Saturday, June 27, 2009

Malcolm aka The Diggity


Malcolm Xavier
~April 15, 1996 - June 27, 2009

Farewell mon petit chiot.

I loved you from the instant I met you when you placed your long nose on my lap and looked up at me so intently with those eyes that said "I'm yours." There is so much I want to say about your life, your vibrancy, your sweetness, your longing to please and sometimes your deviousness. Your capacity for empathy is unmatched as is your unconditional love. I have a notebook full of anecdotes and tidbits of your life that I have jotted down as you grew older but right now all I can say is that I love you and miss you and no matter how far away I moved, you have always been so very close to my heart for getting me through the roughest time of my life. You will continue to remain with me always.

Until we meet again I hope you have plenty of meadows to run through, sheep to corral, moose to flush from the willows, frisbees to catch, bones to devour, lakes to swim in and most of all - heaps and heaps of spaghetti.

Friday, June 26, 2009

week in review

Not sure how much fun this is going to be since this was another work intensive week but if my sleep-deprived brain can remember all the way back to Monday, I'm hopeful that I can pull out something interesting.

Monday. Birthday aftermath. On a Monday. I stayed up way to late Sunday night doing laundry and still managed to make it to the gym for the first and last time this week. It seems like Monday was 5 weeks ago.

Tuesday. I crammed in as much work as possible before 7, then skipped off to a cocktail party with the tiniest, most unsatisfying h’our douevers ever. Sure there were sliders that several others were downing three at a time in an attempt to calm their angry stomachs, but not being a hamburger fan I skipped out. Why the made grab for grub? We were off to see Waiting for Godot at Studio 54. This was absolutely the highlight of the week. Who would ever expect existentialist allegory to be so hilarious? What made it so funny? A cast starring Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman and John Glover. This was my first time seeing Nathan Lane on stage and I have to say he is unbelievable. Our seats were perched pretty high up in the precariously steep theater (one member of our party left at intermission because the pitch was making her dizzy! I loved that she called herself Lucille II) and yet, even Lane's most subtle movements and words carried up to us. He is truly gifted. The next day a co-worker commented that she noticed he tilted his head up slightly to play to the whole theater. I am not an astute enough theater-goer to pick up on such nuances. All I know is he completely filled the room but did not trample over the three other actors. Goodman was fantastic as well. I was hit with a nearly uncontrollable giggling fit in Act II when he presumably could not get and he rocked back and forth on his stomach wailing. It was the funniest thing. I wish I could tell you I loved the play because I caught all kinds of symbolism and subtleties but to be honest, I enjoyed it at face value. And I'm still enjoying it for the fact that I'm still thinking about it, pondering over some of the lines and the overall storyline.

The only negatives to the night were the fact that I was absolutely starving and the unbelievably uncomfortable seats. I am tall for a woman at 5'9" but I am not a giant and yet my knees were jammed up against the seat in front of me. Because we had a large block of seats, I actually knew the person I would potentially be irritating if I moved in any way. And I moved. When I am uncomfortable, I get extremely fidgety. But I never kicked her seat. I leaned forward, elbows on knees. I leaned back and tucked my legs under my seat. I leaned to the left and then the right. Nothing was comfortable. Luckily the play was amazing.

Afterwards, I went to dinner with a handful of co-workers at a diner in my neighborhood and realized I am significantly older than the junior associates and maybe I need to face reality about that and find some friends my own age. Or maybe that is an after-shock from turning 34 on Sunday.

Another after-shock from my birthday (or more likely the extreme barometric pressure)? Headaches. Tuesday I realized that all three days that I had been 34 were endured with a pretty intense headache. And cramps. 34 of so far, not much fun as far as how I was feeling.

Wednesday. No pilates class which means I slept in and skipped the gym. Had a belated birthday lunch with friends that got rained on mid-way through. This was a bit of a nuisance since we were seated on the patio but the umbrellas were broad enough none of us got too wet once we squeezed in. We even took the time to stop for a cupcake afterwards.

