Archive for October, 2009

Happy Place
October 29, 2009

Last night I was thinking about my “happy place.”  Before you start getting any ideas, I mean somewhere or something that makes me feel good.   I decided that I have three distinct happy places.   Places I walk away from always feeling great!  In no particular order…

1. The Bathtub

Anyone who knows me, even only marginally, knows I have deep love affair with the bath.  Even as a child I could spend hours in the tub.  Although back then it was with toys, now it is with a large (emphasis on large) glass of wine or other cocktail of the moment and sometimes chocolate and/or ice cream.  It is well-known that Sally likes to drink in the tub.  A lot.  I swear it’s the cure for any headache, stress, etc.  I also frequently take phone calls from the tub, (Is that an echo, do I hear water…yes!) even though I don’t normally answer the phone on dry land.  I guess it relaxes me enough to handle a phone conversation.  If you’re skeptical, pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine and draw a nice hot bath…nothing tops it!

2. Trader Joe’s

Ok, I’ve joked that TJ’s is my happy place, it’s my Disneyland!  We’ve been graced with one only in the last year here, but it’s a single girl’s theme park.  First, it’s super cheap.  Every time I’m at the cashier I estimate the total will be at least 20% more than it really is and I’m thrilled each time.  Second, there are all kinds of new and different things to try, and at those prices why not try some pumpkin pancake mix, or chili spiced dried pineapples, or  sea salt and turbinado sugar and dark chocolate covered almonds?  Third, you always feel really good in there.  No really, I think they pump atomized Prozac through the vents.  If you don’t believe me, watch the people who work there, they are the happiest people on earth and they spend several hours a day there.  Finally, which may be related to the third reason, you always feel like the people who work at TJ’s are hitting on you…regardless of gender.  I always feel like the cutest, smartest, funniest girl when I’m in that store.  Sometimes I think I go there just for the ego boost.  And the free samples in the back!

3. My hoop

I can’t explain it.  I always feel really good when I’m in my hoop and can walk away from a workout feeling so much joy even after the worst day in history.  It must massage some internal organs that release endorphins and other feel-good hormones while you’re hooping.  Recently during the hooping workshops, the guest teacher commented that I look so “calm and at peace” when I’m hooping.  I never really thought about it, but figured I was probably concentrating really hard while she was watching so I wouldn’t mess up.  But another hooper I’ve worked with also agreed that I’m “very Zen” when I’m hooping.  It’s great to know that something so simple can put me in such a state.  I know when I’m hooping, I feel very unique, sexy, and powerful all at the same time.   While this is still a new “place” for me, I very glad for having found the hoop.

What’s your happy place?

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Sally’s Ring of Fire
October 25, 2009

This weekend I learned to become a fire performer.  Yes, FIRE.

It was the hooping worksh0op weekend extravaganza.  I learned about the safety of fire performing and more specifically how to perform with a fire hoop.  What is a fire hoop?  Imagine a hoop with about 5 spokes sticking out with torches on the end.  Or, visit the website.

It was the most amazing powerful experience.  And probably one of the most incredibly dangerous things I have ever experienced.  Picture this.  Feel the weight of the heavy hoop on your waist.  Listen to the roar of fire as it whooshes around your body.  Smell the fuel and the burn of the wicks.  Feel the heat of the flames as they lick upwards at you.  Watch the dizzying lights and flames as they encircle you at an incredible speed.  I am completely in love.  I have always loved hooping, but this takes it to head-over-heels level.

And for the great reveal.  For the first time, dear readers, you will see a picture of Sally.  Yes, I am revealing my identity online.  The fire hooping pictures are just too good to not share!

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Yes, I know, you can’t really see me in the photos.  You didn’t actually think I’d lose my loyalty to anonymity here?  The photos are awesome, but they just don’t do the live show justice.  I plan to get my own fire hoop and start practicing with some of the amazing hoopers from this weekend!

