Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to Life, Back to Reality

[I’ve been doing an absolutely obscene amount of boating and camping over the past couple weeks, hence my absence from the blogosphere as of late. I have several blogs-in-progress that I should be able to post in the next couple days, but in the meantime, please enjoy this little tidbit from my life.]

This morning my sister and I met up for our usual early morning jog around Green Lake. We’re just beginning the second week of our Couch to 5K training program, so we were pretty exhausted at by the time we rounded the last curve that led to the final 100 yards before the parking lot.

That’s when I saw him. A naked man. A naked man standing in the bushes. A naked man standing in the bushes with his pants around his ankles. A naked man standing in the bushes with his pants around his ankles, wearing a ski mask. A naked man standing in the bushes with his pants around his ankles, wearing a ski mask and masturbating as if his life depended on it. And he was staring directly at me and my sister.

I immediately put my hand up to shield my eyes, quickening my step and muttering, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” Did I just see what I thought I did? The mortified look on my sister’s face confirmed I had not inadvertently fallen back asleep and been overcome by a nightmare. Just to be sure, I took a quick peek back over my shoulder. The masked man was hobbling (due to the pants encircling his ankles) around a tree in order to keep us in view… all the while continuing to frantically beat off.

My sister hurriedly gestured to a young female jogger coming our direction (and therefore headed directly into the masked man’s path) and warned her to stick to the lake edge of the path. But not before the girl accidentally got a glimpse of what no one should be asked to view without first having a cup of coffee… or a lobotomy.

What the heck is wrong with people?!?

Ugh, I need to go back on vacation immediately.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Temperatures in Seattle soared to a record-breaking 103 degrees yesterday. I realize this is nothing to those who dwell in areas of the country that regularly see temps over 100 all summer long, but here in the Pacific Northwest we are just not equipped to deal with this type of weather.

After a sweltering bus ride home yesterday (only about 30% of Metro buses have air conditioning), I arrived home to find that my boyfriend had taken matters into his own hands. He was hauling a huge piece of cardboard into the living room. “I’m hooking up the air conditioner!” he proclaimed.

Let me explain. Stewart bought a fairly expensive air conditioning unit last year for his 350 square foot, fifth floor studio apartment to alleviate the feeling of living/sleeping inside an oven three months out of the year. It was amazing… no wonder I rarely saw my own bed that summer. However, when we moved into our condo we quickly realized that the glorious air conditioner did not work with our new windows. We didn’t think a lot about it at the time (it was October), packed the A/C up, and put it into storage.

Enter Seattle Heat Wave 2009. For the past few days we’ve been telling ourselves it’s not that bad. But people, it’s BAD. Even at night, it’s stayed at least 80+ degrees in our condo, making sleep (or any other entertaining bedroom activities...) virtually impossible. And when the mercury hit 103 yesterday, Stew decided he’d had enough.

We tossed aside snowboards and snowshoes in our storage unit to reveal the miraculous air conditioner, which we dragged upstairs. Then we went to work cutting cardboard into various shapes and sizes to block off a narrow strip on the side of the sliding glass door leading to our patio. For a brief second, I was embarrassed about the totally white trash version of air conditioning that we had created… then we were hit by a blast of cool air that made me weak at the knees. Sigh.

I even got enough sleep last night to get up at 5:30am this morning and jog around Green Lake before work. Previously, exercise had seemed like a total impossibility until the world returned to normal.

So yeah, it’s kind of trashy. But sitting here breathing deliciously cool 74 degree air makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Heat Wave...

I bet some kid in Seattle tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk yesterday, and it probably worked. Seattle is absolutely baking in a heat wave. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love hot weather, but this is a bit much. And temperatures aren’t expected to drop until the weekend (mid-80s by Friday). I’m definitely a sun worshipper and am always willing to spend entire weekends on a lake, next to a pool, or floating down a river. And I hate to complain about the beautiful sunshine, but it’s freaking HOT.

Having to go about my day to day life in this sweltering heat is already getting pretty old. After a stuffy morning commute on the bus, I spent the entire day yesterday at my office shivering, fingers turning blue, because the dang AC was turned up so high. I had to go sit in the sun at lunch just to bring up my core body temperature! I need to remember to bring a jacket to work in the summer. In the afternoon, I made plans with my sister to walk around Green Lake after work. Toward the end of the day she sent me a text message: “It’s too hot to exercise.” I told her to suck it up and that I’d call her when I left the office. 20 minutes later, as I entered the oven that is downtown Seattle, I sent her a text back: “It is WAY too hot to exercise!!”

Washington does not have that lovely, dry, desert heat. We have humid, thick, sweltering heat that leaves your skin sticky from the moment you step out of the shower. Commuting on the bus is the worst. No AC and evening commuters packed to the gills onto the express routes. I literally could barely breathe for the entire ride home yesterday, and had to concentrate to fight off a steadily rising panic attack.

Yes, it’s hot. But it’s really not the end of the world, and I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. Seattleites complain all winter about the rain, and now we’re whining about the heat. Our condo is absolutely sweltering (Stew’s air conditioner does not fit in our new windows), so it actually sounded appealing to head to the gym yesterday for a workout… at least I could sweat in AC. I regretted this decision immediately when I stepped back outside, sweaty from a workout, into 90 degree heat. It was 8pm. This morning I planned ahead and finished my workout by 7am. It was still 75 degrees by the time I left the park.

Today I’m trying a new tactic to keep our house cool. We opened every window and door overnight and turned on multiple fans to air things out. Then this morning I shut every window and closed all the blinds, hoping it might stay at a slightly lower temperature than outside. Tonight after work I have my first LSAT prep course, which is held in a historic building in the University District – no AC is my guess. 6pm to 10pm is going to be brutal. I’m drinking tons of water, eating popsicles, and avoiding being outside as much as I can. But until the weekend comes and I can spend 12 hours a day on a boat, I think I’m going to be whining quite a bit.

