Sunday, September 21, 2014

Alaska Honeymoon: Washington

Our Alaska honeymoon actually began in Washington. After spending the morning the day after our wedding packing and running a few last minute errands, we drove up to the west side of the Puget Sound. We stopped along the way to play disc golf in Shelton, then for for dinner in Belfair at the Rice Bowl. The Rice Bowl was a tiny bit sketchy looking, but turned out to have really good food, and an extensive menu with a variety of Asian cuisines.

Seems like a lovely backdrop for starting a honeymoon.











Our destination for the night was the Cedar Cove Inn in Port Orchard. This is a beautiful B&B with a lovely view of the sound.



One note: there isn't AC, but airing our the room with windows and french doors (which open onto a balcony that if I recall correctly goes all the way around the house) through the evening and a fan going kept it reasonable. A minor lack of modern conveniences can be easily forgiven, though, with all of the old fashioned features and charm.

Seriously the prettiest toilet I've ever seen.

After checking in we headed out to the local high school pool for some laps (we were still tri training at this point). The pool was set on "long course" (50 meters, compared to 25 yards or meters), which was the first time I'd experienced that. Despite having swam more than that in one stretch, there's a mental challenge to it when you don't have a wall touch at smaller intervals.

Port Orchard, WA

The next morning we got up early for a sightseeing run of Port Orchards. After quick showers we joined the other guests for breakfast, which was a crepe-type dish, the name of which I can't remember. But it was airy and delicious! We enjoyed the landscaping on the grounds for a bit, then headed towards Seattle.

On the grounds of the Cedar Cove Inn.

Along the way we fit in some more disc golf, in Bremerton and Auburn, and had lunch at Tony's Pizzeria. Eventually we made it to SeaTac, where we checked in and had dinner with plenty of time to spare. And then even more time to spare, as our flight was delighted an hour, then two, then two and half. We ended up leaving at almost the time we should have been landing in Anchorage! Fortunately, for our troubles we each got a $100 voucher from Alaska Airlines, but we ended up not arriving until after midnight. 

A Week of Ballet

Workouts

Monday: Easy run 2.5 miles (13:57 pace), with some strides in the last half mile

Tuesday: Ballet class (75 minutes)

Wednesday AM: Bike trainer 15 minutes (est 3.5 miles) - 5 min easy, 5 min high cadence, 5 min easy
Wednesday PM: Interval/hill run 4.0 miles (12:20 pace) - 4 x 0.25 uphill - goal = <10:00 pace, 0.25 recovery downhill 
1 mile warm-up: 12:55
4 x 0.25 intervals: 9:52, 9:50, 9:51, 10:13
4 x 0.25 recovery: 12:40, 13:03, 13:44, 13:28
1 mile cool-down: 13:12

Thursday: Easy run 4.1 miles (13:51 pace)

Friday: Ballet practice (20 minutes)

Saturday: Bike 9.0 miles (10.4 mph)

Sunday: Rest day. Planned on a long run, but just wasn't feeling it, especially with no definite plans yet for my next race and some still summery-hot weather. 

Total biking: 12.5 miles
Total running: 10.6 miles

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Wedding

*All photos in this post and linked album by Stephanie Kaloi.*

Abe and I got married on July 27 at the Village Ballroom, a historic building in NE Portland.

The space didn't need much added, so things got started at 1:00 when we arrived, along with some family members, to set up a few things. We really just had to put out tablecloths and runners, and put boxes of candy and playing cards (the favors) on top as the centerpieces.

For our guest "book" we used this idea from Offbeat Bride to have our guests sign Jenga blocks. That table also showcased a wedding photo of Abe's paternal grandparents, who happened to get married on the same day, 79 years prior.

Stephanie showed up while family members continued setting things up. (Big thank you to everyone who helped set up, and clean up afterward!) We did some formal portraits outdoors and indoors, then did group family shots.

Guests started arriving shortly before 2:00, the advertised "doors open" time. Rather than hiding out, Abe and I were both milling around, greeting guests. Though it was a bit socially exhausting for introverts such as ourselves, it was a great way to make sure we at least connected briefly with everyone before things got busy with the party. 

By about 2:20, it seemed everyone had arrived and was getting settled at tables, we had B switch the background music to "Somebody's Getting Married" (from The Muppets Take Manhattan) while we meandered our way through the tables to the front of the room.

Abe's friend, F, got ordained as a Dudeist priest to be our officiant, although from our perspective he was more of the "moderator" of our ceremony - legally qualified to be our officiant, but Oregon marriage laws don't require the officiant to say any specific words or take specific actions other than be present at the ceremony. We worked with him to draft our ceremony, which include some introductory and transition sections by F and a couple readings that Abe and I presented. We had our sisters come up to sign the marriage license as the legal witnesses. 

