Vacation Hangover

Holy crap am I busy.

Today is my first day back from a long weekend visiting extended family in Silicon Valley and I am officially swamped, so here’s my weekend-long vacation in photos with simple captions that could have been written by a caveman:

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On our way from SeaTac.

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Son’s Camaro obsession delays our departure from the rental place.

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Swimming with their cousins.

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We have lift-off!

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Land’s End in San Francisco.

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Bay Area: I came, I saw, I ate.

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I caved and took her to the “Full House” house.

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Caught in a Gaza-Israel protest in Union Square.

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Silliest photo ever with my mom.

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Ferry Building: Love.

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Scariest thing about Winchester Mystery House? Lack of AC.

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The Chinese massage was almost as painful as surgery.

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Grandnieces and nephews with their auntie.

I have so much more to say about our weekend but I’m waaaay too busy right now and still too exhausted to reduce it to words. Suffice to say we had an incredibly fun time catching up with–and in some cases meeting–members of our extended family. (We have a very large family, so this is not as weird as it sounds.)

And now we’re back at home, and I’m back at work, and it’s time to get back at it. 

Throwback Thursday

I woke up this morning feeling pretty crummy (and no, it’s not because I went to the Tacoma Runners event and my friend’s birthday party last night–but more on those later) so I’m going to take it easy on myself and cave into the Throwback Thursday phenomenon rather than write and publish a detailed post today.

Photo Jul 24, 9 10 10 AMToday’s throwback goes way way back to a much simpler time when I was just 6 years old, chillin’ with my new kitten (Speedy, as in Speedy Gonzales, my then-favorite Loony Tunes character), reading comic books in bed in the middle of the day. Man alive the cover of that Bugs Bunny comic book looks ancient now! 

Have a great Thursday!

Wannabe Beyoncé

Last Friday I went out with a group of college friends in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. We hadn’t convened as a group since 2011, which was ages ago.20140723-000453-293361.jpgThat was in 2011. You can tell it’s an old picture because (1) I don’t wear glasses like that anymore (they’re bigger now) and (2) I look younger and smaller. Aging is awesome, amirite?

We meet up at the Oddfellows, an old Oddfellows Hall that was converted into a charming restaurant/bar about 5 years ago.20140723-000532-332338.jpgIt’s quite beautiful inside, in a sort of shabby-chic/pseudo-Parisian/stylish-farmhouse way. A lot of hyphens involved with that joint.

We had aperitifs there and then wandered over to Poquitos, a hoppin’ spot for great Mexican food and scratch cocktails. I drank some fresh watermelon margaritas and ate a ton of food: ceviche, insanely good guacamole, delicious street-style grilled corn, and tasty and tender carne asada. When I wasn’t guzzling libations or shoving food in my mouth, I shared lots of laughs with my friends. So much fun! Big thanks are in order to my friends H and her husband J for hosting our fantastic supper.

After dinner, our group accosted a passerby to take our photo under the vintage neon Poquitos sign.20140723-000612-372585.jpgIt didn’t turn out so well.

We then capped the evening with a visit to Rock Box, a nearby karaoke bar. I had never been there before, and was expecting something along the lines of the depressing little bars that usually host karaoke. (You know what I’m talking about. There’s a funky smell to the joint, there’s usually a wall of pull tab dispensers, and someone is passed out on top of the bar.)

I was mistaken, because Rock Box is dark and sleek and cool enough to sell Jell-O shots where the proceeds are donated to charity.

20140723-000654-414937.jpgRock Box offers Japanese-style karaoke, which means that it features private rooms that you can reserve to sing with your friends without fear of humiliating yourselves in front of strangers. My friend H had thoughtfully reserved a room in advance and we quickly left the entrance area/common bar (where some crazed and totally inebriated man was screeching “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC) for our own private space.20140723-000740-460472.jpgAfter some instructions from the hostess, we started singing. It got wild, y’all. There was some Billy Joel and some Neil Diamond and even “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from the Frozen soundtrack. I know–slooooow down, ladies.

And then it happened: I decided to bust out the Beyoncé, performing “Drunk in Love” solo. Yes, the singing parts and the rapping parts. All by myself.

Had I ever sung this song before other than singing random lines of it while I listened to it in my car? Listening to a CD, by the way… that I bought at Starbucks. Yes, I own CDs and buy them at Starbucks. People like me have no business singing Beyoncé songs at karaoke bars.

Are you familiar with “Drunk in Love?” If not, give this a listen so you understand what I was up against.

So I sang it for my friends, and it was epic… As in epically ridiculous. But still a hell of a lot of fun.

