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January 28, 2012

all my bags are packed

I woke up this morning with this thought: I'm going to INDIA today. Whoa.

So I laid in my bed a while and enjoyed my comfy pillows. I spent extra time in the shower, knowing it would be my last time in one for a while. I went to breakfast with two of my sisters.

With Amy (and a super bad camera angle)

With Juli, wondering what the eff my bangs are doing
After breakfast I carefully packed three bags: two carry-ons and one bag to check. Surprisingly my big backpack only weighs 27lbs. The majority of stuff in it are things that I'm bringing for the family that lives over there, including a set of kitchen knives, which makes me a little nervous.



Despite making lists for weeks, I still feel like I may be forgetting something. I have a suspicious amount of space in my two carry-ons, which currently include two outfits, toiletries, shoes and snacks. I probably should just pack more snacks.

The plan for today is to fly out of Minneapolis around 4:00 p.m., arrive in Paris around 8:00 a.m. (their time), have a three hour layover and then fly another nine hours to Bangalore. We get in there at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning (their time). This is the most flying I will have ever done.

In preparation, I've downloaded two Bon Iver albums, have an inflatable neck pillow, an eye mask, and ear plugs.

Anyway, I have to go and clean out my fridge before my dad gets here in 20 minutes. I will be completely out of touch until the 11th. Say a prayer for me and our team if you think of it. Can't wait to share pictures and stories when I get back!

xoxo




January 26, 2012

before & after

In attempt to blend in with the locals during my trip (and because I'm super impulsive), last night I went from this: 




to this: 
Try to ignore the fact that I look like a total goober.
When I first looked in the mirror after my hair was dry, I thought that I was looking at my sister. So thanks, Jules, for biting the dark hair bullet before me. 

Do we look more like sisters now? 

For the record, out of the five people that have come to talk to me today in my office, only one has said ANYTHING about it. 


January 23, 2012

twenty-seven

Despite my best efforts to gloss over my entrance into my late 20's, my birthday actually turned into a weekend extravaganza. It began with an amazing dinner on Friday night (which warrants another post) and concluded Sunday with some quality family time.

Saturday night, though, was the big party with some of my favorite people. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

In attendance: siblings Andrew, Juli and Amy; friends John, Kristi, Colleen,
Julie and Matt. Andrew's girlfriend Krisi is taking the picture. 
There's Krisi! And our waiter, Nick. 

While it may look like things got wild, it was all pretty PG. This is Andrew
trying to make Amy (who's 15, btw) chug water.
Mine is not water...
This is the beginning of my I don't want to be 27 yet tantrum
No, not my late 20's! 
Oh, wait, there's cake?! 
Happy again, with my beautiful sis Amy
My equally beautiful sister Juli
This picture isn't so much about me as it is the couple behind me that would
 not stop making out.  We needed a way to discreetly document it. 
There were a few pictures in which I appear mid-blink, wrecking many a decent shot, so I devised a way to make sure my eyes stayed open.

Works every time. 
This technique got a lot of laughs and eventually progressed into this, which also showcases my ability to touch my tongue to my nose.

You can delete me from your blogroll now. 

And because I have the world's best friends, here's some of the loot I scored as I begin my approach to my thirties as a single woman. 

From my thoughtful friend Robert: 

I'm pretty sure these are for when I completely let myself go. 

From my funniest friend Colleen, the Boyfriend Pillow:

I'll never sleep alone again!

And a more serious gift, one of my favorite quotes in print form:

(from here)

Sunday

At my age, having two consecutive late nights is a recipe for exhaustion and bitchiness the following day. After being unable to pull myself out of bed when my alarm went off, I was forced to get ready in less than ten minutes before Juli picked me up, McDonald's breakfast and a Diet Coke waiting for me in the car (a cure for so many ills), and we drove down to my mom's house to go to church with them. After church we went to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place where this happened:

I'm looking a little rough in this picture and it's
not even all the sombrero's fault.  

I should have known better. Anyway, after a lunch of far too much beef (trying to stock up now before India), the three amigas (mom, sister, me) went to the mall where they shopped and I refused to even try anything on, as I do not want to build a wardrobe at my current non-running size. Aforementioned bitchiness ensued. Sorry, mom and bebe. They were lovely to me nonetheless and Juli and I drove home on icy roads. I wrapped up my birthday evening with laundry and preliminary packing. 

Thank you to my friends and family (and the Caribou Coffee guy who said I looked 21) for making my birthday so special. Love you all! 


