Ramblings · Running · Travel

Getting Lucky in Chicago

This past Christmas, Jeremy had come up with a clever and awesome gift for me: race entry to a 14k and a weekend trip in Chicago with our friends! He plotted with some of our friends from Albany and DC, and our recently transplanted friends in Chicago, and found a good race weekend.

It’s funny, with all the weird winter weather, we just happened to pick the weekend where Chicago decided to act normally for winter. I think the week before we arrived the weather had been in the 60s. Unfortunately we got a good taste of the wind and cold. But we made the best of it, as you do with good friends, beer, and a really really really cold race.

Before racing we made a very important venture to the Lagunitas brewery. WOW. Talk about an adventure. We had so much fun. Plus, the food and beer was great.

The Get Lucky race was an experience. We all hit up Macy’s the night before to buy any additional warm things our bodies could bear. It was FREEZING. We huddled around waiting for the race to start being goofy and staying in the best spirits we could.

When we started, Jeremy and Eric were running half marathon and took off. Corey was running as well but wanted to pace with me for his first half (my 14k turn around point was about 4.2 miles). It was nice to push myself, and we found ourselves warming up as we ran out on the lake. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

As I said goodbye to Corey and turned around to head back, I was met with a strong and angry head wind off the water. It was so powerful at times I wasn’t sure I could keep pushing forward. Near the finish line I was certain I couldn’t feel my fingers. All that warming up on the first half unfortunately lent itself to providing a ton of sweat to freeze on the way back.

Once I finished I waited around and looked for everyone else. Jeremy finished and was dying since there were no Gu packets at the aid stations as promised. We went on a pretzel hunt and once everyone finished we very much made a quick escape back to our Airbnb.

I took a warm shower and then put on my winter coat and got into bed. I’m not sure when I really truly felt warm again, but it took a while. It was a really fun race, but I seem to have trouble finding races that aren’t extremes on the weather front. (See: 10 mile race in 80 degree heat and 90 degree humidity)

We did end on a very high note: visiting Goose Island brewery! Plus, it happened to be March 12, or 312 Day in Goose Island land. We got free t-shirts and tasty beer before heading to the airport (and snagging seats on an earlier flight home at the last second!).

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Travel

The Run-venture

Jeremy and I finally went to Montreal for the first time. We’ve been talking about going forever, and we finally made the proper last minute plans, along with a properly hastily-arranged AirBnB for the night.

Selfie-skill = mediocre
My selfie skills need work

Montreal lends itself to walking, and we spent our first day just wandering through the neighborhoods while we made our way to the Old Montreal downtown. We posted up at a great bar called BreWskey and had prime seats to people watch as a wedding reception passed by.

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The next day brought the run-venture. What is a run-venture, you ask? A run-venture is a run with the sole purpose of exploring and traversing a large area of the city or town you’re in. Jeremy and I suit up in running clothes as usual, tuck away our IDs and some cash, strap on our watches (distance tracking isn’t mandatory, but fun), and head out on the town. There are no speed or distance goals, just a chance to explore the area.

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We went up a huge hill and discovered a seemingly abandoned hospital area, then headed down into other parts of town. We popped into stores to browse, get coffee, eat some breakfast, and then head on to the next spot. We didn’t bring phones so we not only didn’t take pictures, but we had to trust our brains for navigation. We made it back alive so I think we did a pretty decent job.

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Montreal was a great city, and I’m so glad we got to check it out! Being only 3 hours from Albany, it’s really silly we don’t go there more. Plus I should really take the opportunity to practice my non-existent high school French whenever I can.

Running · Travel · Upstate life

OMG It’s Like Totally 2015!

Well. Where the hell have I been? It has been a very busy couple of months. Busy in the sense of weddings, parties, trips on the weekends, and busy in the sense of doing so much at the office during the day that I don’t dare approach my computer when I get home. Busy in the sense of lazy, wherein my desktop computer bit the dust (in a fixable way, but you lug that giant 27″ iMac to the Apple store at the mall during holiday season!!), so I just made it work with the devices I had. Anyway. I’m currently writing from my wonderful, but holy-crap-I-just-spent-a-ton-of-money new macbook pro. It’s so pretty and fast and compact and I love it. Eventually I’ll get a monitor too for big screen TV and movie viewing. (The iMac will be fixed then sold for parts once I get around to taking care of it. My only 2015 resolution! ha) But for now it’s nice to have a normal working computer.

Anyway. Lets look at pictures. I’m not fully ready to blog again but here I am. So where was I?

