Friday, March 31, 2006

With All Your Power

The first time I "met" The Flaming Lips I was living with MJC after college. I stumbled upon Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots while perusing his most exquisite CD collection. (Seriously, sometimes I don't feel worthy to be his friend. His collection is THAT good.) He handed me the CD saying, "You'll like it, Nic. It's about love." I didn't like it, though. More appropriately, I definitely LOVED it.

I guess some call their style psychedelic pop. Sounds good to me. I have never claimed to be one to name entire genres of music. Whatever genre, the music is inherently - and physically - moving. The songs make you want to get out of bed in the morning. And nod your head. Or tap your foot. Walk a little more quickly. Or dance in your bedroom whilst you right foot-left foot into your pants.

Maybe it's just me. Remember, I grew up as a dancer. And as a dancer, I don't just hear music. I tend to see it. Really good music? Well, I tend to see see it on a stage. With colorful, synchronized lighting. And costumes. Clusters of bodies taking shape in various lines and circles and formations. Pirouetting and blossoming as the sounds crescendo. Leaping and rolling in accordance with melody and harmony, percussion and bass.

On Tuesday, The Flaming Lips are going to release their next album, At War With the Mystics. I pre-ordered it on iTunes after hearing about it on NPR's All Song's Considered. And since that day, I have been listening to "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)." A lot. Again, I can't ignore compulsions to move while listening to this song.

However, this time, I'm not seeing a modern dance piece set on 14 dancers in bright, flowing costumes. There is a monotony in the song that begs a fast cadence. With head high and arms pumping.


"With all your power... what would you do?"

Well, that's pretty easy. I'd run-run-run-run-run-run-run-run!
  • March Miles Run: 154.25
  • March Miles Walked: 93
  • March Miles Elipticaled: 14.35
  • March Hours Spin: 4
  • March Hours Bikram: 9
  • March Hours Weight Trainined: 2
Year To Date...
  • 2006 Miles Run: 397.25
  • 2006 Miles Walked: 323
  • 2006 Miles Elipticaled: 22.35
  • 2006 Hours Spun: 10
  • 2006 Hours Bikram: 34.5
  • 2006 Hours Weight Trained: 2
Remember: 2006 is 25% done!

"With all your power... With all your power... With all your power... What would you do?"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Front Line

I opened the door slowly. The studio was comfortably warm inside. And its vast opennes was more inviting than it normally is. Well rested from my nine hours of sleep and my running rest day, I felt strong. So I laid down my towel... in The Front Line.

Afraid of confronting both my personal and yoga-related flaws and inadequacies, I began my Bikram journey in the back of the room. Perched in the corner, I spent a lot of time peering out at the other yogis in class. The regular s who are there every day. The newbies who are just starting out. The hard bodies in their little speedos and shorts and sports bras. And the self-confident soft bodies with very round bellies who wear little speedos and shorts and sports bras, anyway. The accomplished professionals. Who are AWESOME. And who stand in The Front Line.

I have been fearing The Front Line since Day 1. And at the same time, I have been anticipating the day I would finally have the guts to stand there. Surprisingly, The Front Line wasn't as bad - or as HARD - as I imagined it would be. With only four feet between me and the mirror, my practice was surprisingly simplified. No one to hide behind. But also, no one to focus on. Other than myself.

Tonight, only four feet separated me and the mirror. Only four feet between me and locking my knees. Between me and pulling up on my thighs. Flexing my toes, and putting my head on my feet. Four feet between me and my eyes. Between me and balancing. Forever.

Four feet. Only four feet. Only! Between me and all that I want to accomplish.

Almost there...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


A wise man (Eugene Ionesco) once said, "It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question."

So thanks, Pookalooka for starting the game, and thanks to everyone who particpated. It was good to not think about running tonight!

In response to Running42K...

1) About friends... Attributes you look for: Openness. An inclination to discuss thoughts, ideas, and of course, FEELINGS. Helps if they are witty, can keep me on my toes, and add to my music collection.

2) About sex... Most interesting place it has happened: Hmm... Interesting... It involves a fraternity house and a laundry room. But I swear, Dad, we just held hands the entire time.

3) About music... Favorite bands: This list is always changing, but I super heart Spoon. I can find a Spoon song for every mood lately. I am newly obsessed with The Arcade Fire - I seriously want to choreograph a modern dance piece to the entire Funeral album. On my iPod right now is Belle & Sebastain thanks to MJC. The old staples include The Beatles, Beck, Counting Crows, Guster, The Shins, The White Stripes, and Wilco. But that's a short list. I have 13 GB of music - and I'm just getting started!

4) About drugs... Do you or have you? Yes or No but not a lot and Yes but a very very very short list.

5) About love... Love at first sight or no? Love at first conversation. But sight? I don't think I've ever loved someone because of how they look.

6) About anything... Favorite meal. Mom makes a mean pork tenderloin... every time I am at her house. She thinks it's my favorite, so I'll say that. Really, though, I can't get enough of the Spanish Omellette at The Diner in Adams Morgan, DC. I miss that place. The closest I've come to replicating it in SF is the Acapulco Omellette at The Crepe House. However if I'm being honest, I am also perfectly content with peanut butter from the jar... :)
In response to Pookalooka...

1) About friends... Outside of your family, how far away is your closest friend from you? So I have this thing with my best friends. There are ten of them. I can't rank them. I've tried. It just doesn't work - because they are all best friends for different reasons. I have tried to stop referring to each one of them as my "bestsest friend in the whole wide world," too, but it's impossible because they are all so great. They live in the following cities - Boston (2), Philly - soon (1), DC (4), Richmond (2), Austin (1). There are also two in NYC and a couple more in DC , but if I had to pick best vs. bestest they'd just be best. Phew. That was long-winded.

2) About sex... hmmm, clean one -- do you think the sexual revolution helped or hindered in sexual equality? Gut response - helped. I could write an entire term paper on this one, though. I'll just say that topics in the news and on Oprah a while back concerning young girls and the pressure they feel to put out really make me sad.

