Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Decade in Review

A tweet from Annabelle got me thinking about the New Year. Instead of recapping 2009, she looked back at the past decade, which got me to do the same. It has been a remarkable 10 years, full of major highs and lows. Here are the highlights in no particular order (for both good and bad):

  • Graduated college, started college, graduated college, started college
  • Moved 1 billion times up and down the west coast
  • Visited 15 states: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Minnesota, Maryland, and New York
  • Traveled through 12 different countries: Canada, England, France (2x), Switzerland, Austria, Germany (2x), Italy (2x), Greece, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Spain, and Jamaica
  • Saw the Pope on Easter
  • Skied the Alps
  • Maintained childhood friendships, rekindled ones of old, and created new lifelong ones
  • Witnessed vows of love, and new baby blessings
  • Ran countless miles, including two 1/2 marathons, 1 full marathon, and a triathlon
  • Sent my grandfather Abel out to sea
  • Said goodbye to the tough Norwegian bird that was my great-grandmother Olga
  • Got to know my sister and brother
  • Said a tearful, heart-wrenching farewell to the greatest person I have ever known: my grandfather Lyle
  • Met and married the love of my life
  • Laughed, loved, cried, danced, sang, played, praised, hugged, mourned, fished, swam, skied, biked, snorkeled, celebrated, cheered, indulged, humbled, and always was, and am, eternally grateful for every day on this earth
  • Along with countless other things I am sure to recall later on.
I have never been a big resolution maker, but last New Year's eve, I made a new year's goal to run a marathon, which I made happen. I feel that goals are easier to strive to, so for the next decade my list of goals is great--none too overwhelming, and hopefully all accomplishable. I hope they are celebrated with you all.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Taking a break from finals

Yesterday I took a momentary break from finals, to go with Ben and get our Christmas tree. We ended up getting it from the same place as last year, but there was one big difference...oh about a mile. Last year, we hiked uphill to right about where we live now, and carried our tree home...1 mile. This doesn't sound like a long way...but with a Christmas tree, the mile is amplified.

Anyways, after our 2 block walk to the tree lot yesterday, we settled on what we thought was a Charlie Brown size noble fir. It was so small that Ben could carry it by himself. But once we got home we realized it was a lot bigger than it looked outside, and is absolutely perfect for our little place. Due to the unfortunatel incident that happened during the move, we only have 3 ornaments, but we've made do. There is also our dried red pepper making an appearance on the tree...and one of my new favorite ornaments (see below):


Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Ozzie, one of our new ornaments from Crate & Barrel

A perfect place for a NY marathon finisher's medal.

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Start spreading the news....

Ah...New York...what a wild ride.

I'm not sure where to start...with the marathon...or leading up to it...basically the whole trip was a blur.

Well let's start with the good stuff: WE FINISHED THE MARATHON!!!!!!!!

Ben, Dan, and I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning feeling slightly more anxious than we wanted to admit. The day before we had walked through Central Park and saw the finish line. Two things happened at this point:

1. Right before we crossed the 26 mile banner, Ben and Dan took a great photo, demonstrating a move, that I am pretty sure both would still struggle with completing today:

and

2. We all started to feel incredibly anxious, nauseous, and found ghost pains all over our body, which is how I continued to feel until we crossed the start line.

So nervous, anxious, and excited we caught the subway to Manhattan, took the 6:15 a.m. ferry out to Staten Island (with a great view of the Statue of Liberty, and two girls doing the walk of shame home after a wild Halloween night, not expecting to be surrounded by 44,000 runners--classic). Then on to the buses to Fort Wadsworth and let the waiting begin.

Since the race didn't start for another couple of hours, the four of us (Annabelle met us there) sat around, ate bagels, waited in the bathroom line, wrote our names on shirts, and got more and more nervous. Two things I learned to bring to future races from this ordeal: your own toilet paper, and something to sit on. Annabelle took off first since she is much faster than us, and then 30 minutes later it was time to start.

The marathon started with a cannon blast, and good old Frank Sinatra singing "Start spreading the news" and then we were off. The whole marathon was incredible. Fun at times, agonizing at others, but overall a memorable experience that I will never forget.

The first 11 miles ticked off pretty easily, especially with the help of the cheering crowds in Brooklyn and awesome bands. We high-fived, pumped our arms in the air, laughed, and throughly enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately during Mile 11, Ben's poor IT Bands flared up, and at Mile 14, we made a heart-wrenching decision to each run at our own pace. I caught up to Dan at Mile 17 and we ended up finishing the race hand in hand, with Ben just a little bit behind us. Miles 18-22 were the toughest for me. I wasn't winded or tired, but by that point everything started to hurt...the bottoms of my feet, knees, hips, and lower back. To say I hit the wall would be an understatement. I basically hit it, and then drug it behind me for a few miles. But once we reached Mile 23 I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It also helped that I saw Michael J. Fox cheering for Team Fox right before that mile marker.

The last 3.2 miles Dan and I didn't stop, or even get liquids at the aid stations. Instead we committed to finishing, soaked up Central Park, and finished with smiles on our faces. When Ben crossed a little later I cried. If you've ever had IT band issues you know how painful they are...and to run with them hurting for 16+ miles is remarkable, to say the least. At one point Ben said he would just plant one leg and sweep the other one around so to not bend his knees...amazing is how I describe him and his efforts....amazing.

Annabelle was waiting at the recovery tent with Michael (who was working the event), and we sat and shared stories, huddled under our foil blankets, and sat in shock. Overall, it was more memorable then I can describe.

During the run, especially toward the end, I thought that this was probably my last marathon. However the New York Times, captured it beautifully. The next day they ran an ad saying "Today, I bet you think you'll never do a marathon again....See you next year." Now that the pain has worn off, I'm ready to set a new PR...

