Friday, January 29, 2010

Seven Random Things for a Friday

Since I was tagged by Alissa at A Runner's Balancing Act, it's only right to join in. Plus, it's kind of fun and I rarely do those answer the list of questions type posts.

So, in no particular order, here are seven random things about me.

1. Business casual is (sometimes) the bane of my existence. Truthfully, many mornings I curse my closet as I think "uh, what sweater or shirt combo am I pairing (again) with this black pair of pants?" Ugh. That's when I dream of someday having enough money to buy anything my heart so desires from JCrew or Banana Republic catalogs.

2. Extreme physical challenges (Iron man, ultras, etc) don't really scare me, but I'd like to do a triathlon one day and the thought of swimming a few miles open water seems a bit out of my realm of possibility.

3. I keep wishing/hoping/waiting for my dream career to just *poof* magically appear so I can go back to school for it or charge forward with full steam ahead. I suppose I better get on that.

4. I'm seriously exhausted right now (and ravenous) and of course still have a SPEED workout to do and my bike to ride home. OH, and some socializing with the runners. I guess that's why it's important to rest. Speaking of rest, I'm not sure I've had a rest day in a few weeks. Eeks.

5. I have a passion for baked goods...making and eating them. Every time I pass a bakery or doughnut shop by car or foot I seriously have to force myself not to go in.

6. I am constantly on the lookout for the perfect pair of black, round toe, flat equestrian type leather boots. As well as a fabulous pair of brown cowboy boots. Any brand suggestions would be just lovely.

7. On a regular basis, I wish that my 1995 Toyota Corolla would die on me so I can purchase a nearly brand new car. On my wish list is the Subaru Outback Sport, Subaru Impreza WRX, Volvo S40. But the truth is, 30 mpg and no car payment is pretty sweet.

Ok, your turn. YOU are tagged if you're reading this! Now get to it. Either respond in the comments or post on your blog. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My grandfather is a storyteller.

He always has been. He and my grandmother are frequently heading on road trips in their Mercedes wagon to Idaho, Utah, California and Washington to visit some old friends from his ministry days or neighbors from their former cities they still keep in touch with.

I guess as a minister you really are in the business of telling stories, but after all these years his reports of their travels, who they meet and what they've eaten, or his monthly ministry "blue sheets," he never ceases to amaze me.

The past few days, they've been visiting one of his cousins whom he was very close to as a child and is dying of cancer. Here's his report from last night. Jean is my grandma and Bob is the cousin.

"Jean and I returned to the hospital for a "good night" visit. We spoke to him and softly sang the chorus I mentioned in the last message. Then we sang a bit of "Good Night Irene." Then Jean sang a bit of "Somewhere over the Rainbow." Bob relaxed and simply stopped breathing without a stir.

We were there until the doctor came by for a final check and the nurse called Evalie.
Grieving began at the news of the severity of his illness. It continues and will continue, but all can be thankful that the great storm is over.

We suggest you sing your own songs, get out a photo of Bob, light a candle, write a poem or a remembrance, open a bottle of champagne and lift a toast with some friends, telling of who Bob was in your life and some special memories.

Let us be present to one another, especially those who feel Bob's absence the most.
He was our number one cousin (out of 11!). He'll always be number one. Bless him on his way.

I'll let you know of any plans.

For the Moment..."

This email caught me as a most peaceful way one's life could end. With friends and family around singing soft melodies. Beyond that, I feel truly lucky that my 75+ year old grandparents are still spry, active, healthy and happy individuals. I can only dream to be so lucky.

My boot camp instructor keeps announcing that we're doing specific strength, cardio or yoga moves because he's planning on being limber without being creeky at age 90. I say, there's something to that. My grandparents ran well into their 50s and then began walking in their 60s. Most days they try to fit in four miles, with an additional weight lifting class twice a week.

So I think in the end there will be some benefit to all this time we spend keeping our bodies and minds healthy. Just wanted to pass on some words from the wise!

