Friday, September 26, 2008

This is why I love college football, specifically the Pac-10

After our speed workout last night, I walked into the pub for dinner with the runners and the second half of the OSU vs. USC game. I just stared at the screen reading 21-0 thinking "I must not be reading this correctly."

And this is why I love college football. You just never know what's going to happen.

And that my friends, is why the game truly belongs to the team who shows up that day, not necessarily the team that is ranked #1. Last night, the Beavers and their 5'7" freshman running back had the right ingredients to knock those Trojans down from their all mighty pedestal.

And, a good article on why some men may be delaying adulthood. Read on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a theory or two on men and relationships

So don't go calling me Plato or anything crazy like that. (Not that I thought you actually would...)

Anyway, lately I've been scheming up a few theories about men my age (midtwenties) most likely so that I don't have to feel as bad about the fact that none of them seem to find their way into my life.

1) Men in their midtwenties aren't ready for the kind of woman they will marry. What I mean is, women (possibly as fabulous and mature as myself) who want a real relationship are intimidating because they scare guys into thinking "we want the whole damn thing and we want it right now! The rock, the house, the yard, the dog, etc." When truth be told, we just want a good man. The whole shebang will hopefully come along when it's the right guy and the right time, but just because we're of marrying age, doesn't mean we're ready to tie the knot, boys. So, these men go searching for girls who are fun, free spirited, still partying away their post college years and not a threat to their bachelor's dreams.

2) Men in their midtwenties don't know what they want and they sure as hell don't want a woman who does know what she wants.

3) Young men aren't searching for relationships. They're hanging out in bars, watching football with the guys and going to work, but not really getting out there and looking for us fabulous women. Or perhaps, it's me who is simply not looking in the right places. Boys, where do you go to find women? I'll admit I even shopped once at a grocery story that's totally out of my way just because it was voted "the most likely place to pick up someone in the produce aisle" by the local weekly paper. I've started debating checking out volunteer opportunities or maybe the business networking groups, but I don't know. The running groups always tend to attract strange guys (no offense). There's just something off about the guys that find their way to the groups that I can't put my finger on... Eeks. Miss Judgemental's in town.

4) This town of 150,000 simply does not have men in their midtwenties who are not happily married or in the throws of a blissful relationship. Hence, the reason I tried eHarmony thanks to a coworker's nudging. Six months later, I hadn't had any luck and quit. Today I found out that my coworker (who has been dating her eharmony match for a year now who lives about 4 hrs away from her), just got engaged this weekend at her favorite restaurant in Sante Fe, NM. Talk about a love story. Maybe I should give online dating another try. That or move to a bigger city. Or just give up.

What do you guys think??

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting back in the groove

So, the great thing is that the bod is healing up and I'm actually to the point where I can run for 5 miles straight without stopping. Just a few weeks ago this wasn't a possibility. Saturday I hit the road for a 7 miler, where I did my usual loop (walking for the first 15 min or so) and added on the football stadium extra loop to make it a total of 8.5 miles.

One of my favorite things to do during football season on game day is to run this extra long route to watch the tailgaters prep for the hours of drinking ahead. As much as I enjoy tailgating and a crisp afternoon in the stadium, I almost prefer running past them and watching them fire up the grill and toss back Bud Lights than be the one tossing them back. I guess I just don't have the right tailgating crew here and maybe just maybe I've turned into a grandma, but for now that's ok. The people I hang out with run. Tailgating is like a foreign language to them.

Then Sunday I went out for a rainy 5er (Thanks Fall, I got the message loud and clear. You're here to stay.) and today my friend C and I finished another 7. Ah, it feels good to be back.

I'm starting to get to that itch to sign up for a long race. Our friend K is running the Portland Marathon in a few weeks the girls and I are excited to be heading there with her, stay in a hotel, go out to dinner and cheer her on (while she runs the grueling 26.2 and we happily stand course side with Starbucks in hand). Originally, I had planned to run this marathon too, but after the knee dysfunctionality following the Vermont City Marathon, I figured I needed to take a wee bit of a break and I think know I made the right decision.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fridays don't seem much different than any other day

A few days ago I decided enough was enough. It was time to trash the folder labeled "Paul" in my inbox. For a few months now those e-mails were just staring me down every time I logged in. E-mails with all these cute photos he'd hand selected for me, messages of how he was thinking about me all day and how cute I am in such and such picture. But it's over.