Maybe next year.

Annabelle at the Expo. (This was the easy part).

On the Staten Island ferry...tired, nervous, and excited. (Statue of Liberty real small in the back).

The four finishers and the man that made it all happen.

Here are some other fun pics from the trip:

Ben and Lego Chewbacca.

In Central Park.

On top of the Empire State Building.

What a marathon finisher's plate looks like the day after the race.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Final Countdown...

Ben and I landed bright and early yesterday morning feeling a little delirious from not sleeping for 24 hours (as a side note, I think I am an anomaly b/c even Ambien does not work for me when flying on a plane). Yesterday was spent walking around the city, getting our race stuff at the expo, taking a 3 hour nap, eating lots, and spotting our first celebrity (America Ferrera). We are now getting ready and going to head out to Central Park.

Today will be spent walking around some more, going up the Empire State Building, and lots of other fun touristy things. Tonight we will crave pumpkins, carbo load, and go to bed early with what I anticipate will be a bunch of nerves. Ben thinks he is getting a blister, I am kicking myself for not bringing better walking shoes, and Annabelle swears next time she is going to wrap herself in bubble wrap....

I think we're ready.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Famous? Oh Yeah.

Here is part of my 15 seconds of fame:

http://uwnews.org/uweek/article.aspx?id=53177

Monday, October 26, 2009

Follow us on Race Day

So if you want...not that you will...but just in case (mainly this is for my mom)...you can track us on race day and see how we are doing. Just sign-up at: http://athletealert.ingnycmarathon.org/Alerts.aspx and then add us as your runners to watch!

Inspiration Sent by Grace

Grace sent Ben and I this card today:
I literally almost did what this card said not to do, from laughing so hard. 

Thank you my friend. Thank you.

Four More Days

Okay, so the marathon is technically in 7 days, but we leave in 4 days....excited? I can barely contain myself. I am still paranoid of all of the germ carriers on campus, and will keep Purrel stock up until we get back. Then as of Therese's recommendation I will relax a little, so I don't create the next super-bacteria that wears a cape and laughs at your pitiful trying to stay healthy precautions.

Other areas of concern? Not hurting myself, which is easier said then done. Yesterday I was walking on a sidewalk maintaining an inner dialogue that went something like: "Angela, you should really wear better footwear. Your Ugg boots are slightly too big, and you need to make sure you don't do something stupid like roll your ankle. Okay focus...one foot in front of the other." As I was having this conversation to myself, my ankle literally rolled off the sidewalk and gave me a heart attack. 

But I am loving the taper mode, which basically forces me not to run long distances (very helpful with trying to manage time). The training is complete and all I have left to do is finish my school work, pack my bag, and pick a mantra that will push me through the wall. I am open for suggestions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Great Day

Yesterday was a wonderful day. After spending Friday night running around Lake Union and eating victory nachos outside at the Nickerson Street Salon with my wonderful friend Annabelle, I went to sleep thinking it was a great night. And then I woke up Saturday and realized I was going to harness Friday night and turn it into a great Saturday. SO, yesterday I:
  • Spent the morning with Ben lounging around the house
  • Got new running shorts, that have a boy short underneath. (I can't wait to try them out on our long run tomorrow!)
  • Ate a Molly Moon's ice-cream cone ('scout' mint) before lunch
  • Picked up my library books that finally came in
  • Enjoyed the beautiful hot Seattle late-summer day
  • Watched the Huskies beat Idaho...Go Dawgs!
  • Read one of my new books
  • Watched a movie
  • Made a salad out of my Runner's World magazine, which was delicious (sweet potato & bacon?...yumm)
  • And thoroughly  embraced relaxing on one of my last day's before school starts.
I am excited for fall, but as long as summer wants to keep giving us these warm sunny days, I am going to make sure to enjoy them to the fullest. What did you do? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Lovely Weekend...and A Hint of What is to Come

The last week was filled with family, friends, love, laughter, good food and wine, and the beginning of my favorite season. My aunt Darla flew in from southern California Wednesday evening and we spent Thursday traversing throughout Seattle. We ate at one of her favorite old breakfast spots in Greenwood (Phinney Ridge Cafe), and window shopped our way through the University Village and of course Target, where she bought Ben and I a beautiful new house warming present: a living room rug that is soft to walk on and not covered in four years worth of memories. We then dined at Ben's restaurant, gorging ourselves on scallops, halibut, and the best dessert: peach crepes with black sea salt. 

Early Friday morning, Ben and I headed south to Eugene to be a part of Allan and Kelda's wedding weekend. There we ate well (Belly for the rehearsal dinner), helped with last minute adjustments as the less than 1% chance of rain decided it wanted to be a wedding guest, and watched our friends exchange their vows. 


(Ben and I before the ceremony)

(The lovely bride)

(Her grandmother's veil)

My favorite part of the evening was finding all of Kelda's personal touches, including little birds everywhere (my absolute favorite). Here is an example of one hanging out in the cream puffs (side note: I ate 7 cream puffs...and 1 cupcake...and a lemon bar--don't judge me...they were delicious). 

We then headed back North to visit more family and friends, and then drove to Seattle in a monsoon. I have never been on the freeway when out of the blue, all the cars slow down 20 mph, when there is open road. But you literally could not see out the window...scary to say the least. Back at the house we spent the rest of the weekend hanging pictures (no bare walls!), hanging out with family, and tackling a 14 mile run. Yes, you read that right...14. Now I know we're training for a marathon (26.2 miles), but 14 is still a big deal to me...it's the longest either of us have ever run (see Ben, I didn't write about what you thought I would write about...yet...).

