Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009



"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." ~Bill Vaughan

I can't say 2009 was bad, but it wasn't great. And as a friend posted in her own blog, New Year's is a time of hope. Here's to a new year, lots of good food and booze with my husband, and carpal tunnel due to hours upon hours of Rock Band tonight.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Throw Up Your Horns


I did a bad thing money-wise. With H out of work, we have been trying to watch our pennies. H has been wanting an Xbox 360 for almost two years, and I have wanted Rock Band since we played it last Spring. We had some Visa gift cards and were trying to figure out what to do. Well, as frivolous as it might sound, we pulled the trigger - combination Xmas gift to each other and birthday - and it might possibly be the best thing we have ever done for our marriage!

H has never really played my Wii with me, and I rarely played with him on his old Xbox. But now that Rock Band is in the picture, we play together. Constantly. LOL. This is going to sound totally dorky, but we are such a team when we play. I know we are supposed to be a team in real life too, but lately I wasn't feeling it as much as I should have. But now that Rock Band has entered our life, I am overwhelmed with how well we work together. We don't yell at each other for messing up a song once in a while, and most of the time, we totally ROCK. I am totally being serious when I say this is going to be our go to stress relief. Our counselor told us that when things get heated between us, and one (or both) of us is grumpy, crabby, and/or bitchy, we should be able to call a time out. That's not working as well as I would like. But now, when we need to diffuse a fight, I'm going to turn that console on and beat on some drums, and I guarantee H will join in.

And we will ROCK. ::throwing up my horns::

Monday, December 28, 2009

Touch Me

Now that Christmas has come, I am the proud owner of an ipod Touch! This was a total surprise - some of you might know that I have been jonesing for an iphone, but couldn't justify doubling my cell phone bill, and then when my Vonage VOIP router took a crap, I had to figure out what to do. And signing up for another 2 years with T-Mobile to save us $20 a month made more sense than an iphone. So sad.

So, now that I have what is *almost* as good, I am trying to get it set up. I want it to be fun, but I think I took care of that. I have my twitter and facebook dialed in, and now I am working on productivity. There are plenty of apps for that, but with prices ranging from free to $10+ it's hard to decipher what to get. Plus, since I have a Touch and not a phone, I have no camera, no mic, and limited wi-fi access, so some things just don't work. Anyone have app suggestions that can be used with or without wi-fi? I'm compiling a wishlist :)

Don't tell me it's fun

I know many of you might think I am insane. I might be. Anyone who enjoys running as much as I do must be insane. But I am human. Most days I would prefer to sleep in rather than get out and run, so it's good I rarely allow myself to consider it.

But today I got a link to "5 Good Reasons to Join the 'Spark Your Body' Bootcamp" by SparkPeople. Most of their reasons are valid, but reason #4 claims "It's fun!"

Fun? When is exercise really fun? Granted, there are types that can be fun, but I'm thinking more like playing the Wii or dancing. A boot camp program isn't fun. I usually enjoy exercise, but don't consider most of it fun. This is exactly why the general public doesn't take any of these programs seriously. Because they LIE to you.

Come on, just tell the truth. Tell me that if I don't do it, I might never lose the weight I put on during the holidays. Or that I might die sooner because my cholesterol levels will go back to the bad range. Or that my stress levels will decrease significantly if I keep it up. You can even tell me that I will be so happy because I will make so many new friends and my life will be great. But don't tell me it's going to be fun, because I know better.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tell me about your mother...

Warning: Long Rambly Post. But I think there is an important message I am trying to convey.

Until 8 years ago, I lived 30 minutes (or less) from my mom. We spent every Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas together. And then I moved to Mammoth and mom moved to San Antonio. The first year, she flew out to spend it with me, and the next couple of years she made time to come visit me for a few weeks every holiday season.

And now she really can't. The recession has hit my parents almost as hard as it has hit us. As money got tighter, the visits were fewer and further between. Now they have a large piece of land that needs a lot of work. Gardens, chickens and a rather large dog take time every single day.