Thursday. Wait, that was yesterday? Really nothing outside of work happened other than watching SYTYCD off my dvr when I got home from work at 1130 pm and staying up far too late again. OH! That reminds me. Walking to the diner Tuesday night I saw Evan's brother - the guy who was the last guy not to make the top 20 in Vegas but who has already made it to the next round of Vegas, you know, the one who always wears a hat and a bow-tie - eating at a sidewalk cafe. And not one of the four people I was with watches the show so no one could appreciate my enthusiasm.

Friday. Did I mention the rain is back? Well, it never really left and it is here to stay for the weekend which I keep telling myself is a good thing because I will be working the weekend away in between cleaning my apartment, packing to go home for my sister's wedding (wedding is one week from today!!) and planning another friend's bridal shower. I would like a fast forward button to Wednesday please. The part of Wednesday when I am getting off the plane, thank you very much. I just do not see a lot of sleep in my near future so my sister's decision to spend next Thursday at the spa with my mom and me in lieu of a bridal shower is sounding wonderful right about now.

Also, right now there is an incredible red-orange light gleaming off the building out my office window which is looking pretty amazing considering the dark sky left-over from a pretty intense thunder-shower a couple of hours ago. Pretty. But I would gladly trade it in for one real summer day.

How about you? How was your week? If you have seen summer, will you mention that I'm looking for her? The solstice was last Sunday and I have yet to see any signs of her arrival.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

take a look

For my sister's wedding, I recommended friend and blogger Natalie to be her photographer and my sister made a wise decision in selecing her, take a look at the bridals here. I think my sister makes a stunning bride. I also wish I had her legs. I can't believe the wedding is less than two weeks away . . . .

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to Have a Great Birthday Weekend

Start off by dressing up and attending a fancy roof-top wedding
and enjoy the brief respite from the rainBrave the rain for high tea with a good friend
Happily accept a last minute invitation to escape the City to visit friends in the "country"
Start your birthday by sleeping in.
And taking a brief run (brief due to a threatening asthma attack)
Enjoy multiple birthday calls and emails and text messages
Eat a delicious Mexican lunch
Followed immediately by your first Water Ice - some sort of snow cone/slurpee hybrid
See a fun girlie movie that makes you laugh far too loudly
(The Proposal is predictable but fun)
Relish the fact that the sun came out
Enjoy a trifecta celebration:
father's day, early birthday for Christian and my birthday!
finish the day with ice-cream for dinner

and creamery sign limbo
then wonder how this place is for real
and be very grateful for good friends, wonderful food and a 6-year old who sings a mean rock and roll style Happy Birthday
Then hop a train back to reality for a new work week filled with more rain.

Thank you Tiffany, Ryan, Christian and Max for giving my a wonderfully enjoyable birthday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

a few of my obsessions

Since I went and mocked a variety of cultural items that I just don't get, I figured it is only fair that I throw out a few of my own obsessions and own up to them.

  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Top Chef
  • Chop't Salads
  • chocolate
  • cupcakes
  • gofugyourself
  • Coach purses (the kind that do not have tacky logos stamped all over the outside)
  • Banana Republic
  • pilates
  • Mad Men
  • moleskin notebooks
  • my blackberry
  • not using grocery store bags
  • blogging . . . duh!
  • running
  • nike plus
  • Greek yogurt
  • shoes
  • hummus
  • Target
  • recycling
  • sushi
  • Cafe Rio
  • Costco
  • MoMA
  • Guitar Hero
  • photographing everything on vacation - including the food
  • Utah Jazz
  • traveling
  • Macbook
  • baby carrots
  • Vosges chocolates
  • online shopping
  • google reader
  • Marc Bittman's blog
  • Cole Haan's Nike Air shoes
  • The Real Housewives of Orange County and New York . . . but not New Jersey
  • peanut butter
  • blog comments (I try not to obsess but I really love them!)
  • farmer's market
  • Whole Foods
  • pedicures
  • Mexican food
  • Thai food
  • uniball pens
  • Beyonce's Single Ladies

Thursday, June 18, 2009

obsessions I don't get

Holly of Nothing But Bonfires recently did a post called A Partial List Of Things The Rest Of The World Seems To Love And Yet Towards Which I Remain Curiously Lukewarm. It struck a chord with me because there are a number of cultural obsessions that never seem to resonate with me, some of which overlap with Holly and others on which I may stand entirely alone.

