No Wine-ing

About six weeks ago, I decided that I was going to run the Huntsville half in September and the Portland Marathon in October .

As part of kicking off training, I decided that I would stop drinking — for a whole 30 days! Practically, unheard of. Seriously, I really love my evening glass of wine.

Today is day 27.

Every day of the first week was the hardest day; it got easier after that. Zach and I went camping and I wasn’t even tempted when he cracked open a beer by the fire. We went to New Mexico for a weekend and I flawlessly made it through while everyone else enjoyed beer, wine and of course, margaritas.

I don’t know when unwinding in the evening became synonymous with a glass of wine. I don’t know when adding that bottle of wine to the grocery store became a part of the routine. I think a large part of it is moving to Seattle. I’ve been spending a lot more time indoors (thanks, rain!) and a lot more time at home in the evenings watching TV (thanks, not having that many friends!).

I didn’t think that the amount of wine I was having was hurting my life, but I did think that I as I started training it couldn’t hurt to cut back either. It is pretty common knowledge that wine, or any form of alcohol, interferes with your sleep patterns and I also read as part of training preparation that alcohol slows the rate of your muscles’ recovery.

So, back to today — day 27. After a long week at work, I almost gave up. But, thanks to the work I have done over the last month I know that a long run will go a lot further (and farther!) in the long run ;).

Santa Fe and an Airport Adventure

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A couple of weeks ago we made a last minute decision to go to New Mexico for my cousins’ high school graduations. We weren’t planning on going, but my older brother kept asking me. I couldn’t say no. I miss everyone.

And, Zach has never been to New Mexico to see my family, something that was definitely long overdue.

In short — we had the greatest time. It was great being with my family. And, Gabby, my cutest niece in the world, is growing up so fast! She is talking like crazy and is as spunky as ever. She calls me Aunt Weeet — with a high pitched E and a very soft T at the end.

The trip was really wonderful. We explored Santa Fe, and went to Meow Wolf an, “art amusement park, built by an arts collective called Meow Wolf and largely funded by a surprising benefactor: George R.R. Martin.” It was fun. I had never heard of it before, but Zach’s friend highly recommended it.

Since the trip went off without a hitch, it goes without saying that something had to go wrong on the way home.


We got to the airport early, after spending the day downtown with my cousin Stella. But, about five minutes before our plane was going to load, the attendant announced that the flight had been delayed. I instantly started worrying since our layover time was only about 45 minutes; so we were cutting it close anyway.

We spent an anxious hour waiting for news about the plane and wondering whether or not we would make it back to Seattle that night. I thought about emailing my boss to let the team know that I wouldn’t be there in the morning, but decided to hold off until we got to Phoenix. We decided, if anything, we would spend the night there to give ourselves a chance of making it to Seattle in the morning.

When we finally got on the Phoenix flight we saw that our Seattle flight had been delayed as well. We had the tiniest hope that we might make it back that night! When we landed, Zach checked where the flight to Seattle was taking off — D9.

As soon as we got off the plane in Phoenix we took off running to make the flight. I swear, we ran all the way across the airport. It took forever!

As we neared the D terminal it became pretty clear that there was no one there; there wasn’t even a D9. I looked at Zach, “Which gate did you look at…?” He looked very confused.

I pulled up our flight information on my phone, D9 was the ARRIVAL gate. In Seattle. We were supposed to be in the A terminal for takeoff — back across the airport. I nearly collapsed in exhaustion. It was way past my bedtime and I had just run across the airport to a catch a flight at a gate that didn’t exist.

Begrudgingly, and near tears, I grabbed my bags to run all the way back across the airport. I was ready to be done. Screw getting back to Seattle. I could sleep on the airport floor.

As we ran a few helpful, and highly amused, airport workers shouted to us, “The shuttle is coming!” We kept running and a few minutes later one of those zippy airport cars came by to pick us up. Gratefully, we sat down. Only to spend the next five minutes listening to the driver as he told all about what he had seen, “I knew you were going the wrong way!” he said laughing. And looking at Zach, “I saw you take your flip flops off so you could run faster!”

Apparently, he had to make another drop off before he could pick us up … so there was no way he could have prevented the spectacle we had made. All he could do was watch and then tell us all about it. Lovely.

