Saturday, January 28, 2017

Thoughts during a no music, 13.1 mile run

* I like starting the run at a place with a bathroom.  That is very nice!
* Yay, mile 1 went fast!  This is a great day!
* I mean, not that fast.  I definitely need to run more, distance and frequency.
* Cars make me so nervous, pick-up trucks more so.
* This road is flat and long.
* Ooooo, a trail.  This will make things more interesting.
* I love the songs I heard while driving here.  They are horrible amazing ear worms and they definitely put me in a good mood.  It was like I was supposed to run today!
* I like the rolling hills on this trail.
* (Thinking back on a conversation with a friend last night)  Hmm, I understand that the term "snowflake" can definitely be used dismissively by people who feel that white women have nothing to complain about but it's not the worst word.  Maybe we could emphasize that each is unique and together, we can be a powerful force.  This is cheesy but I like i-
*Huuuch-OOOOFFFF!  owowowowowowowowowow!  ouch ouch ouch!  (I have just tripped over a tree root and have hit the ground hard).  Ok, pause watch.  Ouch.  Shit.  That really hurt.  Casualties: left knee and right chest. (I will discover a crazy amount of road rash-y bruises later in the evening.  Sheesh.  At least none of my clothes tore.)
*  Is there Uber in a forest?
*  Ok, let's go.  Gentle jog.  :(
* I think I hate my Hokas.
* Shopping list: new Asics, new pillow, immersion blender, maybe new skincare product.
* Buy into the Rodan + Field hype or not?
* In The Underground Railroad, it was too bad the mother wasn't given more credit and everyone just assumed she was a selfish, child-abandoning person.
* *Mindless running for a few miles*
* Water fountain!  Yes!
* Well, I meant to run 11 but it looks like this will be a half marathon.  That is cool.  I am starting to feel sore though.
* AUGH!  That siren startled me so much.  Maybe I am too tightly wound?
* Hello car!  I am so happy to see you!

Ha, ha.  Did you think there would be anything awesome!?  Nope!  It is nice to have some silence and just run at a nice steady pace.  The fall was not my friend and the run was just ok, but there is a very real reason why: I have not been running enough.  But I will get it together!  I will gamba my very best for Boston!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Steamboat Springs Family Vacation

Looking up the mountain
Every year, my family gets together for an annual vacation around the holidays.  Before, during, after- we're not picky about the exact date and over the years, timing shifts slightly to accommodate jobs and academic schedules.  This year, we met up at Steamboat Springs for a week of skiing.  It was extra special because it was the first time since my wedding (3 1/2 years!) that we had all been together!  I had missed the first get-together, and then Joe has been deployed over the last two years' vacations.  It was really, really special to have him this year and have the six of us + partners in tow. 

Hanging out on the lift!
I arrived on Saturday after a plane delay, which was made immeasurably better by being let into the United Lounge.  Yay!  Although the American Express Lounges are the most luxe by far, it was great to have comfy chairs to sit it while I waited.  In total, it was a three hour delay which wasn't terrible.

Experts only!  My brother is a seriously amazing skier!
We stayed in a 5BR/5BA house (!) so everyone got their own room.  Sweet!  My parents, brothers, significant others and my nephew all arrived on Saturday.  My sister and her boyfriend were coming later in the week due to her vacation schedule and SMS came later in the week because he has negative vacation days at his work.

Valley floor
It snowed the whole time we were there.  The conditions were amazing- groomed trails with 2-7 inches of powder depending on the day and previous night's snowfall.  We went on Morningside, which is ungroomed with deeper powder and that was so much fun.  My favorite runs are Kuus' Cruise, Valley View, Vertigo, Rolex, and our Tomahawk Cruise to our favorite mid-day ski stop, Ragner's at Rendezvous Lodge.  There were no sunny days but except for Wednesday, the visibility was decent and we could see the valley floor most of the time.
We had our Christmas dinner and gift exchange on Thursday.  The dinner was feast with a spiral ham as the entree.  Mom and Dad gave the funniest gifts, collected from souvenir stands from places they visited in the last year.  My brother in a Roman gladiator apron topped with an Eeyore hat was a hilarious sight, but probably a photo I should keep off the internet! 