We also had other seminars this weekend.  Advanced hooping, sensual hooping (sorry no pics for that one), and LED hooping.  As you can see above, my fire hoop was also an LED hoop (as in it has LED lights inside the hoop).  The LED class was an incredible exercise in playing with light.

I’ll leave you with some photos from that workshop as well.  The first photo is me again (don’t you recognize me?), and I’ve included some group shots as well for the full light show.

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Canada pt. 4 (the finale)
October 21, 2009

I am finally home again.  It feels great, and Diva Kitty is so happy to see me. (don’t worry the affection won’t last long)  My final trip home was quite an adventure.  Barbie had class this morning, so I stayed behind to pack.  I went for my first run since the race, a light easy 2 miles.  It wasn’t bad, but my right calf started hurting again during the run.  Never had post-race pain last this long.  I guess I need to ease back into it; I’ll get plenty of upper body work this weekend at the hooping seminars.  After Barbie’s class, I drove over to the school to pick her up.  Yes, that was my first time attempting to drive in a foreign country.  Hard to believe that’s the first time, considering how much and how long I’ve been traveling internationally.  I managed the mile or two and back without any problems.  We stopped for some last minute falafel (Yum!) before hitting the road.

We hit some construction traffic in Canada.  Then, while waiting in line at the border, we witnessed something crazy that held up our pass through the border.  It appeared that the border patrol surrounded and arrested several Mennonites or Hutterites several cars ahead of us.  We were eventually back on the road, but were caught in the web that is Metro Detroit rush hour/construction traffic.

We arrived at the airport 10 minutes before my flight was scheduled to take off.  I was certain I had missed my flight, so I went to the ticket counter.  I needed to check a bag anyway.  The guy at the counter told me I would make the flight but my bag might not.  I thought there is no way I would ever make it through security at a major airport in 10 minutes and I really didn’t want to sprint to the gate, especially with my sore calf from the 2 miles this morning.  I got to the gate, and they were just boarding.  Wow, couldn’t believe it.  We landed on time and I walked to baggage claim.  Just as I neared the carousel, my bag was floating by.  No way, the bag made it too?!  At some point in my life I must have pleased the gods of air travel.

I successfully made it home!  So, to recap…that’s 7 days, my first snow of the season, 6 border crossings, 13.1 miles, becoming an international racer, one Ikea trip, one H&M trip, one puffio, one sinful cupcake, a Titans jersey in a Canadian bar, several funny signs, one crazy border crossing, fortuitous air travel, and a sore calf.  What a trip!

Canada pt. 3 (post race)
October 20, 2009

We survived the race!  It was a very chilly start, just below freezing.  But fortunately we had made a last minute trip to the outdoorsy store (coupon in hand!) and got some great cold weather pants.  Barbie and I were in different starting waves, so I gave her a huge hug and some encouraging words before her first half and made my way to my corral.  Though it was a fairly large race (about 20,000 runners), it wasn’t long before I away from the crowds and could comfortably find my own pace.  We approached the Ambassador Bridge, which turned out to be a pretty manageable incline despite my fears.  Once crossing the bridge, we were in Canada.  I’m officially an international racer!  It was a beautiful run the entire race, great scenery and interesting urban landscape.  It was around mile 5 that I realized I forgot to put Body Glide on my feet and I worried about blisters the rest of the race.  Fortunately, I didn’t develop anything awful.  Maybe my socks were already saturated with the stuff.

The tunnel back to the U.S. turned out to be the worst part.  It is the only international underwater mile (once again an international racer).  A mile means I’m in the tunnel for about 10 minutes.  It was a different climate in the tunnel and I really began to stifle from the heat and other runners.  Fortunately, we reached the end of the tunnel and entered the U.S. again.  Of course, as I exited the tunnel Green Day’s “American Idiot” began on my ear buds as if on cue.  I promise I have my music on “shuffle” when I run.

The rest of the race meandered through downtown Detroit.  I felt great throughout the whole race.  Somewhere in the last third of the race, I realized I was on track to best my last finish time for a half.  So that encouraged me to keep going.  In fact I finished in 2:15:05, almost a full 15 minutes faster than my first half!  I’m very pleased.  I trained hard enough and smart enough.  I deserved it.