January 22, 2012

dot not feather

First, can we take a minute to appreciate the fact that I've posted more this month than I did the first three months of 2011? I actually don't know whether to apologize or say you're welcome but I guess you're here so I'll keep writing.

Anyway, I thought I'd give this post an incredibly irreverent title and use it as a way to tell you that I'm going to Bangalore, India. For two weeks. And I leave in six days. 

(source)
I made this decision rather impulsively right before New Years and figured out all the details in a matter of days.  I'm going with a ministry group and there are about 20 of us total (my mom, step-dad, and step-brother are coming, too). We'll be helping with a conference in Bangalore and then traveling to some surrounding villages to work with women and orphans. 

Since this all came about so quickly, I haven't really had much time to think about it. Now that it's closer, I'm pretty nervous, especially after watching this video. While I have traveled internationally before, this is my first trip to Asia and I know it will be much, much different than the western life I'm accustomed to. I have this week to  organize, pack and mentally prepare for what will likely be the greatest adventure of my life (so far). 

And with that, I think I can put a big check mark next to #11, though I hope this isn't my only trip of 2012. 

January 19, 2012

who i am

Last night I ran four and a half miles at just under a 9-minute mile pace. That has been my longest run in three months and I felt every step.

There was a time when I wouldn't even bother to lace up my shoes for anything under 6 miles, when I was churning out 15 miles before work and on track to run a pretty fantastic fall marathon. My life revolved around was my training schedule and my identity was found in that: I was a runner.

It's an understatement to say that I've been a little lost these past three months. At first I was happy to take a break after my freak injury but after a few weeks, I told my body it was time to go and it wouldn't move. So began my mind vs. body battle. I had some good days where I could go for a little jog around the lakes or pound out a few miles on the treadmill but most days even walking up stairs left me gasping for air, like my lungs just wouldn't fill. So I've waited.

I've watched my body get softer and my muscle definition disappear. My fat jeans that hung in the back of the closet are now a wardrobe staple. I've been filling my time with the things that I never had time for: happy hours, brunches/lunches/dinners, sleep(!), TV, something that resembles a social life.  And while it's all been fun, it's not fulfilling. It's not who I am.

I'm confident I'm healthy enough to start training again. I want to get back to the point where I can have 15 miles for breakfast at 5 a.m. instead of Bloody Mary's and greasy hash browns for brunch at noon. So I'm steeling myself for what is going to come- my God, is it going to hurt! My run last night was just me dipping my toe into the pond of pain that getting back into shape is going to be, but I'm thinking I'm ready to jump in.

January 18, 2012

an addendum

I just got this picture of another activity from dinner at my dad's this weekend: A Sammy Sandwich. 



Or at least what started as one, but turned into a huge Schroeder Pile Up.

It began with me laying on the floor after dinner because I had the I just ate too much feeling but didn't want to be too far away from the action in the kitchen. My little brother Sammy (fun fact: his birthday is the day after mine but 18 years separate us) came to snuggle with me. I told Juli to come make a Sammy Sandwich with me. In a matter of seconds, everyone* else somehow ended up on the floor, including Peter (black sweatshirt), Amy (way in back) and my dad, whose head is barely visible behind Sammy. My face is red because I was suffocating from the weight- and laughter. 

Love my family.

*Not quite everyone. My step-mom took the picture and my 14-year old brother Matt is too cool for such family affection. 

January 16, 2012

my weekend in a nutshell


Get ready for a run-on sentence and a whole lotta links.

My weekend activities kicked off with my first-ever Zumba class with coworkers on Friday afternoon, dinner Friday night at Brasa, "watching" the Olympic Trials Marathon on Twitter (#Houston2012) Saturday morning- and then watching the replay on NBC later that afternoon at Ann's- going to Crashed Ice (overhyped and freezing), a less-than-healthy dinner at The Loon Cafe to warm up, an early bedtime, church and brunch at Good Earth (where I successfully ate eggs!) with my sister on Sunday, dinner at my dad's,  and Upper Room for Kurt's last Sunday night service.

And there you have it.


January 15, 2012

the great gimlet search

I don't think my 2012 goals were ambitious enough. Therefore, I'd like to add a new one to my list: Find the best gimlet in the Twin Cities.

For those of you who don't know, a gimlet is a cocktail comprised of vodka or gin and lime juice (and occasionally simple syrup). Those two ingredients are usually shaken over ice and strained into a martini glass. It's a grown-up drink, the kind that your friends will call you an old man for ordering while they sip their Captain Diets through cocktail straws, and your grandpa will tell you makes men think you're easy when you order it . Yes, my grandpa actually said that to me.

