Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Jet Set

From Wednesday night after work until last night, I was in four completely different parts of the country, covering three separate time zones, and with less than 6 hours at home total.  Ugh!

But it all worked out.  As I was on the phone with one of my dear friends stressing to the max about how I was going to pack for the funeral, and then my next trip, she asked me to think about "what's the worst that could happen?" 

That was not a good question to ask me. 

That night I dreamt about several horrible scenarios.  The dream scenarios:
Wearing pajamas to my grandpa's funeral because I'd forgotten to pack a dress.
Wearing pajamas to court and being told by the judge to come back in appropriate attire.
Going back to court in a suit but in flip flops because I'd forgotten to pack shoes and the judge sanctioning me and then being kicked out of court and thinking I was going to get fired.


None of those scenarios came to pass, although I did end up running 12+ miles on Monday morning in Denver in HEAVY long sleeves and capris in 63 degree temps -- ugh!  When I'd checked the weather a week earlier, it was showing 30s for the overnight lows and my suitcase was so jammed that I didn't even think to bring a short sleeve shirt just in case. 

But I survived. 
In six days, I went Dallas to Chicago to Milwaukee to Chicago to Dallas to Charlotte (layover) to Charlottesville to Washington to Charlotte (layover) to Denver to Dallas.  Whew!

We were home for the funeral and that was such a good decision.  I can tell my dad was glad I was there.  He had a tough time.  Lots of memories -- I took phone pics of some of my fave pics with my grandpa that were displayed.

The day was tough, and I think having less than 5 hours of sleep the night before the funeral probably made it worse, but at the same time, it was nice to see some extended family and the service was very nice.  21 gun salute and all! 

I was home for 6 overnight hours between the funeral and my trip to Virginia to surprise my bestie for her 40th birthday.  I think the stress of the funeral and the knowledge that I wouldn't get to do my weekend long run combined to lead me to the crazy decision to run my 6 mile hill loop solo at about 4:30 in the morning.  I probably should have slept, but I knew I could sleep some on the plane, so I busted it out.  Another good choice I think.

The birthday surprise was great.  Her husband picked me up at the airport, and I worked from the alumni lounge of the law school for a couple hours before he was ready to go home.  Unfortunately, we were a little late (bad traffic), so she was already home when we got there.  He told me to wait in the car a few minutes and then come in.  I did.  Her twins were downstairs and they were in on the surprise.  One of them went upstairs and I followed, and the other one came behind me.  Biggest regret was not giving one of them my phone to make a video.  I walked into their kitchen and her back was turned to me so I walked right up to her and tapped her on the shoulder.

She screamed so loud, mostly startled it was not one of her kids.  Then she screamed even more two more times (while doing a funny running in place/jumping motion) when she realized it was me!  Such an awesome surprise!!! 

Her sister and another friend of ours (who brought her whole family) also came in that afternoon/evening, though she didn't do any more screaming.  Her son actually blew the final surprise guest less than 10 minutes before the family arrived, but even if she didn't get the surprise, she certainly got the joy.

We went out for dinner Friday night (P38) and then went out for donuts for dessert -- not a Charlottesville thing when I lived there, but so good!!

After dessert, we went home (all 10 of us staying in my bestie's house, which is not huge for her family of 4, but it worked out just fine) and then stayed up very, very late (past 2) playing Settlers of Catan. 

Saturday was crazy -- 15 continuous hours of drinking, which I haven't done in ages.  Her husband set up an SUV and driver to take us women to a bunch of wineries during the day.  The day was so much fun.  About 4 vineyards and 1 brewery, and so much laughing and fun.  The scenery was so beautiful I couldn't help but take pictures from the car even!

We got home and then headed out for dinner with the guys.  Dinner was great, at her fave restaurant in Charlottesville (Tavola).  Then she and her husband went for a drink on their own, while a few of the rest of us headed to the Downtown Mall to go back to some law school bars we'd liked.  Then they met up with us and we stayed out for a long time -- past midnight, but no idea beyond that.  Back at the house, we played Apples to Apples and sat talking (and drinking, and singing) until about 3 a.m. 

I was toast!  But it was such a fun day!

Sunday morning I got up and did a hilly 4 Virginia miles.  Yow!  I don't think this photo captures the hilliness well, but I basically ran on this little gravel path to the left of the power lines (plus a bit on hilly roads).  Lovely, but I had to walk up some of the steepest inclines.

And then flew to Colorado for work.  The exciting part about that was that I made the next level of airline status, and got upgraded to first class.  I decided to keep the wine going, since I knew I'd be going out for a drink (or three as it turned out) in Colorado.

Worked (and ran) there a couple days.  My hotel provided a jogging map (though it only went up to 8 miles round trip, so I had to improvise, but it was easy since the trail went well past my U-turn point).

I ran the Cherry Creek trail and it was amazing.  Ped/bike path along the creek for a couple miles (and therefore under all the streets, so no stop lights).  Then a half mile stretch or so on the streets, then back onto a trail, again, with no street crossings. 

And then I worked in Denver.  My view from the federal courthouse: 

The good part about being in court (as opposed to a mediator's office) is that there's pressure to close at 5, which meant we got to go to wine hour at the hotel before dinner, and they had free massages in the lobby during wine hour, which I greatly enjoyed. 

For dinner, we went to Ophelia's, which was in a historic building that used to be a brothel!

Next door was a pot store and my colleague wanted to go in and check it out. 

Obviously no purchases.  We were only in the shop a couple minutes, I didn't like the smell.
And then, after I was done working, another upgrade!!! 

Fortunately, I'm local now for at least a few days.  Much needed time at home.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Well, as of yesterday, I am a grandchild orphan.  I know pretty much every adult goes through this, including many people at a much younger age, but it makes me feel older than 41 to know I don't have anyone to call Grandpa any more.  In this case though, it really was a blessing.  He had been in the hospital for the last two months, and really didn't have any quality of life.  I'm glad he's not in pain, and I'm glad he's with my grandmother, who has been waiting over 26 years for him.  I wish it were easier for my dad. 

Incidentally, I think he died while I was running my last long run.  Possibly about 15 minutes before my watch died (which happened at mile 12.04). 

Other notable happenings on my 22 miler:

We passed a possum in the road that appeared to be roadkill.

4 miles later we passed him again going the other direction and he was sitting up.  I was certain he'd been hit again and moved into a weird position by the second car, but as we got closer, he was indeed alive.  Maybe someone ruffied him?  He seemed really out of it.