Brothers and significant others!
Friday was our last day and another awesome day of skiing.  At that point, a few of us were affected by a virus that, not to blame the baby but...I felt queesy that day and had to call it earlier than I would have normally done but it was an incredible six days of skiing. 
Sister and boyfriend.  Her effort to help him up is staggering, ha ha.
On Saturday, we were majorly delayed by ground fog.  We finally all got out of there but most of us had to overnight at an intermediate destination.  For SMS and I, that meant San Diego.  Yeah!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Washington DC New Year's Weekend!

Happy New Year!
SMS and I went to Washington for the New Year's weekend.  We arrived Friday evening and met Mom and Dad at the Old Ebbitt Grill.  SMS and I split half a dozen oysters, yum!  I had a delicious Nicoise salad for my main course and overall, it was a great dinner and fun to spend time with Mom and Dad.

The next day, Mom and Dad headed off to Wintergreen for a wild and crazy New Year's Eve.  SMS and I went into the city.  First, we went to Eastern Market where we ran into a friend of mine from freshman year of high school.  It's a little hard to catch up on 20 years in the course of 15 minutes, but it was really cool to see her.

We went to 7th Hill pizza which was...ok.  Not great but it did the job.  Afterwards, we drove over to the Mall.  We looked at the Hirshhorn sculpture garden on the way over to the Sackler.

The Sackler had some great exhibitions.  We saw the Art of the Qur'an, Turquoise Mountain and Red: Ming Dynasty/Mark Rothko, a visual dialogue on the immensity of the color red (sure).  There was also a modern installation inspired by Whistler's Peacock Room, which is currently undergoing renovation in the Freer.  Although I didn't love the modern take, it was pretty cool to see   

Beautiful Qur'an

Turquoise Mountain: Modern Craftsman, Traditional Techniques
Our New Year's Eve was really mellow.  The next day, we went to the Udvar-Hazy museum which was really cool.  The layout is really logical and the collection is amazing.  I highly recommend visiting, even if you're not the biggest aviation fan.  I liked the space exhibit and the stunt planes.

SR-71 Blackbird

Saturday, January 7, 2017

December Travels

In early December, I traveled to Newport Beach for a SMS' side of the family Christmas party.  We had a really nice time hanging out the weekend and it was pretty low-key.  No new Newport Beach recs, other than SMS' cousin has a pretty cool leggings line called Goldsheep.  I have a pair and I recommend the line although to be completely honest, it's better for fashion than for fitness.  Or maybe I should say, they're not the best for running- yoga and Pilates are fine.   The prints are amazing and cutting-edge.

The end of December, SMS and I traveled to San Diego for Christmas weekend.  We stayed at the La Pensione, a cute and affordable boutique hotel in Little Italy.  I love that neighborhood!  SMS and I met up with his friend for drinks at Craft & Commerce, a very cool bar in Little Italy.  Then we went to SMS' parents' house for Christmas dinner.  It was delicious!  We had fillet mignon, salad and mashed potatoes.  It was really delicious and so nice to celebrate with family.  We exchanged gifts and SMS' parents gave me a gorgeous print of SMS' Thailand sunset photo and a gift card to Lululemon which I cannot wait to use.  SMS got an Open Table gift card which I hope we can put to good use :)

The next day, I went for a run from Little Italy up to Cabrillo National Monument for a total of 14 miles.  It was a gorgeous day and man, do I miss San Diego!   We went to his parents for brunch. Later in the afternoon, we went to his sister's for a Christmas dinner.  It was amazing!  Perfectly roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, incredible dressing with bread from Bread and Cie (I think), cranberry, green vegetables...I was in heaven.  Don't get me wrong- I loved our Thanksgiving meal but to have all the sides be homemade?  I was in Heaven.  A Heaven where I ate too much :)
San Diego find- Coffee + Flower, an incredible coffee, flower shop!  

The next day, SMS and I headed home.  It was a great Christmas weekend and hopefully, we'll stay in SoCal longer next time!

Tumbling Pandas

So, the above gif is of my favorite panda, Tare.  SMS and I first saw him when we were taking Chinese classes last Spring.  We were in a Japanese classroom at Palo Alto High School and I was captivated by his (?) doleful eyes as we obediently and repeatedly butchered Chinese phonetics.  

Anyway, isn't he cute!?  I also love the below picture of a baby panda doing a faceplant.  Part of the hilarity is the completely ineffectual attempted intervention of the caretaker.  I also feel that the photographer knew this was going to happen and thought, "Wait for!"

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hello there!

Ugh, did I really not post at all in December?  For shame!