P.S. What's the most unconventional race you've run? Mine would have to be Steve's 10K Run in Michigan because of the variation between road, golf course, trail and back to road. A close second would be the Hood to Coast relay because it's 24hrs of pure insanity! Click here for my 2007 recap and here for the 2009 recap.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On enchiladas, runs and peanut butter balls.

Yep, I referenced balls in my title. Well, you can't really avoid it when that's what you're making.

It all started when Frayed Laces published her budget friendly Powerbar recipe on her blog. Then I recently came across a bit more complicated pb ball recipe. And finally, I saw Heather's PB ball recipe last week. Well, Monday night I had the baking itch and made not only FL's Powerballs, but some pumpkin, walnut raisin bread. Isn't it funny how something like green monster smoothies, overnight oats or pb balls get passed around the blogosphere?

I was lazy and didn't take photos, but I can assure you the bread was awesome. The balls are a bit dry, but good. I packed one today for a post lunch run pick me up. Honey, pb, oats and flour sure hit the spot along with some cold H2O. The sun was nice enough to make an appearance this afternoon just as I headed out on my run along the river and on to the bark trail. You've gotta take advantage of getting your Vitamin D when you can in the middle of winter!

Next time I'm going to reduce the amount of flour and oats in my recipe and add some coconut and maybe a few choc chips and chopped nuts. I also want to make Tina's Homemade Refuel bars! The idea of buying $1+ clif/luna/younameit bars sounds kind of crazy when you can whip some up at home with no sweat! Anyone else have a good refuel recipe?

Last night I whipped up chicken enchiladas w/ green chilis, pepperjack and avacado, leaving me fabulous leftovers for today. Don't you just love having an exciting lunch? And don't you also love getting your workout over with in the am or on the lunch hour so you have an evening of freedom?!

Well friends, my dad's coming down after work to help me move by bed over to the manfriend's house. My room is nearly empty so I guess this thing is official! I'm trying not to let the boxes and piles of stuff in manfriend's dining room get to me, but the control freak in me just can't wait until order is restored.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thai Tofu Splendidness

As I said earlier, Iowa Girl Eats was my inspiration for this dish. I'm a lover of things that are not only spicy, but thai and good for you. While it wasn't my first time cooking tofu, I was nervous about the whole egg scrambling amidst zucchini. Needless to say, it worked out just fine.

Let the chopping begin!

After about 20 min, the marinated tofu was baked!

As instructed, I cooked up the zucchini and then made a little well to scramble up two eggs.

Holy yum! Just look at that mix of flavors and fabulous display.

And in case you're wondering what my favorite Pinot of the moment is...
I present to you Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvee Pinot Noir 2007.

I found this one at our local posh market for just $16. Although it's a bit spendy for my taste, it was definitely worth it. Sometimes you spend a few more $ on a bottle of wine only to find that "yuck, Two Buck Chuck would have tasted better than this," but not this time! I give Grochau Cellars two thumbs up! And love that it's a local winery!

The tofu verdict: I'm a huge tofu fan. It's nice having a cheaper, healthier option to chicken or ground turkey once in a while. But it is also a fine line in attempting to feed men. Man friend said that while the meal was very flavorful, he wasn't such a fan of the tofu (his first time trying it) and would have preferred less of it on top of his noodles. I say, we'll try tofu a little more often and hopefully it grows on him. What about you? Have you tried to pawn tofu off on unsuspecting meat lovers?

Thanks for a great recipe, Kristin!

