Coffee Talk

I am having a hard time forming more than a list these days... but there are a few things we would talk about if we were having coffee today. First I would ask you:  

How is your week going? What's the weather like where you are? What big things are going on in your life lately?

I am not really one for small talk, but I may start the conversation off by saying that it's finally raining here! We have been needing it so badly. Of course, this is literally just a drop in the bucket, but I will take it. The other good thing is that this hopefully means that it is snowing in the Sierras and I can soon do some skiing and other winter sports.

Next I would delve more into my week by saying how I sometimes really love working with all men (not as many emotions running wild, no line in the ladies room EVER) but sometimes men can be as bad or worse than women when it comes to being catty and/or talking about each other behind the other person's back! They sometimes whine so much I want to just smack them. That and one of them keeps stealing my supplies.... As much as they are a pain, I do like the group I work with. In fact, last night we all went to all-you-can -eat Korean BBQ and I  gorged myself on spicy pork and little side dishes!

I need a quick and effective fitness routine that I can do at home. Do you have any suggestions? My criteria is that I want it to be less than half an hour and I do not want to have to pay for it. This month, and even more so in December, is filling up with week day activities and I need something quick I can do in the gaps of the day.

I have not done any Christmas shopping, and I am behind on starting my Christmas cards. This year I am having trouble getting motivated to do projects. This also bleeds into my running life. I just can't muster up the energy to go running on the week days lately! With the holidays around the corner, this is not going to get any easier. I need to make a list/schedule and start checking it off.

I would love to do this multi day snowshoeing trip in Yosemite. Seeing the valley in the snow would be absolutely priceless! I have added it to my list of things I want to do, which is getting longer and longer each day!


Okay, your turn: Where do you want to travel to this winter?  Have you started your shopping yet? tell me what fitness routine you are doing for the winter!


Running, Eating, Travel

Happy Friday!

When I saw Amber's post about some of the things she was doing lately instead of blogging, I thought I would play along and do the same, especially since I have been a especially bad blogger this year! Sometimes life just gets in the way, I guess. Here are a few things that have been keeping me away from being a dedicated blogger.

Working - This is probably one of the biggest time takers in my life. We are always pretty busy, and to top it off, we stay late and then I often end up doing research for a little while at home as well. Top this off with commuting and you have a good portion of the week that is taken up by work related activities. In addition, my boss recently asked me to take on more responsibility in my position and I accepted, so the workload will only get heavier, not lighter.

Baseball - This is over now, but if I look back on the last month, baseball took up a good chunk of time. I watched a few games at a bar near my work, went to my brother's house for another and watched a few at home. Now that it's over, I am not really a big football, basketball or hockey fan, so unless it's for a social outing, I will not be watching a lot of sports for several more months.

Walking - I have been trying to finally get together with friends for those walks we always talked about doing. It's a great way to get some exercise AND catch up with a friend at the same time. Sometimes we even go for a snack afterwards, so it's a mini girl's (or boys and girls) night out, fitness style.

Reading - I feel like I have not finished that many books lately, but I have started a lot. I decided that if I got half way through a book and I was not really feeling it, I would put it down. This has been happening to me a lot lately! I think in October I put down 2 books and in September, maybe 2 or 3. It feels a bit like a cop out or a waste of time, but again, is better than reading the whole book and not liking it! However, it makes it so my reading tally per month is not as high as it could be.

Cooking/Eating - I have been making a lot of easy "to go" dishes, like egg fritata or baked oatmeal or soup, that I can make a big dish/batch of and can take with me to work and eat on the go. Since I am saving time eating these dishes, I am making it up by eating a lot of after dinner snacks. I need to get a handle on this, as the holidays are fast approaching, but I do love a nice handful of mixed nuts (or two) after dinner. I blame my parents for this, as they would sometimes have trail mix for dinner if nobody else was around.

Running - I have not been doing a lot of week day running, maybe 15 miles or so, but during the weekends, I have been crewing and pacing for friends who are running ultra races. This entails going to the place, in my case Phoenix one weekend and Sacramento the next, and running overnight for about 8 - 12 hours with my running friend. This brings me to my next thing on the list...

