Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekends and Things

Happy Friday, everyone!

It's been a(nother) busy week......

Last Friday Cam and I went to a concert at the House of Blues in Chicago. I'd selected the band (much to his chagrin - we have totally different tastes in music), but he agreed to accompany me to see Awolnation play. If you haven't heard of them, they're a sort of alt-rock-pop band, with a bit of screamo mixed in. I'm not a fan of the screamo stuff, but they have enough of the rest to tickle my fancy (and obviously to get me to buy tickets).

To get to it - the show was good. We saw one of the two openers - it was K-Flay, who sounded so good that I thought she was lip syncing for a while there. The songs she sang were way better than the one they play all the time on the radio (then again, that's how it usually goes). Then AN played all the songs I wanted to hear - Sail, Kill Your Heroes, Hollow Moon - pretty much everything that wasn't screamo was a song I knew. They also had a really good light show to accompany it all, and the lead singer had some great stage presence. He is also an absolute pro at crowd surfing, which I'd never seen in person before. He launched himself off the stage into the crowd a few times (while singing!) which I found impressive. So overall...the show was good, the music was good.

The crowd? Not so good. The House of Blues in Chicago is a smalllll venue. And it was packed to bursting. It was hot and sweaty and we got bumped into and shoved a million times by increasingly rude people. It was such a weird mix of screamo-head bash people and people who were so preppy that they were bordering on/crossing into major douche category. And then there was this girl in front of me who recorded a video of literally (and I do actually mean every.single.song) on her iPhone:

I'm really not that into public shaming, but this girl deserves to be shamed for breaking like 10,000 concert etiquette rules.
Seriously, what is the fucking point of even going to a live show if you are going to watch the entire thing through a four inch screen? Moreover, it was rude, distracting, and at times actually got in the way of other people's view (yeah, including mine).

So overall...show good, crowd -1 million in likability points (and I'll be honest, I gave the HoB some pretty terrible feedback concerning how crowded it was in the survey they sent me). And that's what I don't dig about live music. You can see the best show ever, but if you're surrounded by jerks it will sully the experience.

Moral of the story? Be a considerate concert goer.

Anyways...moving on!

It has been hot hot hot around these parts! I'm actually writing this post as I wait for the temperature to drop a bit before I head out for a 10k. I'm doing my second virtual race today, which I'm actually really looking forward to! So look out tomorrow for a post about this virtual run...it's one you'll want to see (especially if you're a Harry Potter fan).

But as far as running goes, the heat has been seriously killing my motivation lately, mostly because it makes me feel more tired than I already am. On Monday I was going to go for a quick two-miler, but it was so hot, and I had conflicting plans (barbeque with friends!) to get ready for, so I decided to pass up my run. I got out there on Wednesday though, and suffered through three totally brutal ones.

I know it's because of the heat (and 60% humidity), but my pace was crawling through the second and third miles, and I was just totally exhausted when I finished. And it's not like my pace was slow and I was taking it easy - my heart rate was over 160 bpm almost the entire time, and even got close to 180 bpm by the end. For reference, my heart rate usually hovers around 156 bpm during my runs:

It's hard to read, but that says that when I was running an 11:43 mile my HR was 178, and my overall average HR was 164!

A minute more per mile than usual!!!!!!!!
I kept telling myself...it's not me. It's not my skill or my ability. It's this heat. I've also realized that I picked the wrong summer to train for my first half, and that it will just be brutal probably all the way up until race day.

But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?

Right...?

*crickets*

Right...

I did get a nice little reward after that run though. I have a very good friend from college who happens to have the nicest parents ever. They've kind of adopted me as a daughter. I really can't say enough about how great they are...words just don't do it. As such, whenever my Papa Bender is in town we try to meet up for dinner. This time around we chose a restaurant near my work called Westwood Tavern. I'll keep this short and sweet, but I ordered a "Braised Short Rib Foot Long Grilled Cheese" and this is what I got:


An actual foot long grilled cheese. And it came with fries.

I didn't finish it all, if you're wondering. I only made it about halfway through it all before I was stuffed to popping. But it was very good...could have used a bit more pork, but overall I was happy with the decision.

Thursday was a bit boring, so we'll just skip to today.

Today has been a weird sort of blur, mostly because one of my favorite coworkers retired. The day felt like it dragged...and yet work was over in an instant. I can't explain it.

