Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Czeck it out!

Warning: No funny here. Business only. Party later.

Yesterday, I was over the pond using money with complicated exchange rates and creepy photos, eating chocolate spread on croissants, and taking a boat ride on Zurich Lake. Today, I'm eating frosted mini-wheats and sorting through a work inbox bursting at the seams. Without pain, we can't experience joy, right? Obviously, I took hundreds of photos. I'm taking some time today to compile and organize and decide which stories to tell or what kind of lists to make. In the meantime, I thought I'd pass along this gem I took on the failed attempt at attending church:

Prague castle

And this is another quick win to show you. When visitors come to Boston*, they love seeing the cobblestone streets. Folks, you want to see cobblestones, you head to Prague. I can hardly think of a single place we walked in the city that didn't have cobblestones--and these stones were probably an inch by inch square (tiny!). The patterns were different all over the city and a challenge to navigate in thin sandals, but well worth the view!
cobblestones in prague
* I'm wondering if Boston was once a Communist country if we'd have prettier streets. FDR put the CCC to work building roads after the Great Depression, did Czechoslovakia "employ" a workforce to build its streets? Surely it did.

I'll be posting more in the coming days of the wonderful weekend you can have in Prague and Switzerland in four short days. I hope you all had a great Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Two blogs in one week! Is it 2006 again?!

I'm long past due for a brain dump. Considering I'm leaving the country in T-minus 18 hours, I figured it'd be good to put the proverbial pen to the paper and leave some parting words with you in case they're my last. (FYI: I have Aflac Accident Insurance. If my life ends on any form of public transit [including a plane], there's a massive payout coming someone's way. Make sure to cash in on that, okay?)

  • I've been such an infrequent blogger I haven't even shared my thoughts on American Idol!!! My first two years of blogging centered heavily on my opinions of Idol; I'm regretting the fact I never even called out how much I loved Kris "with a K" Allen. I've been singing his praises since the Semis, so I felt pretty good when he took the crown tonight. Spoiler Alert: Kris won.
  • Last week wasn't the best week of my life. My church burned down, I got a terrible haircut, the Celtics lost in the Playoffs, I worked a million hours and some other non-blog-appropriate drama made me a bit edgy last week. The silver lining was my week was too stressful to get super worked up about my hair (or lack of). If you ever envied my hair, don't worry! It's gone now.
  • Last week is over! Wahoo!
  • I'm going to Prague! Thurs night to Monday night. A super quick trip with my best co-worker, we're doing the bulk of time in Prague and then a day/night in Zurich, Switzerland. My friend Heather has done the bulk of the logistics as I've been buried in work--it's a double edged sword! If you've traveled with me before, you know how much I love doing the logistical planning! This time I haven't done a spot of it. I should probably look at a map at least so I have some general idea of where I am.
  • I don't speak a single word of Czech,. I realized today. Not "yes," not "no", not "hello", not "please don't throw me in a prison." And Czech isn't a romance language so I can't fake it til I make it. Annnnnnnnd I haven't really had the time to think about it until tonight. It's going to be an adventure, let me tell you what.
  • I had to Google how to spell "Czech" just now. This is how out of my league I'm going to be. Also, the money currency is like 17 kl to 1 USD. That should be some fun math. But other country money always feels like toy money. Spend at will!
  • The gal I'm traveling with is probably the most fashionable person I know. This makes trip outfit planning even more high-stress. I think (hope) I've put together some appropriate selections. I am a little nervous as I don't even know what we'll be doing in Prague (besides not working that is), let alone if my clothes are right. But I'm trying not to worry! Here's the hotel we're staying in though, it looks pretty fancy. I'm determined not to wear a shirt and cardigan every day. Stay tuned for an update.
  • I haven't been on a run since the Half--it's been almost two weeks. When I get back from my trip I'll have to get back on the proverbial horse (treadmill) to salvage my weight alone. Since the race I've pretty much taken it upon myself to eat like I ran a Half every day. Will have to kick it into high gear once I get back. I've got two hot weddings to attend in August!
  • If you happen to be LDS, be a good visiting or home teacher. And allow yourself to be visited. Good things come when you stop feeling obligated and start looking forward to it.
  • The weather here is spectacular. 60's-70's every day. Glorious. We've been eating outside quite a bit, and it's easy to refall in love with Boston all over again. Come visit me! My day was cured today driving with the window open, looking at the most beautiful sunset. (It also helped I was on my way to pick up Texas Roadhouse to-go!)
  • Other than Prague, I don't have any big summer travel plans. In fact, I dont' have any. I have, however, been making an effort to plan little get-away trips to close-by places. Last weekend, I found a pretty great hotel on the Cape for $80. The weather was gorgeous, the company was better, and the area wasn't clogged with tourists just yet. We ate a lot of food and laughed a ridiculous amount. Being an adult is awesome.
Cape Cod

