The plunge.

I’ve toyed with the thought of running a marathon for a few years. I’ve been asked many, many times by family and friends, “Are you going to do a marathon?”, “When are you going to do a marathon?”. My kind response has always been something along the lines of “NEVER!”

I have been recently invigorated about running after nearly a nine month slump of disdain, dislike, obligation, and the waning interest of a sloth. I can’t really pinpoint exactly what about running was discouraging me so for all that time. I couldn’t change my mind or revive my motivation about lacing up and hitting the pavement. I turned the corner and awoke with a renewed love affair after a seemingly innocent question from my sister in law about running Hood to Coast. Running Hood to Coast has always loomed in the back of my memory space but I always lacked a team and the know of enough people that actually liked to…run. I’ve walked Portland to Coast so I’m aware of what the end to end process entails, the commitment it requires, and the extraordinary pain and fun you will experience at the finish line. It’s the challenging accomplishment that drives me forward into new journeys.

On the couch, sharing quips about our aches and pains from last weekend’s Shamrock run, my brother and I looked over the Hood to Coast website. He (I may be jumping the gun here) has an interest in doing more running after I coaxed him into being part of my Shamrock team this year. TANGENT! Now I asked him to be on the team, but I didn’t advise him to jump right into the 15k without any running experience. Many thought he was a bag full of nuts, but in the end he made it to the finish line dusting me, the gal with the experience. I can’t say how proud I am of him (and my niece) for jumping right in and giving it everything he had. TANGENT COMPLETE! We talked about the possibilities of forming a team and I shared my experience from the PTC team I’d served on in 2009. After reviewing the legs of the course for 2013 and learning all the specifics, we queued up the Hood to Coast movie. It was very inspiring and made me want to jump right into the pool for 2014. (I’m already thinking about the additional 7 people I need to recruit to form a team of 12.) I’m not sure if the movie shied him away from the opportunity or convinced him more that he needed to be a part of such greatness.

After mentioning the viewing to my boyfriend, he pointed me in the direction of another documentary called “The Spirit of the Marathon“. I’ll have to admit I was a bit hesitant to view a film about the topic since I hadn’t had any real interest (still at this moment) to run a marathon. (Funny thing is that I have ‘running a marathon‘ listed on my 101 things to do in 1001 days, alas, I didn’t think I’d actually ever accomplish it.) I found the documentary available on the Netflix instant queue and gave it a go. Halfway through I knew. I knew I’d run a marathon. I suddenly became bound and determined, come hell or high water, that I would run a marathon. With enough patience, training, and dedication, nearly anyone can run a marathon. The thing is, running a marathon is not about winning. It can’t be. A very, very, very small percentage of humans in this world actually win marathons. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who can finish a marathon is a winner. To cross the finish line means you fought both physically and mentally to take every single step and that is something to be proud of and to celebrate. I know I’m never going to be a Flanagan, Goucher, or Kastor, but I know I have what it takes to cross that finish line just like those that have come before me.

Next up? Figure out which marathon I want to do. It’s likely going to be one close to home and either in May or June of next year. Having the finish line set out over a year away allows me enough time to build up my running base and settle into a more than adequate training schedule. I’m looking forward to my new journey and achieving my goals. Hopefully I will be able to inspire a few people along the way and helping them realize their great potential too!

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101 things in 1001 days.

Call me a copycat. I’ve taken a page out of my dear friend Erika’s book (which she also swindled from another friend) and have come up with the one hundred and one things I plan to accomplish in the next one thousand and one days. I jumped on the idea because I need to set more challenges, pocket some accomplishments, and try some new things. I always have lots of ideas but I’m someone who needs structure. I need a task and I need a timeline. Laid out below are my 101 things. I will begin today, March 7th, 2013 and conclude my journey on December 3rd, 2015.

As I ‘check’ each accomplishment from my list I will be noting it in individual blog entries. Some of these checks won’t be very exciting or contain much content, but it will be an achievement all the same. 101 things may not seem like very many things, but it took me a couple of weeks to come up with this completed list. Whether is 10 or 110, I challenge YOU to challenge YOU. Stretch the limits, explore life. You have just the one.