You be the judge, here's my list of obsessions, trends and movements I just don't get:
  • Twilight
  • Harry Potter
  • American Idol
  • US Weekly/People/Gossip mags in general
  • Twitter
  • leggings
  • country music
  • the anti-carb craze
  • The Bachelor/Bachelorette
  • Times Square
  • The Lakers
  • tanning/fake baking until you are orange
  • fake boobs
  • fake nails - especially the squared off French manicure ones
  • Crocs
  • online dating
  • Angelina Jolie
  • designer labels - the kind that are scrawled all over the bag such as Louis Vuitton
  • Magnolia Cupcakes
  • Duck Beach (if you are Mormon and single - or have been a single Mormon in the last 5-7 years - you will know what this is)
  • hamburgers
  • that "bumpit" hairstyle
  • the majority of the stupid humor comedies - you know the Will Farrell, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler types (although each has been in a movie I have really liked: Elf, Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Spanglish, respectively)
  • blog followers (I'll take them, I just don't get what I'm supposed to do with them)
  • laying out in public places that aren't beaches - like Central Park
  • gum

I'm quite sure I've left some out so what about you? What trends, obsessions, movements, etc. fail to resonate with you? Feel free to judge me for mine........

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 5 Albums

A comment from a co-worker sparked the question - what is my favorite album of all time? I know I cannot choose just one. That seems impossible. Instead, I am going to attempt to select a top 5. And as I introduce this, I have no idea what will make the list. And I am pretty sure that as soon as I settle on 5, I will think of at least a half a dozen more that need to be reviewed and possibly added. I will also add that part of my criteria for selecting albums for this particular top 5 list is the impact the album had on me when I discovered it - did I listen to it non-stop, did the lyrics resonate with me, did the music seep into my soul and become a part of me, does the very mention of the artist/a song/the album compel me to want to listen again? With all of those disclaimers and explanations, I'm jumping in and making an attempt at brainstorming without editing and second-guessing (oh! and without listening!):
  1. In Through the Out Door, Led Zeppelin. If you knew me at anytime during the years 1992 - 1995, you will have heard this cd playing almost incessently. Especially track 6, mid-1994 (I didn't even look it up, I still know it was track 6).
  2. Crash, Dave Matthews Band. I didn't necessarily want to include this one because it feels obvious and trite and overplayed. But the immediate impact this album had on me when a long-time friend handed it to me in the parking lot outside her apartment cannot be denied. Also, coincidentally, track 6 was what hooked me. (Again, no need to check, this was back when I paid attention to that sort of thing.)
  3. Kind of Blue, Miles Davis. I am not sure if there could be another more perfect album than this. Although Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool and Sketches of Spain as well as Dave Brubeck's Time Out were close contenders. So close that as I type this I am considering switching to Time Out . . . but Kind of Blue is the album I return to most often. Especially when I want to sit in the dark, close my eyes and just let the music wash over me and cleanse me of whatever ill has infected my mind.
  4. Sea Change, Beck. For whatever reason, my most stand-out albums involve a lot of suffering. And oh how Beck suffers here. This album is for heart ache and longing and private tears. And for whatever reason, I love that!
  5. Tonic, Medeski Martin & Wood. An acoustic, live album that leaves me wondering why I don't go to more live shows and missing the bare-bones jazz club where the album was recorded and where it gets its name. MMW starts simple and builds and builds. This is an album that energizes.

