink some coffee.

Oh and I saw Role Models last night. Made me laugh. I'd give it one and a half thumbs up.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A peek at Halloween in SF

Because I'm too tired (still) to blog much of anything, I'm leaving you with a few pics from last weekend in the city. After hanging out at a fun divey bar, we headed to a house party where we found ourselves on the roof of this apartment with a clear view of coit tower and the entire city lit up. It was rough to spend less than 24 hrs in SF before rushing off to Berkeley the next morning, but I'll be back soon I'm sure.


An attempt at Michael Phelps and I hanging out with his gold medals


Alaska and the Square Dancer hanging out at the Stinking Rose after a garlic-filled dinner and wine


Minotaur Man and Square Dancer


Just call her Sarah Palin's neighbor...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let there be light.

As a part of Runner's Lounge "Take it and Run Thursdays," I'm writing about running through transitions.

The last few weeks have been especially hard for me. I find myself much more exhausted and unable to find the energy I need to take on the day with a similar amount of sleep and a daily running/workout schedule. I'm constantly in a fog. And I'm blaming this transition of light to dark. There's something about waking up with it still dark out that makes you want to stay cuddled up cozy under the comforter. I totally understand why bears hibernate come winter.

I haven't decided whether or not daylight savings time is helping us or hurting us. Yes, it's a bit lighter when I wake up now, but when I look out my office window around 4ish it's already getting dark and gloomy. That's not exactly the way this runner wants to be ushered into the elements. And speaking of elements, I'm figuring out all over again what I'm supposed to wear when it's wet and colder, but not freezing. The hat, spandex pants and gortex running shoes are back in rotation.

Right now for example, I'm so exhausted I can barely put sentences together or see straight and yet I keep on going. I want to go to bed, but I need to post and then read some of the library book that is now overdue. And on a sidenote, while I was making birthday cupcakes for a coworker tonight, I wondered how many bloggers out there do this kind of stuff? The kind of cupcake making, party planning, thoughtful stuff that no one expects or really wants, but you feel obligated like someone has forced it on you. As I stood there pouring the mix into the cupcake tins I thought "why? Why do I care so much about something that will go unnoticed?" Cherry chip and chocolate cupcakes are now frosted, sprinkled and waiting to be eaten.

What kinds of things do you do daily that you could spend your time more wisely elsewhere? I mean, if I added all the hours I spent baking for people or scouring Target for the perfect el cheapo sweater, dang I could have volunteered some serious time at a shelter or food bank. On the other hand, I can't deny that I enjoy baking and ultimately the satisfaction of giving it away and Target just feels so safe. Even on those days when I don't feel like doing anything or seeing anyone, Tar-get makes me feel like I'm still being social even if I don't talk to a single soul. Crazy, I know. Hey, at least I'm not seeing dead people like Izzy Stephens (Grey's). Gnight.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ready or not, here we come

The flight is booked and my friend A and I are now officially committed to our Europe Adventure in May! We fly from Seattle to Rome with a layover in Frankfurt. I realize it's a bit early, but now we can actually start planning and know that we are really doing this. I guess that means I should get a passport...

So far on the wish list are (with options to enjoy some festive events): Cinque Terre (Lemon Festival), Paris (Cannes Film Festival), Florence (annual cricket festival), Geneva-Switzerland, Greece (anywhere) and beyond that, who knows. We're two newbies at the whole international travel thing so it should be interesting. At least we'll have each other when things get crazy. I'd love to get your suggestions if you have traveled to a place we should not miss during our three week journey!

And if you have any special tips, I'd love to hear them. For example, my roommate said "Fly Lufthansa. It's the shit." Granted, he's a boy and he really liked the food and the fact that they provided unlimited alcohol. Of course it was a great flight... And a few friends tell us to definitely get the unlimited Eurail Pass. So, the question is, what special tip do you have for miss sassymolass?

Oh, and if you couldn't tell, I'm attempting to complete National Blog Posting Month with daily posts. We'll see how it goes. So far, so good, but it's only day 5.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Change it is a coming...

