25 December 2012

God Jul

All I want for Christmas is to have as much fun as Jimmy Fallon & the Roots are clearly having. Feliz Navidad, y'all!

05 December 2012

Vote of Confidence



The most recent episode of Survivor was the seen-it-every-season visit from a loved one. I always love this episode, as it usually (with few exceptions) is a rare, honest moment where the most base human emotions are on display. I am not sure I have ever watched it without crying my eyes watering from allergies.

Tonight and I watched, and while tearing up having the typical allergic reaction, it reminded me of a conversation I'd had while watching one such episode with my parents.

We discussed who my brother would have as his "loved one" should he go on the show. I pondered for myself, "I wonder who I would bring..." and as I started to throw out guesses, my dad had a very matter-of-fact reaction:

"Yeah, right...as if you'd ever make it that far."

Funny because it was probably true...I'd be voted off the island quickly as I'd be starving if there were only fish to eat and at a severe level of crankiness...but, wow, thanks for the vote of confidence!

22 November 2012

21 November 2012

I'm Sold: SPIbelt

There are a few things I can't do without when I run: comfortable shoes, my keys, a ponytail holder, and music. I generally try to have an ID or insurance card with me, as well, since the drivers in my town pay little attention to things like people crossing the street.

For the past few years, when I am on a solo (i.e. sans doggie) run or in a race, I've used an armband for my iPhone, and shoved my keys & cards in a small pocket in my pants, or perhaps in my socks, depending on what I was wearing. This started to become a less-than-ideal situation, since my armband seemed to start outgrowing my arms, meaning I often ended up carrying the armband-wrapped iPhone in my hands.

I don't really care to carry things in my hands while I run.

My friend A had been a long-time proponent of a little belt worn around her waist -- almost a fanny pack of sorts, at least to me. I generally don't like anything around my waist, either, but had gotten rather used to it since running with my dog using a hands-free leash. After one last time of my phone ending up around my wrist because I couldn't get the armband tight enough, I caved and bought myself one of these belt doo-hickies.

And I love it.

The SPIbelt is a belt outfitted with a small, neoprene pouch large enough to hold a phone, car key, money, and an ID or card or two. It sits very close to your body, and, the best thing, it doesn't move while you're running. It was so still, in fact, I often forgot I even had it on.

The size out of the package is deceiving...it is so small it's hard to believe it will hold all your goods. But hold them it does. I even had space to spare. And, despite being weighted down with all the goods, it didn't move, at all. I wore it just around my hips, and there it sat.

So call me a convert. How I got along without this gem of an accessory for so long I am not sure.

19 November 2012

Like, Gag Me with a Spoon


This past weekend, a group of friends & I tumbled out of bed far too early (well, rather, we had stayed out far too late the night before...rookie move) to head over to the park and participate in the first Awesome 80's Run.

Despite our moods, we were excited to get all dressed up in various shades of neon, put our hair in side pony's or pigtails, and head over to the event. As we rolled up, we could hear the 80's music pounding throughout the concourse, and we were ready to dance (and did...nothing like an 8am dance party).

We took our tutu-clad behinds over to the start line, and that's where things went downhill. The chute for the start was on the opposite side of the street, which meant crossing through folks running the 5K to get there. It also meant getting kind of yelled at if you found a break in the 5Kers to run across and get there. Because of this, we had to wait around 15 or so minutes after the start time to actually get going. It should be noted...it was important to go through the chute itself as that was the only timing mat on the entire route (until the finish).

Before I complain too much, I must say...people got REALLY into the costumes. I don't remember ever seeing so much neon in one place...there were groups of Care Bears, Pac-Man & his Ghosts, Double Dare participants, even dogs in hot 80s colors. At the start, everyone had a smile on their face and were ready to get down and have some fun.


16 November 2012

Listen Here: Love Love Love

I heard this song recently, either while I was listening to the album or to Songza (latest obsession, check it out), and it's been haunting me since.

I at first thought it was about an affair, but upon listening to it further, and looking up the lyrics, I don't think that's the case. I think, rather, it is a story of unrequited feelings, and one person taking advantage of the situation.