I attempted to take pictures with a mini camera during the race.  If I am able to download them to the computer, I will update with photos.

After clearing the finish, I went back to the hotel to get warmer clothes to watch for Barbie at the finish line.  I finally found her and we celebrated together.  As I said before:  Running 13.1 miles with your best friend…Priceless!  I’m very proud of her, she had a great race, and really proud of both of us.  Yay, Runner Girl Power!

The best post-race celebration I think I’ve ever had included Pumpkin Spice smoothies at the post-race party.  Wow, yummy!  I need to start making those!  Of course, the past couple days since the race we’ve been moving in rather slow or odd ways.  Post race soreness is a funny creature.  But nothing that a few glasses of wine or a few pints couldn’t fix.

To battle our post race soreness, we hit The Honest Lawyer again tonight.  Barbie did some of her grading, while I worked on some pro bono work.  (Kinda fitting that’s a good place to work.)  It’s my last night visiting with Barbie, but I’ve had a great trip!  And a great break, that was sorely needed.

Canada pt. 2 (pre-race)
October 18, 2009

I have already spent one day in Canada and one day in Detroit.  My first day, I had a brief last day run before the race.  It was cold and some of the snow from the previous day was still on the roofs of houses, but it was a nice jog.  While Barbie taught Canada’s youth, I explored downtown.  As soon as I got of the bus I spotted these signs.  Failblog entry here I come.

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We eventually stopped by my favorite pub again.  And look what they had hanging inside.  Keep in mind, this is Canada, not the NFL!

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Before heading back to the U.S. we enjoyed goodies from Barbie’s favorite cupcake place.

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We got to Detroit and the first place we stayed (Barbie’s relatives) had no heat. Brrr….  But eventually we went downtown to get our registrations for the race and check into our hotel the next day.  Wish us luck on the race!!

Canada pt. 1
October 16, 2009

Yesterday, I began my annual trip to Canada.  I hopped a plane to Detroit (by way of Baltimore) to visit Barbie.  She picked me up at the airport and we made our way across the border.  After we entered Canada I confessed I was pretty hungry so we pulled off in a border town and I convinced Barbie to stop at a random strip mall pizza joint.  Mostly I wanted to stop there  because I was curious about their sign.

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What in the world is a Puffio?!  I mean, c’mon who isn’t curious by that?  It’s either something I’ve never heard of, or it’s some Canadian-ism for something I know by another name.  Either way, it’s a cultural learning experience potential, and I never turn those down!  Turns out a puffio is different from a panzerotti according to the nice lady inside (what is a panzerotti??).  After ordering two “kids-sized” puffios with our choice of ingredients, we discovered two things:

1.  A puffio is a deep fried calzone
2.  “Kids size” must also be metric in Canada because it was HUGE.

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After stuffing ourselves with yummy fried goodness (it was actually good despite the fried factor), we got back on the road.  Soon after we were on our way, it started SNOWING!  Yes,  snow.  It wasn’t much more than a dusting and didn’t stick to the road, but it was enough to make driving confusing.  So, in the middle of October, I’ve had my first snow experience.  Yay, Canada.

Modern day Swingers
October 14, 2009

I’ve seen this movie a couple times.   I never remember much about the story other than it seemed really disappointing and depressing, but for some reason guys seem to love this movie.  Guys also bring it up when talking to me, because I either already was or in the process of becoming an entertainment attorney like one of the female characters in the movie.  So it should come as no surprise that I’m currently experiencing a modern day version.

This weekend I attended a wedding.  Normally I hate weddings, but the couple are some of my “fun” friends and I knew the party would be good, plus I would know several other fun mutual friends at the event.  I was enjoying sitting at the table by myself, when I thought to myself “you know, guys never really come over and ask the single girl sitting by herself to dance; that only happens on movies.”  Dammit, I jinxed myself.  Within 5 minutes, some random guy shows up and I have the following interaction.

