Viva Las Vegas

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Approximately five years ago, T & I met my brother Erik and sister-in-law Nerissa in Vegas for Thanksgiving weekend. One of the reasons I picked the Rock & Roll Half Marathon was because we’d wanted to do another Vegas weekend. (It works out pretty perfectly since Erik & T like to play poker and neither Nerissa nor I particularly enjoy gambling.) We’d managed to book our flights so that we arrived more or less at the same time and shared a cab to our hotel, the very lovely Aria.

It’s a testament to the magic of Las Vegas that we changed our clothes and headed out for some cocktails at 9:30 at night, a time when all of us would ordinarily be in our pajamas on the couch watching TV in our normal lives.

One of my favorite things about Vegas is the spectacle of it all. There was this insanely cool chocolate dragon outside the French bakery in our hotel lobby:

IMG_3562And this beautiful water feature outside the hotel:

IMG_3565There were these fun bird chairs next to it that I couldn’t resist posing with:

481695_10200169951036662_933659551_nWe went to this pretty bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel that had a gorgeous view of the Strip:

IMG_3578The cocktails were amazing and we had some yummy appetizers with them. Then we headed off to a second bar called Vesper for more cocktails. Nerissa and I tried a cocktails with absinthe in them, which were delicious and STRONG. (Thankfully, we were a short walk back to the hotel.) The vibe at the bar was cool and it was fun to stay up late drinking cocktails and chatting. There was a very cool series of columns with interactive displays on them that would look like a glass elevator or an aquarium or a bookshelf that were mesmerizing.

As we were walking back to our hotel, I couldn’t resist surreptitiously snapping a picture of the ubiquitous group of skanky girls weaving around in their high heels and strangely matching dresses:

IMG_3582I think it’s going to be a FUN weekend…

Seattle marathon spectating

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Back over Labor Day weekend, there was a flurry of sign-ups for the Seattle half-marathon. Bryan and Jenn started it and talked Erin & David into joining them. (There may have been some drinking involved.) Then after they announced that on Facebook, AndyPants upped the ante by signing up for the full marathon. T was talking about joining the fun and I’ll admit I was sorely tempted, but with Vegas next weekend, it just didn’t seem smart.

When the big day finally arrived, Erin & T had joined the spectating crew. Also joining us on the crew was Phil and Andy’s daughter Kate. The way they do the start times for the various distances at this event is very strange to me. Instead of starting the marathon first, they start the half marathon 45 minutes earlier than the full marathon. Which particularly sucks if you are spectating both events, because you’re going to be waiting around even longer for the marathon finish, unless they’re a Kenyan or something. But I digress…

Miraculously, we ran into our racing friends in the giant crowd of people, so we were able to wish them good luck before the start. Andy, Phil and Kate stayed back in the holding area while we went to watch the half-marathon start. Here’s Erin & I basking in the glow of the McDonalds sign:

IMG_3538As always, it’s amazing to watch the fast folks take off for a half marathon at a pace faster than I can run a single mile:

IMG_3554Then we met back up with the Canadian contingent to wait for Andy’s start. The fabulous Ms. Kate was the lucky recipient of the space blankets Andy had stuffed her shirt with:

IMG_3544We saw Ms. Andy off on her adventure and dashed off to get some breakfast before the half-mary folks were back. (It’s so stressful being a spectator!) Then it was off to the finish line, which was in the middle of a stadium, which was cool. It took a little coordinating, since none of the racers had their phones, but we eventually found everyone. No one PR-ed, but it sounds like the hilly course makes that pretty unlikely.

Erin went back with the rest of the half crew, leaving T, Phil, Kate and I to wander around the Seattle Center until Andy came across the finish line. We explored the fountain, looked at the trains in the Center House and wandered around. The weather miraculously cleared up enough for Phil to take Kate up the Space Needle, which was awesome. Finally, it was time to head back to the finish line. It’s so fun to see all of the different folks that finish a marathon and the energy at the finish line is amazing.

Then Ms. AndyPants came around the corner:

IMG_3555Even though she said it was a rough race and her slowest marathon to date, I thought she did great. And she was way more functional than I am after races. 🙂 We met up with everyone for an amazing decadent brunch and traded war stories. It was a long, tiring, fun end to an awesome Thanksgiving weekend. Feeling very fired up for Vegas next week!

Black Friday – Port Townsend style

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Erin & David invited us along on an excursion to Port Townsend, which sounded a lot more fun than storming the local shopping mall. The ferry line was surprisingly light and we were there in no time. I hadn’t been to Port Townsend since 1990-something, but it was just as cute as I remembered it, with lots of little shops and restaurants.

