Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Bodies Exhibit

Jeff made breakfast for everyone in the morning (Thanks J!). Then we dropped Brian and Jill off at the train station. We then went to the Bodies Exhibit. The exhibit was SO cool! It was all real bodies that had been dissected and preserved. Really interesting and I had my own little tour guide with me (aka- med student Jeff). We did a little stopping downtown and then went home and had some lunch. Later we went for a run in the rain (it wasn’t the nicest weather today). In the evening a bunch of my neighbors came over for appetizers for New Years Eve. It was fun to see my neighbors that I have known my whole life They were doing a progressive New Years Eve celebration so they moved on to the next house after a couple hours. Jeff and I watched a movie about this guy that had a stroke and had to communicate by blinking. It was interesting but kind of slow. We paused it at midnight and said “Happy New Year” and then continued watching: )

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snowshoeing adventure and dinner with Brian

This was a great day. I slept in and then Jeff and I drove about an hour to the mountains and went snowshoeing. We were feeling adventurous and so we veered off the trail and blazed our own trail up the side of the mountain. The whole time I was saying—umm Jeff this is fun going up this but how are we going to get down? “ Trust me girly” and so I did. I enjoyed the challenge of grabbing onto trees in order to pull myself up the mountain. When we got to a lookout we had a beautiful view. We set down a tarp and had our picnic lunch of steak sandwiches, glazed nuts, and cookies. Then we started our decent. This was not so fun! You have no grip on the front of the snow shoe so it is kind of like trying to walk down a hill with mini sleds on your feet. I would take one step and find myself amount 10 feet down the mountain holding the top of a tree for dear life, my legs dangling in mid air. We some how made it down intact with just a little snow in our shoes and down our coats. We continued hiking around this beautiful glassy lake and then headed back to the city. We stopped by Borcachini’s (Italian Specialty store) to buy some fresh pizza dough and then at the grocery store to buy some cheese and tomato sauce for dinner (we were having over one of Jeff’s friends that now lives in Oregon and his girlfriend over for dinner- my parents had dinner plans). When we got back Jeff called Brian to see when they would be arriving and we learned a new fact about Brian’s new girl friend – VEGAN and VEGITARIAN! My first reaction was not happy / disappointed because I had been visualizing a yummy CHEESY pizza with CHICKEN and veggies. However, it ended up working out great. We made one pizza a Mexican pizza with corn and beans and grilled peppers and salsa (half with cheese and half without) and the other normal with chicken, veggies, and cheese. That was probably more details that anyone wanted to know : ) We had a great time with Brian and I really liked his girlfriend Jill.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

fun with old friends

We went to breakfast with my high school best friends Ally, Caitlin (and Husband), and Pam. We went to Julia’s which is a restaurant in a really cute Victorian home. I really loved my breakfast. I got the Smoked Salmon Benedict…and I am not sure how many cups of coffee because they just kept filling it up! This was one of my highlights of my trip. It was just so fun to have breakfast with old friends and laugh and talk. After breakfast we went over to Mary and Bob’s to chat. It was fun to see them as well. Jeff left all excited to design his own back pack after seeing Bob’s hand made backpacking backpack.

After that Jeff and I went to Discovery Park and ran along the sound and through the trails. It was a great run!

That evening we had dinner with my parents and then played the board game Settlers….my dad won (I wasn’t surprised- he always wins strategically games :).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ski day at Mount. Baker

We had Breakfast in the hotel before leaving for the Mount Baker. We got there right when it opened and made it down 23 runs- making our cost per ski run 2 dollars : ) The snow wasn’t the best- a bit icy but it was still really fun! We stopped for Pho in Bellingham for dinner.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Church and Christmas dinner

Run with Jeff
Christmas dinner with Rich and Carla...only time of the year we take out the silver and china. It was nice to see Rich and Carla and fun to talk to Rich about work because our jobs are sort of similar.

After Rich and Carla left we exchanged the last gifts. Jeff had brought some gifts for my family and I and I hadn't given him my gifts yet.
Jeff got be a beautiful necklace that had diamonds in the shape of a little sunflower. I love it! He also gave me some paint canvas and a Detroit Tiger shirt. Here is a picture of my dad and I sporting our Detroit Tiger’s shirts. Here is also a funny picture of Jeff trying to look buff in a shirt I got him.
We then left to drive to Bellingham with Dad and Jeff, hot tubbed at the hotel and then hit the sack. (picture of us having some popcorn in the hotel)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It was finally Christmas! Melissa and Stephen came over around 9AM and we did stockings and had breakfast, and then opened presents. After that my Dad and I did our traditional run / roller blade. Then I headed to Stephens Mom’s house for there family’s Christmas party. Midway through the party I left with Melissa to pick up Jeff from the airport. The party was lots of fun. Stephen has nice friends and a family that likes to have fun.

