Friday, November 20, 2009

Movin' Out, Movin Up

There comes a time in a woman's life ...

Some times it's clear that things need to change ...

When one realizes that roads are diverging ...

Oh, what the heck, I moved out! The reasons are fairly simple - basically it was just time for me to have my own space. I lived with my former roommate for over two years, which is the longest I lived any where in ten years. I was getting restless and realized that it was negatively affecting my relationship with my landlord/roommate. I found a great place closer to my work with an awesome floorplan and decided to make the big move.

The new place is a 4th floor walk-up loft with a fireplace and balcony. I can have my dog, Diego, there, and it's gated with awesome amenities.

My only fear was getting all my furniture up to my new apartment and all those stairs! Enter Scott - my wonderful boyfriend (who has great guy friends!). We packed the UHaul last Friday night in four hours ... it's very odd seeing all your possessions fit in a box, by the way. And then Scott and his parents coordinated the big move the next day. The UHaul was unloaded in just under an hour! Thanks to Scott's friends and my friends for making it possible!

I can't wait to have everyone over once my place is set up.

Pictures to come once I find my camera :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

I love Johnny Depp!!



"I mean... Edward Scissorhands ... I love Edward Scissorhands." This is what I kept on saying Saturday night, when Scott and I went out in Georgetown for Halloween. Coincidentally, he was dressed as the sharp-handed one himself. It was an amazing costume; he made it himself. He even won a prize - third place! (I still say he was robbed by the 1st place winner - Lady Gaga and a guy dressed as the MTV moonman).


We could not walk down the street without someone asking to take a picture with Scott. I felt like the girlfriend of a celebrity, it was pretty surreal. I was so proud of him though, he really did a great job!

Scott's Friday night costume - 1920's gangster, to my flapper

And for the record, I heart Scott more than Johnny. ;-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Marathons Of Life

My medal - finisher!


About ten months ago I was blogging about my resolutions for 2009 and decided that one of them should be to run that infamous 26.2 miles known as a marathon. I don't know what possessed me make that a goal, except that I'd run in several 10 mile races and figured that 26.2 wouldn't be unachievable if I trained for it.

The Last Well group from church who handed out water - Scott is far left
Yesterday was the day of the race - the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. There were close to 30,000 runners, so I wasn't alone in my madness. My sweet boyfriend, Scott, came to hand out water and run with me at the end. I started out the race thinking, OK, this isn't so bad, as long as I run slow enough, I should be able to make it!

WRONG... At mile 2, my right knee started hurting. And I don't mean, 'Oh, this is uncomfortable' kind of pain, I mean, 'Why are there knives stabbing the back of my knee cap?!' kind of pain. Thankfully, Scott was at mile 4 handing out water and I had thought ahead to give him a bag of Advil so I stopped and took four of those. That helped for about a mile and then the pain came back.


So tired and sore - mile 25

As if that wasn't enough, at mile 8 both of my hips started hurting. Again, this was legit, OMG pain that would normally stop me in my tracks. I really thought I could pull through it so I kept on going. At mile 14 the pain of all my joints overtook me and I stopped and told a marine that I needed the medics to look at me. As I was jogging to the medical tent, I was thinking about how long I've trained for this race and that I never want to run it again and if I had to crawl across the finish line, I wanted too just so I could have it in the rear view mirror of life. So I kept jogging past the medical tent and thinking that I just needed to make it to mile 20, where Scott would be waiting to cross the bridge with me to the finish line.



I loved my shirt! Finish line under the arch

Scott was there and ran with me to mile 22, where the pain was overwhelming to the point where I had to walk. Walking itself was so painful, but I wanted to at least jog across the finish line at the end so Scott took my hand and walked with me the rest of the way. He had my camera and was able to get a few shots at the end. I completed the race in about 5 hours and 30 minutes. I wanted to do it in under five hours but with all the walking I had to do because of my joints, I'm pretty satisfied with my time.

Scott and me at mile 23

I came home and took some prescription pain killers, which took the edge off the pain of my aching joints. My victory meal? A tavern in Seven Corners called Dogfish Head. I had amazing buffalo chicken dip and macaroni and cheese.