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I was wine tasting in my best plaid before Jeremy’s wine glass marathon.

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I was cheering Corey on during his first ever marathon.

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I was getting hassled by an opossum while trying to get into my apartment.

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I was goofing about on Halloween with some lovely fun people.

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I was doing some serious leaf-peeping with my not-so-serious selfie skills. 

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I was turning 28 and celebrated with Bill Murray and another handsome talented man who made me a one-of-a-kind necklace.

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I was in Vegas for a work conference (and met Adam Savage!!)

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I was at the beach in California goofing with the boyfriend over Christmas.

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I was destroying French presses (ridiculous story) while goofing with my bestie and her puppy in Troy for NYE.

Lots of goofing you might say. It’s felt like a crazy time, but I’ll admit I’m enjoying it. Sometimes I wish I had more time to relax at night and do nothing, but I’m spending time with my favorite people and tackling some new goals. You may not have heard, but the First Annual Q Memorial Half Marathon is happening next weekend. Only the cool people are running it. (Also I’m terrified.) I’m working on fighting off a cold so hopefully I can still get some tapering runs in before the big day. Ahh!!

Ramblings · Travel · Upstate life

Thanks, Day Twenty-Nine

Today, I’m thankful for hard copy photos. I know everything is great with iPhone cameras and digital pictures and giant external drives, but I love being able to still print pictures and maybe make use of them somehow. I started to get into scrapbooking and cataloging pictures at the end of high school, and then I went to great lengths to scrapbook all four years of college. It took two giant albums plus a third for the trips I took outside Oregon. Also, true story, I was still using disposable cameras until partway through my sophomore year of college. (That was also the year I made the leap from Discman to iPod. Yeah, I grew up with techie engineers and I’m the biggest laggard ever.) Anyway, I love printing photos. I fell off the wagon about a year after moving to NYC in terms of scrapbooking and taking pictures. I don’t take photos the same way I used to, outside of the major trips or adventures I’ve gone on in the last few years. Since moving to Albany, I definitely haven’t take enough pictures. And there have been a lot of silly adventures. I like having pictures in frames and making collages. Sure, I also love that I can make a screensaver of all my favorite photos, but there’s something cool (maybe?) about handing someone an album to look through than saying “hey, did you see my Facebook album?” And lets be honest, you’re probably never going to be able to have a gathering where you share exciting new photos or stories like in the past when all your friends have already browsed your photos online and read your status updates or tweets. Oh crap, I’ve gone curmudgeon-y. Pictures are great. I wish I took more. The end.

Ramblings · Travel

Thanks, Day Eight

I’m doing all these posts on the fly this week, despite the piece of paper I taped to my wall with ideas. Today I’m thankful for care packages. I don’t think anyone really does these much anymore unless you’re traveling far away or if it’s family. My mom is good for a few surprises here and there. But we’re all getting older and busier and there’s the internet. Honestly, as much as I love digital stuff from social media to email to texting, I get so little mail on a regular basis that it’s pretty fun when I do. And of course, with my birthday coming up next week I have received my usual box with a few little things my parents send. As you can see, Sabrina is already excited about her new blanket (I’m not even pretending to have ownership there).

The other surprise I can count on in the mail? “The book.” My college girlfriends and I have a traveling-pants-esque book that we started our last year after we dubbed ourselves “The Ramblers” (yes, we are weird and crazy) and we mail it to each other from time to time. Sometimes it’s gotten lost, sometimes someone holds on to it for too long (whoops, that’s me), and it’s been all over the country and world now that Christine lives in Australia. It’s in my possession right now, but it’s about to get sent off again soon…

Ramblings · Travel · Upstate life

Happy Hallow-bee-n!

That heading is full of meanings: it’s Halloween (duh), my cat is a bee (squee!) and her nickname is bean (huzzah!). Lots has been going on the last few weeks, and as usual I’m going to provide a random rundown.

First thing’s first: I have a major change on the horizon. A little less than two weeks ago I gave notice at my job. Next week I’ll begin working at a new company… in Bennington, Vermont. Yes, that is going to be quite the commute, but I am really excited to embark on something new. And a little terrified, but that’s usually a sign that you’re doing something right, right?