Long story short, we made it home about 3am and I was back to work that morning, groggy and grumpy.




 

A Weekend in Hell

After two busy weekends, one with a quick Canadian getaway and the other an eventful weekend in New Mexico, I really just wanted some time to relax.

I got that this weekend, but not in the way that I wanted. Friday went really well, we celebrated a friend’s birthday downtown. Zach had quite a few drinks, and I was the designated driver. Aside from a sip of prosecco for a birthday toast, I didn’t drink at all.

So, when I woke up incredibly sick Saturday morning I felt robbed. The minute I opened my eyes I had a throbbing headache. I tried to take a couple of Aspirin and go back to sleep, but it didn’t even touch the ache. It dawned on me that I was dealing with a migraine — the WORST kind of headache. I get them one to six times a year, depending on stress levels, amount of sleep, etc. Typically, I can tell if I have triggered one or if one is coming and head it off.

This one shocked me though. I have been feeling a little “off” for about a week and a half, but for the most part have really been taking care of myself. I have barely been drinking (i.e. not at all) since I started marathon training three weeks ago and have been eating healthy. The only real issue was how late our flight got in last weekend and maybe a few rough nights when I couldn’t fall asleep.

By 10am on Saturday, I was drenched in sweat and had thrown up from the pain. Luckily, Zach took care of me as best he could. While I was curled up in bed, he looked up what other painkiller would be OK to take with Aspirin. While I was in a haze, he slipped a couple of Tylenol in my mouth and had me take a sip of water. The combo of the two painkillers worked and I was able to sleep until about three in the afternoon.

I woke up feeling better; meaning that my head no longer hurt, but my body felt like it had been hit by a semi-truck. Anyone who has had a migraine knows what I’m talking about. They leave you feeling drained, exhausted and weak.

So, yeah. After a couple of crazy weekends I finally got some rest. Forced rest. If there is any takeaway from this blog post, it is that the body has limits and when we don’t listen to them, when we just keep going and going — there are prices to pay.

x_x

Happy Birthday Panicked Panda!

One year ago I started this blog with a post about a trip I went on with my dad. And here I am, one year later, returning from our annual daddy-daughter trip!

This year instead of going to Tempe, Arizona for the Pat Tillman run, we went to one of the satellite runs in San Jose. We decided since we were traveling anyway, we would cut two carrots with one knife and go see my grandparents in California!

They live only about an hour away from from where the race was held, so it was easy to do both in one very short weekend!

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but the move to Seattle was hard on me. Did the California sun help? Yes. Did gorging on homemade tortillas help? Most definitely! But most of all spending some time with family and getting some one-on-one time with my dad was the best. I was sad to leave, but every little bit helps and I am really learning to adjust to life here.

Another big development is that I started a job. A real life job! I love freelancing and making my own schedule. But, in reality the fluidity wasn’t helping me put down any roots here. It is shocking how much of a difference going to work everyday has made to me. As introverted as I am (and prefer to be), I don’t think that I realized how much I do need at least¬†some social interaction on a regular basis.

Between regularly seeing family and going to an office everyday, we might just be onto something ūüėČ

Our Visit to the Happiest Country

Last October, I was randomly scrolling through Skyscanner. Zach and I love to travel, but since he started school in the fall we thought it would be put on the back burner for a couple of years. But! Then, I saw an amazing deal for tickets to Norway and we had to jump on them.

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Norway was nowhere on our list of “Places to Visit Soon” (and yes, we do have one), but this deal was too good to pass up. Anyway, neither one of us is a picky traveler. We just like to travel and explore new places together. So, since October we have been eagerly planning our trip! By planning, I mean it was mostly me making a lot of lists about what we would do while there.

At the top of these lists?

  • See the Scream, by Edvard Munch
  • Visit the Viking Ship museum
  • Explore city hall

On our trip, we saw all of the sites I had listed. But, we also went to the Kon-Tiki museum, which was not on my radar and ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. We also unexpectedly ran into a procession at the palace where the royal family of Norway was greeting the king and the head of state from Iceland. Amazing!

For all of my planning, there are some things you can never plan for. This is why Zach is the perfect man. He does not plan, which means that there is always time/wiggle for unexpected experiences.