3) About music... how many local bands do you see perform in a year, as compared to big ticket concerts? I haven't been to a big ticket concert since... Dave Matthews 1998. I tend to see indie-bands at small venues, but they aren't necessarily local bands. Although I always opt to go to a bar with a band playing over a club with a DJ. And I'd say that happens on average 1-2 times/month. Minimum.

4) About drugs... What's worse -- use of illegal drugs or abuse of legal drugs? Depends on the drugs! And I think it depends on why their being used... But if you really want me to pick one, I'll pick use of illegal drugs, because most of them are illegal for a reason.

5) About love... How many times have you fallen in love? vs. developed crushes? I develop a new crush every week. And I act like a 14 year old about it every time. But I have only been in love once.

6) About anything... What's your true career ambition? (what's your dream job) I am not that far away from having my dream job. I'd like to invent things. It would be cool to have a few patents under my belt. But I'm not really a tinker-er. So I want to manage/lead the invention and design process. I picked software as my industry of choice because it's an industry in which creation and invention can be very quickly realized. I design a new system every week and we build it in a few months and I love it. One day, I hope to design a new product from beginning to end, bring it to market, and sell billions of dollars worth of it. I guess my dream title would be Product Manager/Product Champion. Or President. I guess in the dream scenario I would do all this under the guise of my OWN company.

6a) not so bad, right? Not bad at all! Dad will just have to deal!
In response to JKRunning...

1) About friends... Oldest Friend? (not by age, by years) RED. But we haven't spoken since I was down in L.A. I don't know if we're friends anymore. It's so hard with the friends to boyfriends to ex-boyfriends to still make-out sometimes and normally talk regularly types of "friends." Anyway, we've been friends since we were 12. A close second would be LEF. We met at age 13, but we weren't REALLY friends until senior year of high school. So I guess I'd also have to say ARH. We also met around age 13. But RED, if we talk again sometime soon, would be the oldest. He arguably still knows me the best, too...

2) About sex... Biggest regret: RP. I liked him more than he liked me. I learned from it (never trust a man with a guitar!) but I still regret it.

3) About music... What is the most frequently played song on your iPod? Ha ha! Awesome question. Cody Chestnut, "Look Good In Leather." Download it NOW! It makes you happy, it makes you want to go out, it makes you dance, it makes you feel sexy, it makes you want to run, it makes you FEEL.

4) About drugs... Hmmm, I'll copy running42k and say have you? Yes.

5) About love... If you could guarantee one trait for your future husband to have, what would it be? These days, it would be nice if he were also an endurance athlete. But if we're talking personality traits, I think I'd like for him to be a grounded dreamer. Does that make sense?

6) About anything... How did you get started with running? I played soccer growing up, so I always ran for soccer. I didn't play in college, though, so I just ran when I could. Which wasn't often, because I worked my no time to work out I'm an engineering major excuse to the bone during college. One day I decided to sign up for a race. It was a 10K. Now, I also grew up dancing, and I love performing. And to me, a race is a long performance. Replace the stage with the street, but all the rest is there - only the crowd cheers for you a hell of a lot longer during a marathon than during a dance performance! After that race, I was hooked. Plus, runners are a lot nicer to each other than dancers are. And there are no leotards and tights. Well, there can be tights, but there are no mirrors. I love it!
In response to A.Maria...

1) About friends... When a friend and you get into an argument, are you the first to patch things up, or do you wait for them to come to you? The last time I was mad at my friends was when I was visiting DC around Thanksgiving, and GPSH, LGA, and ACN got in a cab and LEFT me at a bar without saying good-bye to go to the WORST bar in DC. Smith Point. I played passive aggressive and let them apologize to me. But I'd have to say that situation is not the norm. I like to talk about feelings, so I normally try to patch things up myself.

2) About sex... How long do you wait, in a new relationship, for sex. more specifically do you HAVE a "time period" that you're like "no sex for X dates" or just play it by ear? Dad, I'm waiting until marriage. But really, I guess I play it by ear. Although three dates sounds like a good number.

3) About music... Song you listen to when you're angry/sad/partying/etc: OK, I actually have entire playlists for these genres. Angry, Chill, Cocktails, Driving, Forlorn, Getting Ready, Dance Party, etc. So I'll just name the song at the top of each playlist.
Angry - "Precious Things" by Tori Amos
Sad - "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits
Cocktails - "All That Jazz" by Sammy Davis Jr
Partying - "Hotel" by Cassidy & R Kelly (EMBARRASSING!)
Happy - "I Summon You" by Spoon

4) About drugs... if they legalized pot, would you partake, and if so, how often. Yes, I would partake. On laid back evenings. Or days. Not daily, maybe not even weekly, but likely before a concert. Or a reunion with certain friends. And with my Dad, who swears he's never smoked pot. I don't know how he missed out on this part of the 60s.

5) About love... Have you been in love, and if so, how did you know? Yes. If I think back, though, the way I loved him when I realized I loved him and the way I grew to love him were entirely different. So without getting super cheesy, no one else ever looked at me the way he did. And I didn't look at anyone else the way I looked at him. And no one else looked at him the way I did. I don't mean this on a physical eyeball to eyeball level. But he saw in me what no one else did and I in him. And I think that's how we knew.

6) About anything... Favorite book. not just some steven king or something, but (if you like to read that is) one that really touched you, and why.(i'm a dork. i love to read. pardon the question if you're not!!!!) A. Maria! I'm a dork, too! In college it was The Fountainhead. That book made me think about everything differently. I have never read Atlas Shrugged, nor do I want to, nor do I believe in everything Ayn Raynd. But that was the first book that really shook everything up for me. Also, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers. I live in SF now partly because of that book. And I quote, "Have you ever seen this mother-fucking sky? Have you ever BEEN to California?"
In response to Chickfit...

1) About friends... Lots of acquaintences or just a few really close friends? Lots of really close friends. Wait, that wasn't an option. But really, I have the most amazing group of awesome friends. And now that I'm out in SF I'm starting to rack up a great crew of acquaintences who I hope will become friends! I think I have a unique ability to connect with lots of different types of people on lots of different levels. For example, in high school I was a dancer/cheerleader/soccer player who then went to college to be an engineer/dancer/sorority girl... I know, right?

2) About sex... Last time you had sex (just a date, I don't need details) :) December 30 - The Homeowner. It ended right after that. Oops, those would be details...