Just past mile 20, we got caught in a massive downpour.  Two weeks in a row with flash flood type rains during our long runs.  That's weird for Dallas in September.

The rain yesterday was so weird.  I could see it as I approached but I didn't really comprehend it.  It was right by a big football statue and just past the finish line of a 5k (that we had crossed going the opposite direction from the race, but we didn't see anyone else finishing, seemed to be mostly over).  I actually thought maybe there was some weird temporary fountain or a huge sprinkler set up for the race.  A couple seconds later, I got a few big drops, and then the massive rain that was so heavy, I could barely see 15 feet in front of me.  Glad it didn't happen 1-20 miles earlier though. 

But with the rain came a break in temps.  This morning it was still raining but it was only 69 degrees.  But instead of enjoying it, I slept in.  Even though I was expecting the news, it was still an emotionally draining day.  And I'm tapering now, so it was easy to take a pass when I woke up to rain. 

Friday, September 23, 2016


I had to put it here, in my official record, that I officially felt a chill in the air yesterday morning in Dallas!  I was running through a park with my running buddies at about 5:18 a.m. on September 22, 2016, and I could tell that Fall is coming!

I'm in the habit of not even looking at the weather before I run -- I wear the same thing every day, shorts and a tank.

But yesterday morning when I got home from my run (and, incidentally, when I started as well, according to what I read), it was 74 degrees!  Brrrrrr!  I'm so excited!!!  And I swear that breeze was way cooler than 74. 

Weather says temps are going to break on Sunday -- right after I run my 22 miles I believe.  Yeah!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I meant to write this post about six months ago.  I actually saved the photo as a draft post. 

As I mentioned back in April, my cousin (John) and his wife were in Dallas while their son was having surgery here. 

My cousin said something to me that my husband had told him that he'd take care of something my cousin needed, and my cousin said something about what a good guy my husband is.  Not news to me, but sweet. 

But the next morning after that conversation, for whatever reason, I looked at my husband's text messages.  I think I couldn't find my phone and I was going to text something to my cousin about when we'd be by the hospital that day. 

And I looked at just what was on the screen of existing texts between my husband and my cousin:

And it made me feel all melty inside.  Having my cousin and family around and staying with us for an extended period of time could have irritated some people, but my husband is so easy going, and outright generous with his time, his heart, his resources, his skills, pretty much everything.  I love so much that he is so good to my family.  I think he's the sweetest guy in the world. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Two Weekends

We leave on vacation exactly one month from today!!! 

And I just realized I basically only have two weekends left before we go. 

Next weekend is my last long-long run.  Still trying to decide if it will be 20 or 22 miles.  Usually I do a 22, but due to the long run math error, I already did 22 a few weeks ago, so I'm not overly determined to do a second one.  It will depend on weather I guess.  Yesterday's long run was my worst yet.  It was only 15 miles, but even at 5:30 a.m., it was 79 degrees and 80+% humidity.  The weather turned during the run -- wind and then a massive rainstorm.  The temps cooled off and humidity went down; by the time the rain stopped, we had about 5.5 miles to go.  It was miserable.  I'd been fading during the pace work and the rain just shut me down.  My shoes felt like they weighed 20 pounds each.  And it got worse each street we crossed, most of which seemed like small streams.  I'm hoping it was just fatigue.  Last week was another week over 50 miles (but 16 of them were Colorado miles, those don't really count because they were so beautiful!).  Let's just say I'm ready to taper.

Next weekend we've got dinners with friends both nights, but nothing planned during the days.  I'm hoping to book a massage and facial, and do some pre-trip shopping.

The following weekend I'm going to Virginia to surprise my bestie for her 40th birthday.  Her husband has 3 of us coming in and we're taking her wine tasting for a day.  I'm excited about it.  And then I'll fly from Virginia back to Colorado for work.

The weekend after that I'll be home (probably shopping and packing as much as I can) but my husband is going to see his parents I think.  They're not doing well.  His mom is so confused that she cries all the time and never wants to leave her apartment.  My husband and his brothers have divvied up days of the week to call her and remind her to go down to dinner and then to go visit their dad, but it's a struggle.  She cries and cries, says she has nothing to eat, but refuses to go downstairs for dinner.  I think he feels a lot of guilt living so far away.  I wish there was some way I could make it better. 

The weekend after that is the marathon and a visit with my best friend from law school.

And then we leave on the Wednesday of that week! 

I'm so so so so so ready for vacation.  We ended up doing some planning this past weekend.  We've bought flights to Easter Island, and then flights down to Bariloche and to Buenos Aires.  We booked a few hotels in Santiago, Valparaiso, Easter Island, Puerto Varas, Bariloche, Buenos Aires and Montevideo, but we still have a bunch of nights we'll need to figure out when we get there. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wealthy friends

Most of our friends seem to have similar amounts of income to us.  I guess that's pretty common (especially since lots of people are friends with co-workers or former co-workers, who often have similar skills, education levels, earnings expectations, etc.).  We have a few friends who I would guess are very wealthy, and we have some friends for whom money is an issue frequently.  But for the most part, most of our friends are a lot like us -- not rich, but not poor.  Comfortable. 

Quite a while ago (maybe in the spring?), we went on a blind "couples date" with a co-worker of one of my friends and her husband.  We went to the Italian Club with the couple and ended up being seated at a table with a third couple.  The couple we were set up with were great, but they were in a very different life place -- younger than us, but also a different stage.  She was about 10 months pregnant (we picked the date knowing they'd have to reschedule if the baby came), with their first.  As nice as they were, we didn't seem to have a lot in common based on one dinner conversation, and while we'd be happy to have dinner with them again (even repeatedly, they were very nice), they didn't seem like people who would become good friends of ours.  But the third couple at the table were exactly up our alley -- they were close to our age and kid-free travelers who especially love Italy (she is actually Italian, he's British).  We totally hit it off with them. 

We exchanged numbers and emails that night and quickly started hanging out with this couple at least every few weeks (would have been more often except that the husband and I both were travelling a lot for work).  We'd be in touch with them often and were going out for dinner, sometimes going to see a movie, hanging out in each other's homes.  Totally awesome people.  Many times it felt like the restaurant staff was waiting for us to leave, or we were drinking in their garden and suddenly I'd realize it was about 4 hours before I had to get up and meet my friends to run.  Time just ran away.  We could talk forever. 

