Saturday, February 2, 2013

Goofy stillprecap

Day 2 of not running and spending money found us getting up super shitty early in order to acclimate ourselves for the races.  I really didn't want Saturday to feel like a shock, getting up at 3am- which to us on Phoenix time would have been like 1 in the morning!- but we were on vacation after all, so we split the difference a bit and got up at 430a, which gave us time to cab it to a walgreens before hitting the expo again. I hate how no matter how well I pack I always wind up wishing for something I don't have, and with 39.3 staring me in the maw I didn't want to feel like I was lacking *anything*.  So we set out to fill the holes, which for James was toiletries she had left mistakenly and for me was moleskin, nail polish and wine.  You know, for after.

 I had this for during.
I have to say, I feel like there are not very good reasons for leaving Disney proper and exposing yourself to Orlando in general, based on the contents of this Walgreens.

I am not making this up.  And they are not plastic.  $9.99!
I mean, WTF!  how is this a common enough purchase that they carry them at WALGREENS down here?!  And what do you DO with it?!  Frightening.

Anyway, having availed ourselves of shit we deemed highly necessary but probably wasn't (no we did not buy an alligator head, the cab was waiting), we headed back to the expo to finish aquiring more shit we probably didn't need.

Sidebar- I kind of feel like taking pictures of things is (almost) just as good as buying them...and a lot cheaper.  So often when I was younger, I'd *have* to have something, but then once I acquired it I had no room to put it and was always wondering why I was so broke.  So I developed this genius idea somewhere along the line, I'll just take photos of things I want instead of buying them, and so that's what I did at the expo.  It's cool bc my clutter is becoming mostly digital, and the bonus is, looking at all these random photos of just things makes me want to not buy anything ever again.  All the satisfaction of purchase, all the memories, none of the guilt-ulcers.

I mean, how many bars could I have worn this to?
I love this and wanted it, but my car panels are plastic so magnet = useless.  Why they did not have stickers, idk, but thanks for saving me $17.50!
I was sooo torn about this shirt, but I just don't look good in baby pink.
Maybe when I get over the thousands of dollars this trip wound up costing I'll crop the gif and take it to a printer and make my own.  ...Or, maybe I'll just look at the pictures and be over it!  Win!
Ok, now wer're just getting carried away with inspirational schwag!  Step away!
Having done enough damage at the expo, and before I could be talked into buying another version of The Stick to complement the one I already got for christmas, we headed out to finally snag some park time.  Not too much ofc, because we are not stupid.  We were prepping for some major racing!  I think we hit 2 rides at Epcot before calling it a day and heading to bed at like 6pm.  Sad but true smart, when you have a 3am wakeup call looming that only leads to extreme exertion!

  I think this is the only picture I took that afternoon.  That's us looking up at the mirror ceiling outside that Ellen ride they have at Epcot with the dinosaurs!  Artistic!
...oh yeah, but James got a couple good ones too :)  This is an awesome trick we picked up on a trip to Washington DC- why wait in line when, through the magic of perspective, you can seem to take a picture with something *at any distance*!!  See how I totally have my arm around Goofy?!  See how totally scared he looks?!  See how cool I am?!

Of course when we got back to the room it didn't much feel like time to sleep, so we got food and breakfast-leftovers from the hotel food court, and I think we watched Animal Hoarders on tv while I put my nail polish on (because- priorities!) and eventually drifted off.  Tomorrow, it begins!

This is the nail polish I *had* to have, btw.  I bought an actual bottle before the ET race and it made me queasy, so I have been dying to try these stickery strip things instead. THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT!  Avail yourself!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Goofy precap

 Woof.  Not even sure where exactly to begin.

I suppose the beginning is this:

About five years ago, a friend convinced me that her obsession with brand-name cosmetics was a real thing, and that you definitely get what you pay for in the world of colored animal fat being applied to your face.  I tagged along with her to the mall on an expensive-makeup-buying excursion, and wound up with my very own pot of $25 eyeliner, which needs to be applied with a half-drop of water and a special eyeliner brush.