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During our four days in Oslo we saw a good chunk of the city. It is a very walkable and safe place. We started our days unintentionally early. The hostel we stayed in put us in bunk beds (I call top bunk!). I don’t know if it was our unusual sleeping arrangements or just the time change, but without fail we woke up around 5 every morning. Breakfast wasn’t until 7, so we had some time to kill, which we usually filled by watching Crazy-Ex Girlfriend.

After breakfast, we would head out for the day. Every day we walked about ten miles. The walking plus the AWFUL time we would wake up at, had us exhausted by 8 every night. Many nights, we tried to force ourselves to stay up, so that we could go to the bar across the street from our hostel. It was called the Dubliner and every night at 9:30 it had live music. It became a sad, sad running joke that the Dubliner was our favorite bar that we never made it to. I think of it fondly and wish I’d gone inside.

Apart from missing out on the Dubliner, our trip was a complete success. We saw some amazing artwork and experienced some unique Norwegian culture. Oslo is a wonderful city and if you ever have the chance, I encourage you to go!

Books + Life: The Happiness Project and #Happier2017

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I was serious when I said that I’m going to actively pursue happiness this year! So serious, that I ordered a book about it called The Happiness Project. I heard about the book because I listen to the author’s, Gretchen Rubin, podcast. In the podcast Gretchen and her sister, Liz, discuss all things happiness and well being. I recommend the podcast if you are looking for a boost or some tips for sticking to your resolutions. It isn’t too heavy and usually they have pretty fun conversations with good advice to boot.

The book is of this same vein. Yes, it is a self-help book, but for the most part it is in first person with bits of research here and there to backup the things Gretchen is trying in her pursuit for a happier life.

I’m only in chapter one, so I guess nothing I say should start with, “for the most part.” The book and her project is broken down into twelve sections and twelve ways that she wants to improve her life.

This book speaks to me because Gretchen is happy. She realizes that she has a great life, doesn’t want for anything, a stable family and healthy kids. I often feel this way. I have everything I need (and more), but still feel dissatisfied. First. World. Problems.

My goal isn’t to change my life; my goal is to change the way I look at my life and embrace it. I’m going to break my year down into twelve parts and twelve areas where I need an attitude or lifestyle adjustment. For example, stop complaining so much (attitude adjustment) and get to sleep at a decent hour (lifestyle adjustment).

So, in closing, my project is going pretty well so far. I am working hard on keeping my resolutions and to enjoy our new life here.¬†The other day, I told my friend Caitlin that, “If I don’t think about it, I don’t hate Seattle that much.” And, it is true! In little ways, it is feeling more like home. ¬†When Zach and I got home from Christmas in Utah we redecorated the apartment and that felt good. I’m working harder on building relationships here and strong friendships. I’m getting involved in the community and projects that I care about. All good things.

Xoxo

Remember That One Time …

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Zach and I had a pretty mellow night last night. We went to a bar called Big Time Brewery, had a pitcher, watched Dragon Ball Z and rang in the New Year with about fifteen strangers. It was perfect; low key and not crowded.

Since 2016 ended as a relatively peaceful year, I guess it was guaranteed that 2017 would start like no other.

On our walk home, it started to snow. When we turned onto our road, I noticed a pile on the sidewalk in front of our house. As we got closer, it became apparent that the pile was a person. Specifically, a young girl in a long red coat and a not long cocktail dress.

“Are you OK?” we asked her. “Mmmmm.” groaned¬†the lump. “Do you need help?” “Yuuuugh.” She replied.

We took that as a yes and helped her to her feet. I slung her arm over my shoulder and started helping her make her way into our apartment. I asked her a few basic questions, “Do you want us to give you a ride home? Did you take anything other than alcohol that we should be worried about? Do you have a roommate that I can get ahold of?” She couldn’t give me a straight answer, so I figured once we got her inside we could get her a glass of water and let her collect herself a bit.

Because this is America and we live near a college campus I knew I had to ask, “Did anything bad happen to you?” She said no and and there weren’t any signs of distress. I breathed a sigh of relief.

We got her inside and Zach went to get her some water and a bowl in case she needed to throw up. Much to our surprise, instead of sitting down on the chair, she¬†flung herself backward onto the couch and immediately passed out. The only other words we got out of her were, “It’s super cold,” so we covered her with blankets and turned up the heater.