Friday, December 25, 2009

not Christmas

(pretending today is not Christmas)

Today my mom made a really good veggie frittata for breakfast. Then we went for a short cross country ski up in the mountains. We had a nice little picnic lunch in the mountains. It was really beautiful and sunny. Later that evening my dad made fajitas and we had the Kaufman/Baren family over (they are Jewish so they weren't celebrating Christmas today either). It was nice to catch up with Zack and Laura.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Flight to Seattle went smoothly. I had some yummy home cooked lunch with my mom and had a nice run along Lake Washington while my mom went for a bike ride. We went to the Christmas Eve candle light service and then had stuffed squash for dinner. I was sad that my sister wasn’t there. She had troubles in the airport and missed her flight and the next time she could get a flight was on Christmas Evening so we will be celebrating Christmas a day late.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blondie changed to Brownie

After work I died my hair for the first time. Six dollar kit and a couple hours later my hair was brown : ) Kind of fun for a change.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Art Museum

Today during lunch Ernie and I went to the Art Museum. Ernie has a family membership and invited me to be his daughter for the day and join him. He goes to the Art museum nearly every lunch because they have a different talk from 12-12:45 every day. Today was on Pollock. He was one of the first modern artists who did great big paintings where he dripped oil on the canvas. It was really interesting because he tried to paint “outside of his unconsciousness.” Yes I did mean to write unconsciousness and not consciousness. He believed that all societies had suppressed feeling and emotions that could only be uncovered by taking your mind out of your art. It was an interesting concept. Another interesting is that he always paints from left to right so some people consider his paintings a “calligraphy of his unconsciousness”- whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Monday, December 21, 2009

4k Cross Country Race

Today I went to Church and then went to a cross country race at noon. It was really fun. It was run by some friends of mine and it was a free event. There was a good turnout. It was cold to be running in the snow over Cricket Hill but we felt so hardcore : ) ! I also met an Olympian who was on the Olympic Team with Brian Diemer. I won the 4k race with a time of 14:40 and won a bottle of hennessy cognac : )
(below Olympian Gary Morgan and I- not the best picture of me : )

Saturday, December 19, 2009

afternoon with extended fam and movie with Pam

I met Mitch, Lee, Erika, and Jake for lunch. We went to Hannah’s Bretzels. I had gotten this suggestion from a friend. The two places that are my favorite are not open on the weekends. The food was good but they only had 4 chairs so it wasn’t the best place to sit and talk. It was nice to see everyone though. After the Erika and I met up with Aunt Lynn and Aunt Jan and Ruth and Linda and we went shopping.

I had plans to go to a Christmas Party that evening but it was the only time that I could find to get together with Pam so I decided to have a chill night with Pam instead of go to the party. We made some Milkshakes and watched a Christmas movie (Four Christmas’s). It was fun.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dinner with Grandma and Grandpa

Today after work I met Grandma and Grandpa at the Palmer House. They were staying there for Sarah D’s wedding. Their room was quite impressive. They were staying with Uncle Ed and there family. There were like three rooms all attached and a big sitting room and kitchen. We had a drink there and talked with Uncle Ed and Aunt Jan. We then took a taxi to the Frog Bar. We had a great dinner. We all really loved our food. It was really special to have Grandma and Grandpa in Chicago. After dinner I showed them my apartment and we talked for a bit. I enjoyed hearing them tell stories from when they were young.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Did some yoga today. It actually felt nice to be in a really hot room (110 and humid). They turn off the lights at the end of the workout and I almost fell asleep (I wonder if that happens alot- they put this relaxing music and then tell you to go into child’s pose and then turn the lights out).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

run with Alona

Had a nice run with Alona in the morning. I was a bit over dressed because I thought it was going to be really cold. I will have to start checking the weather the night before.

We had another work Christmas party at lunch....lot's of parties this month.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fleet Feet Christmas Party

Today was the Fleet Feet Christmas party. Everyone wore ugly Christmas sweaters and there was a contest for the worst one along with a lot of treats and snacks.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back to Chicago

On Sunday Brent, Colleen, and I went for a run around University of Kentucky. We finished the run at Starbucks. We left for home around noon. It seemed to take along time to get back because we got a late start. Some people were up really late so slept in ridiculously long. There is nothing really exciting to share for today- we all are tired from the weekend.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Club Cross Country Nationals

Today was race day! The race wasn’t until 12:45 so we had a lot of time. I had brought breakfast food which I was happy about because the hotel breakfast was like 11 dollars for a bowl of oatmeal and fruit. Later we walked down to Starbucks to get some coffee. Compared to the Calvin girls who thought I was crazy for drinking coffee before the run these girls were having more caffeine than me. Colleen ordered this drink called black out which she told me was cappuccino with 4 shots of espresso! Claudia had 3 Red Bull before the race!