Overall, the weekend was lovely...but the icing on the cake was that I saw signs of my favorite season: fall. I'm not sure if it was the cup of tea, the change in the air, or the fact that I heated up my frog warm-up that Therese gave me in an effort to loosen up my back...but I got a glimpse of it. And guess what...I LOVE FALL!

Why you ask? 

Well, the simple answer is because it's BEAUTIFUL. The leaves change and outside looks like a painting. But I also love: the beginning of football season , when the air turns crisp, and back to school and all the anticipation it brings. Plus, after a long hot summer, snuggling up with a cup of tea in a warm sweater starts to be very inviting. The cool nights allow for better sleeping, and there is the hint of the holidays, which brings fun movies that you save for those special times, meals that your mother made meant to put meat on your bones, and fun decorations. The speed also slows down for awhile (at least until the end of November). Gone are the plan-filled weekends that last from the 4th of July to Labor Day, and instead they are full of long runs through RED, YELLOW, and ORANGE filled streets, chili in the crockpot, my Jake Locker jersey, and a fresh start. 

I have always felt like Fall is the true beginning of the year. There is just something about it that says clean, crisp, new, and refreshing. I could go on and on...carmel apple ciders, carving pumpkins, etc.  I hope everyone had a lovely Labor Day weekend, and please enjoy the last summer days we have...because the leaves are changing...literally.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some Kitchen Context for my Mother

Here are a couple of photos to give the Mickey post a little more context.

The full kitchen and bar area:

When you walk into our place, the door is in the middle of the room and if you look left you see the above image, and to the right is the living room. There are windows on each side of the door, and underneath each are the dining room nook (you can see my bike tire in the lower left hand corner--it is leaning up against the table); and to the right under the window is my office area.

Here you get a glimpse of the living room and the neat bookshelf that our landlords didn't want to part with, but also did not want to ship to Atlanta. It originally was under the living room window, but after Ben and I both almost had a meltdown trying to figure out how to keep it under the window and fit a desk in the new place, we decided it fit perfect under the bar, and we didn't have any barstools anyway.

Around the corner of the bar is the hall/bathroom/bedroom area. These are all the pics for now--at least until we hang some stuff on the walls....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Secret Addiction

Thinking Ben and I have a  problem: 


What's even sadder is that this was just from the pencil holder, and does not contain the numerous Sharpies scattered throughout the rest of the house. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Things Around the House

There are a few little things around our new house that I really enjoy. Not the place itself (although I am rather fond of the ice machine), but things that we brought with us. With the loss of my Christmas ornaments during the move, I realized that they were just "things," and what matters most is not the objects but the people around you that make the objects memorable (I won't lie though--I still miss my ornaments and hope that the person who found them really needed them...but I digress). So I'm not too attached to the "things," but since they were not accidentally left in the free box, I'm going to celebrate them, because they make me smile. Case in point: Mickey.

Now as most of you know, I am rather fond of Disneyland. Yes, the lines are long, and there are lots of kids, but if you go at the right time (during the week after Labor Day), you get to act like a kid yourself and run from ride to ride eating as much ice cream and churros as your little heart desires. I enjoy the uninhibited freedom that Disneyland invokes, and brings out the playful kid in all of us.

When Ben went with me to Disneyland for the first time I was a little nervous. Would he act like a kid himself, or laugh at how I skip from ride to ride? Although this is not entirely fair to him, I had predetermined that Disneyland was the deal breaker or maker. I needed to be with someone who could let loose, and as soon as he turned to me and giggled before our cart took off on Space Mountain, I knew I had a keeper.

After our long day of fast passing, Ben and I decided to buy our first souvenir together. We went through each shop and finally decided on some matching coffee mugs. Yet, when we bought them the sales receipt said at the bottom: "WARNING: PRODUCT CONTAINS LEAD PAINT THAT MAY CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS." The sales clerk told us that the state of California MADE THEM put that on the receipt, and he assured us they were fine (SIDE NOTE: thank you California for looking out for my health). Ben and I looked at each other, and back at the store and decided that we did not have the energy to find new souvenirs, and that we just wouldn't drink out of them until babies were born, and we couldn't harm our future kids with our "happiest place on earth" memorabilia. At the old place we hid them so none of our guests would accidentally be exposed to lead paint, but at the new diggs they are happily displayed on a top shelf (perfect placement by Margaret):




So when you come visit, please note that for your safety, you CANNOT drink out of them--cute as they may be.

The second time we went to Disneyland, we decided on something a little smaller, and that no one could get poisoned from:

I just love this little guy. He happily sits on the stove and watches over the kitchen. This was his spot at the old place, and he does such a good job looking out for the kitchen that he now has a permanent spot no matter where we live.


He shares the stove with my favorite green teapot Ben got me in San Francisco, the salt and pepper, and the adorable little vase that Blythe got me for Christmas that we hold oil in. You'll also notice the brown lump on the other side of the stove. It's a snake, although it kind of resembles a pile of poo. Mickey is not happy about it, and I am also not too thrilled, but that is where Ben wanted it. Since he tolerates the Mickey's all over and giggles on Space Mountain, this one he can have.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Danskin Completed!

Sunday was a very exciting and fulfilling day. To start off with...I FINISHED the triathlon! I know that is typically how the blogpost should end, and there were many ladies wearing pink shirts that had a quote from my favorite Runner's World writer Larry Bingham (aka The Penguin) that said something to the effect that the "great thing isn't that I finished, it's that I started," but to me, finishing was a big deal. 

AND a HUGE congratulations to Katie, Sara, Connie, Margaret and the rest of the Longview ladies, and the triathlon ass-kicker Becky. Everyone had a great race, but Becky decided for her first triathlon she would show the Danskin what's going on and finished 3rd in our age group, 27th overall (out of 5,000 women) and a ridiculous 2nd overall in the swim (1/2 mile in 11:02...damn!). I've decided we're going to start entering her professionally. WAY TO GO LADIES!!!