H dared me to sing/rap the same song out in the common bar/lobby area of Rock Box when we our room rental ended. If not for the watermelon margaritas (“I’ve been drinking…watermelon”), I might have laughed her off and said something like, “Silly you, I’m a grown woman with 2 children, a mortgage, and pride! And I only know of this song because I own a CD that I bought at Starbucks, and I therefore have no business singing these kinds of songs for an audience!” Instead, I said I would.

And I did. And it was about as crazy and ridiculous as you would probably expect. I did try my best to channel Beyoncé a lá her performance at the Grammy’s, minus the wet hair, the chair, the smoke machine, the thong, the cool moves, the fabulous voice, and the prop Jay Z. Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Apparently my over-the-top performance was a hit. Or at least a spectacle. I had an audience. Their reaction? Kind of like when you’re driving past a car accident on the freeway and can’t help but slow down and gawp.rockbox CollageFortunately my good friends from college were there to memorialize the event in photos and (oh joy of joys) video. My hope is that the video will be sealed in a vault where the government stores nuclear waste, with signs posted for future civilizations warning them from opening the vault for fear of causing certain annihilation.

I honestly don’t think I can ever again hear that song–or any other Beyoncé song–without thinking of those friends, or that night.20140723-000839-519191.jpgSo imagine my amusement when my husband and I went out for a date the other night at Hilltop Kitchen and I ordered this drink off the menu:surfbort collage effects“Surfbort,” indeed. Don’t worry; I refrained from singing this time.

Have you ever been to a karaoke bar? Do you like to sing or just sit back and giggle at the singers?

That Time I Ran Again

I ran again! Hooray, hooray, happy day, happy day.

This is just a quick post to let y’all know that I was able to run over 3 miles on Sunday without any issues.20140720 garmin shot Surprisingly, my pace hasn’t suffered much (at least for short distances) over the weeks of my running hiatus.

20140720 running viewThe weather was perfect for running: overcast and not too warm.  Apparently it was perfect running for scuba diving, too—see the little float and flag in the picture?

After my run, I stretched minimally for fear of causing my left hip flexor to flare up again, then did the exercises given to me at physical therapy. No pain or twinges popped up the rest of the day = Success.

No pain or twinges today, either. Let’s hope it sticks.

This is the happiest I’ve been on a Monday in a long time.monday someecardDo you like Mondays? Did you run this weekend? Have you ever tried scuba diving?

Things I’m Loving Right Now: That-Time-I-Was-on-“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” Edition

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I made a “Things I’m Loving Now” post. The last one I posted was before the Newport Marathon. I guess that means I haven’t been loving much in the ensuing time period?

Hardly!

My “appearance” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”

This is an oldie but a goody. For some reason, this week I started thinking about how my husband and I went to watch a taping of “Late Night” when we were in New York last November for the marathon. Before the taping, we were pulled from the seating line by one of the show’s employees and asked if we wanted to be on stage during the segment of the show where the musical guest plays.

We obviously said “yes” and during the show we went up on the stage onto some risers to watch the band, The Dismemberment Plan, play a couple of songs, even though we were also told that being on stage meant we had to dance and act like we were really into the music. Ha.

With my memory randomly jogged, I decided to search online for video of the band’s performance/my appearance. And, voilá! (It won’t let me embed the video, but here’s a link: The Dismemberment Plan – Daddy Was a Real Good… by eidurrasmussen )

So I was on TV for a combined total of—what—ten seconds? But still, I’m totally world famous now, y’all.  Check out this incredible screen shot!Photo Jul 09, 4 25 28 PM

Umm… that’s me, deep in the shadows, barely visible, on the far right of the stands, just above the guitarist (or is he the bassist?).

See? Super famous. Do you want my autograph?

Seriously, though—watching that video made me laugh my ass off. The best part isn’t even barely-visible me—it’s seeing my husband’s arms flailing and hands clapping in the darkness behind me on the stands.

The Powell’s “Literature” Nalgene water bottle

Remember when you were a kid and you received something in the mail? It was like a having your own special holiday. Receiving mail, as an adult, usually means bills or junk mail. When I receive special mail—such as a card from a friend or a wedding invitation—my heart beats a little bit faster. I also get excited when I receive a package from one of my favorite retailers—even if it’s something on which I’ve spent my hard-earned money.

Case in point? This bottle:Powells Nalgene Collage

The book nerd in me loves this bottle. Too bad it’s not small enough to fit in my Nathan handheld sleeve, or I would tooootally take in on long runs with me, I lurve it that much.

Ice Cream Social

Photo Jul 05, 3 40 19 PM (1)Ice Cream Social opened a “scoop shop” in Tacoma’s hoppin’ 6th Avenue Business District last month, and I am already having a love affair with its locally made, artisanal ice cream.Photo Jul 05, 3 38 22 PM (1)

My daughter and her friends adore it, too.