3) About music... What kind of music do you like? Favorite would be indie-rock. But I love most things that I can sing, and I especially love bands that utilize the piano.

4) About drugs... Not sure this counts, but how many pills do you take everyday? (vitamins, supplements, Rx, etc.) I like it! 1 multi-vitamin. 2-multi-mineral. 1-iron (if I remember). 1-calcium chew. 1-fish oil. 2-glucosamine chondroitin. 1-BCP.

5) About love... Is love an overused word? It is, but only because we don't seem to have a better word. There is such a difference in intensity between like and love and platonic love vs. romantic love. We're left only with qualifiers like, REALLY and ALOT. And they're such trite words! I'm guilty of overusing "love." But I also use words like BESTEST, and really mean it, so can you hold it against me?

6) About anything... Hills or sprints and why? Sprints - because I'm getting good at them!!!! Only if they're kind of long, though. No 100 yard dashes. I suck at those.
And in response to Walchka...

1) About friends…What was your favorite non-human friend while growing up? (teddy, ect)
Mr. Flopsy, my stuffed bunny rabit. I received him for Easter when I was four. And when I broke my arm and had to have surgery, he came into surgery with me. The doctor also bandaged his arm. He is sitting behind me now on my chair. I don't sleep with him anymore, but he's still there.

2) About sex…Biggest turn-ons or instant mood setters? I admit that these two things don't particularly sound sexy in the Danielle Steele fashion, but I love when I'm kissing a guy and he holds my face in his hands. I am also most likely to be turned on in the middle of a political (or ideological) argument... I also like to watch gusy read/work. And cook. I guess flowers never hurt either!

3) About music…Most likely group/song to be on while doing the deed? I don't know anymore! I lost my virginity to Bob Marley, though. So NOT Bob Marley. I love the song, "Born for Me" by Paul Westerberg. It's just sweet and good. I also wouldn't mind hearing most Iron & Wine songs in the background. But if we're calling it the deed, sweet may not be appropriate. So "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" by The Beatles.

4) Drug…Preference, legal or not? I think pot should be legal. Holding in CA is only a misdemeanor. We have bigger problems in this country, and the world for that matter, than pot. But needles and noses are no-nos.

5) About love…First big crush when you were growing up? I had a serious crush on RED when I was 13. We didn't start dating until we were 17, though. But in the non-realistic sense, I so LOVED Christian Bale - he was in Newsies and I danced to songs from Newsies and I just couldn't sleep at night sometimes. Ah...

6) About anything…Favorite flower and color? Flower - I love orchids. Color - Red. But I don't really like red flowers, oddly enough!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Good Night, and Good Luck!

Dolt! Pookalooka tagged me! Everyone (except my father!) gets SIX questions. One for each category. Good lord, I have no idea why I'm so nervous. I already blog about it all anyway, right?

So ask away:

1) About friends...
2) About sex...
3) About music...
4) About drugs...
5) About love...
6) About anything...

In other news, well, there is very little other news. On the training front, I am wicked tired. Four easy miles and some weight training today and no energy for yoga. I can't hold my head up straight - how the hell am I going to hold my body in triangle pose?

Skipping class has opened the door for some guilt to sink in, though. I know that I'm not particularly slothful; but sitting in front of the television watching Sex and the City re-runs on TBS with the curse words bleeped out just feels pathetic. I hope it's the lack of curse words and not the lack of activity that is making this evening in my den of slack feel so pitiful.

So here's to a little more downtime and to feeling more energized tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that.

Good night, and good luck!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Crazy Eights

I am dedicated. I woke up early this morning. I made it to the gym. Despite a late night. I am also audacious. My legs were sore, but I went out for six miles. But I am strong. I finished them.

I am fast. I ran all six in a total time of 49:25! And I am crazy. I did 800 repeats. Five times! At 7:20 pace. 3 minutes and forty seconds per 800.

Yet, I am hopeful. They say that those workouts are going to get me to the Finish Line on time. However, I am somewhat skeptic. Dag, yo. Those repeats were rough!

I am tired. Dog tired. And I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


When I told my parents I was moving to San Francisco, they weren't happy. I believe my mother did a laugh/cry and told me she had to go. She hung up the phone and then called her mother and cried. Or so I hear. My father, on the other hand, borderline enraged, repeated the same sentence eight or nine times: "I wish you would have discussed this with me first..."

Honestly, I didn't see the point in discussing my decision to move to the other side of the country with my parents. I knew what their response would be: "California is too far away." And it is. For them. For me, it's an annoying flight, but it's a hell of a lot closer to their house than Australia. And I was 25. I had been living in my very own apartment for two years. I had been successfully paying my own bills. And I had paid back my "start-up" loan from Dad a couple of years ago. I was independent, and dare I say it, grown-up.

I just wasn't entirely happy. And I wanted to do something about it. My efforts at describing this feeling to my parents were inadequate. I HAD to get out of DC. I just couldn't BE there anymore. The place was driving me crazy. Instead of allaying their concerns, my rationale only spurred extensive questioning. Why are you doing this? This doesn't sound like you. Is everything OK? What aren't you telling me? I thought you loved DC? Are you depressed? Are you in some sort of trouble?

I wasn't in trouble in the traditional sense. I just knew that tomorrow I was going to wake up, be 45, live in DC, consult for the government, and hate my life. And THAT was troubling. Growing up, I never saw myself living in Philadelphia, or DC, or even New York after graduating from high school. Before I ever even considered the consequences of adulthood, I wanted "to go really far away." Whatever that meant. I remember sitting in the car with Mom and telling her that one day. I must have been seven. Oh, my poor mother.

So really, the fault of the arguments was mine. How could I reason with either of my parents using the simplistic logic of needing "to go really far away"? My parents have both spent their entire lives in the Philadelphia area. When they got married they moved three miles from the houses in which they grew up. And after I was born, they moved 30 miles ALL THE WAY to the OTHER SIDE of Philly. They have always read the Philadelphia Inquirer. They have always been able to purchase soft pretzels on the corner. They have never gone a summer without water-ice. Or a New Year's Day without The Mummers. Not to mention scrapple for breakfast on Sundays. No one gives them funny looks when they say, "I'll have a glaaaass of wooder," or "Yeah, my crazy doorder lives in California." (Well, they do often get a crazy look from the latter. But it has nothing to do with the pronunciation of the word, "daughter.")