Do you have any tips and tricks to stay cool during a heat wave?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just call me Pollyanna

I spent the weekend traipsing across the state doing good deeds. It definitely wasn’t as much fun as bumming around Seattle going to festivals, barbeques and bars would have been, but I still came home Sunday night feeling like the weekend had been a success. Just call me Pollyanna.

On Saturday I went down south to my grandparents house in Olympia. They’ve recently been doing a lot of work to their property and have felt stressed about a lot of backlogged projects. In addition, my grandma has spent some time in the hospital lately in addition to dealing with chronic illnesses, and my grandpa suffers from Parkinson’s disease. And since I’ve been so swamped with work and school for the past year, I haven’t really spent as much time with them as I should. So a few weeks ago I set aside 7/25/09 on my calendar as “Grandparents Day.”

I had a wonderful time just helping out around the house all day. My grandma and I picked buckets of blueberries from the bushes in their yard. We had lunch and chitchatted. In the afternoon I spent hours helping her go through stacks of old photographs that needed to be categorized, filed, and put into albums. I know that project had been bothering her for years, so I was glad I was able to help out. And I stumbled across this lovely gem of my parents in 1979, shortly after their honeymoon. They are only 19!

We thought about attempting to weed the flower gardens, but it was just too dang hot to be outside by that point. Grandpa and Grandma seemed so appreciative and happy to have me there… I really should do this more often.

On Sunday Stewart and I headed north to Bellingham, home of our alma mater, WWU. Stew’s stepbrother is college shopping, so we agreed to give him a tour of Western’s campus and the rest of B’Ham. I hadn’t been back up there in quite a few years and – wow – the memories really came rushing back! My mind was flooded with all the experiences I had throughout those four years of college. We even visited my freshman year dorm room: Ridgeway Beta, Stack 9, Third Floor. I have vivid memories of my parents dropping me off there in their minivan almost 10 years ago. I was such a scared little baby, desperate to fit in but with no idea who I was or wanted to be. Those four years of college really shaped me.

Here’s a pic of me and Stewart in Red Square. I don’t know how many thousands of times I walked by this fountain on my way to class or the library.
I’m so excited for the kids who are preparing to experience college for the first time. Sometimes I would give anything to go back and do it again. But then I blink, come back to reality, and thank god I’m done with that phase of my life.

Did anyone do anything a bit more exciting this weekend?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Tummy Hurts

I almost always have a tummy ache. Always. I constantly carry Imodium and Pepto Bismol in my purse. I thought this was normal. But apparently, the average person does not always double over with cramping stomach pains after every other meal. I feel like I’ve tried everything… blood tests to detect wheat and gluten allergies came back negative. I am not lactose intolerant and cutting out red meat hasn’t made a difference. I’ve tracked my eating habits for weeks in an attempt to identify the culprit… nothing.

My mom says I’ve been like this since I was a kid. I’ve just always had a weak stomach. And I’m so used to the war raging in my belly that it almost seems normal. But last weekend I was talking to a girl who said she had similar problems, but had begun going to a nutritionist and it absolutely changed her life. So I did some research, selected a nutritionist I liked, and made a consultation appointment.

This is the first time I’ve ever explored an option like this, and I’m curious about what results I will see. I always thought seeing a nutritionist would be expensive, but it’s completely covered by insurance with a referral from my regular doctor. The certified nutritionist I am seeing is also a registered mental health counselor, so she also specializes in behavioral change and lifestyle integration, chronic stress, fatigue and anxiety. I definitely won’t say no to a little help in those areas, as well!

Sure, it all seems just a little bit hippie, but I’m willing to try anything at this point. So far I am already on three supplements: peppermint capsules, fish oil, and probiotics. These are just to start, and then others will be added in (I currently don’t take any type of vitamins so I'm hoping for positive changes). I am determined to somehow become a healthy person! And if fish oil is what it takes, so be it. Burp.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I’m Just A Girl

When you live with your boyfriend, I think it becomes fairly easy to get stuck in the routine of spending every waking moment with that person, thereby neglecting one’s same-sex friendships. Luckily my boyfriend is a firefighter, so he works shifts, which means I get every third night all to myself. I’m not at all saying I don’t miss him when he’s not around… but I think sometimes missing someone reminds you to appreciate them more.

I try to take advantage of these solo moments in life to spend time with my girlfriends. And whether it’s dressing up for a night on the town or dressing down to attend a rad outdoor concert, the result is always the same: Girls Night Out = Fabulous.

Since Stewart was working Sunday night and one of my favorite old school bands was in town, some of my friends and I snagged tickets to the No Doubt featuring Paramore concert at the White River Amphitheater near Enumclaw, WA. Conveniently, this just happens to be my friend’s home town, so we had a place to spend the afternoon before heading to the concert.

I had never been to Enumclaw before, but it is the country, my friend. We spent the afternoon lounging in the sun at my friend’s childhood casa, drinking wine, eating snacks and listening to the sounds of farm animals while breathing in the fresh air and trying not to gag on the stench of poo. Honestly though, it was super relaxing, and I never realize quite how loud the city is until I go someplace so darn quiet. Oh, except for the cow that was giving birth.

We even spent some time hanging out in my friend’s childhood bedroom, which has been completely preserved with pink rose wallpaper and high school dance photos plastering the walls. Of course this prompted an incredibly high school girly conversation regarding sex and how our lives have changed from then to now. Too funny.

The concert was amazing. I’ve heard that Paramore is incredible live and I definitely was not disappointed. And of course No Doubt was freaking fantastic. I’ve loved this band since I first heard the “I’m Just A Girl” single back in middle school. I wasn’t surprised to find out that I still knew every single word to most of the songs. And we didn’t feel silly at all bouncing up and down with the neon-clad high school girls who surrounded us.