I slept like the dead last night, I don't think I've ever been so tired. If any of you out there are thinking about running a marathon, DON'T. Well, I guess it's a worthy goal, and I think I'll be more happy about doing it when I'm healed. If you want to run a marathon, make sure you train outside, stick to your training schedule, and listen to your body. Most people aren't designed to run that far. If I had been more diligent about training my joints for hours and hours of running, I probably could have performed a lot better yesterday.

Collapsing after the race

Cheers to another resolution completed and to never running that far ever ever again!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Um.. I'm still a blogger, I promise!

It's been a long time. This is why I've been MIA:


His name is Scott and he is amazing. More to come :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Twitter

I realize I might offend some people with the content of this post but hear me out.

I don't get Twitter.

Oh, I know some people say it's just like updating your Facebook status but I beg to differ. I mean, I don't have a problem with the occasional tweet or the play-by-play during a life-changing event such as a birth, but to have entire conversations through a microblog ... I mean, seriously? Who has time for this?? Does every tweeter have a very forgiving boss???

What I want to know is when texting went out of style. And what about that very archaic practice of actually CALLING someone and TALKING with them on the phone... so last year, right? And frankly, I don't really care if Kim Kardashian just got a latte at Starbucks or Ryan Seacrest has deep thoughts about a sandwich. The worst is when a person doesn't have the guts to tell someone what they're actually feeling and so instead tweets it so everyone can know their business. Um, soo 7th grade.

To me all of this passive-aggressive communication is a sign that even as we as a society find new and different ways to connect through technology, we become more inept at face to face conversation and thereby less socially adjusted. Misunderstandings and unintentional offenses abound when one's sole communication is a few sentences into the Internet abyss.

So give your texting thumbs a rest and call someone. Instead of tweeting all night, go out and spend some quality time in deep conversation with someone you care about. Try not tweeting about your bad experience at Subway and ask the person behind the counter how their day is going.

You just might make a new friend and learn something about yourself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Upstate NY

As most of my friends (and most of the northern VA area) know, I am from Texas.  Born and raised in Houston, and my parents, and their parents, and their parents, are from Texas.  I'm proud of my heritage, and would have it no other way.  What few people know, is that I have a few clusters of relatives who live elsewhere.  My step-mom's parents and sister live in Kentucky, and my step-dad's kids live in Glens Falls, NY.  Their house is in the Adirondack mountains a short drive from Saratoga, where the horse races take place.  I've been several times to visit them, the most recent being this past weekend when my step-dad, mom, and step-brother were up there as well. 

The drive is long from Great Falls - it took me about eight hours total.  Diego made the journey with me and he was an excellent passenger.  With him and my iPod, the eight hours went by pretty fast and before I knew it, the New Jersey turnpike turned into 87 to Albany and the Adirondacks were rising out of the horizon in the distance.

While I was there this weekend, we played poker, shopped a bit in Saratoga, and Ralph (my step-sister Susan's husband) and I serenaded everyone on our guitars (or tried to!).  My visits with this side of the family aren't frequent enough and are always too short.  But, we always make the most of our time together, and this past weekend was no exception.

Here is a video of all the animals we had with us this weekend, sans Susan's African Gray parrot named Ivan (he's not into having his picture taken).


video

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Legwarmers!


There is this great 80's cover band in northern Virginia called the Legwarmers.  I first heard about them five years ago when I was interning on the Hill, and I've wanted to check out a show ever since.  What's so fun about going to see the Legwarmers is that everyone dresses up, and there are some pretty incredible costumes, for sure.  

This past weekend, several of my girlfriends and I went to see the Legwarmers at the State Theatre in Falls Church.  It was so awesome!  I saw Madonnas, the Brat Pack, and even Dee Snider!  Not to mention the music - all the hits from the 80's that we know and love: Journey, the Go Go's, Michael Jackson ... It was awesome!

Again, I tried to capture our attempt at 80's garb; I'll let you judge for yourself!

Southern Prep

I have this great group of friend who love to throw theme parties.  A few weeks ago, in celebration of one of our friends who is moving south for grad school, we had a Southern Prep theme party.  Really, having a theme party is an excuse to show off how well you can dress the part.  I took some pictures of everyone who was there, and I hope we represented the south well.  See for yourself ...






Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amanda's Birthday


This is a shameless post to highlight a cake that I made for my friend Amanda's birthday.  I made it from a tweaked strawberry box cake.  The frosting was homemade, as were the chocolate covered strawberries and decorations.  It wasn't perfect, but it tasted great and everybody loved it!


After we had dinner and recovered from our sugar comas we went out dancing.  It was a great time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dad's 4th of July Visit

Last weekend Dad came in town for the holiday.  I'm so proud of myself because we did so much while he was here.  We saw two movies, went to a Nationals game, and toured historic landmarks.  

The highlight for me by far was visiting Mt. Vernon on Saturday.  We toured Washington's home then visited the Grist Mill (a legit, working mill from back in the day), which was such a treat.  


Dad would probably say his highlight was watching NASCAR on Saturday night in lieu of fireworks.  The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona was an awesome race, definitely a photo finish.  Jeff Gordon, my favorite, leads NASCAR drivers with most wins in restrictor plate races, but he didn't do too well that night (28th place in that race, though 2nd overall in points for the year).  At least he didn't DNF.  Tony Stewart won the race when Kyle Busch lost control in literally the last few seconds before they passed the checkers.  It was a race marked by several intense crashes and lots of jockeying by the drivers.  I really wished I had DVR that night.


It was awesome having Dad here and I missed him the instant I dropped him off at the airport.  I can't wait to see my family again at Thanksgiving!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Half Way There

Six months have gone by in 2009.  It's hard to believe it's already July.  My Dad is here visiting for the holiday and while I have a few moments here before we get started on our DC adventures I thought I'd do a little update on how my new year's resolutions are going.

Here they are:

1. Learn conversational Spanish: Does anyone have Rosetta Stone Spanish?? I'm looking for this on Craig's List or Ebay but I haven't gotten it yet because it's so expensive.
2. Take belly dancing lessons: I started taking classes a month ago and I LOVE it! I'll probably take another class after this one ends.
3. See a volcano when I'm in Hawaii in February: Well, I drove by one but I didn't go to the rim.
4. Run the Cherry Blossom 10 mile in 90 minutes: I ran it in 96 minutes - 2 minutes better than last year.  I'm going to try to run the Army ten mile in 90 minutes.
5. Train for the marine corps marathon and try to run it in October (or at least the half): The training is so hard.  I ran 13.1 miles a few weeks ago but I'm not sure if I'll make it to the race.  I've also gained 10 lbs since I started training - which I tell myself is muscle but I know I've been indulging my increased appetite a bit too much.  Stay tuned ...
6. Visit another country: Not yet
7. Continue my guitar lessons and learn a new song on the piano: I've come a long way on guitar; still working on piano
8. Visit Annalise in the summer so she can show me Moab: I didn't get to go because I had a family reunion in Texas the weekend that I scheduled my trip to Utah. I'm hoping to make it out there this fall.
9. Keep following where the Lord leads me spiritually, emotionally, relationally, geographically ... Always


That's the six month update.  Hopefully I can get good enough at belly dancing to record a little video and put it up here.  Don't look for that any time soon, though, my movements still resemble the Elaine dance too much to justify an audience.

Look for a blog about Dad's visit to DC some time next week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Comedy of Errors

I have this new friend, I'll call him RS. RS and I met at church and then he found me on facebook (thank you to my weird name). Last week RS emailed me and (assuming that I like country because of my Texan roots) invited me to the Rascal Flatts concert on Saturday night. I was going to politely decline, as I really only like old school country, but I figured what the heck? I need to broaden my horizons a bit and check out a new country band. Plus, I thought I had heard a couple of their songs on the radio and they were pretty good. A bonus, too, was that Darius Rucker was their opening act - AKA Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer. I mean, who doesn't love "I Only Wanna Be With You"?!

So RS picks me up Saturday (of course he had to wait on me because of course I wasn't ready) and we head off to the concert. They were playing at Nissan Pavilion which is a bit of a hike from where I live and the traffic gets pretty bad when there is a concert. It took us quite some time to get there and by the time we did, the concert had already started.