We ended by having B re-start the music with Sara Bareilles' "I Choose You", and we left the stage to head over to our table and play our first game as a married couple, mancala. 



(If the slideshow isn't working, you can view album directly on flickr here.)

Our guests either started a game or got in line for food. Our friends L and J were sitting at the next table and offered to get us food so we didn't have to wait in line. They jumped to the front and got us plates with some of everything. Which, I realized later, meant I never saw all the food set out! But it all tasted good. :) 

We eventually got up and each wandered about to chat with guests, and occasionally play a game with them. It seems like everyone got into the spirit of the event and spent some time playing a game, which was great to see! Things started to wrap up after a couple hours, and the first few people started leaving.

By the time all the guests had left, my family and some of Abe's remained to help us pack up things to take home. We picked up Indian takeout food for dinner, and spent a relaxing evening at home, watching the latest episode of SYTYCD and opening the cards we got at the wedding. It was a delightful way to wind up the wedding day for a couple of introverts!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three Things Thursday: Never Thought I'd Own Part 2

1. Ballet slippers. 

I took my first ballet class on Tuesday. :) I did do "ballet" in preschool, and then jazz and tap classes through high school, but it's been years since I've done dancing, and never had a solid technical foundation. Every summer I watch SYTYCD and wish I could do that (I mean, I know I won't ever be at that level, but I miss dancing at all). 

It's a 10-week "absolute beginners" workshop through Oregon Ballet Theatre. It appears they do a season of adult workshops two or three times a year; after doing the absolute beginners class for a few seasons, you can move up to the "beginners" class. 

A lot of the terms introduced in the class are familiar to me from my jazz experience (chane turns, chasses, rond de jambe), but my muscle don't fully remember how to do them as well as they used to. I'm concerned the tendonitis issue with my left ankle might be a hindrance; while plieing and jumping it was not too happy. But overall, it was quite fun! I'm glad I finally got around to doing this. 

2. A baby gate.

Well, I suppose I knew we'd buy one eventually, but this is a couple years early for needing it for kids. To help Imogene and Hera get to know each other, we got a gate (Abe found one used, it's one of the nice ones with an actual gate, so you don't have to step over it or remove it) in the doorway to Hera's room. It allows Imogene to see into the room without access for attacking, and makes us feel better about not completely shutting Hera in a room when we're not closely supervising.

However, the other day Abe left the door open, baby gate shut, while we were out of the house for a few hours. I come home, glance in the room to say hello to Hera, and don't see her anywhere. Not super weird, she sometimes hides under a blanket or could have been in the closet using the litter box. Then I happen to glance to the side into our bedroom, and there she is, sitting on our bed!

The next morning I witnessed how she did it - she has to turn her head sideways to fit in between the rails of the gate, but she can fit through. I caught her halfway out, and once I shouted no and she knew she was in trouble, she adorably wriggled her way back into the room. I'm sure she's also capable of jumping over the gate, but I don't think she knows it. For now, I think we'll only leave the door open when we're at least in the house to hear if anything is going on.

3. Skinny pants.

I've been successfully (albeit gradually) losing some weight, and finally got to the point where my work pants were too loose. I'm not super creative in my wardrobe, especially when I'm hoping to change sizes in the near future, so I mostly just stick with a couple pairs of plain black slacks, replacing them as needed, and mix it up with more fun colored sweaters and tops.

After a couple weeks keeping my waistband up with safety pins, I finally made it to Target to get a couple cheap pairs of pants. I bought one basic, trouser, straight-leg pair, and then another style stood out to me. Skinny pants. (Is that the correct term? I know if they're denim, it's "skinny jeans", "skinny pants" doesn't seem to quite have the same ring, but follows the same convention.) I tried them on mainly because they were ankle length, and I hoped that meant if they fit I wouldn't have to hem them.

Alas, I still had to hem them an inch and a half, but I found them surprisingly flattering! The fabric helps - it's a nice stretchy, thick but not too thick, twill - but I think the cut somehow actually works on me! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wedding Crap: Bridesmaids

(See introduction to this series here, and other posts in the series here.)

Disclaimers:

1. This is merely a hobby, so I'm not going to great lengths of research to find the most accurate information possible about the history of these traditions. I am trying to verify information to some degree to avoid continuing the spread of non-facts, but mostly this is a summary of the general consensus I've heard through out my life. Ultimately, I think how we treat these traditions has just as much to do with what we believe to be the origin of them, as the actual origin.

