Once Upon A Time…

It’s hard to believe I spent two years of my life as a fairly regular blogger! The silence since April was not intentional, but a result of my decreasing mental capacity and free time. In short, life got hectic.

Since my last post in April, major highlights have been -

1. Getting a dog, Yogi the Bear

twitterHe’s a full size Pomeranian, and the love of my life.

2. Going to Mexico (vacay)

0793. Getting a new car

4. Traveling for a full two weeks in June for work – Straight from D.C. to Las Vegas!

5. Becoming an aunt :-)

6.. Getting promoted in July

7. Turning 25 and going skydiving!!

It’s been an amazing few months! And as my quarter century birthday approached, I got the nagging itch to record words for posterity. Is it weird that I enjoy reading old blog posts? A peak into old topics and memories?

I know blogging isn’t something I can do on a regular basis moving forward, but it is nice to come back to. I have always blogged 100 percent for myself, so I think I’ll continue to do so as the urge arises, still for myself. Particularly at these “milestones”, whatever that means…

Y’all, it’s straight up weird to 25. I remember my 21st birthday vividly (at least most parts), but the last several years run together. I’m happy with where I’m at, but surprised by how quickly time eludes us. After several birthday celebration cocktails with friends, we got on the topic of what we want to accomplish by the time we’re 30. I just said ‘go skydiving’, which I ended up doing the next morning despite the raging hangover.

As I considered the topic more, I thought about how much I have learned these past four years about what there is to know. Did that make sense? No? In other words – My goodness, there is so much knowledge to be had in the world! Do you know how much there is to know about buying a house? Making a car work? Training a dog? I have learned that there is literally no limit to my ignorance. I find this fact to be exhilarating and so look forward to all that I can learn over the course of my life.

So, back to the “pre 30 list.” I ironically already blogged about this list a while back (here).

While I still mostly agree with this list, life happens every day. And I’d say that’s been my second biggest realization over the past four years. I try to think every day about what I can do to – Be successful, be happy, do good for others, learn more, etc. Sometimes that means doing nothing and sometimes it means jam packing so much into a day that you collapse when it’s over. Either way, life is constantly happening.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in 25 years, but even more so, I’m grateful. The past several months have been filled with blessings and so was my entire 24th year. I finally became a mother to my long-awaited puppy. I became an aunt to an actual human baby (still so strange to me)! I was blessed with mentors in work and in life who make me an infinitely better person.

I’m excited to see what the rest of the year brings. I wrote a post at the end of 2012 about ‘surrendering to the poses‘. I loved writing that post, and it was so true. 2012 was completely about coming into my own in small, unexciting ways.

But in that post, I also wrote, “Some years we find ourselves holding an unexpected and uncomfortable crow pose before we are ready – Those are the years we grow bigger and taller and many take notice.” That is 2013.

Just another weekend in paradise.

It was beautiful in Raleigh this weekend. 2,000 Raleigh runners gathered on Sunday to raise money for Boston and honor those who were killed. I am so proud of Raleigh’s running community.

photo 4I was too busy on Sunday celebrating my dad’s birthday to come to the run. We had a lovely afternoon as a family – Happy belated birthday to a wonderful father, husband and soon to be grandfather! (photo below from our trip to Charleston in December). I ran 7 miles in absolute beautiful weather before heading back to Burlington.

034Other weekend activities included cleaning, a glorious yoga class, drinks with friends and going to see Oblivion. This movie was good, not great, but seeing it in Imax was beautiful. It was shot in New Zealand and the U.S. and the cinematography alone was worth the price of going.

Keep in mind that I am the antithesis of the movie snob, but I did enjoy this movie. I didn’t think Tom Cruise’s acting was terrible, I wasn’t bothered by the gaping plot holes and I didn’t know any of the twists before they happened.

One other photo that made my weekend great -

photo 1

I am a runner.

‘Runner’ is one of the ways I define myself, just the same as I call myself a daughter, sister or friend. Insert the word ‘marathon’ before runner and I become even prouder. After all, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” Marathon runners are some of the strongest, kindest, most dedicated and yet humble people in the world and I am proud to count myself among them. Crossing the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon in 2007 changed who I am and I have never looked back.