Here are a few pictures that I stole off Facebook (I illegally entered through Grace's account), so beware the site might crash again

Here is Becky and I super nervous waiting to get the show on the road:


This is the start of our swim. Class #26 red caps! I'm pretty sure Becky was around the first buoy by the time I was still waiting to start and peeing on everyone. (Yes, I am aware that is too much information, but it's true...I also peed when I exited the water and ran to my bike. I never knew I had a hidden super talent, but apparently it's peeing anywhere, even while running. Don't get too grossed out, I was completely covered in water, and urine is a disinfectant---WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION)...OKAY I get it....moving on...


What I learned from the swim is that next time I will wear a wetsuit. The water was a little choppy and right away I drank almost half of Lake Washington, which freaked me out more than I ever thought it would. So instead of pumping out the freestyle like I've been practicing for months and months, I did a lot of the backstroke, breaststroke, and anything that would keep my butt afloat (even floating on my back and just kicking). The water temp was great, but the buoyancy of a wetsuit gives you more freedom to use your energy to propel forward instead of trying to stay on top of the water. Overall, I am proud that I finished the swim in under 20 minutes, since that was my weakest leg going into the race, but next time I won't get so freaked out and/or hydrate myself in the lake.

The next leg was the biking portion....a 12 mile ride over I-90 on the Express Lanes, onto Mercer Island and then back again. I witnessed two crashes because some ladies could not downshift fast enough, but I managed to weave through the chaos (42 minutes and change).

Lastly came the 5K run. I'm not sure if you've ever rode a bike hard for a while and then tried to go running, but if you ever want to experience what some have labeled the "Kona shuffle"...give it a shot. You feel like your legs are going as fast as they can, but you're not sure they're actually moving. My goal of the running portion was to pump until I couldn't pump anymore. Becky captured two great photos of this at the finish line:

Me pumping to pass the lady in front of me....

and victory times two (passing her and finishing with a 8:53 pace!)....


The race was both amazing and interesting. When we finished I wasn't sure I would want to do one again. It was a strange concept for me to be racing when you have to change activities and try to keep going fast while you're unsuccessfully trying to pull a dry shirt over a soaking body. I literally got stuck and had to ask another racer to help pull my shirt down--not my finest part of the race. 

Yet now that two days have passed, I am experiencing the racing high and am very stoked, (and even proud) of myself for taking on this challenge, giving it everything I had, and finishing with a respectable time, fun memories, a great bonding experience with other ladies (especially my friends)....and a little piece of hardware:


So yes, I think I will take on this challenge again...and maybe lasso Becky's leg during the swim.

Last, but definitely not least...I owe a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported and cheered us all on, especially a few die hards who came out bright and early, and without their cheers I'm not sure I would have continued to push as hard. It's amazing what a few "Go Angs" can do when you're exhausted from getting out of the lake, pushing the pedals, or cranking out the last few miles. THANK YOU to all our well-wishers who were just waking up at the start of the race and sent lovely messages, and support throughout the whole training process!

To the fans who were present...THANK YOU....most especially ANNABELLE, and my swim coach KATIE, who got up early and biked to the race to cheer us on, but also provided doughnuts afterwards to a hungry athlete (thanks Annabelle!!!)...and to the two superfans who got up at 5:30 a.m. (one with only a few hours of sleep under his belt). 

Thank you SEAN and BEN! 

And a special double thank you to my support, my rock, and my devoted husband. You are amazing!

And as I started, I will finish...I DID IT!

Cheers!






Saturday, August 15, 2009

Argghh!

I'm all marked up and ready to go to bed, with visions of a triathlon dancing in  my head. At 7:58 a.m. tomorrow start thinking good encouraging thoughts for #3610....arghhh!!!



P.S. Notice anything in the background? As soon as I cross the finish line it's time to celebrate....ARGHH!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mr. Ben Knutsen-Phelps

Yesterday in swim class we did a time trial for the triathlon (1/2 mile swim). Now to me, swimming laps in a pool is like running on a treadmill. All I think about is wanting to stop, how much longer I have, and if I'm going to make it. After 100 yards, I seriously contemplated quitting and catching my breath (my quitter moment), but I pushed through the mental block and finished. As always in swim class, I finished last, but when I was done and she told me my time I felt like this: 

Then I joked with Ben all night that it was kind of like he was married to Michael Phelps...or more like his pinky toe. I stopped when Ben said it was creeping him out, even though I assured him Michael Phelps would probably be a fun partner to have around. The point is I was excited...so excited I high-fived the girl next to me. Granted I'm more like a turtle than Phelps, but to me it was a great accomplishment. Bring on Danskin. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

What Happens when I Log in:

After my post about Facebook I logged into Grace's account (with her permission) to see some of the pictures from the reunion and this happened: 

Facebook also experienced a failure, but it was not clear whether the disturbance was related to the attack on Twitter.

“Earlier this morning, Facebook encountered network issues related to an apparent distributed denial-of-service attack that resulted in degraded service for some users,” the company said in a statement. (New York Times)

I'm pretty sure it was because I logged in. Further evidence that I shouldn't be on Facebook. Ever.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

There are no technological advances that I can think of where I have actually felt peer-pressured to be apart of, except one. I have never felt like I needed a big screen tv (ours is 19" wide), any gaming systems since when Super Mario Bros. was at its height in popularity, and although we have Mac computers, it's because I like them, not because someone said it was what I had to have to be cool. I don't even feel pressure to have the IPhone...but there is one thing where I totally feel like a social misfit for not being apart of: Facebook.

It started this year during school, when a girl in my class asked if I was on it since she had tried to add me as a friend and couldn't find me. I politely said no, and immediately felt the backlash of scorn. 