I just love me a night out with the girls.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I’m a very responsible person when it comes to money, but paying tuition for the past year without taking out any loans has really taken a toll on my financial situation. I feel like I’m constantly behind, always playing catch up. I received a paycheck today, and after taking care of a few necessary bills I realized I’ve really dug myself into a hole. Even with careful planning, it could take me six months to crawl out of it.

However, upon a further careful review of my bank statement, it turns out that maybe I haven’t been being so responsible after all. Since I finished school a few weeks ago it seems like my life has been even crazier than before… but in a good way. I’ve been able to spend time with friends and family and take a ton weekend trips. But as my social life soared, my bank account plunged.

When you’re busy every weekend and in the evenings after work, it’s hard to find time to grocery shop and cook. You meet friends for happy hour and dinner, so you don’t have any leftovers. Which means you buy lunch at work. And after a close examination, I realized that in the past month I’ve donated more than $150 to the restaurant and bar industry. And now, with the fresh taste of high APRs in my mouth, none of it seems worth it.

I’ve simply got to get back on track. I’ve already turned down several lunch and coffee outing offers this week, and I can hear the cha-ching of those dollars dropping into my savings account. And for the first time in far too long, I spent quality time at the grocery store, taking the time to plan out full healthy meals instead of grab and go stuff. On Sunday, I spent an hour chopping up vegetables to mix up and eat with whole grain wraps for lunch this week. Delish.
I think with a little self control, I can definitely nip this in the bud. But yeesh, the world sure is expensive! I recently attended the “complimentary training session” offered to new members at my gym. I got in a decent 15 minute workout with the trainer and was really feeling excited… until she dropped the bomb on me. Personal training at my gym costs $70 a session. That’s $140 an hour! Um… do doctors even get paid that much money?! I resisted the urge to laugh in the trainer’s face and walked away to check the complimentary class schedule.

The nice thing about being on an exercise kick is that it leaves me much less time to be tempted by happy hours and other money sucking social activities. And hey, working out can be done with a buddy, too! So, note to self: Whenever someone presents you with an activity that involves spending unnecessary bucks, throw them a curve ball and offer up a walk around the lake or a Cardio Jam class, followed by a BBQ of yummy food at your place. Cha-ching!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Results Show

I know some of you have been curious to know how Boot Camp ended up, so I thought I should probably come clean with the results.

First off, I have to say that it was an absolutely amazing experience. For the first time in my life, there were instances where I actually found myself looking forward to exercising. After the first week, I was exhausted and sore, but extremely optimistic. I even started to think about continuing and signing up for the next Boot Camp. However, by the third week, it started to get really rough. I felt frustrated and unmotivated because things didn’t seem to be getting any easier.

But by the last week, I was back on point. I pushed myself harder than I ever have before, and I could finally start to feel myself getting stronger and faster. And on Friday morning, we had our final timed assessments. One of my main goals had been to drastically improve my timed mile. So as we headed to the starting line, I felt completely mentally and physically prepared to push myself to the absolute limits. I definitely did just that – by the end, I felt like I was having a full-blown asthma attack, but I managed to improve my mile time by 1:49! My trainer, who had said a 30 second improvement would be more than acceptable, was very impressed. In addition, I almost doubled the amount of pushups I can do in a minute, and drastically improved my plank hold time. Yesssssssssssssssss.

The most shocking part of the morning came at the end of our final class, when the trainer announced that I was “Boot Camper of the Week.” I was completely baffled, but apparently she had really noticed how much I had improved, even out of the 50 other women in the class. I was also one of only five people who completed Boot Camp with perfect attendance. Go big or go home.

On Saturday morning, I headed to the gym to have my final measurements taken. To sum up, I lost inches in my: triceps, hips, thighs, arms, shoulders, chest, waist and thighs. However, my weight stayed exactly the same, which I found very interesting. But most importantly, my body composition percentage went down by 2.03%! My trainer says this is absolutely unheard of. When she works with someone one-on-one for four weeks, she generally only expects a 1% decrease, but I was able to more than double that number in a group fitness situation. For me, this was a major accomplishment, and it explained why I did not lose any weight – I converted fat into muscle!

At the bottom of my evaluation sheet from our first meeting, it says that my goals for Boot Camp were “tone, increase endurance, and motivation.” Without a doubt, I think I have reached those goals, so I would call Boot Camp and incredible success. I’m still nowhere near an athlete, but I’m improving, slowly but surely. And I think I have the motivation to continue on my own.

On Monday I did a leg and cardio workout at my gym, all by myself. Tuesday, my sister and I met at Discovery Park at 6am to run the loop trail. And this morning, I attended my first 5:45am Spin class. I’ve found that I’m completely addicted to the feeling of having my workout over and done with for the day. Early morning is the way to go, and my body seems to have acclimated to getting up at the crack of dawn. We’ll see how long I can keep it up. Tonight I’m attending a Boot Camp class at my gym, and tomorrow morning I have an early morning Green Lake jog scheduled with my sister. We’ll see if I make it to Spin class on Saturday morning… I’m already feeling pretty sore!

So there you have it. Maybe all the pain was just weakness leaving my body after all...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wedding Guest

When it comes to weddings, sometimes it’s great to be nothing more than a guest. Stewart’s childhood buddy got married to his college sweetheart this weekend, and I was lucky enough to be invited to all of the festivities. We started out with a beautiful rooftop rehearsal dinner on Thursday evening, followed by a night out at the bars. Friday night featured a Mariner’s game with the whole crew that ended sometime after 2am at a karaoke joint… nice. Let’s just say that by the time the actual wedding rolled around on Saturday at 5pm, I was feeling a little under the weather.

But once I arrived at the Seattle Yacht Club for the big event, it was easy to forget about everything except the fabulous couple and their new marriage. The outdoor ceremony was short and sweet, and followed immediately by cocktail hour on the lawn. Dinner was served promptly and after a couple quick speeches everyone was moved inside to get the party started. I like their style.