While it sounds better, methinks, on the album recording, I liked watching the live version so thought I would share.

To the sensitive and tender-hearted among us, I think it will resonate.

14 November 2012

Unicorn Sightings

Team "Delta Bravo" and their unicorn


Mer & another supporter of Team DB
This past week, the Red Bull Flugtag event came to San Francisco. 

My friend Meredith (in the 'fro) invited me to tag along with her to support her roommate, who had decided to make a unicorn and try to make it fly.

In which case, wouldn't it be a pegasus? 




We started off the day in the bunker area, enjoying a mimosa or three. Taking a tour around, there were some...ummm...interesting sights, including the Mystery Gang and men in huge red heels (their Flugtag was a huge shoe. Not sure how they thought that would fly, but...). These folks were definitely hoping The Mystery Machine would still be high off Shaggy's special fumes and would take them further across the water. Pretty sure that didn't happen.




The crowd was very excited, hoping to see at least one or two Flugtags make it further than 10 feet. The first couple went off the ramp and fell right into the water. Our Team DB didn't fare much better, taking a dump off the ramp pretty much right after launch.

Team DB's fans eagerly anticipate the launch
Who doesn't?





I know this event happens in other places, but it feels  very "San Francisco." In this this Neverneverland, the thought of so many Peter Pans building something they hope can make them fly, but lacking Tink's pixie dust to get it done, is pretty on the nose.

12 November 2012

Please vote!

This isn't another political post (thankfully, those elections are dunzo!).

The Princess Project, which I have talked about several times, is up for San Francisco's favorite charity.


With your help, we'll get even more comments like these:

06 September 2012

Oreo Cookie Cake

Also known as: when baking goes social.

One of the newer social media platforms is Pinterest, which makes us all want to be bakers, party planners, fashion stylists, and home decorators. But, it is also very helpful in finding something fun and a little bit different for a special day!

For me, it was my mom's birthday. I knew she liked chocolate (last year I made homemade Hostess-style cupcakes), and I knew I didn't have a ton of time to make something very complicated (see: homemade Hostess-style cupcakes). So I did a search on Pinterest, and found this recipe.

It's my first Pinterest project, and it looked so yummy, I had to share.

02 September 2012

Moment Like This

A moment in cowboy boots on a tractor. 
Earlier this summer, I took a bit of a road trip with a good friend of mine. We were on our way to another friend's wedding, but it was in a bit of a random location that required a total  of about eight hours of driving for the two of us.

Being in the car that long, we, of course, covered many topics. And one of those topics was moments. About how you can look at your life as a whole, but moments, small glimpses in time, are what really define you. Good moments, bad moments; they all make us who we are.

And, driving across a part of the country that I've never seen, and arriving to a weekend full of joy and love and fun... thinking about this could not have been more appropriate.

The first part of that drive actually occurred on my parent's 38th wedding anniversary, a moment that I am very grateful happened. And that drive was about three weeks before the second anniversary of my dad's passing (24 August), a moment I wish I hadn't experienced for 40 or 50 more years.

14 August 2012

Sentimental

Y'all know I am some kind of romantic, and cannot pass up sharing a song that is so sweet, it would give me cavities if I wasn't resistant to them.

I'm on a bit of an Avett Brothers kick lately...songs like this don't help me kick the habit.

01 August 2012

30 July 2012

You're the Best...Around...

Party and tutus, and party and tutus...

Yes, this is how my friends & I roll into a race.

No, this isn't the Bay to Breakers.

For the 4th year, I competed in the Wharf to Wharf in Santa Cruz. This 10k is billed as the "best little road race in California," and I have to agree. I have more fun doing this race than most.

This year (and last year, too), my friend A & I had a goal of finishing in under an hour. I thought I had PRed (for that course), but I was mistaken...The past three years, we'd gone in the 1.02 range, which...isn't bad, but we both felt we could do better. We had both achieved that time in other races, but W2W is a little tougher -- it's super crowded, and the first mile is clogged with people walking (seriously, people, start further back and MOVE ASIDE), so it's hard to get ahead.