Anyway, after spending a super fun weekend in NYC with Mary, I headed east the following weekend to visit my friend Jen. I’d never been to Boston before, and I tasked her with giving me a tour of, well, whatever. We were lucky to have a really warm weekend so we could walk around all parts of the city, have ocean-side (okay, maybe it was bay-side) drinks, go to a Hawaiian party, and tour Harvard’s campus. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to another visit! Maybe after the winter…

This past weekend I thought I’d be in for something more lowkey since I was staying in Albany… and that was the exact opposite of what happened. Trisha was in town and she knows how to get down for Halloween. Of course, our Saturday night of dressing up was preceded by getting our shit stolen (my phone, her wallet) and getting omg-rare-form drunk the previous night. We even got Stacy to stay out, which was awesome. Yeah. I can’t be too upset about my phone since I blame myself for the loss, but it still makes me sad. What makes me even more sad? Looking at my bank account. Anyway, we still had fun! Crazy weekend.

What’s in store for next month: Mary and some other ladies are banding together to do “30 Days of Thanks” for the month of November. Since I’m a terrible blogger, I’ve decided to join in and see where this goes. More rambling and less sense making = challenge accepted.

Cat Lady · Ramblings · Travel

Buffalo, Niagara Falls and the Fourth of July

I’m currently settling into my fourth week at my new job, and it’s a very strange feeling. I think I was unemployed for so long (despite having temporary work in between) that the security of going to a job every day is still sinking in. But enough of that. I totally loved having the past four days off for the 4th of July holiday. My office was closed Friday and Monday, so Collin and I decided to take advantage by going on a long weekend getaway. We decided to go to Buffalo, NY – Niagara Falls is nearby, it’s an interesting city and I’ve never been to any part of western NY so it was cool to travel through that way.

We stopped in Ithaca along the way and enjoyed beers (including cool blueberry beers!) and the scenery. We made another stop to check out a beach and some falls, as well as an unplanned stop at a cider winery (brewery?) that housed some awesome cats. Once we finally got to Buffalo we spent that night and following day enjoying the town and food and all else we came across. Their public transit was kind of fun – I do miss the subway. Driving is really not my thing, even though it has its perks at times. I still could live without it. Anyway, we walked all over Buffalo – it was fun exploring. We ended our evening before dinner at the Bird Island Pier, overlooking the Peacebridge that connects the U.S. and Canada.

On Sunday our main goal was seeing Niagara Falls, but we took many detours on the way. We first drove right over to Canada to check out Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is a town with a hypenated name I guess. It was sort of cute, very crowded with tourists, but mostly an expensive shopping strip. The ice cream was good though. And I met my new favorite cat:

We went back to the U.S. to see Niagara Falls. It wasn’t that humid, but the sun was bright and it was still hot out, so I melted as I always do. Add in the masses of tourists and my tired legs from walking several miles the day before (we are crazy wanderers, Collin and I) and I felt very worn out. Still, I soaked in the view as well as the mist from the falls.

Sunday was also Collin’s birthday – 26! – so I took him out to dinner at a cool sushi place. We used to order from a sushi place in Brooklyn almost every week the last few months we lived there, and we’ve definitely been missing that availability in Troy. After dinner we visited our new favorite coffee shot – Spot Coffee, where I heard a barista say ‘bagel’ like Britta in Community (nerd alert) – for the third time that day, we made plans to get out of town. We had planned to drive back Monday and take some more detours, but the fear of holiday traffic deterred us. So we downloaded an audio book and hit the road around 8 p.m. Luckily Collin was appropriately hopped up on caffeine because I drifted in and out until we arrived home around 1:30 a.m. Not too shabby.

Monday was a very lazy, very tired kind of day. But we still headed out to enjoy the fireworks at Empire State Plaza. We drove to a park in Rensselaer and found a spot to watch the fireworks from across the Hudson. It was fun sitting on the side of a highway watching fireworks over the river. A great weekend. Now back to reality.

Travel

Home… for now.

We made it back to Brooklyn! It’s very strange having my car from California in view of my Brooklyn apartment window. The road trip was fun, although consisted of mostly long hours of driving for the latter part. Luckily we changed our route in Santa Fe to go north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, etc. instead of south through Dallas and Tennessee, where the weather ended up being extremely dangerous. We hit a freak hail storm in Oklahoma and pouring rain with high winds in Kansas, but otherwise it was smooth riding.

We still didn’t finish our audio book though (read by Raul Esparza, which is awesome and hilarious considering some of the creepy voices he uses for some characters), so we’ll have to finish it at home, like in the old days of listening to radio programming.

I will give a recap about the road trip sometime soon, but for now we pack. It’s nice to be back home in Brooklyn, but our new home in Troy awaits us. We move on Monday. It’s been three years since I moved from Oregon to NYC, so it’ll be quite exciting to explore a new city all over again.