You really can’t beat great food and drinks (open bar!) followed by music and dancing. It was one of those weddings where almost every single guest immediately hit the dance floor and stayed there (except for quick trips to the bar, of course). The past couple days had given me the chance to meet and form friendships with a bunch of great new people, and by the end of the night I felt like they were all my new BFFs.
Also, unlike bridesmaids, groomsmen have very little responsibilities when it comes to weddings. So for Stew and I it was basically just an excuse to get dressed up and go out dancing. We stayed until the bitter end, begging the DJ for “just one more song” several times before moving the party to our place.

Wow. I haven’t had this many days of nonstop excitement for a long time. My only hope is that my friends and family will have this much fun when my wedding day finally rolls around. But don’t hold your breath… for now I am definitely content to simply be a guest!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

And the winner is…

In case you haven’t already heard, I was recently given two blogger awards!

“Thank you! Oh, thank you! I can hardly believe it! I feel so honored! Even in my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined that this could ever happen to me. There are so many people to thank! Of course I want to thank the Academy, who looked deep within their Google readers before giving me this fantastic award! Also, I want to thank my friends and family, because without their constant drama and antics, this blog would not be nearly as entertaining. And finally, to all of the fans… it wouldn’t be possible without you! Thank you America, and good night!”

I was originally nominated for the Honest Scrap blog award back in April by MiSS RAmbLEs. This particular award is for discouraging plagiarism and promoting honest blogging. Unfortunately, I had the flu at the time, so I wasn’t able to comply with the rules that accompany the award: First, you have to tell your readers ten things about you they may not know, but that are true. Second, you have to tag ten people with the award.
In addition, this week I was nominated for the MeMe award by Chère. This award calls for seven things about me and then passing the award on to seven other bloggers. So I’ve decided to combine the two awards by sharing 7 fun facts about me and tagging 10 of my current fave bloggers.

I bet you didn’t know…

  • I have an unexplainable phobia of the telephone. I screen my personal calls and feel intense anxiety when the phone rings. Sometimes I don’t answer for any particular reason except I don’t feel like talking.
  • Even though I know I shouldn’t, I sleep in my makeup every single night. I still have pretty decent skin.
  • I am not an organ donor. The concept of organ donation makes my skin crawl. My loved ones have all been informed that if I am ever in a serious accident, I wish to adamantly refuse any organ or tissue donations, even if it could potentially save my life.
  • Every single day, I feel guilty about what I ate and how much exercise I got. I gained 40 pounds in college and haven’t felt good about my self image ever since.
  • I dislike children in general and am terrified that this won’t change when I have my own.
  • I can’t put down a book without finishing it, even if it’s horrible. I still have to force my way through it before starting the next one.
  • I am obsessed with “the end of the world” and think the possibility of the end coming in 2012 is very real. This makes me equally obsessed with analyzing my life and wondering if I am spending my “final days” in the right way…
    1. And in random order, the nominees are…
      Amber (Girl with the red hair)
      The New Black
      Tudor City Girl
      Working Girl
      Seattle Swift

      (If you decide to do it, make sure you link back here so I can see what you wrote!)

      Wednesday, July 08, 2009

      Review: la Carta de Oaxaca

      Since moving to Ballard, Stew and I have done a really poor job of attempting to sample all the delicious new restaurants within walking distance of our house. However, la Carta de Oaxaca was been at the top of my dining to-do list for more than a year now, and last night I finally got a taste. This traditional Mexican restaurant has gotten a ton of hype since it opened, so I’ve been super curious to try the cuisine for myself. Unfortunately the place is always a madhouse, with people lined up down the street to get in, and the couple times I’ve tried to dine there I’ve gotten fed up and went down the street to The Matador.

      Last night, the place was packed as usual, but we were determined to wait it out. We arrived a little after 7pm but unfortunately two of our friends were running late. They don’t take reservations and won’t seat you until your entire party arrives, but if you happen to get there at the right moment with everyone present, you might be able to snag a table right away. 45 minutes later, a table cleared for the five of us and we entered the restaurant, which has a simple modern white interior and is decorated with beautiful framed photography.

      Seating is family style with long tables you have to share with other parties. Halfway through our meal we were asked by our server to shift seats and move down to accommodate another group, which left one of my friends sitting across from a stranger… awkward! We started out with hot tortilla chips and freshly made guacamole, and sampled from the salsa bar’s five different salsas. Everything was delicious but they were a bit stingy on the chip refills. I’m not a fan of tequila, but did taste a friend’s margaritas and it was STRONG – a obvious plus!

      The prices are definitely equal to the portions. Looking around at other tables, we could tell the plates were pretty small. So if you’re hungry, the bill can add up quickly. We ended up ordering seven items for five people. The food came quickly and looked delicious, but overall everyone agreed that it was pretty bland and flavorless. I ordered halibut tacos on fresh homemade corn tortillas, which was light and simple but a little too fishy. Stewart got enchiladas and molotes (potatoes and beef sausage wrapped in fried homemade tortillas with hot sauce and cheese). We also tried the fried cheese quesadillas covered with guacamole, beans, salsa, Oaxaqueno cheese and crema Mexicana.
      Unlike your run of the mill restaurant chains (i.e. Azteca), la Carta de Oaxaca did not provide overwhelmingly huge plates of fried foods covered with dripping cheese next to giant sides of rice and beans. And although it was nice not to waddle out with the typical food baby Mexican dining gives me, I did leave feeling mildly unsatisfied. But you can never go wrong with a night out with friends, so overall I’d say the experience was a success. But would I go back? All signs point to no.

      Monday, July 06, 2009

      Celebrating Independence... With Beaches & Beer

      I always just seem to go with the flow for 4th of July celebrations. I’ve never really had any traditions, and most of my childhood memories consist of lighting off little fireworks in the driveway, usually in the rain. And for a few years the holiday fell on a weekday, so there wasn’t time to implement any major trips or plans.

