Monday, January 30, 2012

This girl LOVES purple

One day last summer I was strolling through Georgetown in a pink shirt and saw at JCrew some amazing neon pink shorts.  Waiting to try them on, the girl in front of me said, "Wow, you REALLY love pink."  And then she laughed at me.  Biotch.  What do I say to that?  That never would have happened if I had been wearing a black shirt while shopping for black pants - what could she have said? "You LOVE black! Where's your witch hat, you gothic magician?"  

I dont even like pink that much and I didn't buy the shorts.  But the point is - now I'm paranoid about color dominance even if I just happen to be wearing the same color I'm shopping for, or a little too much of one color in general.  This is how I think.  And because of some recent sightings of myself in a mirror, I'm thinking everyone at my gym sees me and says, "WHOA. That girl LOVES purple." I have awesome purple sneakers, sometimes I wear my bright purple winter coat, and my everyday gym bag, though a darker shade, is (you guessed it) Purple.

The fact is I do love purple.  I have a purple couch, a bedspread where the dominant color is purple, and I recently made an impulse online buy of a purple rug with way too many shades of pink and lavender.  I have since rolled up the rug and stored it under my bed.  It's adorable, but when I walk into my apartment I can't help but think, "If anyone walks in here they're going to wonder where I've stored my collection of unicorn and fairy figurines."  I have also since put the quilt under my white duvet and poof - my Lisa Frank pencil of an apartment is finally a little more feng shui.  I guess if I walk into my own apartment and immediately conjure images of a Hello Kitty store, I may have gone overboard.

The problem is: take my winter coat for example, I'm not wearing it all day with my purple sneakers and gym bag - it looks normal when I wear it over work clothes.  It's just when I'm leaving the gym and everything on me is the same color that I have flashbacks to the JCrew girl - but this time she's saying "Wow, you REALLY love purple."  And this time, my head bows in shame because, she's right.

I'm a weirdo.

We all make mistakes with color, right? But that doesn't change the fact that I love my sneakers, and I love my coat and let's face it - I look amazing in the shades that emerge when you combine red and blue.  But if I saw me at the gym, I would instantly tune out my rocking music and start thinking of Barney Explosion jokes to tell my friends later at the bar.  

I guess the lesson here is that only in summer, where my sneaks can't clash with an overcoat, should I buy the more ostentatious Nike's that I'm so drawn to. Or unfortunately, that big purple dinosaur in the room will always be me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Supporting the Troops

An old intern from my company is serving in Afghanistan for (I think) his third tour.  So, my boss and I did something very exciting last week - CARE PACKAGES!

I had SO much fun putting together packages for the troops that it led me to believe that maybe I should do something different with my life - like spend other people's money and shop for them.  I'm really grateful to my job for allowing us to do this and really thank our troops for defending the ol' U.S. of A.

The Deets:

First, I went to to find bags to put all of the goodies in.  There are 11 people in Crash's group (troupe, battalion? I'm embarrassed to admit I can't remember what to call troopmates - so I call them troopmates) and we made individual packages for each.  I scored these "Flash Packs" on sale - and they are beyond cool.  They are made of rip-stop nylon, have loops on the outside for hanging things like water bottles, pockets on the inside - which you can reverse the whole pack and put the pockets on the outside if you want, and if you don't need a backpack, there is a hole in the top to put a water tube through so you can convert the pack into one of those camelback water backpack things.  Also - ever the fashionista, they come in a nice array of colors (of which I bought an assortment, for the soldier who may prefer lime green over black - speaking from Navy brat experience, it can get boring to have a wardrobe made up of only khaki, blue and dark green).

My next step was to fill the pack with travel size toiletries.  I think I bought the entire travel section at CVS.  11 of each - and even though I told the checkout tech that there were 11 of each, she insisted on ringing everything up individually.  Don't get me started - it took forever.  I couldn't help but think of my trusty Clueless bible when Cher is Captain of the Pismo Beach Disaster Relief - "Daddy, some people lost all of their belongings, don't you think that includes athletic equipment?"  So I thought with a smile as we piled in every toiletry imaginable "Some troops have been in Afghanistan for a year or more, don't you think that means they need travel size toilet paper and hair gel?"  Like Cher, I would have put skis in the packs if I could have fit them...Anywho, it was fun.