Not that it matters in terms of getting along with people, but when you meet new people, there are things you notice.  Race, age, sex, build, hair color, sense of humor, interests, political leanings, and sometimes you get a general sense of someone's rough income based on their job and/or where they live, or even just things they talk about.  With this couple, they drove a pretty reasonable car, but during one conversation, I found out that they'd wanted to buy a "fancy" car but couldn't because it turned out they had zero US credit history, and their income and foreign credit history didn't really matter, so they had to buy the car with cash.  I knew where he worked and what he did, and I knew where she wanted to work, but she actually wasn't working (hadn't found a job in the US).  And I knew they lived in a nice house in a nice section of Dallas.  But not a huge house, and not an ostentatious section of Dallas.  I generally assumed they were relatively similar to us in terms of income.  If I'd been pressed to guess, I would have guessed they earned more, based primarily on their beautifully furnished home. 

But as it turns out, they're significantly wealthier.  There were a couple hints (one of the cars they mentioned looking at before they found out they couldn't buy was a very expensive car).  But one night hanging out at their house, sitting around the table, eating and drinking, somehow we were deep in a conversation about ongoing changes and challenges in the economies of former African colonies, and we realized just how rich these people were. 

They actually showed us the money: 

They're billionaires!!!! 

Wait, no, they're actually multi-billionaires!  Who keeps 51 billion dollars just sitting around?  Apparently these people do. 

Strike that, they're trillionaires!!!!

And they seemed so down-to-earth...

As an aside, I love that they went to Zimbabwe while traveling, just to check it out.  Very adventurous. 

Monday, September 12, 2016


So when I got the call on a Tuesday morning that my grandpa was not well, I got a plane ticket and flew home that day.  I only stayed a couple days.  The plan was that my husband would come on Friday or Saturday if I needed him to, but in the end, that wasn't the case.

When I packed, I pulled "my funeral dress" out of the closet.  I didn't pack it, but I hung it sideways so that my husband could pack it when he came if necessary.


(Very messy closet, it's been busy...)

Thankfully, not necessary.  My grandpa is pretty stable in general.  He's declining, and there's no chance he'll get better (maybe if I were more religious I'd believe a miracle could happen?  those seem pretty rare in the over-90 set though).  He won't be going home ever again, and he can't even be moved to a nursing home.  The only options are remaining in the hospital or going into hospice. 

I am so glad I went home though.  I'm also so glad I had the money to make it happen, and a job that was understanding.  I actually ended up working from the hospital room, so I didn't have to take sick time or vacation (not sure how it even works in our system).  Most days, I just sat next to him and held his hand, talked to him some, and worked.  I told my husband I'd be home, so he didn't need to come up.  But just getting to spend a few quality days there really meant a lot to me. 

I'm so glad that my grandpa knew I was there.  He smiled when he saw me.  It was a huge shock to see him.  He's been shrinking my whole life it seems, I think I passed him up in height when I was about 14, but he is tiny now.  He looked almost like a skeleton with skin.  In the two weeks before he went into the hospital and in his first week in the hospital (before they realized his g-tube had perforated his colon), he went from about 140 pounds to 108.  It was shocking and scary to see him.  He sleeps a lot, but when he's awake, he's alert -- and somewhat ornery. 

Here are the three things I want to remember:

1.  He said thank you when I put a blanket over him (after a nurse moved it to take vitals).
2.  I left the room as a nurse was going to change him, and on my way out, I told her that I was his granddaughter.  He said to the nurse as I was leaving, "she's my lawyer!" 
3.  He was frequently crabby when staff had to mess with him (taking vitals, etc.).  I think in a VA hospital, they're probably particularly used to dealing with this.  On the last full day I was there, a young male doctor came in.  As with all providers, he was very clear in saying what exactly he was going to do.  He said something like, "Leroy, I'm going to listen to your chest.  We've increased your fluids and I need to make sure you're doing okay."  My grandpa is pretty hard to understand since his stroke, but as the doctor was checking his heart/lungs with a stethoscope, my grandpa said something we didn't understand.  The doc asked him to repeat, and my grandpa asked, fairly clearly, "how'd you like it if I shove that up your ass?"  The doc didn't miss a beat and said "I don't think I'd like that at all.  Tell you what, I won't stick it up your ass and you don't stick it up mine." 

I came back to Dallas, and since then went to San Fran and Lake Tahoe for 6 days around Labor Day -- wow!  Then went to Philly later in the day on the day we got back from San Fran -- beating!  And this coming week, I'm working Colorado. 

I told my dad that I'd come back whenever he wanted me to, if grandpa's condition changes, or for the funeral, whenever that is.  This is so hard for my dad.  I've never gone through this before.  My other three grandparents died quickly, no prolonged illnesses.  Two of them were up and about one day, and gone by the next.  One was up and about (working on a catering job), then had a stroke or heart attack, was in the hospital and unconscious for about 2-4 days, then died.  So nothing like this, years in a wheelchair with a feeding tube after a stroke, and now weeks (or months?) in a hospital in a slow decline.  It might be easier to make a decision about hospice or ending his pain if my grandpa were declining mentally, but he's clearly still himself and alert at least some of the time. 

One of the scariest things was once when my grandpa turned away from me to see who was walking in the hospital room, and the back of his head looked so much like my dad.  I dread seeing my own parents get older, particularly to this point.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


My life has just kind of been ticking along.  I've been working a ton, but I'm not really complaining.  I love my job and my husband has been pretty busy too.  He actually was not working at all this past weekend but he was more than happy to sit next to me on the couch while I worked remotely since he could watch all kinds of Olympic wrestling rounds. 

It was funny, when the Olympics were over, he commented that he was so glad he only likes watching this every four years because watching sports otherwise would just take up too much time.

We both did our fair share of shouting at the television in the last week.  I loved watching the marathon, and I was just so happy to see Meb finish.  A lot of what he said in his interview after the race made me get all teary.

And wow, Usain Bolt!

So my three big thoughts re: Bolt:
A.  Why not try to shatter the records and do one more Olympics?  Even if he just competed in 1 event and it was a relay, the chance to break Nurmi's record would be so cool!
B.  How many miles per week does he run in his current training, and what is his training like?
C.  What would happen if you gave him a year to train for and run a marathon?

On my own running front, things have been pleasantly unremarkable!  We actually had an amazing 10 day stretch of weather, and I was in town for all of it.  Our overnight lows got into the low 70s, which is unheard of for us!  It was still sticky, but the cooler temps made me feel great.  I had several runs where I was pleased with a majority of mile splits. 