15 July 2012

Reliving the 90s

Could I sweatshirts BE any bigger?
The other day I was at my mom's, and I happened upon my college photo albums. And, wow...they were a treat.

OVERALLS!
It's sometimes hard to remember what defined the 90s. The kids who grew up then often try to identify with the 80s (I became a teenager in the 80s, and identify much stronger with the 90s...kids born in the 80s are a little skewed ;-) ), so the 90s get overlooked. Which is a true shame. These pics are set firmly in the mid-90s, so are pretty much removed from the 80s fads and really are those that defined the decade.

The first thing I noticed (aside from the fact that in, about 90% of the pics, we were drinking...sorry mom, that's what I really learned in college)? All the plaid. Sometimes tucked in, often untucked, every color of the rainbow. There is hardly a picture without a peek of plaid (sometimes the shirt was tied around the waist, but it was there). And...those shirts were severely oversized. I don't think I was that much bigger in college, but my tops were at least an XL (adjusting for "vanity" sizing, I should have been about a medium back then), and this seemed to be the case for almost everyone...

11 July 2012

Cookie Me.

It's been a while, I know.

If you've somehow escaped the song of the summer...congratulations. For those of you who have been hearing it non-stop, either on the radio or in your own head, this one is for you.


16 May 2012

Hi, Mom, I May Be a While

This week (week 20) on the BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge: Difficult Travel Moments.

I've been pretty lucky in my travels...there have been a fair share of issues -- like the trip where I couldn't find two of my hostels so had to wing it and hope for the best, or others where I had to manage through weird European strikes -- but nothing compared to what I ran into on my Argentina adventure in 2005.

The day after I was supposed to leave
The whole trip had been a bit rocky. The weeks leading up to it were crazy at work, so my research was minimal. I didn't realize it would be winter, so I showed up sans jacket. I also showed up a bit hungover from my friend's wedding, a bit worried about my dad being sick for the first time ever that I remembered (he had a mursa staph infection), and without the memory cards for my new digital camera.

Luckily my brother was there for the first two days of my stay, and had an extra jacket I could use (being that he is almost a foot taller than me, it was a little big, but it worked). And I was able to pick the memory cards up at the airport. And, after a few days there, I figured out some things to do, including visiting Mendoza.

Mendoza was probably my favorite place on my trip -- the weather was a little warmer than Buenos Aires, and the city not so overwhelming. I got a little sick, so likely hopped up on cold medicine on the flight back to BsAs. Who knows...the day I left was a long one; I had an early flight and forgot my bro's jacket at the hostel, so had to book it back there and get back to the airport before my plane took off. What I do know is that on that flight, my passport disappeared from my possession -- I think I maybe put it in my pocket and it fell out, or I meant to put it in my purse and missed.

The topper? I realized it was gone on a Friday night. My plane was to leave on Sunday afternoon. This was a problem.

10 May 2012

As the Miles Stretch...

This week (week 19*) on the BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge: The Perfect Roadtrip

View from a road trip through the Andes
Anyone who knows me knows that my perfect road trip would involve me not being in a car. When 9/11 happened, I was in Atlanta, and two of my coworkers decided to rent a car to drive back to San Francisco. Someone smarter than me would have jumped into the car with them, since in the day or two after, we had no idea when planes would be up in the air again, if ever! I however, don't wish myself in a car for too long, under stress like that, on my worst enemy. (not to worry...I made it home safe and sound the Saturday after)

But, in the spirit of this challenge...a road trip. The great American dream. The open road full of potential. When I think of road trips I think of how lucky we are -- this country is so diverse, so full of natural and man-made beauty. And even just west of the Rockies, well...something surprising to me is that my bucket list may just include a trip, via a vehicle.

