I miss you, Sonic! (Back to school)

Long time, no post! Sorry, life got a little out of control this week with the start of a brand new quarter. I survived, but I'm in desperate need of sleep.

My very last Cherry Limeade before I ventured back up to Olympia. A little birdy told me there was a Sonic in Tumwater, but they just closed! That's what I get for getting re-addicted to Sonic over Christmas break. I miss it terribly already.

Along with being back on campus, I also...

  • had my first Theories of Personality class - I think this is going to be a really interesting class, and it only meets once a week! We also get two Monday nights off because of holidays, so that's even better! There is a group project (and we all know the luck I have with those), but I've decided that it will be a successful project no matter what.
  • did something really scary! - I'm in a writing program this quarter which is probably the scariest class I've ever taken. I feel incredibly intimidated by everyone in the class, but I know there's a writer deep inside of me so hopefully she'll resurface sooner rather than later. We have critique groups in this class and....I don't want to talk about it. 9 more weeks to go! (This is the class that has the torturous 8 hour long Saturday sessions, ps)
  • finished week 1 of HM training - well, sort of. My 3 mile long run turned into a short 1.5 mile run, but other than that I did a decent job I think. Today I received an email about a 10k being hosted on campus in February, which I may have to take part in! That could be an excellent way for me to stay motivated because right now the cold and gloom just aren't doing it for me.
So those are the 3 big things that happened this week. I also had 2am Wal-Mart trips, a girl's night to see Sherlock Holmes (not bad!), a crazy adorable meet-cute, a night with my parents, the best pizza I've had since Rhodes, a brand new roommate (and the sad news that another roommate left us!), and lots of reading and writing for class.

Oh yeah! I turned my hair purple, too. Apparently the hair dye reacted badly with the previous brand I used and it ended up a big burgandy/purple/DARK mess instead of the pretty pomegranate shade it was supposed to be. OOPS!

How was your week? I'm not sure how many of you live there, but I heard about snow in Florida, which is absolutely insane! 

The Life & Times of Costello

Sat hello to Costello, the newest member of my technologic family. He's a pretty blue iPod Nano that I got for Christmas from my dad. Apparently Amazon included this as a special gift with some of the books my dad had ordered.

Okay, so by now I'm sure you've noticed that Mr. C is resting in a bowl of rice. Oh yeah. I got dressed for my run yesterday, and I decided to try something new since I don't have an armband to hold an iPod this small. There's a little zipper pocket on the back of my running pants (tights/leggings/whatevers), so I figured I could put him (or it, if that's weird for you) in that pocket and zip it enough for just the headphone cord. What a great idea!

It worked fantastically for the first three minutes, until I had to go to the bathroom. Yeah, you know what's coming next. I pulled my pants down and as I did so I had the thought that hmm this could go very badly. And then -- plopsplash! Oh yeah, that happened. I spin around and almost fall over because my pants are down at my ankles. This bathroom is like 2x3 feet so it's not like I had far to fall.

 I looked down in the toilet and the damn thing had turned on! It's just chilling in the bottom and playing some LMFAO. Seriously. So I hesitated for about 1.3 seconds before I plunged my hand into the toilet bowl and pulled the dang thing out. Ew ew ewww.

Next came the 24 hour rice bath slumber party and I guess it worked because Costello came with me to the gym today! The exterior speaker, the one that lets you play music without the headphones, doesn't seem to be working, but that's the only problem I've had so far! (Crossing my fingers & toes) I haven't tried the video camera (why'd they put one of those in an iPod anyway?), but really I'm just concerned about being able to listen to my trashy classy gym jams like Ke$ha.

So I leave you with this: Costello, I love you but please don't jump into the toilet and start playing music! I promise it doesn't sound any better than it would on land. 

Also, I'm back at school and my first class starts tonight! Woohoo!

2010: Do one thing. And then do one more thing.

I was planing on doing a year in review post, but honestly 2009 was not my best year and I just don't want to think about it right now. I don't want to sound ungrateful because nothing terrible happened during the year, but it just wasn't that great of a year. 2008 was by far better, and I'm hoping that 2010 will top every other year in the past.

So instead of looking back on the past, I decided to do a little brainstorming for the future!

Here are a few of my goals/plans for 2010:

Run a half marathon 
Find a race - DONE! 
Create a training program - DONE!
Run, run, run!

Study abroad in Italy 
I can't wait for this! I picked out a program and all that's left to do now is wait until they post the dates and the application materials. And then when (if) I'm accepted I'll have to choose a topic for my independent research project.