If you could call me a Boston marathon runner, I would probably change my name to it. But you can’t – Even when I worked my ass off to run a 4:12 marathon, I was still over 37 minutes away from Boston qualifying. Yowza. In fact, if I wanted to qualify for Boston with my current time, I’d need to be 60 years old. Let that sink in for a minute. Keep in mind that my marathon finish times are still considered to be well above average (BQ times below).

Age Men Women
18-34 3:05 3:35
35-39 3:10 3:40
40-44 3:15 3:45
45-49 3:25 3:55
50-54 3:30 4:00
55-59 3:40 4:10
60-64 3:55 4:25
65-69 4:10 4:40
70-74 4:25 4:55
75-79 4:40 5:10
80+ 4:55 5:25

My point in saying all of that is that Boston marathon runners are the most accomplished marathon runners in the world. You literally have to run a (fast) marathon just to be eligible to sign up for Boston. On Monday morning, I was constantly following the Boston marathon Twitter feed in awe of the finishing times. And honestly, the most impressive people are crossing the line after four hours. They are the older people (for women, at least 50), including the more than 200 Boston runners over the age of 70. These runners don’t do it for money or fame, they do it because they have the spirit of the marathon. They do it because they have found the sheer joy and existentialism in running 26.2.

I feel a connection to what happened on Monday in a way that I have never felt connected to an act of terrorism. It made me cry, it made me scared, it made me hurt. But I don’t want to reiterate things that have already been said – I just want to share so much love and respect for everyone that ran Boston this year. My mom called me on Monday night and we both shared our feelings – I’ve been at that finish line 10 times now, she’s been there for every single time as well. “We’ve been there so many times,” she said. But I’ve never been at Boston – That’s just where my heroes are.

My heroes are all Boston runners, but especially this year. The runners who crossed the finish line. The runners who didn’t get the chance to. The police, firefighters and EMS. The people of Boston who opened up their homes, restaurants and hearts. The runner from my hometown who finished but sat beside a first time Boston runner on his plane ride home – This Boston rookie did not get a chance to finish the race. “I’ll never get a Boston medal,” the first timer said. So the Burlington, N.C. native, who was strong enough to run multiple marathons and had finished Boston several times, said, “Take my medal, I have plenty back at home.”

For every ounce of evil in this world, there are oceans of good. There is no place that this is truer than a marathon.

Beerfest and Atlanta

It’s been a busy few weeks! This past weekend was no exception as I spent Friday night in Atlanta catching up with an old friend, Saturday driving back to Raleigh and attending Beerfest and Sunday brunching, grocery shopping and walking with Porkchop.

photo 3Beerfest was ridiculous, as always. This picture is perhaps the worst (or best) example of photobombing I have ever experienced. I know none of the people in this photo.

photo 2That’s better! The event was sold out, packed and had a wide selection of beer. My favorite place is always the local breweries tent, but we tried a little bit of everything. I’m not a beer snob and honestly had too much to comment on the quality, but I can say that Beerfest from an event standpoint is a great showing of Raleigh’s downtown and active social scene.

That, and some random girl gave me a brownie from the VIP tent -

photo 1

As for my trip to Atlanta, I was actually in Augusta for the Masters on Thursday and then made a quick trip to Atlanta to visit one of my best friends from college. Augusta was a little crazy, but fun! I left around noon on Friday and worked Friday afternoon from a Panera in Atlanta. On Friday night, my friend took me to Murphy’s for dinner in the Virginia Highlands region of Atlanta. I am generally not a fan of Atlanta, but I loved this area! It reminded me of some of Raleigh’s historic neighborhoods.

I’m wiped now, ready to go to bed and get ready for another busy week!

Rookie mistake

I spent my weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida for work. It was my first time in PCB and while it was a bit seedy, it was still awesome to be at the beach. I did spend an abysmal amount of time in traffic due to Spring Breakers, but everything with work went extremely well and I got to see the Gulf of Mexico for the first time.

