Dancing On My Own

This morning, I did something really strange. I went to a club and danced before work. By myself.

It’s called Daybreaker and it’s an interesting concept: yoga followed by a DJ-led rave/dance party before work. You can buy admission to just yoga, just the dance party, or both. I’d heard about it from a friend and wanted to try it out, so we bought tickets for the February dance party (yoga sold out fast!) and planned to meet there.

Then the Seattle crud claimed my friend and she bailed at 6:45 this morning. I had a choice: forfeit my $15 admission or suck it up and roll solo. Trying to ignore that junior high-level insecurity in my belly, I got on the bus and headed to the club. To dance by myself. At 7am. There would be coffee, at least, so even if I just stood in the corner like Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles, at least I’d have something to clutch. Or maybe I’d find a friend! Even Joan found a friend.

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I got off the bus and walked to Sole Repair, a former cobbler shop-turned-event space. I could hear the DJ from a few blocks away; this part of Capitol Hill was surprisingly quiet in the morning and the bump-bump of techo music announced itself loud and proud.

I opened the door and WHOOSH the humidity of sweat and movement took me in, along with a very tall, beautiful woman who yelled “Welcome!” over the DJ and gave me a big hug. “We’re so glad you’re here!” She stamped the inside of my wrist and pointed me toward the back wall, where everyone had dropped their coats, purses, and extra clothing.


The room was packed with mostly women wearing their best and brightest Lulus and Athletas. There was one gentleman in a Ghostbusters jumpsuit. A few ladies had stripped down to their sports bras and were glistening with sweat; I dropped my bags and headed straight for the coffee, then to the back of the crowd to people watch and send sneaky SnapChats. (Except there was no need to be sneaky because almost everyone was snapping and selfie-ing with abandon.)


And before long, I was dancing. By myself, but also with everyone. It was too crowded for cliques and too loud for conversation, so a lone wolf didn’t look too out of place. My spot on the periphery eventually closed around me and soon, I was in the crowd. I started with some head nodding and hip swaying, but then a remix of Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” came on. I slammed the rest of my coffee, put down my cup, and danced.

And then: Hall and Oates “Can’t Go for That” accompanied by brass and drums. What!!

The rest of my hour consisted of more dancing, more coffee, bubble machines, giveaways, happy birthday to the gorgeous woman who hugged me at the door, and free samples of all kinds of bars, juices, and even canned iced coffee. And a random woman just painting away in the corner.


As I was checking the time and feeling kind of sad that I had to leave for work soon, I heard a group of women next to me say, “This is [blergh blergh]. She came her by herself!! Isn’t she so brave and amazing?!” And the group embraced her into their dancing circle.

HEY! I wanted to say at first. I came alone, too! I also deserve your hugs and validation. Pick me, choose me, accept me, I am worthy of your attention even though I don’t know you and will never see you again!

I let that feeling pass and instead, smiled and did a sweet spin move* (being very careful not to spill my coffee or bump into the woman dancing next to me who wore elf ears) and realized: I am just fine dancing on my own.

*the spin move was probably not all that sweet

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Franklin Falls / 8 Years

It was our eighth wedding anniversary yesterday and we had a choice: eat all day (our usual plan) or rent a car and go have an adventure. We chose adventure! 

In a trusty Subaru ZipCar, we drove about an hour east on 90 to visit Franklin Falls. The area got a lot of attention after a Seattle Times article and the parking situation was dire, so we took the advice of a kind British lady on snowshoes and parked about a mile and a half from the trailhead. Excellent decision. Also an excellent decision: wearing Yaktrax, a gift from my mom a few years ago. They were so handy on the packed icy trail!

The whole hike was magical. 


It ended up being about seven total miles of hiking, so we were good and hungry by the end. Twede’s Cafe, aka The Double R Diner from Twin Peaks, just happened to be on the way home. A few hot sammies and fries later, we were golden. 

After cleaning up (I wore my finest black turtleneck) and caffeinating, we continued the celebration with fireside drinks at Hotel Sorrento -we tried our first Boulevardiers, Negronis made with bourbon – and an insanely decadent dinner at L’Oursin. Oh my lord, the bacon terrine!! 

It was a pretty perfect day. It’s been a pretty perfect eight years. Cheers to that. 

It Wasn’t All Garbage, Was It?

 

What a dumpster fire of a year 2016 has been. So many amazing people gone except for the one person who should explode in a mass of Cheetos and straw hair (and pls take your shitty racist women-hating followers with you THANKS!). But in the spirit of positive vibes and glass-half-fullism, I will now try to remember the good things that happened this year. Because it wasn’t all garbage, right?

January

My dad turned 60 and we surprised him with a phenomenal party! We played outside and Larry ended his hipster bartending career.