I had last taken a full rest day on July 16, and I took another one on August 13, just because.  I ended up doing 3 easy this past Saturday (my usual rest day), because the weather was so nice and I knew it would put my weekly mileage into a rare (for me) mileage bracket -- that 55-60 mile week.  I've gone over 60 miles once in the last 15 weeks, but it was a double long-run fluke due to scheduling (long run on Sunday to start the week, and Saturday to end the week, but no long run the following week at all, since I had moved Sunday to Saturday).

But aside from my upper 50s week, I've been holding pretty steadily between 45 and 50, which is a good spot for me.  But there's a good chance it's coming to a screeching halt. 

I got the bad kind of "come home" phone call this morning, so I am flying home tonight to see my grandpa.  They're keeping him comfortable, but it sounds like he's reached the end of his road.  I'm glad I'll be able to be there for my dad, it's breaking my heart to hear how upset he's been when he's given me the last few updates.  I bought a one way ticket, but I'm hoping to only be home for a few days. 

Next week's break in training will be much better -- heading to San Fran on Wednesday and staying until Tuesday!  We're going to Tahoe of a couple days in between, and it will be great quality time with my little nephew Willard, who turned 1 in March -- and even more exciting for me, I'll get to see my sister-in-law pregnant!  I was bummed that I didn't make it a priority to be in the same state as her at any point while she was pregnant with Willard, but their next is due in January, so this time I'll get to see her with a belly.  Can't wait!  And they're actually finding out the sex right when we get to San Fran, so that will be exciting. 

September will actually be a low work travel month for me, which will be nice.  One trip to Colorado, one to Phoenix, one to Philly.  And then I'll just have one Colorado and one Philly in October, and then one big trip to South America -- not for work! 

So even with the family sadness, I'm getting by and doing all right.  Think this is the longest I've ever gone without blogging since I started it.  Oops! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Solid weeks

So as much as I've been emotionally all over the place lately, I'm happy to say I've been logging some pretty steady running weeks. 

I've switched to going to boot camp only two days per week.  In theory, I'm still doing a run commute one day per week, but since I've been traveling for work so much, that seems to only happen once every few weeks.  I'm doing our "hill loop" (which is 6 miles, with "6" hills (it's really, 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C, 6, bonus)) once a week pretty steadily.  And I've been skipping rest days lots of weeks in favor of a short social run (about 4 miles most weeks).  And thus far, I've been holding on pretty well I think.  Rest days will likely return in August when my long runs are 18+ most weeks, but I have felt fine skipping the rest days lately. 

Looking at my mileage for the last few weeks:

6-19:  42.1
6-26:  45.2 (technically it was 60.3, but I switched my long run day for the Fourth, so two long)
7-3:  44.8 (technically it was 29.7, but due to the switch, no long run)
7-10:  45.5
7-17:  48.0

And I think this week is on track for about 52.5.

Things are really ticking along, although my pace is far from where I'd like it to be.  But I'm doing a good job of not focusing on that, just doing the miles and enjoying them.  I guess the good part of work travel is that it tends to boost my mileage, since it's so easy to run in another city instead of doing something similar to boot camp. 

Now I just need to lock in for sure what all these miles are for.  As in, I need to commit to a race.  I'm leaning toward KC, but I've got two Iowa races in consideration as well.  I sadly have given up the idea of Columbus (sorry Meredith), I want to save that race for when I'm feeling faster (if that ever happens again), since it looks like a good one.

One fun thing from my running this week -- I was in Philly (thought it would be mega-crazy due to the DNC, but the only crazy thing was the hotel rates!) and it was 72 when I went running!!!!!  72 degrees!  I was tempted to wear long sleeves, haha.  But yeah, a mile in I remembered that 72 is significantly less miserable than 82, but still plenty warm. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Blue laundry

I always hang dry running clothes.  I think I've worn blue everyday since last Friday, with the exception of my race uniform for a 15k (that I did as part of a 16 mile training run), and a few non-blue bottoms.

I want to just move into a little bubble where I don't hear any sad news or angry, hateful views.  I know that's not a solution, but ahhh, a girl can dream.  My heart goes out to Baton Rouge now, where there's already been so much struggle. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Irrationally paranoid

So this is on the agenda for tomorrow.  Anticipating another night with little sleep and far too much worry:  

The rational part of me knows there's nothing to worry about.  But it's not the rational part of me that seems to be in control for the last week.

Words for the last week of my life:  anxious, tearful, insomniac, paranoid, grateful, fearful, shocked, prayerful, distressed, struggling, proud, nauseous, hungry, isolated, confused, nervous, worried, touched, defensive, lost, protective, Pokemon, restless, overly sensitive, disbelieving, irrational, awake, disappointed, hyper-vigilant, terrified, clingy, sad, obsessed, scared.      

The best word is probably a phrase:   Irrationally paranoid. 

I had lunch with another "wife" yesterday and she's feeling a lot of the same things. Especially the irrational paranoia.  And we concluded it will probably just take time.  Eventually, I'll (we'll) be able to say goodbye in the morning again and have it be like it was 8 days ago?  Just a regular "bye"?  Not an irrationally paranoid "bye"?  Eventually, surely...

Friday, July 8, 2016


For the approximately 5 people who read this blog who know where we live and what my husband does for work, we're okay. 

The officers involved were not in his department and he was not called in.  They rode double last night and stayed at the station except for calls.  He was told to rest because they're concerned there may be ongoing issues tonight or tomorrow.  Of course, resting wasn't much of an option -- there were non-stop sirens outside, and both our phones were blowing up. 

My heart is breaking for the families.  I don't say that to undermine in any way the heart break families feel when someone is killed by the police. But what happened last night here is pretty much my worst fear.  I trust my husband's judgment and experience so much, so even though I'm relieved he's off the streets in the current climate, when he has any kind of encounter, I'm not particularly nervous because I know he's one of the "cool heads" usually.  (Partly sensitive, partly smart, partly hates paperwork ;))  But for officers to be targeted at random from afar makes me not want to let him out of my sight.  He's my world. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Typical July

Took this photo last night.  Looks like July will be cooler than usual because today, July 1, isn't supposed to be 100 or higher (blessedly they're saying only 97 today).

It's about to get ugly...  

I've already had two evening commutes with heat indexes (indeces?) over 100, but now it will be actual temp over 100 as well.   

Oh well, it's like this every year, and I always do some October marathon so I always get through it.  No reason to think this year will be any different.  