Today I wanted to take fashion to a political level. Jessica Schroeder at What I Wore always inspires me to think outside the box, but I rarely do, especially when I'm standing in front of my closet just willing an outfit to jump out at me. Workwise, I often end up throwing on a sweater and black pants, neither of which I'm all that happy with. But it helps when I have an idea of where to start and my black pencil skirt is often that piece.


























So, in What I Wore style...

Scarf: Target
Pearls: Art Museum
Cardigan: Target
Top: Banana Republic
Belt: Target
Skirt: Express
Heels: Etienne Aigner

Where: the office, election party

Why: Because I was so freaking excited for election day!

What happened tonight was so big it's still hard for me to comprehend. I never imagined I would be moved to tears by an election. But when history was made and Obama started speaking, I felt nothing but pride, hope and joy for our country and the future ahead. It looks so bright it hurts. It's nice to finally feel like you've put your trust in a good man who is ready to follow through on his promises. Now if only I could do that in relationships...

Thank you for getting out there and voting!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fine then, don't vote.

It was Halloween evening and my friend A and I were dressed up waiting at the bus stop in downtown SF for public transit to take us to the north shore for yummy italian before going out. A fabulously entertaining homeless man came over to chat us up and sing "My Girl" to any girl at the stop who was willing to lend an ear (and hopefully a buck or two).

He then returned to us after making the rounds and asked us if we had voted. Yes and Yes. And who for? Personal, yes, but I forgave him. He had a pounder of Steel Reserve in his brown bag and probably some rough years behind him. Obama x 2 we replied. He then turned to the twenty something dressed as a computer geek standing next to us and asked the same thing. His response? "No, I'm not voting. I don't agree with either of the candidates."

Um, I'm sorry?? Did I hear that incorrectly? Grrr! I tried to mask my shock with a blank stare. But really, I had higher hopes for college educated twenty somethings engaging in our country's future. I don't care who you vote for, McCain or Obama, but we have the right and you should take advantage of it. Just b/c you don't want to sing "koom by ya" with either of them, doesn't mean you can't choose one of them whose values, speeches and actions more closely with your beliefs, interests, priorities, etc.

Not choosing is allowing someone else the opportunity to make the decision for you. A decision which you could have had an impact on. Not choosing is like voting for Nader even when you know he has no chance in hell at winning because you're trying to make a point. But hey, at least the Nader voters have enough pride to take part in the election process. One vote combined with another and another and another makes a difference. Just crossing my fingers that some of us on the fence will have the balls to take sides and choose a candidate by Tuesday.

And as LeVar Burton on Reading Rainbow always said, "you don't have to take my word for it..."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Take, take me home...

From my hotel room I can see the lights of the city, the ships on the bay and hear the wind and rain blow through the air, hitting the pavement, trees, buildings and anything that stands in the way. A few invitations to meet up with friends I haven't seen in a while and I turn them down to sit here and breathe with no pressure to be smiling and happy, drinking, engaging in enlightening conversation, discussing jobs and chatting about the uncertainty of our futures.

It wasn't intentional, but I just knew I didn't have it in me tonight, even in San Fran. As a society we're always go go go and sometimes it's hard to be okay with just sitting. With allowing yourself a free pass for the night, from the invitation. It's hard, but when you finally do it, you know it's right.

As much as I like traveling, five airports, three cities, three hotels, a conference, a wet football game, unhealthy food and public transportation for five days straight can make a girl lonesome for a place called home. A place she's not always sure she wants to call home, but continues to do so. A place where she hoped to find a man, but realizes she's not going to. A place people say she's lucky to live, but she's still not sure she believes it. Sooner or later, that place she calls home will be some other place with new possibilities and new comforts and the need to take a free pass will still exist. So, if you need one, don't hesitate. This is your opportunity to just say no.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Packing for another jaunt

around the U.S. and of course I'm procrastonating. Girls night for burger & brew, a stop by the grocery store for edible plane food and finally I'm home trying to pack for two back to back work things. Denver and Cal and a 520AM flight await me.

