Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reporting Not Much Has Changed

Right now I'm at home in Chicago and staying at my parent's house as per usual. As always (this never gets old), I love taking a trip down memory lane and going through my old drawers and finding new (old) stuff in there. Diaries, pictures, collages, and report cards. Yes, report cards. This time around, I found my childhood report cards from grades K-5. I laid them out on my bed (not my childhood bed...wahhhhh) and poured over them. What surprised me most about them was that they were all handwritten. Hand-freaking-written. Yikes. Big applause to all the teachers who did report cards before computers really hit the scene. I've got mad respect for you. Even more than I had before. I think its annoying now doing it on the computer entering the grades,  typing the comments, but writing them out for each child must have been a HUGE pain in the ass. Huge.

Monday, July 28, 2014

On the Road to PR City

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." This is obviously a totally famous quote that I'm sure everyone has heard before. We can all relate to it on one level or another, right? This is especially true for fitness and weight loss routines.

In January, I made a declaration of certain goals I wanted to achieve in the year 2014. They weren't resolutions because those are Most of them were fitness goals and some more long term than others. One of those goals was to run a sun 4:30 marathon. For some people, this is a snails pace and they would die of embarrassment over it but I'm realistic of my running abilities and anything under a four hour marathon is really not in the cards for me unless I make running my entire life and even with that, I don't know if this body can do that. And I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with is not PRing this October when I run the Chicago the marathon. I don't care if I run a 4:29:59, but it needs to be faster than a 4:30. It needs to be.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Pacific NW (and San Fran) by the numbers...

This trip out west all started because of a wedding and ended almost two weeks later;  almost 635 miles away (with many more miles in between). I had an amazing time and if I could go back and do it again, I would. Obviously. I wanted to just keep going,  I cannot believe how much ground I covered and all the things I saw and experienced in such a short amount of time. Traveling sure suits me well.

Last year was my first really big trip and it was out of the country. It really set the groundwork for all my future trips. I was by myself and seeing all new places for the first time. That was a trip was the time of my life and will never be topped. However, being able to go away for two weeks and travel the United States and a bit of Canada this summer did just fine and I still had an incredible time.  Below is a bit of an overview of the last two weeks. Pacific Northwest +San Fran by the numbers if you will...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I love ballparks

Day 13. Wah, wah, wah. It's my last day on vacation. Sure, I have a two week trip to Chicago coming up that I am obviously looking forward to, but a trip like this, seeing all new types of places, is a different kind of trip and I am sad its all over. I did, however, want to make the best of my last morning in San Francisco before heading back to New York City. Since I hadn't run yet here, I had to get it done. I have gotten in probably close to 80 miles in my four days in San Francisco but none of them running. I have walked so much since being here that my legs have been tired and sore. However, after only walking like thirteen miles each of the last two days, I felt that I had to get in a run this morning and that I did. Because San Francisco is so hilly, I had to figure out a way to run here with missing the hills if possible. I also knew that I wanted to be able to run to somewhere that I haven't been to yet and see something new here. I looked at the map and decided I'd run to AT&T Park where the Giants play. I love seeing different sports stadiums and I passed this one on the way into the city days ago in the cab but it seemed so far away. After looking at the map, I realized it wasn't that far at all and I was going to run there.

Two colleges, One Day= Awesomeness

Day 12. This was my last full day of vacation and it's always bittersweet. I hate having to stop exploring new places, having new experiences, and creating awesome memories. At the same time, I'm ready to sleep in my own bed, shower in my own shower, and do some laundry. However, if I had the choice to keep traveling, I most def would. I love traveling. Period.

It's been awesome tracking how far I've walked over this trip, but for the last two days my FitBit band has been on its last legs and this morning it finally snapped. I guess I just literally wore it out with all my walking. Well, not really. I think the oil in my sunscreen wore it down because the same thing happened to it when I was in Florida in February. I was smart enough (naturally) to get some scissors and cut the bad and made it fit inside the key holder in my crops. Perfect.  Luckily it seemed to sense my steps just as well as on my wrist. Once I settled the FitBit debacle, I went online to HopStop directions for my two mini excursions for the day. I was going to head to Berkeley, home of the Braverman clan of Parenthood (duh!) and of course the University of California and then to Stanford University in Palo Alto. I love walking around college campuses and was so excited for this.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Didn't Want to Escape Alcatraz