That was even harder than I anticipated and I know there is no way these are my absolute top 5 of all time because I didn't even include any classical - Dvorak in Prague and Yo Yo Ma's Bach unaccompanied are contenders, as is Stravinsky's Firebird. There are also two or three albums I have been stuck on lately that I did not include because they are too new to me to fairly judge on their staying power.

So, what about you? What are your top 5 albums of all time. Or your top 5 albums of the moment? I'm always looking for more music suggestions . . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

my weekend

This was not the most exciting of weekends but I can't say that it was particularly dull either. My biggest complaint was the weather. I am so tired of the rain. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it has been raining almost non-stop for about a month. Probably longer. Okay, fine. Sometimes it stops for a day or two at a time and the sun comes out. And fine, for the most part those sunny days have fallen on the weekend. But this time, they didn't.

Friday night as I walked home, squinting directly into the sun, my head filled with ideas of what to do with this unexpected gift of early evening sunshine following days and days of rain and gray. Reading on the roof was the top choice. Until I entered my apartment and the weight of the week propelled me into pajamas and onto my couch. No rooftop reading for me - just catching up on what my dvr had stored for me from the week. Mindless. Sunless. But I made that choice under the delusion that Saturday was going to be a sunny one.

I was wrong.

Saturday dawned gray and gloomy with fleeting moments of sun that quickly disappeared. I cleaned my apartment and relished in the bliss of not suffering any obligations for the day. A clean slate of a day! I couldn't remember the last one I had. Around 1 pm I decided to go for a 2 mile run. The moment I stepped outside, it started sprinkling. I am not kidding. When I left my apartment I swear the sun was out. I confined much of my run to the path covered by the West Side Highway and welcomed the light rain once I was out in the open.

Back at home I showered and lounged around some more in between short bursts of cleaning energy. At one point I texted a friend to go see a movie but was not disappointed when she couldn't make it. Instead, I booked a massage - my reward for reaching my running goal.

After a very intense 60 minutes of massage - which the masseuse told me was much needed, I was tight everywhere - I went to Whole Foods and shopped. I bought fresh cherries (that I am currently snacking on at the moment) and fixings for dinner. Then tensed my newly relaxed shoulders back up while walking home with the grocery bags.

When I arrived at home I opted to make my own pasta sauce starting with a leftover roasted red peppers/shallots/garlic mixture I had in my fridge and just added stuff to it: more garlic, olive oil, mushrooms, zuchinni, more garlic, a little tomato paste, canned tomatoes, a fresh tomato, maybe more garlic, fresh basil, pine nuts, some salt and lots of pepper. Oh, and some red pepper flakes for a little spice! The sauce went well with the whole wheat penne pasta I picked up and the fresh mozzarella was perfect on top of it all.
I also made some garlic bread. Usually when I make garlic bread, I just drizzle the melted butter on the baguette, sprinkle it with minced garlic, wrap it in foil and put it in the oven at 400 degrees. For some reason I thought I should change that up and broil it - open faced - at the same temp. Not such a good plan since I didn't pay attention to it and before long I couldn't figure out what was burning . . . right, the bread.
Not one to toss a perfectly good garlic-laden loaf of bread, I cut off the black incerated parts and ate it anyway. Wow, do I love garlic!
On Sunday I was scheduled to leave the state for the afternoon. I don't know why I still get such a kick out of leaving the state for a day trip after living here for so long but I do. I guess growing up in one of those big square states out west which generally requires hours and hours of driving, a cooler in the car and a place to stay when leaving the state makes it hard for me to change my perception.

Anyway, I wasn't clear on the time I was supposed to arrive in New Jersey and I wasn't clear on what I was supposed to bring. So I sat on my couch until I received a text with further instructions. (Are you getting the impression that I spent a lot of time on my couch this weekend? Because I didn't really, just a lot of resting between other things.) I was asked to bring something sweet - my favorite! So I decided to whip up some brownies. Which proved to be a challenge since I did not have enough butter and I was out of white flour. Or almost out of white flour. Luckily I had some wheat and knew this was a crowd that would appreciate whole wheat baked goods. I subbed in a little shortening for the butter shortage (a sacrilege under normal circumstances) and used mostly wheat flour. The result - quite tasty, but a bit on the chewier side and definitely missing the usual butteryness I love so much about my recipe.