I have been able to visit a couple times this last year, but I'm afraid I won't be able to get back up there for a while. We have a lot of financial catching up to do when H eventually gets a job. And the melancholy usually sets in about September when the days get shorter, mostly because I miss her so much.

My mother brought me up to love the holidays. We didn't have much money, but she spent time creating decorations out of string and tin foil (no joke) and we always saved our money to splurge for a tree. She sewed some ornaments and we scoured yard sales for old glass ornaments. She taught me that Christmas was a time for giving, and I remember spending my own money (I had a job, I'll tell you about it sometime) to buy gifts for my friends and family. Gifts that I picked out and bought myself. I was thrilled to be able to do this. I played piano and we sang Christmas carols while my mom made cookies. I can remember scouring the TV guide that came in the newspaper for the Christmas movies we would watch every time they were on (no VCR's back when this old hag was a kid). My mom would take me to Macy's where they had the Santa Claus with the real beard, and I would always ask Santa to bring something for my mom as well.

I still love the holidays. LOVE them. My mom is responsible for this love. I love Christmas decorations and Holiday music, which might be a little odd considering what a heathen I am. I even love the religious songs! To me, the songs aren't as much about Christianity as they are about being a good person. Peace on earth, good will towards men. The holidays are also so bittersweet for me. Most Christmas songs will make me cry if I let them. Maybe because I don't feel like the rest of the world is on the same page. I look around and I see greed and selfishness, rudeness and violence. I know I'm not the only one that notices, and if there is anything Frank Capra taught me, it was going on a long time ago. One of my favorite movies allows me to wallow in the hopelessness of it all, and then brings me back to hope:





And when I am feeling hopeless about my own life, I watch:





I get good cries out of them both, and still end up feeling inspired. I have my mother to thank for exposing me to all of these things. For bringing me up to have compassion for others and to believe in the spirit of the season. Santa Claus is not a man or a fable - Santa Claus is alive in each of us, in our charity and our generosity. I never saw Santa as a lie, but more a means to teach me how important it is to give to others. While my mother certainly encouraged me to believe in Santa, I never did have that moment where I realized he wasn't real, because he was still real. I'm not really sure how mom pulled that off, but I hope I can do the same for my children.

Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree." ~ Charlotte Carpenter

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Junior League

I actually met (and started running!) with a Junior League-r just a few weeks before Wan's first Junior League experience. At the time I was really thinking about how I can meet more people. Team in Training was certainly helping, but I was considering other options as well, including Toastmasters and Rotary. L mentioned her involvement with the Junior League, so I checked out their website an emailed the recruitment chair. It reminded me a lot of the Portia Welfare Club I belonged to in High School, which was a good thing! Unfortunately, the mandatory orientation was the same day as our big 20 miler for the Marathon, so I had to wait.

But today I got my invitation for the OC Chapter's New Member Reception on Saturday, January 23rd! I am hoping that H will have a job by then so dues money will be a little easier to come by, but I am really excited to check them out. If they are anything like L, it's going to be a great group to join!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

$200 for what?

A facial cleansing gadget.

I'm not sure why I started frequenting the F&B Board. In fact, the first time a certain friend of mine mentioned the board to me, I immediately thought "Food and Beverage" - That's what a career in hospitality gets you, I guess!

Anyway, on a slow day I did some browsing. And was immediately intrigued by what would possess these women to spend $200 to wash their face. And then of course, in light of my recent experience with a large mirror, started considering it myself.

I know I'm crazy to even think about this, especially when there are so many other ways I could spend my money (Rock Band, iphone, etc.) and also considering I drop hundreds on my dogs on a regular basis. There are other versions that have been reviewed at a much lower price, namely the I-skin and the Pretika. Both are considerably less. But then I think about how much I miss my regular facials, and the Clarisonic might be a cost effective investment since it is roughly the price of two facials?

I have no idea what I should do, which means I probably won't do anything...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Zooey Take Two

Even though I think those "makeover" sites really don't do any particular look justice, I did try on Zooey Hair. Here are the results.

I also scrounged around for a photograph of myself when I did have dark hair and bangs.