Weekend Recap

The weekend list:
- date with manfriend (dinner and bowling/movie)
- moving dresser and nightstand from old place
- boot camp workout
- meal planning for next week or two
- run and coffee w/ runners
- push ups
- Dave Farmar yoga podcast

How I fared:
-Date night was a check, check! Manfriend and I went for beer and food at one of our local McMenamin's where I got the Ruby (a light and fruity beer) and he got the Terminator (a lovely stout). Then we went to see Up in the Air...good movie!
-Saturday afternoon we moved my dresser and some clothes still left in my closet.
-Saturday morning I went to boot camp where we did lots of yoga, some weights and abs.
-I did a bit of meal planning and got food for several meals this week. Yay! It's so stressful when I have to not only workout, but then stop by the grocery store and finally cook dinner on a week day after a full eight hrs of work!
-Yesterday morning I set out for a wet 7 miler and then stopped for coffee with the runners. After getting home, I grabbed the dog and went running for another 1.5 miles. She was not feeling it.
-Fit in a few sets of push ups this weekend!
-FAIL on the yoga podcast, but that's okay bc I still did yoga.

And beyond the list: Yesterday's mileage mixed with Saturday's boot camp left me majorly wiped by yesterday afternoon. Manfriend had been out in the cold rain for a nice 50 miles on the bike and I had done my running thing. We both grabbed some left over crockpot chili for lunch before heading out for errands.

I'm usually chipper and full of energy, but yesterday was a no go. We were planning to do some more moving, but didn't. Instead, we filled my gas tank, made a stop at Starbucks and went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a few supplies.

Since manfriend's roommate is moving and taking his couch with him, we're on a hunt for a new couch (and our first real purchase together). I managed to make it to two furniture stores and test out couches. So many nice couches and such a hard decision! It felt good to get our couch hunt started though.

Next, we hit up the grocery store where we both probably made a few impulse buys thanks to hunger/exhaustion. Me: yogurt covered pretzels and choc. milk. But we also got a cart full of meals we can have this week. I'm excited. Last night I even whipped up some tofu goodness thanks to Iowa Eats Girl's inspiration! Photos to come...

Friday, January 22, 2010

a little speed never hurt anyone

Last night after posting my crazy girls weekend photos to our group Shutterfly account (great way to share pics), I raced off to catch the runners for a little SPEED workout. After Wednesday's bootcamp (and a really difficult one at that-i was POURING sweat the entire time), these legs were a bit sore and I just wasn't feeling that cold weather. But like I've said before, showing up is the most important part.

Once I got there, I headed out for a little warm up mile and a few strides. Then we were off. Workout: 2 miles @ 1/2 marathon pace (a little faster than tempo), 2 min active rest, 2 miles @ 1/2 marathon pace, 1 mile cool down. There's always a short and long option offered by our coach and I typically attempt the long. After all, if you don't make the whole sweat. But most of the time I stick with it.

As usual, my brain said "that second 2 miler is not happening." But after the legs finished the first two miles, I knew I could crank out one more round. I didn't wear a watch (because a. I couldn't find it and b. I'm not addicted to my times), but believe I heard coach yell a 7:36 mile at one point and probably somewhere around 7:45 for the last mile.

The point is, I don't care if I'm on pace (I was going too fast for my typical 1/2 marathon speed anyway), but I knew I was pushing myself harder than if I were to just head off on a four mile run on my own. Needless to say, the short little 15 min jaunt with the dog this morning reminded me how hard I was pushing it. And who doesn't love to feel the burn?

This weekend I've got on the want to do list:

- date with manfriend (dinner and bowling/movie)
- moving dresser and nightstand from old place
- boot camp workout
- meal planning for next week or two
- run and coffee w/ runners
- push ups
- Dave Farmar yoga podcast

What's on your list, lovelies?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weekend in photos (and how to plan a girls getaway)

So, you're wondering how to easily plan a getaway for you and a few friends? Here's how we did it.

1. Start with mass email in which you include everyone you'd like to come, including those who may live in other states.

2. Next, agree on a city or general location, budget and dates. (We chose the Oregon Coast area and $100 or less per person for MLK weekend).

3. Then put someone in charge of finding a house/hotel that fits your needs. (We like - great site for finding a house to rent!)

4. Next, create a sign up sheet for meals, as well as board games and movies. This way, you save money on meals and also allow everyone to take part in purchasing, planning and preparing food for the group.

