Friday, April 24, 2015

Random Friday Word Vomit aka "There is No Jet Lag" {1}

Random Friday Word Vomit.

I bought a trench coat! It's my first trench ever and I wanted something a bit non traditional and fell in love with this one from Betsey Johnson.
I also bought a bunch of clothes recently (and consequently purged my closet). I just can't bring myself to wear items that don't fit right or are past their prime. I'm 30+ years old now. Time to start dressing in a way that coincides with my personality and tastes more. Not that I dressed sloppy before, but I want to dress better and live up to my sorority nick name "tres chic." Ha ha ha

I stuck with a white/green/black theme so that everything can be worn together. Also, this makes packing for my trip to Paris and Copenhagen really easy because I can re-wear the pieces for different looks which equals less space in my carry on (and more room for shit to buy and bring home!)

When I went to Europe in 2002 for 16 days, I had a huge 90lb suitcase as well as a carry on. It was so ridiculously difficult to get around with it. I've since grown up, become travel smart and can pack a carry on with extra space(!) for trips of 10 days. (And this makes for a much more enjoyable trip!)

And to comment a little further on my traveler > tourist philosophy- I'm not purely hating on people who go places and take tours vs those who go off the beaten path. For some folks that's good enough. What I absolutely hate are the people who show no respect for other cultures- either by expecting everything to be the same as 'Murica (because Country X is not USA, DUH) or by acting rude towards the locals by raising their voices (thinking speaking louder in English will get them to understand?) this is a sore spot for me because when I lived in Mexico and cruise ship Tuesday/Thursday came along so did a bunch of douchey Americans dressed in wife beaters who would treat the employees at our favorite coffee shop like garbage. Speaking louder in a language people don't understand won't get them to understand what you want. It will never work. There's other more subtle ways to communicate universally with people who don't speak your language and still be able to be understood. {steps off soapbox}

I was looking at the tap list for CBC and saw Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord will be offered. Yesssssss. Between that and like 100 other beers I want to sample (of all different styles from the best breweries in the world) my thirst will be quenched and I will be very happy and bliznitzed.

CB has been extra adorable and precious lately. He must have been missing his daddy who has been on business trip after business trip lately. CB is usually not very affectionate, but he has been needy for affection lately.
Fluffy tail = Super fresh CB!

My big red fox got a bath yesterday morning. I was exhausted by the time I was done bathing him, but he seemed to be fired up and wanted to play. Unfortunately I had to go to work. Poor guy.

Next up: I need to pack for the trip. It's never too early! But honestly, I'd rather go with an empty suitcase and buy everything in Paris and Copenhagen because that would be fun, but not so good for my bank account. Womp.

I also need to figure out how to keep myself entertained for 9 hours on the flight. Preferably I'd like to pass out and wake up in Paris, but sleeping on planes even with Zzzzzzquil doesn't work we for me. The motto for this trip is "there is no jet lag." I'm planning on getting up ridiculously early the day of the flight so by the time we finally board I'll be tired. (But full of adrenaline because I'm traveling and going to PARIS!!) SQUEEEEEEEEEE!

There is no jet lag.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Recap of a trip 13 years ago {Paris, July 2002}

After spending a week in Stockholm for a clarinet convention, taking a long ass train ride from Stockholm to Hamburg (and almost getting attacked by swans), and spending some time in Amsterdam celebrating my 20th birthday, we finally made it to the "City of Light," Paris.

We stayed at Hotel Mirific in Paris. 4 tiny beds in a small room. By now my suitcase had a broken wheel, weighed 90lbs, and was so ridiculously difficult to pull up the spiral staircase at the hotel. So by the time we got settled, I was feeling crazy.
We took the subway to Sacre Coeur.
The streets were narrow and charming and super hilly to navigate to the church.


I really enjoyed the view from Sacre Coeur, which was on top of a hill.
For dinner, we went to the HRC again...
We also walked by the Moulin Rouge
Another day we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and did touristy shit like stand in the middle of the road to take a photo of it.

And continued risking our lives to take photos of it.

We took a steep spiral staircase to the top- which I personally thought had a much better view of Paris than the Eiffel Tower.
Another day we took the train to Mantes la Vie, France to see the Buffet clarinet factory. All of our clarinets were made there, so we were very intrigued to see the whole process from chunk of wood to beautiful clarinet.

Sadly, the photos from the tour are lost. But it was incredible seeing the start to end process of how a clarinet gets made.

We went to the Eiffel Tower.

It was really cool to see something in person that I had only only seen online or TV.

I always wanted to return to Paris and have a picnic on the grassy field in front of the tower. Bottle of wine, baguette, stinky soft cheese... Heaven

I plan to recreate these photos when we go to Paris soon.

The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Cheesing it up at the carnival below the tower.
I cant wait to return soon!
We saw Notre Dame cathedral. (the back side of it)

And we went inside the cathedral.


We also went inside Cathedral St Chappelle which was even more gorgeous than Notre Dame.

We went to the Louvre.



And saw the sad Mona Lisa in its protective box surrounded by hoards of tourists snapping photos.

We saw the Seine river.

We also went to Musee D'Orsay which contained all of the impressionistic paintings from Monet, Manet, Degas, etc. It was really cool to see "Waterlilies" and other works I had only seen in books.



We also went  to the Pere LaChaise cemetary which was a short ride by subway.

We saw Chopin, Poulenc and Bizet's graves (all composers), as well as Jim Morrison's grave (from The Doors)

And then after a whirlwind 15 days, it was time to come home and back to reality.
It was a crazy awesome experience to see another part of the world for a few weeks. I cannot wait to return to Paris and visit Copenhagen soon. It is so amazing to look back and see how different I was 13 years ago vs now. My tastes in food and travel experience have changed significantly since then and I am super excited to stay away from just about everything I saw 13 years ago and truly experience the culture of these cities. Because traveler > tourist.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Recap of a trip 13 years ago {Amsterdam: July 2002}

After spending a week in Stockholm for a clarinet convention, and taking a long ass train ride from Stockholm to Hamburg (and almost getting attacked by swans) we took yet another train ride to Amsterdam to spend a few days.

We celebrated my 20th birthday while in Amsterdam. Of course I had to go all meta and take a photo in front of this movie poster for "Birthday Girl" movie starring Nicole Kidman (which I had never heard of or saw).
We walked around a lot. That big cool looking building is "Magna Plaza" which is a shopping mall.
Typical Amsterdam canal shot.

We went to the HRC to celebrate my birthday. (see a theme developing here?)
We took a tour of the Heineken brewery, which was really cool. I always enjoyed taking the Busch beer tour at Busch Gardens in Tampa. BUT, at the end of the tour I didn't even take a sample of the beer, I opted for lemonade instead. I did not like beer at all back then- plus I was not 21, so I did not drink in University for fear of getting busted at a party (ok ok I did try beer a beer a few times but it was GROSS!). That was a phone call I never wanted to make to my parents...
I decided to not to trade my clarinets for a sweet Heineken drum set... although maybe I should have.

Another iconic Amsterdam canal shot.
Magna Plaza in the distance.
We did go to a couple of museums while in Amsterdam. We went to the Van Gogh museum and surprisingly did not see "Starry night" but I fell in love with "Wheat field with Crows."

We also went to the Anne Frank house. It was so sad and powerful to see the place where Anne and her family hid during the war, until they were found. I'm not usually into touristy things, but this would be a "must see" because of the human element. I had read "Diary of a Young Girl" before the trip, so all those thoughts and emotions were pretty fresh when we visited the house.
And yet another classic canal shot.
We explored a bit by foot in Amsterdam, but overall I wasn't too impressed because it seemed dirty (smelled of weed and sewage) and just wasn't my style at the time,
Of course, we walked through the red light district.
And I took a photo in the famous wooden shoe like a good tourist that I was.
During this leg of the trip I found out my grandmother had passed away on my birthday. She had gone into the hospital a week or 2 before I left for Europe with another heart attack and wasn't doing well. I saw her the day or 2 before I left for this trip and we communicated as best we could with her having a breathing tube. I was the last person in my family to see her cognizant. I did not go back for the funeral because I'm sure my grandma would have wanted me to continue on the trip- but also because I wanted to remember that last interaction with her instead of something much more somber.  
After a few days it was time to head to our final destination. So back to the train station we went.

