Back to normal

I always find it hard to come back to work after several days off. Add to that, the fact that we had guests visiting and my routine was definitely off balance for a few days. I ate tons, slept late, spent a day at the spa, and had numerous social outings with friends. In short, it was a great long weekend and the return to reality on Monday morning was a bit harsh. My boss said that she couldn’t wait to return to work as she was so bored at home. The long weekend was just too long for her. I’m sorry, I just can’t relate to that sentiment. Bored? Couldn’t wait to return to work? Rest assured, you will not hear those statements out of my mouth anytime soon!

One of many highlights of the weekend was a crisp, snowy hike up local Mt. Si. It’s 8 miles round trip and a relentless climb- 3100 feet of elevation gain. I hiked briskly up and ran down. There was snow, ice and blue sky at the top, though we were not rewarded with much of a view. Some low-lying clouds swirled around the summit and obscured most of the valley below.

Nonetheless, it was a fabulous outing. It never ceases to amaze me how crowded this trail is! G took some great photos and put them on our website: Mt Si pics Although we began the hike together (with Paul), I left them behind early on. At the end, G asked “Did you see the light coming through the trees on the way down? Wasn’t it amazing?” “No,” I replied, “I didn’t slow down long enough to look. Fortunately, I brought my husband along to take pictures of it.”

I’m a Believer

Yesterday was a great success. We picked up our friends Cindy and Paul from the airport before heading to dinner. The food and company were great and we lingered long at the table. I made a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie for the meal. The highest compliment I got was from a Southerner (Paul) who said it was the best pecan pie he’d ever had. Upon tasting it, he proclaimed, “I’m a beleiver!”

Thanksgiving Lists

Several days later and the fog persists in our neighborhood. The other night G and I were driving home from dinner. We were on the main street (15th Ave NW) before the turnoff to our house. The fog made everything look so different that I truly wasn’t sure I was on the right road for a minute. It was a very other-worldly night.

Two more days until Thanksgiving. I have a major case of holiday-itis at work. Just cannot get myself to focus on anything. I must say that I am very relieved NOT to be travelling this holiday. We’ll be having dinner at a friend’s house in nearby Fremont. The last time we went to Thanksgiving at her house, I was the only American (of about a dozen guests). That was an interesting experience!

My family has this great Thanksgiving tradition whereby we make lists of the things we’re thankful for. The list CANNOT include the easy answers, like friends, family, job or health. The lists have been circulated on e mail the past few years as we have not been together on Thanksgiving, and they’ve expanded to include quite a lot of people outside of our family. Check out the message board for our lists.

My list for 2005:

Thoughtful Houseguests (note: I am ALSO grateful when they leave!)
Rainy days
Trail running
People who leave notes when they hit your car
Public works of art
Wireless internet
People who don’t take themselves too seriously
Comp time
Peppermint mochas
Having friends/family who are good cooks (and invite you over to dinner)
Friends who live within walking distance
Hassle-free travel
ATMs that don’t have a surcharge
People who take chances
Space heaters and other things that keep me warm (slippers, gloves, heated seats)
Having a cleaning person
Evergreen trees and moss
Local, independent businesses
Organic produce
The Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood
Foods: Essential Bakery’s rosemary bread, Peanut butter and chocolate, squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkins, good blue cheese (Roquefort, Cabrales)

Meals: Rain City Grill in Vancouver, BC; Tamarind Tree in Seattle, WA
Books: I’m struggling with this one. Haven’t had a lot of luck with books this year. “The Book of Illusions” by Paul Auster. “Tales of the Otori” trilogyby Lian Hearn.
Movies: I need to look at G’s log of all the movies we’ve seen because I can’t think of anything! Recently saw Closer and liked it a lot.
Music: The Decembrists, Damien Rice, Death Cab for Cutie

And please feel free to post you own list! The more, the merrier!

Foggy Days

There was a strange layer of fog shrouding the streets of Seattle for most of this weekend. It created quite an eerie atmosphere and reminded me very much of the ambiance in the opening section of the new Harry Potter book I’ve just begun. It was a very mellow couple of days around here. Especially given the fact that we spent 24 hours with a 3 year old (Simon), who G says is far less hyper than most boys his age.

Think I can blame my lethargy on the murky, misty sky? Yesterday I didn’t run at all, but did manage to drag G around Green Lake with me for a walk. Today, I slept late and to be honest, was just too darn lazy to get up early for the weekly trail run. Around 2:30 I started to feel like a slug and decided to go for a 4 mile walk in our neighborhood. Halfway though it, I realized I actually wanted to be running, but wasn’t wearing the right clothes or shoes. So I picked up my pace and made a beeline for the house, whereupon I promptly changed into running gear. Turned right around and went out for a 5 mile run. It was still foggy and getting dark but a lovely run, nonetheless.

One last thing: I was somehow convinced to venture to Tamarind Tree again last night. All the while, I had visions of poor sanitation practices in the kitchen but the place was hopping busy as usual. The meal was good, but nowhere near as good as last time. I don’t think I’ll be in any rush to go back. The amount of stress it caused me isn’t worth it unless the meal is amazing.