  1. Get in my best shape.
  2. Learn more Spanish.
  3. Buy a kayak.
  4. Get married.
  5. Get project management certified.
  6. Run a 1:59 half marathon.
  7. Go to Hawaii
  8. Plan for a new house.
  9. Embarrass Keilee on her 16th birthday.
  10. Greet my 35th birthday with grace.
  11. Spend over $100 on my hair in a single salon visit.
  12. Eliminate unnecessary debt.
  13. Read 50 books.
  14. Blog twice per week.
  15. Take Ashtin to Chuck E Cheese.
  16. Become a SMOM.
  17. Redecorate my sister in law’s house.
  18. Eat at home for two weeks.
  19. Organize printed pictures.
  20. Repaint the office.
  21. Paint the outside window trim.
  22. Eat vegan for two weeks.
  23. Run a marathon.
  24. Host GIRLS NIGHT once a month.
  25. Spend more time crafting.
  26. Go skinny dipping.
  27. Build a fire on the beach.
  28. See a 49ers game in San Francisco.
  29. Visit St. Louis, see a Cardinals game.
  30. Go to Chicago.
  31. Mardi Gras it up in New Orleans.
  32. Learn to cook chicken cordon bleu.
  33. Improve my posture.
  34. Make birthday gifts for an entire year.
  35. Live a healthier lifestyle.
  36. Visit Mt. St. Helens.
  37. Go to Crater Lake.
  38. Drive down the 101 in California.
  39. Visit the Orcas Island.
  40. Run one 7 minute mile.
  41. Send a handwritten letter to someone once a month.
  42. Volunteer for a charity.
  43. Eliminate all dairy from my diet.
  44. Finish the LOST series.
  45. Reorganize the garage.
  46. Finish visiting all McMenamins brewpubs.
  47. Go to a Sounders game in Seattle.
  48. Hike to the top of Multnomah Falls.
  49. Stay the weekend at Skamania Lodge.
  50. Attend a Broadway musical.
  51. Drink 100oz of water each day.
  52. Keep a daily journal.
  53. Stay at all McMenamins hotels.
  54. Hike around Beacon Rock.
  55. Run a 5k in 25:00.
  56. Picnic at Hoyt Arboretum.
  57. Wine tasting in the Gorge.
  58. Design/plant/grow a garden.
  59. Brunch at Salty’s on the Columbia.
  60. Master three Julia Child recipes suited to my diet.
  61. Treat my mom to a nice dinner.
  62. Go to Portland City Grill happy hour with my sister.
  63. Walk across all bridges in Portland that span the Willamette River.
  64. Get a tattoo.
  65. Go TV-free for an entire week.
  66. Spend a day watching all the 80’s John Hughes movies.
  67. Plan a European vacation.
  68. Take the kids bowling, frequently.
  69. Take a road trip outside of Oregon.
  70. Visit Ashland, Oregon.
  71. Fly to the Big Apple.
  72. Walk Annie.
  73. Make little kid lunches.
  74. Write a poem.
  75. Get a chemical peel.
  76. Get a seaweed wrap.
  77. Donate blood.
  78. Go skydiving.
  79. Run up Powell Butte.
  80. Shoot a gun.
  81. Complete my family tree.
  82. Go fishing.
  83. Become a notary public in Oregon.
  84. Ride/drive a jetski.
  85. Do all produce shopping at a farmer’s market.
  86. Visit PittockHel Mansion.
  87. Enjoy an entire day at the spa.
  88. Find serenity at the Portland Japanese Garden.
  89. Watch Vaux’s Swifts prepare to roost for the night.
  90. Ride the streetcar in San Francisco.
  91. Tour Alcatraz.
  92. Visit Victoria, BC.
  93. See The Colbert Report or The Daily Show in person.
  94. Be a tourist in my own city.
  95. Advance my career.
  96. See a Cubs game.
  97. Go to the Chihuly art museum in Seattle.
  98. Run from my house to Kim’s house (10 miles of danger).
  99. Help someone move.
  100. Buy a new bed.
  101. Be happy.