Here’s a fail, but my only non-work related photo was of my lunch at Panera. I had a 7:15 a.m. flight and a short layover so all I had to eat before arriving in PC around lunchtime was a banana. As I was driving to the hotel, I kept thinking about Panera and sure enough, there was a new Panera right next to my hotel. Fate!

p-townI had an event until late Friday night and then another starting in the early afternoon on Saturday, which gave me the morning free. I decided to knock out a longer run since it was warm, I had time and I haven’t had many long runs this year, but mistakenly only had coffee and water before leaving and not much dinner the night before. I went for 10 miles and honestly felt great during the run, but Jon called me as I was walking back into the hotel and so I talked and started guzzling water.

I started feeling super nauseous as we talked, so I got off the phone and took a shower. After the shower, my body decided to get rid of most of that water. I should have had electrolytes, I should have put something on my stomach before I left and I definitely should have checked my ego on the plane.

After that I finished getting ready, checked out and drank several glasses of Sierra Mist at Panera (again). Bubbles and sugar later, I felt back to myself. Lessons learned -

  • You are never invincible. Drink enough water, eat enough food and keep in mind what running 10 miles does to the body. 
  • When going out for a longer run after not eating much the night before, I absolutely have to put something on my stomach (even if I am in a hotel room and too lazy to go out and buy something)
  • Gallons of water on an empty stomach is awful! I used to drink salt water all the time after runs and I really need to get back to doing this once it warms up
  • If you will a Panera, it will come into existence

I got in late Saturday night to Raleigh and went home on Sunday to celebrate Easter with my family. Jon surprised me with an Easter present including lots of candy, hair ties, Burt’s Bees and candles. That boy knows me well! Now to rest up for another busy week…

A couple reasons the Carrie Diaries is good, but not SATC

Candace Bushnell (creator of Sex and The City) did an interview with the Daily Beast to defend the tweeny CW prequel ‘The Carrie Diaries.’ The show has been battling disappointing ratings, so Bushnell went on the record to talk about some reasons for the low viewership (battling with The Bachelor) and reasons why this show bares striking resemble to the original S&TC.

I am one of the reasons that the Carrie Diaries has high streaming numbers but low viewership. The truth is that I really don’t watch any TV live save marathons on The Food Network and Boy Meets World on ABC Family. However, after catching up with this season of the Carrie Diaries I totally understand why they’re not getting the buzz, viewership and fan base generally associated with the Sex and the City brand.

People, Sex and the City was an envelope pushing, game changing show. As Bushnell says in the interview, “It taps into the idea of single women in their 30s.  It was a lifestyle where women were very reliant on girlfriends, and it was this idea that when you come to the city, you make a new family. That’s what Sex and the City was really about.”

The Carrie Diaries keeps the envelopes pretty much where they are. The show is about a high school girl growing up and trying to figure out herself, her friends, her boyfriends and her dreams. But with the 80s backdrop and the fact that she lives with her dad, all of the problems come off rather hokey. It’s cute, it’s entertaining, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen on Gossip Girl minus the big hair. And when you do add the reasons we really watched S&TC, the clothes, the honest girl talk, the honesty about sex; it just seems wrong. It’s high school and it’s the 80s – The clothes are bad, the girl talk is vapid and everything gets weird when you hear high school girls non-nonchalantly discuss their sex lives. One of the characters is homosexual in the 80s, which I think has potential as an interesting story line, but I don’t see the CW taking us anywhere we haven’t been before.

I think this show would have had a lot more potential if it were set in the 90s – Perhaps Carrie when she first arrives in the city after college. That sets her at an age where we can discuss the nitty-gritty and it still seems appropriate. I just don’t think there’s much you can do when you take out the city and the independence we always loved in Carrie.

Putting the show aside, I did love reading this interview with Bushnell in general. Firstly, she talks about the second S&TC movie (train wreck) and how it just didn’t work. Secondly, she admits that Carrie ended up with Big because the audience wanted her to. In real life, Carrie never ends up with Big.

I love my car

My 2001 elantra or, ‘ela’, is a special lady. I paid half of her sticker price when I was 15 years old and that was a worthwhile $2,000 investment. She had already been marked salvage at that point after being totaled and repaired from one accident. A few years later, my younger sister totaled her again. Ela is more than 13 years old and she has been totaled twice – She’s been through a lot.

