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. VoilĂ , 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?