Last week we went back to Kentucky for a very special wedding.


Paul officiated, Tiny played a starring role.


It was absolutely beautiful, and a great party.

I was only in Kentucky for about 48 hours, not long enough to do much except wedding.  Post-wedding we left our terror in a tutu with Opa and Nana and headed, just the two of us, to one of my MOST FAVORITE places.  NYC.


I lived in New York for a couple of months after graduating college.  I have very fond memories of my time there. Weird things make me nostalgic…the sound of squealing train brakes, navigating the crowds in Penn Station, even the smell of the subway gives me little excited shivers.  I feel like every time you step out your door it’s a mini-adventure.  I love New York.

Paul had never been.  So we went all over.

IMG_20150528_113403 IMG_20150527_173458 IMG_20150603_120000IMG_20150529_123004 IMG_20150603_120300 IMG_20150529_093613

We even took the train into New Jersey so Paul could say he’d been to that tourist trap (aka we went to my college reunion.)

Spring in New York is awesome.  The park is awesome.  Everyone is so happy to be back outside. Sidewalk cafes are open.  IT IS AWESOME.

But for some reason, this time around, a lot of the old heartstrings weren’t pulled the same way they usually are.  Maybe it’s because Paul was with me, maybe I’m getting old and my sense of adventure is dwindling, maybe it’s that those days a getting further away, the memories a little fuzzier.

When we got back on a Sunday there was the normal post-vacation hangover and sense of dread for the upcoming work week.

But our first night home I noticed, for the first time, how quiet our street is.  When I opened the windows of the house, the smell of basil and lemon blossoms wafted in.  I didn’t even curse when, at 2am, I tripped on the training toilet sitting on the floor of our bathroom.

New York is awesome.  Kentucky is beautiful.  But sometimes there’s just something about coming home.



Back at work, in my cubicle, drinking the “coffee” from office kitchen, looking out the window at the rain, I think about where I was a week ago today:



So, just a little background, two weeks ago I traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii to do the Honu 70.3 with my friend Alix and her sister Catherine.  It was my first time to Hawaii.  On the plane, I pretty much ignored the rules to turn off electronic devices as we were landing.

reefs from the sky

Alix’s parents are pretty frickin amazing and let me crash with the family at the house they had rented.  They also fed me delicious delicious food to prep us for the race.  It was…ridiculously awesome.

We all arrived 2 days before the race.  Our first day there we went to this beach near Puako for a 30 minute swim, as instructed by Coach Allison.

I miss swimming in the ocean.  A lot.  And swimming in this particular part of the ocean, I considered never getting out.  We saw clownfish, parrotfish, pufferfish, butterflyfish, humuhumunukanuka’apua’as (yes for real, they’re everywhere), and (the best part) a SEA TURTLE…or honu, in Hawaiian, which I took as a sign of good luck for our race.  I was in love.

But before we could have any real fun, there was bike maintenance, race registration, transition bag drop off, and, of course, the race.  A short race summary with pretty much all you need to know:

Honu 70.3: A Haiku

Blow blow blow great wind
Make waves, knock me off my bike
I saw Lance Armstrong

I was a ways off my goal time, and Alix got 2 flats (and fixed both of them herself…way impressive), but it was a pretty awesome experience and we all survived.

After the race Alix rented a truck and we took a trip around the whole island.  There were more beaches…

…some with black sand…

…and some paddleboarding at Kona where we ended up smack in the middle of a pod of dolphins for about 10 minutes.  It was amazing, but nobody brought a camera.

There was some camping in the higher altitudes at Volcanoes National Park…

…where the ground smokes…

…and volcanoes live.

Some hiking through the jungle along the Kilauea Iki Trail…

…down to the hardened lava lake below that was created by an eruption in 1959.

can you find alix and shayna?

(steam still spills out of a lot of the fissures along the ground, it’s awesome)

We also walked through a lava tube.

From there we headed north towards Hilo, into the rain…

…then back around to Kawaihae, to our final camping spot at Spencer Beach Park (which, btw, closes it’s gates at 9pm…for future reference).

We found a little secret path and decided to follow it…

…that took us to a little, empty, white sand beach.

We got to spend our final evening with a family of sea turtles that were hanging out in the shallow water.  After that we headed out to a dinner of unbelievable sushi.  On the way out there were rainbows rainbows everywhere.

It was going to be the perfect ending to an amazing trip.

Then, while trying to get back into the campsite after dinner, I fell in a lava field and we spent the rest of the evening in the Kona ER.