To me... I think the perfect road trip would consist of three people. Why three? I feel like four crowds the car too much, and two just heightens the risk of boredom. Three means one person drives, one person can nap, and one person can stay up and talk to the driver. As someone who cannot really sleep in the car, I find this to be key. Perhaps I am just jealous of those who can, but I find it rude if no one stays up with the driver. Oh, and it would be nice if all the people in the car were friends, but that's not necessary. Sometimes it's fun to go with someone who is more of an acquaintance, that way there is lots to learn. At the very least, everyone in the car should be willing to share and answer random questions, with no topics really off limits.

08 May 2012

My Seven Super Shots

My friend Francesca over at The Working Mom's Travels "tagged" me to participate in this fun challenge:  Hostelbooker's Seven Super Shots. As someone who loves talking travel, and showing off photos, I am excited to take part! Thanks, Freesia!

So, here we go.

A photo that...

1. Takes my breath away
In the Fall of 2009, I had the opportunity to visit Yosemite. I think I had been once, very briefly, for a day in college, so it felt like I was seeing it with fresh eyes. And, with every turn, I was astonished by the beauty that surrounded me. I could not believe such a place could truly exist, and even more amazing to me, that it so close to the bustling City where I spend most of my time. 


2. Makes me laugh or smile
After a long day's hike on the Cinque Terre Blue Trail, our feet were hurting and we were hungry! We had arrived back in Monterosso, taken a nap and gotten ready to go eat! But before we could go down to the restaurant, we took a little stop to dip our toes in the Med. My mom seems to so be enjoying herself here -- her first time touching the clear blue waters there! 

3. Makes me dream
When I returned to Buenos Aires after a brief visit to Mendoza (and before I realized I lost my passport), I took a rainy-day visit to La Recoleta Cemetery. This may be a strange place for dreaming -- after all, it is celebrating those that no longer have the capacity to dream -- but this particular picture has a sense of hope, of purpose. The angel in the forefront is pointing to the sky, as if telling us to believe, and the opening in the clouds in the distance, through the rain clouds, seems like the light emerging through the tough times. 

4. Makes me think
My first visit to Barcelona was in 1998, on my way back to Paris after living in Sevilla. The contrast between the two cities was amazing. I was especially struck by Gaudi, and how he influenced so much of what I was seeing in Barcelona. And nothing caused me more pause than the Sagrada Familia, the huge, unfinished cathedral. That someone dreamt up this place, and made other people believe in it so much they continue to work on it through to this day! I have visited it on two subsequent visits, and love to sit and reflect on life, dedication, and what it means to have such passion. Will I ever feel that passionate about something? 


5. Makes my mouth water



A perfect cappuccino, served to me in Vatican City prior to the tour of the necropolis and grotto. I fell in love with these cups of goodness on my trip in 2011, and while I try, nothing I have had back here in the States can even compare. Is the milk different? The espresso? Or is it just the special pleasure of partaking in such a delicate drink while in midst of a different culture, language, and routine? I'll never know.



6. Tells a story
I love the juxtaposition of these two people sitting beneath the mural of two others. The past and the present coming together in the same moment...this was mid-morning on a weekday in Cartagena, Colombia, and already oppressively hot. These two seem to be taking a break, although I do wonder what they do, since Cartagena seemed like a place where unemployment may be high. They seem deep in conversation, but there's also a chance they are just acquaintances from the neighborhood that happened upon a break at the same time. I was far enough away that they didn't see me take the photo, but they seemed so intense that I couldn't resist taking a shot.


7. I am most proud (i.e. my National Geographic shot)
Taken near Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, these little buggers were all over the place at the Bali House where we stayed. But while they were a constant, it was near impossible to get a good picture. They would poke their heads out and then quickly hide if they sensed any movement -- like a whack-a-mole! One day, I headed towards the beach, framed my shot, then patiently waited...and waited...finally, this little one popped its head out politely allowed me to snap a picture. It was a matter of seconds, but I just love this one.

I don't have any other bloggers to tag at the moment; stay tuned and I will add a few when I can!

05 May 2012

On the Road

Travel.