      But this year, July 4th fell on a Saturday, which made for a glorious three-day weekend! Not only that, but for once in my lifetime the forecast in Seattle was clear and sunny. Bonus. After carefully weighing our options, Stew and I decided to head to Ocean Shores with some friends to camp on their family property and spend the day at the beach. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

      Although the weather was somewhat overcast and about ten degrees cooler on the coast, there’s nothing I like better than a weekend of camping with friends. And it had been years since I went to the ocean, so I was pretty excited to kick off my shoes and take a walk in the sand.

      This is the same family that organizes an Adult Prom every year, so I was not at all surprised that they had organized a beach Field Day to celebrate our country’s independence. Imagine 20 adults participating in events like the Water Balloon Toss, Egg Carry, Three-Legged Race, Shoe Kick and a Spelling Bee! It was absolutely the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

      Lining Up...

      Other than Field Day activities, we spent the entire afternoon watching the boys dig a giant fire pit and gather enormous logs to burn in it… of course while sipping brewskies and chitchatting away.

      Once it got dark, the fireworks began. Although there was no professional show, I would have thought we were watching one if no one had told me otherwise. Up and down the beach, as far as the eye could see, people were lighting off the biggest fireworks I have ever seen. I don’t even know where you can buy this stuff! I lit of a few sparklers myself, but we mainly left the pyrotechnics to the men folk.
      I hope everyone else had a wonderful Independence Day as well! Happy Fourth!

      Water Balloon Toss! Josh diving for the win!
      Woo hoo!! Preparing for the next event...
      Brett hustling to the finish line in the Egg Carry relay. Shoe Kick! Three-Legged Race.

      Thursday, July 02, 2009

      Pain is just weakness leaving your body

      Boot Camp has really been rough this week. I feel like I’ve hit a plateau and I don’t know what to do about it. The first two weeks were GREAT! Last Friday, I was telling my friend in the class that I was actually thinking about signing up for the next Boot Camp, because I’ve felt so fantastic, energized and guilt-free recently. But this week things took a turn for the worst.

      After going from basically no exercise to an intense one-hour workout five days a week, I am really feeling the effects. I don’t feel particularly sleep deprived, but my entire body is exhausted. Every morning this week my muscles have been too sore to really allow me to give 100% each morning, which in turn leaves me frustrated and annoyed with myself. Also, I have yet to see any physical results, except I think my calves are getting bigger (yuck) and I’ve actually gained a pound. Yes, many people have already given me the “muscle weighs more than fat” speech, but seeing the numbers on the scale go up still leaves me feeling extremely depressed.

      In hindsight, maybe I should have chosen the three days a week option. Maybe my body would be doing better if I gave it a day to rest between workouts. But it’s too late, and I am not a quitter. Somehow I just need to mentally check myself, because feeling frustrated is giving me a poor attitude, which in turn affects how much effort I put in each morning.

      On Monday morning our trainer assured us that “pain is just weakness leaving your body.” That kind of cheesy talk doesn’t really work on me, but my sister has actually been my best motivator.

      “The fact that you are getting up 5 days a week at 5am and busting your ass on a workout is WORTH IT even if it doesn't seem like it in the moment,” she emailed me earlier this week. “We are getting healthier and stronger and most of all we are sticking with it! Just remember that it's YOUR HOUR and as long as you are working your absolute hardest, which I know you are, then it's worth it!! You should be proud of yourself.”

      Little encouraging notes like that are just enough to help me drag myself out of bed each morning. And I still have a week left. I am determined to finish Boot Camp and get the most that I can out of it. Go big or go home.

      Tuesday, June 30, 2009

      It's never too late

      Growing up, we were not campers. One time in elementary school I went to a week of summer camp, but was homesick the whole time. It was generally a horrible experience. The closest my family got to camping was spending summers at our cabin on the Hood Canal. Not very rustic, with a fully plumbed kitchen and bathroom.

      But for the past few years I've done a ton of camping with various groups of friends, and I've learned to love it. So last weekend, I rallied the troops and we embarked upon our first family camping trip. So what if me, my brother and my sister are all in our 20’s at this point – it’s never too late to start a tradition, right!?

      I booked a campsite at Lake Wenatchee State Park and we arrived on Friday evening to swarms… clouds… armies of mosquitoes. I guess that’s what you get for choosing to camp in a wooded area beside a lake. But we made the best of it and had a great time making and grilling the shish kabob dinner I had brought. My brother and dad behaved like typical manly-men by making a fire and sitting around it drinking beer and poking the smoking logs with sticks. It’s amazing how long prodding at a campfire can occupy a guy’s attention.

      The next morning I made a delicious breakfast of eggs and sausage before we headed down to the lake to spend the day at the beach. It’s truly amazing how fast you can get used to doing absolutely nothing. We spent hours on the beach with our prime entertainment being periodically dropping the dog into the lake to see if she could swim. (She could, but not well…)

      Back at the campsite I spent a couple hours sitting around drinking beer and chatting with my dad. I don’t think I have ever spent this much time with him without a television being present in my entire life. And I also don’t think I’ve seen him so relaxed in a long time. I thought my parents would hate camping (they’re really more hotel people) but I was surprised and impressed how well they took everything in stride.

      My sister had made a delicious lunch of grilled panini sandwhiches, and after a typical dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs, we finished things off with a camping favorite: S’mores. I felt stuffed to the gills and incredibly happy. For the rest of the night it was just me and the fam, hanging out by the campfire, listening to music, talking and laughing. I found it ironically bizarre that we had finally found a time and place where we could just be together, without any distractions, itineraries, or modern conveniences. Good times.
      And the craziest part? My dad was actually so stoked about the whole camping thing that he’s looking into purchasing an RV! Wow. I could definitely get used to this…

      Monday, June 29, 2009

      One of those days…

      Do you ever just have one of those days? My mom used to read me this book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day when I was a kid, and every once in a while karma takes a turn and I feel just like little Alexander.