"WHY?" 

"HOW CAN YOU NOT BE ON IT?" 

"One time my classmates and I formed a group on Facebook, and you didn't know where the party was unless you were on Facebook."

Wow...All of a sudden I was the unpopular kid who wasn't invited to the party. Ouch.

Every now and then I think about it, especially when some of my diehard holdouts cross over (Booie), but then that fleeting thought passes and I go on with my life.

Then there was this weekend...the 1999 R. A. Long High School reunion. To start off with, I didn't even know about the reunion, because they contacted people through Facebook (once again...unpopular). Okay, fine. I still found out. Then at the reunion I was also repeatedly scorned for not joining. "HOW COULD YOU NOT BE ON FACEBOOK?" "HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE?" Directed to the person taking pictures: Me: Where will the pictures be posted?...Him: "Ummm, it's called Facebook." AHHH!!! 

Okay for starters...how do I communicate with people? I call them. I email them. I send them letters. I hangout with them in person. Secondly...

When did friendships become one stop shopping? I'm sure it's easier to see what people are doing, but at what cost? Do we lose a sense of personal connection when instead of calling our friends to see what they did last night, we can just go online? 

By the next morning (8 hours later), some of my high school friends had already received friend requests...which means...people went home after the party (2 a.m.ish) and posted pics and added new friends. Did I feel left out? No. Especially when those on Facebook said they were going to have to untag themselves from pictures. (Will I sneak into Gracie's account and look at the pics...probably, but just for the pics, not to snoop.)

I have other reasons for not joining. The two biggest being that I think I would secretly like it and devote too much time that could be put towards school, and secondly, I don't want to be tagged to a photo that a future student might see. And the last reason now, is that if I cross over, I will officially not only be unpopular, but a hypocrite. So to Facebook or not to Facebook? It is one's own choice, but I do ask...or rather plead....please do not make people feel bad for not participating. We are not lepers...we do have friends...we have our reasons...and we never ask in all caps: WHY DO YOU FACEBOOK?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kudos

Yesterday my husband pulled out the big guns....well maybe the big legs. Dan Z. is in town (who is also running NYC) so we thought we'd all go out for our long run together. Having played some fun-filled games of volleyball this weekend (after taking 10 years off from the sport) I woke Sunday morning to no working muscles in my legs. It literally felt like my quads had been removed (imagine peg leg walk with a lot of wobble). Three ice packs, a billion ibuprofen later, and a good night sleep, and we were ready to hit the pavement Monday morning. 

Overall the run went well. 9.5 miles of nice conversation, blistering heat (it's hot here), a third running partner which is nice to mix things up and push us to running our best (way to go Dan on his longest run ever!), and me lagging in the back on the hills, but finishing strong with everyone.

The real point of my post is that Ben did awesome. Ben typically hits his stride during our long runs, but after working this third 60+ hour 6-day week, being on his feet all day, going to sleep late, plus training during the week, he pulled out the big guns and set the pace, ran ahead when we needed to go single file, and was an inspiration to me. Way to go Ben.

95 days till the marathon....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The way we roll.

Last night Ben and I went to Serious Pie. The pizza is delicious, and "serious" is a good way to describe it--they don't mess around. The best part of the whole meal (besides the pie) was the look on our waiter's face at the end of our pizza:

Waiter: May I take away your pizza slab?

Us: Of course.

Waiter: You guys want to see a dessert menu?

Us: Ummm...actually we would like another pizza.

Waiter: (confused)...oh. Do you know what you want?

And we finished that one too.

When he came back again, we joked that we wanted a third pizza, and he laughed saying it's been done before. Although "it's been done before" his look betrayed him a little bit. I think he was worried we were serious...just like the pizza. I love training for marathons. Yumm.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The bike ride

This past week I bought a bike. She is an easter egg blue Kona, which they have nicknamed the "Honkey Tonk." As soon as I brought her home, Ben's bike let out a huge whistle, which I immediately scolded him and told him "she's a lady." Well ten minutes later they were making out, so apparently she is not quite a lady. Anyways, it's great having a bike again. Every bike I have ever owned (except the beautiful Schwinn Ben gave me) has been stolen: Huffy White Heat=stolen; Raleigh=stolen; Trek=stolen on a Sunday morning in front of the Heathman; so when I bought it I made sure I got a top of the line lock and a pit bull to tie to the bike when I'm not around.


To break her in, we thought that a ride out to Redhook Brewery on the Burke Gilman was in order. I mean if you haven't ridden a bike in ten years, why not try for a 50-miler your first week? So yesterday we geared up and headed out. A quick stop at the bike shop and once to use the bathroom and we were on our way. The ride was lovely: warm, sunny, light breeze (except on the way back), and mostly rode along the water. We made it to Redhook after only one wrong turn and sat on the patio with our well deserved beer and a lunch, joined by Ben & Mellena, and new baby Keira. Blissful.

Then came the ride the back, where I literally met the devil himself...or the devil's torture tool. See picture:
Once I got back on my bike I knew I was in trouble. It's not really my butt that hurts, but these bones I never knew existed. I mean does this thing even look comfortable? No. Is anyone's butt that small. Not in my family (no offense to anyone). 

After a mile back on the trail with my full belly I tried every possible way to sit, or not to sit, cursing the maker of this stupid seat. And I know it was a man (no offense again), because no woman in her right mind would design something this poorly. If it was designed by a woman, comfort would be the number one priority. Think tractor seat size (where you actually use your natural cushion back there), lined with faux fur, and a least two inches of mattress foam (think Posturepedic), with a possible massage option once you really needed it. But no. I have a three inch wide piece of brick that the bike guy told me "well it's just that you haven't ridden in a while," and my husband said "give it a chance, you'll get used to it." Uh-Huh.