When the race started I was in shock. All I felt were people flying past me. I felt like I was going backwards but I could tell I was still going really fast. At the first turn there were so many people I had to turn so wide but then I could see in the distance that I was going to have to be on the inside of this stake. This wasn’t looking good- either I was going to plow down the stake or I was going to end up on the outside of the fence. I some how got myself over in time. I have never ran with so many fast people in my life! I did start to pick people off at this point but I realized I was in the back third of the race. The annoying part of it was that I would pass 5 people going up the hill and then about 3 of them would pass me on the down hill. It doesn’t help to be good at going up if you stink at going down! : ) I passed 4 runners in the last 50 meters so that felt great. One of the girls I passed was from Club Northwest.

Although I had a great time I ended up 84th place out of 234 racers which is the highest place that I have gotten in a race in well… least 4 years : ). I was actually happy with my time because it wasn’t too far off what I ran when I was actually training for cross country and this was without any speed training. This isn’t a fair comparison because every race is different but I looked at the 2009 D3 nationals results and my time would have put me 10th overall.

After the race we went out to lunch and then went and showered. Later we all went out and explored Kentucky’s night life which included some Kentucky whiskey and beer, some Karaoke (which we learned means ‘tone deaf’ in Japanese), some dancing, and some horse racing on TV : ). It was a good time.

Oh I did forget to write something- our spikes for the race had not arrived in Chicago before we left for Kentucky so Nike overnighted them to Kentucky and we got them about 2 hours before the race : ) I have to show you how bright my shoes were. Friends watching said they could just look for the orange feet in order to locate me in the crowd. I went through all the pictures online and thought that there was none of me but then I noticed my feet in this picture…do you see the orange feet (click on the picture)? ( I put a circle around my feet : ) Those are my feet! I love my shoes- I have a new trademark—neon feet : )

Friday, December 11, 2009

To Kentucky

Today we met at the Starbucks by Fleet Feet at 7:30am to drive to Kentucky. We didn’t actually leave until 8:30. Once on the road we had fun talking and playing card games. However, at one point I started to look for signs to see how many miles away we were. I only saw signs that said how many miles to Saint Louis. This was confusing to me so I asked the people in the Van….how many miles do you think we are? Then people started to look and we realized we were heading west instead of East. So we had been going the wrong way on the highway for quite awhile! I wonder when we would have noticed if I hadn’t said anything! We ended up getting to the hotel only a few minutes before 5 (an hour and a half later than we thought) which was when team declarations were due—phew!! That was close! We went to the course to check it out but it was getting dark so we decided after about 15 minutes that it was dumb to run in the dark on the uneven ground. We did see that there was no flat part on the course and the footing was lumpy and the turns were muddy. Good to know. We went back and changed and went to dinner at a very cute Italian place. I was surprised that most people had about 2 glasses of wine before dinner. I had a good dinner of salad, chicken, shrimp, corn bread, and sweet potatoes. We are totally in the south! Everyone has that southern twang and the southern hospitality. It was fun to get to know people better.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feeling like a Superstar : )

Two exciting things to share. One is that I won the "Chicago's Runner of the Year" award. My inbox was flooded with congratulations which made me feel pretty special : ) Then Rob from work emailed me a link about our Corporate Team going to South Africa for the Chase Corporate Challenge which was neat

However, later in the day one of the owners found it also and was not happy because they wrote that we werre "designers" and not "engineers" so he called them to make them change it. I hadn't thought anything of it.

Besides that I finished my Christmas stopping, made dinner, talked to Jeff, watched the snow fall from my window while I ate chilli with my slippers on ....awww...good life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

winter wonderland!!

I woke up to a lot of snow! Alona met me to run and it was so awesome! It was like large flakes coming down and it wasn't too cold. I am starting to realize that snow is actually a good thing because it tends to be a little warmer when it is snowing. When we got back she said she had something for me. She got me a mini Christmas tree!...well soon to be Christmas tree ( I have to water and it and give it some love : ).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fleet Feet team meeting

Had our work Christmas lunch at Miller's Pub today. That was fun.
Ran with Beth E. and Beth L in the evening then worked out some logistics with Mark for this weekend (Club XC Nationals). Mark had gotten a few shirts in from Nike for us which is always exciting-- except for the fact that I realized my closet is 80% running clothes that say Fleet Feet Nike Racing on them : )

