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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Girl on Fire

I'm not sure who talked who into who, but somehow, the sister and I committed to running the Rock n' Roll Phoenix half-marathon. 

Training has kept me focused on something other than work and has been a good stress reliever.  But inevitably you have to run the thing you train for and that day arrived.  I went down EARLY Saturday morning and spent the day with the kiddo and sister prepping for the next day's really long run...aka carb-loading.

When you're running for over 2 hours you have a lot of time to think.  You think about life, the numbing pain shooting up your shins, the wardrobe choices of those around you, your love life, your professional life, the next steps to take in life, the knife stabbing pain in your's the only thing you really can do.  Run and think. Around mile 12 I think there was some praying and cursing going on but hard to remember. 

Around mile 6 I found myself smiling because my newest theme song came on the radio and I felt the fire to go.  But that flame lasted about a mile and there were 6.1 more to go so at some point you just check out. You don't think anymore.  The act of running because more obligatory and a necessity than enjoyable.  Miles 10 - 12 were conveniently running into the blazing sun which  But once you see that mile 12 you think you might actually make it.  You might just prove all nay-sayers wrong and yourself right.

When I crossed the finish line I raised my arms and double fist pumped in victory.  The sister had taken off about 10 miles back so I now I had to find hydration and her.  My sister, a convenient five feet tall in a sea of 50k people wasn't going to be easy, but alternatively my 5'10" self in neon pink in a sea of 50k was easier to spot and she found me shortly after crossing the finish line.  It was really great to see her and know that we trained and did this together. While we ran alone most of the way I knew she was somewhere up there doing it with me.

Post race we headed to Cafe Rio and devoured the world best pulled pork salad.  Protein and deliciousness in one. Worth all 13.1 miles.

The next day I wasn't all that sore.  My calves oddly enough were the ones that hurt that most.  My quads and hammys had been shredded enough in boot camp that they weren't phased at all.  Thanks lunges and squats for that.

All in all not a bad run and still a great visit.  There was sun and the sister and the nephew so I really can't complain.  Although, maybe next time I'll think twice before agreeing to the sister's ideas.....or my ideas.






The post race day of pampering was a definite must do.  We clean up nice!

Just the Road of Life

In preparation for my new phone tomorrow, we have to download any photos are videos we want to keep because no data will transfer (including pics, video, voice or text messages) which is a pain in the tuckus but whatevs.  The silver lining in all this is that I got to take a walk for memory lane and I bring to you the highlights that I never got around to writing about or are worth mentioning again.

2012 In Review:

1.) NYE 2012 I headed to Kingston and on the other side is a tiny crepe shoppe (note pretentious 'pe').   Garlic, spinach, chicken, almonds and parm wrapped in a warm blanket of crepe-y goodness.  Good thing this is a ferry ride away otherwise nothing would stop me from making this a regular part of the meal rotation.

2.) I spent the latter 3 months of 2012 living in West Seattle which is conveniently close to Lincoln Park and a really lovely running trail.  Instead of running on the trail, one day I ran the beach when the tide was out and spotted some urban art.  One of the many reasons I love Seattle, art everywhere, when you least expect it.

3.) I love these people.  

4.) Sometimes the dinner party group opts to hit up the dim sum which is obviously brilliant and delicious. Let's do this more in 2013.

5. I got to go to Phoenix a lot this year to visit the sister and squeeze the nephew.  Each trip is so great and I start to make plans to go back.  I'm planning 2 international trips this year so I'm not sure how much I'll get down there but every chance I can, I'll go.  He calls me Aunt Cawa now. How could I not go....!?

6.)  One of the professional highlights of the last year was hosting the Director of "How to Survive a Plague" for a private viewing of said documentary.  He's now nominated for an Oscar for the film.  NBD.  This is how the movie arrived.  With guards. Literally.  It was one of the those moments that made me feel a lot more important than I actually am.  

I wrote about that night but never posted it.  Here's what happened: 

I have just one story to tell tonight.

For tonight's evening event we hosted a screening of a new documentary about the history of the AIDS activism and drug development. We invited the film's director to participate in a panel that would accompany the film. We showed the first 20 minutes of the film and then hosted a panel session reflecting on where our panelists were when the epidemic started and their perspective on the evolution of AIDS activism .  We heard from two nurses at the time talk about watching their friends dying so quickly for no reason.  We heard from clinicians and career activists.  They talked about their experience mostly in the US but also watching the migrations of the disease spread through Africa.  They talked about the things they saw, the exhausting weight of the epidemic, the friends and family they lost. 

One woman talked about as a nurse her struggle to find  surgeons to operate on her patients because at the time there was such discrimination from the health care community that people wouldn't operate on AIDS patients.  One patient's mother in particular lost her son to AIDS around the holidays and as an expression of gratitude knit this nurse a stocking and to this day she uses the stocking to remember and honor the young man.

It was all very touching.Not a dry eye in the house.

But the most moving moment of the night was a brief interaction.  One of our most notable grantees was the last person in the room when the film ended.  He'd watched through the credits and just sat as everyone exited.  When he got up to go I asked what he thought of the film and thoughtfully pauses and says, "It makes me so sad.  I was a physician in the hospital when AIDS hit the scene." He starts to tear up and says, "I watched so many people die that I couldn't help. I knew those people. I just brings up so many memories." With tears in his eyes he just looked off beyond me, nodded his head and walked away. 

I work with many fancy scientists who sit in fancy labs looking for the "silver bullet"  that will end AIDS.  They look at blood and cells of mice and macaques and run a bunch of assays in their sterilized facilities far removed from the front lines of the epidemic. And I think sometimes how hard it must be to connect the science to the human element. I think that probably because it's hard for me to connect with it sometimes. Then I am reminded that many of our grantees do what they do because they WERE there.  And they don’t need to be reminded because they can't forget what they've seen.  They can't unsee.  They can't forget, and they shouldn't.

That's why we do what we do.  Because to this day 25 million people have died due to AIDS.  It is estimated that the death toll of AIDS epidemic will surpass the Black Plague. We do it because the epidemic will not stop, people will not stop dying if we do stop what we are doing.  

7.) I got a lot of work done on my car that I had been putting off.  Fixed the leak, the bumper, front guard, new rear breaks and rotors   It all cost a super shiny penny.  But, while Big Red was in the shop, I did get to drive a Chrysler 300 which was stupid amazing.  I should not be allowed to drive powerful luxury vehicles nicer than the one I own.  Why? Because I have a disposable income with a taste of luxury and no self-control. (No secret there.) I almost traded in Big Red for Super Fancy Powerful Big Black.  But reason prevailed just in time....THIS time. I make no promises NEXT time.  

8.) Before the aunt and uncle headed South for the winter, I made one last trip up. We ate, we had a jam-fest on the patio, we ate some more, we picked flowers, I went for some good runs. We probably laughed tons too.  I miss them....they are decidedly too far away.  TOO FAR! They are also in the luxury of sunshine so the jealously compounds the feelings.  Also, I need a Gumboot fix.  Can y├íll come home now?

9. The trip to San Diego was a true highlight of the year.  I got to spend good quality in person time with PB which rarely happens.  And there was sun and sand and surf and grilled peaches involved.  Nothing bad about that combo.  

10. I saw the Grand Canyon before I turned 30.  Cross that off the bucket list! Seeing this picture reminds me that sometimes on the road of life you approach corners where you can't see beyond where you're at.  And sometimes, more often than not, beyond that corner is a life so much greater than you even managed.  So keep going.  Corners, traffic jams, roadside break downs, back seat drivers, speed limits, run-ins with the's just the road of life.  So roll the windows down, keep smiling and drive.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Real Quick Like

Really quick -

I'm in PHX visiting the sister and we had a super day today....and here's why:
  • 90 min deep tissue massage - O.M.G WHY DON'T I DO THIS MORE OFTEN!?!?! Also good to know the knots in my neck and shoulders are symetrical, the stress is at least balanced. 
  • Dinner at our restaurant which might have the ssslllllooooowwwest service on the planet but they do have beet salad, fries, vanilla butternut squash capped off and pineapple tartin, so can't overly complain.
  • Saw Silver Linings Playbook - I'm pretty sure take away was that a crazy brunette can in fact end up with Bradley Cooper.  The more I think about it the more I love it.  Also, clearly sister and I were the only English majors in the crowd because we were the only ones laughing at the Hemingway scene which is, ya know, awkward.  Speaking of Bradley Cooper, how much do you love this?

After running the PHX half marathon we're hobbling around pretty good but I'd say that's a pretty good post-race day day. 

In other news, Text of the Day goes to FN for  "P.S. I saw a penis today."  Of course.

I'm back to foggy Seatown late tomorrow and I'll give the full download upon my return.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 - Oh, Hi!

Another holiday season has come and gone. Quietly. Restfully. Happily.

I spent much of the holidays eyeball deep in some really good fiction, curled up in bed or on the couch in front of the fire lost in the land on 12th century England.  IT.IS.GRIPPING.

One night I stayed up until 2:00 am watching CSPAN2 and the International Summit of the Book at the Library of Congress. (It was a Saturday night, which I presume is what most hot single young professional women do....on Saturday nights...lay in bed watching CSPAN. Line up boys!) Publishers and editors were talking about the future of book publishing and, among other topics, the merge of e-reading, brain development relative to childrens books, access to reading for the blind, and the saturation of the book market.  It was fascinating. Amazing. If books make your heart go pitter patter, you owe yourself to watch this, especially Karen Keninger. And if you've got another hour and a half you should watch this session.  I remember when Geoff Kloske came to speak at CPC and he was Sarah Vowell's editor.  Watching them was the first time I knew in my heart of hearts that I was doing the right thing at that time.

I saw The Hobbit, and once again the best part of the movie was the Theo's chocolate popcorn. The night ended with a backrub but no makeout sesh....not sure how that happens but it did.  Mark that for a first time in history.  

I started my new job which means I've spent many a night coming home feeling utterly defeated, which feels super. The biggest saving grace has been that the office has been quiet enough that I'm slowly slogging through the training and learning curve, which feels more like a fast ball coming right for the groin. It's the right job and the best next step I can take to advance my career, but, damn. It's real hard.

I spent New Year's Eve at a friend's cabin.  It was freezing but beautiful. I fell asleep with a view over Puget Sound and the moon rising over the mountains.  I woke to the sun shining through the trees casting its rays on the mountains, fog and water.

On a boat (edmonds --> kingston)

the cabin

2013 morning

Good people, food, and laughs. Great way to kick out last year and ring in this one.

Seattle has been kicking trash with the weather recently. It's been cold but it's been clear and beautiful and there isn't anything more amazing than on my commute into work seeing the Olympic mountains, north Cascades and Mt. Rainier in all their majesty.  All in a 10 minute commute. One lucky duck.

I've been on some good runs recently.  The half is just in a few weeks and training at this point is merely just to minimize how bad I'm going to hurt at the end.  

So on that note: Cheers to a happy healthy humorous and healing 2013!

Love to you all. xo!