Between the brownie-making and the part where I didn't take a shower until after I put the brownies in the oven, I was running late. A noon arrival in Jersey City was not going to happen. It really should not have taken me too long to get there but for some reason I ended up doing everything the slow and hard way and fell further and further behind to the point that my host called as I was walking from the train to her house to make sure I wasn't lost because I am - to quote her: "never late." I was not lost. Just 45 minutes late to the bbq. It wasn't raining but the weather was gray and humid and fairly icky.

Luckily that did not interfere with our afternoon bbq in what felt like an extremely spacious townhouse. I was able to meet my friend's 6-month old little girl for the first time and see my other friend's 8-month old again. Such cute babies!
The food was delicious, the conversation was delightful and it felt so restorative to spend time with friends who have known me for a surprisingly long time now. When we noticed the sun shining brightly through the windows, we took a short walk and after munching on a few more snacks, I hitched a ride with my other friends back to the City (to Canal Street at least) while they passed through heading home to Brooklyn.
Walking back from the subway the sun was still brightly shining. This time I vowed not to be sucked into my couch and laziness. As soon as I arrived home, I packed myself a little picnic dinner of pb&j, some cherries and a bottle of water. I changed into shorts, grabbed a light jacket in case of wind and a book and pushed myself back out the door. I found a sunny bench by the water and lounged there for a couple of hours - first talking to my mom and then reading a book. It was a wonderful way to end the weekend.

I'm so lucky to have this park so close to my house:
And as I left the park, I spied the little goose family I have been watching grow as I run along the river over the last couple of months:
I can't believe how big the little goslings are now. I'm just sad that now there are only two - there used to be three.
Now there is just a sign advising dog owners to keep their dogs leashed to protect the baby geese. Sad!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Triumphant!

Meeting a goal is such a satisfying feeling. Meeting a goal that seemed far out and nearly impossible? Now that is an exhilerating feeling.

At the beginning of April I set a goal for myself: to run a 5k. Around the same time this little goal was germinating, I received an email at work about registering for the Corporate Challenge in June. I happened to be IMing with a runner friend at the same time and asked if she thought I should sign up. After some encouraging words, I completed the online registration form and wondered what on earth I was getting myself into. Especially since this Corporate Challenge thing is 3.5 miles - not the 3.1 miles of a 5k. I continued to slowly plod along in my Couch to 5k program with great skepticism as to whether I could really meet this goal. But as the weeks went by I started getting into it, by reading more about running and talking to people about running and the more I talked about it, the more I realized had to make it to this 5k+ goal I had set for myself.

Of course, I had some setbacks. My same old excuse of a knee problem flared up but I refused to let it keep me down. I took a couple of weeks off to baby it, made some other adjustments (farewell heels, bye-bye flip flops) and got back out there. Then, just after my knee felt stable enough to run, work flared out of control and the week prior to my race was completely filled with early 7 am meetings and late night office hours that barely gave me time to sleep a few hours, let along run.

But I was determined to meet this goal of mine so I pushed myself harder and last weekend, when I managed to run 3 miles in Central Park, I knew - for the first time - that I could meet my goal. The race was Thursday so I decided I would try another 3 miler on Tuesday before the race. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, I was awakened by loud, crackling thunder, flashes of lightening brightening my room, wind gusts roaring by and pelting my window with splatters of rain that sounded more substantive than plain water. It was 2 am. I needed to get up at 730 to complete my run before work but the thunder, wind and rain that had roused me from my sleep was also somehow setting off multiple car alarms in the parking lot across the street which resulted in more tossing and turning than sleep. Weary from the restless night, I dragged myself out of bed at 730 and slowly, very slowly managed to get dressed and gather the items I needed to run. It was no longer raining outside my window but the air felt cool so I opted to run in capri pants and a long sleeve shirt rather than my rain jacket which can be miserable in the humidity. I took my own sweet time and didn't make it out the door until 10 to 8.

