Thursday, May 27, 2010

I can see Canada from my house

Surprise! I'm in Detroit.

I travel so rarely for work so this last minute trip for a client pitch was somewhat unexpected, but I all but volunteered to go. I love traveling for work. Why? Let me count the reasons.

1. I love staying in hotel rooms by myself. It feels glamorous. I let the maid have a break and didn't even have my room cleaned today.
2. Chocolate cake via room service last night. Chocolate cake via PF Changs today. (Filled my yearly quota now thanks.)
3. I can see Canada from my hotel window. Apparently my Midwestern geography is crummy because I had no idea the border was so close. The next time I'm here, I'm definitely getting a car so I can drive to Canada.
4. Um, look who's staying at my hotel?
Well, I'm headed to Colorado Springs tomorrow for the long holiday weekend. I haven't had a camera for several months, but I'm sure Katie will take enough photos to share. Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It hasn't even rained that much this month

But somehow, I keep finding myself outside for 3+ hours at a time--hunkered down in pouring rain--visible breath, hair getting curly, undergarments growing damp.

visiting coworkers + crazy expensive seats supplied by work + fenway park = staying longer than would otherwise be considered sane. Still a wicked fun time.

Of course this morning shone sunny and bright. Projected 80 degrees.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

do two halves make a whole?

Well now. I've officially run my second and final half marathon. Where last year was sunny skies and perfect weather, Mother Nature decided she'd compensate for last year's loveliness by testing the stamina and our will-to-live-ness with 45-degree weather and pouring rain.

The weather in the days leading up to the race was picturesque--both Mallory and I were planning to run in tank tops and shorts. But sometimes 'man plans and God laughs', so we found ourselves at Target the night before the race, trying to buy cold weather running gear. If I had a gratitude journal, I'd have a big ole star next to my $13-clearanced men's long-sleeve winter wicking shirt.

We set off at the crack of down and it rained the whole drive to New Hampshire. We fueled up on bagels and the rationalization that the sooner the race started, the sooner it would end, and the sooner we could see Iron Man 2 (in IMAX!).

Wonder of wonders, the rain stopped right as we parked to register for the race. We got our numbers, stood in a very long line to use the bathroom, and eventually made our way to the starting line.

In a cruel and appropriate twist of ironic fate, the rain started coming down 30 seconds before the race began. It would only get heavier as the minutes ticked and the miles dragged on. To pass time (no ipods for these Wms runners!) I alternated watching the water my shoes kicked up with each step and the cloud of steam each exhalation created.

The course is somewhat hilly--shockingly, our best miles were the rolling hills of miles 6-10. Go us! I'm pretty sure the man standing on top of his car, playing a ukulele and hula-hooping put a little pep in our step.

I won't lie, the last few miles were pretty rough. I'm sure a combination of cold joints, uneven pavement, and hypothermic onset due to wind chill played a part in our slower last few miles, but it's nothing I'll complain about. We set out to finish, and we did. I may have had to have someone else re-tie my shoe as my hands were blue and frozen, but by george--we finished!

Death by Half Marathon

If you do the math based on our finish time, you'll see that we clearly weren't in it to win it. And I know our time looks and seems slow--I've had to fight the urge from Day 1 of training to apologize for being slow. But here's the thing: I just don't care. If you've followed my journey (if we were watching Biggest Loser, I'd make you take a shot) at all, you know that my training two-years running has been somewhat of a reluctant one. I don't find joy in the running. I didn't last year, and I haven't discovered it this year. I think we can all agree now that I've given it an honest go.

Training for these halves has been somewhat of a metaphor for my life. In some kind of masochistic way, I've run these races to prove I can do anything I set my mind to. And what seems batship crazy and improbable eventually can become a reality. And you can still hate it, but you got to the finish line eventually.

And before this post veers off into Oprah levels of philosophic hoo-ha, I shall finish with the wise wisdom, that sometimes, all it takes is a great reward at the finish:

Mallory is a rockstar (and already planning for her next Half).

Also? I quit long distance running. Time to find somewhere else to bring the pain.

Monday, May 10, 2010

trust me, the ugly will be coming...

... because it poured freezing rain for 13.1 straight miles. Honest to goodness--it didn't rain one minute of time Mallory was here other than the few hours of the race.