RS was hungry and wanted to grab some concessions before we sat down so we headed to the stand to see what goodies we could find. RS gave his order to the clerk, and honestly, I wasn't really paying attention to what he said, and then asked me what I wanted. I muttered something like, "I'm not really sure what I want" as I was looking for something appetizing on the menu.

I ordered a miller lite and then changed it to a water when I noticed the cashier plunk down two hot dogs. I thought to myself, hmm, that's odd. Why would he order for me? We don't really know each other that well. But I chalked it up to him taking the lead and being chivalrous enough to get something for me just in case I was hungry. Then he took both hot dogs and walked away. Again, I though, that's weird, he didn't ask what I wanted on my dog. Again, I didn't think too much of it when we sat down and started eating. We finished, he grabbed some other goodies and then we walked into the concert.

The concert was good - and it would have been better if I didn't have Miss Drunky McDrunkerson next to me dancing with a man half her age in a space that could only fit two people, and definitely was not made for spin your partner and do-si-do. I really liked the music and Darius Rucker was awesome! He's got a great voice and I loved that he played all the old Hootie hits with Rascal Flatts. I thought that RS was quiet during the show - but it's a concert and loud so you can't exactly carry on a conversation.

The show ended around 11 PM and RS and I headed out. We were chatting on the way home - just getting to know each other better. He's from Oklahoma, so it's nice to hang out with people who understand where you grew up and all the little idiosyncrasies that come with that.

I realized about halfway home that I had taken off my flip flops and had my feet up on the dash of his jeep so I quickly apologized for making myself at home and put my feet down.

He kindly said, "That's OK, no prob. Actually, you know what else you did?"

I replied, "No?"

He said, "You ate my hot dog."

I thought back... OH CRAP.

"I did, you're right!! Now that makes so much more sense!", I exclaimed.

He said, "Well, you said you didn't want anything so I just ordered my food and fixed them and when we sat down you grabbed one. I thought about saying something but I didn't want to make you feel weird."

I told him, "OMG, it would have been fine and I would have laughed (I was laughing then anyway) and I would have gotten you some more food. Now I feel like a total jerk for eating half your dinner! But I did think it was pretty crazy that you ate your hot dog in two bites, I remember thinking to myself, man, he's hungry!"

I felt like such an idiot but RS was pretty gracious about it. He said he wasn't sure if he should say anything and of course I said I was glad he did. Strangely, that seemed to ease things up a bit in the conversation; I guess there had been a hot dog shaped elephant in the room.

Folks, it's not my policy to eat other people's food, so don't be afraid to bring your dinner around me. Next time I'll pay more attention to who orders what and make sure to ask whether or not I'm eating someone's meal!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jazz in the Gardens

There are tons of free concerts in DC - especially in the summer.  Always on the lookout for new experiences, I decided to join my buddies at the sculpture garden this past Friday night for a free jazz concert.  The sculpture garden is near the National Mall in the heart of DC at the National Art Museum.  It's a lovely place - trees every where and beautiful sculptures all surrounding a large fountain.

The weather forecast for Friday night called for a slight chance of showers.  As I was headed into the city, the weatherman said most of the storms were outside DC proper, so I kept on my merry way under blue skies.

I arrived at the concert, where my friend Tom had already staked out a great spot underneath some large oak trees right next to the speakers, so we had great sound coming in as we poured the wine and broke into the cheese and crackers.  Some other friends joined in and I noticed that a few (myself included) decided to bring umbrellas - just in case. 

I was just pouring my second glass of wine when the band came over the speakers to say that they were taking a little break because, in their words, it was going to "spritz" on us a little, but not to worry, they'd be back.  So we all grabbed our little umbrellas, protected our blackberries and iPhones like they were children, and hunkered down to wait for the "little" storm to pass.

So it began to rain.  A little at first, then harder.  Then pea-size hail started coming down.  Then the rain turned into torrential downpour and the only thing that wasn't wet was the top of our heads, which were all still protected by our tiny umbrellas.  Then marble-size hail started falling and there was no way anything was going to be left dry.  So I turned to my friends and said, "It sounds like there are people in the fountain having a great time - let's just ditch the umbrellas and go be kids again!".  We turned around (our backs had been to the fountain up to this point) and sure enough, there were at least 100 adults playing in the fountain during the storm like it was 110 degrees outside and it was the only respite from the heat.  I threw my umbrella down, rolled my jeans up, and jumped in!