The ice cream is delicious, all-natural, and reasonably priced—there’s no upcharge for one of their hand-rolled waffle cones (which are usually still warm—they’re that fresh). Flavors range from the more pedestrian—such as chocolate, strawberry, and salted caramel (my favorite)—to the more unique or adventurous (such as watermelon Italian ice and lavender honey).

I’ve visited way too often for a runner who’s not running but I just can’t help myself—it’s that good.

My birthday boots

Mid-July is always a special time of year. Why? The huge Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, silly. I buy my kids’ shoes for the approaching school year for about 2/3 of the regular retail price… and also buy some things for myself.

The Anniversary Sale conveniently occurs shortly before my birthday, which usually means my sweet mom buys me something I’ve eyed on sale as my birthday gift (you gotta’ love moms). This year, she bought me these cute and versatile Frye booties, which look great with skinny jeans and will help me look a little less un-cool when I go out with friends.

Frye Patty Riding Boot


 


Thanks, Mom!

This selfie of my daughter

Photo Jul 10, 5 50 29 PM‘Nuff said.

Happy weekend, y’all!

What are you loving lately? Any fun weekend plans?

Like Running on the Moon… Kind of

Injury, shminjury–I’m pretty damn happy right now. Why?

20140716-235951-86391724.jpgWell, yes, pretty sunsets do make me happy, but that’s not it.

Physical therapy is going really, really well.

Joe, my physical therapist, treated me last year for an IT Band issue that put me out of commission for a couple of months. He did a good job rehabbing me last year, so I decided to return to him last week for my hip flexor problem. He has a sports-centered practice and even helps train college athletes at a nearby university. A runner himself, he understands my motivation and need to return to running as soon as possible.

I started PT last week and have been to 3 sessions so far. He’s having me do multiple exercises in the clinic to strengthen my glutes to stabilize my hips, which were abnormally rotated. I’m also doing a few different strengthening exercises at home, like clamshells. So far, so good. Best of all, at out first visit he estimated I would be able to run in a week or 2. Squeee!

Last Friday he let me run on the AlterG treadmill to see how my hip felt running with less gravity and therefore less pressure on my legs and hips. The theory behind the AlterG is that it places less weight on the lower body, and therefore your lower body experiences less impact and, hopefully, less pain.

Here’s a better explanation from the AlterG site about how its treadmill assists withs sports injury rehab:

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Running with 70% of my regular body weight felt incredible–I felt like I was skipping across the surface of the moon.

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I was thrilled enough just to run after about five days of no running, let alone run like I was half-flying. Unfortunately, that bliss was short-lived: I ended up feeling a few twinges in the hip during the run on the ‘mill, and was sore and stiff over the weekend. Womp womp.

At my next PT visit, I didn’t get to run on the treadmill because of the pain I’d experienced after doing it last week. That was somewhat discouraging.

When I returned to PT yesterday, though, Joe examined me and noted my hips weren’t abnormally rotated anymore. [Fist bump!] He also let me run on the AlterG because I hadn’t experienced any hip twinges in a few days. [Double fist bump!]

I ran for 12 minutes at a cautious 10:00 minute/mile pace at 75% of my body weight, with 2 minutes of running on an incline (which had aggravated my hip in the past few weeks)… and I didn’t have any problems. Hooray! Running that scant amount of time put me in a supremely chipper mood for the entire morning yesterday. No joke.

Joe told me that if I’m pain-free today, I can run short, easy tomorrow and over the weekend. I am incredibly excited about trying running again on Friday, and really hope I’m able to resume feeling normal on a run. Despite this happiness, there’s a part of me that still fears my left hip pain will crop up again after few miles. I need to continue to stay positive and not worry myself so much that I convince my body that it’s still injured.

When training for a marathon, you reach a point right before the race where you need to let go of your stress and just trust your training. To not do so could be detrimental.

I need to incorporate that same philosophy to my rehab. I need to let go of the worry and doubts that I’m not getting better, that this injury will hold me down for an unbearable period, and just trust the rest I’ve had and the exercises I’ve faithfully performed over the last week. If my physical therapist believes I’m capable of doing this, I should believe it, too.

I’ve got this.

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Surviving on a Desert Island

Being a running blogger is challenging when one’s injured and unable to run, which is the situation in which I currently find myself.  Other than sadly reading others’ tweets and blog posts about their recent workouts, the closest I’ve been to running this week was a 10-minute turn on the AlterG at physical therapy.

I won’t say that I’m battling a case of writer’s block, but the Blog Muse has definitely left the building.  I don’t want my blog to go the direction of my left hip flexor, so I need to write something that doesn’t include photos of my chubby kitteh or lengthy missives about how much I want to run.

Hmmm… so what to write about… what to write about…

Aha!* [Don’t worry, it’s not another Proust Questionnaire.]