More write-up will be coming about the race from hell once the official race photos come online. Because who doesn't want to see photos of us soaking wet, drenched to the bone, and puffing clouds of visible frosty breath?

For now, enjoy the pretty.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

I often go walking through meadows of clover

To my beautiful mother, grandmothers, aunt-mothers, cousin-mothers, and the friend-mothers in my life--

You give me something to aspire to be. Because frankly, I don't know how to be anything but selfish. Maybe one day.

The pictures that follow are the most influential mothers in my life -- my own mom, her mom, my aunt, my dad's mom, and my sister-mom.

Maybe this year I'll get a house plant and take it for a test drive. Any one have suggestions on a plant that won't break my heart?

Thursday, May 06, 2010


So my running partner in crime arrived late last night. As a last ditch effort to ready our hearts for the strain of 13.1 miles in less than two days, we took a little run along the Charles River in the city. Three years here and I've never made the run -- so it was a memorable first.

I probably won't be winning any cinematography awards for this video, but it's pretty fun:

Luckily, due to lack of water and the neccesity of a bathroom, we weren't in danger of breaking the speed limit.

My favorite.

The lighting is a titch misleading in this one, but I test-drove the Gucci fannypack so we had a means to carry the camera and keys. It worked like a charm and I'll now be wearing it on Saturday so we can document our entire run.

The weather was perfect and we would have lovvvved to remain outside but we needed to take care of business. Our goal for Saturday's race is to take it one mile at a time. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

If you are what you eat... I'm in trouble.

An excellent user submitted question! Did you know there are other questions over there I'm answering? (Surprise!) I'm a publishing conglomerate now. Pretty soon I'll be putting the little guys out of business and Congress will have to appoint a committee and hold special hearings to shut me down.

You find out you have 24 hrs to live. What foods do you pound before you go?

Before I run through the laundry list of items I bet each of you could recite in your sleep. An anecdotal connection. ("Getting to know NatA!", page 1, para 1*)

My fall back topic for discussion when it's quiet and I'm interested or prompted enough to engage is to ask the person I'm passing time with, "If you could eat anything in the entire world, what would it be?"

Scores of people could attest that I say the exact same thing 99 percent of the time. What is that delightful goodie? Believe it or not, an item never once mentioned on this blog. Answer equals a warm, homemade** cinnamon roll.

But seriously, just think how much better the world would be if everyone could have a warm, cream-cheese laden cinnamon roll whenever they wanted one? Who would ever get angry? Or sad? Who would want to suicide bomb anything? I'm convinced cinnamon rolls could bring down Al Qaeda. (Blackbriar!) Life would totally be worth living.

On slim occasion (say 1 percent of the time) I deviate from the c-roll, but I always feel like I'm only telling a partial truth.

So. Circling back to the original question at hand. With 24 hours left to live, cinnamon rolls definitely on the list. Add in cinnamon bears, cinnamon toast crunch, and hot tamales.

Rolls from the Texas Roadhouse, a coffee cake muffin from Dunkin Donuts, baked Lays + french onion dip, chocolate coconut cupcake, pineapple cheeseball.

Burger and fries from The Precinct (pub next to our house), that salad with strawberries in it, SHRIMP, street meat tacos from Mexico City, chicken TBM from Cosi, homemade chocolate chip cookies. Brownies made from a boxed mix (the best and only way to eat them. sorry you purists)

Skittles, Starburst, Good 'N Plenties. Red vines, Nibs, Swedish Fish.

You know, just a few bites here and there of really classy things. Because you can't take it with you!

* When I was in school and needing to create bibliographies, the internet was so new that there was no standard way to report what was found online. Every other kind of reference guide was firmly styled, but when it came to the WWW, total free for all. Has that been changed? Do the youth of today even know what a bibliography is? Or do they just attach a copy of the article they found online with the pieces they "borrowed" highlighted?

** I have a really easy quick-rise recipe for cinnamon rolls should anyone actually be interested.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

it's a beautiful life

I can't get enough of watching this video. Stephanie is a gorgeous person inside and out and makes me guilty for ever complaining about the status of my life.

How can you not feel inspired after watching?

Kudos to the Church AV department for piecing together such a cinematographic wonder.

Monday, May 03, 2010


If my 3rd grade study of human physiology remains correct, the body is said to be 70% water.