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A chance to rebuild

I know it's just a building, but the Longfellow Park Chapel was one of the reasons I knew Boston was my home. For at least the first six months I lived in Boston, my heart was full of comfort and a general feeling of "rightness" when I entered that building every Sunday.

Far from the hub of church activity out West, chapels in this area are hard to come by. The Longfellow Park chapel was the oldest in Massachusetts, boasting a rather unusual history and design. All of that's gone now -- the roof collapsed, windows broken, and a charred brick shell a ghost of the lively activity historically housed within the walls. So many many unknowns for the members of our wards--where we'll meet, if our wards can stay together, if we'll be disbanded during the rebuilding--and the magnitude of the situation is still surreal and hard to fathom.

The fire today has destroyed the physical facade, but for hundreds of members of the Church, the Spirit of what we felt within those walls will now be spiritually housed within each of us, as a physical facility no longer exists. Maybe this is the chance for us individually to help rebuild the building that rebuilt so many of us.

LP Fire

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whoa, we're Halfway there

Well crap you guys. I did it. I ran the Half Marathon. It took me not one, not two, but three tries to train and run it. Instead of simply posting a photo collage as I'm wont to do, I figured I'll actually share some words about the race. Once upon a time, that was the rule; not the exception.

Our Half was in New Hampshire, so not only did we have to get up early for an 8AM race time, but we had to get up at the crack of dawn (seriously, 4:40AM what?!) and drive two hours to run 13 miles. And then drive 2 hours home. If you looked up "Dedication to proving a point" in the dictionary, you'd see my photo. Sweaty and ugly, but my photo nonetheless.

So Brenda and I ran the race together. Slow and steady, but I have no regrets in hindsight. We made a goal around mile 2 to run at least to mile 4 without taking a break. Just one more crest of the hill we'd say. Again. And then again. We were in mile 8 before we took a quick walk break, and then they were sporadic and short through the rest of the race. In 13 miles of the race, we probably walked less than 1 of the miles combined. We both felt mighty good about that, I'll tell you what. My favorite part of the race were the 13 high-fives we shared at every mile marker.

B and I decided during mile 1 that we'd conserve energy 1) for race photographers and 2) to make sure we were running in front of people we knew. Check and check. Every photographer we saw got a jumping photo. New hardest jumping photo scenario now discovered.

*Yes, I wore Celtics gear. **Yes, I was one of the only "runners" wearing cotton. ***Yes, I'm not very smart, but We beat LA!!!

Due to a majorly long line at the port-o-potties, we missed the actual race start. Again, in hindsight--it was a major advantage to us. We picked our pace and didn't have to bob and weave around people we passed or who passed us. We ran a really steady pace on a terribly hilly course. Here's the elevation of one of the hillier Half courses (that felt perpetually on an incline):


So there it was. I trained, I ran, I conquered. Check out my bloody reward to the right there. That bleeding started about mile 6 (or at least is when I first noticed it). It definitely looks worse than it felt, but if you feel the need to send me some "get well" Skittles or cookies, I wouldn't turn them away.

In conclusion, for having run a total of 5 outdoor miles this year pre-race, I feel really solid about my time and the sense of accomplishment I feel. Minimal pain when the race was over, and now I can either quit running all together or just take a few weeks off. Decisions decisions....

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!