Makes me think someday I want to be packing and flying to someone, not something. The something and somewhere still gets me excited because this girl's a traveler. But someday, I want to be flying to see someone or going with someone because he's all that matters in that moment. Talk of baby making with one of the girls, crushes with another and boyfriendish things with yet another gets a little overwhelming. Someday, you won't always be the one smiling and cheering everyone else on pretending it doesn't hurt standing on the sidelines. Someday...

But until then, you'll grab your suitcase, book and Starbucks and enjoy this country and the people watching solo because that's how you roll.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Everything's turning up fall...

Yep, it's here and in full force. Every year I forget how fabulous this time is here (and in NYC). Two years ago this Nov. I was in NYC visiting a friend who was interning for Kate Spade at the time and Central Park was a-mazing. While she was at work, I was free to roam the city and Central Park staring at tall buildings and gorgeous leaves. There's just something about that place...


Yesterday I planned to skip my Sunday group run to head for the hills and run this trail that goes through hills and parks and neighborhoods. It took me to parts of town I never visit and allowed me to see some gorgeous fall leaves. And it took my legs up some hills which have left a feeling somewhat to what I imagine a meat tenderizer doing. I've become obsessed with the leaves. All the trees here are just f-ing gorgeous. I mean, looking out my office window I see over 15 different shades of leaves on the trees lining the street.

After the run, I headed to a local farm and pumpkin patch to pick up a few pumpkins and some yummy produce. For $8.12 I returned home with 2 small pumpkins, 5 yummy King apples, 2 choc chip cookies (from a local bakery), 1 green pepper, 1 pablano pepper and some green beans. That would never happen at the grocery store. I've recently quit buying apples at the grocery store because the organics are about $4 a pound nowadays.

It feels a bit funny going to the farm without a gaggle of kids or a family to be entertaining and carving pumpkins for, but when you're a holiday kind of person, it's just what you do. I didn't go on the carriage ride out to pick a pumpkin from the patch, so I wouldn't feel totally out of place, but I did grab a few from the bin in the marketplace area along with my produce. But I had to take a look at the horses and the gorgeous farm.

As I said, I'm obsessed with the leaves. I've been taking photos everywhere of the trees and leaves. While I'm driving, on my way to the grocery store, at the farm...you get the picture, literally.

Oh and fall is the perfect time to bake pumpkiny things. I for one am a fan. I've now baked these twice in the past week because I had a can of pumpkin and they tasted so good the first time, I had to use the rest of the can on another batch. Luckily, I have coworkers and runners to bring them to or I would be up to my eyeballs in sugar. Anywho, I encourage you all to go out and enjoy fall right now because it won't last long. Happy fall y'all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Seattle recap

Let me tell you, last weekend was fabulous. It was a fun getaway and gorgeous fall weekend in a city that rains more than anywhere else I've ever been. Despite my doubts, the sun shone down on Seattle for those few days and we couldn't have been happier. Friday, after my crazy friend L picked us up at the train station, we headed to Pike Place Market for a few hrs (after stopping for a Starbucks at the original location of course), which is always entertaining.


Usually, my favorite part of the market is the hot, scruffy, fish-throwing men, standing in smelly orange waders. But this time I was more entranced by the flowers and the fact that these adorable Asian women were creating and selling gorgeous bouquets for just $15 that would sell for at least $60 in a flower shop. Oh and the fresh fruit and veggie stands. I had one of the best honeycrisp apples of my life. Definitely worth the $2. Ah, to live in a big city.

Saturday was gameday. My friend J and I headed out on an early foggy run so we wouldn't feel so bad about our tailgating in the hours ahead. And of course because we love running. The other girls of course stayed bundled in their blankets/beds/sleeping bags thinking we're absolutely insane because even after all these years they still don't get that yes, we ran in high school and no, we're never going to stop because we love to run. Every. single. day. Real runners don't just say, "oh, not today. I'm tired." Runners run because they love it and it rules above tiredness, laziness and hangovers. Well, most of the time anyway.

After donning a team's jersey I am usually rooting against, we headed for the stadium and four hours of fun tailgating. For one day, I was a Beaver Believer. The police in Seattle were especially nice to us out of towners. As we started hydrating, a few policemen came by to tell us to please pour our "apple juice" into plastic cups and please move that bottle of "water" (blueberry vodka) into the car and out of sight. Apparently, it's fine for them to see the apple juice or water in the cups, but not the containers they arrived in. After that little learning experience, we were good to go.