After all, it was below freezing outside and aside from her coat, she didn’t have a lot to keep her warm. Her legs and hands were bright red from the cold. About two minutes after we covered her,¬†she stuck her feet out from under the blankets and mumbled, “shoes.”

I briefly debated calling the cops, just in case something went wrong. But, other than being a little too drunk and needing to rest, it didn’t seem like anything was the matter. So, I took her shoes off and left her to sleep it off.

I stayed home for college. My wild Friday nights were made up of sharing a couple glasses of wine on the couch with my parents while watching a movie. I told Zach, “I can’t believe this! Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.” I expected him to agree, but turns out he was not too surprised. Not only did he have a few wild nights of his own at Penn State, but has some “epic” tales from the Navy. These include the time in Florida where he woke up on a roof after a night out and the time a girl wandered into his apartment in Japan in the middle of the night and just hopped into bed! Apparently, her buddy lived next door and she was just a little confused in her drunkenness.

Our young adventurer woke us up around 5am when she needed to use the restroom. As she was putting on her shoes and coat, I offered to give her a ride home, walk home with her or let her stay until it was light outside.

She just smiled, half-drunkenly, opened up her arms and gave me a bear hug, “it’s fine. It’s fine,” she said and patted my face. After watching her make her way down the flight of stairs and down the sidewalk, I closed and locked the door.

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I slipped into bed next to Zach and fell back asleep in just a few minutes. When I woke up this morning, I had to think for a minute to make sure it wasn’t all just a buzzed dream. But, the dirt on the couch and the pile of blankets on the floor assured me it wasn’t.

I’m not sure what 2017 has in store for us, but it already seems like we are in for quite an adventure …

Year In Review – 2016

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Happy New Year!!!

I have a tendency to focus on the negative; Zach didn’t do the dishes. I miss my family. I ate too many chips, now my tummy hurts. Seattle is a terrible place to live. Basically, I hate ______ . Apparently, complaining all the time gave Zach the wrong impression about my outlook on life. “Why aren’t you happy?” he asked me one day.

“I am happy!” was my first thought when he asked that. But, I’m not giving that impression, am I?

So — instead of saying how sad 2016 made me, I’m going to focus on the positive or put a spin on things. What good is a master’s degree in marketing if I can’t spin my own life in my favor?

  1. We have an awesome opportunity to explore a cool new city!
  2. I have the opportunity to make new friends here!
  3. By living in a new place, I can ditch old, toxic relationships and “friendships”!
  4.  Zach and I got married! (which is good on its own, no spin needed!)
  5. ¬†…

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2017 is going to be AWESOME! Yes. Ok. I’ll still be sarcastic, as shown above. But! I’m going to be happy. When I thought about Zach’s comment, I’m not as happy as I should be and the only thing to blame is my mindset. One really hard thing happened to me this year and that was Kitty’s passing. She was my best friend and with me since I was nine. But, other than that, my unhappiness is my own.

I have a few great resolutions. The top two being: make friends in Seattle and work on mindfulness. A few of the more random ones are run two 13.1 races, read 52 books (I read around 60 this year), eat more veggies! Isn’t that on everyone’s list?

Happy New Year friends, here is looking to 2017 and may it be 1,000,000% wonderful! I love you all! xoxoxoxoxo

New Year’s Eve – 2017 Resolutions

We just got home from our trip to Utah. We were there from the 18th to the 28th of December and it was wonderful. We ate a lot of good and spent a lot of time with my family and our friends.

Gabby still hasn’t warmed up to Zach, but she did play with him a few times and we made cookies for Santa together.

It was nice to be home in Utah! I have been in a complete rut lately. Normally, I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. But this year, I am going to make a few to try and give myself a boost to feel better and have a happy year here in Seattle with Zach. Here are two resolutions from my extensive list:

  1. Make More Friends
  2. Practice Living in the Moment

I know both of these will be a ton of work for me. Making friends has never been one of my strong skills, I think it is mostly because I have always been so close to my family so I didn’t need as many friends and, I’m a little bit introverted. I don’t like crowds at ALL. For the second one, I’m going to battling against my anxious/worry-wart nature. I really want to commit myself though because I think both of these resolutions will help me have a better year and better life overall.