As a kid, I feel like I traveled quite a bit...though we barely left California and never left the USA. I was extremely to lucky to grow up where I did, where so much change -- in topography, climate, and culture -- in just a few hour's drive. Often, when thinking about "travel," many people automatically assume that means going somewhere international, and poo-poo domestic travel as "not real." And while I, too, think it is important to get out of your home country, that it helps you gains some perspective, I don't think people are inherently wrong or ignorant for doing so. We live in a huge and diverse country, hell, I live in a huge and diverse state...so even going to another part of my state can be a huge cultural shift for me. To me, travel is getting out of your comfort zone and home and experiencing something different.

Family reunion in Eureka...underneath a Redwood tree in my
aunt's backyard
This thinking, and appreciation of this type of travel, stems from how I grew up. Our vacations did not involve going to far-flung countries, or even cities or states very far away. Most of our travels as a whole family occurred within a few hours of home, and involved a car ride, wriggling in the back seat, and perhaps a punch or two -- this was before the days of any sort of entertainment in the car other than a book -- and an eventual arrival to the Redwoods or maybe the Monterey area or something. My dad's schedule (and, I think, general dislike of being too far from home) defined a lot of what we were able to do as a family of four.

I loved getting away from home for a little while. Hotels were the coolest thing when I was a kid -- there were pools! Unlimited ice in the halls! The chance to get some junk food from the vending machine RIGHT THERE! Then there was the camping -- which we still do to this day; when I was little we only did this one or two summer weekends a year, and it meant going to the River and playing with my older cousins, chasing after a kid named Neil with shaving cream for the Sadie Hawkins dance, and playing at this magical place called Piggy Park.

I do remember a few plane trips -- we went to Disneyland (every once in a while, my dad was able to join us), and once to this far-flung place called Austin, Texas, to meet relatives...I remember being on the UT campus and thinking it was the most neat-o place in the world and maybe someday I could go to school there and hang out in that huge library. But mostly I remember the car rides with the four of us.

Should I ever have kiddos, I'll be hauling them on some international travel. But equally important will be the local trips, visiting and appreciating the things we have right in our own backyard, and understanding how those experiences are vitally important to the people they will become.



This is a part of the BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge. Each week, they give a different prompt...I'm starting a little late; this is in response to week 18, "Family Travel."


I'm working on catching up!

03 May 2012

A'shopping We Will Go

Flea Markets are one of those things I've never understood. How people can get so excited about a glorified garage sale (my perception) was something extremely foreign to me. I am not much of a shopper, period, unless I have something specific that I need/want. It is...exhausting.

Nope, not a trunk.
Recently, I found myself in need of sprucing up my home a bit. I am bored with things, and hate some of the things I have, and just need to make some changes. One such change includes a new coffee table, which, I would like to be an old travel-style trunk. While this is something I guess I could spend some gross amount of money on at Pottery Barn, I wanted to find something more authentic (oh, and, I don't have even close to a gross amount of money). I had heard through the grapevine (and read on the interwebs) that this is the sort of thing I could find at garage sales/flea markets/antique stores.

Enter Treasure Island Flea Market.

This market is relatively new -- about a year -- and they are doing a great job promoting it. I have seen it referenced in emails, on buses, from friends...enough that I definitely took note of it (and I tend to not notice a lot). Treasure Island doesn't always feel super accessible -- you have to get on the bridge and, more dauntingly, merge back mid-way to get back home -- but it is only about 10 minutes or less outside of the City.

It was a lovely Sunday that my friends & I headed over. Driving through the Island, we noticed a proliferation of wineries -- also very new information! We spilled out of the car, four people and 2 dogs, and headed on in, prepared to be wowed.

At one of the first stalls I happened upon, I found some great trunks. Not being an impulse buyer (ahem), I decided to keep trucking on to see what else may be out there, and could I get the best deal. I was absolutely fascinated by 1. how common these old trunks seem to be, 2. what else was being sold there. One booth had the mixing bowls my mom owns -- white with green flowers that she got for a wedding gift in 1974 -- for 12$/each. Another had a bunch of junk items from my childhood for prices way higher than what we paid way back when.