The Beavs won because frankly, the Huskies suck. Sorry UW fans, it's not been a good couple years for your team. I even heard one angry fan ranting after the game about how much the coach sucks and that they should have fired him long ago. Come on guys, your team sucks, but you've got to be loyal. At least to the team anyway. They're kids. Some not even legal to drink. We headed to a local pub for grub and hydration. After being thoroughly annoyed by two idiots who were betting with each other on whether or not we were wearing thongs or had boyfriends, a round of jello shots arrived at our table. All that hassling for something anyway. We promptly enjoyed them and headed upstairs where we heard the producers for Seattle's Comcast ondemanddating show was going on. So, who should sign up for it?? My crazy friend L.

Crazy friend L is great. She's funny, busty, red headed, thoughtful, can drink like a fish and is a bit wild. Alas, the stories she tells of things that actually happen to her are unbelievably, gut busting, almost make you want to pee your pants kind of hilarious. Within minutes, crazy L has the interviewer and the sound guy laughing hysterically and I promise you, she wasn't even trying. It's her life and it just sounds a little out of the norm.

My favorite was when she told the camera about a guy she was dating (15 yrs her senior w/ a kid) who's ex came rampaging through the house one night while she was there. L hides under his kid's bed while crazy ex is running around the house opening up every room and screaming that she knows there's a woman in the house. I can't wait to see who responds to the ad, but if you are in Seattle and you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about. Moral of the story is, these friends (most of whom I've known since the age of five) are still some of the greatest friendships I know. The mini reunion just reminded me how great it is when we're together and how much I look forward to future adventures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Carpe diem

This just seemed to fit with my current train of thought about life. Don't give up on something you love to do. Event if it seems impossible or crazy, if it's what you were meant to do, it's worth the struggle.

I saw Josh Cox roaming around the media tent and the fan festival during the Olympic Trials this summer interviewing fans and athletes for Runner's World. Upon seeing the guy, I never would have guessed he could write something so heartfelt. First impressions and a good head of perfectly dyed hair aren't always everything they seem.

My favorite part of the blog post: "Anyway … The Time of Testing. We all have it, where the rubber meets the road, where our life has to back up our rhetoric." Yep, this is the time of testing. No more waiting to live the life you want to live. Go ahead, do it now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is your life, so live it well

Sometimes, I just want to walk into a place every day where I don't care so much, where my soul isn't entrenched in the organization's values, where I do eight hours of work and leave it there. I find myself in a place I thought I'd leave two years ago and have now been almost three because a) I don't want to leave them high and dry, b) I can't find the "right" time to leave that's best for them and c) because by not deciding I don't have to push myself out of the box. In life, friendships, like/love and work I'm always the girl who cares too much.

Sometimes, when I walk into my favorite Starbucks and order my non-fat extra hot cinnamon dolce latte from the gorgeous could-be-model twenty something barista, I think "you know, I could do that. I could be perfectly happy serving people coffee all day with a smile, degree and all." And then other days I want to go get an M.S. and PhD and teach people stuff, be a psychiatrist, college professor, nutritionist or health writer/editor...something that affects change in the world.

But for now, I care too much about a job that's not fulfilling because I don't know what else to do. What I do know however, is that life is too precious to waste doing something that doesn't make you happy. This is your once chance at life so live it well. And come May, I'm taking a big leap and heading off to Europe with a good friend for a few weeks to travel, do a little soul searching and see some places I've only dreamed about. The passport has yet to be ordered and the tickets have yet to be bought, but I'm committing now. No backing out because this is life, so bring it on.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Running hills & feeling the burn

Last night was our last Thursday group hill workout in the park for the season thanks to the impeding darkness. For an hour or more our coach instructs us to run up various hills over and over again and as awful as it sounds, it's my favorite workout of every month.

Each hill I spend cussing to myself, but by the time I hit the peak and am heading back down, I've already forgotten how much I just hated those 30-60 seconds. It's so great because it kicks your ass and the next day your legs feel sore all over. It's like the massive bruises I used to have covering my knees from volleyball that I was so proud of that I'm pretty sure I wore skirts more often just to show them off.