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February

Some cold-weather running featuring beautiful sunrises and a trip to Florida to visit Lar’s dad.

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March

Jay Blistan visited! We ran up hills and went to the Sounders home opener. Cherry blossoms came out, daylight lasted longer, and we celebrated Easter with friends. march1

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April

My grandparents visited!!! So did friends from back east, and it was the best birthday ever with my whole fam in Denver.

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May

More visitors: college bestie, our most famous friend David Crabb, and I met the U.S. Poet Laureate at our big work fundraiser. We camped with friends for Memorial Day.

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June

We ran the Bend Beer Chase for the second year in a row. I made boozy cherries with good friends, we celebrated Lar’s birthday at the Seattle Rock Orchestra’s Beach Boys show, and we took Tippy on her first camping trip – also our first unsupervised camping trip. We made fire!!

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July

I made beautiful American jello shots. Shenanigans at the Dixie Chicks concert and camp out involving biblical rain, Gentleman Jack, and pitchers of wine. We gained a new family member, Fippy. East Coast Wendy visited!!! I learned that I am really good at shucking oysters and we climbed a mountain with Tippy.july1 july2 july3 july4 july5 july6

August

Month of excessive vacations! We traveled to Mexico with old friends AND Croatia with new friends. Also: helmet nachos!

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September

Still Croatiaing. I did not run a sub-2 half but did PR at 2:05 and haven’t run more than a mile since. My parents visited!!! And I got to be a witch for Harry Potter trivia at work.

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October

I rowed in the rain and visited my sis in Charlotte with our mama. Football games, soccer games, and Tippy’s 12th birthday party. We sold our Prius and became car-less city folk.

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November

I was depressed. We escaped reality by binging The Crown and with a long weekend in Astoria. And we spent a week back in Philly with family and friends. That was like balm for the soul. ❤

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December 

I went home to Ohio for the annual girls weekend and met Josie! We celebrated the holidays by seeing The Nutcracker, a White Christmas sing-along (this was THE BEST!!!), and lots of movies. We’ll celebrate eight years of wedded bliss on Friday and are hosting another NYE party on Saturday.

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And then it will be 2017. We’re heading to Grand Cayman with my family in January (and will be very drunk there on inauguration day) and will come home to a new president. Not my president. And then impeachments shall begin, Russia will get involved, China will be pissed, the nukes will come out, and the world will end.

So here’s to 2016. And a very merry 2017 to us all!

Thank you, Hillary

Thank you to everyone who has given hugs, sent texts, called, and emailed to spread love. There are rays of sunshine in this dark time. I’m still eating my feelings (send more Jeni’s, mom and dad! NO WAIT DON’T, my pants don’t fit) but I’m taking action by increasing my monthly donations to Planned Parenthood, joining the ACLU, and donating to Black Lives Matter. If I could stay off Twitter to avoid the reports of hate crimes and injustices, I’d be almost ok.

I wrote a thank you to Hillary. It’s not even close to anything she deserves but if we all take the time to send her a short note, perhaps she’ll feel buoyed and encouraged, which is all anyone can ask for right now.


Ugh I screwed up my Sincerely by trying to write while petting this monkey. Worth it.

How Did This Happen?

I can’t stop crying. I feel sick, my chest hurts, and I cannot believe this is the country we live in. How did this happen? How did a man who espouses hate, bigotry, sexism, intolerance, and everything this country does not should not stand for become its president?

Larry told me as I shuffled out the door this morning that it was going to be OK. And I’m usually a glass is half full kind of gal, but this time, I don’t think so. Because we now have a president who has very explicitly stated for the past several months that it is not going to be OK for a lot of people, namely women who deserve control over their bodies, people of color, people who want to marry whomever their heart chooses, people who aren’t from this country, people who need access to healthcare, and so many others.

How did this happen? How did we get here? How do we reconcile this as a nation when the cracks are so deep we don’t even know where to begin? And not only as a nation, but with our own friends and family? I keep thinking about someone I know with young daughters who voted for that man. His daughters will grow up knowing that a man who has multiple assault accusers can still be elected president. A man can brag about forcing himself on women and no one will punish him. A man can say the most hateful words about Mexicans, Muslims, really anyone who isn’t white man, and he is rewarded with the highest office in the country. Our country will be led by a man and his even scarier vice president who believe it is their right to punish women for having agency over our own bodies. I don’t want young women to grow up with a president who will perpetuate our lack of self worth, and I can’t make sense of how people I know, people with daughters, could possibly have supported him. I thought they were better than this. I thought America was better than this.