It was great!  The water was warm because that day had been a hot one, and it felt nice after having the hailstorm soak our clothes.  We only had a few minutes in the fountain when the rain stopped and the Mall cops told everyone to get out.  We were able to snap a couple of pictures before the threat of being arrested was really upon us.  

It was a grand time.  Some times it's nice to tap into your inner child and forget about things like hair, makeup, and oh crap how dirty is this water?!  Enjoy the pictures - I'm not sure how I'll ever get the smell out of my jeans. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rachel


Today I am blogging from Atlanta airport - otherwise known as the armpit of the US air travel industry.  Well, maybe that's a big harsh.  But it does seem that no matter where you're headed, you have to fly through Atlanta, and it's invariably delayed in getting flights in and out.  However, I'm in luck today because so far my flight is on time. 

But I digress.  The real purpose of my blog today is to dedicate a few paragraphs to my dear friend Rachel.  She's appeared in my blog numerous times and even has one herself - you can find it to the right by clicking on Reading Is Sexy.

Rachel and I met in the fall of 2007 when I joined a small group through McLean Bible Church.  She was leading the small group at the time and has since passed the torch on to me.  When I joined back in 07, I didn't get to know a lot of the girls very well, but over time I got closer to Rachel and she has proved to be a very dear and loyal friend to me.

When I went through a break up last year, Rachel came to my house and sat on my couch with me and just let me cry.  We've spent quiet moments in prayer and we've been on crazy adventures with the Aggies.  She is always up for exploring DC or whatever local band might be playing at Jammin Java and she has a healthy obsession with Coldplay (which I share).  Rachel introduced me to the world of Edward and Bella, for which I'll always be greatful.  While we are different in many ways, we both love the Lord and I have learned so much about myself by being friends with her.

Why all the accolades for this lovely lady?  Well, she has answered the call to become a missionary and is leaving today for England.  While I will miss Rachel while she's across the pond for the next couple of years, I know that she's doing God's work and I applaud her courage to answer the call to ministry.  I look forward to visiting her some time next year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CrackBerry

So I have a problem.  My name is Shani, and I'm addicted to my BlackBerry.  

A couple of weeks ago my fourth Pearl bit the dust (my 4th PDA in less than two years, might I add) so I hopped into Verizon to replace it.  Immediately.

With all the buzz about the iPhone, I decided that it was high time for me to jump on the touch-screen bandwagon and invest in RIM's offering: the BlackBerry Storm.  Those cool commercials where one jumps seamlessly from application to email to browser to camera to phone ... I was hooked.

After the inevitable haggling about whether or not I got the discounted two-year price, (perspective - two years is longer than any relationship I've ever had) I joyfully clutched my new cool phone in hand and explored all it had to offer.  I even downloaded Facebook on the way home and updated my status on how stoked I was to have a new toy.

Two weeks later ...

I stumble into Verizon, barely able to see straight through the frown lines that are now permanently etched into my forehead ... 

"Give me a new phone NOW!  This Storm is a piece of ****!"  I breathlessly exclaim to the cool Verizon sales guy, who casually looks me over and says, "Well, there is a new version of software available if you'd like to test it out---" .. "NO.", I cut him off. "Well, perhaps you need a few minutes with our technical supp--" ... "NO!" I say, exasperated.  "Look, dude, I've been using BlackBerries longer than you've been out of school so trust me when I say I know my way around technology.  I sell pacemakers for a living!  So just give me my refund and a Curve and I'll stop making a scene and telling everyone how crappy this phone is."

Realizing that I'm the definition of 'not going to be swayed', he points me in the direction of the cashier/refund/constantly look annoyed/Verizon person where I wait for what seems like the duration of Gone With The Wind for my transaction to be processed. 

The saddest part of this whole story is that for the past two weeks I've been annoyed.  Uncharacteristically snappy and irritable.  And the culprit?  That stupid waste of plastic and metal that was constantly glued to my hand and the recipient of copious profanities.  I realized this discouraging little fact on my way home, when for the first time in two weeks, I could type a text message without hitting 27 keys when trying to say "btw - be there n 5."  That was the fatal flaw in the Storm - touch screens will never be a superior substitute to the keyboard.  But how sad is it that something so stupid could have such a profound effect on my mood?!