Track workouts however, are despisable. Perhaps because they remind me of all the races I lost on that damn red rubber in high school and the fact that when coach tells us we can bring our racing flats, I think "right, like that's gonna make any difference for this 7:30-8min miler." Grandma's arches need support, thank you.

Plantar fasciitis is showing it's ugly face back into my foot and I don't like it one bit. Reminds me that these damn Asics need to be replaced RIGHT. NOW. because I feel like I'm running barefoot. And how much my Nikes suck to run in. Can I just say, how in the hell does Nike not know how to make a good stability shoe by now? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I do live in Tracktown, USA and Nike is known as being the original designer of the waffle running shoe, no?? Nike, your lack of shoe technology continues to disappoint. So Asics Gel Kayanos, you're my #1.

I'm gearing up to run the Whidbey Island Marathon in March(much smaller and more remote than the 3 I've run: Portland, San Diego and Vermont. I guess I better bite the bullet and buy a few new pair of shoes and heal this sucker up, pronto. Here's too sore muscles and a happy weekend (and hoping a hottie or two sits next to us on the train). Hey, a girl can hope.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When to say when on driving

This morning I came close to plowing through the side of a 75 year old man's dingy white Buick LeSabre. He pulled out of the Safeway parking lot at a snail's pace and crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic (I assume on his way to the middle lane) with no care in the world that a car or two were coming down those two lanes at 40mph.

The roads were slick and I was not really expecting to have to let up for this guy. Luckily, I came out of my mindless wander and screeched to a stop before creating a real shit of a day for a few of us. At some point, it just seems that it's time to put away the keys grandpa and say "I think I'll take the bus today." I guess that could go for either of us, but really, he had no business taking his sweet time across that busy road at 8am.

In other excitingness, I'm taking the train this weekend up to Seattle for some Pac-10 football with a bunch of high school friends. I can't wait for another one of our adventurous, laughter-filled reunions. Somehow, taking the train feels like we're going off to some foreign land. I'm looking forward to getting the chance to just sit and stare out the window at the beautiful fall leaves and have a few drinks (I didn't pack those mini bottles of rum for nothing!) with the girls.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's on my bookshelf right now...


and in my hands during a lunch break or before bed is this book by Jen Schefft (the girl from the Bachelor who almost married Andrew Firestone). Shortly thereafter she went on the Bachelorette and turned down both of her male suitors at the end of the show. People on the streets would come up to her and tell her what an awful mistake she had made. That's how our society treats women who give up the chance at the rock, and the 2.5 kids and the McMansion.

The thing I love about this book is her no fear attitude on why being single is perfectly fine and even great. It makes me more sure than ever that my "I'm not settling less for what I deserve or desire" motto is right, for me anyway. Sometimes we I go around apologizing for the things we I do, say or believe because someone else doesn't agree. But you know what, when it comes to your happiness and finding someone who truly makes you feel like a better person when you're with them, it's okay not to settle. Sometimes we all just need a little encouragement to be ok with that.

"We're so eager to fall in love that we make excuses for men because they're handsome, rich, or just what our mothers ordered. Time again, we sacrifice our own needs and our own happiness because we think a man will complete us. Instead we need to be standing up for ourselves. We need to take responsibility for our own happiness. If a man won't change, you either get over it or move on."

She mentions various occasions where she's felt awkward being invited as a single among so many couples, including weddings. I don't know about you, but I've totally been to one of those "yep, I'm sitting at the lame single table over here in the corner" weddings. I made the best of it cuz that's what I do. But when you're sitting next to a few beer guzzling frat guys you have no interest in, one definitely dreams to be coupled and sitting in the middle, near the dance floor with all the other couples who are laughing their asses off and not chugging Coors Light and making fun of the cute single girl at the table.

I wholeheartedly agree with Schefft that it's time for single women to stand up to their friends, family and even strangers who tell us we're lame and prove that we're ok. Hear that grams, ma, dad, auntie and cousins?? I'm OKAY. A girl can be content and totally happy alone.