Although my current working theory is that my 1-3 days per week of running where I'm working (usually Philly but occasionally lovely places like Cleveland), is causing me to lose my heat acclimation.  This week Monday I had zero miles on the schedule but I woke up in Philly to this: 

And I was powerless not to run...

Thursday, June 23, 2016


My running commuting has been limited the last several weeks because of mid-week work travel (since I have to travel with my laptop, before and after a work trip are blocked from run commute because I need to get the laptop home or back to work). 

But the last time I had a week where I anticipated multiple run commutes, I filled up my garment bag with several outfits, and I've just been slowly working my way through them.

I wore the last outfit in the bag yesterday, and I looked ridiculous.

Yesterday was my hottest morning commute so far this year (mid-80s and SUNNY, but only about 70% humidity).  I got to work, and went straight to my office.  Followed the routine there -- unlocked my laptop and turned it on on the docking station, filled my water bottle, got out my hair/makeup/shower bag, and then went to get my last remaining outfit.

Ugh.  Thick khakis and a dark cranberry cardigan and sweater tank.  In reality, if it didn't look so out of season, it would have been fine since our office is way colder than I like.  But it definitely looks like a winter outfit.  I'm not even sure why I would have packed it in May. 

Anyway, I went down stairs and showered but I couldn't stop sweating as I dried my hair, even trying to use the cool setting on the hair dryer.  I wish there were a huge fan in the locker room. 

I got dressed in my appropriate-for-a-high-of-75-not-a-low-of-85 outfit, and went back up to my desk.  I decided to shut my door and just work in my sweater tank until I cooled off.  I hate doing that, especially since I have a glass wall so my unprofessional sleeveless look is still visible to anyone who looks, but it felt necessary.  I peeled off the cardigan, which was 100% stuck to me and my sweater tank had massive wet spots on it from my sweat. 

I finally stopped sweating and cooled off, and put my cardigan on and opened the door.  And then worked all day. 

Not until I was getting changed to run back home did I realize I'd worn the cardigan inside-out all day long.  And it has a massive tag in the back. 

So I looked super awesome yesterday.  Seasonally inappropriate attire, worn inside-out. 

I'm in Philly working next week, and again the week of the Fourth.  But the next garment bag will definitely be all summery clothes. 

Friday, June 17, 2016


So things have been crazy lately.  I think my flying mileage total for the last week is over 9600 miles.  Yowza. 

It looks like I've got a whole lot of Philly in my immediate future.  No big deal, it's one of my favorite places, largely because of the food and my defense counsel there.

I have found a few wonderful all-vegetarian restaurants, so my solo meals there are actually great.

And since I've been flying in and out of Philly regularly for the last few years, I used to have a pretty good airport routine too. 

Until the last month or so.

The Philly-DFW flights are now going in and out of Terminal B, instead of the usual A3, A5 or A7.  My routine was always to trek to terminal C if I got to the airport early and if we'd had a successful day, and get some fro-yo.  Then go back to right near my gate in Terminal A and either build my own salad at Saladworks, or get a tofu teriyaki burrito from Currito (I vouch only for the Terminal A location, I've tried one other Currito, and it was not as good, but the PHL tofu teriyaki burrito is almost unbeatable in my book). 

Occasionally, I'd even get both, if we hadn't gotten to take a lunch break -- I could always save the rest for lunch the next day since I was flying home.

But for the last month-ish, we've been landing in and taking off from Terminal B.  Which blows.  Sucky food choices there.

Well, this week I got to the airport early enough that I missed the 4:30 flight, but I had a confirmed seat on the 6:00, and plenty of time to get food.  So I went for froyo, then I went back to the old gate for a salad.  Then all the way back to B7 to get on the plane. 

On the flight home, I worked until my laptop battery died, then I got out my salad to eat.  A couple people (two flight attendants, one nearby passenger) commented on how good my salad looked.  It was great.  Love that salad place (though I really wish they had beets available as a topping).  One of the flight attendants (not one who had commented) picked up the empty salad container as we were getting ready to land, and he said he hadn't thought I'd be able to eat the whole thing since it was big.  And I lamented the struggle that has become my (PHL airport) life -- walking all over creation to get my food in light of the terminal change.  He suggested one terminal B place as an alternative, and I shot it down. 

As I was getting off the plane, he was up front (first class flight attendant) and saying goodbye.  He said something like, you and your salad.  I said "move back to terminal A" and he said "not gonna happen."  Dream-killer. 

So alas, my routine either becomes more difficult, or needs to be changed.  Oh well.  If that's my biggest complaint these days, that works.  Maybe I should start some online petition to move the PHL-DFW flights back to the low A gates.  I wonder how many signatures it would take to get that done...

Oh well, off to CLE today -- excited about an awesome weekend with my law school roommate, and then an Akron mediation...

Thursday, June 9, 2016


I am disturbed by this.  But impressed by this.

I know they do all kinds of stuff to our food, but this apple was huge.

I tried to place some everyday items (including a business card) by it, so you'll get an idea of the scale.

Also, I think I have fingers that would rank as a 6 on the length scale if 5 is average for a woman of my height (and 10 on that scale is Edward Scissorhands style). 

Also, older picture, but since I work from home on Fridays, I usually eat a baked potato for lunch.  One of my favorite foods and I always tell my husband to buy the biggest one he can find.  I actually put on the shopping list that I want a baking potato "bigger than my face." 

That was me trying to show him that this was very close, but still actually slightly smaller than my face. 

I think in the end, I'm not vehemently opposed to unnaturally large produce. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


From my office, I have a good view of the mall parking lot.

These cones appeared at random, but why???

They don't appear official since there's no mall vehicle near them, and it's just totally random. 


Sinkhole forecast.
They're going to fell the light pole and that's the direction they'll bring it down and they're waiting for the other spots in the path to open up.
Some high roller is coming and wants to walk into the mall from mid-grade parking.
They're going to parallel park a bus there.

I wonder what's going to happen around lunch time, when things get really busy.  Will people really just give up 4 spots because there are cones in them?  At lunch time, usually the valet rows (far left) are full and there no spaces near the door closest to my office (and closest to these cones).  Sometimes cars drive up and down the rows looking for a spot, instead of just driving into the lot over by the department store. 

The suspense is killing me! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Updates of All Sorts

I feel like life has been so chaotic lately, but this long weekend was exactly what I needed. 