I think I'm gonna go for it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I am slightly obsessed

I think I am usually pretty restless without change. I like to switch things up - and it's usually my hair! My latest obsession came after watching 500 Days of Summer - I am in LOVE with Zooey Deschanel's hair. It would be a big change from my dark blonde hair for sure, but maybe if I just use one of those semi-permanent dyes, and don't go too dark right off the bat? I guess the first step is to get the haircut.



















So what do you think? Can I pull off smoldering brunette?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eff You Sephora

Both of my CW's got their email with the $15 off a $35 purchase last week, when my local "friends and family" sale was on. I called that day to ask where my email was and if you could send me one, and you did nothing to help me, even when I said the only way I would use it was if I got it that day. You actually said that emails were being sent out at random different times. I sent you an email complaining, and no response. Of course, I got my coupon today. Eff you. You can take your coupon and shove it where the sun doesn't shine, tyvm. I will never spend another cent in your godforsaken store because of this. You might want to make sure that everyone gets the emails at the same time in the future to avoid alienating some of your clientele.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

WW Weigh In

Goal Weight: 156.0
Current Weight: 157.6
Difference: +1.6
Last Week's Weight: 157.8
Difference: -0.2

Since I went to Tuesday's meeting, I had a couple extra days this week to lose (or gain as the case could have been). It was Thanksgiving weekend and I did eat like 5 turkey dinners and 4 turkey sandwiches. My huge accomplishment was that I did not stuff myself until the acid reflux set in! Yay for me!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time to Swing

Love this dance routing from "Swing Time" - you might even remember an image from a previous signature on The Knot/Nest. It always makes me happy... and want to dance! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Be Thankful

I am deeply embarrassed. I consider myself to be kind and compassionate and open minded. I am receptive to other people, their cultures and beliefs, as well as their obstacles. So when my mother and I were talking about Thanksgiving this week, and she brought up the National Day of Mourning, I was shocked that I had never heard of it before now.

Maybe I shouldn't feel so bad, since it seems to be more prevalent on the East Coast, and she hadn't heard of it either until she moved east. It's not like I am surprised - I do consider the plight of the Native American every year when pilgrims and Indians in Thanksgiving decorations are displayed. But I felt compelled to share it with you, just in case you haven't heard of it either.

I don't know about you, but the US History classes I had in school were pretty much a fraud. Not that they didn't teach us some factual things, but they skim over so much of the shameful things in our country's past, especially the savage history of how the Europeans dealt with the natives here. It goes beyond bringing smallpox. This website not only gives you some history, it also discusses the emotion behind the National Day of Mourning. This especially resonated with me: "For many Native American Indians of present day, the traditional "Thanksgiving" holiday is not recognized as the Pilgrim/Indian day popularized in children’s history books; rather it is a day of sorrow and shame. Sorrow for the fallen lives of those who were lost so long ago, and shame for living in a country who honors people who used religion and self-righteousness to condone murder, treachery and slavery."

Sorry and shame. The sorrow I can certainly understand, but shame? How could they help what happened? Where would they go instead? It's so sad. There are many times I feel helpless and hopeless, but I can't even imagine how it must feel for a Native American in this country. In the 2003 recall election, one of the things I took offense to was Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign promises saying that the Native Americans in our state should pay their fair share. WTF? We took the good land, and gave them crap land. They finally figure out a way to become financially independent, and already pay taxes, but now this idiot is going to use them as a scapegoat to promote himself. What a slap in the face that he was actually the one elected to Governor. And now look where we are. ::sigh::

If you want to read a more radical side, here is the speech given by Frank James (1923 - February 20, 2001), also known as Wampsutta by the Wampanoag people.

This by no means should take away from so many other cultures who have been oppressed in this country, including African Americans, Japanese, Mexican Americans, and many, many more. Nor should it really take away from what I feel Thanksgiving is all about - a day of appreciation for our good fortune. But in addition to a general giving of thanks, we should also be mourning those who have fallen. "The Native people died so that the colony could flourish. They need to be remembered, respected and mourned. With them - the Native forefathers - is a much better place to lay your fondness and your thanks."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WW Weigh In, Tuesday, November 24

Goal Weight: 156.0
Current Weight: 157.8
Difference: +1.8
Last Week's Weight: 158.0
Difference: -0.2

Last weigh in before the big day of indulge! I am planning on running 10-12 miles that morning, and if I can, I would like to get that done before a cardio class that my aunt is going to. That way I can burn even more calories! I need all the help I can get. H bought chili cheese bread and an apple cranberry pullaway bread from Schat's bakery. :/ I can inhale that crap like air. Saboteur.