I'm no dummy. What I've learned is that anything over 20 miles requires padded shorts. And anyone who questions me, I double dare you to do the 50 miles on the devil's torture tool listed above...then you'll be happy to join my padded butt gang.

Overall, great trip and I love the bike. The adventures will really begin now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sent from my mother

 Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I've ever written."
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once
more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree..
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others.. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special. (Drink the wine too!--that's for Booie)
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?".
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Week in Review

The past eight days have been pretty intense, and I am thankful that the last week is coming to an end. The week started with Ben getting his wisdom teeth pulled. The surgery went well, but the recovery has been a little prolonged. (Squeamish people skip to the next paragraph). Basically what both Ben and I have learned is that you don't rip-out your blood clots thinking they are gauze. First, your wife grows very faint at the sight of all blood, and it causes the healing process to be painfully extended.

Then there was my birthday. As most people, I love my birthday, but this year it was not full of all the bells and whistles. A chipmunk-cheeked husband (poor guy), 900 degree weather, two final papers, and missing the man who sang me happy birthday for the first 27 years of my life, made ringing in 28 different, to say the least. 

Finally there were the last two papers of my first year of graduate school. Coupled with the first two scenarios described, it's been more of a pressure cooker than past quarters.

What I have learned from this week is that sitting at the computer causes a few things:
1. If you don't keep training for the triathalon/marathon, or do any exercise what-so-ever, you not only become stressed, but coupled with eating your weight in good-n-plenties, learn that once you put "real pants" on (real meaning no elastic waist band), they will probably be a little tight..maybe more than a little.
2. After a week of a sore mouthed husband, he is not the only one wishing it would heal.
3. It is good to have someone edit your papers--high heat and extreme conditions make your thoughts a little muddled.
4. You need to set a timer to remind yourself to do important things like eat (for those of you who know me, it is extremely rare when I forget to eat), and finally,
5. Try not to forget the real world. The laundry spilling out of the closet, no non-beige food in the fridge, and the dead fly on the floor should all be red flags that you haven't taken your eyes off the screen for a while.

Tonight, Ben is taking me out to really celebrate my birthday, and for being done with school. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to the summer with my two little credits, a part-time job, and somethings I have been missing for awhile: fun and friends.

Happy Summer! 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bathroom on the brain

Today one of the bathrooms in the library was "out of order". The bathroom was actually blocked off with a piece of caution tape, and if that wasn't enough to deter people, the customary "out of order" sign was also hung. For starters, I would never enter a bathroom that had a caution sticker. Granted, I always enter public restrooms with a certain element of ingrained "caution" (I mean truthfully, you never know what you are going to get), but if there is a sign cautioning me, it must be really awful--or at least that is what I think. 

A number of scenarios entered my mind trying to determine what could have happened that would have caused the closure. My juvenile mind immediately thought of gross things--that someone had...ahem...all over the bathroom. Come on admit it, you probably would have thought about it too, unless unlike me you have better things to do with your life than to wonder why a bathroom was closed--please, don't answer that thought, I'll just assume you do. But then I started to think of other reasons: logical ones, like there was a leak or something was broken; illogical, like there was a body in there (not logical because of the lack of police presence), and then it dawned on me that I will really find any excuse not to work on my final papers, even obsessing about bathroom closures. Are there any other possibilities you can think of for the bathroom closure? Fun times at the library, I know.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The sneeze heard round the theater

I admit that when I get on the bus, the whole swine flu thing enters my mind. And it isn't necessarily the swine flu I am thinking about, but all the germs circulating in that tiny non-ventilated vehicle. My hunch is though, that as long as no one sneezes in my mouth or licks my eye, I'll be okay with a good hand wash after riding.

However, I think others are a little more paranoid cautious. Case in point, Ben and I went and saw a movie the other day (Wolverine), and at some point during the movie I sneezed. If you know me, I sneeze pretty loud, and a lot for that matter (allergies, morning, etc., whatever), but I dutifully covered my mouth with my arm, Ben said "bless you" and I thought all was well in the world until I saw him--One of the other five movie watchers who turned around and gave me a look like I had vomited all over him. It went on for so uncomfortably long that I kind of got the giggles. Ben noticed too, as we discussed what I should have done on the way home. I was thinking an appropriate fake cough right in his ear, probably would have sent him running in panic out of the theater. 

I guess you can't be too naive about the flu, but glaring at an innocent girl with piercing eyes of fiery, while all she wanted to do was look at pretty Hugh Jackman and eat Raisinettes, was a little much. I mean, it's not like I licked his eye or anything.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Directions

At least once a week I get asked for directions, and most of the time it's when I am running. I first thought it was because I had a sign around me that says "really good with directions...ask me!", but after my run yesterday I know the real reason--it's because people feel sorry for me. 

Yesterday I was huffing and puffing with my bright red face, that was probably wrinkled in pain, because my run was so terrible. Everything hurt: shins, calves, feet, lungs...elbows..whatever. Then I heard a honk, and a nice lady pulled over to ask how to get to I-5 North. Secretly I think she knew the way, but felt so bad for me, that she thought she would give me a break and a chance to catch my breath. 

Basically it's a sympathy stop. After yesterday's run--I'll take it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ridiculous

My softball team lost to the department of statistic's softball team tonight 20-2. Nope that isn't a typo...I'll type it again, just so you know I'm serious: 

20-2. 

Words cannot even describe...I mean the stat's team? Granted I love math, and am all for making math a career, but I just don't remember much of the baseball/softball players in high school studying up to be math majors in college, grad school no less. I guess that just goes to show you that you never know what you'll become upon leaving high school. 