Yes, I'm talking about you.
I used the stuff religiously, since eyeliner is the only item of makeup I ever wear, and when I ran out about two years later, I took myself back to the mall and reupped, convinced that I too was on the path to righteous cosmetic wear.  I got used to wiping underneath my eyes periodically during the day, to take care of the migration of powder from my eyelid to all points south on my face.  I had a routine, I was in the know.
Fast forward to last halloween.  I was in walgreens buying whatever crap i was buying for some costume party, and walked by the supa-cheap wet-n-wild (or whatever, is it even called that anymore?) display.  I noticed all the metallic and glitter eyeliners and for just a second, instead of feeling superior, I wanted them.  Glitter gets me every time, and it had been a long long time since I bought anything other than wildly expensive black eyeliner.  Plus, what's $1.50 among friends?  I bought three. 
Yes, I cheated.  But it wasn't love, it was just lust! You can forgive me, can't you?
After bringing them home I tested each one in some kind of dancy, drinky, party holiday caprice, where they all stayed put, stayed bright, stayed shiny and glittery and fun...I was kind of stunned.  I dug out what was left of my chi-chi $25 designer eyeliner and threw it away. And it felt good.

Take that, fancy companies and popular assumptions about consumerism!  I'm FREEEEEE!
So!  *Why* that was a vitally important realization at 3am on the day I left for one of the biggest events of my life to date, I don't know.  My mind works in mysterious ways. But this is what I was thinking about at the beginning of my journey, and it touched me, and so I touch you with it.  (Ew.  Cheesetouch.)  Anyway, having reclaimed my fundamental Goodwillness (is anyone listening to that thrift store song?  I can't help it, I love it.  I, too, wear your granddad's clothes, and additionally look incredible.), I finished throwing shit in bags (will I ever finish packing the night before?!) and headed for the aiport, there to meet The James.

Ring, you are coming with me, to gain your extra level of significance.  No longer just 26.2, you will be 26.2 *in a single day*.  Scaaaary!  But also, wooot!
Having gotten there early, we located food and procured what would be the first of many daily orders of fries for Jaime.  Wandering into a gift shop in search of gluten-free goodies, I was struck by how completely awesome Phoenix truly is:

Let me know if your life has a lamentable lack of gun- or snake-themed merchandise.  I can easily fill your void.
And by "awesome", I obviously mean "not awesome".  Srsly.
I'm starting to understand why people see Arizonans the way they do.  Judging by all the airport gift shops, our three main traits are apparently dust and guns and snakes ((and a fanatical devotion to the pope--*four* main traits...)).  Wonderful.  Sign me right on up there, pard'ner. 

Anyway. I slept for the most part on the way to Chicago, trying to bank some zz's for our giant ordeal.  Once at Midway we had ceremonial hot dogs (Chicago style, obvi) (sans the bun, obvi again), complained about the lack of wifi, ignored each other to facebook random details to people thousands of miles away, and posed for pictures:

What I love is how happy he looks, for once.  Why now, after all these years, Oscar?  WHY NOW?!
On the second leg, I sat next to an English woman who was volunteering at the race, and who regaled me with every bit of advice that she could think of, in view of its being our first marathon.  Mainly what stuck was, "jump up a few corrals to give yourself some extra time, since it's going to be ungodly hot."  This was to become a bit of a point of contention between me and law-abiding James.  Especially as Mary Poppins's (I can call her that, bc that's how she sounded) advice in case of conflict with volunteers was, "shove 'em outta the way!  they're just kids!".  I can tell you, that was not a method I could have convinced my trusty running partner to employ.  (Guess they do things a bit differently across the pond, eh?)

Uncomfortable with shoving children?  *I have a song for that!!*...
(I wish I had taken a picture of my actual seatmate, bc then I'd have even more reason for telling you how gratified I was to have correctly guessed her accent was from "The North".  I clearly know SO MUCH about the mother country and am a worldly genius!  Also, a scintillating conversationalist!)
Omg wait!  James DID capture her soul on film!  What a fucking champ!! There next to me, is the side of a stranger's face.  Yay!