Anyway, I was totally rewarded for going to a different meeting. Apparently the meeting I attended is going to be canceled due to lack of attendance. While that made the meeting regulars not so happy, I can't say it bothered me too much, other than I now have to find a different meeting to attend when the holiday messes wiuth my regular meeting date. However, to appease the masses, they gave away $5 off any WW item coupons! Wheee! I wonder what I will buy with my coupon! They have white chocolate peppermint shake mix I have been eyeing for a while. Plus, I did hear they have some new items coming out soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pass the Zoloft

Seriously, any more posts like this and you guys are going to organize an intervention. Regardless, it's Thanksgiving week and I am trying to find things to be thankful for. I seemed like every time I thought of something, I followed it by a "BUT..."

The good news is I really did end up thinking of things I can be thankful for without minimizing my thankfulness. Does that make sense?

Here are the things that can remain "butless":

I am thankful for my awesome friends
I am thankful for my sweet puppies that make me happy every day
I am thankful that my friends and family are healthy
I am thankful that I am healthy enough to run (I can't imagine how morose I would be without running!)
I am thankful I have a roof over my head and food to eat

Here are some of the things that come with a caveat:

I am thankful to have a loving and supportive family, even though they live 1000 miles away and I rarely get to see them
I am thankful I have a job, even though I hate it
I am thankful for my loving husband, even though he makes me crazy these days

I actually feel a little better about my life after writing this. Maybe I should forget the Zoloft and just start journaling!

Friday, November 20, 2009

November Weigh In

Goal Weight: 156.0
Current Weight: 158.0
Difference: +2.0

I am so happy that I scraped in at the 2 pound limit! I had struggled with tracking in October and the early part of November. When you are lifetime with WW you need to weigh in once a month (within two pounds of goal) to maintain your current lifetime status. I hadn't felt confident enough until this week to weigh, so I was running out of time to get my November weigh in done!

I am a little worried about Thanksgiving. I usually overeat and overdrink - to the point of discomfort and acid reflux. My biggest goal this year for the holiday is to just try and avoid that overstuffed feeling. I have thought a lot about what items I love and what I can do without. I have tried to rehearse in my mind how I am going to approach that day. First of all, I am going to a long run that morning. Next, I am avoiding champagne. That always gives me heartburn. I am going to drink water all day, and keep gum in my pocket so I can avoid gorging on appetizers all day long. Last, I am going to choose my absolute favorite things. I will eat the stuffing and the mac and cheese, but skip the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. I am going to eat turkey breast and root vegetables. I might even bring my own TJ's low fat gravy. Then I am going to take a walk before eating 1/2 slice of one kind of pie (not three like normal). I don't know how accurately I am going to count points, but I will be successful if I can avoid my normal 3-4 days of acid reflux.

Wish me luck! I hope I can adhere to my plan. I am going to WW with a different leader on Tuesday, and then will have a week to regulate after the big day. I think I am going to continue to post my weigh in results like before, hopefully to keep me on track.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Million Dollar Baby

I just spent another $300+ I don't really have laying around. On what? You should be asking WHO:



Specifically, the one in the background of the photo looking all innocent. Vet appointment. Some x-rays, urinalysis, a culture, and some medication later (medication that we already have, but H doesn't know any better, and I was stuck slaving for the man) and $300 lighter, she's going to be fine. She's not the only one, that little brat in the front had an allergic reaction on Saturday, so we were literally just there a few days ago dropping $80+ on him. Not to mention the $250 we dropped in August on their annual checkup. I can't possibly have two dogs that are fine with vaccine clinics. Nope. One is so old we don't give her vaccines anymore, we have her blood checked for antibodies. And the youngster has vaccine reactions, so he needs to be pretreated. And to add insult to injury, the older one had Pancreatitis at the beginning of summer. That was a cool $1300.