I understand that someone isn't interested but how to say goodbye is always hard. Like wait a minute, we affected each others' lives. Do we have to pretend like we never knew each other? Lucky for both of us, we'd never met. Even so, as someone who saves things like she won't have the memories, it was a step in the right direction. Not opening a single one of them, I just trashed them permanently because dwelling on the past would get me nowhere.

As I mentioned, Fridays don't often seem much different for me than any other day (if I'm not traveling). I work 'til 5 at least, go to the gym and head home. Tonight however, I went with a few friends to happy hour and then on to see Lakeview Terrace with Samuel L. Jackson and damn, gina, that was some good stuff. I had no clue what to expect, but I liked it, I think. I can't really sleep so it must have been good. Good in a heart constricting, uncomfortable, almost puts you to tears kind of way good.

Tomorrow, I'm expecting a little visit from the momsie with plans for coffee, shopping and just hanging out. Sunday, I'm going to dedicate my usual Sunday morning run with the group to Matt, Madeline and Liz. I don't know them, but I think Liz would be truly amazed at how well Matt is doing at this whole daddy thing. And I think she'd be truly touched and honored by this memorial run/walk 5k idea.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spoken from a friend who knows


A little e-mail popped up in my inbox today amidst a whirlwind of projects I'm working on. A former coworker and partner in crime wrote a few deep thoughts for me after going to a certain man's wedding this weekend. I figured we could all benefit from these words.

"I don't think he's happy, happy, happy. I think he's convinced himself he is happy. And I've discovered in the last couple of months I really love him and sad that I didn't allow myself to be in love with him and share that.

Sass, take it from a girl that's has never been able to open up fully, that has way too many walls and boundaries...learn to love before it's too late. Let your walls down. When I have even just a little, it's been great. I can't even imagine what it could be like without walls and boundaries. Please, rectify my past mistakes by just letting yourself be open, alive and trusting. Don't judge every little thing about someone, don't create reasons they aren't good enough, because in the end what you are doing is giving yourself the exact reasons why you feel you aren't good enough or ready to love. Don't do it. Life is more fulfilling when you share it with someone...

Here's the thing though. Don't think you have to have a relationship. Let it just be. It'll be easy to let it become a relationship when you just meet people, start hanging out and then bam, it's a relationship and you don't even know it. While in my two somewhat significant relationships, I didn't even realize that's what we were doing. Experience, inexperience, etc. won't matter. It will just be. and you'll know. But you gotta use baby steps. Don't approach it as a relationship cause that scares the hell out of commitment phobes like us!"

Thanks, P.I.C. It's nice to know there are friends out there looking out for us, cheering us on, hoping we'll do better from each others' victories/mistakes/experiences. So, go forth ladies and let the men in your life in. I on the other hand will think about talking to one someday soon (if he looks my way and has a huge grin on his face). Trust, it doesn't happen in one day. Baby steps. That's the name of the game.

On another note, I saw the guy my mom tried to set me up with (whom I went on two dates with but never felt the spark) during dinner with the runners tonight. It was awkward. I pretended I didn't see him. What could I say? "Yep, still pretty busy, still not interested." So I focused very intently on what my friends were saying and of course, my water glass. Mature, very mature Sass. When it comes to me and men, I'm pretty sure the word mature doesn't fit. I'm scared shitless. I find a reason it won't work so it doesn't. Sorry, bud but there was no spark and I'm looking for a flame. Moving on...it's time to trust men and ultimately, myself. Crappity crap crap.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trust issues will not be solved by chic lit


Do you ever get lost in a book (usually trashy, chic lit) and go into that dream like state when you think of the book? Well, I do. I just finished "a hopeless romantic" by harriet evans. I know, even the title is lame, eh? Whatever, deal.

My personal library tends to consist mostly of romantic little love stories about a girl in a big city with a few self help, how-to and inspirational books thrown in the mix. The reason being that when I read it's my escape from everything stressful or depressing that has the possibility of raising my blood pressure. Not that I have high blood pressure mind you, but I tend to be take things pretty seriously and don't need any added stress from a book.

Anywho, I'll admit it. I just get totally lost. This 500+ pager sent me day dreaming on my way to work, during my swim at lunch, etc just imagining that maybe someday I'll be that girl with that job in that city with that kind of boy. Like maybe if I read more of them I won't have to do anything about this whole letting someone in thing and trusting a guy and it will just *poof* happen to me one day. Right. What a load of crap I've been feeding myself. I think I need to start reading something of substance.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cowboys and cowboy boots...may just be too much to handle in one post.