5. By now, you've most likely convinced the out of staters to hop on a cheap flight to meet you for this getaway. (T flew from Salt Lake City for a few hundred $$ just to be there with us. And we were so happy she did!)

6. As the date draws near, continue to send mass emails and facebook status updates about how excited you are for the getaway and finally, let the fun begin!

Welcome to our humble abode

And just look at this cute little house across the street with portholes for windows!

And who doesn't love a cute red door?!

We all know when you get enough women together in one room who know each other fairly well, utter sillyness begins. T is I believe impersonating one of our friends, W, who is also in the room. Don't ask.

Let the games begin! From Balderdash to Outburst to Scattergories, we were gaming fools.

We found an "iPhone" in the couch. Its capabilities however, left much to be desired.

Saturday morning, after J and I ran and we all had a nice big breakfast, we arrived at the lookout point where we would begin a little 2-3 mile hike. Just look at that view!

Ready to head out on the hike!

Cool old tree we happened upon

Holding up this log as we pass underneath it on our hike on Clatsop Trail with views of the ocean!
*kidding of course, we were merely pretending to hold up the tree.


Decorative rooster and mayhem

Talking and Walking

Haystack Rock!

Most of us (minus A) forging the rainy weather to take a little walk on the beach and get photos in front of Haystack Rock.

Thanks for joining me on this little weekend recap!

Recovering from my weekend

It just so happens that this weekend took a LOT out of me. Yeah, three day weekends with your best high school girlfriends will do that to you. And a weekend chalked full of wine, wind storms, board games, chick flicks (Sex and the City, Dirty Dancing, Laguna), walking on the beach and general mayhem. Go figure.

Speaking of which, does anyone else keep in touch with your hs friends? We're a freakishly tight knit group, but I love it. Photos are on the way.

As for that running thing, my good friend J (who I ran the last six miles of the 2009 Portland Marathon with) agreed to join me on a few runs while we were at the beach. I'm pretty sure the other girls think we're crazy for this, but they're accustomed to our ways now that we've even gone running while camping. Both Saturday and Sunday we managed to fit in 50-65 min runs, which was more than I could have hoped for. And to top it off, we were running on sand most of the time!

Monday was an early morning so we skipped a run while we cleaned up house and I squeezed in a good 20 min of yoga while watching the waves crash outside our second floor game room. Someday, I'd like to own a second home with ocean views and silly decor (this house was full of rooster decorations). I arrived home on Monday evening around 5pm, said a quick hello to the manfriend and headed off to the running group. Fit in a fast five (7:45-8 min pace)and headed home for chicken burritos. Yum.

Alas, yesterday was painful. My brain didn't want to focus...on anything. I found myself staring at a coworker as she spoke during our staff meeting and not hearing a word. And after a 6PM meeting and a 30 min mini gym session, it was off to make homemade pizza for din din. Here's to hoping a few more nights of consistent sleep will help, not to mention the short work week. Anyone else still recovering from the weekend?

Friday, January 15, 2010

de ja vue

Doesn't it seem like I just ventured off to the Oregon Coast for a three day weekend? ;) Well, that's because I did. So, here I go again! This time: to meet up with the high school girls, go running in the rain, drink some wine/beer and play board games! There will be eight of us sharing a fabulous cabin in Cannon Beach, often rated one of the top beaches in the world. I can't believe I've never visited and I live in Oregon!

On another note, yesterday I signed up for the Portland Marathon and will get the chance to finally meet Amber and Lisa! It will in fact be my second blogger meet up at the Portland Marathon. The first blogger I met was the fabulous Absolut(ly) Fit Laura two years ago when my friend K ran the marathon. Anyone else have the itch to do Portland 2010? There's plenty of time to get some base training in before you hop on the grid. And on that note, are there any 1/2 full marathons in the next 5-7 months you're signing up for? Let me know!