I bought a car!  It's almost exactly the same as my old car.  Still a blue, BMW, 4-seat convertible.  The main differences:  Automatic headlights!  Automatic windshield wipers!  A radio I don't know how to work!  A big @ss key I have to carry on my runs or mess with pulling into pieces! 

I went to Chicago!  I had a major work presentation with my boss that I felt like went pretty well.  There were a few issues because I wasn't clicking my own slides and the woman who was kept skipping ahead, so I'd ask a question of the audience and the answer would already be on the screen behind me. 

Other relevant Chicago details:  I almost cried going to the airport because my pretty new car got wet (but fortunately, it turned out to be waterproof).  I got to run LSD one morning, one of my fave places to run in the world.  I got to stay at the Peninsula, which I would rank as one of the 5 best hotels I've ever stayed in (and one of the 2 best in the US).  I got to spend an afternoon with my nephew from San Francisco (he and his mom were in Milwaukee for the week and drove down to see me), and an afternoon and evening with my newest niece (born in August) (and of course my baby brother and my sister in law).  I got to have dinner at Shanghai Terrace, which was great.

We bought more plane tickets!  Technically, only one new trip on the books (Vegas in 2 weeks with my husband's boss and his girlfriend), and tickets within one already booked trip (round trip from Santiago to Easter Island in October). 

I'm less than two weeks away from locking in my airline status for next year!  That means I've still just over half the year to see if I can do it again, and thus lock in the next higher level.  Not sure I want to do that, since each trip seems to be such a beating, but it's nice to know I'm set with at least basic status for almost 2 years.  I've got to think about whether I'm going to go for segments or miles if I try for the next level up.  Right now, miles would be easier since I've made more progress on miles than segments, but segments are easier -- instead of taking my usual direct flight to Philly, I could book flights with a connection that will speed things up on the segment front.  But really, I'd rather make the basic level and then just stay home the rest of the year (except for vacation).  I have a bad feeling though that it's going to get to be mid-November and I'm going to add up my remaining trips and be something like 5,000 miles short, and then be in a quandry of whether to do some mileage runs or just let the higher level slip from my grasp.

I regained my beer mile title!  First overall female, but ... in my slowest beer mile ever (but incidentally, probably the best spring beer mile weather we've ever had).  But when I realized my main competition was really struggling (this was of course after blatantly accusing her of lying while we were in the drinking zone and I was sure she was pulling my leg claiming it was her third beer when I was on my fourth), I really relaxed pace-wise and my final lap was very slow.  More of a victory lap than the final 400 meters of a mile race.  The title will undoubtedly be hers again in December -- our marathon paces are I think more than 30 minutes apart right now, she's smokin' fast -- but I've got to take what I can get! 

Other relevant beer mile details:  My usual Philly attorney was in Dallas to meet with me and some of my co-workers and my boss.  When he was scheduling his trip, since beer mile race date had been on the calendar for at least 4 months, I told him I'd be free for lunch but that I had evening plans.  And then I thought it would be fun to invite him -- he accepted the challenge.  And he loved it.  He was rightfully very proud of himself for finishing it.  I told him he's invited back for the December iteration of the race. 

So now the entire internet is up to speed with my world! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Breaking the Seal

I spend very little time drinking in bars these days.  I guess that's not unusual for anyone who's 40 and/or married and/or is working out 6 days a week before 5:30 a.m.  But on the rare occasion that I do drink the night away, I still go back to what I remember as a personal truth from being out in bars in law school and back in my single days in Dallas:  hold off as long as possible at all costs, because once you break the [pee] seal, it's broken.  I could be in a bar drinking for 4 hours and never have to use the restroom, but as soon as I did go, breaking the seal, then I'd have to start going about every 15 minutes.  And if I used the restroom in the first hour of being out drinking, same thing, I'd be going every 15 minutes all night long.  So just don't break the seal! 

I'm not going to be car-less for long, but I feel like while I'm doing a ton of running commutes, it's almost the same principle but regarding food in the office. 

I'm back to my old routine now that I'm officially training and running with my friends again in the mornings.  That means my morning schedule for working out and eating/drinking is something like this:

5:00 half a granola bar (I eat those kind that are "oats and honey" two bars to a package, so it's really one full bar in my mind)

Run with friends or go to boot camp

7:00 espresso and smoothie (spinach, kale, frozen beets, frozen blueberries, frozen fruit mix (pineapple, peaches, strawberries, grapes), protein powder, chia seeds (thanks Amy), carrot juice, some kind of fresh juice with ginger, apple cider vinegar (thanks Megan), and now, a little bit of liquid calcium (just using up a bottle my ex-aunt couldn't fly home with)). 

Run to work, shower, chug water.

Mid-morning snack (2 tortillas rolled up with spinach and blue cheese).

Lunch usually around 1:30. 
Random fruit and/or snacks in the afternoon.
Then maybe another half granola bar around 6:00.
Run home around 6:30 or 7
Eat dinner.

Back a couple weeks ago, when I still owned a car and was driving to work every day (and going to the hospital to visit at night), I would take a thermos of espresso to work with me, and I'd sip that most of the morning and I'd eat my mid-morning snack slowly, from about 9:30 until about 11. 

But now with the running commute, I'm just not hungry when I sit down at my desk.  And it gets to be 11, and I'm still not hungry. 

But when I break that seal and eat the first tortilla just because I feel like it's time, then I'm an eating machine.  I'm trying very hard to make sure it's mostly good stuff, but I feel like I'm going for bites of something every 15 minutes (in reality, it's probably not that often, just seems like it). 

Just like the old college days.  You know, but with whole wheat tortillas filled with spinach, instead of Jager and Redbull...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Carless Routine

I officially started marathon training this week.  (Don't ask me for what race, I still don't know.  Probably Columbus, KC, Des Moines or Quad Cities, but I haven't committed.)  And due to the lack of car, I'm back to doing what I did all the time back in 2013, when I was in maybe the shape of my life?  Certainly at least in half and marathon PR shape.  Back in 2013, I was running fairly high mileage while training for Berlin. 

My schedule looked roughly like this every week:

Mon:  Boot camp, sometimes run home from boot camp (2.75 miles).
Tues:  Run 6-9 with running friends, then run 3.75 to work (slowly), work all day, run 3.75 home.
Wed:  Boot camp, sometimes run home from boot camp (2.75 miles), run 3.75 to work, work, run 3.75 home.
Thurs:  Run 6-9 with running friends, then run 3.75 to work (slowly) (and then work, and get picked up by my husband).
Fri:  Boot camp or 10k hill loop with running buddy.
Sat:  Rest (or occasionally race).
Sun:  Long run (14-22, depending on the week).