2. I am not trying to demean anyone who has chosen to partake in any of the traditions discussed. My goal is to spark discussion about what the history of these things mean to us today, how changing our language and treatment of traditions can affect our culture now, and, ideally, encourage anyone who wants to follow wedding traditions to do so as a conscious choice, not merely as a default that honors our patriarchal past.



What is the tradition? 

The bride selects her closest friends and/or relatives to stand next to her during the wedding ceremony. She selects dresses for them to wear; generally the exact same dress, though more recently has seen a trend towards different dresses in the same color, or the same dress in different colors. In the US, the bridesmaids are expected to pay for the required dresses, along with specified shoes, and having hair and makeup done by professionals the day of.

One of the bridesmaids is the maid of honor or matron of honor (depending on the attendant's marital status), and stands nearest to the bride during the ceremony and holds her bouquet for her. She's generally in charge of planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party, though all the bridesmaid often chip in to pay for these events.

The maid/matron of honor, along with the best man, likely also take the (actually necessary) role of legal witnesses, signing the marriage license.

What is the origin of the tradition?

This is believed to be derived from a Roman tradition of needing ten witnesses, either for witnessing the wedding and/or to distract evil spirits from the bride and groom. Under such belief, the bridesmaids not only dressed identical to each other, but also identical to the bride! Obviously, cause otherwise the evil spirits would know who was getting married. (So next time you're asked to put out a couple hundred dollars, just be glad you're not required to shell out thousands to match the bride's wedding gown.)

Why do people still follow it?

Part of it is a legitimate desire to honor your friends, along with the obligation to have as bridesmaids any friends who asked you to be theirs. Also, I think many might get a secret satisfaction out of the power they're allowed to have over minute details regarding their friends. But ultimately, this is one of those things that I think people continue to do simply because everyone else does it (but everyone else is doing it because you are).

Why is that crap? 

Well, first of all, I'm fairly sure most brides are no longer concerned about being attacked by evil spirits, so that rationale is out.

Even with the best of intentions, it just becomes so easy for your group of bridesmaids to become merely a show of how many friends you have. Yes, it's good that you have close friends who support you, but they have no more part of the actual ceremony to your spouse than the rest of the guests - who don't need to actually stand at the altar with you to show that support. Let your friends sit down and wear what they want. If someone was of particular help and support to you in planning the wedding or in forming your relationship, by all means, acknowledge them in the program. But forcing extraneous dress purchases is not a valid means of showing respect.

Also, can I just point out how stupid it is to distinguish whether the lead attendant is a maid or matron? The groom's attendants' marital status is never revealed, and the maid of honor's marital status also has no relevance to her role. She's not required to married (though perhaps she could provide more valuable wisdom and assistance to someone about to marry if she were), nor to be single (though that might make her bachelorette party planning more appropriate). So how does her marital status become so relevant as to be publicly announced?

What am I doing with this tradition?

We didn't have any attendants, or any showers or bachelor/ette parties. 

Since we each have one sibling, we asked our sisters to be our legal witnesses, and they came up during the ceremony to put their names on the license (surprisingly to me, the witnesses aren't required to sign Oregon marriage licenses, you just write their names on it). We didn't ask them to wear anything specific (though they ended up accidentally coordinating fairly well). 


Photo by Stephanie Kaloi

How did/will you handle this tradition?

I would love to have a lively debate and conversation in the comments! Please join in!

Dissenting opinions (from the post itself or other commenters) are welcome, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that personally attack me or any other commenter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sport-Specific Clothing

Before this summer, my physical activities consisted mostly of running, with some occasional yoga and strength training (circuit training type stuff, not max out lifting type stuff) mixed in. For the most part, I wore the same clothes for any of these, though I did tend to save any bottoms with zippered key pockets for running, and use the less technical fabrics for yoga (not that it's necessary, I just feel like the vibe of yoga works better in softer, more cotton-y feeling fabrics). 

Then this summer I added biking and swimming. Swimming, of course, requires some specific apparel and gear, but for the most part that just lives in my gym bag. Biking could be done in generic workout clothes, but especially as you increase the distance, padded bike shorts or tri shorts become fairly necessary, and if I were able to eat while moving (which I can't), the bike jerseys with pockets that I bought would also be quite useful.

One perhaps odd thing I'm proud of is having a condensed wardrobe, with just enough items that I need, and use all of it, and keeping in contained in as few drawers as possible. At the moment I only use one drawer for underwear, etc., and one drawer for workout clothes.