And, I need your suggestions for:
1) pump me up jams (think 80s-90s rock/dance music) that are motivational for running
2) your favorite movies as of late! This girl needs some flicks to add to her Netflix queue.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

one wrong turn

The running gear was packed, but it didn't get used and I'm totally fine with that. Feeling optimistic, we took a county bike map with us that had a nice 60 mile ride around the coast range. Saturday we woke up before the sun and took the dog (Jonah Bell) to the beach. She had an absolute blast running up and down the sand dunes and sprinting after some poor birds.

I felt up to the ride so we got a nice breakfast of pancakes and eggs in before putting on the layers of gear. With a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and payday candy bars in our pockets and some water, we ventured out.

The first ten miles were beautiful. I wished I had a tiny hand held camera that was easy to bring with me on rides. I've seen some of the most gorgeous scenery on back highways and roads that beg to be photographed.

At some point and after one major hill, we had the option to turn left or right. Not bringing the map, but writing down vague directions we had to choose right because it pointed us toward a town. Not the one we were headed for, but a town none the less. Well, nine miles (and a few more decent climbs) later we were in the little town of Ava and discovered we should have taken that left turn. Alas, 20 miles were added on to this 60 mile venture, but I maintained I could do it (I thought).

After finally getting back on track and heading down the correct road, manfriend declared "we can't do the whole loop. We're both tired from those extra hills and 20 additional miles and who knows how long it might take us." I agreed it probably wouldn't be the smartest decision since we weren't prepared with enough food or lights. So we did a few more miles before turning around.

As we made it back to town with 50 miles under our belts, we stopped at the bar for a refreshing beer, fries and clam chowder. Just what the doctor (our appetites) ordered!

Sunday, I saw the sun rise and then we ventured out on the other half of the loop and did an easy 25 miler before mimosas and packing up to head home. Perfect cap to a relaxing weekend! And then the manfriend read Sassy Molassy for the first time...ever. Manfriend now refers to himself as such, which I'm taking as him liking his little nickname on this here blog.

Monday, January 11, 2010

30 days notice!

Well, it's official friends: I've given my 30 days notice to my landlord. It's with a little anxiety, but a lot of excitement that I'll be moving in with the manfriend. Don't say you didn't see that coming... ;)

I always dreamed of one day renting a nice beautiful too expensive for me apartment on my own, but the accountant (or shopping fiend) in me just couldn't do it. So, I stayed cost efficient and stuck out the roommate situation. And it was no doubt a great situation for me. I wasn't home a ton and I love traveling, shopping and just having the freedom to do what I want, when I want to. And with low rent costs, I could do that.

And then a little over a year ago I met the manfriend. As the relationship grew, we soon realized that me packing/unpacking/repacking bags of work and exercise clothes every few days was just not going to work. And neither was him bringing the dog over and trying to be fair about who stayed at whose house each night. Sooner or later, I decided to remove some stress from myself and decided I would just bring more clothes over and plan on staying most nights at his house.

Not too long after that, his roommate moved back in (read: broke up with his girlfriend and started living at manfriend's house again). About six weeks ago, manfriend talked to the roomie and let him know he wasn't being kicked out, but would like me to move in sometime in early 2010. Well, said roommate is now in the midst of house/apartment hunting and has given his notice. And that means, I'm moving in...officially!

Although, I never did rent that too expensive for me apartment, I know that this is better. It's better because it's about the future, a future I've committed to 100%. I don't know what I might do with my career or what city we might land, but I know that this relationship is for real. And that is far better than some little white walled, smartly decorated, spotless apartment you keep all to yourself.

Stay tuned for a little beach retreat recap! I didn't hit the pavement (or sand) for a heart pumping run, but I did clip into the cycling pedals and went for a few rides with the man. Hope everyone's weekend was fabulous!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My birthday in review

After those lovely little flight issues, I was safely delivered home by my brother, mom and manfriend. Although a day late, I declared it my birthday. Manfriend and I headed directly toward a fabulous local brunch spot for eggs benedict. He got the original, I went for the spicy version, "The Big Easy." Perfect way to fill your belly on your birthday!