      My version would read: I went to sleep too late and therefore I overslept and when I got out of bed I banged my elbow and by mistake I dropped my water bottle on the floor and spilled everywhere and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

      The first few minutes of my day actually weren’t all that uncommon, but it just got progressively worse from there. First I struggled through boot camp with a very upset stomach. Then I spent too long in the shower and ended up having to run for the bus. It’s never a good day when you start out by sprinting down a busy street in high heels after a metro bus.

      On the way to work, I realized I had left my flat iron on, but it was too late to get off the Express bus and go back. So once I got downtown I had to borrow a co-worker’s car, turn around, and head home to turn it off. On the way, I realized I had forgotten my cell phone and a bottle of lotion had exploded inside my purse onto my iPod and camera. Once I arrived home again, I found said flat iron already unplugged.

      Back at work, I checked my account and saw that the bank had erred once again. In addition, I called to see why my new debit card (replacement due to fraud) had not arrived for more than 10 days, and was told the idiot at customer service never ordered one for me.

      I think I may need to resolve to move to Australia, like Alexander. I guess it’s just one of those days…

      Thursday, June 25, 2009

      People are so weird.

      I think riding in an elevator with a bunch of strangers is one of the more uncomfortable situations in life. Every morning, I ride up to my office in one of these crowded little boxes with six or more people who awkwardly sniff, cough, scroll through Blackberry messages or sip their coffee while staring expectantly at the doors, willing them to open. No one makes eye contact or says good morning. And at each floor people squish and squirm to the sides in order to let others off on their respective floors without accidentally bumping into one another. I’d venture to say it’s the worst part of my day.

      But this afternoon really took the cake. The experience actually didn’t make me all that uncomfortable, just mildly curious. Human behavior is quite bizarre sometimes. Although my morning elevator ride is definitely mildly unpleasant, the actions of those morning commuters seems pretty typical. People seem ill at ease and disinclined to chit chat, but are generally polite when circumstances do sometimes warrant interaction.

      Today, as I waited in the downstairs elevator lobby I said my usual little prayer to the vertical transportation gods that no one else would come into the hallway, and I would get a solitary, express ride to the top. No such luck. I was joined by another woman waiting for the same elevator, which arrived momentarily. With a ping, the doors started to open and we both stepped forward. Just then a tall, gangly man literally shoved his way in front of us as if sprinting to the finish line of some race I didn’t know I had entered.

      Then, as the woman and I walked into the cab, he proceeded to stand directly in front of the panel and furiously press the “close doors” button over and over again. Um… okay. For the next 27 floors he stood directly facing the side wall of the elevator, as close as he could get, nose almost touching. The other woman and I exchanged sidelong glances. When we arrived at my floor, the man immediately began pressing the “open doors” button repeatedly. I took a step forward to exit the elevator, and once one foot was over the threshold, I heard him begin to beat on the “close doors” button again, as fast as he could.

      Sheesh! Either this guy was really in a hurry or he has some kind of problem. My guess is the latter, judging from his weird stare-at-the-wall behavior. I definitely wouldn’t like to get stuck in an elevator with him.

      People are so weird.

      Do you have any crazy elevator stories?

      Wednesday, June 24, 2009

      I just can't help myself...

      I think it’s probably a huge faux pas to talk about television shows on a blog, but I just have to take a second and vent about a couple that are on my radar right now.
      Jon & Kate Plus Eight

      I’m just so sad for their poor kids. Although they would have inevitably been screwed up after living most of their formative years on television, now they come from a broken home, too. Not like Jon and Kate’s divorce announcement on Monday night’s show came as any big shocker.

      I dislike kids in general, so it’s surprising that I’ve been addicted to this show since almost the beginning. For some reason it just fascinated me. I always thought Kate was super harsh and horribly degrading to her husband on the show, but in recent weeks I’ve started to feel sorry for her. I think she made the mistake that women often make… they fall in love and get married too young. In many cases like these, a few years pass and one or both parties realize just how much they might have “missed out on.” But in this situation, Jon unfortunately realized his mistake after he had already had a litter of kids.

      I suppose it might be better for Jon and Kate to split as opposed to constantly fighting in front of their children, but I really am sad for the whole family and how this will ultimately affect them. And I was shocked to read this morning that Jon's reported girlfriend, 23-year-old Deanna Hummel, is expected to join the show next season! Wow. I just have a bad feeling that the Gosselin kids are going to be even more screwed up than child stars like Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins… and that’s saying something.

      The Bachelorette

      Every season, I swear that I’m not going to watch this show anymore. And every season, I get sucked back in. Damn it.

      This week’s episode really sealed the deal for me though. I had high hopes for Jillian after finding her completely adorable on the last Bachelor, but as of right now I think she might be dumber than a box of rocks. She has let some really great guys go! And she’s keeping around this Wes character for reasons I can’t even fathom… he’s not even remotely attractive and clearly is only on the show to promote his band. I mean come on, clips from next week show him taking her on a hometown date to a concert featuring his own band! And she, of course, finds this ridiculously romantic.

      I think the only reason why I will continue watching is because of the foreshadowing clips featuring gorgeous Jake (in his pilot’s uniform – swoon!) marching back onto the show, apparently to call out Wes for his ill intentions. However, other previews clearly showed Wes on an overnight date with Jill, so it seems obvious that Jake’s efforts will ultimately fail. But at least we get to see his pretty face one more time.

      And what is with the foreshadowing of someone not being able to get it up?! Weird! I can’t wait to find out if that’s actually what Chris Harrison is alluding to in clips of his future interviews with Jillian. If so, too funny!

      Phew. I feel much better having vented. Thanks for listening. Anyone else have opinions?

      Saturday, June 20, 2009

      Drop and give me twenty!