You see, I started at my job a little over a year ago so I've only known Linda for that long..but she's always been supportive and beyond helpful, and I'm really bummed that she won't be around anymore. As it happens, Linda is the entire reason I ended up in the department I'm in. When I was hired I had actually applied and interviewed for two jobs at my company. My hiring manager told Linda (who was present for my interview) that she wanted me for a different position and was going to wait for me to apply for it, but Linda told her I would get an offer for the other position because I was their "type". She was right - I was offered my current position, and then a week later was offered the other position. I'm positive I would not have had as good of an experience if I'd accepted the other job...so I feel like Linda was on my side from the start. Like she really saw something in me. And she has always built me up, even when I've struggled with new tasks. She made my first year a joy, and I don't think I'll ever forget her. My morning coffee run won't be the same without her (because we've been doing that for a year as well) :(

But she really deserves retirement. She's one of those few genuinely happy and nice people you come across in your life who truly wants other people to be happy. I arranged her retirement gift - like the gift from money pooled together from random people who wanted to contribute - and all week people were stopping by my desk to give me money and sign the card. And there wasn't a blank space inside or on the back by the time I stuffed it in the envelope with the message, "Good luck for a great retirement, and even better travels. We will all miss you."

'Cause it's true. And I think she'll be beyond happy with retirement, because you know what's really, really awesome? What her retirement will be? Of course you don't - but I'll tell you. She and her husband bought an RV a few years ago and are going to travel around the country.

I sincerely hope that we'll be able to meet up at some point during her travels. I told her about how beautiful Idaho is, and if we can stay in touch and plan it right, I don't see why a weekend camping trip out there is out of reach.

So it was a pretty emotional day. Actually, it's been an emotional week, all the while trying to blank out the recurring reminder that she won't be there on Monday. I felt like I had tons of work which helped me move through the day, but at the end there was still an elephant sitting in the room - having to say goodbye. And after I hugged her and thanked her and when she told me, "It'll all be okay, I'll see you again!" I just looked and her and said, "But you won't be here at the end of every day to tell me to, 'Have fun and be good!'!!"

And then I cried. Because she really did say that to me every day. And I'm going to miss it.

Because a million people walk into your life and you interact with them and then many just walk out again. But it's the few dozen people who make a real impact on you who make human interaction worth it, and Linda has been one of my few dozen.

And now that I'm all full of feels, I'm going to wrap this up. Time to go get that 10k under my belt so I can relax for the evening. It is currently 80* with a "real feel" of 81 and 29% humidity! Much better than it was earlier. And when I get back, I get to pull a medal out of this package, and I am very excited to see what it looks like! I got it over a week ago and have managed not too look (I peeked just to make sure it was the medal, then put it back), so I can't wait!

You read right! The HOGWARTS RUNNING CLUB Department of Mysteries 10k!

Wish me luck!


x

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Majestik Adventures of C and C...Idaho edition! (Post 2: Another super long(er) and photo heavy post)

Hopefully you made it through Thursday's post and are just yearning for more! Well...here it is! The rest of our Idaho trip, many photos included!

Wednesday

The fun continued right away on Wednesday morning (after my run) with breakfast at a Boise staple called Goldies. (I just wanna mention...I feel like Brennan knows everyone in the town. I swear that everywhere we went there was someone who came up and said hi to him, and Goldies was no exception, he knew one of the baristas!) Anyways, Brennan met us there and Cam's aunt even came over from work to eat with us. It was very good (I got pancakes, an egg and bacon) - although the coffee was not my favorite. Sorry, gotta say it - I am a bit of a coffee snob, I know. I think it was a light roast, and I'm all about the medium roast so the light was just too acidic and bitter for me. But whatever.

After breakfast Nana and Papa took me to a yarn store called The Twisted Ewe (yayy!!) while Cam and Brennan went to pick up Brennan's stuff. I picked up some great yarn for a great price (two of my three yarn selections were on clearance!), so hopefully I'll knit those up soon to show off.

Sidenote: One of my knitting goals is to buy yarn and create a project from each trip I take, and I've decided it would be really fun to make teddy bears out of yarn from each trip I go on! I have some stashed away still from my trip to England, so I'll be making at least two teddies at some point in the (hopefully near) future. I'm going to use Mad Man Knitting's pattern called "The Teddy Bear That Saved Me" - his story is super interesting. He went from homeless to having a roof over his head largely because he started selling teddy bears he knit! So check that out if your interest has been piqued!

Moving on...

By 1:30 we were heading out to pick up Stephanie (Brennan's girlfriend). We decided to go camping near a little town called Crouch - from there there's a road that takes you up the mountain and there are loads of little campsites off of it. We spent a few hours driving up and around (and then back down) looking for a good site near some hot springs. Here are just a few of the pictures I took along the way!