And then we came upon this stall that was selling homemade signage with various inspirational quotes...and these cute, bicycle-like push carts. Both my friend A & I were entranced...oh, the things we could do with these carts. Again, not being impulse buyers, we walked away...but were drawn back moments later after talking each other into them. They are all homemade from recovered parts, and are super, super cute. To me, it was the kind of thing you see in wine country for some crazy price. These were very reasonable. I only wish the vendor had a company name or website or anything where I could recommend them -- a wife & husband, nice as can be.

With our major purchases under our belt, our energy was spent, and it was time to head off to drink some wine and toast our success.

Not sure if I personally would head back out there anytime soon, but it was a really fun experience. There were tons of people & pooches, a bike demonstration, and a whole "food court" of trucks. If I need something unique or more vintage, this would be a great starting (and possibly finishing) point. For now, I will content myself with my new bicycle cart and figuring out what to do with it.

Held the last weekend of each month. Admission is 3$, and they sometimes offer specials from the discount sites that include wine tasting and food from the food trucks.

22 April 2012

Young.Fun.

Too funny not to share...and sadly parts are a little too close to home, even though I feel young!


19 April 2012

5 for 10

5 years. Each year, the Presidio10.

see what I did there? I crack myself up.


It was a cool day, this April morning...a cool fog hung low over Chrissy Field, muffling the sounds of the announcer reminding us how to put on our toe tags (or, since that was too morbid for the guy who walked up, bent over, and fixed mine, the shoelace timer chip) and making sure we all were ready to start running, if only to keep warm.

After a...umm...stirring rendition of the national anthem, the countdown began and we were off running.

The course this year was super crowded. My friend A got a good lane and sprinted off ahead of us, basically kicking @ss on the race. We could see her running hard ahead of us and tried to cheer her on...but yells don't carry so far over the din of Golden Gate Bridge traffic. My friend R & I were left behind her, and some people who just would not let us pass -- including the woman who pretty much threw elbows to not let us pass her as we approached the finish line. I did appreciate the people who shouted, "On the left" as they bowled past us...I need to try that tactic next time!

Each time I run one of these races, and finish, I find myself a little amazed. Me. A runner. Not a very quick one, but as The Penguin said at a speech before my first half-marathon, it is about finishing to the best of your own abilities. I think back to the days spent struggling to run a mile at soccer practice, or the coach getting mad at me for perhaps cheating on a long run for lacrosse (or at least walking a lot of it), and if you had told that girl that she would be actually looking forward to a run, much less signing up for races, she would have smacked ya in the face in disbelief.

Of course, the carrot at the end of the stick was in the form of beer. Cold, delicious beer, served up by some handsome dudes. Can't beat that!

16 April 2012

Best Things: Osprey Porter 46 Travel Pack

The first time I went to Europe, to live then travel, I brought two pieces of luggage -- a huge suitcase and a backpack I had borrowed from a friend. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I probably needed about 1/2 of what I brought, even though I would be over there for several months. But...travel & learn.

When it came time to actually travel, I left the big suitcase and went with the pack -- a nice and humongous Eagle Creek pack with a day pack attachment. The pack was made for someone at least 5'7", and again, was chock-full of my worldly possessions.

Flash forward 15 years -- many more trips, many roller suitcases, many cobbled streets, back injuries, tired arms from lugging said roller suitcases up staircases, and education about how backpacks should fit -- and finally I decided it was time to invest in a pack of my own.

I did a fair amount of research and knew what I wanted -- a pack small enough for me (5'4"), small enough to fit as a carryon, and large enough to fit all I'll need for at least a two week trip. A few months before I left for Colombia, I headed over to REI to see if they could suit me up.

And voila, suit me up they did. I was presented with the Osprey Porter 46, an awesome, compact pack that fit the bill. I promptly started to use the pack for all my weekend trips, and was amazed just how much could fit into the pack. It seemed to hold almost as much as my "carry-on" roller suitcase (I'll admit, it is rather large for a carry-on).  I could even just stuff a bunch of stuff in there sloppily, and then use the straps to squeeze it all in.