That was a lot of miles (for me) most weeks, but a lot of them were junk miles, basically all of my commuting miles, which were usually very slow (recovery pace or slower), sometimes doing run/walk with a co-worker.  And that led me to my marathon PR. 

And then I gained some weight, got lazy, and stopped doing 2.5 days of running commutes per week.  I've been pretty faithful about doing a running commute about one day per week since then unless it was a travel week, or the weather was bad, or I was tired... 

Then April happened.  We had houseguests for over a month and we spent most nights at the hospital with my cousin and his son (who is now fine, they flew home about a week ago).  That meant 0 running commutes for me (and about 5 more pounds, since lots of nights we'd pick up restaurant food to take to the hospital). 

Last week when I sold my car, I was forced back into the regular running commute routine.  I really should try to stick with it, even if/when I get my new car (hopefully this week!). 

Today is on track to be over 13 miles, which hasn't happened in months or longer.  Woot!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wrong week

I think I've got the wrong week to be stuck with a running commute in Dallas.

On the plus side, it could be way hotter, and if it pours on me on every single morning commute, at least my clothes won't smell like sweat? 

I'm just worried it's going to be storming on at least 3 of my 5 commute runs (no PM commute Thursday because I'm going to hitch a ride to beer mile!).  I hate running in thunderstorms.  I can deal with the rain on a normal run, but I like it less on a commute, but the thunder and lightning will really bother me -- maybe I'll uber one day or try to coordinate schedules with my husband...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pit Bull

I think Pit Bull must have a very high ownership interest in Pandora.  He is freaking every other song it seems no matter which of my three stations I pick.  I mean, I'm fine with an occasional Pit Bull song.  I think a reasonable ratio might be once every 100 songs?  But he seems to be about every 10th song.  Maybe even more.  Definitely too much. 

I think I'm only just now realizing this because I'm listening to more Pandora lately.  The only time I listen to Pandora is in the locker room at work while I'm getting dressed.  And I'm spending a lot more time there it seems because I am officially car-less! 

Sold my sweet baby this week and haven't got a new one yet.  Yikes!  So I'm run commuting by necessity, which is all fun and good for a few days, but I think my husband will get irritated with ride sharing by the middle of next week if this hasn't been sorted out yet.  And maybe I'm giving him too much credit, he might be irritated by the middle of this weekend, depending on how much schedule coordination has to occur. 

One of his co-workers bought my car, which is maybe less anxiety-ridden than it would otherwise be.  The night he bought it, there were random storms later in the evening.  The new buyer told me he was going to keep my car (well, his car if we're being technical) in his garage.  When I saw on the news that some parts of the metroplex saw hail in that storm, I started texting him repeatedly to get confirmation that my car was okay and hadn't been left outside. 

Then I called him again the next morning to make sure everything was still okay, and he said something along the lines of "you know, at some point, something might happen to the car, and you're going to have to be okay with it." 

I was tempted to tear up his check and seize back my car.  WTH???  I only sold it to him because he promised to love it and take good care of it.  I should have demanded that he kiss it upon accepting ownership (I kissed it goodbye repeatedly). 

I told him that I expect the car to be kept safe and protected for at least 4.75 years, until its 21st birthday, and he should exercise extreme caution to avoid exposure to hail, door dings, road debris, and accidents for at least the next 5 years.  I don't think I'm being unreasonable here. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Current Project

Searching for my next ride...

My criteria were convertible or Maserati (I think the only non-convertible car I like), and hard top. 

Features I really, really want are some trunk space, a blue car, a back-up camera and parking sensors, somewhere to plug in my phone, and perhaps most important of all, auto-on headlights.  I'm so jealous when I'm behind a car and we drive under an underpass and I see their lights flick on.  They're just so ... safe! 

These appear to be the top contenders at this point:

But then last night, I saw this (a few hours ahead of a predicted hail storm that never happened, so all the cars were crammed inside).

I thought it was my dream car.  Blue.  Convertible.  Back-up camera.  CD player.  Auto-on headlights.  I was ready to say "sign me up!". 

Then I saw this:

Sigh.  Anything over a quarter million just isn't in my price range.  I was wondering if they'd make a deal where I could pay $60 per month for the rest of my life.  In reality, assuming I live to be 100, I think I'd need to pay about $350 per month forever to pay this one off.  But it was very pretty, and I was glad it was protected inside the dealership (and glad that the measly Maserati I like was outside under a covering and there wasn't any local hail, so it's fine). 

Hoping to go do a bit more driving tonight, and maybe have a new car in a few days! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


You know how little things will sometimes get under your skin?

I took my car in yesterday for a recall (air bag).  I had an appointment so I could get a loaner car.  Quite convenient because I WAS contemplating getting a new (new to me is more accurate) car in the next couple weeks.

I drove a brand new 3 series as a loaner (my BMW is a 3 series as well).  Loved it. 

They said it would take a few hours for the repair.  I dropped off at 10 a.m. 

I got a text saying my car was fixed and ready for pick-up at 5:45.  But the dealership closed at 7, and last night was our wedding anniversary, so we had plans.

I texted back to ask if I could pick up in the morning and return the loaner then.  No problem!

So at 8:30, I picked up my car.  I was looking over the paperwork while I was waiting for them to pull my car up.  I saw a few recommended repairs listed, most of which I knew about.  And then I saw what might make me buy a car in the next 5 days -- there is apparently a nail in one of my tires.  Ugh.

My car pulled around, I got in, and was sitting at the traffic light right outside the dealership.  I decided, since I was sitting there, to see whether my change had been taken from the change holder.  This has happened to me several times with valets, car washes, etc.  I didn't think it would happen at the dealership, but I actually looked yesterday morning.  There was room to maybe slip in one more quarter, a couple more dimes, and the nickels were full.

Quarters all gone -- dimes all gone except two -- nickels all full. 

Man, I was pissed!  In reality, they stole about $3 from me but that $hit just really pisses me off. 

I decided to turn around and tell them.  A manager came out and said he'll look into it and get back to me.  He said reimbursement would be no problem, but he said he was very upset that it even happened.  I told him reimbursement wasn't the issue, I was just angry that they'd stolen.  I have no idea how they'd even figure it out.  There are so many people who dealt with my car I'm sure.  Pulling it into the garage, fixing it, pulling it out, washing it, pulling it up to me the next morning.  I bet at least 7 people had hands in my car. 