I, however, drink more Diet Coke than probably any one you know. Not hyperbole this time, just the facts. DC definitely makes up 70% of my body.

sanctioned by my own great-grandma: "Better a small glass of Diet Coke than a harsh word to a loved one."

If you haven't heard, a giant water line broke here in Boston on Saturday night, so thirty-three communities are under a "boil water for safety" issue as the emergency water running through the faucets is pulling from lakes and reservoirs and hasn't been fully treated. Showering in the water is fine, but keep your mouth closed or suffer the consequences.


Drinking 8 parts Coke to 1 part water has come in exceptionally handy the last few days. Because Target, and the grocery store, and the pharmacies may be out of bottle water... but boy howdy is there enough Coke to go around. Consider this my own little slice of heaven.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Day 30

Last post of the everlasting 30-day blog challenge! 30 posts in 32 days still counts, right? I mean, one day of 4 and another day of 3 might count as spam in some states, but as I've said before and I'll say again, I'm the Sheriff of these parts.

Whatever tickles your fancy

And in this case, it's actually going to be your (the reader's) fancy. The Sheriff is the one who calls the shots, but Deputies do all kinds of important things like, um, er... ask questions!

Got a burning question you're dying to ask me anonymously? Curious and need follow-up on a previous post or story? Are super nosy and want to know where and when and with whom my first kiss was? (One blog reader is squirming nervously at this point.) Ask away.

To be honest, as crazy and long and neverending and sometimes kind of ridiculous post topics as the 30-day challenge was, it was kind of fun to take a topic and then weave a narrative around it. Your asking questions at the link above is an extension of that process. But with less fanfic and more embarrassing stories! 10 voters wanted me to return to the posts about nothing; so put your money where your mouth is. Or face citizen's arrest.

Day 29

Today is Sunday and our Relief Society lesson today was all about decision making. As a quiet sidebar conversation, Brenda and I mentioned how interesting it is to be fairly set as far as some of the big decisions go--careers, places to live, roommates, etc. I know what it's like to feel burdened by big decisions but I'm at a happy place where sometimes my hardest decision is what to wear or where to eat for dinner. (I'm so complicated you guys.)

Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days

The lesson continued, and we were asked to gather into groups to discuss different quotes from conference talks. We were assigned a snippet of the talk "...Preparing for the Decade of Decision" by Elder Robert D. Hales.

Long story short, there's much we can be doing in ACTIVE pursuit of decisions. Deciding to make (important) decisions if you will. My favorite pointers from the talk:
  • Now is the time to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means accepting His invitation to “come, follow me.
  • Now is the time to organize and prepare ourselves to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion.
  • Now is the time to prepare for training, education, and an occupation.
  • Now is the time to obey.
  • Now is the time to use our time properly.
  • Now is the time to safeguard your birthright.
I'm halfway between twenty-seven and twenty-eight years old. My sojourn in the "decade of decision" has an expiration date in sight. I'm pleased that I've laid the foundation for this incredible life that I live by working hard and doing my best to be a good person and disciple of Christ. Sure, there are hopes and plans and dreams I have for the next year--but there's a difference between planning to go to Panama and planning to fall in love. Instead of getting hung up on factors out of my control (seriously dudes, a girl should not love sports and food this much) and make plans within my control.

I'll decide to work on Elder Hales bullet points above because this makes for a good Sunday post and you've already heard about my hopes and dreams regarding all things Skittles and Diet Coke. But boy oh boy do I hope to get some more of those things in the next 365. In fact, I'll plan on it.

Day 28

It's May 2nd April 28th. Writing a year recap post feels premature. Especially because my blogging regularity has reached 2007 levels, so what more could you possibly want from me? There's a reason I don't send out Christmas cards.

This year in great detail

There was a block of time earlier this year where I thought I'd have a head cold for the rest of my life. In good news, sometimes my hyperbolic predictions don't come true.

Yesterday's sponsored post pretty much sums up the majority of the year. Toss in Zumba, some weddings, a brief quasi-romance, and my introduction of chinese chicken salad into "the meals Nat makes on occasion when she eats at home" and there it is. 2010. It's been grand.

But really? Not much to report, not much to complain about. And that's an equation I'm more than happy to live with. Isn't that how years typically run? Slow ramp-up period before they take off in May? That's my plan.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

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