When it came time to pack for Colombia, I was easily able to get everything in there with extra space. Even as I jammed more in there, I could very easily fit it in every overhead bin I tried. While it didn't happen this trip, if I did need to check it, the straps can be hidden so as to comply with the regulations.

The only fault I can find with the bag is that the waist strap doesn't hold as tight as I would like, so that puts a little added pressure on my shoulders. This is fine for shorter jaunts, but does get tiring after a while.

Overall, though, I am super pleased. I only wish I had invested in something like this a long time ago!

12 April 2012

Ready Ready Ready to Run

Whoo-hoo, we finished!

I did my first half marathon in 2004 -- the inaugural Nike Marathon for Women, and probably the toughest I have ever done (the hills! more hills! never-ending hills!). Since then, I have done several others, averaging about one a year. Each time, I say this will be my last, that my body can't take it, my knees hurt too much, it's too far... Each time, hoping to go out with a bang at a really awesome race.

And, each time, finding myself finishing and already thinking about what my next one will be. Most recently, by the time I crossed the finish line at the Healdsburg Half, I was already looking ahead to the next time I could make my body hurt so good.

I chose the Oakland Running Festival half marathon as my next. I had heard really good things about it from previous years, including that it ran by Farmer's Produce -- by dad's business and what ended up being the launch pad to his next journey. This was a daunting prospect as I hadn't been anywhere near there since the summer of 2010. I was drawn to it, however, because it was close to home and perhaps I'd see some familiar faces, both on the course and at the finish line.

As the day approached, the weather reports did not look so hot. I spent at least two days trying to figure out how to best dress for 2.5 hours of constant downpour...and was none too happy. When the day rolled around to go pick up our race packets, we were greeted with an unpleasantly cold rain. People tried to tell me running in the rain was GREAT! THE BEST. I respectfully disagreed.

But, when the morning of the race rolled around, the sun decided to fight through the clouds and send its rays down on us. Unfortunately, due to the forecast, many of the route bands and spectators stayed away (couldn't blame them), but those that were out there were awesome. We especially enjoyed the unexpected brownie bites from Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland. Those should be required in every race!

Running past the market took me by surprise...thankfully my running partner kept talking as we went by and didn't get too weirded out by my sudden tears and inability to breathe. I was sure glad to get that over with.

That all said...eventually we finished, with my mom & aunt cheering us on at the finish line. Not anywhere near the time I would have liked, but, oh well, sometimes thems the breaks. Half Marathon #8 in the books, and I am, again, trying to figure out when my next 13.1 will be run!

09 April 2012

The Great Search

Occasionally, I take a peek at how people are finding this blog. This particular search has to be one of the best...

I do hope the person was eventually able to cover his/her hickey, though I hope they did not use the fake tanner I did.

25 February 2012

Running.

The other day I googled myself (as you do), and found that a lot of my results are times from races. This was rather cool...I can't remember all the races I've been in and certainly don't remember much about the times, unless I did really well (Santa Cruz 10K, I'm looking at you).

I am gearing up for my next 1/2 marathon, and really hoping to bring my time down from the last one. I feel like I have stagnated around the same time throughout my running days...however, finding these results, I can see there's been a definite improvement! And this has me totally inspired as I continue my training (ok, yeah, so I use training loosely).

The race where this is most evident is the Presidio10. I've participated in this race 4 times, with a 5th coming up this year, and loved it every time. Evidently, I've also improved my time!
2008 - 1:15.41
2009 - 1:08.56
2010 - 1:09.56 (the exception...I had arrived home from Costa Rica at about 1am that morning then ran...)
2011 - 59.51

Running is a solitary sport that, for someone like me, lacks the instant gratification of a team sport. I am never going to win first place, never break the ticker tape...so really my only gauge is how I do against my friends in the moment, and against the clocks of other races. So seeing these side by side is really a validation, for me, that whatever I am doing works.