H better get a job soon or these dogs are going to put us in the even-poorer-house.

Nobody's Perfect

My local morning radio show was talking about butt implants today. They had Dr. Rey from "Doctor 90210" on, and he was talking about how butt implants are now outselling boob jobs in his practice. Then he told a story about how he gave a speech (presumably about butt implants) at the Playboy Mansion, and before his speech he had his staff seek out the three "most perfect butts" in the room so he could bring them up to show them to the crowd. Out of the three Playboy Playmates, one was Brazilian (butt supposedly God given), and the other two had implants.

This just makes me cringe. TWO out of the THREE had butt implants. These are the women that are supposed to be ideal. It's not enough that they are probably disgustingly gorgeous already, and still get airbrushed to the hilt, but they have been so incredibly altered. What is real and natural anymore? These days, anyone can be considered "perfect" as long as they are willing to undergo exercise, diet... oh and PAIN that they paid through the nose for.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against cosmetic procedures. What I am against is a society that not only makes "perfect" desirable, it also makes imperfection into some crime we should be ashamed of committing. This is more than just a eyelift or a boob job. This is altering the very size and shape of your entire body. This is becoming even more plastic than Pam Anderson (unless she had butt implants too).

So I'm standing up. Hey society - I'm not perfect, and I love that my imperfections. There are certainly things I want to work on (ahem, belly), but I will always have a small gap in my teeth and a nose on the larger side (that will unfortunately grow with age. I saw my grandmother, I know the score). My calves will always be skinny, and my breasts are starting to show their age. My eyes are going to be crinkly the rest of my life and I have had creases on my forehead for as long as I can remember because I show too much emotion on my face. Fuck it. I'm more interesting because of these things. I'm reject your "perfect" and you know where you can shove it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Emo Post

You have my permission to skip it. I just feel the need to get it off my chest.

I am overwhelmed. After getting some feedback from a friend, I am pretty sure that H is depressed. I mean, who wouldn't be? He's coming up on 10 months since he has been employed. The economy sucks. Hard. And since he is not the type who can be industrious outside of work, he just looks for jobs and sits around the house, bored out of his mind. While I have hobbies I can do daily without much thought or cost, he does not. I am a good social networker and will regularly attend different functions, but I get the feeling he isn't comfortable with that. I love to find ways to keep myself busy - between running, going to the gym, hanging out with friends, cooking and cleaning the house, I can always stay busy. He just likes to work. So while unemployment would be my cup of tea, he does not enjoy it. I would thrive, he does not.

He should probably be in some sort of therapy, but he's not too keen on going to another one after the fiasco a few months ago where our therapist missed two sessions in a row because he "overslept."

So, in light of the current economy, we have agreed that he will take anything he can find. The time of waiting for a high paying job is over. And now I am nervous about what he will find.

I will be glad to get my happy, calm, centered husband back, but a lower paying position means I am less able to change jobs. I have to worry about my income level. If he is making $20K less, I certainly can't take a position that pays even $10K less than what I make. I can almost guarantee the insurance will remain with my job, which means I can't take anything without benefits from day 1. Will the relief I get from a more stable home environment be enough to keep me sane despite my shitty job situation?

And that brings me to my infertility issues. The longer he is unemployed, the further behind we get monetarily. At first I couldn't imagine being able to afford the fertility treatments. Now I am having a hard time imagining being able to afford an actual child. I'm certainly not getting younger, my time is limited. Even if H got a halfway decent paying job right now, it will take us at least a year to get back to where I am comfortable. I guess I shouldn't be too worried about the timing, since it's going to take 6-12 months for the varicocele surgery that he hasn't even had yet to take effect, and then I would theoretically have a minimum of 9 months after that. *le sigh*

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Food Photography Courtesy of $5 Dinners

While this doesn't help me with my restaurant photography skills (unless of course it happens to be lunchtime and I have a window table), it was interesting nevertheless. Great tips! I'll have to apply these to future food posts!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well That Was Emo

Sometimes things just look and feel super dire at times. Later they might not really be better, but at least you feel better, you know? I know that most of how I feel is internal, and that's totally something I can control. I need to continue to work on my perception and do what I can actually control. Isn't that part of that "serenity prayer" or something?