Honestly, if they'd said they were charging me $3 to wash my car, I gladly would have paid it. 

And if they just said there was a $3 charge for the air bag recall service, I would have understood -- I'm sure they're paid by BMW (or Takata) directly for the recall service, but it still takes a lot of their resources. 

Or $3 to have a loaner car.  Totally worth it, especially since I was meeting friends to run this morning and my husband had a work car (which I can't drive unless it's truly an emergency). 

It was just the stealing that pissed me off.  I hope whoever took the money really needed it.  Fncker.  I hope if they didn't really need the money that karma kicks them in the @ss. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


I guess I am now committed to running Broad Street on May 1. 

I got into the lottery, but I was having trouble justifying the price of a plane ticket to Philly and a hotel. 

But I mentioned the race to my favorite Philly defense counsel and asked if he could work his magic and have me required to be in court on May 2.  Done!

So work paid for my plane ticket (same price if I fly to Philly on Sat or Sun, otherwise I would have had to pay the difference).  I'm paying for Sat night hotel (Sunday race) but I don't have to worry about checking out or anything, staying at the same hotel on my work credit card Sunday night.

I checked on my 10 mile race PR and I would say I have a slight chance of beating it.  I've actually only done two 10 mile races (I don't count a longer race like a half, even if there is a mile 10 chip time provided).  It's a stretch and a challenge, but it's not totally outside the realm of possibility.

I don't think I'm going to taper much for the race, so I've got about 3 weeks of training left.  Right now, I can manage a few miles at my goal 10 mile pace. 

I actually ran a half a few weeks ago (the Dallas Rock and Roll race) and averaged 30 seconds per mile slower than I need to be for the 10 mile race.  The Dallas course had some Dallas hills, whereas I think the Philly course is very flat -- it's point to point with a very slight net elevation drop (less than 200 feet over the 10 miles). 

If I take my 3 slowest miles out of my recent half time, it would leave me about 3.5 minutes slower than I'm hoping to be at Broad Street (that's a little misleading because Dallas was basically a loop course, so I'm counting the biggest downhill miles and not counting the biggest uphill miles).

But I would still think that with some work, I can make a dent in those 3.5 minutes I need to trim.  If only I had more than 3 weeks. 

I was supposed to have 1 more week, but I was down for the count with some kind of upper respiratory thing last week.  It's about 75% better now, but I'm still wheezing, coughing, stuffy/runny at times, just not as bad as it was before. 

But either way, no more slacking!

After Broad Street, then it will be beer mile time, and after that ... still toying with some ideas for a fall marathon. 

Since we're not leaving for South America until Oct. 19, I've actually got an extra weekend of races to consider than we usually have (we usually fly out about a week earlier for vacation). 

My top contenders, roughly in order:  Columbus or KC (tied for top spot, KC is hilly I think but since I'm not in PR shape, might be a good time to check that state off the list, plus free lodging in KC, lots of high school friends to visit), Des Moines or Quad Cities, or Steamtown (least likely just because I want to be in better shape for this course). 

I'm waiting to get on a plane to Philly right now for work.

My big dilemma:  try to run part of the course tomorrow (probably about 4 miles of it, and then doubling back to my hotel), or run with my favorite running group there, or run one of my favorite solo routes. 

If it weren't for the fact that the race course is a straight shot down Broad Street, and I know there are traffic lights about every block, I'd definitely aim to do the course.  But that would be a whole lot of potential stopping and starting, and that does not lend itself to even a single pace mile. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

San Fran highlights

Sunday night, after dinner, we were sitting in a bar with my brother and with my stepson, and my brother asked about highlights of the trip in terms of his son, this adorable little guy (who does lots of Chinese-style crouching, butt an inch or two off the ground, holding this position with no issue):

For me, the Willard highlights were easy -- it was Sunday morning, after the Easter egg hunt following church.  He let me carry him all the way to the car and put him in his car seat.  Even though his mom was in sight.  Usually, he's perfectly content to be held by anyone unless his mom is anywhere with 100 yards, then he only wants her.  After we got to the car, we drove to Starbucks and he let me carry him in with no resistance.  He caught sight of his mom while we were waiting for coffees, so he got fussy and wanted to go to her.  She took him and promptly set him down.  Then her name was called and I said I'd watch him.  I snatched that little guy back up and took him outside and walked up and down the street with him.  He let me give him a few little kisses on his head. 

That by far was the best part.  Second best was that while he was eating, sitting in his little chair, he'd let me give his head about 100 kisses at a time.  Ahhhh. 

In terms of non-baby highlights of the trip, there were tons for me. 

I went on a run in the Headlands with my brother after work on Friday.  It was awesome.  Impossible, but awesome.  Of the 7.6 miles, two of my splits were over 16 minutes.  Yeah, lots of walking involved.  But so beautiful.

Our elevation chart for the run: 

Run starting point, Rodeo Beach:

Mid-run view:

Our U-turn point, Tennessee Valley Beach:

I also loved working on Friday in my brother's office with him.  Typical tech company I guess.  Lunch brought in (sweet guy ordered an awesome veggie meal for me), full kitchen with everything you could imagine for breakfast and snacks, beer keg, ping pong tables, pool table, tons of couches, most people working in random places and very few at desks, everyone seemingly at least a decade younger than me. 

This is how they "work" in Cali (some ping pong, someone randomly just working on a couch):

That lady was making a huge bowl of guacamole we all got to enjoy with lunch:

Also loved a lunch on a restaurant's dock in Tiburon on Sunday afternoon:

My husband's highlight of the trip was seeing his son's stand-up comedy routine. 

My brother's highlight was going out after the comedy show and seeing how proud my husband was and how happy his son was. 

The low-light was going out for dim sum, being told it would be 20 minutes, and being put continually at the bottom of the list it felt.  Was it racism?  I don't know.  I do know that we saw lots of other people arrive after us and be seated before us.  It was very frustrating.  We should have just left but, mmmm, dim sum.... Eventually after about an hour, including more than 15 minutes of being the only people waiting, we were seated. 

The we-will-seat-everyone-else-but-you place:

Delicious dim sum was followed up with bubble tea (at someplace else!):

And then a walk in Golden Gate Park, complete with a drum circle:

The runner up low light was my nephew melting down for about 3 hours Saturday night -- screaming his beautiful little head off for no apparent reason from 11:30 to 2:30.  Yet he seemed wide awake and as cute as ever Easter morning: