The last 18 miles of 2011

Standard

Our marathon training has been going well. We’ve been blessed with a dry December and have been managing to get most of our workouts in, though it is very hard going out to run in the dark and cold. (Can’t say I recommend the winter marathon training… ) T & I are doing a different plan than M and while we’d been doing our long runs together, today would be the first day that we were running the same mileage, a daunting 18 miles.

Susan was in town visiting, so we wanted to start our run from a spot where she’d have some place to hang out and entertain herself while we ran for hours and hours. We opted to drive to Marymoor park on the east side of the lake and run from there. All of us run slightly different paces, so we staggered our start times slightly. T passed me at mile four and I caught M around mile 5. Initially, she was planning to stop to use a restroom, so I kept going but then she caught up to me and we spent the rest of the run chatting, which made for a much less boring endeavor. It was so nice to have company as we gutted out the latter miles. Not to mention someone to giggle with about this graffiti at the restroom where we stopped around mile 10:

(Those darn kids… )

The last mile felt like forever, but we made it. The staggering walk to the car and the ensuing comedy routine of changing out of our run shoes was hilarious. The poor man across the parking lot must have thought we were crazy.

J was nice enough to cook us all dinner and M was nice enough to share her couch with us. (I’m also happy to welcome her to the compression garments club. Woo!):

And dinner was delicious:

It was a low-key, but very enjoyable way to ring¬† in the new year, even if we didn’t quite make it to midnight. Oh well, happy new year everyone!

A quiet Christmas

Standard

We decided to spend Christmas in Portland with my parents for a variety of reasons. My mom’s pug Jasmine died suddenly right after Thanksgiving and she was feeling blue. We hadn’t done a shred of decorating with all of the other goings on, so it wasn’t feeling so Christmasy at our place. T had to work on Friday, so it was going to be a quick trip.

My mom had put up a pretty tree:

And had a nice menu planned with some tasty appetizers, which were very popular:

and a spinach quiche (it was less eggy than a typical quiche, so I’d describe it more like a spinach pie… )

And a cranberry pie for dessert. (I’d never heard of a cranberry pie, apparently it was something my maternal grandmother used to make.)

Combine that with some wine and it was shaping up to be quite a nice holiday. Christmas morning was filled with gifts:

And even some whimsical hats (they say bah humbug on them):

I’d prepped a baked caramel french toast the night before, which came out really well:

Luckily, we had a ten mile tempo run on our training plan to burn some of it off. Even with the rain that started the minute we started running, it was actually a really enjoyable run. There were a surprising number of other runners out and everyone was in a cheery mood. Not a bad way to spend Christmas, all things considered.

 

Christmas craftiness, the 2011 edition

Standard

I love making handmade gifts for the holidays. This year, we were going to take advantage of T’s new-found coffee-roasting skill. I even designed a logo to go with our favorite alias:

I had it made into a rubber stamp to print onto paper coffee bags that we ordered. (God bless the internet!)

We doubled our coffee-roasting capabilities by buying another air-popper and T spent a few evenings roasting away. My other big project was inspired by something I’d seen on a blog and wanted to try, some felt play food for Heidi’s twins. I inherited my mother’s sewing machine, but must confess that I’m not much of a seamstress. It’s use tends to come when I get these crafty flights of fancy and usually what I picture in my head is a far cry from what actually gets produced. This time, the project came out just like I imagined it. I made a breakfast series:

And lunch (PB&J and a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and two kinds of cheese):

Here are all of the pieces:

It was such a fun project that I think came out really well. I hope the twins enjoy playing with them as much as I enjoyed making them. And who knows, maybe I’ll have to open an etsy shop or something…

The ballad of Toenail and Stitchface

Standard

Wally left his last trip to doggie daycare with a cracked toenail. Not a big deal, but it did require a trip to the vet to remove what was left and of course, the cone of shame:

(We got him a softer cone than the hard plastic ones because he has a tendency to bash them into door frames until they break.) The problem is that the cone didn’t really prevent him from licking the toenail, which kept it from healing. And earned him another trip to the vet and more time with the cone. He’s very adaptable though, he could even beg for toilet paper tubes:

Eventually, we started putting a sock on that foot to help protect the toe from him and hopefully let it heal faster. Meanwhile, with the possibility of T starting a job in Austin, we scheduled Smokey Joe for some work that the vet had recommended: a dental cleaning and removal of some fatty lumps. Which meant a transfer of the cone of shame (and a very nice Christmas for our vet… )

And a new nickname for Smokey Joe a.k.a. “Stitch Face” or “Jigsaw”:

Meanwhile, Wally has his own indignities to suffer:

Both boys are well on their way to recovery now. I wish I could say the same for my checkbook… ;-P

 

A big adventure (almost)

Standard

Sorry this blog has been so quiet lately. The last few weeks have been… um… interesting. A few weeks ago, the boy told me that there was a design job at the Austin office of the company he works for. I told him he should apply for it, thinking that I wouldn’t even have to think about it again for another month, given the way job application processes usually go. Two days later, he was sending a resume and more materials at their request. The day after that he was doing a phone interview. Two days later, they asked him to come down to Austin for an interview. For a job that they were wanting to have start on JANUARY 2nd. (Mind you, this is all taking place a week ago.)

As you might expect, I went through a range of emotions from the “Are you f-ing kidding me? That’s ridiculous!” to “Well, it’s an adventure. Let’s see what happens next.” For those who might not know T’s and my history (or want a refresher), we started our marriage with about 15 days together before he boarded a plane to Alaska to stage manage dinner theatre for six months and I headed down to California to assistant direct for a Shakespeare festival. We’ve moved approximately eight times over the course of our 14 and a half years of marriage. So, the prospect of moving to a city I’ve never visited in a state that I’ve only seen the inside of one of it’s airports wasn’t as daunting as it might be to other folks. The timeline was a bit worrisome, but I figured we’d work it out.

I spent the pre-interview¬†week trying to adopt a Zen attitude toward the whole thing while simultaneously making a list of details that would need to be handled. Pretty much every time a panicked thought entered my head (“What about that pile of Craigslist stuff in the closet?! We need to deal with that!”) I’d jot it into my Google spreadsheet. I would also find myself thinking of all of the things I was going to miss if we left Seattle. When I drove T to the airport on Sunday for his interview, I honestly didn’t know which result I was hoping for. I felt completely neutral, with good sides and bad sides of either option balancing each other out.

As I waited to hear news, I realized how rare these moments where your life is about to completely and totally change have become. When I was in my 20’s those moments were commonplace. I actively sought them out and thrived on the chaos and tumult that resulted. (In fact, back in 1995, I moved to Seattle for an internship, having never set foot in the city before my interview. I had a weekend to find a place to live on my $100/week salary.) But over the years, things have definitely settled down and I thought I was okay with that trend.

So, when T called yesterday to say he didn’t get the job, I was surprised at how disappointed I was. Without even being fully conscious of it, I’d been really looking forward to having another crazy adventure. To having to start from scratch someplace new. I know that some of this is because I’ve forgotten the downsides of all of those things, the loneliness before you meet anybody. The uncertainty of finding a new job/finding a way to do my current job remotely. The fact that T would be traveling a ton in that job and I would spend a bunch of time alone in a strange city where I don’t know anyone.

There’s a similar design job on the horizon here in Seattle. I’m hoping that all of the prep for this interview will give T an advantage in applying for that one. (Plus it’s on his home turf, which helps.) But I’m also trying to find ways to rejuvenate our lives here. In a few months, we’ll be looking to move to a new place in town, which will help. I’m brainstorming some ways to interject some adventure into our lives and figure out why everything feels so stagnant right now. (Maybe it’s that mid-life crisis I’ve been hearing about… ) In the meantime, I’m focusing on all of the things I would have missed if we had moved. Which is a pretty good mind-set to carry into the holidays.

Holiday outing

Standard

Like many companies in this lack-luster economy, there hasn’t been much in the budget for holiday festivities. But our boss carved out some time for a little self-funded outing. First we had lunch as a new sandwich place downtown and then took the monorail over to the Pacific Science Center to see the new Mission Impossible movie (on Imax, no less!) I hadn’t been on the monorail since about 1997. It hasn’t changed much:

After purchasing our tickets, we had some time to kill. Apparently, the admission folks don’t really care if folks wander in to the museum early on a random Friday afternoon because we were able to walk right in. There was an insect exhibit in the same section of the museum where the Imax is, so we perused that. (The funny part was that sections of this were a big featured exhibit the last time I was at the science center back in the mid-90’s. I guess they like to recycle things at the Science Center.) They had a butterfly atrium that was new and very cool:

The movie was surprisingly entertaining (I had only seen the first two and found neither particularly impressive) and the outing was much more fun than a typical office party.

Black Friday with the family

Standard

Erik & Nerissa had come up to Portland to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, so T & I thought it would be nice to drive down and hang out with everyone. Unfortunately for us, my mom had an Oregon Coast road trip on the agenda, so it was going to be a lot of time in the car for us. But we got up at the ungodly hour of 5:40 to hit the road and made it to Portland around 9:30 to drop the boys off at their dog boarding/vacation paradise. Then it was a quick trip to my parents house to drop our stuff off and get into the van for round two.

First stop on the agenda was a place called Camp 18, which is a former lumber mill turned restaurant.

There were tons of carved wooden sculptures outside, including this cute bear:

Erik posed with his long lost twin:

(He’s the one on the left… ;-P) And here’s one of my parents posing with some wooden friends:

Inside, there were more fun decorative touches:

And more fun things in the back:

After a hefty brunch, it was back into the car to go to Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Sadly, it had clouded up on the coast (we’d left Portland under a pretty blue sky.) but I think that the Oregon Coast is pretty in the fog.

The tide was out, so we could walk quite close to the big rock formations:

There were some tide pools in the rocks at the base, but I lacked the footwear and the inclination to hike out to them. It was fun taking Hipstamatic pics of the coast however:

And pictures of various family members. Here’s Nerissa:

I love this picture of my mom and I:

Me and the boy:

Then it was back into the car for a long drive home. All told, T & I spent about eight hours in the car. (Ugh.) The rest of the evening was spent in a battle of the iPads between my brother and mom in a Words With Friends battle royale:

As always with family gatherings, it was a complicated weekend. At times, I felt like an intrusion, getting in the way of my mom’s time with Erik. Other times, it was fine. I think it’s just the nature of being around family. The dynamics have developed over so many years and are layered and complex. I know we’re hardly unique in this, all families have their issues. Ours has been dealt some pretty major blows, so I suppose I should be happy we’re still speaking at all. But there are times when I wish we were closer to that mythical ideal we all long for this time of year.