Actually, not all that relevant now.  But whatever.
Ooh! I forgot to tell you!: in Phoenix, as part of our whatever-package of Disney travel and stay, we checked our bags all the way through to our hotel.  Not just to Orlando, mind you, but all the way to our *rooms* in our hotel in Orlando.  How fking cool was this?  I'll tell you, with all haste:  it was FUCKING cool.  As in, pretty good.  I liked it. 
So, since we had virtually nothing to mess with when we landed, we hopped on our "Magical Express" (it has mickey on the side and they play a video, apparently that = magical), checked into our hotel, walked a mile and a half to our room to empty our backpacks (for the upcoming schwag fiesta), walked a mile and a half back to the bus, and rode over to the race expo with just over an hour and a half to go. 

Expo!  Excitement!  Raison d'etre!
I once again have to thank Jaime for being a world-class running partner, and bringing not only all her waivery shit but mine too, in a device of wonderfulness commonly known as Teh Folder.  For this race especially, I'm totally grateful, bc I had trouble pulling up my registration info BOTH through runDisney AND, and my emails to both tech supports went unanswered.  Not. Good.  I still don't know how she was able to pull up my waiver when I couldn't, but that's the kind of life-saver this girl is.  Also, organized.  And photogenic.  Thanks friend!!

The world-reknowned Teh Folder, in its current Goofy incarnation!  *polite golf clap
Anyway, expo expo expo blah blah blah who cares, right? We got our shit, bought stuff, and left.

NO!  Ofc not!  Just kidding.  Expos are exciting and fun and inspiring and you clearly need to know every thought I had the entire time I was there!  Coming right up.

This wall was the first thing we encountered at the shopping part of the expo; I almost walked by it but Jamie noticed it was covered with names.

And there I am!!  Why is it always so fun to see your own name in print??
...I don't know, but it pretty much rules.  I am happy.
Shopping-wise, there were about thirty thousand different shirts on sale in the official merch booth.  Between Donald, Mickey, Goofy, 2013 and "in training" for 2014, long- and short-sleeve versions of stuff, there were just (dare I say it) too many choices.  (I know, what?! But it's true.)  I couldn't decide if I was happy with what I bought, or if I regretted not buying other things, although I couldn't remember what any of them were after the fact.  So I guess I'm fine. We did ofc get three official race shirts with our packets, so counting the sweatshirt and raw threads 39.3 I bought, I walked away with *five* new shirts from one weekend...not to mention car stickers and a commemorative bracelet I fashioned out of these dumb figurine things they were selling.  I mean, big weekend yes, but I may at some point want to wear something that *isn't* disney branded.  Maybe.

They wanted you to buy the doll for $20, then pay another $2 for whatever medal you wanted to put on it.  Uh, NOTHX...
...I picked up 3 of the little medals and for $6 made my own damn commemorative bracelet thingy.  Take that, Disney capitalists!

...Altho, 'take that' only to the point I still spent an ungodly amount of money on registration, trip, and I won't bother mentioning how much I spent on the sweatshirt I picked out...  But I've worn it like every day since then, so that's justifiable, right!  <-- ((not a question mark.))

Oh yeah, this is one of my all-time fave parts of the disney expos, don't think i've seen it anywhere else:  make your own buttons!!  I made one for each race before I realized I could turn the blank *over* and have a total blank canvas. Back up people: Genius at Work!!
Some of the best things in (expo) life ARE free, and stupid fun.
So that was pretty much that.  After the expo we were in need of feed and more stimulation (but without wearing out our legs) so we headed to Downtown Disney and wound up in Raglan Road, their resident Irish bar.  Which, to me seems a lil not-Disney, since what I associate with Irish bars is a whole lot of not-family fun, but maybe that's just me.  It was completely jammed with people.

It is important for you to see what we ate.
James's informed choice.  She won.

We had a fish salad and some shepherd's pie (which were both AMAZEBALLS, btw), and stowed a couple of glasses of wine somewhere about our persons.  I will not say we got a little buzzed two days before the biggest race of our lives, bc that would be stupid.

So, I'm definitely not saying that.

But, wherever I stashed that wine made this sign on the bathroom really amusing:

Doot dooooo doo doo do...anyone?
On the way back to our hotel I snapped these gems, which I think well captured the festiveness and also slight haze of the end of the evening:

This is the sign in front of our hotel, clicked at 30 mph.  I like its "artistic" quality :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't Call it a Comeback (even though it is one)

Well, embarrassingly, we probably should call it a comeback when you're missing for almost four months and then reappear.  The truth is, despite everything being amazing and nobody appreciating it, technology is just not good enough for me yet.  In all this time since my last post, I kept thinking of titles, and things I wanted to say, and taking pictures, and starting drafts...and never finishing any of them because I'm rarely in the same place long enough to finish doing even one thing.  Curse of the multitasking interpreter/mom/crafter/runner/blogger/health food fanatic/friend/reader/homeowner living in a car-intense city without a desk job.  I do think about updating at stoplights, but that would just be unsafe.  I opt for much shorter text messages instead.  What can I say, safety is my top priority. 
(ooh, I wonder if I could text my updates!...must explore..)

So, I'm not going to drive myself crazy trying to encapsulate everything I've wanted to say and haven't in one long-ass mega braindump download, but a lot has happened.  And not happened.  Here, in random order of appearance in my brain at this moment is a non-exhaustive list of things that were important to me between September and now:

1. The NYC Marathon got cancelled.

Maybe this is why...
That sucked but also rocked, bc I was staring down the barrel of a 6+ hr time.  When we heard definitively it was cancelled, my first emotion was overwhelming relief.  My second was relief too, followed by probably (third) disbelief, (fourth) jubilation, and (fifth) mild hysteria.  Perhaps one day I will get around to recapping it for you.  If not, just know that it was still a great great trip, since I was in NYC already by the time it cancelled and BY GOD would not waste a trip to my favorite place! We made alternative plans and it was still awesome, maybe even more so for not being incredibly sore and dehydrated the whole time.

2.  I did not get any faster.  As you can tell from my previous point.  I know I made gains, and increased my endurance (which is always a more ephemeral-feeling part of fitness, for me), but I watched pretty much everyone else in my training group nab shiny new pr's without getting anywhere myself.  That was annoying.  (Tho note, group, I am genuinely happy for YOU!  Swearz!)  Still not sure why that is, unless I just burnt myself out training through that long, hot summer...which incidentally stretched into DECEMBER NOT THAT I'M BITTER

and I guess I'm just that person.  Oh well.  But it's changed my goals for my running and fitness in general, and I decided that after goofy I'm changing it up, to a more weight-bearing, crossfit kind of focus that hopefully will play to my strengths.  If that doesn't make me faster..well, then, I'll happily go back to my favored style of stunt-pulling, kamikaze-randomness that has characterized my running so far.  At least I'll have had a break.

3.  Goofy.  That's still happening.  I am terrified, probably more so now than ever because I don't have that *first* marathon under my belt like I thought I would.  Challenge: ...limply aquiesced to.  I apparently was finally able to communicate the depth of my dread to James, because her awesome birthday gift to me included two running-belt sized bottles of vodka, which I attest I fully intend to bring with me on the disney course.  In case of emergency, break plastic.


How cute is it that it all matches the bag, too :)  Anyone else fuel up with vodka and gu?  Champions, I tell you!
This can go in my carryon too, right?  If I say I'm diabetic?

4.  Oh yeah, I had a birthday.  A 35th birthday, which I was not at all welcoming toward.  It nevertheless treated me quite well tho, so I have to give it props for that.  35, maybe you will not be the harbinger of doom and waning life I was assuming.  That would be nice.

One of my friends graciously characterized it as "only 5 more years till you will officially stop giving a shit!"  and I verily hope that's true, because it sounds divine.  At this point I still have lots of expectations, designs, unreached goals- lots of "surely by the time I'm 35 I'll .. .. and ..".  I usually don't even know what those things are until I arrive and HAVEN'T accomplished them, which isn't such a fun feeling.  I hope she's right and I soon start learning how to let that all go, appreciate what I have accomplished, and stay excited about whatever I'm currently working on.  And then hopefully I'll turn into a unicorn too, but maybe that's 50 and not 40...

If I wasn't so impatient with taking pictures, I might get everyone in them!  Jen's back there somewhere..

5.  I've been running. Some.  I ran the Hot Chocolate race here in phx (faboo!), the TostitoBurrito SkippyJohnWhatever it was half marathon, the Virtual 12-12-12 (on december 12, who'da thunkit), did a lot of long training runs and played my first rugby game.  Yay for all of it.  Of course, with Goofy ONE WEEK AWAY I'm wishing it was all so much more intense, consistent, plentiful...but it is what it is.  Maybe one day the holidays won't eat me alive and completely derail my fitness plans, but that day has not come yet.  I have to be happy I got some runs in and keep moving on...

Best. Post.Race. Goodies. Ever.  That fondue bowl had rice crispy treats, marshmallows, pretzels, banana and I don't even know what else in it. YUM.  Maybe I can bring my own in a thermos to every race from now on bc..damn.

Virtual 12.12.12 race.  Print-your-own bibs is awesome.  So is being able to spontaneously cut the race from 12mi to 12k when you get tired and fed up.  And still get your medal!

Tostito Whateverthehell half.  Was cool to have a half entirely in Scottsdale, but they ran out of medals and the guy was a DICK dealing with all the disappointed slow finishers...this race deserves a recap.

6.  I sliced my thumb. Never cut myself quite this bad before. Not really noteworthy but it freaked me the fuck out and I took pictures so you get to hear about it.  It's almost healed tho so temper your vicarious outrage as you look:

Much more noteworthy: the meal behind it, which was the cause of so much suffering.  Still one of my all-time favorites- yam hash and eggs over medium.  mmmmmmmmmm

7. Paintball.  My cutest little kid is incongruously obsessed with guns and destroying things, which I hate but also can't seem to subvert.  So I thought I'd try to channel his interest in some kind of contained direction, and I bought him a day of paintball for Christmas.  We went out for it yesterday and though I really don't feel a compelling urge to shoot people I'd have to's pretty fun.

First shot got me right in the neck.  NOT. COOL.  But it made me look kind of badass so I don't mind.

I don't want to think he looks cute like that but he does.

If you get shot at semi-close range or especially if your skin isn't covered, *you will get hurt*.  But this sting goes away after a few minutes and then it's just fun with bruises.  I kind of thought that was cool bc it definitely raised the stakes...I played laser tag before and just really didn't get it, but with this I had real incentive to hide or defend bc I didn't want to get hurt again!  They change up with different games about every 20 minutes so you have time to reload and recoup and it was definitely something I'd go back to. 

Don't be a fucking baby.  Getting shot makes you feel ALIVE

So there you have it, the randomest update possible.  I had Janathon half in mind, but after a (oh yeah! 8.) new year's eve that included this:

I think it's a doll Last Supper.  Just, NO.
I was really not in the mood.  Maybe I will be for Februathon.  or wait- MARCHATHON.  In which I will march proudly through the park every day playing John Philip Sousa on a giant boombox!  Right?  Good idea, no?  Let me get on some logistics and get back to you...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life Without the Microwave

So I read this article a couple of weeks ago, about not using the microwave.

If you don't read this blog, you probably should.

I completely love FoodBabe, for being the food zealot I aspire to be.  She does the research so you don't have to..although we should all really be doing it anyway.  Care much?  Yeah, I just don't want to be told to put the potato chips down and back away slowly.  But it's a very needed dose of reality.

Anyway, the microwave.

I've always wondered about them and their seemingly-magical powers, and somewhere in the back of my mind didn't feel wholly okay about doing whatever-that-is to my food.  But, I was pretty happy to ignore the fact in favor of its super speedy easy cookiness, and the fact that I never had to take things out of their containers to heat and eat them.  (read: no dishes!! yay!)

Well, no more.

Several more articles confirmed with just a cursory glance that what I've been ignoring really isn't are just a few here, here and here.  To be fair, there are quite a few other sources stating the opposite viewpoint; if you want reassurance, it can definitely be found in the "everyone's doing it!" and "it wouldn't be legal if it wasn't safe" varieties.  But I'm of the opinion that a lot can be determined by conducting your own experiment of one, and in pursuit of the best quality of life possible I find most of these experiments are worth undertaking.  So I've been undertaking this one.  Why this, why now?  Because in thinking about it this is what I noticed...