In the bag.

Then I went over to City Sports and bought "Light Hiking" socks.  Hopefully, these are awesome.  I don't really know what it feels like to spend all day in combat boots (other than the pain-inducing hell of Doc Martens) - but I'm hoping these socks will make it easier.  They feature a padded foot, the Coolmax system, ventilation, etc. 

We also included a TON of Beef Jerky from a place in Naples, Florida.  But my favorite goodie was from the guys at Bell Wine & Spirits.  Rob had sent me out in search of cigars the troops might like.  I don't know anything about cigars, being that I'm just a woman - I know I smoke them and when I'm at Shelly's I don't like to spend more than 13 dollars on them.   At Bell they had a promotional package with four assorted cigars and a cigar cutter - but they only had 2.  So I asked - Oh Man, can I get 11 of these??  The Bell man was skeptical, but made a call to his supplier anyway.  Well, whoever their vendor is sent over 11 wonderful white boxes with silver ribbon that contained 4 cigars, a cigar cutter and a pack of matches.  I couldn't have been more appreciative.  (They have a great wine selection as well for you DC people).

I don't really know if these are good cigars - but I hope they're enjoyed.

I love love love giving gifts - especially good ones.  It was so nice last week to take brief breaks from real work to traipse around and shop for the troops.  I personally think the packs are going to be a wild success - and at least I hope that they convey from MHM to our Heros overseas that we're thinking of them and appreciate their service dearly!  Thanks!

And special thanks to my Uncle - a veteran himself - who steered me in the right direction for many of these items. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adult-Onset Cankles

I always considered myself lucky for inheriting my father's legs.  56 years strong and they're still pretty damn nice...I know this because well into the 90s my father still sported Tom Selleck shorts.  And he just switched to board shorts in the mid 2000s.   I've seen some Ed Legs in my day.  That's  no offense to my mother - She is quite the bombshell as well.  Her old clothes from when she was in her 20s haven't fit me since I was 13.

Regardless - I was a ballet dancer for years and I have always thought my legs were kind of my thing.  Until now.  I've noticed a terrifying condition growing between my knees and (what used to be) my ankles - my calf muscles are gradually getting larger and with nowhere else to go, they're inching closer and closer to my achilles - expanding their territory slowly, but surely, like the United States in the 20th century - just when you think you've gone as far west as possible, my calves actually get so big that they are no longer contiguous at all.  I'll name the right one 'Alaska' and the left one 'Hawaii.'  Don't even get me started on the territories - I can't entertain the idea that they could get that large.... This metaphor is getting out of hand.

These are my legs.
(Not really, but go with it.)

These are my legs on cankles.

This leads me to wonder whether cankles are like diabetes* - you can be born with it, or the other type: late onset**

My Adult-Onset Cankles are plaguing my brain, my reflection and my everyday life.  Attempting to order new boots online, I was forced to measure the tumors on the back of my shins.  They're 16 inches at their widest point.   Measure your own calves - even you men out there - they're a fraction the size of mine.  I promise.  Are my calves telling me I have a shopping problem?  Don't answer that.  I needed those boots - and they were like 80 percent off!  With only a 14 inch width on the boots in question, I had the shocking realization - my calves are the weird 50 pound baby that used to be featured on the covers of the National Enquirer and shows like Ricki Lake.

Lately I've even noticed that when trying on skinny jeans or jeggings, what is much too loose around my waist cuts off my circulation from the knee down.

Also - In accordance with my pre new year's resolution, I'm actually losing weight.  So while my top half shrinks, my calves are growing.  Very awkward.  Could they have their own brain and their own stomach and they're just feeding off my top half while they gluttonously expand closer and closer to my heels?

I'm freaking out.  I'm clearly going to be the topic of some weird Discovery Channel special and then if the corrective surgery goes awry, the subject of a Lifetime Movie.  Wait...this could be how I get famous.  Do I want to be famous for my calves eating my feet? No - too weird.  Definitely not.

Vanity aside - is my life calling to start a foundation for finding the cure to Type 2 Cankles?  I'm not so sure.   I don't even have time to organize that type of thing right now.  But if I don't start now, I may not be able to walk soon.