However, finding someplace that can make one worth a damn is tough because achieving a balance between two strong ingredients can be tough. One of my horror stories sadly includes Urban Eatery where, after telling the waiter what was in it, brought a shot of vodka and an off-brand lime juice mixer to my table and had me pour it myself. I was left sitting with a warm shot of limey vodka. Luckily my friend Robert pulled a MacGeyver and chilled/strained my drink using our two water glasses. Sweet!

Anyway, last Thursday night the aforementioned Robert and I headed to Prohibition in the Foshay. It's supposed to be one of the best place for cocktails in the city so I figured they'd at least know what a gimlet was.
The drink.  

Verdict: Decent. I'm pretty sure they just used Rose's Lime Juice as a mixer (i.e not homemade) but they did a good job of achieving a good balance between the vodka and lime juice. It came in a martini glass, which is my preferred method of transportation to my mouth and subsequently, liver. And it was COLD, which helps make a good gimlet great.

Other highlights of Prohibition:

The view. 
The decor.
The lighting.

Final thoughts: I would go back to Prohibition but more for the atmosphere than the drinks.

January 10, 2012

the most wonderful place



While you were all suffering through a brown Christmas in the Twin Cities, I was enjoying ample snow and sun in Lutsen. It is by far my favorite place in all of Minnesota and perhaps the entire world. Here's a little glimpse at what we do in my family.

Photos taken December 24 and December 26.


We walk down the middle of snowy roads.

We bundle up babies and drag them around in sleds.
They are unimpressed and fall asleep.

We take pictures of taking pictures.

We marvel at the beauty of creation.

We can't figure out camera timers.

Oh, so close!
Third time's a charm.
And if you're wondering why I'm just posting these, it's because I just loaded them onto my computer last night. I have a disease that makes it really difficult to do things in a timely fashion. There is only one known cure.

January 9, 2012

well this is true

(source)
Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.
- Donald Miller

All I can do is remind myself... patience, patience, patience.

January 7, 2012

best big brother

Hooray, siblings!

Today is my brother Andrew's birthday.

Some things you should know:

1. We're almost exactly two years apart. He's older (but acts younger). We weren't super close when we were growing up but have become really close over the past few years. I definitely consider him one of my best friends.  

2. We're neighbors. When I moved back to MN from NC, I pretty much lived on an air mattress in his living room for two months over the summer. He wouldn't get home from work until 11 p.m. and would eat and go out with his buddies. Then he'd come home around 2 a.m., kick the air mattress that I was sleeping on, make a hot pocket and play his guitar before going to pass out in bed. When I landed my full-time gig, I decided to rent in the same complex as him so now he just lives across my parking lot.
Andrew starting the run
portion of a tri.

He's come a long way since his hot-pocket-eating, late-night-partying days, though. After prying the Doritos bag out of his hands and getting him off the couch, he's turned into quite the triathlete. Yep, swimming, biking AND running. So today we support each other in our fitness endeavors (remember this?). And to top it off, now he's rubbing shoulders with running greats like Carrie Tollefson.

3. His nicknames for me include Ugly, Moose and Fat Heifer. Every time we go out in public together, I have to tell the random strangers around us that we are brother and sister and NOT boyfriend/girlfriend after I see their shocked looks when he says stuff like "Hey you fat heifer, what do you want to eat?" He's such a special person.

The birthday card I made him. I'd show you
the inside but it's super offensive,
 even for the internet.
4. We have our own language. Okay, typing that makes it sound stranger than it is. What I should say is that we use certain words or phrases as substitutes for others. For example "hate ye" can be used instead of hello, good-bye, and of course, I love you.

5. He looks out for me. Like an older brother should, Andrew checks up on me a lot. If he's coming or leaving our apartment complex and he sees my lights on, he'll honk until I look out my window just so he can give me the finger. I think it's his protective nature for me and my sister that influenced his career choice of law enforcement and I'm so proud to have him protecting our city.

Happy Birthday, Andrew! I hate ye!

The Original Three
PS- Making him a birthday card totally counts for #2 even though I didn't mail it.

January 4, 2012

lodged

(source)
The rain to the wind said,
"You push and I'll pelt."
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged -- though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

It's been one of those days... Robert Frost said it much better than I ever could.

