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.