The truth is, I succumb to fashion sometimes (like my Anthropologie dress purchase this summer) and others I don't. I simply dwell. And dwell. And dwell.

These Frye boots for example, I've been pining over for at least a year now and yet I will not drop the cash for them. Why? They're cute, cowboy friendly and did I mention so cute?

The problems however, are that a) they are much too narrow (as I believe I've tried this boot on four times now and know pretty well) and b) they are just too casual to wear to work. If you work in an office type setting, it's hard to justify dropping a lot of money on something you know you'll love, but can never wear to work and when you do wear them, it will only be a few times a year. Gah!

Either way, I still drool over these damn things every time I see them. Oh and Frye, if you can't make them in a wide version for me (I need a 7.5W), I'd like a size 8 in tan, please and thank you very much.

And the Pendleton Round-Up by the way, it was fabulous. A lot of cowboys with wrangler butts, boots and cowboy hats. This girl may have been swung around the dance floor by a few cowboys who may or may not have called her "rookie" when her flip flop went flying because apparently she wasn't wearing her "dancing boots."

Nope, no dancing boots because I refuse to succumb as of yet. That is, until I meet the pair of cowboy boots I simply can't take my eyes off of. As for the cowboys, no one set my heart on fire, but my friend J and I and her husband and his brother and best friend did enjoy our time at the rodeo and a few glasses of Pendleton Whiskey and lemonade. Yum.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On delegating but not being allowed to "manage"

I delegate, but I do not manage. That's what the dotted line on the org chart means. And frankly, I'm not sure it's the best arrangement for any of us.

One of the things about being a twenty something in the early years of your career is that you don't have a lot to leverage. Looking for positions, most of us are only able to seek out the ones that say "3 to 5 years of prior experience necessary" because frankly that's all we have. I still remember seeing that and thinking "but how do I get that experience if no one takes a chance on me?" Alas, someone did. As a result, these jobs are generally at the lower end of the pay scale with fewer responsibilities and little room for management.

As a young career woman, I worked my butt off and was finally promoted last winter. It was a job I had already been doing for almost a year by then and therefore a promotion much deserved, if I do say so myself. With that promotion came the "opportunity" to oversee and delegate work to the person we hired to fill my former role. While I appreciate the additional responsibility and opportunity to beef up my resume, I didn't anticipate the challenges to come.

As a result, I now feel more stressed and overworked than I did before. The major flaw in this setup is that while I can send e-mails saying "hey, can you please do such and such by this date? Thanks!" I can't actually say "hey, this really sucks that you're not replying to my emails and not getting the work to me by the date I asked and answering myspace quizzes when you could be doing work." Instead, I have to talk to my boss who then will talk to said assistant who then may work a little harder at completing the next task.

So, what's the bottom line? Some new grads are not ready for an office job. They're just not and that's okay. Some need a bit of time to sort out there lives, figure out their priorities and understand what having a career really means. Because to me, that first job out of college meant working my butt off to complete my assigned tasks to the best of my abilities. To others, the tasks seem more like suggestions than necessity.

A career is a path upon which your work experience leads you. But a job is a job: something you can leave at work when you head home at night. As an educated, independent individual, you have the opportunity to choose whether it's time to begin that career or get a job to keep the bills paid for the time being. So when graduation hits, it's time to evaluate if you're ready to commit yourself to an organization and start the journey that is your career or if you still need time to figure things out. The following are my tips to the new grad who is contemplating the real world and their upcoming career.

Work hard for the money, so hard for the money.Your paycheck does not walk right into your bank account for no sweat, grunt work or diligence to your job. This isn't Hot Dog on a Stick anymore where you can sigh and ask if they want fries and ketchup with that while you have a big ole frown plastered on your face. Your paycheck is a result of the work you have done for the benefit of your company. Said company is not paying you to update your social networks and listen to your fav itunes and take as many early afternoons off after a late meeting for nothing in return. No, you WORK and therefore, you GET PAID.

Communication is key. When someone asks you a question in an e-mail, it's important to respond. There is no such thing as too much feedback or communication when you're working on a project with someone. I'm not your mother and therefore I would prefer you responding to my e-mails so I do not have to come to your desk and ask if you can do said task or if you even read my email.

It doesn't have to be perfect to build your resume and your experience. Understand that while this may not be the perfect job that fits your passion in life, it is a spring board to the place you want to get to. Leverage that opportunity and do the job to the best of your ability until you move on to one you enjoy more.

You get out of it what you put into it. If you decide that you do in fact want to coast through acquired job with as little effort, grunting, sweat and tears as possible, please do NOT expect a positive job referral when the time comes that you do figure out your passion and move on to a new company. Because today, this job, this task, is what matters for the future of your career.

And as a note to self, take a chill pill or else you might not make it through this sanely. Understand that not everyone has good communication skills or prior office experience. Do not let someone else's inexperience ruin multiple Fridays. Fridays are your favorite, so savor them. Go and brush your shoulders off. And finally, stop doing the work that you should be delegating, but won't because you don't trust it will be done in time or correctly as shown from past examples. This is not helping those who need the experience and the opportunities to grow and learn as you once needed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Zucchini Bread w/ a twist or two!

One of the fabulous things about growing your own veggies (besides having tons of fresh stuff to put in your salads) is the great excuse to make zucchini bread!

So without further ado, here it is!
Recipe by Cooking Light w/ modifications by Sass

Ingredients (I halved this recipe b/c I didn't have enough flour)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini (12 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
Cooking spray

Sass additions:
a sprinkle of coconut flakes
a handful of quick oats
1 tsp flax seed (ground)
a handful of sliced almonds (instead of the walnuts)
1 small ripe banana sliced

Why the additions you ask? Well, I had them lying around from previous baking occasions and I like to add fiber/healthy stuff where it works and see what happens. Sometimes it means my baking adventures don't look quite right or don't taste as fabulous as the plain ole recipe might have, but this time the additions were awesome. Plus, walnuts seem to ruin a sweet bread for me. They're just too crunchy and big in my opinion. Sliced almonds are harmless enough with good flavor and happen to be great for you too!

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) in a large bowl. (Um, I think this just means mix it all up. I didn't lightly spoon and level with a knife. I just whisked the ingredients together. Call me crazy, but it worked.)

Combine egg substitute and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; add sugar, stirring until combined. Add zucchini; stir until well combined. Add flour mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in walnuts. (Add Sass additions here.)

Divide batter evenly between 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. (I made 1 loaf and had a little extra batter which I put in muffin tins, so now I have...er, had a few zucchini muffins!)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Race Recap (Absolut style)

Pints to Pasta 10K: completed.

Time: 52:15 (8:25 min/mi average)

Age Div: 42/268

Considering I'm recovering from a knee/IT band/glute issue and this is I believe the 2nd 10K I've ever run, I think I did okay.

When I showed up to the race finish (where we parked in order to get shuttled to the start) there was a super long line and it was almost 7:30 AM, the time the last shuttle was supposed to leave. YIKES. Cutting it close, Sass. So I hopped in this humungo line and didn't board the bus 'til 7:55 (race start: 8 AM). Luckily, they held the start for us late comers, sort of. As our bus pulled up to the start they shot the gun and off went the speedy gonzales'.

These are the moments when I really appreciate the chip timing. I didn't cross the start line until 1 min 45 sec after the gun went off so yay for the chip. The weather was great, the race was nice and along the river and through downtown Portland, ending at the Old Spaghetti Factory. The best part about starting out behind the pack is that I was pretty much passing people a good portion of the way. In addition, shorter races tend to bring out those who are pretty fresh to running and don't understand the whole pacing concept. It was definitely a mental boost to be able to pass people even when running what I consider to be slow for my usual "fast" pace.

Post race celebrations included a great live band, free pasta and salad, Jamba Juice and two free pints of Widmer beer (because that's what every runner wants at 9 AM)! I had my pasta, Jamba and water and headed back to the bro's apartment. Beer's great, but at 9 AM, no thanks unless I'm tailgating or in Vegas.

We then went shopping, had thai food, checked out some awesome vintage shops, and headed to Saint Cupcake! Awesome? Oh yes. I had a "dot sized" toasted coconut and a vegan chocolate chocolate. Yummers.

In full cupcake coma, I said goodbye to my brother and his girlfriend and headed on my merry way down the freeway. Weekend = success.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Saint of all saints

So, I'm kind of getting excited for this weekend. Visiting the bro again and his gf in Portland and running Pints to Pasta 10K. And of course, no occasion is complete without some fabulous grub. I'm going to hit up Saint Cupcake during my quick visit because I've been staring at the menu for far too long and I want one...now.

Don't let this whole running thing fool you. While I enjoy the runner's high and having defined quads, calves and all that jazz, half the time I think I run so I can justify eating something as fabulously sugar and butter loaded as this. A friend served these at her wedding and not only was it a hip spin on the traditional wedding cake, they were so freaking amazing and because she ordered a ton of the "dot size" cupcakes, you could try several flavors without feeling too bad.

As for the 10K, I'm hoping to still be in cupcake coma so as not to feel the pain of the race, which will pretty much be inevitable after being injured for a few months now. Happy weekEND!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Overheard in the real world...

I popped into a vintage clothing during lunch on my prowl for some authentic rodeo gear (i.e. cute plaid and boots to woo the cowboys) for the Pendleton Round-Up I'm attending next weekend. Sifting through the racks, I heard a girl come out of the dressing room and ask the woman at the register to help her zip up the back of the dress or tell her if the dress was too small.

The preggers store manager replied to size 4 girl, "too small, but you know how you can lose 15 lbs and fit into that in two weeks?" No. How? "Don't eat any sugar or wheat. Seriously." Oh, ok. "Yeah, it kind of sucks because you can only eat vegetables and meat, but it really works. You can't even eat fruit because it has sugar in it. My friend wanted me to go on the diet with her for Halloween, but since I'm pregnant and my baby really likes fruit right now, that's not gonna happen." To which, I hope size 4 girl raised her eyebrows and made a crinkly face. Instead, the girl purchased an apron and something lacy that apparently did fit.

Seriously people, if those are the extremes you're willing to go to just to lose a few pounds, don't do it. It's not worth it and it won't be permanent because no one can live on such a boring diet. Well, I can't anyway. Carbs are my friend and why shouldn't they be? They fuel the bod. And 15 lbs...is she crazy? You might be able to lose 5, but not 15.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

matt, liz and madeline

I'd heard about his story a while back from Chrissy on Storked!, but until I actually clicked on his blog a few days ago, read it bit by bit and explored his flikr photographs, I didn't really get it. The story of Matt, Liz and Madeline is heart wrenching and inspiring at the same time. Go ahead, take a look. Matt's a great writer and an awesome dad. I'm not sure any of us have much to complain about when someone like him has lost the love of his life the day after their daughter's birth. That my friends, is some tough shit to swallow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

comfort=out, risk taking=in

Nobody likes a downer, including me. I'm so sick of myself I can't even tell you how many times lately I've wanted to give myself the boot out of a situation. Like this weekend when the girls and I took our little getaway trip to Bend (which was amazing), I managed to find myself being the party pooper with no thoughts that seemed important enough worth sharing, no words of happiness to contribute.

I deserved a real kick in the pants, but good friends somehow decide to give you the benefit of the doubt (or the friendship) and let it pass. I'm sick of waiting for a bad mood or depressed state of being to pass. Just like the next person, I don't like to be around people who aren't happy so why am I doing exactly what I hate?? I don't know.

Ok, that's not true. Maybe I do know to some degree. I'm not fulfilled. I'm always waiting and wishing for more, but I refuse to make it happen. Refuse to step out and take a chance, refuse to just choose a school or focus of study for a masters degree and refuse pick up and move on to a new city that makes me reevaluate everything I do. Comfort is only so comforting when it truly fulfills you. This place, this job, this state of being is not sufficient to my dreams and yet I am allowing it to be.

I'm ready to find my passion, a passion, someone to be passionate about because to live without gusto gets boring. I've been living from one trip, one marathon, one event to another, but not finding true happiness and fulfillment within the moment I stand. The time is now. The question is, how?

Part of this resistance to change comes from my semi-control freak nature. I don't want to control others, I just want everything surrounding me to be safe, in order, perfect...something that is pretty much impossible. The exact reason I need to do something that truly scares me. Safety has been my best friend for far too long. I guess that's why I seek out those who are adventurous, daring, wiling to do things on a whim without surveying the every danger and implication of their decisions. Because we all need a little wave to rock the boat now and then.

You know it's bad when your friend's boyfriend who barely knows you starts telling you that you need to open up and give guys a chance. That someone out there will bring it out of you, but you've got to give them a chance. Thanks Chico. Point taken. But when you've stood in fear for so long, afraid to get hurt by someone or some change, you almost become paralyzed. Chances are, if you are waiting for the perfect moment for the perfect guy/job/city/passion to walk around the corner, it's gonna walk right on by when you bend down to tie your shoe. Life isn't waiting around for you sass. You decide. You decide. YOU are the captain for your mother freaking ship so it's about time you took hold of the tiller.

How do you feel stuck? And, what are your methods of moving on, challenging yourself and going beyond your comfort zone?