      Well, I survived my first week of Boot Camp… barely. So far I’ve learned that if you’ve basically never exercised a day in your life, an intense one-hour workout for five days in a row makes your body feel like you’ve been in a severe car accident… without a seat belt on.

      By Wednesday, I pretty much needed a walker. It’s not that I didn’t expect it to be hard. I just don’t think I realized how actually out of shape I am. There are 60 women in my class, and I can only manage to stay ahead of about six of them. Some of these women outrank me by about 20 years and at least as many pounds.

      Almost two thirds of the class chose the three days per week option, but I decided to really commit and attend five days a week. And trust me – I can definitely use the extra workouts. On Wednesday it took me more than an hour to complete a 3.5 mile hike. On Friday I learned that I can’t even run a mile without stopping, and I can only do 16 pushups in one minute… and they were the girly on-your-knees kind.

      Normally, I would be humiliated enough to quit, but the group is actually amazingly encouraging and supportive. In addition, my sister and cousin are also in the class with me to provide extra enthusiasm. And I definitely need it.

      So far, I don’t feel like I’m getting any faster or stronger… just more sore as each day passes. And I’m definitely wondering how long it will take to see results. Because I’m one of those people with the mindset of, “I worked really hard this week, I should see results!” And when I don’t get immediate gratification, I get discouraged and quit. But the good thing about Boot Camp is that there’s no quitting… at least not for another three weeks.

      I’ve actually had no problems waking up at 5am each day, but I’ve also had to commit to no weekday drinking and a 10pm bedtime. Something probably not surprising to those who exercise is the fact that I am STARVING… all the time. The half granola bar I eat before Boot Camp seems to jumpstart my metabolism and I have to eat a full meal every four hours thereafter in order to keep from passing out. I am definitely not used to this – I normally eat my first meal of the day around 2pm.

      So to sum up: I’m exhausted, but still alive optimistic for the results!

      Friday, June 19, 2009

      Putt Out or Get Out.

      I’ve definitely been on some pretty awesome Drinks on the Links teams before, but I think this year’s gets a hole in one. I’ve teamed up with some of my old co-workers to form Totes Bonaire (team name courtesy of an office inside joke far too long to explain here).

      We figured that something as ridiculous as a drinking mini golf league required some equally ridiculous uniforms. Luckily, our team includes several graphic designers, so creating branded team t-shirts was no problem. Being girly-girls, we also obviously had to get matching socks. Voilà, Totes Bonaire was born.

      I can’t think of a better way to spend a lovely spring evening than playing miniature golf in the sunshine with my girlfriends… of course while occasionally visiting the bar conveniently located on the course for refreshments. Except for a minor verbal brawl with the Dirty Hippies playing behind us and a team member having one too many and falling into the water feature, I’d say we did well overall.
      We ranked 11th overall BUT we were given the Team Spirit award for the evening. I’m so excited for the rest of the season… Girl’s Night has definitely reached a whole new level!

      Thursday, June 18, 2009

      RIP Simba

      You really know you’re getting old when your childhood pets start to die.

      My mom called me last night to report that one of the cats we’ve had since I was in elementary school finally decided to go to kitty heaven. Her name was Simba, but we mostly called her Orange Kitty. She was part of my cat Tigger’s second litter, which means she was probably about 15 or 16 years old. So no big surprise that she finally just went to sleep and never woke up. Poor kitty.

      She had a foul personality – skittish and unfriendly from the start. To be honest I never paid much attention to her, but she was always around, a constant sidekick to her sister, Kitsa. I have never once went back to my parent’s house since moving out almost 10 years ago without saying, “Hi kitties!” and giving them a quick pat. I don’t have a single memory that doesn’t include those lazy cats, asleep by the fireplace.

      Simba and Kitsa have been two peas in a pod since they were born, and now I’m really worried that poor Kitsa will be the next to go. It’s kind of dumb, but I feel like with the death of my longtime pet, I really have to start letting go of my childhood… and it makes me sad.

      I’ll miss you, Orange Kitty! Nasty temperament and all.

      Monday, June 15, 2009

      Baby Fever

      Last weekend, I had dinner with some old college friends. Three of the women at the table were pregnant. They are my age. Last week, I went to two baby showers. They are my age. One of my best friends from high school is due on Friday. She is my age.

      And all I can think is… Dear God, I hope it’s not catching!!

      Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be ready to be a parent. The entire concept just fills me with dread and anxiety. And as all my friends seem to be entering this stage in their lives, I can't help but wonder if I've somehow missed the boat. Or if there is some magic age or occasion that will eventually fill me with the instinct to pro-create.

      But I’d be willing to bet my bottom dollar that it won’t be coming any time soon. Although I am filled with joy for all the wonderful women I know who will soon be greeting their little bundles of joy. Congrats ladies!

      Monday, June 08, 2009

      Swift Walkers For A Swift Cure

      One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. I’ve already lost two family members, and have several others currently battling this awful disease. The statistics are completely overwhelming, but for some reason I still feel really determined to make a difference in some small way. Which is why last year my sister and I started a team with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life: Swift Walkers For A Swift Cure, in honor of our Granddad, John D. Swift. This year we were back in full effect, raising money to support cancer research. In return, our team walked for 24 hours in honor of those we have lost.

      Although we didn’t earn as much as last year, we were able to contribute $3,638 toward the almost $93,000 raised at the Green Lake Relay this year. Our team placed fifth for overall fundraising. And as usual, we had a great time at the overnight event. There’s just nothing like some good quality family time.

      And there’s still time! You can visit my personal page and make a donation to support me… Every dollar counts toward eliminating cancer and I would really appreciate it!

      Here are some pictures of this year's Relay to inspire you:

      Saturday, June 06, 2009

      That’s Hot

      Firefighting is one of the few professions that has worked to put itself out of business. Fire safety education, updated building codes, sprinkler systems and smoke alarms all make the likelihood of an extreme structure fire much more rare than, say, 20 years ago. Most of the calls a modern day firefighter will respond to are emergency medical situations.