Does this mean I'll do better in my upcoming 1/2? I have no idea...my friend Mark, who ran with me in Healdsburg, signed up to run with me again...he's a lot faster than me so hopefully that will push me like it did in October.

22 February 2012

Read This: Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?


I know have written a few times about how I wish I had to talent to make seemingly ordinary things read like they are extraordinary. I know this happened when I read  I was Told There'd be Cake


Actually, it happens pretty much every time I write here. Is what I am saying of interest to anyone? Do I much care? (while I tell myself this blog is a way to keep my writing skills on the semi-sharp side, as well as keep in touch with overseas friends...truth is, I would like it to be interesting, too!) 

When I saw Mindy Kaling was coming out with a book, I was pretty excited. She seems like a pretty normal person, despite the fact that her character in The Office is an outward expression, it seems, of all the parts of our personalities we try to keep hidden. She's a writer, not a glamour-puss...generally seems cool.

After reading this book, I am even more convinced of that. At times I was in hysterics (one of those times I was in an airport shuttle on my way to Disneyland...I am sure the older couple in the van with me thought I was cray), at times wondering how she was writing about my own life, and the rest trying to come up with a plan on how we could get her in my group of friends*.

There is an authenticity in this book that I don't often see. Kaling lays it all out there...from pictures of her as a youth with rather unfortunate haircuts and clothing, to the truth behind heartbreak, to her complete lack of ability to pull the most important of moves -- the Irish Goodbye. She also talks quite a bit about her early struggles as an actor and writer, with no sugar coating or rosy endings (I guess...except that her career turned out rather rosy, but she definitely had to work for it). Even the title is a question we don't like to admit we ask ourselves, but often do.

I was truly sad when this book ended...and again wondering if there was any way to make my life sound this interesting,.

* my friend A agrees that she would fit right in with us...at some point we'll figure out how to make it happen.

12 February 2012

Week in Pictures: Around the Hood

Ok...so this is actually two weeks of pics. I think I did a little better! Most of these were taken around my fabulous neighborhood...And, yes, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom even though it's only February!

Next Week: Signs
 






01 February 2012

Listen Here: Everybody Hurts

For as long as I can remember, R.E.M. has been my favorite band. While they've been around my whole lifetime, I am not sure when I initially became conscious of them...I know I had tapes of their music, so it must have been after albums, but before CDs.

I wouldn't call myself a superfan by any means, I have always reserved that for very important bands like NKOTB. But there are very few songs by R.E.M. that I don't like. One of my favorite memories is driving up from my freshman year at college to see them, for the first time, with tickets my uncle got for me, on a road trip with my friend Houser. It was also the last time I got to see my grandmother, which makes the whole trip, and memory, more special. Later, Houser wrote out all the lyrics to What's the Frequency, Kenneth for me. I probably still have that somewhere.

They recently called it a career, and came out with a pretty awesome retrospective album, which I promptly downloaded (how about that; I have them on 3 mediums!)(not cool, I know). I play my music on shuffle, so never know what's coming  next.

The other day, Everybody Hurts popped on, and whoa, my mind went reeling. This song came out my senior year of high school, and I remember the first time I heard it was a few days before my senior retreat. I remember that because on the way to said retreat, I was told that one of the girls with us had tried to commit suicide a night or two before, and I remember wishing I could go buy the cassette single for her and let her know that she wasn't alone. (I am happy to report that said girl is alive and happy and well, and I have no clue if this rumor was true) This song got me through tough times, too, in that way that only a somber song can.


29 January 2012

Week in Pictures: A Day in the Life

So I did a little better this week!

Next week: Around the 'hood
Wall of Fame 
Tree-line streets on the morning walk
Running errands and thinking of my pals in Sweden
Strolling down Fillmore Street
Lovely city views from the park

22 January 2012

Week in Pictures: Beauty

This is much harder than I thought! I got three in, though...I swear I will complete the week one of these days!

Next week: A Day in the Life

A tulip in its final day...

He is a true  beauty
If you look closely, you ca see the moon in those clouds.
 The purple skyline was unbelievable.