It turned out that the first site we stopped at was the best, but we really wanted to see if there was something better so we drove on a bit further and then got out of the car at another site because we heard we could walk to another hot spring. After a 30-ish minute hike looking for it we found it...a little ankle deep pool that was not worth the effort of getting to (though the hike was enjoyable). So we hiked back to the car and drove down to the first site. The only reason we didn't pick it straight out was that we couldn't drive all the way down to it, and had to walk about 1/4 mile with all of our gear because the Prius we borrowed from Cam's aunt would not have been able to handle the super bumpy, pot-holed road our little site was on. But we got all our stuff down, set up camp, ate dinner, and then headed to the springs. (Btw...we had this bread called a "Village Round" from a Boise bakery...holy crap. Best bread ever, I'm getting sad just thinking about how I can't go buy one.)

Here are the pictures we took over the next 18 hours we were camping...I took some and Hen took some. Also...bonus pic of my boyfriend who can use anything, including a rock to open a bottle of beer (or in this case, cider for his wonderful girlfriend):

I was impressed. Opened without breaking, and minimal dirt on the rim...not that I noticed the dirt until it was in my mouth...eugh.
Our lovely little site (and my handsome beau wondering wtf I'm doing taking selfies in nature).
This river was only about 20 yards from our site, down a little hill. It was so refreshing to hear it babbling all night and waking up to it in the morning!

Cam found a rock to sit on.

Cheddar hot dog on a Village Round!


A few of the hot spring pools. We sat in the closer one for a bit, then moved to the smaller one (bigger than it looks) because the water was slightly cooler. We couldn't go in the ones closer to the bank because they were so hot!

Our lovely morning selves.




Henry stole my camera a took these next few...


Old fashioned selfie taken with a timer!



He found The Bigfoot!

I won't go on and on about this one, but the (super nice) people at the site next to us had this little dog, named Indiana. I fell in love with him, and he with me. He looks exactly like an Ewok! And thus, Cam and I added "Pug-Shih Tzu mix" to our list of acceptable dog breeds for future adoption.
Thursday

And all that takes us into Thursday morning! We were up fairly early to start packing our camp (while I made breakfast) so we could head into Crouch for coffee (necessity) before...White Water Rafting!

I was equal parts excited and nervous for rafting (and took a Dramamine in case things got really crazy and I got motion sick too). When we got to Cascade to sign in there were a bunch of pictures around of people without helmets - I couldn't believe they let people raft without them, and had visions of myself getting tossed from the raft and splitting my head open on some angry rock jutting out of the river. Luckily, since we were doing the harder course, we got helmets. Except it meant we had to do the harder course...

The course we did was called "The Rush" - a 'half day' (~3.5 hour) trip through class 2, 3, and 4 rapids down the South Fork of the Payette River. Our guide (whose name I cannot remember!) was hilarious. He started telling jokes ("because I tell jokes when I get nervous") right before the class 4s, and at one point on a class 3 he let us run straight into a rock, and only moments before we hit said, "Lean back!" and we just barely bumped it when we did. We were just barreling towards this giant rock and all of us were nervous (you could feel it) and then...*nudge*. After we went around it he said, "Wow! That thing came out of nowhere!" And we all burst out laughing. He was clearly very passionate about rafting and has been all over the country doing his own rafting and conducting tours through companies like Cascade...he talked about so many different rivers and they kind of rafting they offered, and basically said if you're near X, Y, or Z river, do it!

Aside from the paddling part of rafting, there was also a point to jump off a cliff into the water (only Brennan did it from our boat) and then another point where the river was shallow and the four of us (out of six on our raft) got out to "swim"...which means we coasted along, freezing, in our life jackets. I got in because of peer pressure from the other three, and regretted it right away. It was quite cold, and I did not enjoy swimming with my shoes on, feet being constantly pushed around by the current. And then you get hoisted back into the raft by your life jacket, which has a similar effect as trying to rub your ears off with a rock. (Ow.)

Right after that we headed down our last class 4, and there was one ecstatically frightening moment where we were almost vertical, and I was looking across at Cam (who was practically laying in the river from how the raft had tipped) and thought, "Oh sh*t, we're all going over." ...and then we didn't! We flopped back down to our original horizontal position and paddled on down the rest of the rapid, laughing when we got to the end about how we were almost violently plunked into the river by our objecting raft.

So overall? Fantastic. I definitely want to go rafting again. It made for a fun excursion, and it was cool to see part of Idaho from the river banks up.

Sadly, I don't have pictures from rafting...I obviously didn't take my phone or camera, and we decided against buying a $15 photo of ourselves looking scared shitless when we almost got tossed out of our raft on that last Class IV.