Next week we face the English department. Hopefully we can put up our first "W"...that, or we'll get beat 30-1...fingers crossed they are all reading books while on the field. We need all the help we can get.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My two things

Today it dawned on me what items I can't live without: floss and deodorant. Now granted, there are many items that would make life easier, and I'm sure that someone could list something that might alter my list, but as of right now, those are my two essentials. Why? The first is because I would rather pull my own tooth out with a rusty piece of hardware than have something stuck in my teeth. Case in point: after having a lovely lunch with my friend Sara last week I noticed that something was in my teeth. You couldn't see it, but it felt like a grizzly bear was in my mouth trying to pull my teeth a part. Not being able to get it out myself, or having a rusty piece of hardware, I pulled into Target with screeching tires, zoomed down the floss aisle, ripped open the package and felt utter bliss. I gratefully paid my .97 cents, and all was right in the world again. Apparently I don't like having things caught in my teeth...now I know.

Now deodorant. The problem with deodorant isn't that I stink (well not right now), but rather that I always forget to put it on....always. One would think that I would have a Costco closet of it lying around, but no, I have two: one in my bathroom, and the other in my gym locker. So if I forget to apply when I leave the house, I have to a) turn around; b) go down to the gym; c) suffer (any others too); or d) pull the floss fiasco and head to the store. I start swim classes tomorrow, which are inconveniently at a different gym than my deodorant, so I'm faced with having to bring my bathroom one, and risk leaving it. In truth, there should be deo in every purse and bag I own. When I leave it should be phone? check. wallet? check? deodorant...you betcha.

Anyways, it might be a silly thing to write about, but I feel better knowing what two things I need, and should be the first two things packed when I go somewhere. Any contributions from others are welcome.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Making the most out of it

So yesterday was fabulous...thank you mother nature. Ben and I went for a run, walked around town looking at terribly overpriced shoe-boxes that they call condos (500 sq. ft. for $275,000?-stupid), and then I headed up to the park to read. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every second of the beautiful day.

What I love about us north-westerners, is that we seem to take what we get, and make the most out of it. For instance, since it has been cold, rainy, and cloudy, for a few months, to us, the 65 degrees feels almost tropical. At the park everyone was out playing frisbee, reading, running, etc. I even saw a few brave women in swimsuit tops, pretending like we were in Hawaii (we're not)..but then I rounded the corner by the water reservoir and saw him: thong man. Lying facedown chatting with a friend. Now I know it's been cold, but apparently for him the warmth, Vitamin D, and possibly glow to his face wasn't enough...he's been waiting for today...because heaven forbid his cheeks don't get a tan...like I said, we make the most out of it. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools w/o the Fools

As if Mother Nature was playing a cruel April Fool's joke, without the Fools...it's snowing in Seattle in April. 

No Joke, no April Fools...snow. 

I blame myself. I've been complaining about the weather, and then yesterday commented that I shouldn't be complaining, because at least it's not snowing (as it is in the rest of the country), nor are we sandbagging to avoid the floods (poor Fargo). Thanks Mother Nature for rubbing it in.

Friday, March 13, 2009

An Uprising in the Northwest

Something is brewing in the northwest. Something, that if it doesn't change quickly, will lead to an uprising—at least in Seattle. We're not asking for much, but people are definitely starting to wig out a little bit. What we need? Spring.

At first I thought it was just me. My first annoyance was when it snowed last week...in March. I love the snow. It's pretty, magical, blah blah, but not in March. December? yes. January or February? yes. March? no. Then the sun came out, and things started to bloom. Although the sun is lovely, I'm not sure why things are blooming when it is 24 degrees in the morning. Look at the wonderful sunshine, and don't forget to sprinkle ice deterrent on the steps, because they're slippery. Why? Because it froze last night. And today? High of 38...sweet. It's like we're in North Dakota.

Now, I'm not complaining about the sun, but I would like to stop wearing a hat, scarf, mittens and 14 layers to school each day. And I realize I'm not the only one. The Roanoake Bar and & Grill has two words printed on their outside board. Not the weekend game or happy hour specials, just two words: SPRING NOW. 

Today it did reach a balmy 50, and there were two groups of people that celebrated this tropical temperature. People, like myself, who still realize it's freaking cold and appropriately wear a jacket and hat, and the others...the ones who are at their breaking point and the thought of anything over 50 is considered summerlike. Normally they wait till after spring break to pretend that they're warm in still winter weather, but today they proudly (and coldly) sported tank tops, flip flops, capri pants, left their jackets at home (wished they hadn't) and sat outside. 

If it doesn't get warm soon, I'm going to just have to pretend with them...but seriously if mother nature doesn't throw us some 60's soon...all bets are off, and she'll see what us northwesterner's are really like.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Soon to be Famous Bella Peaches

The other night I was witness to a rare event...watching your friend, the one you've known since you were eleven, who you've shared countless experiences from roadtrip fastpitch games to their wedding day, do something courageous--something they've dreamed about and actually had the audacity to make happen (which I would argue, not many people do). 

The beautiful Grace Mackey performed her first burlesque show...and stole it from everyone else on that stage. Going to the show, both Katie and I were nervous. Not nervous in the sense that we didn't think she was going to be amazing, but more anxious for your friend to do something courageous. Not many of us can get on a stage in front of a bunch of strangers (and dear close friends and family, including your mom) and shake what your momma gave you in a classy, memorizing way that you knew right away she had a secret talent that now everyone gets to witness. 

She was ridiculous--beautiful, talented, and outright sexy. It literally brought tears to my eyes to watch her, mostly out of pride for my friend, but also to see her succeed. 

Next month she will be performing with the Tempting Tarts (that's right she was already asked to perform with a group after just a few short weeks of classes), and then who knows...my guess is that our Greasy Butts will be a very famous Bella Peaches before we know it. 