Hold the nuts.

I was listening to my spiritual adviser (Adam Carolla) in the audio version of “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks,” and Adam was making (ranting) some interesting points about the evolution of our society (present tense) and how it compares with the society of yesteryear. His overarching point is that we’re basically all fucking nuts these days, which, I do believe… is true.

Nuts. One of his major points of contention is the fact that he can’t send his kids to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Why? The same reason why airlines can’t serve peanuts on their planes. The same reason why packaged foods need to be labeled “this may contain soy, nuts, milk, wheat, lead…” The same reason for a lot of things. But why?  Where were all the kids 25-30 years ago that were allergic to nuts? I never saw any. We were all taking PB&J to school and I’m pretty sure the ladies were serving peanut butter in the lunch line. Nobody seemed to give a shit then. Why now? Were kids asphyxiating in the cafeteria and out on the playground in 1985?

Today, parents get the death stare if they slip a little peanut butter into their kids’ lunch box. Are we too sensitive as a society (read pussy)? Or is it this? Was nobody really aware why kids were sick back then, assumed it was because they were eating crayons and now all roads can be traced to peanuts? And if kids did have peanut allergies back then there was obviously not a big uproar about the neighbor girl tainting your child with the waft of the PB. Peanut butter all the live long fucking day back then.

Or could it be this? All of the shit we’ve ingested over the past twenty-five years; food hopped up on hormones, synthetic materials, pollution, plastic water bottles, cable television (let’s face it, all the hell we experience now can be traced back to cable!), has made our DNA so sensitive that if a single raindrop touches our skin we practically go into anaphylactic shock? Or were we just super oblivious to our kids being ill back then that we just brushed it aside while we reached for our gin and tonic and pack of Camels? I don’t discredit allergies and sensitivities to foods and the like. I know a kid whose eyes puff up like microwaved marshmallows if she’s under the same roof as a nut.

And how come employers do not prevent you from bringing peanut butter or nuts to the office? They should. Ban it all. And smoking. How can I prevent people from smoking, (sans the 10 foot radius from the door). There should be a 10 foot radius of peanut butter consumption. EVERYWHERE.

 

I’m not saying nut allergies are a made up thing, but I do however think that people in this society will use the ‘freak out of ___________,’ like nuts, to their advantage just to garner attention. Why? Because what we’ve also learned in the last twenty-five years is that you can get attention for just about anything. And a pill to go with it. (But don’t get me started on pills.) What I do think is that people need to calm down a little bit. Some of you parents are lying. Not every kid in the class has a peanut allergy, not possible. Now don’t worry, your kid is still special. They don’t need this, that, and the other just to stand out and get noticed. They will still be their own individual.

The message is this. What’s going on in the world today? Why does everything have a label? I woke up with the sniffles today and all of a sudden I have a bronchiolida and now I need to stay away from dust and take this. No. It’s just the damn sniffles! We don’t need to label every last thing. We don’t need something too because someone else has something. Long ago nobody wanted to be marked as ‘special’ and now everyone is vying for a spot it the coveted circle.

(for the record, I know you can’t just suck up a nut allergy that makes you wheeze or altogether not breathe)

 

 

My funny valentine.

Valentine’s Day has never been high on my list of favorite days of the year. I experienced some trauma in my 4th grade classroom back in 1989 and I haven’t been the same since. I wish that young man well and all is forgiven, but that simple moment defined my disdain for the 14th of February for nearly twenty-five years. Fast forward to 2013.

Some of my views and attitudes towards various things in my life have changed over the last year and I have developed some new perspectives. Most of all is my perspective on life and what is important, what is not important, and what things just need to be left by the wayside. I can’t change anyone’s attitudes or perceptions but I have 100% control over my own. I’ve learned to let go, pick up, move on, and define for myself, new experiences and generate outcomes I had never before imagined. My relationship with my boyfriend has made me think differently and has highlighted what is most important in my life. His kindness and generosity have not only provided a certain nurturing to my soul, but also made me love every single day of the year, even Valentine’s Day.