Travel - For the past several weekends, I have not been home much. This has either been due to the above pacing duties, which took me away for two weekends, or for other fun outings, like when I drove to Auburn to meet my parents for a hike, or before that, I went to Santa Rosa to hang with the broski. This coming weekend, I have plans to do a run with some friends north of San Francisco, brunch with Grandma and a then hike with the broski in the wine country the next day. Once again, running, eating, travel....

Socializing - I don't consider myself very social, but lately I have even been doing things on weekdays after work, which is crazy, as I am generally a week day hermit. I met a long time friend for a much needed catch up session (with a run! It was a perfect combo). I have an after work all you can eat Korean BBQ planned with the lads at work and a Hunger Games premier event with some colleagues next week.  This too, will only get heavier as the holidays near. I already have three Christmas parties to go to, not including our family one, or the weekend before Christmas when one of my oldest friends will be visiting. Things are ramping up and the calendar is getting full.

Holiday stuff / Crafting - Nope, I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet, but I have started working on my Christmas cards! The other thing that will be done soon is the grand Christmas cookie baking and decorating extravaganza!

Organizing - This has been on my To Do list for ages, but I have been whittling away at it slowly. I am trying to organize my computer, make sure all my photos are backed up, clear some space off my computer, back up my phone etc. Also, I have been trying each month to get rid of a bag of clothes and to NOT buy any more. In addition, it's almost time to do a deep clean and dust and purge, but I will probably wait until after Christmas for that. One of the funny things with having a roommate, is that every time I throw something away, she buys something new! It's a constant game of organizing and reassessing!

Gardening - Winter is almost here and the garden is an overgrown mess. I have been getting rid of the old weeds and veggie masses and prepping the beds for next year's crop. We will not plant for about 5 more months, but it still feels good to clear out the garden and get it looking tidy for next year. 

Oh! A couple of "things I WISH were on this list" are: getting a haircut, getting a massage, writing in my journal, hiking in Tahoe (or skiing, I am not picky), going up to my parent's house, doing more strength training and/or yoga, reading more, knitting more, taking more photos... and many more.

What are YOU doing instead of blogging?


Looking Back: October

November is well under way, and like many have said before, October was a full and busy month, which of course made it go by quickly!

Reading: October was not a great reading month; I finished two books, which I liked, and started two books, which I could not get into and did not end up finishing. The two books I read were Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, which was a fun book about the juxtaposition between computers and books, and And The Mountains Echoed, which was good but not as good as A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Running: I am having issues with my Garmin; first the strap fell off and now I am having trouble uploading it to Garmin Connect, but I think my mileage was around 170 miles for the month of October. I had one 50 mile race, but other than that, I think I did not have a run longer than about 15 miles. It feels nice to take it easy a bit, but I do feel my waistband getting a bit tighter! This is what happens when you are still eating as if you are running long runs every weekend (aka candy and snacks right before bedtime!) but you are not running as much.

Near Sonora Pass

Travel: I met up with my Mom twice (along with Dad, brother and his lady once) in Auburn, where we took a nice hike and swim on the Western States Trail and then had brunch in the town. For those who don't know, the Western States is a 100  mile race from Squaw Valley (Tahoe) to Auburn, and it was fun to take my family on the trail and show them a few miles of it. We also swam in the American river twice, the last time being on the 19th of October. It was not very warm, but it sure was fun to be able to swim in October! Auburn is a cute little mining town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas and we found a great breakfast (brunch) place where we ate 4 egg (I know!) omelets with pancakes and biscuits and gravy.

Schat's Bakery
I also went to Santa Rosa and hung out with Broski and the lady a couple of times. First was the day after my 50 mile race, and Broski punished me by making me hike straight up a hill in 90 degree weather. The other time was during the World Series when I went to their house to have dinner and watch the game. They came down to the city for game 6 (the one that we lost) as well. Broski has been doing harvest (he is a wine maker) and so has been working 24/7, so it was nice to see him and his lady a few times!