Where am I going with all of this?

Right. So tonight I went to see Guster at The Fillmore. They played on the very same stage that launched the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Where Bob Dylan and Santana and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, and I could go on but you really just gotta go and look at all of the posters on the wall played. All the time. Amazing, really. Of course, Mom and Dad will tell me that American Bandstand was taped in Philadelphia, San Francisco isn't the only place with music history. And that's great and all, Go Bandstand, Go Philly. But, seriously - The Fillmore. The Fillmore!!!! It was awesome to just be there. To smell and hear history and the future. To feel excitement.

As for Guster, I love love love that band. Especially live. In fact, I don't think I loved them until I saw them live. I love how simple some of their songs are. And yet how poignant. One of my favorites is Happier, and I'm so glad they played it last night. Because today I was kind of lonely. A little tired and "really far away" and wondering what to do with myself all afternoon. I went to the gym, and to yoga, but I was kind of going through the motions more than actively enjoying my activities. It took a night of live music and the magic of The Fillmore to remind me that I really am Happier in San Francisco. Even on a less than perfect day, I am Happier to no longer waste every moment of my Saturdays and my Sundays. To no longer be wasted from the boredom. To have torn it apart. To have started again.

I don't know if Mom and Dad will ever truly get why I did it. But at least they are a little Happier about it now, too. (Will you guys PLEASE book your tickets already?)

"So go on If this will make you happier It got you this far Do what you have to..."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Bitter-Sweet Sixteen

In various aspects of life, it's always so satisfying to go further than you expected you could. Or thought you would. And in no area of my life is this more true than in running.

One day in college seven years ago I went out for a quick run. A 3 or 4 mile loop around Charlottesville. 9 miles a later, I returned home and told GPSH that yes, that entire time, I'd been running. It was that day that I first thought I wanted to run a marathon. It took three more years before I mustered up the courage to sign-up for one; however since that day in November 2003, I haven't looked back. Every year a marathon. (And who knows... perhaps this year, there will be two...)

I am currently in the best shape of my life. And well on my way to
setting - at a minimum - another marathon PR. And I am on the brink of becoming a Boston Qualifier... Forging through old personal limits and defining new ones every day. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. In my new home, San Francisco, I really am (following MMG's orders and) living the Henry David Thoreau quote, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Love you, MMG.)

Today was my first long run in a while. Back-to-back business trips and out of town guests took priority the past few weeks. I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up with the group for an entire 14 miles, today. However much to my chagrin, I did fine. And my plans to only run an easy ten turned into twelve and then fourteen and then sixteen. I was feeling great. That beautiful runner's high struck me somewhere around Mile 12. Up in the Presidio, along Lincoln Blvd, overlooking Baker Beach and the Pacific Ocean. I felt the tingling. And I felt my lips turn up, exposing my teeth and dimples. My eyes crinkled, and my chest swelled. I sighed. And beamed from the accomplishment of knowing I will not regret these miles, this morning, or this day.

The sweetness of the high didn't last very long. For slightly further up the road, we passed a Memorial created by several runners in honor of Ashlyn Dyer, a woman killed in a fatal hit and run several weeks ago while running in the Presidio. Placed at the location of the accident were wreaths and several pairs of running shoes - p
otent reminders of how quickly everything can be taken away from us. She was only twenty-seven... And I couldn't help but wonder if moments before she was hit, she also stared out at the ocean, smiling and sighing, content with her morning miles, and hopeful of the day to follow.

I have ten weeks left until San Diego. Seventy days and counting. Seventy days to surprise myself by what I can accomplish. Seventy days... Let's make them count.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'm Wide Awake and It's [4 in the] Morning

I thunderbolt out of bed.

I have forgotten to call her back. For a few days, now. My childhood friend who is coming to San Francisco for work. With whom I haven't spoken in about ten years. Amidst dodging a call from The Bartender - why? have you NO shame? And Guy from Harry's Bar - he says that every time he calls... I'm not really avoiding him I just haven't had time to talk to him. I can't believe I gave him my number in the first place. I don't remember what he looks like. I just remember that he's an architecht and I got really excited about that. And then there was the news that my best friend in San Francisco is moving. Quitter! And she's going to Los Angeles for eff's sake! And then there was dinner tonight with Dirty Jersey. (Remember him?) It wasn't just him, but he wanted to take me and HBP out for missing our birthdays. Given that my birthday was a full month ago, one can imagine what an undertaking scheduling this dinner was.

I have had a busy week.

Back to my thunderbolt. I turn on the computer and send her an apologetic email. I acknowledge that it's 4:03 a.m. I hope that will induce her forgiveness for my ignorance.

As if that were enough. Because of course, Nic's Brain is super confused. She thinks we're awake for good, or something. No wonder I'm turning into quite the road runner, with The Brain always on the go, plowing through all there is to do and think about. Miles and miles of tasks and thoughts. Even at effing four in the morning.

My room is now clean. I have responded to other emails. And I've blogged. I'm going to go floss my teeth...

I feel the desire to craw back under the covers building. Success!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Here It Goes Again

Waiting. For the return email.
Listening. For the phone to ring.
Looking. To see if he's at MY gym today.
Running. Really fast just in case he is. (Like you've never done it!)
Smiling. Because I think I like him.
Imagining. What it's like to kiss him.
Scheming. On good second date plans.
Planning. Our entire life together. (Just kidding.)
Waiting. To see him again.
Trying. To not obsess about it. So much. At all, really.

Yeah, that would be nice. OK... Go!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Round Here

I am busy. At work. And at home. I have things to do. And people to see. Places to go for dinner. I am the cause for rescheduling with friends. I feel rather popular. Which is good, because to be honest, I'm used to feeling popular. Well-liked, to be more humble about it. I like that feeling. It was missing out here for a while.

Out here, I am running better than I ever have in my life. Tempos. Hills. Intervals. Yassos. I am setting little PRs every day. And it is so encouraging to see improvements.