So I am working on what I can control:

1. Start charting again
2. Start taking my vitamins again daily
3. Tracking my food and cutting out most of the junk
4. Continue my workouts, but add in some yoga for stress relief
5. Continue to apply to jobs and try to stay positive about the process
6. Work on some daily affirmations to improve my self-esteem and outlook
7. Get therapist recommendations from my RE's office
8. Try to do at least one thing a day that brings me joy and focus on the feeling

Here's to finishing 2009 with a brighter outlook.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lost

I don't know what else to title this post. I'm not even sure what I feel I could or should express. Other than I'm tired. Maybe it's a good thing we can't get pregnant. I certainly don't feel mentally stable enough to handle anything like that. I'm so glad that my unemployed husband can sleep while I am physically sick with stress.

I am *this close* to turning on every light in the house and blasting the stereo.

P.S. I guess I should let my readership know that pregnancy test = negative and spotting has commenced. Not that you had any doubt. Just thought you should know.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stupid Hope

No spotting. No nothing. Two major bouts of nausea last night, just a little today, but that could have also been the speed intervals.

As stupid as it is, I fell asleep last night thinking about my imaginary due date, and how i would have to adjust my current lifestyle. About how I would need to eat more since I am still currently trying to lose a few pounds (I just haven't been motivated). Wondering if I would still be able to attend WW meetings since I have grown so close to a few people there. About how I haven't a clue on what to do if I do get a positive pregnancy test. I figure the first thing I do is go get a digital to make absolutely sure. But then who do I call about getting a blood test? My internist? My RE? I have no clue. Whatsoever.

The sad part is that even though I can't seem to shake the hope, most of this is just an exercise in futility and wasted brain power. But I am keeping my fingers crossed. I don't know if it is my time, but i would be really happy if it was.

BFFN

I really think that if I am KU enough to have symptoms, I'm KU enough to get a + Pregnancy Test. I tested this morning with FMU, albeit earlier that I ever said I would, mostly because I woke up nauseous. So four days of nausea and not KTFU. It's probably stress. I'm a little pissed at myself for getting my hopes up, even a little, even though this is the first time in the 20 cycles we have been TTC that I have had any symptoms at all. Lame sauce.

Oh, and to all you hope mongers - Zip it. Seriously. I don't want to hear about how I tested on only 11DPO, or I could have O'd late or any of that bullshit. If these were actual symptoms, I'm sure it would have been a BFFP. I'll be sure to have a nice huge glass of something alcoholic tonight after I blow my weigh in.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Aging (not so) Gracefully

Over the weekend, one of our mirrored closet doors lost it's wheel. H was great about getting it fixed, but I had to hold it up while he worked. So I spent about 20 minutes staring at my face from about 6 inches away. Wow - I never realized how old my skin was getting.

It's a sobering thing, staring at your face so closely for so long. I guess I haven't looked at it in a while. I have crow's feet. And my upper eyelids are sagging a little. I guess I need to start up an anti-aging regimen. My gentle cleaner and simple moisturizer aren't going to fix what's already wrong! Plus I have been on the teenager program since running is giving me acne worse than what I had in Jr. High. :/

I guess my shock is because I still feel young. I thought I still looked young. And I probably do, but for how long now that the years have started to take their toll? I already have more gray hair that I care to admit. If it wasn't for those natural "highlights" I would have dyed my hair dark for the winter! But I don't want to be that person that has white roots and dark ends, so I stay in the Blonde range.

I guess I better start researching the miracle wrinkle reducers. Olay Eye Pods anyone?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Silly Body

Why do you torment me? I am 99.9999999% sure there is no possible way I am KTFU. Honestly. So phantom symptoms like nausea isn't going to get me going. No way. I know your tricks. I know this is totally psychosomatic. I can't even be sure I O'd on CD14, so phantom symptoms on supposed 9DPO is just silly.