But, tonight I'm starting ballet classes, and though I was able to pull together one suitable outfit from my yoga items, I expect to buy a few more things if I continue dancing again (I'll have to see what other students wear and if the teacher has any specific requirements beyond what's on the website, but I expect these to be similar to yoga wear, but tighter fitting). And I don't have a place for them! 

(If it seems like I'm a bit manically trying out new hobbies lately, I am. In large part because we now have a timeframe set for starting to have kids, so I'm trying to fit in all the things now that I can before I have different priorities on which to spend my time and money, and for the physical hobbies before I have to take a break from intense goals during pregnancy.)

Here's what's taking up all the space in my workout clothing drawer right now:


Back row:

  • Long sleeve shirts - primarily for running during the winter. I get warm very quickly while exercising, so I can't imagine when I would wear long-sleeves for anything indoors.
  • Non-running bottoms - i.e., those without zippered key pockets, for yoga and strength training.
  • Running bottoms.
  • Bike bottoms.
Front row: 
  • Tank tops x 2.
  • Short-sleeve tees x 2.
  • Bike jerseys.
(Sports bras live in the generic underwear drawer.)

Despite the preference I stated for technical versus softer fabrics for certain activities, I actually have those mixed together, which means I tend to be digging around for exactly what I'm looking for. Which then means remaining items get flounced around and often unfold. So now, the dilemma is whether I should expand to another drawer, or simply figure out a better organizational system. First world problems, I know.

How you do organize your workout gear, especially if you participate in multiple types of sports? Am I weird for overthinking this, and/or for having specific preferences on what to wear for different workouts?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Near Boring 8k

I really do sometimes pick a race primarily because of its name - that was definitely the case for yesterday's! It's also a very runner-community-oriented group, and this was the inaugural year, so it seemed like a great event to support.

The Full Boring Full Marathon, Half Boring Half Marathon, and Near Boring 8k took place on the east side of the metro area. Abe and I arrived just 40 minutes before our race started, and easily walked up to packet pickup (moments like these I love doing these small races!). There were real bathrooms available next to the high school track. 

Everyone lined up for the race, and the director gave a brief overview of course. Some of the roads were closed, but not all, but it's a fairly rural area and there was pretty minimal traffic out there. There are some rolling hills that made the course a little challenging, at least for my current fitness level. 

I'm comparing 8k to my previous 5 miles race for PR/comparison purposes, since it's only 0.03 mile off, well within a normal margin of error from the advertised race distance. Though I haven't been specifically training for speed lately, my goals were to: 
     A: Get under 11:30 pace     
     B: Beat 5 mile PR pace of 11:41
     C: At least under 12:00 pace

Started off a little slower than I'd like, due to some hills. Mile 1, 2: 11:50, 11:50. Then mile 3 has the worst incline, plus it was starting to get warm, and there was little shade on the course. Mile 3: 12:17. Finally, we turned around (the course was basically a lollipop shape), and had a bit more downhill than up. Mile 4, 5: 11:40, 11:15.

Official time: 58:08, 11:41 pace. So, I guess I'll count that as a PR tie? 

I definitely lost some momentum in the middle miles, not just because of the hills and heat, but because of the lack of other runners around me. Though there are a lot of benefits of a small crowd, it also makes it difficult when you're at the back of the pack and hardly have anyone else in sight! I ended up finishing 66 out of 101, which percentile-wise is fairly typical for me. But during the race, I seriously thought I was in the last ten, maybe even last five. It was quite demoralizing!

This also made for some iffy navigation at the end of the race. I'm sure at the beginning the director explained that you'd go back around exactly the way the race started, but after running so hard for almost an hour, I couldn't recall that, I couldn't even recall exactly which way we did start the race. As we entered the school grounds, there were some arrows on the ground from a previous race going the wrong way, and the one girl I could see in front of me started to go that way. When she came back, I wasn't sure if it was the wrong way or just a loop in the course, so I headed that way too briefly before realizing the error. Fortunately, that made up a little mileage, because when I entered the track and totally failed to see any arrows, I ended up heading the wrong way around the track and entered the finish line form the wrong side! Kind of embarrassed, but at least my total mileage was still where it should have been thanks to the prior wrong turn. Due to so few people finishing in that time period, I couldn't watch anyone entering the track, so had no idea until I finished that I hadn't followed the course.

Overall, there were great volunteers at all the other intersections, and I wasn't concerned at any other point about getting lost (just about being the last person on the course). I'm sure instructions were given, and signage was up that would have directed me correctly, but there was sufficient opportunity for confusion in that last quarter mile that I think it would have been very helpful to have volunteers there to help direct runners.

Abe had a better race than I did, though - first in his age group! I think he's more sold on small races at the moment than I am. :)