Wedding Guy: “You look familiar, I’m friends with the groom and other mutual friends, we must have met at a party once before.”
Me: “What’s your name?  I’m really bad at names, but I usually remember faces and you don’t look familiar.  But, I have a really bad memory.  So, either I just don’t remember or you’re just full of it.”

Wedding Guy sticks around me the rest of the night, making me dance (not a bad dancer) and getting me drinks.  So, he was useful.  Though I wanted to be by myself, I did have fun.  Even if I think one of the mutual friends sent him over to entertain me.  When I left he insisted on getting my number, so I gave it to him so I could just leave.  Then I fell into the Swingers mode.  I get a random text message at 1:15am asking if I made it home, assuming it is Wedding Guy I ignore it.  Then I don’t hear anything else from him.  The text message has replaced the random voicemail message from the movie.  But just as I start to think on Tuesday (3 days after the wedding), “cool this guy’s not going to actually call me, he’s a player just as I thought,” I get a phone call at 10pm.  It’s Wedding Guy.

WG: “Hi, it’s Wedding Guy.”
Me: “Um, yeah, I was just about to go to bed.”
WG: “Oh.  Well, I think I have Friday off.”
Me: “Oh, yeah.  I’m leaving the country on Thursday.”

Ladies, I highly recommend using this excuse.  While it was true in my case, it does work to pick the day just before someone suggests something and mention you will be totally unreachable.  Wedding Guy knows when I get back from my trip, so if he’s still interested and tries calling me again, I might consider it.  But for right now, I’m really trying to take a break and enjoy my single-ness.

Stuff dreams are made
October 8, 2009

One more week and I’ll be off on a jet plane (oh please let it be a big one, I need too many drinks for those puddle jumpers)  to visit Barbie.  And, of course to run those pesky 13.1 miles.  Here’s hoping the weather is nice.  I’d really prefer to not run another race in the rain, and especially in the COLD rain.

I really need the break too, and turns out I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Last night I dreamed I was smoking cigarettes.  And by cigarettes, I mean several….at once, with some kind of weird cigarette holder/pan-flute-looking contraption that filtered several into one.  Let me be clear, I am not and have never been a smoker.  Surely that must mean something in dream interpretation, right?  One variation was that the dreamer is in need of a break.  Maybe dreams give us more insight than we think…then again another interpretation was that it was a lucky omen or I need to get a medical examination for fear of health issues.   So, my search engine results may have been crap, but I’m going with the break.  Barbie, here I come!

A special birthday
October 5, 2009

Today would have been my dad’s 70th birthday.  I have been thinking about him a lot today.  All the time I’ve missed the past sixteen years.  All the things I’ve gone through since then.  And all the little things about him.  Tonight I decided to have a special birthday dinner in his honor.  I went to a seafood restaurant in honor of his (and my) New England roots.  Then found some of his favorite cookies and candy for dessert.  At first I thought I would have a birthday dinner for one, but my friend Shutterbug joined me after I put out a call on Twitter.  Things have been difficult lately as I’ve been by myself a lot lately.  She’s a great friend who provided great company and friendship on a nostalgic day.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane
October 5, 2009

It is amazing the things you see on early morning runs.  Yesterday I ran my last long run (10.5 miles) before the race.  I was a little sore from the yard sale the previous day (which I had to run all by myself and had some pretty heavy items), so I wasn’t sure how this final run would turn out.  It was great and I felt really good afterwards.  But the best part was in the middle of the run.  I saw something incredible, and it wasn’t the momma and baby deer that I’ve been seeing all through training.  (By the way, the baby has just about lost its spots and it is so cute.)  It was something else.  As I ran one of my least favorite parts of my course I spotted something over the top of the gigantic houses.  It was a hot air balloon!  And it was heading for the fields to land.  I got to watch it float over as I ran and then saw it land in one of the soccer fields.  It was incredibly graceful.  As I ran by it, and took in just how huge it was inflated, I realized it must have been a very chilly, very early flight for them.  Wow, what a great way to start a Sunday.