The only thing giving me hope, other than sweet Tippy, who loves to lick the tears off my face, is the kindness of a stranger I encountered this morning. I was crying at a Starbucks on campus before meeting a colleague for a meeting, trying to get myself together. As I dabbed my eyes with disintegrating compostable napkins, a young man approached me tentatively and said: “You and I didn’t have the right to vote for 120 years. We’re going to get through this.” And then he gave me a hug and told me to watch this on Colbert.

This, of course, made me cry harder, but my tears were of gratefulness.

So. What now? Today I am choosing to cry, question, and give in to my crushed spirit. But tomorrow I fight.* And I hope those young women I’m thinking about heard Hillary’s incredible speech today, especially this part:

“And to all the little girls who are watching this: Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

P.S. Please go read Kate’s post, which sums up my feelings better than I can. And then read this one and this one and please consider donating to and volunteering for these places. Send Hillary a thank-you note for taking women further. And finally, pray for the Notorious RBG to stay alive…forever.

*HT Wendy, who is having the worst birthday ever.

Retired Rower

I’m just a big ol’ retiree these days.

I graduated from Learn to Row class at Lake Union Crew on Saturday after 12 sessions in the month of October. It was an awesome, really hard, and really humbling experience. It made me remember how much I hate to suck at things, and some nights, I sucked hard at rowing. I could probably stay in the Learn to Row level for the rest of my life and still not be great at it.

Most of my classmates are moving on to the next level – Sweep & Scull, doesn’t that sound bad ass? – but I can’t make the class times work with my schedule. Classes almost always run long and being late for anything ever makes me hyperventilate. I’m bummed, but it’s fine. I’m glad I did it, and if they change up the times by even 15 minutes in the mornings, I could maybe make it work. Maybe maybe maybe.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is some ESPN-caliber action of us rowing through the Montlake Cut – hallowed ground if you’ve read The Boys in the Boat or are any kind of a rowing nerd. I’m in the 7 seat, light blue jacket/white hat.

So much history there! My favorite painted sign was on the opposite wall: Bust a Nut in the Cut. #klassy

Here we are doing the traditional last-day-of-class Trust Exercise, for which we were reassured that NO ONE has EVER fallen in, in all of our coach’s years of experience. WELL GUESS WHAT. Our 1 seat? He fell in.

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Teamwork makes the dream work. Our bad, bro.

So what’s next in the land of fitness? I’m still on running hiatus until 2017, per my own stubborn Rx, and I have come to the conclusion that I need something in addition to yoga to regain strength, and the apartment gym isn’t doing it for me. So I’m trying out a CrossFit spot tomorrow. (eeeeek scared face emoji big time)

Someone hold me. It’s really going to hurt.

Retired Runner

Hi.

hay

It’s been a long time and I have no good excuses. Let’s blame it on Russia. Or my nearly dead laptop. Nah, Russia.

The last time I checked in, I was cranky and not running due to heel pain. Well, I stopped resting, resumed running, started weekly acupuncture, and yet the pain continued. But I stubbornly refused to give up on running the Woodinville Half in September. This was my year and I was going to break two hours if it killed me.

Spoiler alert: I did not break two hours, it did not kill me, but I did PR by 5 minutes, finishing in 2:05:47. I was upset at the finish line for a minute, but I did my best and have to be happy with that. It wasn’t my favorite half – IT POURED from the moment the gun went off to like 20 minutes after I crossed the finish line, adding at least 90 pounds to my clothing, and the course was lackluster, especially compared to last year’s Oregon Wine Country Half. Here are some scenes from the rainy race:


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Once I was done feeling sorry for myself and had a nice, hot breakfast in me (omg that cinnamon roll), I decided to cry uncle and really, truly retire from running half marathons. This was my eighth half and the only one where I’ve ever really tried to push myself; my old ass couldn’t hang and fought back. The writing is on the wall and I will happily retire from that distance.

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I’m also firmly committed to giving my feet a rest until at least 2017. No short runs with friends (this part sucks, I miss my friends!), no long runs on the weekends, not even a quick jog with Tippy. Instead, I’m on to a different sport: rowing.

I started Learn to Row class at Lake Union Crew this month and we had our first night on the water this week. It’s hard, it’s awkward, there’s a whole new language to learn and I’m probably going to end up in a lady-overboard situation one day soon, but otherwise, it’s awesome. I’m meeting lots of new people and can’t wait for the day when it clicks. I got to row stroke seat on Tuesday, meaning everyone had to follow MY stroke and do what I did. I was the boss! Me! I am so sore.

I owe you a bunch of other catch-up things, like the Bend Beer Chase, Larry’s birthday, Tippy’s first camping trip, a slew of visitors, so many good book and podcast recommendations, my new secret talent, and a two-week trip to Croatia. Also, that time we sold our Prius and became car-less city folk. More coming soon from the Lost Summer…thanks for sticking around.