Regardless, I will sleep well tonight.  And knowing, that at any point, should I wake up and find the need to do so, I could send an email, or text message or even post a comment on someones Facebook page that will be spelled correctly with proper punctuation, absolutely warms my heart.

My name is Shani, and I'm addicted to my BlackBerry.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Baptism

Baptism is a familiar concept in Christianity.  I was baptized when I was 10 years old and many of my friends were baptized as infants.  Every denomination has a different opinion on baptism and when it should take place but almost all agree it is an important threshold to cross on your spiritual journey.  It is the public display of an internal heart change. 

Even Jesus was baptized: 
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice cam from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased". Mark 1:9-11. (NIV)

Last night we had baptisms at our church.  Twelve people were baptized and among them was my friend Tom.  I could summarize his journey and what led him to his decision, but I won't do it justice, so the video below says in his own words why he chose to get baptized last night.


video

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Little Blog

I can't believe it's been more than a month.

I'll post as soon as I figure out how to load pictures onto my new MacBook Air. 

It's awesome and small and I'm definitely not cool enough to have one.  

Be jealous.  Be very jealous.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jeff turns 20-10!


Jeff's blue steel look

Last weekend my friend Jeff had a part to celebrate his 20-10th birthday ... Ok, ok, he turned 30. The party was at a single family home in Arlington affectionately referred to as "The Fun House". It was basically a frat house occupied by people who've been out of college for ... well, a while. It was a neat spread, complete with a dance floor, two kitchens, several bedrooms, and a wall of fame signed by everyone who had ever lived there. Jeff himself was an alumni with rights to have parties there whenever the need arose. Rachel came with me and we had a great time! Here are a few pictures ...

A rare appearance by Michael Jackson (complete with sequin glove)


Rachel and me - and we did bring sexy back ;-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

28?!


Yesterday, April 12th - Easter Sunday - 2009, I turned 28. It's amazing the amount of change that has happened in my life this past year.

Relationships beginning, ending, reconnecting ...
Running 10 miles - twice ...
Work being good, then bad, then really bad, then back to really good...
Visiting Texas, Utah, Massachusetts, Hawaii ...
Surfing, learning guitar ...
Leading small group with Rachel ...
Going out on good dates, bad dates, and dates I didn't know were dates ...
Watching hours and hours of movies and the countless conversations about the rodentia of northern Virginia (most recently Sunday night) with the aggies ...
And of course Coach and that wonderful discount.

I've learned that a lot can happen in a year; but if you're going the right direction, things should only get better. God forbid we reach the pinnacle of our personal development at this age and have the downward spiral to look forward to the rest of our lives.

I never would have pictured being here geographically, emotionally, spiritually, or relationally but I'm so happy things have worked out the way they have. I am so blessed.

Me at 28


My friends invested in some light reading for me (all political science theory) - and a beret!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Another One Down ...

I ran my third 10 mile race today and finished 1:36:44, almost a whole minute better than last year! I'm really proud since I had many interruptions in my training schedule.

I enjoyed the race, but I can barely walk tonight. My hips probably won't take much more running, but I'm hoping they'll make it through at least one more 10 mile race (the Army 10 miler in October) and the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October.

I always say that the next race will be my last but for some reason I keep signing up for more. There is something about being in the heat of the race and having all those people going towards the same goal that is very inspiring.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the Cherry Blossom Race but I suppose that's ok because it's not like I looked that great after running 10 miles!

My birthday is this Sunday, April 12, and I'm looking forward to having a great post with some pictures from my cocktail party next week.

Until next time :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Anne is preggo!

A couple of weeks ago Anne came in town and I got to spend the morning with her eating delicious pancakes and shopping for baby clothes. I'm not that into shopping - I prefer to buy. But a curious change took place when Anne found out she was having a little girl; I got really, really excited about buying cute baby clothes and little toys for her little one! It's amazing how many little dresses and shoes are out there for baby girls. I mean, they even had little Uggs! I'm sure that when I was a kid they didn't have all that stuff - or maybe I'm bitter because I had to wear my sister's hand-me-downs.