I still think that Valentine’s Day, much like many other major holidays, are very commercialized and add to the pocketbooks of money hungry executives. The two weeks prior to today see the highest prices of flowers; flowers that you could get nearly any other day of the year for 50% cheaper. The price gouging happens at various times of the year; I’m not naive. I don’t think that flowers, candy, and stuffed animals should be reserved for just the 14th of February. Love and kindness should be any day, any time. (For the record: stuffed animals should NEVER be given as a gift unless to a child under 10.)

Americans can be a generous people. I’ve seen it. In times of national disaster we give, we donate, we want to help the less fortunate. But the need to give, donate, and help should not be reserved only for the times of dire straits. Giving back should be something we do as we can, not waiting for an event to tell us to do so. Instead of buying that new album from iTunes, donate $10 to your local food bank. Instead of buying that new outfit, donate the money you would have spent to your favorite charity. This morning a high school friend of mine made a donation to the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) in lieu of her and her boyfriend exchanging gifts and the usual fare of this day. She wanted to set an example for her young son and year after year hopes to teach him to help others in need. I thought that was really kind and I envy her choice. Her simple token of generosity challenged my own thoughts and inspired this blog post.

Even though we did exchange gifts this year, I’m going to challenge us to reach out and help others less fortunate in the years to come. There are people in this world, country, state, city, and community who can benefit of even the tiniest bits of generosity and are likely forever grateful.

Date night. news you can use.

Wednesday was date night. It had the promise of many things and just so happened to be hump day AND my day off. I was already half way through the work week where I had only worked one day. Things were definitely looking up.

The grand evening plan was the Blazer game, section 102. I only mentioned where I was sitting because I’m used to sitting in 302-land where the air is thin and the players look thinner. Being up closer and personal is great on a number of levels. Less strain on your neck and eye muscles to look downward for several hours. Second, there were only three steps, okay maybe four, to my seat. The beers and baños were nearby making the viewing as convenient as sitting on your couch at home. But the question remained, even with all of these great amenities, how would I feel should the Blazers lose to the Pacers?

Beforehand my boyfriend decided upon a happy hour spot he’d been wanting to check out. County Cork Public House is nestled in the rising neighborhood on NE Fremont.  It’s an Irish pub that caters to people of all ages. Typically I don’t like to imbibe in spaces where Littles can run at my feet, but I was feeling exceptionally permitting this day. Walking in just seemed like a regular bar, nothing exceptional. The space felt a little cold, both in temperature and atmosphere and surprisingly there were about a dozen people or so enthralled in conversation, throwing back some brew, and awaiting their meals. We sat in a wooden booth along the bank of windows that open wide during the warmer months (read: July, August). This was January and it wasn’t one of those warm ones. A pair of Lagunitas IPAs were ordered as we decided on happy hour eats. The ales were satisfying but I was a bit worried about the food choices. Judging by the atmosphere and space I didn’t have high expectations. I expected mundane and greasy bar food. We settled upon:

  • Buffalo wings
  • Scotch egg
  • Fish and chips

I know what you must be thinking. What the fuck is a Scotch egg? Yeah. My boyfriend described it to me as a hard-boiled egg wrapped in ground sausage meat, lightly breaded and deep-fried. Okay. Weird. Those were my inaudible thoughts. The Scotch egg came out on a plate cut in half so each side had equal parts sausage and egg. The waiter suggested we use a little sweet hot mustard and we would NOT be disappointed. Well. Truth be told, he looked like a hippie and I rarely trust that kind. I was surprised at how much I LOVED it. It was delish! So were the buffalo wings. Crispy and the right amount of saucy and spicy. Perfection. I’m not really a fish and chips gal. Fish and chips can be very heavy and leaving you feel like a bomb went off in your stomach. Not these. They were excellent. I mean, excellent. The fish was perfectly moist, the breading not overly greasy. And the tartar sauce was so yummy I could have dipped anything in it just to finish the small container we were given.