20 stitches in this unassigned tourist’s right arm.  We all flew out the next day.

I felt pretty bad about ruining the last night in Hawaii.  At least someone was happy to see me when I got home.

But seriously, a major thanks goes out to Alix and her family for their generosity and all of their help with everything.  The whole trip was a truly amazing experience and I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do it (especially in such style) without them.  Far above and beyond anything I expected.

I’ll leave you with a pic of my favorite sign in Kona.

More pics of the trip here.

For a real, full, looooong race report, go here.

Gimme Some ‘More

{the city, from park across the street from Molly’s apartment}

Last weekend Paul and I hopped on a quick flight over to Baltimore (which has its own official webpage, if you were wondering) to surprise Joe for his 30th bday.

When my sister moved to Baltimore last year and started raving about what a great place it was to live, I was like, whatever.  I’ve seen The Wire.

Welp, turns out Baltimore is kind of awesome.  My sister and Joe live in Federal Hill, where there are approximately 400 really fantastic restaurants and bars within walking distance of their apartment.  The neighborhood sits right on the bay, it’s a 15 minute walk from downtown, and craft beer abounds.

They also have crab tots, which are just as delicious as they sound.

My roommate from freshman year of college, who I haven’t seen in like 8 years and who also happens to live in Baltimore, picked us up from the airport, which was beyond fantastic.  Molly took a pic of us, but it was taken in the rain, in the dark, and we both look like corpses.  So I’ll spare you.

Molly put together a little shindig on Saturday night for Joe, which was great.  A few people we knew when we were kids from SB who just happen to live in B’more showed up:

(please ignore my shapeless body)

…and at the end of the night Molly ran home with what remained of the monstrosity that was Joe’s birthday cake.

(The chef couldn’t find his 9” cake pan, so he used his 12” pan.  It was the size of a car tire.)

The next day was really cold and windy.  Molly had to leave early for Texas where she’s doing some pre-deployment training, so Joe, Paul, and I wandered around the city…

…stopped by a car show, where this happened…

(it started coming at me as I took the picture, scared the crap out of me).  And we ate some crab tots.  Then we flew home.

Good times.  Hope to go back soon.  Happy 30th Joe!


Welcome to Thunder Road.  Feel the thunder.

Colleague and I traveled down to Charlotte, NC…home of Bank of America, bars that don’t open on the weekends, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Carolina barbecue void…to run our half marathon this past weekend.  After hitting up the expo (above) and carbo-loading the night before (beer, fried pickles with ranch, and gravy cheese fries) we woke up the next morning rarin’ to go…and promptly missed the start of the race.  Along with about 1,000 other people.  But we followed the mad crush and it eventually carried us across the starting line at the very rear of the group.  We were off!

…and then we were stuck behind everyone who made it to the starting line on time, including all the walkers.  Because we started so far back, the first 6 miles were exceptionally crowded and consisted of a lot of dodging and passing.  But, when it was all said and done, we were both well under 2 hours and right on our best times.   The fried pickles did their job.

After a shower we headed out in search of some real Carolina barbecue, something we had been looking forward to for months.  We found the Tourism Center downtown and asked where we could get some.  Blank stare from the lady who works there.  Apparently it doesn’t exist in Charlotte.  But we ended up finding an awesome soul food place that also served beer and red velvet cake.   So.  Happy.

After more fried goodness, we went looking for a bar where we could relax and talk about how awesome we are and how weird it is that Charlotte has no barbecue.  We were surprised once again to find that almost all of the bars in town are closed on the weekend.  What.

We finally found one that was open…and stayed there for 5 hours.  Until we both went home and fell asleep at 7pm.  Thanks to the snow storm in the middle of the country the trip home was a nightmare for both of us, but I’ll spare you my rant about a 12 hour wait in the airport and Colleague’s 3-hour train ride to Raleigh because apparently there were no flights out of Charlotte to Boston.

Overall:  success!  More or less.  Disappointments included the barbecue situation, not getting to go to the Dale Earnhardt Jr bar, and lack of revving engine noises broadcast over loudspeakers throughout the race (though they did play a really loud, prolonged one at the start.)

Next up: Marathon.  Probably.  (And probably another half before that.)

A trip to The Big House

To me, few things are more festive than football in the fall.  So imagine my excitement when an old coworker/friend from California, who is in business school at Michigan, invited us up for the Illinois game this past weekend.  No better way to embrace the season.