 I started my 10k training program (via yesterday - and the running only makes my calves more sore, leading me to believe that they've not yet reached their peak in size - that they're growing every day and once they eat my ankles they'll move up the back of my knees until my legs are literally the same width from ass to foot.  Tree trunks.  Ugh.

It's real cute when it's just a baby plant.
Feed me, Seymour.  Feed me.

Until it's bigger than you and can eat you.

Pray for me...or send me advice.  I'm afraid that if I don't stop them, it will be too late. And while I'm feeling wide leg pants this season, I don't want to be limited to them for the rest of my days.  And if my calves happen to call you begging for sustenance like Seymour from that Rick Moranis movie I don't remember the name of...ignore the call.  They have the whole top half of my body to consume before we move onto Guam or Puerto Rico.

*Diabetes is no laughing matter.
**But neither are cankles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Well, Hello

I went to the gym in the middle of the day today as I'll be working late tonight.
Needless to say, it's so much nicer in the off-rush hours...

But I just happened to pick a locker with this sticker stuck to the back.
I love little motivations and messages that brighten up my day.

Check out

I know I will.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hiking on Hold

I had every intention of completing a hike on Sunday morning with the defunct co-founder of this blog, Matt.  We even planned a really super nature-y one out in Virginia.  Alas, the delinquents of DC had other plans for us, as Matt's car was stolen about a block from my apartment last Thursday night while said hike was being planned.  *Gasp*  It has now been stolen twice, yes twice, in the last 5 months.

Matt's car was also stolen from his neighborhood (Eastern Market) back in August, the weekend of the hurricane.  His car was not as easily retrieved that time - it was a month-long debacle that even now hasn't been cleared completely.  That episode put a serious damper on our hikes since I was relying on the ol' (and I do mean old) Dodge to get us to hikes that were less metro-accessible, in VA and MD.  DC has this really nice knack for being completely useless when their citizens actually need help - like retrieving a stolen car.  The story, told to me by Matt, goes something like this:

The weekend of the hurricane, Matt's car went missing.  He assumed that it had been towed because storms in DC bring in a whole new set of "Emergency Route" parking restrictions.  After making the appropriate round of phone calls, it was concluded that in fact, the car had been stolen.  Which sucks.  I've lost many a phone, wallet, camera, and purse in my day and my experience with other police departments is that they don't look too hard to retrieve certain things.  So imagine our surprise when an anonymous informant called the DCPD to tell them a car was parked on his lawn.  Weird.  Matt was alerted (though not before the car got a bunch of parking tickets) that his car had been found - but somehow in the bureaucratic mix, his license plate numbers were transposed so the DCPD insisted that actually, they didn't have his car - they had a car that matched the beater's description, with New York plates and a VERY similar plate number, but whoops, that can't be it, our bad.  Government.  I know.

Weeks later he finally convinced them it was his and he was able to get the car back, sans radio.  But - he had to pay the impound fee and still owes hundreds in tickets that were racked up in illegal parking and, oh yeah, parking it on someone's lawn.  Lightening struck twice last Thursday.  The car was stolen, parked later, illegally, in front of a fire hydrant and then towed.  $200 later, he got it back.  Thank goodness the new radio had not been installed yet.

Is it me, or does it seem like Matt is paying the city of DC to have his car stolen and destroyed?  It seems like there is something very wrong with a system that penalizes the victim of crimes and not the criminal.  And as a result, instead of adding a hike to my blog, I'm adding this rant.  And a message to the thieves: The fees incurred have already well surpassed what the car is worth.  Next time, keep it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Santa *Monica*, Baby

I almost forgot to mention that Miss Jessica and I went on a lovely run/walk down the Santa Monica Pier.  When she first mentioned, "Going for a run on the beach," I didn't have the heart to say "Um, it's really hard to run on sand..." but when we got there, Santa Monica does it right and has a paved walkway for bikers, runners, stroller-pushers and rollerbladers.  It was perfect - and it felt incredible to be at the beach in January.

I snapped a few photos, but none that really captured the adorable, eclectic vibe of Santa Monica.  The houses are really close together (and built vertically, like townhomes) but all of them are brightly painted with very modern architecture.  I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture.