Spend the summer in LA
As we get closer to summer I'll have to find an internship, which could be quite a challenge this year. I guess this is where networking skills come in handy?

Have a reunion by December 
90% of my closest friends are long distance, which can be really hard. I'd love to be able to go on a trip with friends from school somewhere fun, or even just fly to Memphis to visit them. I did that last time though, so it's their turn to fly to me! ha

Graduate college by summer of 2011
Okay, so this is a 2011 goal, but I don't care! My mini goal for this year is to finish my junior year in June. I'm beyond excited to be this close to the end of school.

Read 24+ books by December 31, 2010
I'd also like to become an eclectic reader, so they'll have to be 24 very different books. What are you planning on reading in 2010? I need ideas!

I  also want to…

Learn some Italian before I spend a semester abroad
I got an amazing Christmas present from one of my best friends...Rosetta Stone! I have levels 1, 2 & 3 for Italian and hopefully I'll be able to stay on top of things and work on them this year. I'm really nervous about spending 5 months in a country where I don't speak the language, so hopefully this will help!

Go to church
I have no religious background whatsoever and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to church. I'd like to spend some time this year exploring religion.

Cook one new recipe a month
This should be fun! I haven't decided how I want to do this, but I'd really like to turn it into some kind of fun project for the blog. I know the whole Julie & Julia thing is way overdone by now, but it sounds like so much fun!

Go to at least one: book club, knitting club, running group, cooking class, swing lesson, salsa lesson, spin class, yoga class

Take better care of myself 
I'd say I do a pretty good job of taking care of myself right now, but I could always do better! My two big things are flossing and wearing sunscreen 24/7.

This scares me. A lot. For some reason it has entered into my head that I'm not a write and that I cannot write. I know this isn't true, I used to write so much when I was younger! I'm taking a writing program for both winter and spring quarters, so hopefully I'll be able to overcome all of this blocked thinking. 

Go somewhere FUN for spring break
I've never done this! Somewhere warm and sunny with good food and cute boys. Probably can't be found anywhere near the Northwest, and I'm okay with that.

Whew! Lots of stuff. I'm excited for summer and the second half of the year, but the next few months just feel like they're placeholders to pass the time. I hope these goals will help change that!

What are you doing for your New Years Celebration? I'll be home with my parents, probably watching The Hangover and whatever NYE stuff they have on TV. One of these years I'll be in the same city as some people I know so I can go out! I don't mind staying home, but it'd be nice to see the other side of things too.
Do you have any goals for next year?

Mardi Gras: A Primer

For Christmas, my parents bought me Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras in New Orleans: An Illustrated History, which has become the foundation for the research project I'll be doing next year. At the end of the quarter I'll be turning in the manuscript for a similar book of my own! 

My own final product is going to be a collection of photographs and writings I created during my stay in New Orleans during the Carnival season (which will include Mardi Gras day, of course!) I'm going to focus on 10 ways to"laissez les bons temps rouler", as well as 5 individual Krewes that are an important part of the Mardi Gras tradition. At least, that's the plan for now...who knows how it will evolve over the next year!

Even though it's still a year away, I already have a big, huge list of the types of people I want to get in touch with, a stack of books and articles almost as tall as me, and a bunch of events that I really really want to attend.

 I've been getting a head start on things because there's a lot of preperation work I want to do, and I need to find a faculty sponsor for my independent contract AND I'll be studying abroad in Italy the quarter before I leave! Okay, and I really just like to plan ahead and I may have a slight obsession with anything New Orleans related. Maybe.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some thoughts about Mardi Gras with you all. I'm not from New Orleans and I've only experienced Mardi Gras once, so if I have something wrong please don't get too sassy.

The official definition:
Mardi Gras has been around for over 300 years, but the celebrations are still somewhat similar today. Mardi Gras is technically just one day, Fat Tuesday, but it's commonly used to refer to the entire season of Carnival, which New Orleans is known for celebrating.

(Deltas do NOLA! Myself, Kimi and Tiffany on Bourbon St. during our Mardi Gras trip.)

Many people have a picture in their mind that Mardi Gras is about 3 things - beads, boobs, and beer. Fortunately (or I guess unfortunately for some of you), the Carnival season is about so much more. Sure, if you never venture out of the French Quarter, or really just Bourbon St., then you won't really get a taste of what else Mardi Gras day and the Carnival season has to offer (and you'll miss all the parades since they don't travel through the Quarter!). But you will experience lots of BB&B. I think in order to get the most out of Mardi Gras you really need to visit New Orleans with someone that's from the city. They'll be able to get you away from the touristy things so that you can experience something that's really different, and also full of the culture and tradition that the city is famous for.