Pushing the matter only frustrates us more. Like, "thanks auntie-poo for your fabulous suggestion, I totally should go find a boyfriend today! What the hell have I been doing with all my precious time?" Sorry fam, doesn't work that way. If I wanted some man candy, I sure hope I could find it. But when happiness is what you want, why go screw it up and just date any ole Joe Shmoe? And to that I say singles, keep on dancing to your own beat until you find someone who's worth the leap.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Do you ever feel like a friendship is the best thing you'll ever find?

And I don't mean that it replaces a relationship (because lord knows I'm still crossing my fingers that relationships are in my future), but rather it's like you've found someone whose soul you were meant to know? I have. A few in high school, college and now life after college. And it's absolutely fabulous.

I still remember sobbing for an hour straight at an end of summer goodbye party after senior yr of high school because I thought no one could live up to these amazing people I called my friends. None of us could I couldn't bare to leave because it was just so fucking heart breaking. And in college, my world turned upside down when one of my best friends and I parted ways. It was like I didn't know her soul anymore; I wasn't allowed to.

As friendships ebb and flow, some have moved on and some have remained an integral fabric of my life. But today, at the marathon, during the pouring rain, somehow it all came rushing back. These people. These fabulous fucking people are hard for me to leave. As much as I'm ready to move on, change my life and challenge everything I'm comfortable with, I'm not sure how I'll leave these people.

One constant I know is that while the friendships are vital to my happiness, they don't always stick around. As important as they may be to me, I am not to them what they are to me. And that's ok. It's just hard to accept. When you're permanently single, friendships and family are your everything. They're what make me feel like everything in the world is good and right and whole. I guess I have to trust that moving on will bring me new souls I was meant to know, but sometimes that just doesn't seem good enough. I guess that's what this whole growing up and figuring yourself out thing is about.

And to lighten the mood...Sarah Palin, please just stop while you're ahead. Oh wait, too late.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

MapMyRun.com is the shiz...

in case you were wondering. I almost went on a 9.7 mile run this morning but thought "hey, why don't I try out that map my run thing first?!" before naively dashing out the door. With my new mapmyrun.com experience, I was now better informed and did a nice and rainy 6.2 mile route instead. If you haven't tried it already, do it. You won't be disappointed.

In other running news, we're off to Portland in a few hours to cheer on my friend K, good high school friend J and a few other bloggers (P.O.M. and Absolut(ly) Fit Laura) at the Portland Marathon! I can't wait. I love the marathon experience. The expos at a big race like this are awesome. Free samples and thousands of eager runners pre-pain all in one place. Then we're off to a carbolicious dinner at Pastini's! Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Peach Crunch Cake

If Joe Nichols can do it, surely you can too. I admit I ran across this in Country Weekly during a stop at my parents' gym while I was visiting one weekend. Afterall, I needed something to entertain myself during a long elliptical session.

It looked so yummy and I thought it would be super great with real peaches. But what's with this peach pie filling crap? That sounds like a lot of unnecessary oil and sugar. I googled "peach crunch cake" and found a few variations of it. One woman even took 1st place in a peach recipe contest at a Peach Festival back in 2006.

I finally had an excuse to make this sugary concoction for a joint birthday party for my roommate and another friend. Beware, once this thing gets baking, it smells like heaven. We were too hungry for this peachy goodness (between rounds of Rock Band) that I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the baked version. Without further ado, the recipe.

Peach Crunch Cake

Ingredients

21-oz. can peach pie filling (I used 3 large fresh peaches)
1 package yellow cake mix
½ cup toffee bits (the grocery store I go to didn't have just toffee bits so I ended up with Heath choc toffee bits)
1 stick (½ cup) butter cut into small pieces (I used 1/2 a stick of butter and it was plenty)
A spoonful of crushed pineapple (a Sass addition)

Preparation

Spread peach filling in 9-by-9-inch baking pan.
Pour dry cake mix on top of fruit filling. Swirl with knife until cake mix is wet.
Place toffee bits on top.
Dot with butter.
Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 45 minutes.
Let sit for a few minutes, then add a scoop of ice cream on top.