I did snap these though.

Another great part about being in Santa Monica was that I recently read a book ("Bright Shiny Morning" by James Frey - of Oprah/Million Little Pieces fame) and one of the story lines is about a bum that lives on the Santa Monica beach.  All I can say is - it all makes sense now.  You'll have to read it yourself (which I highly suggest) to know what I'm talking about.

I also got a kick out of the beach's anti-litter slogan: "Toes in the sand, trash in the can."  Cute, I know.  Though the slogan was on every garbage bin, it was also in Spanish on the bins as well: "Pies en la arena, Basura en el bote."  Lo siento, los hispanicos - but I think it sounds catchier in English.

English v. Spanish

Then, Jessica and I saw a man dressed like Abe Lincoln riding a Segway down the pier.  I didn't snap a picture because frankly, I thought it would be rude.  I hate it when I'm dressed like Mary Todd and people insist on taking my picture.  I'm a person, people.  Just kidding, I love when people take pictures of me.  Anyway - I didn't know how old Abe felt about digital photography and he cruised by pretty fast, so I refrained.  You'll have to take my word for it though, it was weird.

I guess that's the second and final installment of my LA series.  I had a blast with my girls and can't wait to go back!  I will always have the memories and "Come to Cher" moments of being in Malibu, partying in 'The Valley' (though I wasn't held at gun point - sigh), and seeing an Alaia store (so that dress reference finally made sense).  I totally paused.  And don't even think I'd live below Sunset.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Heading for The Hills

While visiting my best gal pal in LA to ring in 2012, we did the coolest hike ever - to the top of the Hollywood sign (a la JT and Mila Kunis in Friends With Benefits) in sunny California.  For info on how to get to the base of the trail Jess and I did, click here!  Actually, this video starts somewhere different than we did.  But, whatever, our start had free parking and cooler signs.

Follow the Hollywood Road

Before visiting Jess, I had told her that I didn't need to do any hoakie sightseeing of celeb houses or studio tours, but that doing a hike was really important.  Well, she went above and beyond organizing this little gem and I couldn't have been more excited!

It was a sunny, 80 degrees and though some might say that the city views were ruined by the smog, I just felt like I got a true dose of LA viewing.  It took us about 50 minutes to climb the mountain and a little less to get back down - not as long of a hike as I'd expected, but the first half was a steep climb, which this east coaster is just not used to, and I felt it the next day.

Jess had an idea for a coffee table book - pictures of me 'holding' landmarks around the world.
You're all getting signed copies from me next Christmas.  You're welcome.

Clearly, I already have a collection of myself as tall as monuments.


We're on top of LA!

Yum. Smog in the background!

Also, from the top of the Hollywood sign you can see The Observatory - which I guess is pretty famous.  I know there are longer hikes where you can start at Griffith Park, climb the mountain to the Observatory, and then walk over the hills to the Hollywood sign - but uh, Jess and I got hungry for snacks.  So we drove through Griffith Park and snapped this:

That'll be our hike next time I visit!

Happy New Year Hikers!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway

My biggest surprise at Christmas was a visit from my Aunt Jeanne and Aunt Karen!  The day after Christmas they accompanied me on a hike I found in Tallahassee:

The Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway

The hike wasn't quite what I expected because it was in the middle of Tallahassee, as opposed to one of the naturey/swampy areas surrounding the city.  The whole trail was about 4 miles to the end and back, there were public restrooms and free parking (always a plus) - but what was described as a "rural" setting was actually more suburban, and the trail is only about 20 feet off of the road.  The sweet sound of cars driving by accompanied us the whole time.  On the plus side, it's an easy trail that is very well marked and the whole path is either gravel or clay - it'd be a great place to go for a run with the flat and even terrain.  We enjoyed the trail because we could walk fast and really burn off some of the calories consumed at Christmas! 

I'm excited to try some other hikes I read about in the Florida Panhandle but this was a good start, and I had the best company imaginable!  Thanks for visiting, Aunts J&K!!

Aunt Jeanne and I at the head of the trail.


These put the "canopy" in Canopy Road Greenway

Um, I think this is plow art.