But, at the same time, this blog has mainly served to blog my travels and day trips.  Now that I'm not traveling as much, I want to strike a balance between writing on the blog and realizing that I'm not particularly interested in oversharing my everyday life on the internet.

There are some good trips coming up though!  And I may want to write more especially as I finish up an online class that has taken up more time than I'd like!  I can also share favorite links since I tend to find at least one a week where SMS says, "I don't know how you find these things."  I think that's a compliment!

I also want to finish the Switzerland trip daily wrap-ups and maybe even go far enough back in time to further flesh out our Korean Memorial Day Trip 2015.  Other plans include fleshing out the itinerary page to be more than just an empty link.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reflections on 2016

Since 2011, I’ve used this list to help reflect back on the year.  I really enjoy looking back while preparing to move forward. So…

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I went hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps with SMS!  It was awesome!  I would love to do longer, multi-day treks in the future.  But for our first time out, the 2 day-1 night adventure was great.  On the second night, we ended up in a hostel but I don't quite count it as part of the hike since we ended the day on trains and buses to get there!

2.  Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Professionally, I am doing well in transitioning to a successful academic career.  I have a  great project and applying for grant money.  Even if I don't get the grant, I am well-situated to start the study and I'm looking forward to completing it this year.  That's my big goal.

Personally, I wanted to broaden my writing endeavors.  This definitely took a back-burner to work. I'm completing a hybrid classroom-online three class sequence and that ended up taking a lot of time since May.  Currently, I'm taking two classes and that is a lot of reading and writing.  One class ends this January so I will re-evaluate my writing goals then.  

I still aspire to be a Renaissance woman and want to work on a variety of different skills.  It's a little dilettantish but I enjoy trying lots of things!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Babies are starting to blur.  I have a lot of friends with babies who just turned one or are about to. They are all very cute!  I've just always been bad with birthdays!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
US (Colorado, several road trips including a cross-country haul!)

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Publications! (repeat)

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Etched might be a little strong since I had to confirm in my planner (ha, ha) but memorable days included-
1/8/2016: Our friend Melinda's wedding, which we photographed!
2/14/2016: Seeing the "Firefall" in Yosemite and climbing the 5-pitch "Nutcracker"
3/6/2016: Napa Marathon and qualifying for the Boston Marathon!
5/16/2016: Beyonce in concert!!!!
7/1-7/17/2016: Switzerland trip

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I feel like I'm doing a good job at having a great marriage between two people who are very dedicated to their careers!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Getting over work-related disappointments and realizing there is more than one way to achieve professional happiness.   (To be clear, this is a failure that I'm trying to turn into a positive, if not a success.)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Plane tickets! (repeat)

12. Where did most of your money go?
Travel, rent, savings (repeat)

13. What did you get really excited about?
I really get excited about vacations.   This is basically a paraphrase of last year's answer!

14. What song will always remind you of 2014?
The Hamilton soundtrack, "Sorry" by Justin Beiber (shameful!), "Cake by the Ocean" by DNCE, "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse/Mark Ronson, "Wagon Wheel" by Darius Rucker, "Parachute" by Chris Stapleton

15. Compared to this time last year, are you: 
– happier or sadder? Happier
– thinner or fatter? A little fatter, which marathon training will hopefully remedy!
– richer or poorer? Richer (continuing to save)

16. What's one thing you wish you had done more of?
Exercise more consistently.  As the marathon gets closer, I'm going to figure out a post-race workout plan that works for me.  I spent too much of this past year getting just enough exercise as not to get completely out of shape.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Phone-scrolling.  It has to stop.  

18. How did you spend Christmas?
We had a great day in San Diego!  I ran 14 miles, we got breakfast and then we hung out with SMS' side of the family for the day.  We had an incredible turkey dinner and I feasted!  (Sounds classier than "pigged out.")

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Orphan Black.  Amazing!  We also liked Mozart in the Jungle and Westworld.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Fiction: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
             Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Cleave
                   Thanks for the Feedback by Heen
                   Just Mercy by Stephenson
                   When Breath Becomes Air by Kalanithi
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Chris Stapleton, the Hamilton cast

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Hell or High Water

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
36. We had an amazing day of wine-tasting in Napa.  We stayed at a great Airbnb and had a great weekend trip with my parents!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More La Croix water.  Ha, ha.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Scrubs and business professional with some running outfits mixed in!

26. What kept you sane?
SMS and my family!

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
That America has a serious problem in that there are many people who feel so disenfranchised and left out of the American Dream that they are willing to risk it all for change.