Day 11. Another busy day in the City on the Bay. Today's agenda featured the tourist attraction I was most looking forward to in San Francisco, Alcatraz. I bought my tickets many weeks ago to assure I would be able to get here and I was super psyched. On the way there I wanted to stop at Pier 39 again to see the sea lions since they weren't out when I went on Thursday and had heard they are out earlier in the day. I arrived at the pier at around 9:15 am and there were nine sea lions. Nine freaking sea lions. That's it. I was disappointed but at least I got to see a few. Better than nothing. I had purposely gotten up earlier this morning to catch them and they weren't there. Bummer. I had planned to watch them a while and then head to catch my boat to Alcatraz. However, since there were none to watch I decided to kill time the best way I know eat. Duh. I decided to walk back over to Boudin Bakery to get a piece of real San Franciscan sourdough. I got a roll and some butter and snacked on that. I love carbs.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

No More Bridge for Me

Day 10. I had a very "New York" morning for myself in my first full day in San Francisco. I knew there was a Soul Cycle here and I had been jonesing to go so I decided to sign up and take a morning class. My concierge printed me out walking directions to the Soul in the Cow Hollow neighborhood and and I was on my way over there. It was like a 40 minute walk which was totally fine because I got to see more of the city and it was a good warm-up too. The classes here are $4 cheaper than in NYC but I had to rent my shoes and I bought a water too so it all evened out to New York prices. (Plus in NYC I try and take the hour classes if I can to really get my money's worth but there were only the regular 45-minute classes that fit my schedule so I took one of those.) As it pretty much always is, Soul Cycle is a great way to start the day. Afterwards, I treated myself to a fantastic juice from Pressed Juicery. I had heard about it before and my juice was so refreshing and hydrating. A spin and juice morning is always a good morning. In NYC it usually Soul or Revolve followed by Juice Press or Juice Generation. This took the place just fine!

Monday, July 14, 2014

More F'ing Hills!

Day 9. Last night was an early night because of the exahaustion from all of LL and my escapades in Vancouver. I slept like a freaking baby and it was fabulous. I didn't wake up until like 8:45 which is a ridiculously late for me and just laid around a bit before taking one little last walk around Seattle before catching a cab to the airport. It was just my luck that a very nice orthopoedic surgeon who was staying in my hotel was also going to the airport and he asked if I wanted to split the cab with him. Heck yes I did. If only he was 30 years younger and unmarried it would have been even better, but just getting the split the fare was good enough for me I guess. The Seattle airport security was so bizarre in the fact that we didn't have to take our shoes off or take anything out of our bags when they went through the x-ray machine. No one did. There were no bins, no nothing. It did not make me feel too safe but I guess they know what their doing. I made it here all in one piece so all is good.  When I landed in San Francisco I got a taxi and went right to my hotel. Sixty freaking dollars (!!!) later, I was there. I couldn't believe how expensive the cab ride was and was even more grateful that I had split my earlier fare.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jumping Salmon!

Day 8. This was our last full day in Seattle and it all started with a bus ride once again. Running on three hours of sleep, LL and I begrudging woke up to our alarm to get ready and cab it over to the bus station. Our very short stay in Vancouver was over so soon. We boarded the bus once again trying to claim seats all to ourselves but with this bus making a stop on the way there, it looked unlikely but we succeeded. When we got to the Canadian border we had to once again take everything off the bus and go through customs. Once again, we were able to talk them into to stamping our passports when they weren't doing it for others. Some manners and some charm can get you places sometimes. The previous nights escapades of drinking and eating late night McDonalds didn't exactly do my stomach any favors and I didn't want I have to poop in the bus bathroom so thankfully we were stopping in Bettingham again where I made my way to a grocery store and used their bathroom and finally eat and drink something. I wasn't hungover at all; just super tired and dehydrated and on a bus. At the Bettingham stop more people were getting on so LL and I faked sleep so no one would sit next to us and then we pretended not to hear the announcement if any seats were open. Ooooops. Did I mention how polite and charming we were to the customs agents? That should offset our selfishness on the bus seat front. But you tell me you wouldn't have done the same thing??? And we were most def not the only ones.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'll be back!

Day 7. Off to Canada, Ay. Home of poutine, mapleleafs, "aboots, Robin Sparkles, and I am sure so much more. Of course on the bus ride there, all I could think of was the "Blame Canada" song from South Park. It was playing in my head over and over again. But seriously, I have only heard positive things about Vancouver so I was excited to see its beauty. In order to head to our northerly neighbors LL and I were up super early to catch a 6:30 am bus. We had to schlep all of our stuff to the bus stop (a cab ride wasn't worth the money) and then show our passports as we got on the bus. The bus ride made one stop in upstate Washington on the way to Vancouver and then got to the Canadian border. With free Wi-fi on the bus that actually was pretty solid this time around I was able to watch some Ladies of London on my computer which was excellent as per usual. I also downloaded A Fault in Our Stars on my phone too so I could read that on the ride and the plane if the Wi-fi craps out. Plus I really want to finish it so I can see the movie when I get home. Anyway, back to the trip at hand here.  When we reached the border, we had to have our customs cards filled out and had to exit the bus with all of our belongings to go through customs. The last time I was in Canada was almost nine years ago when I was a camp director at the 92nd Street Y and we took the kids to Montreal for a week. That trip was actually the reason I had to get a passport in the first place and it never even got stamped! The nerve. This time around I wanted that Canada stamp. LL and I asked our bus driver if we would get our passports stamped here and he said if we asked they most likely would but they normally don’t. We were the last ones in line and I politely and quietly (and cutely I may add) asked if they’d stamp our passports and they did! Wahoo. It’s the little things in life that make me happy. It was back on the bus another hour and we finally hit Vancouver and cabbed it to our hotel so we could begin our day.