Next up on these lame ass recaps of a trip 13 years ago: PARIS!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Week?? Ambiguous training for something yet to be determined {2}

Another awesome week in the books! I only ran 10 miles, but worked out for 4 hours and 50 miles total, so there's that. I also ran my longest consecutive run in what seems like forever. I actually cant remember the last time I ran double digits.

Monday: REST

Tuesday: 10 miles cycled

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: REST

Friday: 10 miles cycled

Saturday: 10 miles run w/ 4 Tempo miles @ ( 7:12, 6:55, 7:02, 7:02) Followed by 5 miles on the bike

Sunday: 15 miles Cycled

L came home on Wednesday from Brasil, so I decided to spend time with him (especially since he has been home only a handful of days in the past 2 months). Since he was leaving for another trip early Friday, I decided my marriage > running and we went to Eataly for dinner on Thursday. I haven't been doing morning workouts lately and did not mind the extra time off.

With there not being any good 5k's happening in Chicago in April, (that fit my schedule), I have just been running/cycling whatever I feel. I like working out "intuitively"- if I feel like running fast, I pull a speed sesh out of my hat, or if I feel off, I run slow and then cycle and always finish with some PT/AB/Weights. I do like following a plan though, so I need to decide soon whether or not to focus on a half marathon, or just keep doing what I feel like. I've trained diligently for enough half- full marathons, that intuitively I know what I need to do to be successful should I choose to run longer. And now i've basically said nothing and everything in 100 words.
CB was all "HIGH 5's" one morning, which was probably because I had a stinky soft treat to give him. Although he is a fan of high 5's...
L returned from Brasil with a bottle of Mikkeller Running beer for me!! And to think I would only get to try this when I am in Copenhagen post MRC run... It was a nice ale- perfect for post run hydration. I was *slightly* jealous he got to run with the MRC Sao Paulo group because they had deferred their April 4th run to the 11th due to Easter. Because Brasil = Catholic.

Come join us for our 4th run on May 2nd in Chicago! RSVP/ More info: HERE
With L being home for 2 days after being in Brasil, and before that California and Vancouver and California, it was nice to spend some time together before he took off again.
Saturday I ran outside. In a tank top and froze my ass off. With the temp in the low 50's and 30mph winds, I was so ridiculously cold, but ran 5 miles into the headwind and felt pretty good. At the turnaround I decided to do 4 tempo miles and I was flyyyyiiiiinnnnnnng. It felt good to run long, and outside, and fast, and on the lakefront.
Post 10, I made beer. This will be my 5th, and is a Mikkeller single hop clone recipe. Currently it is fermenting vigorously under my bathroom sink, and while I have high hopes for it, I am slightly concerned about it not turning out ok. I didn't boil off enough of the wort and got a slightly lower gravity reading than I planned for. In 5-6 weeks, I'll hopefully have a decent beer to drink. I will also make another version of this exact beer, but with a different hop in a few more weeks. Fingers crossed this Cluster Hop IPA turns out well.
On Sunday CB and I went for a walk in Grant Park. I didn't feel like running, so we walked and sniffed the flowers.

Looking forward:

I'm excited to watch the Boston Marathon at work tomorrow......and then for it to be over. The hype surrounding it on social media this past week has been tiring to keep up with.

I can't wait to see my Daad later this week- last time he was here was in January.

Yay for a busy week at work- this week will fly by!

Continuing to research places to go in Paris and Copenhagen... I already have a nice list of restaurants, and sights to see, but am still reading about all things Paris and Copenhagen for more potential ideas.  And I am really excited for this trip. Like super duper excited to just wander the streets of Paris with L and eat bread and cheese and drink wine.

Up Next:

2 more recaps of my trip from 13 years ago... Amsterdam and Paris!