Way to go Grace!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Triathlon Here I Come (Updated 2/12)

So it took 2.5 hours, but myself, Katie, Connie, Becky, Sara, Heidi and Margaret are officially signed up for the Danskin Triathlon.--a .5 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run.I haven't swam, oh...let's say its been many many years...I'm guessing splashing around in a pool doesn't count, so that will be first on the agenda. I'll definitely need to hire Mr. Dan Abel for some state champion pointers (okay that was in diving, but he's still a fantastic swimmer). The most exciting part? New swimsuit, goggles and swim cap! Yeah!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Long Hair? No Mas.

Today is the last full day of my long hair. It seems like a silly thing to blog about, but it can be a pretty big deal. Every few years I grow it out and then cut it. I'm super excited this time, because it's long enough to send to Locks of Love. Sometimes I get freaked out about cutting it...what will I look like? Will I like it...because it's not growing back (reference to Lars and the Real Girl--love that movie!)? Will I look like a total nerd when I ask my hairdresser to give me a haircut like Katie Holmes? (probably...definitely). Yet what I'm not worried about includes not missing sweeping, picking, pulling my hair off and out of everything and everyone. It gets everywhere. Ben even asked when I was finally going to cut it...granted that was because I was shrieking b/c he accidentally laid on it and I was trapped....Let the haircut commence! Pictures to follow soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back in the Game...Kind of

A long time ago, in a land far far away, I used to play racquetball, but again...it has been awhile.

At the end of last quarter I found out two of my classmates played every week and they invited me to play. During the snow storm, I thought I would rekindle my skills and dad and I played a few games at the Y. I felt pretty good...not bad...but then came last week.

Last week was our first match-up...cut-throat style. Six years out of the game versus two guys who have been playing for a while? 
Killed. 
Demolished. 
Slaughtered. 
I mean I've never played where the ball is served at me at 9 bagillion miles an hour. And on top of that? I couldn't lift my right arm for three days. Plus, it hurt to even write my forearm was so sore. 

The next day I was recapping my trip down loserville to Ben and he reminded me of a conversation that he had with one of the guys--that he used to play very competitive tennis...professional in my book. That's when it all started to make sense. No matter where I hit that stupid blue rubber ball, he was always there for the return. Seriously, I would hit it an inch off the ground and out of nowhere he would dive and get it (okay not literally, but you get the point).

The rematch was on today...and guess what? I didn't get killed quite as much. Of course they won (and not by a few points either), but I gave them more of a run for their money. My serves were better placed, my shots stronger, and my feet quicker. It could be the secret 5 a.m. serving drills I run every morning...just kidding...

My arm and back hurts as I'm typing...but not as much as last week. Woo Hoo!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Tough Norwegian Bird

My great-grandma Olga passed away today. Although she was 91, it still came out of nowhere. I haven't seen her for many years, but in my mind her image as the tough Norwegian bird has never changed. This was a lady who still did the jumble and crossword every day, who told me once that "it wasn't too cold today" in her town of North Dakota...followed by "it was -11." Not too cold? Negative 11? And this was in her late 80's? That's right, tough Norwegian bird.

Last year before she went to bed, she reached over to shut the blinds, fell, and broke her hip. Not wanting to bother anyone, she decided to pull a blanket off the bed, and lie on the floor till 6 a.m., when it was okay to call someone. Eight hours on the floor with a broken hip? Tough bird. I told her that next time she should call me, because I would have had no problem "bothering" people late at night in North Dakota, even it was -11. 

The twins (my mom and gma) are flying out Wednesday, while I head South to hang out with grandpa. I know back there they will encounter many other tough Norwegian ladies, and probably a few Icelanders too. Ben thinks its the salted fish that keeps them feisty and kicking with their "yah sure ya betchas" and yummy Lefsa. I have a few thoughts of my own too.

What we know for sure is that our tough Norwegian bird Olga Rheaume will definitely be missed.

Yah sure ya betcha.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Three Cups of New Year

I do admit that I have not hit the pavement once and logged any miles since the beginning of the new year. Nor have I abstained from anything most people swear to stop indulging in, as can be witnessed by the pan of half-eaten fudge brownies I made last night. I did not make any new year's resolutions, just one personal goal. However, I feel that I started off the new year right, with a feeling of contentment towards what 2009 will bring, and reading one of the best book's I ever experienced, further supporting my hopefulness: Three Cups of Tea

When Ben and I were in Cinque Terra, we both read through all the books we had brought, along with each other's (my personal favorite was  A Year in Provence), so we headed to a shop that featured English books. There were only a few selections, and since demand was high and supply low, the paperbacks were all reasonably priced for around $25 USD...yikes. This was when I first say Three Cups of Tea, but Ben was more interested in another book A Fortune Teller Told Me (which by the way, is another super interesting book), so we bought that and enjoyed it in Siena. 

Remembering how interesting the book looked, I put Three Cups on reserve at the library, but since I was number 253 on only 20 copies, Margaret was kind enough to lend me her copy over Christmas. I read the forward the other night with marginal interest, but last night I sat down to put in a few chapters and by 11 p.m. read the last page. 

This book is remarkable...well, the man who it is about is remarkable: Greg Mortenson. A brief synopsis is that Mortenson having unsuccessfully climbed K2, accidentally wandered into a remote village of Pakistan on his way down...so remote, he was the first foreign visitor to ever set foot in the town. Learning the village had no school, and due to the gratefulness for saving his life, Mortenson vowed to come back to the village and build a school. 

His struggles, dedication and accomplishments are truly extraordinary, as is the realization that one person can honestly make a difference; and in an area most Americans associate with hatred and terrorism, he is able to shed light on the problems of these stereotypes, and how by building schools instead of dropping bombs, we can truly promote peace. 

It might sound corny, or not that interesting, but I promise you, you will be blown away.

Happy New Year!