Talks of a hike were discussed, but manfriend decided he'd much rather skip that and head straight for the winery. So I obliged. We've tasted and bought wine at Sweet Cheeks before, so I declared we were in for a bottle of their Pinot Fusion. I'm a Pinot Noir fan and this is usually a great choice, but today I wasn't as impressed. Next time, it's back to the Rose.

After a few hours of hanging out, enjoying the wine and the live music, we headed home. Manfriend headed straight for the couch and some football, while I got dressed and took the dog for a run. No way could I head to dinner without working up a sweat first! After a nice 30 min run, I hopped in the shower and got ready for dinner.

We went to a nice Italian restaurant, Ambrosia, where I selected the crab stuffed mushrooms for our appetizer and the pear & walnut salad for dinner, and of course another glass of red. Manfriend chose the spaghetti. By the end, our tummies were full and that tiramisu I so badly wanted to order did not happen. It was the perfect way to relax and enjoy a little celebration before the work week began.

I've said it in years past, but 27 really does sound older than 26. It's like an actual adult age...almost. ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas on the coast

It's a little behind schedule, but better late than never, eh? I find that my Canon Rebel XT comes through for me in taking some pretty sharp shots compared to my little Panasonic Lumix. The day after Christmas, my family and I drove to the Oregon Coast to see my dad's side of the family. It happened to be an unusually sunny and warm winter day so we stopped to take photos (and breathe in the ocean air).

Mom and I try to snap one of ourselves.

This is my cousin's gorgeous little baby boy, Carson, who is clearly a fan of the camera.

Don't you just love those chubby cheeks?

It happens to be whale migration time on the coast. The manfriend and I are heading off for a relaxing weekend at a cabin on the beach this Friday. I'm hoping to spy a few whale spouts when we hit the sand!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Time to sign up for another marathon!

I think you'll all agree that it's about time I got back to talking about the running a bit more. It's not that it hasn't been happening, I just haven't been training for anything. I'm still running 4-5 days a week, 4-7 miles at a time, but it's not leading up to anything. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there are races I want to conquer and it's time I put a few on the books for 2010.

So, I'd love your suggestions for super awesome 1/2 and full marathons. Please tell me 1) what makes this race better than others? 2)why that location (city/scenery)? and 3) what is the don't miss attraction when you visit the city for said half/full marathon? I like to travel places for races so I not only get to push myself physically and mentally, but also explore a new part of the country.

A few on my radar are:
1) Napa Valley Marathon Can you say beautiful with a hint of wine?
2) New York City Marathon I heart NYC.
3) California International Marathon Flat and fast? Yes, please!
4) Cincinnati Flying Pigs Marathon I've heard it's awesome!
5) Seattle Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon for a possible blogger meet up. I'm not so psyched about the location (hilly), but I'm all for it if I can do that 1/2 AND meet some blogettes!

Thanks for your help!

Monday, January 4, 2010

How we met

Miss Amber mentioned on my Favorite Moment of 2009 post that she wanted to hear the story on how we met. Oops, did I leave that out?

Well, yes, yes I did. Why? I guess it was the 1st real boyfriend (manfriend) and I didn't want to get ahead of myself. Plus, I wasn't sure how much he needed to be included in this blog. But now that we've been together an entire year (today is our anniversary) and he's often mentioned in posts, I guess it's time to spill.

Last Halloween I was in San Francisco for work and therefore missed our runner's Halloween party to which this very attractive man showed up. As soon as I got back I saw pictures with said man in them and asked "who is that?" He happened to be a cycling friend of one of the runners. He soon got the attention of many of the single ladies in our group when he started showing up for Sunday and Monday runs.

One Thursday eve after our SPEED workouts at the pub, I was so bold to compliment him on his glasses. Hey, I thought he looked good in them and hadn't seen him wear them before. Shortly after, we were at a party and I was chatting him up and busting a few moves on the living room floor with my friend, D. Unbeknownst to me, at that party one of his female friends said "That girl's got spunk. You should go after her." And thank goodness he did!