If I was stranded on a desert island and had all of the life-sustaining necessities (my family, shelter, water, food, sunscreen, medicine, etc.), what 5 items would I bring in my personal survival kit?

2014-01-07 11.38.12-2Are there bartenders on desert islands?

Winnowing this list was difficult because I rely on so many things every day to be a normal, functioning person (e.g., my Vitamix, which helps me make green smoothies which give me energy and make me easy to be around even without coffee, or under-eye concealer).  Plus, many of my necessities are dependent on electricity and/or wifi.  While I can’t imagine going a day without my iPhone or iPad, those two items didn’t make the cut because of the electricity and connectivity issues.

In no particular order, the following comprises my survival kit:

5.  A subscription to Indiespensable.

I’ve discussed Powell’s Books Indiespensable book club before.  For $39.95 per month, I get a signed, special edition hardbound book, as well as other thematic goodies, delivered to my doorstep.  I love books and cannot survive without them.  I would go totally cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs cray-cray if I was on an island for even a day without anything to read.

Photo Jul 14, 2 51 00 PMIndiespensable’s monthly selections are extremely well curated, which means that Portland- based Powell’s doesn’t send me the latest Jodi Picoult novel. (Sorry, Jodi Picoult fans out there.) The books—which have included The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Mara, and most recently All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, pictured—are always smart and well-written, even if they’re not necessarily my literary cup of tea.

The bonuses included in each package are always a fun surprise. Sometimes they’re a sweet (such as local cake pops or hand-pulled caramels), sometimes they’re another book (usually an advance copy), and sometimes they’re something different altogether (like a Powell’s magnet or, in this month’s case, a heart-shaped pencil).

And, no, a book club membership isn’t cheating as far as this desert-island-essentials premise goes.  Ever heard of drone delivery?

4.  Running shoes.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 10

 

Surprise! Ha ha, just kidding. I’m a running blogger, remember? Therefore I would need my trusty running shoes to run around my desert island… assuming the island has hard surfaces on which to run, because girlfriend doesn’t run on sand. My Achilles tendons are too old for that ish.

3.   Fran’s Salted Caramels.

Caramels Salted Caramels

 

This item’s in here to throw you for a loop, because everything up to now has been about staying physically or intellectually active and busy. Actually, I lied—I’m including these caramels in my list because they are incredibly delicious and I love them and I can’t really afford to eat them very often because they’re somewhat expensive… But!  If I was on a desert island, having good-quality chocolate would be a priority. These, like the books, would keep me sane.

2.  Lip stuff.

Anyone who has known me since I was a wee Molly knows that I cannot live without something on my lips at all times. I think I have some irrational phobia that having naked lips will cause them to crack and fall off of my face.

Are you ready to hear about my love affair with lip stuff? Grab a cup of coffee and settle in; this may take a while.

In high school, I was addicted to Carmex. Then I moved on to Cherry Ice. Basically, if it had menthol in it, I wanted to slather it on my lips. Cherry Ice and I were together all throughout college. In grad school, I broke up with Cherry Ice (which had started to seem immature and cheap) and moved on to the more stable but still exciting Burt’s Bees. In my 30s, as I settled down and matured, I moved on to Chapstick. Yes, good ol’ boring Chapstick.  Chapstick and I hung out for a few years but I was never that into it. A friend introduced me to Aquaphor several years ago and that was it: love at first swipe. I need use it only once or twice a day and my lips are well-hydrated, never chapped. No more of this hourly-application crap.

ULTA beauty product

 

I would not be able to survive on the desert island without the fifth member of my family, Aquaphor.

1.  A journal and pen.

Is this cheating? Does this count as two items? They’re totally related. Although I guess I could use strips of bark from palm trees on which to write instead of paper. Or better yet, with all my free time on the island, I could cut down a tree, chop it up, grind it down into pulp, and then make my own paper.

Red Moleskine with Ruled Pages 5x8 Journal
 
But I’d rather bring this pretty Moleskine journal. I would draw pictures of and write about the things I would see, and the way I would pass my time. I would document my kids’ lives.   Maybe I would actually start writing that novel I’ve wanted to write since I was a senior in college.  I could graduate from being a plugged-in blogger to an unplugged journalist and novelist.

Hmmm…I like the sound of that.  Can I do that even if I don’t go to the desert island?

What 5 items would be in your personal survival kit?

*Thanks to Alexandra at Man Crates for the inspiration. Man Crates is a cool online store that creates drool-worthy themed gift crates for guys. I have an incredibly tough time shopping for the men in my life, and am going to look into trying one of their crates in the future. It looks like they have a crate for every guy: sports fan, beer enthusiast, gamer, wannabe zombie hunter, you name it. All that’s missing is a desert island crate!