So, for the first:

Physically, I live in Seattle. Mentally, I’m in ¬†Utah. All my family and friends are there and almost everyone that I talk to. I ever work with people in Utah! I don’t want it this way… I want to be happy where I am and explore my new city, which everyone is telling me is such a cool place to be.

So, I have a couple of ideas. First, make more friends here! I have a couple and that is a good start, but a few more would be great. This is especially important for different activities.

My current Seattle friends are great to grab a drink with or to sit on the couch and chat with. But would they want to go on a rigorous hike with me or want to grab last minute pedicures? I don’t know, I haven’t asked them. But, my real point is — it is good to have a lot of different friends for a lot of different things.

What I really need is someone I can laugh with. Whenever I make a joke and someone doesn’t get it or takes it too seriously, I have a Lizzie Bennet moment:

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How am I going to make friends here?

I tried volunteering at PAWS as a way to meet people, but that hasn’t gone as I thought it would. So, now I’m asking for setups! I’m asking friends who know people here to setup me up with them. I’ve also signed up for a “dating” app just for friends called, Hey Vina. It already has given me a couple of promising starts! Finally, I’m just being more aggressive. When I see someone I like and have a nice conversation, I invite them to hangout instead of just letting them walk away. Creepy!

The second resolution is going to be much harder! Even though making friends isn’t a strong point for me, being mindful is even more of a weak point. Like I said, it has been anxiety attack central over here and in the past I’ve had long bouts of depression and anxiety. I don’t want to get trapped in it.

To be more mindful, I’m going to start with meditation and self-help podcasts. I have a couple that I love a lot already; Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

When we first moved here, I couldn’t get a gym pass because Zach’s benefits didn’t start until school started. So, I would “workout” by walking around the surrounding neighborhoods while listening to podcasts. I didn’t realize how good it was for me mentally, until I started going to the gym every day. I really missed that quiet downtime or just walking around with my thoughts and podcasts.

If podcast-walking doesn’t help as much as I want it to, and really, I’m not sure it will, I’m going to go and talk to someone. I think counselors can be very helpful when you are having a hard time and need some action items for improving.

I want 2017 to be the best year ever. I’m sick of waiting to be happy. It isn’t going to happen unless I make it happen. Seattle can be great. I need to change my mindset. Zach is great and I love being married. I have a lot of great starting points, now I just need to get the gears in motion.

 

Vegan Hot Buttered Rum

Whenever I try to make something new, especially something that is not vegan to begin with but that I have to make vegan, I go to the internet and read a ton of recipes. Usually, between five or ten, but sometimes more.

When it is finally time to make the thing, I leave the recipes behind and put something together using whatever I decided to take away from each recipe — or more realistically, what I can remember from each recipe.

This amounts to me leaving out the parts that sound gross and adding stuff that I think might work, even if no recipe called for it. For example, I like to add spice to everything. Even things that no one would ever want to eat a spicy version of.

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Some like it hot.

This means one of two things happen when I cook; it tastes gross and we never want to have it again or it tastes AMAZING but nothing like the original. Zach is a really lucky man.

Earlier this week, I made torta. The first of those things happened. I mainly left out the non-vegan ingredients without replacing anything, so we ended up with weird, mushy potatoes. I mean … it was potatoes … so I still ate everything. But, it could’ve been much better.

Tonight, in an attempt to redeem myself, I made hot buttered rum. It didn’t turn out too bad! If you make this recipe and think it is gross, then just add more rum and you won’t remember whether you liked it or not.

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Makes four to five servings.

I like the idea of making the mix and adding the rum later. This is good if you have little ones or non-drinkers in the family who also want to enjoy a cozy drink.

  • 1/2 Cup¬†Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4¬†Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4¬†Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
  • Dash of Vanilla
  • 2¬†Cups of Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • Orange Zest (optional)
  • Vegan Whipped Cream (optional)
  • A Dash of¬†Red Chili (COMPLETELY optional)

Add everything but the butter into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and add the butter. Stir until it melts completely.

To make into a cocktail, add one shot of spiced brown rum into a mug and 1/2 a shot of white rum. Add one to 1 1/2 cups of mix.

Enjoy!