I’ve driven her since I was 16 so she’s also got some wrinkles and stretch marks. She shakes a bit when you drive down the highway and Jon calls her brakes “squishy”. I did once try to proclaim her the ultimate hoopdie (Yes, I just had to Google the spelling of hoopdie, but apparently it can be spelled any of the following ways - hoop-d, hoopdie, hoopdy, HOOPTIE, hoop-t, hoopty, hooptee, etc). Jon told me that Ela is only a hoopdie as it relates to me being a middle class Caucasian female with a college education who runs marathons and goes to yoga classes on the weekend.

If I paid for Ela to go to therapy, she would have a lot to talk about. She’d bitch about the time that we squeezed nine people into her in AP environmental in high school and about the number of times I’ve made her jump over curbs. She’d probably have some scares remaining from the ticket we got for going 89 in a 65 and the various times I’ve declared, “I’m never washing my car again until I’m ready to sell.”

But we could remember the good times too – Like the trips to visit friends, her three years in Chapel Hill and that her unexpected reliability gave me the financial freedom to take trips to Paris/Belgium/Amsterdam, Italy, Las Vegas, and now Mexico.

With a tear in my eye, I must report that Ela’s brakes have become more and more squishy and now, her brake lights won’t turn off (that’s right off, not on, they literally are staying on as long as the battery is plugged in). Y’all, I have very little interest in a car payment every month, but my dream small SUV is starting to look closer and closer to reality. But whether she is replaced in the next month or the next two years, Ela will always be dearly loved.

Best of Intentions

I committed myself to a weekend of recuperating from my infection, but spontaneity prevailed. I did still get a lot of sleep, but I was also ready to get out from under the covers and the Netflix and be social.

Friday night I celebrated my older sister’s birthday at my parent’s home. We went out for Mexican and came back for ice cream cake. It was fun and low key, but I was still in a bit of a funk/sick, so me and Jon left around 9 and listened to the Carolina game on the radio on the way back to Raleigh. UNC played in the ACC tournament on Friday and Saturday but lost the championship game on Sunday to Miami :-( I’ve been to the ACC tournament several times, and it’s a lot of fun, but it’s not the tournament that really matters. I’m excited to follow the NCAA tournament though!

Saturday I was ready to move! I took a considerable amount of time off exercise when I was sick, so I went for a four mile run and then went to yoga. After a week of laying in bed/sitting at my desk, I was ready to stretch! After yoga I went to Whole Foods to stock up. They were having a St. Patty’s Day Celebration -

So random! But after a week of being sick and eating very little (mostly bread), I was ready to actually eat fruits and vegetables again. I did some food prep before heading over to Jon’s and then inadvertently ended up downtown for some St. Patrick’s celebrations. One beer turned into several, two Irish car bombs and before I knew it, it was midnight. Not the night I intended to have, but it was very fun and always good to catch up with friends and see the loonies downtown. I don’t think I need to have an Irish car bomb for another year though…

Sunday included a trip to BJ’s for some sparkling water, watching the Carolina game and watching the ESPN 30 for 30 about N.C. State. Y’all, I am not an N.C. State fan, but this documentary was inspirational. It elevated the sports conversation to that level of dreams, hard work and achievement.

“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal. And you have to be willing to work for it.”

Out of Commission

Y’all, I have been sick this week. We’re talking no running, no gym, I’ve watched a season of SAY YES TO THE DRESS sick. I’ve still been working (a little from home, mostly from the office) because, well, I don’t like to mix feeling sick with feeling like I’m missing deadlines or passing off work, so there you have it. I’ve pretty much worked, slept and watched TV this week. I am ready for a beautiful weekend and to get over this infection.

A quick poll though, of non-Irish related nature, as we approach St. Patrick’s Day. Is it normal for Italians to turn red after drinking wine? I can’t for the life of me remember from the time I lived in Italy, but me and all my siblings are awful about it. Case in point, after one glass of wine -

photoAnswer me, that and then make me promise that is the only self portrait I ever take of myself.

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