…except it didn’t feel like fall up north.  We got to Michigan Friday night and it was 27 degrees.  After 5 years in California, neither Paul or I are equipped to deal with any temperature below 50, so we swung by an REI on the way into town.  I was also planning on doing my 10 mile run the following morning before the noon game started (because it definitely wasn’t going to be happening after the game) and needed to get some basic gear for running in the cold.  It was in REI that, in addition to a hat and ear warmers, I was totally suckered into buying a beautiful, completely overpriced running jacket (because I own exactly one long-sleeved shirt that I wear for running…my justification for the purchase.)  I experienced feelings of extreme guilt for spending so much on a stupid jacket…until I stepped outside at 7:30 the next morning in 23 degree weather to start my run.  I am in love.  I love my jacket.  

But enough about clothing.   After pre-gaming at the Michigan Business School Party Bus, we (and 111,000 other people) headed into the stadium…the biggest stadium in the country.  (I guess Michigan had the biggest, then Penn State built a bigger one, then Michigan rebutted and updated theirs to be the biggest again.  Pouring millions into a sports arena even though you can already seat over 100,000 people just to be bigger than the next guy…how American can you get.)   We sat in the student section and enjoyed some chili cheese fries, irish hot chocolate, and a lot of touchdowns.   Some idiot showed up wearing an Ohio State hat, both he and the hat were thrown out of the stadium.  The game went into triple overtime, Michigan won 67-65 (the score was higher than the basketball score for the two teams last year.) 

It was fun to be in college again for a weekend..and it only took me 3 days to recover.  Our hosts were wonderful.  Go Blue.

…+ Denver

I was in Denver for a grand total of about 24 hours.  It was a worthwhile stopover, got to see some old friends from high school (who you might remember from a hike earlier this year, one of whom just moved from Santa Cruz out to Denver.)  We had a pre-30th birthday celebration, the first one of our group to turn 30, a scary time in anyone’s life.  I baked brownies to celebrate the occasion, and attempted to decorate it with some frosting I bought from the store, only to realize it was actually frosting dye.  So…yeah.  Fail.

Santa Barbara South

Santa Barbara, Orange County, San Diego, back to Santa Barbara…over the course of 4 days.  It was a lot of quick hellos and goodbyes and some nice peppers from my parent’s garden.

Totally unrelated to the purpose of this trip, I am including the picture below (even though you can barely tell what is going on) because it was so impressive.

A homeless fellow riding his bike down State Street carrying his life on his handlebars, which included (but was not limited to): clothing, bedding, bags of cans, a boogie board, and an extra bike.  Just in case.  This guy is ready for anything.

This is the house that Jimmy built

Gonna get me a whole big bunch of grapes off a bush, or whatever, an’ I’m gonna squash ’em on my face an’ let ’em run offen my chin.

~John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

This is Uncle Jimmy:

This is the porch of the house that Jimmy built:

This is the wine from the vineyards you can see from the porch of the house that Jimmy built:

This is the pizza oven that Jimmy built for a friend well, just, because:

This is totally awesome, the life that Jimmy built.

Next stop: Santa Barbara

Note: Pictures for this post were all taken with my Droid, I was too lazy to deal with lighting settings on my phone, which is why they’re kind of crappy.

No Direction Home

As much as I am loving the commonwealth* of Kentucky and the people who live here, I think that coming back to California will always feel like coming home.

I returned from my round-the-state California (+ a piece of Denver) trip this past weekend.  Whirlwind.  But in a good way.

First stop: San Francisco

My first day in San Francisco I went “swimming” (one stroke normal arm, one pathetic lame-armed follow up…but I try) at my old stomping grounds and decided to walk up to Lower Haight to meet a friend for a drink.  On my walk up Market I passed this:

The line stretched around the corner of 5th.  I was late to my drink date because I stood there for about 15 minutes debating whether or not I should ditch the beer and instead try to befriend a person near the front of the line and try to get in (tickets weren’t sold out yet.)  But, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush…the beer won out.

Next on the list was the hike up to the top of Telegraph Hill with my parents where, to no one’s surprise, my father bared his guns.

See the resemblance to the shirtless guy on the building?

The views from Telegraph, good Indian food by UCSF, the dive bars, the angsty hipsters, the beer at Toronado, Nopalito, the man in a pink polka dot dress walking through the Financial District with a big bow in his nasty hair carrying a huge teddy bear…Walter Cronkite said it best:

“Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible. “

Next stop: Creston, CA

*thanks colleague