A taste of the real deal
So much more goes into Mardi Gras than I think a lot of people realize, which is somehting I've been really delving into recently. There are Krewes, which are organizations (some of them are kind of like secret societies!) that put on the parades and hold elegant balls (or tableau ball masques) and they even have their own royalty. Everything is steeped in tradition, which is amazing considering how long the celebration has been going on. The parades create an amazing atmosphere and they're so much fun. All kinds of things are thrown from the floats (that's why they're called throws!) and some of them are especially prized, like the amazingly decorated shoes the ladies from the Muses Krewe toss out every year. There are all kinds of events and groups that come together during the season, and it's definitely a family affair! There's even a Krewe for kids 8-6 called The Little Rascals and they have their very own extravagant ball and parade. No BB&B there, that's for sure! The city comes together for the season, and as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Fat Tuesday the party's over. Until next year, of course.

(From l-r: Me, Kimi, Tiffany, and Colin. Part of our group from school. And of course we ran into a million people we knew over the weekend. Tiff's from New Orleans and she definitely showed us the real experience! )

SO. Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? Have you always wanted to go? Or are you like my dad and totally against the whole thing? I've been to New Orleans a few times, and this past February was my very first Mardi Gras experience. I went with a bunch of friends from school, one of whom is actually from New Orleans, and it was so much fun! When I was 16, I also had the opportunity to attend the Okeanos ball with my best friend and her family. She was on the court, and her father was King that year! That was a really fun time, too. I'll have to put up some pictures!

Merry Christmas! (and a mini race recap)

And I'm back! I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, and that you're recovering from your sugar comas nicely. I've eaten so much chocolate in the past 24 hours, it's ridiculous! Who knew salted chocolate could be so weird yet so addicting? Aside from eating lots and reading my new cookbook cover to cover (Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Early Years), I've been slowly unpacking boxes of stuff and sorting through things I didn't even know I had. And that, is the joy of moving.

Christmas is very low key at our house, especially this year, so I thought I'd finally get around to putting up some pictures from last week's 5k.

This was the very first year for the Santa Marathon, and it was a pretty small event. Maybe 300 people all together, including the marathon and 1/2 marathon runners. There was also a 1 mile fun run and a 10k  along with the 5k race.

The run itself went pretty well, minus the entire mile I spent wondering if I was going to have to make a pit stop in the bushes. I walked more than I wanted (or planned) because of that little issue, but I still managed to set a PR so I didn't mind. (Can it be even be a PR if it's your very first time? Hmmm.)

It was COLD and drizzly, but thankfully the course was flat. However, it was not marked well at all, and quite a few people running the marathon and half actually got lost along the way! For the 5k we ran up to the first aide station and turned around, while everyone else kept going in a serious of loops and twisty turns along the back roads. The road was open to traffic, which seemed kind of dangerous, especially with the blind curves along some portions of the course. There may have been signs letting drivers know, but I don't remember seeing any.

Oh, and my time was 33:11, which is pretty slow in the real world, but since I was the only person in my division I won first place! I got a cute Santa medal and a Christmas flavored twinkie. I also have a lazy eyebrow.

Running on a treadmill is a lot easier than running on the road, or at least it feels that way to me, but I definitely didn't feel like I had lost fitness from switching from road running to treadmill running for the month or so before the race.

Next up? 10K! I have a training plan ready to go, but I can't find any races in Washington. There are a few in March, but they're all over an hour away, which doesn't sound too appealing when the start time is 7:30. No matter what, I'll be back in my running shoes tomorrow. Okay, maybe I'll wait until Monday.

BRB - Moving!

Not only is it almost Christmas, but we're also moving!

It's proving to be a lot more hectic than I thought, so I probably won't be back until this weekend. I have pictures from my race to share, and maybe some pictures of the house too! I have a bedroom again, which makes me so excited.

I'll be back soon, but until then I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and that you all stay safe and warm. :)

Mission: Accomplished!

I'll have a full report tomorrow, but I finished my first 5K this morning! And I won 1st place in my division (17-19) with a time of 33:11! Not too shabby considering I was aiming for a goal time of 36:00 and the weather was rainy and windy.

I'd definitely call this mission: accomplished.
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