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Church and time to relax

Today we woke up at 6:40 and Kelly, Lauren, Annika, and I left. This was the easiest way to get me to the city because they were driving North to Gilberts Illinois for a race and it was only a couple minutes out of the way to drop me off at the farthest west blue line stop- Forest Park. They dropped me off and I had about an hour train ride to the loop. Not bad. I am like 2/3 through the book "Devil in the White City" from all this train time. But I would not recommend this book to anyone. It's getting more and more disturbing- the main character keeps killing women in order to sell their bodies to med schools. but the history of the world's fair and learning about the inventions of the time / architects is interesting.
I got back around 8:30 and had some breakfast and made alittle exam pack for Pam because she has finals. then I went to Church and then Church Potluck, then dropped off Pam's exam gift, and then relaxed the rest of the day. Oh I watched "Twighlight" since it is based in Forks Washington.

fun with Alona and Orland Park with Calvin Girls

Talk about a busy day! I had stayed up too late the night before but got up early today to run with Alona. I took the train and arrived in Oak Park at 8AM. We then drove a few minutes to the trail head. It was sooo fun! It kind of reminded me of Sunriver and we saw a lot of deer. At one point about 6 ran right in front of us. The trail actually goes al the way to the airport. You can kind of get a feeling of what it looked like from the picture. We went back to Alona’s afterwards and changed and went to this really trendy vegetarian brunch place. The walls were covered with individuals art that they were trying to sell but it made for a cool look because none of the pictures were similar and the walls were filled with pictures. All the chairs were painted differently. Anyway- we had a great time. We both agreed that this was the most ideal way to spend a Saturday morning- Long run in nature and then going out to brunch with a good friend. (oh and I don't have black eyes in the picture above- I wore mascara the for the party the night before and forgot to take it off : )

It took me a long time to get home because they were doing construction on the el so I had to take a shuttle bus into the loop and then take a bus. I got back at 2 and went to do some errands and got back around 4pm. Then I thought I should look at the train times because I was going to Orland Park for the evening because Kelly and Lauren were in town. I looked online and was shocked to see that the last inbound train from Orland Park was at 3:40PM…no biggy- I can spend the night and leave Sunday—no trains running on Sunday! I was a bit panicked so I called Annika and said what the deal was and she said just to hussle and make it on the 5PM train (only other outbound train was at 11pm) and then they will figure out how to get me back. So I grabbed my toothbrush and PJ’s, phone and charger and ran to the bus. I actually got there with 15 minutes to spare.

I arrived in Orland Park at 6:00 and was so excited to see Kelly and Lauren! I missed them. We hung out and Laura Jackson’s and Emily Arkus’ house for awhile and then went to Rock Bottom for dinner at 8pm. At dinner we celebrated Kristen Van Sickel’s birthday (which is tomorrow). (Oh funny thing about Van Sickel and I- we both did the Seafair Tri in 2005- and didn’t know each other). After dinner we went back and we all chipped in to buy supplies to make Grasshoppers—perhaps the most delicious alcoholic beverage (well dessert because it’s pretty much a mint milkshake : ). We made some toasts to Lauren and Kristen who got engaged and also to Annika who is leaving for Zambia on Monday.

Annika and I went over to Kristin Haugsma’ to sleep around 1pm. I hadn’t seen Kristin’s apartment before. I liked it a lot. We went right to bed though because Kelly and Lauren were going to pick us up at 7am because they are driving to Gilbert, il to do the Cross Country Extreme race….

Friday, December 4, 2009

Engagement Party for Val

Afterwork I got dressed up and went over to Mel’s where Haugs, Annika, Val, Anne F, Arkus and Kristin V were. We were going out to celebrate Val’s engagement. We went to a several bars and to a restaurant. Val had a great time accomplishing a list of tasks that Annika had put together for her.
(I was taking the picture)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

windy city

I went to Fleet Feet to try on different cross country spikes for cross country nationals which is only like a week away!! Kentucky here we come!! I then met Heather for the windiest run of my LIFE!! We could barely move forward. When we turned around it was pushing us so hard from the back that it was almost just as hard because we had to move our legs so fast so we wouldn’t fall down! It was quite the experience. Then I tried to work out some details because a bunch of Calvin friends are coming to Chicago for the weekend.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

run with Alona and coffee with Mel

Yesterday I went for a run with Alona in the morning. We did 5, 3, 1, 3, 5 minutes hard with 1.5 minutes easy in between. It was hilarious to try to have a conversation in between reps. We had to talk really fast : ) but we could talk on the warm-up and cool down. After work I met Mel at Starbucks and then we walked down to the Zoo to go to the zoo lights. Unfortunately, the zoo was closed. So we just walked around with our lattes and talked. It was nice. On my way back I talked to Jeff. I am giving him a really hard time because I bought three books on Ipod and loved it and when he was at my apartment I told him to download them to his Ipod and now he is obsessed with listening to books. I am giving him a hard time about this because he made fun of me so much for listening to books and now he is hooked : )