Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fun with Lynn

Sunday Lynn and I made French toast and then went to Church. After church we went to Border's and then to lunch at a cute pastry shop. On our way back we stopped by a store called Little Miss Miss-Match. (Picture is of us trying on the crazy hats). The store was fun- they sell socks and gloves in sets of 3 instread of 2 and they are all different-- nothing matches : ). Lynn found some really fun flip flops here. Later we went for a run down towards the Shed Aquarium. After that there was just a little time to shower and relax and have some leftovers as an early dinner. It was a quick visit but it was great. Thanks for making the trip up!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowdays and Sushi Making

This morning Jess and Sam went for a run while I relaxed at home. Lynn arrived at 10:30 just in time to visit with Jess and Sam for 15 minutes until they had to head to the train. Lynn and I then went to Snow days which is a festival of ice sculptures. oh! and while we were there I was on TV!! I don't know what channel though but this guy with a big camera asked me what I thought of the ice sculptures and whether I thought it would be hard to make. I thought that was cool. One of the ice sculptures was "SnOpra" and it looked just like Opra. We stopped by Trader Joe's on the way home to get some Miso soup and Mochi's for the sushi party for tonight. After that we went back and went for a run through Lincoln Park zoo. Then we played some wii. Then we got ready for Kristin, Emily, and Laura to come over (Calvin friends that live in Chicago Suburbs). We made sushi together, caught up on what was going on in people's lives, played funny games.... it was a great time!

Chicago Unique Store Day

We were all over the place. Over a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and eggs we decided we wanted to see some unique stores. They also really wanted to go to Whole Foods (they don't have whole foods in Grand Rapids). We went so many places I am going to have to list:
1. They were missing a meet so had to do mile repeats instead- exactly a mile around Navy Pier plus great way to see Navy Pier (and you even finish to music : ). I enjoyed running hard with Koster- felt like old times : )
-had lunch at my place before heading out for the following:
2. Hit up a few specialty stores in my neighborhood--Tea Gershwender, Oldtown Spice store
3. Head to hit up the Thrift Stores-- Uptown Unique Thrift, Andersonville Brown Elephant, Ragstock
4. Time to warm up: Starbucks
5. Cool jewelry store that we came across in Andersonville: The Monkey Gallery
6. Wholefoods (we hit up the samples!), no peanut butter machine so we stopped at Treasure Island to make Peanut Butter (one of Sam's musts for the trip).
7. Made deep dish pizza for dinner
8. Millennium and Grant Park for picture taking
9. Molly's Cupcakes for dessert

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tour Guide Christina

Today was so fun! I had Jess and Samantha staying with me (they arrived late last night). Sam and I are both somewhat morning people so we got up and did some work on our laptops and had some coffee while Jess was sound asleep until 10AM. Jess had brought some homemade scones and Sam had brought some granola she had made so we had that for breakfast ( very good guests ). In the morning we did some shopping- sam and Jessica both found some great deals. We went to lunch at Pompei and did some more poking around. Then we went for a run the sites seen over the run were, Belmont Harbor, Grant Statue, Lincoln Park Zoo, Nature Museum, Montrose Harbor, and a good view of the skyline. On their train ride here they met a woman that said they should check out a store on Belmont called Ragstock. So mid-run we made a slight detour to check it out. It was a unique store. It reminded me of the Redlight where they have clothes from different era's- some second had stuff and some used stuff. After we got back from the run we made dinner at my place (spicy peanut noodle and salad). We had bought this gingerbread kid for $1.5 (90% off) so we made and decorated gingerbread cookies while we watched The Notebook. Later we played a game called Conscious which I had bought for 1.99 (when they rung it up it said 29.99-27.99= total 2.20). Sorry for the price details but I get pretty excited when I find something so cheap (the game is the same maker as Cranium). It was a fun game but will be more fun with more than three players. Well, now I am rambling good night!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Japanese Culture and Cuisine Class

This evening I went to a class on Japanese Culture and Cuisine with Alona. It was really fun. We felt like we were in Japan and learned alot about Japanese culture and sushi. Su Shi means rice with vinegar and if you want to judge good sushi you should judge it by the rice. Every sushi artist has a unique way of making the rice and good sushi rice is not starchy. In Japan you start sushi training at 10 and the first few years you are only allowed to touch the veggies. This is because getting your knife skills up to speed is very important because you don't want to touch the sushi fish because the oils from your hands changes the fish and makes it not as good. Only the head sushi chef makes and applies the rice to the seaweed. Also in Japan the wasabi is mixed into the sushi instead of how we dab it on. He also said western cultures just have it all wrong- we layer flavors but the Japanese want to separate everything out. So for example in France you would have something like Tiramisu- a layering of texture and flavor where in Japan you would have a little bowl of the cream sauce, black rice, fruit, green tea- all separated and that would be the dessert. Mixing was repulsive to him. I thought this was interesting. I learned a lot and we were given miso soup, soy beans, and 6 types of sushi to try. Good experience to go to Japan for a night.