You know what? I am going to drink wine tonight anyway just to spite you. So there.

You're such a fucker to even try to get my hopes up. My body is an asshole.

Monday, November 2, 2009

San Francisco!

I will try to touch on all the food we ate while in SF. I am sadly missing some photos, but what else is new?

We landed early in the afternoon and right after checking in, we hit Johnny Foley's, the Irish Pub two blocks away, for an awesome Bloody Mary. Since I was running on Sunday, I figured Friday was my last day to drink before the race!



After the Bloody Mary (and some awesome spicy fries), we headed over to the Expo to pick up our race packets. After that, H and I did a little sightseeing before heading over to Tres Agaves to meet some of the people who came to town to cheer me on. I did not take any pictures at Tres Agaves. First, H got mad at me because there was a slight hiccup in the public transport, so we had to take a cab. Then, by the time we got there, the only two seats left were separated, on either side of a bunch of unruly kids. I was kicked and pushed, had random items put in my drink and on my plate, and ended up paying $90 for the pleasure. The food at Tres Agaves was good, but priced very high. The margaritas were good, but no better than El Callejon and more expensive. I might have been a little happier about my experience if I was able to dine undisturbed. That is all I am going to say about these children, who I normally love, but obviously needed to have their asses kicked.

However, the next morning we were back on the happy track (or at least the reasonably happy track). We hopped on the Muni to the Ferry Building!



Started with some Blue Bottle



And hit the Farmer's Market!





Decided on Tamales for Breakfast!



We ordered one mushroom, spinach and cheese and one pork tamale. Both were good, but not totally amazing. Too much masa. I make better ones. ;o)



Had fresh Blueberry Lemonade as our beverage - tart and sweet and delicious.



Next the whole lot of us hopped on the Muni again and headed down to Pier 39

I took these pics for my 606 LOL





Here are a bunch of buckets filled with bath salts.



Bath salts that had the most yummy flavors. Bath salts that might have looked and smelled like candy. So much so, my cousin decided to have a taste. He looked around, was sure nobody was looking and scooped a fingerful right into his mouth. The look on his face was priceless and I sooooo wish I had a photo. I hope he learned a valuable lesson, and stops sticking his fingers into random stuff.

After that delight, we walked around the corner to the Sea Lion spot. I took a photo of the Golden Gate, as always, shrouded with fog.



And then some more pics of the oversized dogs better known as Sea Lions.







By this time the kids were getting restless and everyone was getting hungry. We decided to hop on a cable car back to Union Square.













Union Square and the Nike Tent!



For lunch, we hit Out The Door, a food court eatery in the Westfield Mall owned by the same people as The Slanted Door, the restaurant I raved about the last time I was in SF. The food did not disappoint, but it was not really the bargain everyone had claimed. I think the food court set up limits you from ordering so many different courses, and you certainly save money since you can't sample the same yummy drinks, but that doesn't really make it cheaper. I ordered the Daikon Rice Cakes and the Vegetarian Spring Roll again and the prices were pretty much the same as The Slanted Door. It was easier wrangling so many people at Out The Door versus The Slanted Door, but it if were just H and I, we would certainly opt for The Slanted Door and their Ginger Limeades tyvm.

So I am totally skipping the day of the race, since I blogged about most everything in my race and TnT recaps. But Monday morning we woke up and wanted to savor some more of the city before heading to our airport in the afternoon.

First we hit Sears for their legendary breakfast. This place is so popular, there is ALWAYS a line. We got in pretty quickly with a party of two and a willingness to sit at the bar.



Another pic of the Cable Car while waiting.



Sears is a small place, although bigger than some.



I like bloody mary's. This one was good, but no comparison to Johnny Foley's, and similarly priced.



We split the Swedish Pancakes and the Eggs Benedict. Both were awesome. No pics for you. Sorry. I ate them too fast.

We walked around, shopped a little, and decided to go for another drink. I had been DYING to go to the Gold Dust Lounge, but H resisted until now.



This place is more than awesome, if you like Dive Bars. The bartender was old school friendly, and made conversation with all the patrons. Think Hooters style, but without those silly nylon shorts. Best of all, Happy Hour is all day long. I had a $3.50 margarita. They also sell $3.50 Irish Coffee and $2.50 Champagne. Awesome. A must stop every time I'm in SF.