Thursday wrapped up with a very sleepy ride back to Boise where we stopped for dinner at a local brewery called Cloud 9 (props to Cam for staying awake and driving for the whole ride while the rest of us didn't...though I tried very hard not to nod off...). The food was decent - we had Blue Cheese Fries which were YUM and then I got a burger and fries...it was okay, but the burger wasn't my favorite. Cam, however, got a salmon wrap that I'd been considering and I really wish I'd gone with that!

After grub, we dropped off Hen and Steph and headed back to Nana and Papa's were we unloaded the car, showered off, and then I curled up in bed, hoping for a decent night's rest after two busy (and active) days punctuated by very little sleep.

Friday

I was disappointed by the sleep thing though :( I was overtired, and as a result I woke up quite frequently that night. Friday was a bit of a blur because I was lethargic and wanted to nap the whole day. But I decided to keep busy instead. We went to a donut place called Guru Donuts (where Brennan works) - they have different gourmet donuts. Between the few of us who were there we sampled 7 donuts - a root beer float, lemonade stand, cinnamon roll, maple log, strawberry short cake, old fashioned (like a cake donut, not the drink), and I can't remember the last one! They were pretty good, but I think the maple log was my favorite. It was basically just a long john (unfilled) with maple glaze. Mmmm.

After Guru we went home and I started getting some stuff ready for dinner...and I made a big dinner (everyone was coming over, so there were 10 of us). Pizza, pasta, beets, zucchini...I spent about 4 hours cooking while Nana kept asking if she could help, telling me she felt bad because I was doing it all myself. I kept telling her I like it, but that if she wanted to help she could wait until after dinner and do the dishes that were left ;)

Friday came to a close after some Clue, cards, and a good chat outside (with cookies and ice cream, to boot).

Saturday

Everything wrapped up Saturday morning. Cam's aunt brought over more Blue Sky bagels (they are amazing, and their garden vegetable cream cheese has actual, real vegetables in it!), and then we headed to Target for the boys to get portraits taken for Nana (Cam, Hen, and their cousins). It was a pretty hilarious experience watching them try to fit everyone into the screen, and they ended up with a few less-than-ideal (but funny) photos.

After that, had lunch then we went back to N&P's and finished getting ready to leave (we played a few hands of 7-up to pass the time).

The airport was a very tearful goodbye. Cam and I don't know when we'll see Brennan again (he and his girlfriend are planning to go to New Zealand in November and we won't see them before then), so it was kind of hard realizing that goodbye would be the last for a while. And Nana always cries, and she's a crier that makes you want to cry too. So it was really difficult to hug one last time and then walk through the airport doors.

Our flights back were uneventful (bit of turbulance out of Denver) but we spotted Mecca at the Denver airport - and sipped from the fonts of the gods as well:

Haven't seen one of these in years!

Dark chocolate and white chocolate iced mochas!
And then...we were home.

Home (because it wouldn't be a normal post without a workout update)

Unfortunately I got sick from the plane. I was pretty lethargic Sunday-Wednesday, and I should have known yesterday when my body started getting achey for no reason that some kind of bug got trapped in my system (on top of *TMI* that monthly thing). We were on our way to the gym Tuesday and actually got so far as the parking lot before I called it. I just felt tired and woozy and so nauseous, so I knew a workout was out of the question. I was bummed...it's been over two weeks since we've worked out, and I only ran twice while we were away (not that it bothers me...it's not like I wasn't doing other stuff!).

Actually, due to the lethargy and having to twist my leg the way I did when we were white water rafting, I decided on Sunday that it would be a good idea to take this week off from running (since I have so many extra weeks built in to my schedule). So this week I'm just focusing on getting back into the flow (even if I am sick) and taking it easy. I don't need (or want!) to get over-stressed about anything.

And that's it for now...hopefully most of that proved to be enjoyable and worth waiting for! Until later, folks!


x

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Majestik Adventures of C and C...Idaho edition! (Post 1: A super long and photo heavy post)

*peeks in*

Why hello there...

...you can probably guess that I didn't get around to writing anything else while we were in Idaho. Nope, I decided to sleep in with Cam (except on the days I ran), boogey around all day seeing the sights (and knitting or playing board games when we weren't), and then stay up late, sitting on the porch talking to Cam and his grandparents.

Our trip was exceptional. By Saturday evening when we got to the airport we were all in tears (Cam's grandparents and brother dropped us off), and I wished we could have stayed longer.

But let me rewind to where we left off and fill you in on the rest of the week!