IMG_3516We wandered through a few art galleries and “admired” some of the pieces:

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IMG_3517We had a lovely lunch and did a little more browsing local shops. Then we went to this super cute underground coffee place:

IMG_3512Once you went down the stairs, there was this cool hallway:

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IMG_3518The vibe was awesome and the coffee was pretty good. We had to hit the road so that we could get back to the city at a reasonable hour. Unfortunately, the ferry line was heavier for the return trip, so we had a bit of a wait. While we were waiting, there was a lot of rearrangement of the evening plans. In the end, we were able to tag along for the inaugural year of Zoo Lights.

Even with the pouring rain, it was a very lovely holiday activity:

IMG_3533There were some fun animated sequences with the lights:

IMG_3526And there were a few sections of the zoo open. We got to see the most adorable tree kangaroo actually moving around, which was cool:

IMG_3534I’d say the holidays have started off very festively. We’re lucky to have such wonderful friends to hang out with.

Sneaky Thanksgiving

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I’m not sure how it happened, but Thanksgiving completely blind-sided me this year. I swear it was Halloween last week. Given this, I’m particularly thankful that our friends Jenn & Bryan are hosting! If it were up to me to host, we’d be eating turkey pot pies or something. 😉

But it wouldn’t be Seattle Thanksgiving without the Turkey Trot, so we were up early for my fifth consecutive race. M’s goal was to walk the whole thing, because she’s a bad-ass. (We’ve done these races together every year, so why let pregnancy get in the way?)

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IMG_3476I think each year the race gets a little bigger and the start more crazy. T and I ran it together and it took a lot of weaving and maneuvering to find space to run. I considered it excellent practice for Vegas. I didn’t have any big plans to race it hard or anything, but somehow couldn’t stop myself from pushing the pace. It wasn’t the balls-out pacing of last year, but I still managed my second fastest time, so I was pleased. When we got to the finish line, I was entertained to see texts from Martha that they were last, then this amusing shot of her with the sweeper motorcycle (who isn’t doing a great job because you can see Turkey Trotters behind her… )

IMG_7217By the time T and I jogged back to meet them, they’d taken out a lot of other walkers and were no longer even close to last. (We also learned that the reason they were last was that they’d stopped by the house so she could pee. Awesome!) We walked in with them and got to enjoy a whole other level of the Turkey Trot. Before long we were round the corner toward the finish line:

IMG_3480Then, finally, the finish line and victory!

IMG_3483I think this might be the most impressive of M’s five finishes. I can’t wait to see what next year holds…

Afterward, we had bagels at M & J’s place with their friends Kathy and Spoons, who were in town from the Bay Area to visit family. It was a lively gathering and fun to catch up. Then it was home to chill out for a few hours before heading over to Jenn & Bryan’s house. It was a good-sized group of friends. Erin and David were in town and then M, J and Timmion would be joining us. (It was like a Seabrooke reunion!) Erin struck a pose in front of the lovely table:

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Then there was some sort of pre-dinner belly bump:
IMG_3487T is excited for dinner, but not so much his picture being taken:

IMG_3490Then all picture-taking stopped in the flurry of delicious food, wine and good friends. It was a wonderful evening that highlighted just how blessed I am to have such a great group of friends. I’m especially grateful to Jenn & Bryan for their magnificent hosting.

 

 

 

 

 

A visit from Susan

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Susan finally got to come see our little house. Thanks to the nice big yard, she was also able to bring Lola, much to Wally’s delight. She was recovering from a cold, so it was a fairly low-key weekend. We went out with M & J to a local place that had this bitchin’ artwork on the wall…

IMG_3447On Sunday, after a run around Green Lake, we tackled a big project of harvesting all of the apples off of the tree (or dismantling the dog’s all-you-can-eat buffet… ) I wasn’t aware that T was taking pictures, but some of them were pretty good:

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IMG_3451Wally finally realized that we weren’t going to let them have the giant pile of apples, so he went over to see what T was doing…

IMG_3453This is just some of the apples we ended up picking. There were many more in the yard waste bin.

IMG_3448Later on in the day, we made a trip over to Bellevue for Susan to see T’s office and go to a dumpling place that we have heard is amazing. It did not disappoint:

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IMG_3458It was really lovely to hang out with Susan, despite her feeling under the weather. I’m lucky to have such a low-maintenance mother in law.