January 3, 2012

a december thirty one deadline

This is the obligatory 2012 goals/resolutions/to-do list that everyone is doing. I developed mine after my egg throwing episode on New Year’s Eve but had started mentally writing after my yes & no post a few weeks ago. My mental list is much longer and full of intangibles (worry less) but here are twelve of the tangibles.

monthly

1.       Do something ridiculously nice for someone.
I love random acts of kindness. Love them. Not to brag but I think I’m generally a thoughtful person and try to do nice things for people. I want to take it a step further and do something RIDICULOUSLY nice for someone once a month. It has to be something they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do for themselves. Strangers, friends and family are all fair game.

2.       Make cards and mail them to people who make my life awesome.  
I used to make funny, creative cards all the time. I’m not really sure why or when I stopped but it’s something that I want to start doing. Reason or no reason, I’m making the goal to make a card and mail it to someone at least once a month. Because who doesn’t like getting actual mail? And it’ll help keep the post office in business. Win win.

3.       Try new restaurants.
I’m a creature of habit. I eat at Rojo more times than I care to admit and they may or may not know my drink order at the bar at Chino (you should see my menagerie of plastic animals). Time to branch out. I have some places in mind already and now I just need people to join me!

4.       Read books.
I read quite a bit, just not actual books. Instead, my nightstand is littered with back issues of Runner's World and other fitness rags. I need a good story. Recommendations?


one time deals

5.       Paint something to hang in my apartment.
Disclaimer: I am not an artist. I love art and have a lot of it in my apartment. And not run-of-the-mill Ikea art that everyone has (sorry if you have some) but I've invested in some key pieces, either found when I travel or at charity art events. My collection has grown over the years and I’m really happy with where it is. I just think it would be fun to paint something to add to the wall. It probably won’t be anything fancy, maybe a tasteful nude or something. (That was a joke. Unless you have the body of a Greek god. Then call me.)

6.       Get a tattoo.
I’ve been mulling this over for nearly four years now and I’ve decided I want one. I am still undecided about where, though I’ve narrowed it to three locations. I can assure you that the list does not include my lower back.

7.       Skydive.
I just need to. 

8.       Go one week without buying anything.
This one actually scares me more than the skydiving! Think about how much crap you purchase in a week, some of which you likely need but mostly things I’m guessing you could live without it. I know I could. So I’m going to try.
 

ongoing

9.       Expand my vocabulary.
Alternate title: Quit swearing so much! It’s true, I curse a lot, a habit I probably picked up from my awful coworker (kidding, love her). I actually said damn it! when they told me they were out of peanut butter at Life CafĂ© and couldn’t make me a peanut butter/banana smoothie. Note: this harsh language speaks to my feelings about peanut butter/banana smoothies. Regardless, it might be time to button this habit up a little.

10.   Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
This one goes along with #8. I have accumulated a lot of “stuff.”  Not junk, even, just stuff. Stuff I don’t use, stuff I don’t need. It needs to leave my apartment this year and go somewhere it will be appreciated.

11.   Travel.
Big plans for this. Stand by for details on what’s currently cooking.
   
12.   Get faster, stronger and healthier.
In a nutshell, I want to race shorter distances (half marathons and under), be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups (because I started this and never finished) and eat less meat. Expect a more detailed post at a later date, at least about my running plans. This used to be a running blog, after all.


January 2, 2012

a new year

One of the things I love about New Year's Eve and welcoming a new year is that it provides a chance to reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead. On Saturday night, I was able to do that in a rather extraordinary way.  It started with dinner at Haute Dish (go and eat the Mac & Cheese. Trust.) with a big group, continued with drinks at Urban Eatery and finally returning to my friend Andrea's to ring in the new year.

Andrea had the idea to write things that we wanted to say good-bye to from 2011 on eggs and throw them at midnight, symbolizing letting go of the past and moving forward. After what's transpired the past year, and especially the last few months, this was a really thoughtful exercise for me.

Armed with our eggs, two bottles of champagne and noise makers, we started the two-block trek to Lake Calhoun to say good-bye to 2011 and hello to 2012. The walk to the lake was beautiful (and slippery!) with the streets having been recently blanketed with snow. We reached the lake at exactly midnight, counted to three and threw our eggs onto the ice. Fireworks started going off someplace in the city and we got our money's worth out of the noise makers while we popped two bottles of champagne. After a few minutes our rowdy crew made the trip back to Andrea's to continue the celebration.

It was indeed a very happy way to begin the new year.

Andrea & I