If you’re ever in the area head over to 1329 NE Fremont. Just pay attention to what door you walk into. Why????

Because as we were hustling in the cold to get into a warm space, we went into the wrong bar. What we thought was our destination was actually a chic, dimly lit bar called Free House. It was just before 5pm and there was only one other patron at the bar besides us. Realizing our mistake we decided to stick around for a beer and give the place the old college try. It was a nicely decorated bar with wood tables and chairs. The atmosphere felt very comfortable despite the absence of humans. There was a TV mounted above the bar and music playing throughout the space. There were food entrees listed on the chalkboard and we vowed to return here at a later date to taste some of them. I can’t remember what we imbibed but they have a plentiful tap list, in addition to canned and bottled selections. I didn’t check it out up close but they have a patio space out back that is heated and was OPEN that evening for guests. Next time! I loved the bar. I wanted to stay all night and just people watch (well, provided more people showed up!) It was definitely our kinda place. Head on over to 1325 NE Fremont and check it out!

Despite the Blazers seven game losing streak they beat those smugly Pacers by twenty points and everyone got Chalupas!!!!! (Except us, because we didn’t care.) The front and off-centered experience was great. A win is a win and even though the Blazers aren’t the most exciting team this year, I still have a great time when I’m at a game. Win or lose. I look forward to more nights like this, trying new places, hitting events and making memories.

Resolute.

My friend asked me last night, “Are you making New Year’s resolutions?” My response was “No. I hadn’t really thought about it.” Truth is. The latter half of 2012 has flown by so quickly it seems like I’ve barely had time to prepare for what December usually brings. In a flash it was here. And by that same token, it has gone. About a decade ago, I remember some elder person telling me, “Life flies by when you get older. Enjoy it while you can.” As with most advice tossed my way, I kind of shrugged that off and figured I’d be more apt and spry than they were.

Okay. So I was wrong. Since turning the big 3 3 this past summer, life has seemingly flown by in an instant. Here today, gone tomorrow. I’ve let a few things go by the wayside lately and I’ve resolved today to get back on track, find Jesus Christ, and learn a new language. Okay. So not the second thing, but the other two. True. Resolutions do not have to be extremely grand. They can be as small as you need them to be in order to achieve them. However, you should provide yourself a bit of challenge, something that will push you into stepping outside of your comfortable, cozy box.

Something simple could be “resolving to be kinder to others”. You should try it! (Let me know how it works out. That one seems a bit too tough to me.) Whatever you decide upon should be something that betters your mind, body or soul. You can do anything you set your mind to. If you want it, you can make it happen. All you have to do is believe.

Happy New Year.

 

 

You’re my sunshine

I recently heard someone remark that people couldn’t be friends because they have so many differences. I thought about that for a while, let it roll around in my brain and came to this conclusion: That’s a bunch of phooey!

Differences are what bring people together. Granted, there are differences could prevent people from being friends but if everyone agreed on anything, what a vanilla society we’d be! Of all of my friends, Carly and I share the most differences. We live in different countries (okay, so that’s a reach), we like different sports, different foods, have different outlooks on life, yet we’re still fantastic friends. Why? Because we respect each others likes, dislikes, and beliefs. We still have a great amount in common that brings us together and binds our friendship for life.

If you need something, Carly is there to provide it. If you need to pour your heart out, Carly is there to listen. If you want to watch a Family Feud marathon, Carly is your ideal teammate. She’s the person to mail you a paper card that expresses her feelings or just a quick postcard note to tell you she was thinking of you. She’s thoughtful, sincere, and never fake. Even though we’re separated by 300 miles it often feels like she’s not very far away. She’s introduced me to her family and they make you feel like one of their own. I think that automatically grants me 1/2 Canadian citizenship.

We haven’t seen each other in nearly a year(!) but we’re still just as good friends as we’ve always been. A chance meeting brought us into each other’s lives and I will be forever grateful for that encounter. Today reminds me not to take life for granted and be thankful for everything you have, everyone you love, and make the most of the moment.  Happy Birthday beautiful friend.

xoxo

a true beauty

a true beauty

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