Last, we had to hit up Lefty O'Douls. I saw Lefty O'Doul's when I was walking back from the Expo on Friday. I thought it was just another awesome dive to check out. Turns out it was so much more! It's a German Style Hofbrau where they slice your meat right in front of you. H wanted desperately to go to Tommy's Joynt, but I have a feeling this place might be better - maybe only because it doesn't have the TV crowds Tommy's must have gotten.



H got a 1/2 Corned Beef on Rye with lentil soup. Good and cheap.



After this (we were pretty well stuffed by this time) we checked out and headed to the airport. Once past security, we hit the airport bar for a beer.

And this is when I knew it was time to go home:



Japanese Curry with German Knockwurst???? WTF????

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Team in Training in SF!

I wanted to write a whole separate post specifically about my Team in Training experience in San Francisco, mostly because it was surprisingly awesome. I wasn't so sure - I had heard a lot of different opinions and I wasn;t sure what to expect. I did spring for an Inspiration Dinner ticket for H, much to his chagrin. I think he would have chosen to visit another awesome restaurant in SF.

The afternoon started at 3:45 pm when we met as a team. It was mostly housekeeping stuff, where our table was, what to do the next day before and after the race, and how much money we raised. Sarah spoke most of the meeting.



Then at the end, they passed out candles for us, and we all participated in a moment of silence and lit candles for our Honored Teammates and Honored Angels. Those we have lost and those who were still with us. I had to pinch my arm a few times to keep the tears in check. It was pretty emotional.



After the meeting, I only had a few minutes to collect my H and meet up with some teammates so we could walk to the dinner location together. When we got there, we were totally unprepared for the masses of support team cheering us on!



It was huge. It was deafening. All the LLS and TnT Staff, Coaches and Mentors from every single team was there cheering! Hundreds and hundred of them. It was overwhelming but in a good way! Even my H was impressed!



It also might have been the biggest Inspiration Dinner that TnT puts on, as the Nike Marathon is their biggest event. I asked Gina, who is TnT Alumni, and she said she had never seen an Inspiration Dinner like this.



The food was a decent carbo load - pesto and marinara pasta (with pine nuts as a condiment we could add ourselves! I love me some pine nuts), salad, rolls, and lots of water. H was disappointed there wasn't a cash bar. LOL

The speakers were the best part. Joan Benoit Samuelson, who was one of the co-founders of the race spoke. Super incredible experience. Most memorable quote: "The woman who starts the marathon tomorrow will not be the same woman who finishes it."



Next John "The Penguin" Bingham spoke. He was funny! Lots of jokes that you might not appreciate unless you were not only a runner, but a slow runner. LOL



The last person to speak was a woman (and I suck because I don't remember her name). She was running the event, but was also a survivor of Hodgkin Lymphoma. In fact, against the odds, both of her parents were diagnosed with non-hodgkin lymphoma years before. If you know anything about these blood cancers, you know that there is no genetic link, so the odds of all three of them to be diagnosed are off the charts! Fortunately, all three of them are in remission! Hooray!! Her story was so inspirational, especially the parts of how LLS made a difference to her personally.



After dinner, we took pictures! Here I am with Coach Melissa, our Campaign Manager Vicki, and Gina:



And here I am with Coach Jennifer and Coach Lynn!



The next night was the victory party. I did not purchase a ticket, but I did sign up to get mine just in case. It turned out that Lindsey was going to dinner with a friend, and gave us her ticket. It actually sounded kind of fun, and since we had the tickets, we thought we would go. they did something completely different this year, with multiple rooms, including an 80's room, Karaoke room, game room, photo booths, etc.



The Karaoke room was crowded, never even got a chance to sing! LOL



I did find some of my teammates, and we danced the night away.





I did take one last photo of our inspiration board - the reasons we run: the people afflicted with these diseases.



I would love to do this event again as part of TnT, just because the experience was so incredible. I'm sad to know that not every TnT event is as amazing and huge.