And I am eating so well, too. Out here my 'fridge is always stocked with spinach, peppers, onions, zuchinni, tomatoes, avocados, cottage cheese, and soy milk. Out here these foods do not go bad, as they did in my old fridge in DC.

I am wearing the most adorable outfit right now. If I do say so myself, I look good. It's amazing how good you can feel about yourself when your clothes fit nicely. Out here, for perhaps the first time in my entire life, I stand in front of my closet thinking, there is SO MUCH to wear.

Lately, it just feels like everything is coming together. Quite nicely, in fact. Out here. All these things I have done the past several months are congealing into the shape of my not-so-new -anymore life. Here. Each day it is feeling a little less "out." Each day it is starting to feel a little "'round." Round here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

MTV Wedding to Go 2007

She told us they were going back in December. I spent an evening with most of The Big Ten in DC before I flew back to San Francisco after Christmas. Sitting around the table at Clyde's, she said they were going to Florence.

We squealed with delight. And all thought the same thing. You're going to get engaged! She rolled her eyes at us. And shrugged that there wasn't any money for a ring. That it wasn't going to happen. Yet.

But sure enough, on their first night in Florence, he asked.

According to HEG... "[He] proposed on a bridge in Florence that had a beautiful view of the city. No knee down, no boom box over his head, but he did have a very pretty ring in his hand. I think I had the single tear, said yes, and managed to get said pretty ring on my finger without knocking it in the water (a great accomplishment when you've had 3 liters of wine that day)."

And now, HEG is engaged. Which means The Big Ten is gearing up for a wedding, in a way that only members of The Big Ten can. Today HEG told us that they are thinking about having the ceremony in the Virgin Islands, possibly some time next March. Which has all of us excited, because, as EAB has pointed out, the date will coincide with college spring break... "And what says romantic destination wedding like ten 26 [and 27] year olds pretending to be 18? GPSH can bring her beer funnel! LGA can go topless. [EAB herself promises] to throw tuna sandwiches at anyone that would like that." And maybe CLG could hook up with that SUPER hot/nasty frat guy again?

But why stop there. A re-enactment of Bahams Spring Break 2001 wouldn't be complete, as CLG correctly attested, without HEG straddling her new hubby on the dance floor, like she did that blond guy - who had huge hands - at Waterloo.

And LEJ had a fantastic request. One that I hope HEG will seriously consider. Perhaps, if we're all super lucky, the wedding DJ could play nothing but Shaggy “Angel” all night. Or perhaps he could just put everyone's favorite CD - Nic’s Bahamas Mix - on repeat all evening?

All in all, I agree with EAB's assessment. This wedding is going to rule. MTV Wedding to Go 2007 all the way. People so excited for HEG... AHHHH!!! Soon to be HES!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Back in Massachusetts

We talked. We laughed. We overanalyzed. We reminisced. We ate. We drank. We shopped. I cried. (Of course.)

But mostly, we laughed...

  • Nic, we should just get married to each other. We'll probably have the best sex of our lives.
  • No, feel my breasts.
  • (At a bar, in public, we feel her breasts.)
  • Aren't they so perky? ...See, I REALLY don't need to wear a bra.
  • You know if you get caught doing that they won't let you work with children...
  • AFS, why do you have to be SUCH a kill joy?
  • Nic, I can't believe you let him walk away from you.
  • I'm really not worried about it. He'll be back.
  • I can't get a Brazillian. Being a firecrotch is part of my identity.
  • Now, Nic, you said you didn't like him last night. Why is that?
  • GPSH, even YOU didn't like him last night.
  • Yeah, it's a 52 week training program. I'm only on week 2, though.
  • Oh. It's just that you talk about it like you've been doing it forever.
  • I know. I'm hoping to make it at least to week 6.
  • GPSH, they're ugs.
  • They're what?
  • Ugly... OK, well, at a minimum they're fucking funny. Especially since you thought to pair the mud brown with gold.
  • I was excited when you told me you were coming, really. Except that I was so stressed out about cleaning my room.
  • It's not that bad. Kind of sparse, though.
  • You know, I'm only going to be here for nine months, so I didn't want to unpack.
  • Look at my arm.
  • Ooh, AFS. It looks like a bite mark. Did one of your kids bite you?
  • No, GPSH. YOU bit me.
  • Pink. Pink. Brown.
  • Rat. Rat. Pig.
  • Look at me! I'm such an adult. I made dinner reservations.
  • Isn't it great to have smart friends around?
Yes, it is great to have smart friends around. Especially when they're the both of you. Even if your worst characteristic is laziness. Or a violent bitter drunken persona. With friends like you, it's no wonder you both say my best characteristic is my loyalty.

I miss you guys. Not sure if we'll ever meet up back in Massachusetts again, but I know the discussions, the hugs, the laughs, and the antics will continue wherever life takes you both next. Charlottesville.... and San Francisco, perhaps?

Friday, March 17, 2006


LAG sent me this via email. I thought I'd share...

"Just about every other school in Virginia likes to bash UVA kids for being 'pretentious' and 'snobs.' In other words, they get called out for thinking they're better than everyone else. Well, if you went to the school in Virginia with the most stringent admissions requirements, best overall athletic program, most beautiful campus and coeds, most successful and famous alumni, the most storied social scene, was founded by Thomas Jefferson, and all that happened to be in what was voted the #1 city to live in America, well you'd think you were the shit too."

- ESPN's review of college campuses.

Wow, still recovering from that, "best overall athletic program" nonsense. Not that it isn't true. But can the basketball team PLEASE not play in the NIT sometime soon?


Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Standard Meeting Participants

I am sitting next to Hollaback Girl. "That's right. Hmmm-hmmm. Oh. No, we're not! Well... Yes. That's right. That's good. Easy! Thank you."

I am sitting behind Stupid Question Guy. "Is this a meeting? Are we in a hotel? In Boston? What is MY name?"

I am listening to Doesn't Think He Needs a Microphone. I can't hear him, however.

I am watching Loves the Laser Pointer. He is a neurologist. He enjoyes making the audience follow him with their eyes. This meeting is about migraine headaches. And his presentation leaves me wanting to take a few Aleve.