Ramblings · Travel

Distractions: Upstate Escape

I have a lot on my mind these days, and I have been going to great lengths to distract myself. Several options are on the table for the near future, but I don’t want to talk about them until I know anything for sure. As I think many of friends like to do, I love to discuss “what ifs” to death, but right now that just makes me anxious. I wish I knew what was going to happen! Oh well, I guess that’s life for you.

Luckily, I have been able to avoid stressing myself out with some adventure escapes with Collin. Thanks in part to the snowpocalypse, Collin and I have had his mom’s car in Brooklyn for almost a month. See, the plan was to head down to D.C. to celebrate pre-New Year’s with some extended family. Collin brought his mom’s car back from PA to take us down once I got back from LA. Obviously, the piles of snow and slow clean up (especially in our area of Brooklyn) kept us from traveling anywhere.

I remember when I was an intern at Glamour a few years ago, one of the fashion editors was telling me how he needed to leave NYC and go upstate occasionally to fully appreciate living in the city. I really didn’t get the concept at the time, but now I do. New York City is an amazing place, but you can get sucked in a little too deep sometimes and start to resent it if you don’t escape every now and then. Whether it’s a full vacation or just getting into a more suburban area, it’s so refreshing.

Once the roads were accessible again we went on a few day trips and most recently a weekend escape. Our first adventure took us on a scenic tour through Kingston and then Woodstock. Woodstock may not have been the official home of the festival, but it sure still had many life-long hippies hanging around.

Kingston was a cute little town with nice people everywhere. And I mean, how can you not like a place that has a restaurant with a margarita-drinking armadillo?  We headed through Woodstock next and then checked out the town of Catskill. It was too dark to take good pictures, but seriously, if you ever need anything cat-related, funny or serious, go to Catskill. I mean, they have a Catamount Museum. Freaking awesome. Anyway, we went back through Kingston for dinner, but sadly did not visit the Armadillo.

Scenic drive

Then, of course, another bit of snow came through. This is quite a snowy winter, isn’t? Not that I would really know. This is my third real winter and I have no idea what’s normal or not. Anyway, snowy mornings = trekking to our fave breakfast spot.

Bagel time!

Our next day trip was a little more last minute. We headed up to the Bear Mountain Zoo despite it being freezing out. It was a really nice drive, but once I stepped outside to walk around it was sort of terrifying. The wind chill has to be the worst part of winter. I took a little time to “warm up” enough to stop whining (luckily Collin finds it funny), but then we had fun with the animals. At least, the ones that weren’t on vacation.

That otter was seriously riled up because it was lunch time. Luckily he didn’t get close enough to take a bite.

We were originally going to relinquish the car in the middle of last week, but then came another big pile of snow. So we took it as a sign to plan another brief trip. This time we headed up to Hudson, NY. We made a stop at the Olana historic site, where Frederich Church created a Persian style home.

We lucked out and made the last tour of the day. A perk of taking this trips in the winter is the low volume of people (sometimes good, sometimes not). In this case, we had a more intimate tour. The views are amazing. You can see why this Hudson Valley artist created his home there.

We then checked into our cute inn in Hudson and walked the streets. Another reason getting out of NYC is essential to the soul? Cheap beers. Very profound statement, I know. We stopped into a bookstore-slash-bar for some $3 beers and watched the place fill up with friendly people who all knew each other.

Then on to dinner. In all our excursions upstate, we’ve found an abundance of Mexican restaurants. Most have been rather excellent too. This place we visited was also amazing. Especially since I got my margarita in a martini glass (just like the armadillo!).

The next day we stopped in for breakfast at a cute diner/deli type place. Then we headed up the road to Albany. Collin had looked up a great brewery for lunch and there was an art museum we wanted to check out. The art museum was sadly lacking, as they were setting up new installations, but it was still fun. They had a great display of shoes over the years. I have monster feet compared to women in the old days.

Lunch was delicious. I’m overloading on sweet potato fries these days and couldn’t be happier about it. As we stopped for gas on our way out of town, I had a mini exciting moment. We were across from Susie’s bar! We went there the last time we were in Albany, but it was too cold/dark to take a shot. So this time around I got one through the car window.

Success!

Now the long weekend is over. Like I said before, my brain is running in circles about the future. But I know for sure one answer I’ll have within a week… future gainful employment on the horizon in a new-ish field that I’m kind of excited about but  not too excited because I can’t get my hopes up. Right?