Christmas Tree

I had been watering my little Christmas tree for over a month and nothing had happened. I was super excited when the morning after I was laid off my tree sprouted! Now look at how tall it has gotten in 2 weeks!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

fun day

Today was a super fun day! I was really excited because I felt like alot of my friends from different circles all met so we had this great group of diverse people. On Sunday mornings I sometimes run with a group of predominantly Mexican Americans. We meet at 7:10 because everyone needs to get back for church. My friend Kalina from Fleet Feet was going to join so I was excited about that. Then my friend Alona wanted to know if I wanted to run so I told her she should join us. Then my friend Heather called and I said I was already running with people but she should join. So I had all these friends meet each other for a run. It was fabulous! Afterwards Alona came over for breakfast. Then I went to Church while she hung out in my apartment ( I invited her but she is Jewish so she said no). Later in the evening I went to dinner with my high school friend Pam which was really fun.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

CARA Awards banquet

Jeff came to Chicago last night to go to the Chicago Area Runners Awards Banquet. We carpooled with a bunch of people to the McDonald's Campus (yes Chicago loves it's McDonald's- first McDonald's was in Chicago...not the best claim to fame for a city : ) Anyway, the convention center was a actually quite lovely with lots of glass windows looking out over a pond and trees. I was a little nervous because I didn't know how the awards ceremony worked so I was worried that they would ask me some questions when I went up to get my reward and I am still not confident with myself under pressure. However, they just called me up for the Chicago Runner of the Year and shook my hand. So I relaxed thinking that was it. But then at the end of the awards they said "now we would like to hear a few words for the runner of the year." I practically choked on my chicken. However, the talk actually went well. I had people laughing at the beginning as I explained my excitement when I found CARA's website that had all the races on it (so many races) and then went for my first run in Chicago (so many runners). I focused on how Chicago is a unique place for a runner and the community that is built around running in Chicago. Anyway- it was a fun time. Unfortunately Jeff had to leave soon after we got back. It was really nice of him to come up for the banquet. (below- picture of Columba and her cute kids and I)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Jeff and I went for a short run before Church, then had one of my favorite breakfasts -waffles with berries and (alot of) whip cream. After church we went out for a late lunch. We had a really good time. It was a unique restaurant.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beth's Wedding

I had a great time at my friend Beth's wedding. It was in walking distance of my appartment which was cool. I liked the little touches that reminded me of them-- for example they both love Macaroni and cheese- so besides pork tenderloin and salmon and grilled root vegetables they had a mac and cheese bar --see picture below. Beth's wedding dress was unique and fit her style perfectly. It was fun to have some of my friends finally meet Jeff. What a fun night party!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A day I will not forget

A number came across my work phone “27 Quiet Room.” I thought this looked peculiar so I let the call go to voice mail. Then I listened to the message. It was from the boss of mechanicals. My hand started to shake “why would the boss of mechanicals be telling me to come to the 27th floor which is HR?” This is not good. I decided to take to stairs because by the time I ran up the stairs to the 27th floor I would have the color back in my face : ).

I took a deep breath and opened the door where two men in suits sat…I felt a flash back to a year and a half ago- a had talked to both of these men on a day that I have never forgotten- the day I knew I had just gotten my first engineering job- and a great one at that! I remembered them sitting me down in this exact room with my resume in hand saying “this is very impressive- tell me about your trip to Vietnam where you studied prosthetics? Nominated for a leadership retreat? How do you think those skills will help you in the work place? I remembered how pleased I was for acting confident and how I felt so sharp in my new suit……however, now in the same room with the same two men I felt the opposite-- I felt so small- I never noticed how big my boss was and I never noticed how I didn’t fill the width of my chair, I felt self conscience- can they tell that I am nervous? All this passed through my head until he started to talk. How are you today Chris? (hey that’s not my name I thought!- my name is CHRISTINA). “As you have heard there is a large reduction in work right now (don’t say it I thought—please God please please please) and therefore we do not need you anymore. Please return your computer and key card by 9AM tomorrow morning.” Then the HR guy (Mr. Willie) started to talk to me about Cobra and all these other logistical things..but I couldn’t focus on what he was saying. My eyes started to water and my breaths turned into hick ups. The boss of mechanicals seemed confused “now don’t take this personally young lady- we just don’t have enough work.” That didn’t seem to work so he tried the comical approach. “Breath Chris. I know you’re a runner- you’re good at breathing.”

The rest of the day was a burr……

However, when I got home I went for a run and when I got back from running my mind was clear and I felt 100 times better. I am so thankful for the gift of running. It helps put things in perspective, it helps me think clearly when my head and heart hurt, and it helps me hear God talk to me when I wouldn’t be listening.

Life is still good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


We went to Church in the morning. Then in the afternoon we painted on the canvases that Jeff gave me for Christmas. We didn’t finish even though we worked on it for quite awhile. It was a lot of fun. We had dinner with Chris and Andrea and another couple in the evening. I headed back to Chicago on the 7:30 PM bus.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

dinner at the Crawford's

Today I took the Megabus to Ann Arbor. I arrived at 2PM. We went for a run and then headed over to the Crawford's. I had a great time. We had a nice meal and then I gave them my Christmas gifts. Mrs. C gave me to pictures of Jeff and I framed. I like them a lot. We played Scattegories after dinner. There were some good laughs.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


We had a Chili cook-off after church. It was awesome! The winner was an adobo chilli with guacamole on the top- creative idea.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Back in Chi

I was a bit of a zombie today functioning on not much sleep because of my redeye flight. I got a lot of things done though, thank you notes, unpacking, exchanging and returning things, and paying bills and rent…etc. Here is a picture of the curtain my mom made for me and the new glasses I got from my dad that fit perfectly in the side of my cabinet making a cute little mini bar : )

Friday, January 1, 2010

Invictus and Belly Dancing

My last day in Seattle…sad…especially since I realized I won’t see my family for 7 months now. We went to see the movie “Invictus” which I would really recommend to anyone. I think I especially liked it because I spent a month in South Africa. That evening we went out to dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant where you sit on the floor on cushions and you feel like you are in a fancy tent and there is a belly dancer that dances around the restaurant. It is a fun experience ( ). My flight left at 11:15 PM.