Growing up, we had two microwaves in the kitchen.  <-- That's how much we used them.   When my parents remodeled, they actually took out one of the two ovens and replaced it with a microwave, because we were so often lining up behind each other to nuke something.  (All we used the lonely oven for was keeping our microscopic pet turtles where the cats couldn't reach them.  Not a crucial appliance.)  Once I hit my teens and started eating us out of house and home, I started snacking endlessly on frozen side dishes (the baked ziti was my favorite, I could eat four of those a day)- four minutes in the microwave and I had food!  As I got older, moved out, started working in restaurants, the percentage of my meals that I microwaved went from 'someone still cooks for me every day' to 'it's either frozen or left over, either way- nuke it!'.  In my adult life, as I tried to become more responsible, I've made the effort to make food at home when I can; but until I gave it some thought, I didn't realize how often that meant "cooking"- in the microwave.

These days, with our insane schedule and five different palates at home, we eat out a lot.  Like, at least every day.   Like, I can't remember the last time I went a whole day and *didn't* have at least one meal out of a restaurant.  Setting aside the unknown amount of microwave use in the restaurant's kitchen, one thing is certain: if there are leftovers, I'm taking them home for another convenient meal tomorrow.  Which means only one thing:


Lately we've become somewhat more budget-conscious and are trying to eat out less, and I've made it a resolution to learn to real-cook a tiny bit myself (read: I learned how to turn the stove on), trying to cram it into my schedule somewhere so it can become at least familiar, and then a habit.  I've been trying to work up from cooking once a month to once a week(ish), with once a day a scary and remote eventual possibility...but since reading about these articles and having it on my mind,  I'm starting to notice when I cook, just how often I need to thaw or warm ingredients as I go...


...and, because I can't do it very often, my favorite thing to do is make huge batches of whatever I'm trying, and eat them for a week afterward.  Which means, of course-



I also like to drink tea-


And my cookies from the bakery come frozen-


And the kids want bagels-

The butter won't spread-

Even, the berries for the smoothie are all frozen together and the blender won't chew them unless-


And so I say unto you:  Holy Fucking Shit.

Microwave, how can I quit you??

Evil microwave
If there was anything even a *little bit* wrong with using the microwave on your food, my problem would be compounded by a factor of about ninety.  Because that's how many times I was using the microwave *every day*.  For a long time I never even used any other appliance, and I've discovered that these days I use it in addition to every other appliance.  It's like a rite of passage every scrap of food in my kitchen has to go through!  Not good.

And so, I taped it shut.  I wanted to grab a wrench and unmount the thing and throw it away, but it's heavy and idk how I would fill the hole and tape is easier and funnier.

Plus, I'm not the only one who lives here and nT is convinced nothing is wrong with anything, ever.  That's okay.  (If the rest of the world was irradiating themselves off a bridge, would you too??  No, not today anyway!)  So for now it stays, but that tape is truly essential, because just in the first few days I must have reached for that door fifty times.  I even reached for it, thought "oh, no I can't use the microwave I'll have to find something else", turned around once looking and then thought, "oh yeah, I can just use the microw-- *fuck*."  That's how omnipresent this damn machine is for me.

It's no use trying to get away, they have mad survival skills.
So for the forseeable future, things with the microwave are over.  I wrote it a letter, I burned it in effigy; I taped the door shut, I sing odes to my tiny frying pan.  I heat water in the coffee maker.  I made gaspacho.  nT has had mercy on my herculean struggle to change and splurged on a toaster oven.  (He actually said, "let's go buy you an appliance, little lady!" and I was like grrrrrrrrr feminist but also yes please yay.)  I trust I'm on a good path, and that making this weird sacrifice is worth it.  Can't hurt, might help; I mean, I certainly can't be doing myself any *harm* by cutting the microwave out of my life.  It's not like it manufactures some essential amino acid or something.  And if nothing else, making the adjustment brings even more awareness to what and how I eat- always a good thing.  But really, for the amount of effort it takes to reimagine my relationship with the kitchen, I am honestly hoping for bigger gains in my health, like maybe the ability to bend rebar or leap over my car.

I'll let you know how it goes.