Lastly, my Dad, brother and I made a trip to Mt. Whitney, where we had a great time hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which we consider our "backyard". We had a great time in Lone Pine afterward, wandering around and watching the World Series in a town where most of the locals are Braves fans. We also stopped in Bishop at the Schats Bakery for some sheepherder bread and pastries on our way out, as well as stopping near the Sonora Pass for a quick run/hike to stretch our legs after being in the car for a while.

In addition to all of that, there were many week night activities in October, which made it feel as if I didn't get much of a break. I am currently reading the book Quiet, and in it, it talks about how introverts need to be alone to recharge. I definitely do! Hopefully November will have a few more days for "recharging"!

How was your October? What is your favorite thing about Autumn? Have you read any good books lately?


Orange Friday

This week was a short and fast one, as I had Monday off. It was nice to have a four day week, especially with some of thing things that have been going on around here, but it really did make for a busy and quick week!

The high of my week was...I will say it in a photo. What an exciting week! This photo is from 2012, but today, we will have another parade. It has been a very interesting season.

Giants Parade 2012

The low of my week was...this week I didn't really have a low! I guess I would say that I am disappointed in the way that the Whitney hike went on one hand, but on the other hand I had a really good time with my brother and Dad, so it's not really that much of a low really. It was very cold and windy and my brother had a bit of sickness so the hike didn't quite go as planned.

The favorite thing I read was....Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. What a fun and quirky book!

My favorite thing I heard was...a few episodes (podcast) of Freakanomics. I listen while I run and it is a fun way to pass the time.

The best thing I spent money on was...The trip to Whitney...gas, food, beer and lots of pastries! It was an 8 hour drive each way, but was totally worth it!

My plans this weekend include... a trip to Phoenix to pace/crew some friends of mine at the Javelina Jundered (100 miles) race! It will be a good time, as it is at a park where we will set up a tent and it is a multi loop course, so we will be able to see them a lot and to run as many loops as needed with them.

How was your week? What plans do you have this weekend? Do you know what a Javelina is?


End of Week Musings

And then it was Friday again. I always prefer a job where the time goes by too fast over one where it is too slow. However, lately, its like Monday and Friday are the only two days of the week! If only Saturday and Sunday were really long, it would not be too bad, I guess. I am still learning a lot of new things each day at work, and this, coupled with the regular day to day, makes the time just fly by.
The high of my week was... after work festivities, usually involving the Giants game. On Tuesday, I met up with some coworkers at a bar near the office; on Wednesday I had "Sunday night dinner" and the game at my brother's house. Both nights were a lot of fun, even though the Giants did not win both games!

The low of my week was...lack of working out. I am feeling a bit of blah lately and have been snacking too much and not exercising enough. It's like a long taper without actually training for anything. It's a vicious circle, as not working out makes me feel like eating snacks and eating snacks makes me feel like not working out.

The favorite thing I read was.... a poem that my Mom wrote when she was in New York. She gave it to my Dad and he shared it with us. I think it's sweet that they still do things like that for each other. The best thing is that my Dad may have written one back. I will have to ask him about it this weekend.

My favorite thing I heard was... the song "Baby Got Back" on the radio. I was in the car at the time and I turned it way, way up and got my groove on by dancing and singing along while waiting at a red light. What a great way to put some pep back into my step. LA face with an Oakland booty!

The best thing I spent money on was... gas. I don't really drive very often, so when I do, its usually for a good reason, and so buying gas = an adventure! This week I used it to go to my brother's house for a Giants game / birthday bash / dinner. It was well worth both the money and the time!

My plans this weekend include...hiking Mt. Whitney with my brother and Dad. We did it all together in 1995, when I wore flannel pants (it was the style then!) and my brother's old Reeboks. I don't remember having any altitude sickness but I do remember it being really cold at night (in September) and being really happy to reach the top. I wonder how it will be nearly 20 years later... (that kind of made me feel old just knowing that I can say "20 years later" and it not mean that I was a baby that long ago)

Mt. Whitney -- 1995

How was your week? What are you doing this weekend? What did you wear hiking when you were a kid?


Friday Fun Day

Happy Friday everyone! I hope everyone has fun plans for the weekend. Here's a quick recap of the week.

The high of my week was...the Giants making it to the World Series! Let's go Giants, let's go!