I am deciphering RAG - Rapid Acronym Generator. None of these acronyms are listed in the study glossary. I am positive that RAG creates a new acronym EOS. (Every Other Sentence.)

I am dodging Way To Happy To Meet Everyone. Lady, we just met at the reception last night. How can it be SO GOOD to see me again? A mere 10 hours after our introduction...

I am waiting for Asks Too Many Questions to finish so I can get out of here.



Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Long and Short of It

It's been a long day.
  • 5:43 AM PST - Woke up.
  • 5:45 AM PST - Alarm sounded... I got out of bed.
  • 6:02 AM PST - Drank a glass of V-8.
  • 6:10 AM PST - Hopped into the Airport Shuttle that was 20 minutes early...
  • 6:55 AM PST - Arrived at SFO after picking up another passenger in Twin Peaks. Great neighborhood. I could see myself living there at some point.
  • 6:59 AM PST - Ticketed.
  • 7:10 AM PST - Secured.
  • 7:15 AM PST - Arrived at Gate. But realized I still had a half hour to kill.
  • 7:20 AM PST - Ate breakfast. Veggie scramble and coffee. Decaf.
  • 7:55 AM PST - Boarded plane. With Seating Group 4. (ARGH) But the plane was rather empty, which was nice.
  • 7:58 AM PST - Settled in aisle seat and noted empty seat between me and Window Seat Guy. Excellent.
  • 8:20 AM PST - Take-off. On-time. Sweet.
  • 8:45 AM PST - Drink-cart. My craving for tomato juice awoke.
  • 8:49 AM PST - Shrieking screams for help from the back of the plane. I immediately assume the worst. (We're going down.)
  • 8:51 AM PST - OK, nothing that bad. Medical emergency, though. I smell vomit.
  • 8:56 AM PST - We ARE in fact going down. But first we're turning around. We prepare for landing.
  • 9:20 AM PST - We land in Reno, NV. I think it was 9:20. I see mountains outside the window. I start talking to Window Guy, who lived in SF before, but now lives in Boston. We discuss Product Management, and he tells me I should go to Business School. Even though I don't have to. But I should. We discuss San Francisco and how much he misses it.
  • 9:50 AM PST - We prepare for take-off.
  • 10:05 AM PST - Drink-cart. I keep my fingers crossed that it makes it to me, this time. I can TASTE tomato juice.
  • 10:12 AM PST - Tomato juice. Yum. Except that it oozes out of my cup, which had a hole in it, all over my tray and jeans.
  • 10:13 AM PST - I relocate seats, accepting that the day is just not going to be that great.
  • 10:15 AM PST - The Family Stone starts.
  • 12:10 PM PST - I blink back some tears, as The Family Stone ends. I stare out the window for a while. (I waved at MN.)
  • 12:20 PM PST - I have not eaten in five hours. The combination of empty stomach plus turbulence replaces my craving for tomato juice with a craving for Dramamine.
  • 12:25 PM PST - Drink-cart. I request a Diet Dr. Pepper. The attendant gives me a dirty look when I request the ENTIRE can. (Seriously! Her pour into a mini cup filled to the brim with ice only contains about 2 sips! And there are NO peanuts or pretzels distributed on this flight. So yes, I'd like an entire can. How is that the airlines are losing money, again? They're all cheap bastards if you ask me.)
  • 1:20 PM PST - Six hours. We have been on the plane for six hours. I pledge to quit my job and start working as an aerospace engineer. Someone has GOT to make the transcontinental flight take less time to complete. My goal - 1000 miles per hour!
  • 2:21 PM PST - Captain speaks to us. Woo hoo! That means we're going to start our desent, right? Wrong. We are in a holding pattern and can't land yet.
  • 2:50 PM PST - Prepare for landing.
  • 5:55 PM EST - Touch-down. I love landing in Boston. I love coming in over the water. I love the little houses and docks and the rocky coast. I love how cold the water looks.
  • 6:00 PM EST - We sit on the runway. We are waiting for a gate. GET ME OFF OF THIS PLANE! I've been on it for 7 hours. It was only supposed to be 5!
  • 6:01 PM EST - I notice that snow flurries down out the window. I put on my scarf and beanie, preparing for the *wicked* cold.
  • 6:20 PM EST - Cab.
  • 6:55 PM EST - Hotel check-in. I am told that they are out of rooms with king beds, so I've been upgraded to a suite. SWEET. She tells me the room is $800/night. I laugh at this shared information. 1) I don't care, because I'm not paying. 2) I pay less monthly rent than that.
  • 6:59 PM EST - I open the door to my room. It's huge. But it kind of smells like cigars...
  • 7:05 PM EST - Shower. Blow-dry. Iron. Dress.
  • 8:00 PM EST - Reception and meeting check-in. Have I mentioned that I haven't eaten in almost 10 hours, save a tomato juice and Diet Dr Pepper? Imagine my dismay when the reception dinner is really just reception finger-food.
  • 8:01 PM EST - I pick up 8 sticks of chicken satay. And 5 asparagus sticks. (What are they called, anyway?) I go back for seconds.
  • 9:01 PM EST - I am done with shmoozing.
  • 9:10 PM EST - I log on. I respond to all of the emails I missed while in the plane.
  • 10:01 PM EST - I wrap-up work by submitting my picks for the March Madness office pool. (Villanova!)
  • 10:30 PM EST - I retire to my Marriot Sweet Dreams bed. It isn't too bad.
There it is. The longest day ever. And yet three hours of it were taken from me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ready Made

I'm slightly distrubed by the ease with which I was able to pack for this next trip. A five day trip used to spur packing lists. Bedroom fashion shows. The ever-important selection of CDs. And laundry. Glorious laundry!

These days, I'm mostly packed even before the trip begins. Switching toiletries from my gym bag to my suit case, I recite a short prayer to the traveling gods that the shampoo and conditioner at the hotel isn't a single, "conditioning shampoo." But if it is, I'm prepared. I pack my trusty brown claw-clip and wide-tooth comb. I now know what all of my clothes look like on my body, so the hallway/runway remains quiet. I select the suits and blouses that don't require ironing, plus 2 bras, 2 sports bras, a handful of socks, 10 pairs of underwear, 4 t-shirts and running shorts. Wilson (III) fits in the palm of my hand. My suit case zips. And I don't even have to sit on it, first.