Not far into my run, it started raining. Before I hit my first mile, the rain had turned to a torrential downpour of the kind usually reserved for tropical rain forests. It did not take long for me to be completely soaked through. I kept at it but felt myself getting heavier with each step into the increasingly deep puddles. The wind off the water wasn't helping my resolve to keep at it. Finally, after retying my shoes for the second time, I turned around with the rationalization that I would continue my run heading north where I could run under the highway for a stretch. However, by the time I reached the turnoff to my place, I knew I was finished. I was completely soaked to the skin and my socks were squishing in my shoes. I was disappointed but decided I needed to just blame the weather and not feel like a failure for not meeting my goal distance.

By the time Thursday morning arrived I was nervous and excited. Eleven weeks of training, pushing through an injury and the day had arrived for me to see if I could really achieve this seemingly impossible goal. I had difficulty concentrating at work and I tried reading articles online to see what and when I should eat before the race. I obsessed over the weather that was grey and dreary with anticipated showers in the late afternoon. I questioned the decision to sign up for my first race with forty or so co-workers and I debated what to wear: the rain jacket or the too-big cotton t-shirt with the company logo.

I changed into my running clothes a little earlier than necessary to give myself time to sort out my things and steady myself. When I arrived in the lobby with the rest of the evening's runners and walkers I discovered I was the only one to choose rain gear over team t-shirt. As we walked up to the park, I found myself caught up in the excitment. A co-worker commented as we trudged up along 6th Avenue that he had always made fun of the groups of tourists in their matching t-shirts and yet there we were. Or, there they were in their matching t-shirts, me in my rain jacket. Other runners were making their way through mid-town streets as well in matching t-shirts emblazoned with clever and not-so-clever logos and taglines. Someone started asking about bathrooms before we even got into the park and though I had gone twice in the last 30 minutes before leaving, the mention of it sparked an urge.

Our group met at a stretch of benches and people pulled out rolls of garbage bags stolen from the office pantries to guard bags and jackets left behind on the benches with the kind people who had agreed to stand guard over our things. It was a bit misty but no actual rain was falling and in a sudden desire to belong to my team, I ditched the rain jacket in favor of the green t-shirt that was nearly as long as my shorts and stretched out - feeling self-conscious but knowing I needed to go through my usual routine.

I now felt a bathroom was necessary but no one seemed to know where they were so en masse our green-clad group started walking to the starting point only to run into a long line of port-a-potties. Hooray! I found an open one down the line and warmed up my quads with a squat (hee!). I was happy my team had such bright shirts to follow as I easily caught up with them in the massive crowd that was filling the entire road. We were packed in tight and some of my group pressed forward by weaving up closer to the start. As we stood there, my adrenaline was pumping and I was excited. I kept telling people this was my first race and we collectively wondered how we would ever start moving all boxed up like we were.

A police officer sang the Star Spangled Banner and I couldn't hold still from the anticipation. Some garbled announcements were made several hundred people in front of us and we wondered if the race had started. It had. We were not moving. We jostled around and joked about the fine race we were running but could not move forward. I stepped up on a curb to peer above the sea of people and could see the ripple of movement was making its way back toward our direction.

Then we were moving. Sort of. It wasn't even a walk yet. We were in a bottle neck with no where to go with a bramble covered hill to the left and a chain link fence blocking us in at the right. But when the fence turned to movable police barriers, runners broke through a hole and started running on the path parallel to the road. I followed and hit go on my ipod to keep track of my own time and mileage. I do not remember when I passed the starting line.