The low of my week was...the volatility of the market this week. Although I did take advantage of it and I bought a few more shares of stock. It can be fun, but also stressful at times!

The favorite thing I read was....And The Mountains Echoed, a book by Khaled Hosseini. It was not quite as good as A Thousand Splendid Suns, but it was a really good read and it gave me a bit more insight on life in Afghanistan.

My favorite thing I heard was... this commencement speech from Navy Seal William McRaven, about why the little things, such as making your bed every day, do matter.

The best thing I spent money on was... nothing. I actually did not really spend any money this week. I guess if you count last weekend, I went out for lunch with my brother, and that was fun! However, during the week, I really only spend money on commuting and groceries, but this week I did not even go grocery shopping!

My plans this weekend include... meeting up with my parents for lunch and maybe a walk or hike on Sunday, and probably a nice long run and a bunch of much needed errands on Saturday.

How was your week? What do you have planned for the weekend?


The City

My Dad has been working on a temporary assignment in New York City for some time and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him, as well as one of my favorite cities, before his assignment was over. To top it all off, my Mom was game too, so we decided to all meet up in the city and do a bit of exploring.

The great thing is that my parents have both been there long enough that they were not as interested in the touristy side of things, so we did what I love, which is to wander around the neighborhoods exploring, eating and people watching. Also, they have both been doing a fair bit of walking and so they had built up a good stamina. In addition, they have figured out the subway system and enjoy utilizing the public transportation options. As you may know, my parents live in a very rural, mountainous area where there are only about 12 neighbors in a 50 mile radius, so it was fun and interesting to see them in a city setting. My Mom has discovered a new-found love for blogging, and was snapping photos of everything along the way.

I arrived very late on Friday, after taking an after work flight from San Francisco. I thought this (and the three hour time difference) would cause me to sleep in a bit, but we were up the next day around 6 and were ready for some action! We started by meeting in Central Park. Dad and I ran there and Mom walked. After meeting up, I went for an additional few miles while they headed down toward the breakfast place. Later, I met them in Hell's Kitchen at the Galaxy Diner, which was okay, but was nothing special.

Who you gonna call?

Afterward, we headed down to the Staten Island ferry, them via subway and me via the East river. We took the ferry over to Staten Island, which is free, and affords a really nice view of the Statue of Liberty and the city skyline. After we got back to Manhattan, we wandered up toward SoHo. We wanted to get a nice pastrami sandwich at Katz' deli, which is where one of the scenes in When Harry Met Sally was filmed. However, it was overcrowded and overpriced, so we walked over to Chinatown and had a really great pho at Pho Grand.

Mural along High Line

On Sunday, we got up and headed toward the High Line. Once again, I ran and my parents took the subway. The funny thing is that I beat them every time! We walked along the High Line to Chelsea and stopped for a bagel and coffee, before heading down through the meat packing district to Tribeca, where we were going to see the Ghostbusters firehouse. It looked just like it did in the movie! Next, we headed over to Brooklyn and took a really nice walk along the promenade and over to Dumbo, where we rode the merry go round and ate yummy pizza.

Brooklyn Promenade

After a shower and a small break for me, I headed back out to meet Mom and Dad in the upper East side, where we were planning on having dinner. However, it was pouring rain and it took me a long time to make my way up to see them. I even had to buy a $5 umbrella from the guy on the street! I finally got up to meet them, and we wandered around the upper East side to the Heidelberg, where we ate pig knuckles and sauerkraut and drank liters of beer. I think with this, I sufficiently tired the parents out, because as soon as we got home, everyone pretty much passed right out!

Manhattan Bridge

Monday was Labor Day, and we got up, went for a run, and then met up with a coworker of Dads (and a former coworker of mine) for breakfast at The Comfort Diner, where I had the most delicious lemon ricotta pancakes! To walk off the pancakes, we headed back over to the East River and then just sat in the shade and watched the boats on the river for a while.

Run / Walk Schedule

That night I took a bus to the Newark airport where I flew to Germany, but that is a story for another day!

What is your favorite thing to do in a big city? What is your favorite city to visit? Do you ever split up your runs into smaller pieces?