I do enjoy the opportunity to travel. Even though the friendly skies aren't quite the same as an open-road. I still can't help feeling my innocence each time I peer out the small windows of the plane at the ground below. Those views always bring back childhood memories of Barbie-Ville and Little People Land. And I still learn quite a few things about myself every time I'm at the airport. Bags waiting. Falling apart, standing in line. Stuck together like a ready made.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Everyday People

I wouldn't say that I am necessarily running from something. And although I do have a few goals, I'm not necessarily headed anywhere in particular, either.

So I shouldn't be this frustrated when I drop a few of the balls I've been managing to juggle. (Work projects...) Or when life throws a curve ball at me. (Back-to-back business trips...) And I really shouldn't be so upset when I am dealt a grand-finale sucker punch. (Strep throat...)

Training plans are 6 months long for a reason. Because there's no way in hell anyone who isn't a professional athelelte can complete 100% of their training runs. Normal people - wait, normal people aren't endurance atheletes... OK, CRAZY people (like me, and most likely, like YOU) have crazy schedules. Demanding jobs. Committments to family and friends. Overflowing social calendars. All on top of workouts that push us to our limits.

Sure, we're crazy. And that's on top of being everyday. Eventually, the everyday will catch up with us. We won't always be able to out-pace it. No matter how many miles we run. Despite the number of cleansing breaths we exhale. It has nothing to do with the the quantity of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, vitamins, Gatorade, or Gu we suck down.

So I'm going to go fix myself an Amoxicillin cocktail and crawl under the down comforter. And for another day, be one of the Everyday People.

There are still two and a half months until San Diego. Plenty of time to make up for two and a half weeks of overwhelming Everyday... I hope.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Can You Swim?

If you're into pictures, and pictures on the Internet, and blogs and pictures and the Internet, stop by Pics by Nic and Can You Swim? and loads of other sites that have participated in a recent challenge hosted by Krys. Lots of strength, weakness, love, war, work, play, peace, joy, and sorrow... All in all, a lot of introspection, as well as inspiration.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Importance of Reading Material

I am still in Denver tonight. Because I have to work all day tomorrow. Which is a SATURDAY. I just got back from a dinner shmooz fest, and was reminded of my favorite business travel story of all time. And I thought I'd document it so that I never forget it...

I once got stuck in my hotel bathroom. I was staying at The Doubletree in Philadelphia after launching a system for one of my clients. At the time, I had been living alone in a studio apartment in Washington, DC. I regularly peed with the bathroom door open in that apartment. Who needs privacy when you live alone?

Now, I just shared my bathroom habits of the time with you for a reason. It had been a long day. I had been working 80 hour weeks for quite a few months back then. I was miserable and scatter-brained. Especially after coming off a deployment, travel, and virtually no sleep. So when I arrived back at my hotel that night, having to pee, I darted to the bathroom, dropped trou - or hiked skirt, dropped stockings - and shut the door.

I don't quite know what posessed me to close the door. It was very uncharacteristic of me, having lived by myself and peed thousands of times with the door wide open for the past two years. And by close the door, I mean push it shut all the way. With force, because it didn't shut that easily. But I did. I securely shut that door, I peed, and expelled a long, loud, sigh of content. The project was over, and I was going to be great again.

Until I tried to open the bathroom door. The damn thing wouldn't budge. I pulled. I pulled harder. I pulled as hard as I could. Nothing. I took a break. I pulled. I positioned my legs for leverage, and pulled. Really effing hard. Again, nothing.

I started to panic.

And then I started to bang on the wall. "HEEEEEELLLLLLP!"

No one responds to calls for help.


I laughed. Have you ever screamed, "Help I'm stuck in my bathroom!" at the top of your lungs? I dare you to try it. It's virtually impossible to do without laughing.

Luckily, after yelling that off and on for about ten minutes, my "neighbor" next door heard me. I guess there is no way in hell she only heard me for the first time after ten minutes. She claimed to have been sleeping, but it was only 7PM. My guess is that she finally heard me AND decided to do something about it. Minor point. Help was on the way. Speaking through the wall, she told me that she was calling hotel security, and that someone was going to come and rescue me.

Thank goodness. I really was starting to get a little frustrated. 10 minutes in a small bathroom without reading material? You can imagine what MY mind does while trapped in a small bathroom in that type of situation, right?

So security arrived, only to find that of course, I had chain locked the door to my room. And they couldn't get in. They had to go track down Maintenance to break into my room. That took another ten minutes, but at least my mind had quieted. Finally, after breaking down the room door, they were able to break down the bathroom door. (Break down/push it really hard...) I was saved.

I was only feeling good for a short while, before I realized the Security Gurad was looking at me like I was the dumbest person alive for getting stuck in a hotel bathroom. So I suggested he take a look at the door. And he got stuck in there, too. So after I got HIM out, we had the Maintenance guy come up and sand the door down.

The story could have been a lot more exciting, I guess. Because, no, I wasn't naked in there. And to be honest, I couldn't stop laughing once security had arrived - kind of a nervous giddiness - and I totally forgot to request/demand getting the room for free that night. However, I did not escape from The Doubletree Philadelphia without learning a couple of very important lessons...

1) THAT'S why they put phones in hotel bathrooms, and
2) Always bring reading material.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I am a list person. Number 1 on my lists is always "Make a list." The next few items tend to be the high priority ones. After listing those, I normally like to list an item that I've already completed. Just so I can check it off. Because lists look better when the items on them are checked off. The last item on my list never gets done. Still, I write it down. It is my rebellion for being a list person.

I haven't really needed a list for a while. I just haven't had that much to do. Working in a dead end job, spending some time in semi-retirement, and not training for anything in particular will negate the need for list making.

However, I'm in Denver tonight. For work. And I have too much to do to be here. Not just too much work, but too much life. It is reminding me of those times in college when I felt like I had too much homework to actually go to class. Too much Pi Phi to attend a chapter meeting. Too much Dance Company to rehearse all night.