      So it’s no surprise that Stewart has been working shifts for months now but still hasn’t gotten a “real” fire (apparently small stuff like car and brush fires doesn’t count). Sick of going to drug overdose calls, suicide attempts, and making countless trips to the old folks home (they fall down a lot), Stew has been itching to actually fight a fire. And he finally got his chance!!

      His department got to battle a HUGE fire that broke out Thursday afternoon in a garage, quickly spreading to adjacent homes. He called immediately afterward to tell me about it and I was oh-so-proud of him!

      I’m so glad that his “first time” is finally over with so he can stop stressing and wondering what it will be like. Of course he absolutely loved it and can’t wait to do it again. As for me, I am now the girlfriend of a bona fide firefighter, which means I get to constantly worry that something might happen to him.

      Not that I would trade it for anything in the world.

      Friday, June 05, 2009

      Legally Done

      “I’m a Paralegal,” I said smugly to my boyfriend last night.

      “No you’re not babe,” he replied. “You’re just qualified to be a Paralegal. But congratulations!”

      Well, fine. Way to call me out.

      But I am officially finished with the University of Washington Paralegal Program! I feel amazingly accomplished. Let me tell you, working full time and attending night school for nine months was BRUTAL. But I absolutely loved the program and put more effort into it than I put into 95% of my undergraduate work.

      Now for the next step. Normally, it’s expected that graduates of the program will begin applying for jobs in the legal field. However, I absolutely love my job. So the prospect of leaving it in a recessed economy to become a “new hire / low man on the totem pole / next prospective layoff” doesn’t sound super appealing.

      But after being immersed in law classes for so long, I’ve become completely obsessed. So since I am not going to pursue employment opportunities, I decided to sign up for an LSAT prep course. I figure why not. I take the test and score well; I apply to law school. I take the test and fail; I don’t.

      So that’s my plan for the immediate future. Whatcha think?

      Saturday, May 30, 2009

      Go Big or Go Home

      There’s nothing like having someone pinch the fat on your arms, legs and stomach, and then having them tell you exactly how out of shape you actually are. That’s how I started my Saturday this week.

      I’ve been thinking for a while now that I really need to get in gear and get in shape. I generally go the easy route and prefer to simply not eat rather than drag my lazy butt into the gym. But this idea came to a screeching halt when my 50-year-old dad who does not exercise totally killed me on a very easy day hike. Not cool.

      But I know myself. I’m lazy and unmotivated and even if I go to the gym I don’t push myself and constantly come up with excuses. So I gave myself a shove: I signed up for Seattle Adventure Boot Camp. It’s a four-week, women-only outdoor fitness program with a Certified Fitness Trainer… from 5:30 to 6:30am, Monday through Friday. Am I crazy?!?

      Part of the program includes attending a pre-camp evaluation to determine weight, measurements, and body fat percentage. Let me tell you… seeing those numbers in accusatory black and white was a very humbling experience. So off I went to purchase my yoga matt and weights in preparation for the torture looming ahead.

      Although terrified, I’m really looking forward to the promised results:
      • 3-5% reduction in body fat
      • Greatly improved posture
      • Better relaxation
      • 5-12 pounds of weight loss
      • 1-3 inch decrease in the midsection
      • 25% improvement in endurance & strength

      I would sooner die than post the results of my pre-camp fitness evaluation here, but I’ll definitely report back with results at the end of Boot Camp. If I survive...

      Tuesday, May 26, 2009

      Sunland = Funland: A Look Back

      Do you ever look back and wonder, “What was I thinking?!”

      I recently had an epiphany. For the past few years I’ve spent the majority of my holiday weekends at various campgrounds and cabins at the Columbia River Gorge. And if it weren’t for a very extensive photo collection, I doubt I would remember many of those glorious days spent in the sun. Because most of the time, I was pretty out of it.

      I was “single and fabulous,” which apparently meant that my unattached girlfriends and I spent our vacations drinking as much as possible. Oh the stories I could tell. But my embarrassment makes me hesitate to even add links to previous blog posts about said weekends. Let’s just say I was often “that girl.” The one who everyone thinks is super fun and exciting. The one who drinks until dawn. The one at the center of the dance party. The one who takes her top off. The one who falls off the boat. The one who makes friends with absolute strangers. The one who makes everyone laugh.

      The one who is alone.

      That’s what I realized this past weekend. Once again, I headed to Eastern Washington for a sunny vacation with friends. Since I’ve been with my boyfriend for the past few years, my prior holiday weekend behaviors have seriously calmed down. However, we still have loads of fun eating, drinking, boating and sunbathing in Eastern Washington – would it be possible not to?

      Because of Stewart’s firefighting schedule, he wasn’t able to head over with me on Friday afternoon, so I went solo with some friends. Stew was planning on joining us Sunday morning. So for two days, I kicked back with my friends for some Sunland = Funland. But I quickly realized… I was lonely. All of the sudden I felt like “that girl” again. The one everyone loves hanging out with... but secretly feels sorry for when they head to bed with their significant other at the end of the night.

      I started to wonder… Did I behave the way I did because I was lonely? Did I drink myself into oblivion so the reality of being single didn’t seem so harsh? Maybe. I did have some amazing times with some fantastic friends, and the memories are priceless. But now that my circumstances have changed and I have a chance to look back, I see a silly, superficial, insecure, very lonely girl who needed to be the center of attention because that was the only attention she got. And it makes me sad for her.

      And thankful for my life… now. I have wonderful friends and an amazing boyfriend that I still get to spend my holiday weekends with. I still love to party, but now I don’t do it because it fills a void in my life. I don't feel lost and alone, instead I feel fulfilled and grateful. I adore all the incredible people in my life, and am thankful that I once again enjoyed a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend at the Gorge. Here’s to many more to come!!