Friday, July 11, 2014

More Donuts

Day 6. In our first full day in Seattle, there was a lot to be seen and do. Or so we thought. Apparently, just like Portland, Seattle doesn’t have that many tourist attractions to see and do. Either that or LL and I just do everything really fast. Check, check, and check. Even with a late start, we were done with our entire agenda for Seattle in less than 2.5 hours.

The day started as I like to do in new cities…with a run. This time it was along the Puget Sound, which was pretty great. Running parallel to the water is my kind of run. And not having humidity out here in the Pacific Northwest has been so amazing with the running and all the site-seeing. My run was along the boardwalk and up on a path that continued after. On this run I just realized how lucky I am 1) to be able to travel like this and 2) that I like to go running even on vacay because I not only get an early lay of the land but I also get to see thing I may not normally see because of where my runs take me. Also running with Mt. Ranier in the background was just picturesque. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I will never get sick of a mountain backdrop. Oh yeah, and I passed the location where Real World Seattle filmed. Equally exciting obviously. I knew the second I passed it that it was the place. I could just picture Steven tossing Irene’s teddy bear in the water. Oh man, such a good season. I need to find out how I can go back and watch it all over again. Real World Portland too for that matter since I am now familiar with both cities. When I got back to the hotel I even double-checked that I was right. Pier 70 baby. I impress myself sometimes with my useless knowledge of reality TV that I have obtained over time. It’s truly a gift. After the run I had to hike back up the brutal hills of Seattle to the hotel and get ready to tackle to the day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Real World reminder!

Days 4-5. Our last night in Portland, LL and I went on a mini "hipster hunting" bar crawl. We started our night at a bar/restaurant by our hotel where a friend of mine from NYC (who now lives in Portland) met us out for some drinks. While in Portland, being the land of craft beer, I knew I couldn't simply order my usual Miller Lite. This bar had over 100 beers on tap so I decided to try something new. When in Rome, right? I started with a Pear Cider and then moved to an Apricot Ale. Both were delicious. And of course LL and I took advantage of the Happy Hour food specials for yet another cheap dinner. From there, my friend drove us over the bridge to a part of Portland we had not yet been to. This was more the local/non-touristy part of town and the hipster part. LL and I had been disappointed thus far of our severe lack of hipster sightings that Portland is so well known for. I had seen a dude in a extremely low V-neck and some jorts, but nothing else too exceptional on the hipster front. My friend assured us where he was taking us would be excellent for hipster spotting and it didn't disappoint. It felt very "Williamsburg-y" so we were all set. LL and I decided to have a beer and people watch at each bar we went to and after a few bars took a cab back to the hotel where we finally went to sleep. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Beards and Backpacks

Days 3-4. The whole reason I came out west was for my friend's wedding and man, it was beautiful. The wedding was at her friend's parent's house and the grounds of the house looked amazing. The landscaping, the flowers, the set-up...everything looked gorge. I have never been to an outdoor wedding before and this one was just right. It was a small wedding which made it more intimate too. We drank and danced all night and then myself, C, and another friend tried to go out afterwards because we weren't ready for the night to end after the wedding did. Well you know what? A Sunday night in Portland after a long weekend apparently is a tough night to go out. After asking some locals and doing some walking around ourselves, we finally found a bar that seemed halfway decent. Turns out, as soon as we walked in, we realized it wasn't and we were totally out of our element. One, we were still in our wedding clothes and two, we didn't have beards, we didn't have tons of visible tattoos, and we didn't have large backpacks. The crowd was super Portland-y if you will. We had one drink, played a round of Naked photo hunt and called it a night.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Keeping Portland Weird

Days 1-3. No European trip for me this summer, but that doesn't mean I'm not traveling. Instead of #rayrayseurovacay of last summer, this summer its a shorter version, the #rayraysPacNWvacay. Although I know nothing will compare to last summer because of it's overall awesomeness, I am still super jazzed for this trip. Anytime I can go somewhere I've never been before, it's just so cool to me. I just love exploring new places and seeing new things. I am probably not going to document every day like last trip, but def want to do so for at least each location I travel to, if not more! Stay tuned my friends, stay tuned.