For the next few weeks I just let the other girls talk about him and wonder what his story was (attached? single?). I felt the same, but thought "These girls are more aggressive than I am. I won't be pursuing him."

Well, on NYE there was another runner's party, a pajama party in fact to which both manfriend and I attended. I brought sweet potato cheesecake w/ maple whip cream, which I don't doubt helped woo him. (This is by far the most delicious thing I've ever baked.) The beverages and flirting probably didn't hurt either. ;)

After midnight, we shared a few kisses and the rest was history. The dates came fast and furious after that because he didn't want me to leave his sight. A little over a year ago I would have never thought this would be the outcome of 2009. It just goes to show that when your situation/job/life isn't going how you'd like it, things can change in an instant. Take it from a girl who was beginning to believe she'd never find someone to love.

How I almost didn't get home from LA

Wow, where do I start? After a long, exhausting, and occasionally fun week, I missed my flight home. And well, there was a Ducks loss somewhere in there, but in the scheme of things, this was worse.

In hind sight, I would have preferred to hang out by myself all day and get to the airport 3-4 hrs earlier. But sometimes against my better judgment, I let others' wants get in the way of my own. I'm a no stress girl and meeting up with two friends, although enjoying it, ultimately led me to some major freak out level stress.

With a late flight out, I had plenty of time to do a little sightseeing. But after meeting up with 1 friend and walking down Hollywood Blvd seeing all the stars in the sidewalk, I met up with another friend to walk down Rodeo Drive and grab a bite to eat. After driving, parking, walking, eating (chicken sandwich and pom margarita) and driving back to by car, it was cutting it CLOSE.

I hate being late, but sometimes that is truly the price you pay for trying to do too much in too little time. With just 90 min left, I made it to trafficky 405 S. I finally busted out of my rental car and on to the shuttle bound for the gates.

With just 45 min til my flight departed, I arrived at the ticket counter. The Alaska/Horizon agent said that even though I had checked in the night before online, they had already given away my seat. And that's when I lost it. Bad enough to get home to the manfriend at 11pm on by birthday, but I wouldn't be getting home at all that night. Oh lord.

Judy, the dear saint of a ticket agent, spent the next 20 or so min in the back trying to get me on to any flight tonight/tomorrow to no avail. She came back to my sorry, red eyed, sobbing self to explain options. People, LAX to Portland/Eugene this weekend was nearly impossible after the NYE holiday and then the Rose Bowl.

After talking through everything, I begged for anything nearby (Portland or Medford). Finally, saint #2 of an agent helped #1 bump me up to #7 on the standby list for the last flight to Portland Sat eve. They said the chances were good, but no promises and sent me on my way, but not before asking if I had money coffee in case I didn't make it.

I rushed to security, made two final phone calls to the man and my brother (Portland resident) before the cell phone died. Note to self: if I can't find my wall charger before leaving for a big trip, I will buy an extra when I get to my destination. I ran to the gate, checked with the agent to confirm my spot, and waited.

People, it was a miracle. I stood there shaking as she printed out my boarding pass and bumping two other passengers who didn't make it to the gate in time. I have never been so relieved. It's not home, but it was close enough. After leaving a message on my brother's voicemail, I only hoped he was in town and able to pick me up from the airport late.

I'm not much of a religious person, but you can be sure I was thanking everything holy as I sat down in 9C and shoved my bag under the seat. I do believe in karma and the golden rule and I'm sure that a combination of something bigger and my own character helped me get on that plane. I also believe in getting to the airport obnoxiously early, even if it means blowing off your friends.

I may be 27 now, but that extra year has yet to make me wiser. Here's to a productive, successful, karma-filled year to you and yours! And thanks again to the great work of the Horizon/Alaska ticket agents in LAX (and everywhere). Your job is not easy.