Disconnected

Yesterday’s run was very odd. It felt like my legs were disconnected from the top half of my body. I’m not complaining too much- the run totally rocked otherwise. But it was a strange sensation. They truly felt as if they were moving on their own. It’s hard to describe. But hey, I clocked 4.2 miles in 35 minutes, which is pretty fast for me, so I was happy. Not only was it fast, it was also easy. Cool.

Today I went to a spin class, which turned out to be 90 minutes long. Now THAT burns a lot of calories! The focus in these classes is endurance (obviously) as opposed to speed. It felt good to work hard. I’m not sure what that holds for me as far as running this weekend. We’ll see how sore I am in the morning.

In other news I am thoroughly bummed because I found out that my new favorite restaurant was closed for health violations. King County has a website with detailed information about the health and sanitation at all area restaurants. I’m not sure if I like the fact that this information is available. In theory, it’s great to know about the places you eat out but in practice, I fear I may never eat out again! You can read their latest report on Tamarind Tree (if you dare): here. OK, so they’re already re-opened, meaning they’ve supposedly corrected all the problems. But that was one LONG list of violations and I’m frankly a bit scared to eat there now. Back to Monsoon, I guess. I’m pretty sure their hygiene practices are several steps above Tamarind Tree. That must be why they charge 3 times as much, huh?

Oh, and in case you don’t already know, G has set up his own blog. There’s a link on the right side of this page (bluefacedpixie). Check it out…

Trip report

Baltimore was fun but it was an awful lot of flying for a weekend. I ran all 3 days I was away- much to my surprise! Friday morning after getting ZERO sleep on my red eye flight, I went straight out for a run. Did a little 10K route I found on the Runner’s World web site. What a great resource for travelling runners! It was a nice way to see part of the city. Boy, was it clear I was on the East Coast. So many differences from running in Seattle. First, I’m pretty sure there aren’t as many people hitting the pavement in Baltimore. I seemed much more of an oddity and drew a few looks. Second, the cars are far less pedestrian-friendly. I heard much more horn-honking and the drivers were more aggressive. Finally, I realized again how lucky I am to live in a place that’s so CLEAN. Seattle does not have a lot of litter in the streets and the air has a wonderful crisp, clean smell. In B-more….mmm…..not so much.

Ah well, I ended up hitting the treadmill the remaining two mornings. I ran just about 4 miles each day. The weather was gorgeous but I was a bit short on time both mornings and the treadmill was my fastest option. Add all the walking around I did and I’m sure I negated most of the extra calories I ate.

Food-wise, I ate pretty well, though I still think Seattle has a top-notch food scene. I tasted probably the best crab cake ever at a place called Bertha’s. Also had a cannoli in Little Italy, which was amazing. That’s one thing I’m convinced you can’t get west of the Mississippi (or if you can, it’s not very good). By and large, it was a successful weekend. 3 days later, I’m finally feeling caught up on sleep again.

Baltimore Bound

Now that I’m trail running, I am having an increasingly harder time running on the treadmill. It has become excruciatingly boring and the time just drags! Listening to my ipod makes it slightly more tolerable, but not much. Yesterday I ran for the 1st time since Sunday’s epic run. I was a bit sore on Monday and Tuesday, but not too bad. I managed 4 miles on the treadmill; my standard weekday distance.

I’m going to miss this week’s trail run as I’ll be out of town. I think that’s OK- I could use a week off. I’m packing my running shoes in the hopes that I can run once or twice while I’m away. I’m Baltimore bound on a red eye flight tonight. I think I’ve been shafted as far as seats go so I’ll probably be in the middle seat of the last row. Or some equally crummy spot on which to spend the night. I’ll be well equipped with music and reading material, if nothing else.

I’ve got lots of new ipod tunes for the trip, including the latest albums by:
Damien Rice
Harvey Danger
Franz Ferdinand
Death Cab for Cutie
Sheryl Crow
The New Pornographers

Hijacking a blog

Are you allowed to hijack a blog if you don’t have your own?

I’m actually not too sure. But for anyone who reads _planetdanika_, there is a _machaggis.net_ newsletter about G’s August bike trip at machaggis.net newsletters.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Lazy Sunday

Well, I managed to haul my ass out of bed at 6:15 this morning, despite not getting home until midnight. It was a good thing I had all my gear set out already or I probably wouldn’t have made the effort. After a disgustingly wet day yesterday, it was a clear, dry morning. A bit chilly but otherwise perfect for running.

I met the rest of the runners at the trailhead and we set off together around 7:40. It was not a great run for me- I struggled from early on but managed to hang on and finish the run. 2 hours 35 minutes total. Supposedly we only did about 12 miles but many more hills than last week. There were some lovely moments with the mist and sun filtering through the trees.

I wasn’t the only one who went out to play in the mud this morning. After much anticipation, G finally participated in a Cyclocross event. Bikes, mud, trails, hills, obstacles. The main difference between his morning and mine was that he was on a bike. We followed our respective events with long, hot showers and Red Mill burgers. To say I have accomplished nothing else today is an understatement. But then, I suppose that’s what Sundays are for.