I'd like to make a list for the rest of my evening right now, but I don't know what to write down on the #2 spot. Because there's just so much to put there. This infuriates and yet excites me. For some reason, I like this feeling. I enjoy being comfortably uncomfortable. I seek chaos.

I am about to go to bed, but for the sake of sqeezing those last few items out of the day...

#1 - List
#2 - Read
#3 - Blog (see - I did this one already)
#4 - Sleep
#5 - Respond to work emails (see - that will wait until tomorrow)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Old Dog, New Tricks

This morning, while getting dressed in the locker room at the gym, I heard a seagull caw. And for the life of me, for a brief second, I couldn't understand why a seagull would be flying in Adams Morgan. When did I move to San Francisco?

And earlier this morning, when my alarm clock sounded at 5:55 AM, I arose feeling good about getting some extra shut-eye. When did waking up only five minutes before 6:00 AM begin to constitute sleeping in? I know I used to dread those 8:00 AM classes I had in college...

And when did 10:00 PM become so late at night? I think I stayed up later than that back in third grade.

And for the record, I know I've gone at least a month before without ingesting vegetables. So when did only getting 5 a day start to make me feel too carnivorous?

At some point, likely between the hours of 5:30 AM and 10:00 PM, 8 minute miles became a slow tempo instead of a quick speed. 12 minutes of climbing stopped making me panic. I balanced and balanced and balanced. And if I'm really going to disclose all, the scale budged - in the down direction. Not a lot, but enough.

So, here's to old dogs everywhere! May you all master something new...

Friday, March 03, 2006

No Fear of...

Training is time consuming. And tiring. Exhausting, rather. Not to mention painful, at times. It demands dedication, perseverance, and if we're honest, a splash of stubbornness. Flexibility is required. From your calendar and your hamstrings. As is strength. And guts. And a small - OK, hefty - gumption for glory.

In short, it takes commitment. And this morning, as I walked out of Starbucks carefully reading "The Way I See It #76," I was reminded of just how great that little C-word is.

"The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as a rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life."

- Anne Morriss (Starbucks customer from NYC. She describes herself as an 'organization builder, restless American citizen, optimist.')"

Training takes its toll not on just your body, but also on on your mind. And so in addition to everything listed above, training takes reminders. From your Outlook calendar at the office. Or from within the pages of Runner's World. From your training buddy and sometimes, even from the back of that Starbucks cup. Now and again throughout the season, but especially during those sluggish, manic Mondays that follow ferocious weekends of revelry with friends. On these days, it is good to be reminded of why we do this.

Frustration, doubt, fear, and every other barrier I create in my head to derail me from the schedule don't exist in my Asics. They're not out on the roads. And they aren't in my refrigerator. Really, the only place I ever find anything that could potentially hinder my success this racing season is inside my head.

No whining. No sighing. No excuses. And no fear of commitment.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bravo for Bravia

I love the song. I love the balls. I love the scenery. I love the city. And I love the timing.

Be sure to click on the high resolution download even if takes a while to download. (It likely will take a few minutes...)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Seis Meses

As of yesterday, I have been calling San Francisco home for a total of six months. But only recently, has it started to feel like it. That's not to say that my time out here thus far hasn't been great. It's paralleled the landscape, though, that's for sure!

Below is a list of 50 Phase Five Favs Thus Far...

  1. The San Francisco City and County Limit sign on the Bay Bridge.
  2. The view of the city from my roof.
  3. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from my roof.
  4. The view of the city from the Golden Gate Bridge.
  5. The view of the city from a boat out on the Bay.
  6. The view of Alcatraz from my office.
  7. The chimes of Grace Cathedral around the corner.
  8. The scent of sourdough bread cooking down at Boudin in Fisherman's Wharf.
  9. The crooning of sea lions at Pier 39.
  10. The people who practice Tai Chi on Washington Square every morning.
  11. The scary sounds emanating from the streets on which the cable cars run.
  12. The zzzzzzzmmmmm sound of the emission-free, powered-by-electricity buses.
  13. Commuting to work by foot.
  14. The names of streets stamped into sidewalk corners.
  15. The street signs written in English and Chinese. And Japanese.
  16. The jam-packed sidewalks at all times of day in Chinatown.
  17. The street fairs each neighborhood hosts throughout the year.
  18. The celebration of Fleet Week in October.
  19. The miles of running trails along Crissy Field and the Presidio. And Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway.
  20. The Lyon Street stairs.
  21. The never-ending search for the BEST SF style row-home.
  22. The Union Square power-shopping.
  23. The Haight Street bargain-shopping.
  24. The Gap at the corner of Haight-Ashbury. (Kidding...)
  25. The People Watching in the Haight. And in the Mission.
  26. The funky Bikram Yoga instructors at Funky Door Yoga.
  27. The fact that Funky Door distributed prizes on Valentine's Day donated by Good Vibrations and requiring AA batteries. (I didn't win...)
  28. The big ass peppers at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market each Saturday.
  29. The $15 bikini waxes at all the Chinese salons.
  30. The $8 manicures and $16 pedicures at those same salons.
  31. The It's It icecream sandwich.
  32. The eerie feeling I get when I sit on my roof as the fog rolls over the city.
  33. The killer buns of steel I have developed after running and walking these mountainous hills for 6 months.
  34. The smells of pot on the most unlikely streets. (It's super weird.)
  35. The inexpensive bouquets of flowers on every corner.
  36. The fact that I am disappointed when a salad or sandwich doesn't have avocado on it.
  37. The inexpensive California wines.
  38. The plethora of laundromats - there's one on every corner!
  39. The use of the word, "Hella."
  40. The hiking trails on Mt. Tam. And Tennessee Valley.
  41. The cozy hiking rest spots at Stinson Beach.
  42. The yummy food at The Crepe House.
  43. The yummy food at Beetlenut.
  44. Every coffee shop on every block of Polk Street.
  45. The small connections you make with everyone out here.
  46. The, "That's awesome!" response to my, "No, I moved here by myself."
  47. The subsequent exchanges of cross country driving treks with new friends.
  48. The feeling I get when I stand on my roof and say to myself, "I did it!"
  49. The moments when I wish everyone I know would move to San Francisco.
  50. The moments when I realize that even though they all won't, I'll still be GREAT out here.