Regardless, we had a great time and I can't wait to see Anne again at her baby shower in May. She's due July 11th (I think!) and I'm so excited for her and Brian.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Texas

After enjoying paradise for a few days, I headed to a different kind of paradise to visit my folks in Houston, Texas. I was very excited to be home since I hadn't visited since last May. I had a great first day - ate some Mexican food, saw my cousins, and caught a movie with my brother. I even got Freebirds!


Thursday started out very unexpectedly. I am training for the Cherry Blossom 10-mile and even though I was on vacation, I still had to respect my training schedule (I even ran in Hawaii on the beach, but who can complain about that?). So Thursday morning, I woke up to go for my run in my parents subdivision, was nearing the end of my run, and SMACK! I fell after getting caught on some uneven sidewalk. Let me tell you, that is not a good way to end a three mile run. Basically, my face and right hand broke my fall.


My Angelina Jolie look

Fortunately, I was only a few blocks from home so I was able to make it there in time to be patched up by my folks (after sitting down a few times on the way for fear of passing out). With a fat lip and pretty intense wounds on my hand, I was out of commission most of Thursday and Friday. My parents were great; it was like being 8 again with them bringing me ice and neosporin. Everybody needs a little TLC every now and then!

this still hurts ...

I had made plans to meet up with some high school friends for dinner Saturday night at Mamacita's, a restaurant owned by Gina's family. It was great catching up with a few old friends. Fortunately, I had healed a bit and the swelling had gone down so I didn't look terrible in the pictures. I can't wait to see everyone again when I'm in town.

Marjie, me and John

Gina, me and Kelli

Sunday night I went to dinner with my Mom, step-Dad, sister and her fiance. I hadn't seen Lori since last May and it was awesome catching up with her and checking out her new bling (very good job, Bill!).

my sister, Lori, and me

I look forward to my next visit home. There is no place that feels quite the same as where you grew up.

Hawaii

Random parrots on Waikiki

Since I had such a crazy holiday season and needed some summer weather ASAP, I decided around the new year to take a beach trip. I had hoped that someone would be able to join me on my vacation, but Anne was taking a cruise with her husband and it wasn't a good time for my Mom so I decided to just go it alone.


near Diamondhead, I think

I have been on countless business trips by myself so traveling alone has never felt uncomfortable for me. However, when I told people I was making the trip to Hawaii by myself, there was a lot of 'Wow, really?' and 'That's so courageous of you'. I had no idea it was weird? I guess from the outside looking in, maybe it seems a little anti-social or introverted but I assure you, I met a lot of locals while I was there and saw the inside of my hotel room very little (mostly just to sleep and eat breakfast).

Kailua

Diamondhead

Regardless of my single-occupancy status, I had a wonderful time. Hawaii is hands-down one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. It's so beautiful, it's hard to believe it isn't man-made. The water is crystal-clear blue and the landscape is brilliantly colorful. I was relaxed and at home immediately after getting off the plane.


Kailua

My dear friend Regan lived in Hawaii for a few years and wrote down a list of things to do and see on my trip. Armed with my guidebook, a rented compact, and my blackberry's GPS, I ventured into the unknown. What I found was a people who are very friendly and laid back and an environment which constantly amazed. I tried the local fare and it was amazing: shrimp from the famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, Korean BBQ, and lots of fish. I laid out on Kailua and Sunset beach while watching the windsurfers catch some awesome waves. I even tried surfing, got up twice in two hours, and acquired a new found respect for "surfer dudes". I will surf again, and hopefully on the north shore.



The last night I was there, my friend Sean came to Waikiki on business so we went to dinner at a local burger joint. I imparted to him all my Hawaiian wisdom, gave him my guide book and map, and told him, "Don't stay in Waikiki on your down time". Oahu has so much more to offer.

Sean and the Delorean

On Waikiki beach

Before I left for the airport, I visited the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. It was a somber experience to see the destruction and know what happened there in 1941. I'm glad I was able to appreciate what our servicemen did then and continue to do now.



It was the perfect escape from the DC winter and I can't wait to visit again.