I spent most of the first mile weaving in and out of people trying to find enough space to hit my own stride. Walkers and runners and joggers were all mixed up and trying to do the same - with the walkers seemingly the only winners as they marched forward in pairs and walls of three and four. At some point early on I realized I was going to fast. I had entered my bob-and-weave-flee-Times-Square mode but running instead of walking. You see, I just do not like to be stuck in massively large amounts of people. Something in my head clicks and I have to get out and find some space as soon as possible. When I checked my pace, I was running an 8 and change mile - certainly nothing something I am capable of sustaining at all, especially as the course was now heading up a long hill. The weaving and dodging slowed down but continued to be a factor throughout the race. For the first part of the race though, while we ran up the west side of the park, I was able to run primarily on a little dirt path just off the road. Runners were spread out across the road to my left and scattered across the walking path to my right and I stuck to this narrow muddy path.

I checked in with my pace and time periodically and wondered what had happened to all the green shirts but kept after it. I entertained myself by reading t-shirts and looking for gaps in the walkers to get through to open space. I noticed a red-haired, red t-shirt clad girl fly by me at one point and pass her walking later. I spotted a co-worker I was convinced was a fast runner, take a walking break. I tied my t-shirt in a knot at the side to prevent it from moving around so much. I ran up hills and down hills and did not stop. I managed to grab a paper cup and take a couple of sips of water as I ran. I was hot in the t-shirt but grateful it wasn't raining - just misty. I soon discovered my ipod's calibration of the distance was not on track with the mileage markers I was noticing. When I hit the 3 mile sign, my ipod was convinced I was finished with 3.5 miles. I willed myself forward longing for the finish line and tryed to ignore the stitch forming in my right side.

There was one last hill before the course swung right to the finish line. I checked in with my pace and pushed just a little bit harder to the finish. I crossed the finish line and noted the time as 49 minutes. Relieved to be walking I continued to follow the crowd through the gated road to collect water and a banana. The hordes of people and the blocked off road made it difficult to orient myself. The crowd was bottlenecking and I just wanted to find familiar green shirts and remember where the line of benches was that was holding my bag. I found a break away spot and managed to find my group and was greeted with many high fives and congratulations on finishing my first race. I was probably one of the last runners to reach the group but not the last - and the walkers trailed a ways behind me. I felt fantastic.

According to my ipod - and my dancing little runner on my sidebar - I ran 4.19 miles in 40 minutes and 49 seconds. There is a pretty big discrepency in the mileage that is either attributed to how far we were from the starting line or a mis-calibration of my nike+, or possibly a combination of the two. Either way, I am very proud of myself and ready for my next race.

If you must know, yes I am exhausted today but I cannot blame that on the race. I attribute that to not going home until 1:30 am on a school night. You see, after the race we headed to a bbq place on the Upper East Side for food and drinks and karaoke. Ribs aren't exactly what I would choose for my first post-race meal but I didn't end up eating much of them as the quesedillas were more to my cravings. Mostly the night was spent talking and laughing and dancing and forgetting that I was in a bar in running clothes - sweaty running clothes at that. I mostly sang along with the karaoke with the crowd but right before I left, I joined two co-workers in singing Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall. It was good times.

And my knee? Yes, it is holding up quite well and the only reason it was sore when I made my way home at the end of the night was due to the dancing. Even in fully-supportive sneakers, there are certain dance moves that do not do my knees any favors. I guess I shouldn't worry about being too selective with the shoes I will be wearing to the upcoming weddings since my knee will be sore regardless - I might as well pick something pretty!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thirty

I would like to tell you a little bit about a girl who does not like to receive a lot of attention.
As a matter of fact, I would like to tell you thirty things about a girl I have been lucky enough to call my sister for thirty years today.

(she's the little one not greedily eating ham)

1. She's adventurous and up to whatever nutty travel plans I throw at her. And she tosses a few back my way as well.

2. She is a truly amazing artist. As her sister, I admit that I am biased but if you are ever out near the Juan Diego Catholic School in Draper, Utah, you can judge for yourself since she has a triptych hanging in the foyer of the chapel. Or stop by my apartment and I will give you an art tour of my walls that hold a number of her pieces.
3. She is one of the funniest people I know and I honestly don't think she even has to try. Email is somehow her greatest forum but she can get me laughing in person, on the phone or even thinking about something she said a week ago.
4. She gets me and lets me be myself. Which means, spending time with her is the greatest, I can relax into myself and laugh when she teases me for being too much myself.