Sunday

After my post on Sunday we did indeed go for that hike! We did the (short) 3 mile loop of a trail called Polecat Gulch (the long loop is 7.5 miles). I brought my phone along and managed to get some decent pictures - I would have taken the camera except I forgot to put a memory card in it before leaving Illinois, so I had to order one off Amazon and it didn't ship until Monday. So, in ascending order...

About 1/2 mile into the trail

Dat narrow trail!


One girl and two mountain men.


This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.




Behind those hills you can see Meridian (center and right) and Boise (all the way on the left).
And if you're interested...the actual map of our trail!
The blue is the entire trail, the red is the path we took. And for once, I actually had an elevation gain on my Garmin!

After hiking we went home and showered, and then headed to Brennan's for dinner. Brennan's place was cool because part of the land is a farm so there were ducks:



and chickens:

I swear this one had a vendetta against my feet...she was looking at them a little too longingly...
(and therefore eggs):



and sheep (which I didn't get a picture of because I didn't even see them through the tall grass lining their pen. Brennan also had a great garden that I picked beets and onions and carrots from. He was the only one from the house who actually planted anything (which is weird since he described it as a requirement for living there), but everything I picked was delicious and he's done a great job on his little farm. It's a passion of his, so I'm glad he lives somewhere he can do it!

Monday

Monday was a low key day. I went for a run in the morning (up, down, and around Nana and Papa's entire subdivision) and then we just hung out. We ran some errands with N&P, and took Cam's cousin Max along with us. Nana made pulled pork and a variety of salads for dinner that night, and we all just hung out and played some board games.

Tuesday

We got slightly more adventurous on Tuesday and after a quick breakfast at Brennan's we headed into Boise.

Max and myself...notice the Hogwarts shirt he's wearing?! One cool kid, that's why.
Okay, I'm lying. Nothing is ever quick in the morning with these boys, so we didn't get to the city until about 10:00 at which point I was in desperate need of coffee. Brennan took us to a coffee shop called The Flying M, and the coffee was great. There was even a local merchant inside and I got a few small things to send to Hannah.

After our coffee (and a shared cinnamon roll) we took a stroll down the street to a shop Brennan thought I'd like called Dragonfly. He was right - I loved it! I got a gift for Hannah there, and this really cute ring, which I love:

Everywhere I go I look for unique jewelry...there's just something wonderful about getting a piece you know other people don't have, and this ring definitely gave me that feeling! 
After our wandering we head to the Capitol to take a peek in there before lunch. I took this picture of Cam and myself in front of it on Saturday:


It looks very similar to the national Capitol building in DC and the inside was gorgeous:




Pretty sure this was the House Cambers...may have been Senate though.
We wandered around there (Max and I split off to go to the gift shop so I could buy some stuff to send to Hannah in England) and then headed outside to meet Nana and Papa for lunch. Every Tuesday they get lunch from a Mexican food truck - "Miguel's Truck" is what they kept calling it.

I really should have taken a picture, but I didn't. So FYI, on Tuesdays he parks at State and 6th in downtown Boise. If you're in the neighbor hood it's 110% worth it to go there, the line gets long right at noon. I had a homemade version of Taco Bell's Crunch Wrap (that's the best description I can give) and it was 50 times better than that. Cam and Papa had "Idaho" Burritos, which is a ginormous burrito with all the normal fillings+potatoes. Max couldn't finish his (he got a taco+burrito meal), Hen had a vegetarian burrito (I think...might have been chicken) and Nana had steak tacos. Aside from Max, the plates were clean, and everyone was stuffed. So seriously - Miguel's food truck in Boise. If you're there, go. That's not the real name of the truck, but there aren't many Mexican food trucks in Boise so you'll find it.

After that, Cam took Hen to work and Max and I wandered around Boise, went to a board game store, found out there was free moose tracks ice cream being given away down the street (so we went and got some) then found a coffee shop and waited for Cam to get back (then went back to the game store and bought stuff). I got travel Tangoes (a tangrams game), Star Fluxx (we'd played the Zombie one before), and a pack of Magic cards for Max for putting up with us all day. I also found this:

Portable Catan!!! I didn't buy it, but I was verrrrry tempted!
Tuesday ended with dinner at Nana and Papa's. Cam and Brennan played a ton of chess, and then we played Clue with Max and Nana before the boys went home. Cam and I stayed up for a long while chatting with Nana and Papa, and then I headed off to bed - Cam stayed up so he could make an appearance on Brennan's radio show (1-3am on Radio Boise!)

-------

Phew! We made it just about halfway through the week! Hopefully you've found it interesting in some way. I have lots of pictures from camping so to avoid horrendous load times for everyone I'm going to stop here and turn the rest of the trip into a separate post, so be sure to check back.

Peace out, for now!


x