5. She has always been a devout animal lover. She was the advocate for a new dog for half our childhood, begging our parents over and over to get a new dog but made do with parakeets and stuffed dogs when she couldn't get the real thing.
6. She puts up with my bossy big-sister ways. It has to be tough to be the kid-sister and I failed to recognize it and I treated her that way for a very long time - she still has to remind me from time to time.
7. She has the greatest hair. One of our brothers once commented - after pulling first on my ponytail and then hers - that my one ponytail was equivalent to half of hers . . . brothers rock! Of course, he was just telling the truth.
8. As a kid, she loved all things pink and girly and barbies. As the more tom-boy sister, I never understood that and she teases me about abandoning her just a few minutes into our doll playing days. She's forgiven me and grown out of the pink and frilly phase of life and I've toned down my tom-boyishness so that we've met in the middle.
9. She inspired me to start running. Erin has always been a runner - the only one in our family. She ran her first half-marathon recently and I was so impressed, I decided to start my own plodding running journey.
10. She was the best roommate I've ever had (apologies to any former roommates who might be reading). Sure, we had a few altercations but mostly I remember cooking together, watching The OC together, complaining about the crazy woman who lived upstairs and our evening tea time (which makes us sound like 80-year old spinsters but it was a ritual I enjoyed.).
11. She hates snow. Hates it. I have never heard anyone rant and rave and dread snow as much as my sister.
12. She's not afraid to be wacky. She'll sing in the car, make faces at the camera or shake what her mamma (our mamma) gave her whenever the mood strikes.
13. She always asks me to bake her cookies. I like this because it makes me feel wanted and needed, even if only for my baking skills.
14. We can talk for hours and hours.
15. Or we can hang out and not bother saying anything at all and be fine with that too.
16. She is taller than me - by about 1 inch.
17. She loves saunas and hot tubs and beaches. When we travel, I know the best way to put her in a good mood is to get her in a swimsuit and into water (preferably a beach that does not have used needles on it a la Livingston, Guatemala!).
18. She is the best companion to take to an art gallery or museum. She sees things in art I would never discover on my own.
19. She is a fantastic photographer. One of the best things about vacationing with my sister is she takes these amazing photos that I get to keep!
20. She isn't much of a hugger, but she is willing to indulge me once in a while.
21. She is a peacemaker. While I am always looking to stir up trouble, she is there to settle things down and help people come together.
22. She learned to be a sports fan. Growing up, Erin was a bit of the odd man out when it came time to watch a Jazz game or Monday night football or college football or anything really since the rest of the family was always completely into whatever game was on. But lucky for me, she has grown into a fan and is happy to accompany me to games.
23. She loves the outdoors. Erin loves, appreciates and respects nature and is just as curious as I am to discover as many corners of God's creation as possible.
24. Erin has incredible concentration. When she is focused on a project, the whole world could fall apart around her; whereas I am distracted by every little gnat that buzzes by.
25. Erin is an avid reader. And lucky for me we enjoy a lot of the same books which means we get to have great conversations about our reads.
26. Erin is thoughtful. She thinks of others and considers their feelings and reactions before she acts.
27. Erin is independent. While I have the reputation for being the independent one in our family, she is the one who quietly forges her own path in her own unique way.
28. Erin has great taste in music. We can take a road trip around Iceland for a week and never argue about music (other things . . . maybe), except for Eye of the Tiger - I still don't understand how she wasn't excited to hear that pop up on the playlist!
29. She forgives me when I'm thoughtless, rude, argumentative or downright mean. We're sisters, we fight. But we also have an incredible friendship that means everything to me.
30. She is beautiful. Look at all the pictures I've gathered - this is just a smattering sample of her good looks.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN!!!

I consider myself the luckiest to be able to call you Ma Soeur and to have shared so many memorable adventures with you and looking forward to many, many more!
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