1. Alan and I moved into our new place on Lower Queen Anne! We had a successful housewarming BBQ/birthday party at the new digs with friends, our newly minted grill, and the most delicious homemade red velvet cake ever - kudos and thanks to my friend and baker extraordinaire Lauren W.
2. My temp copywriting job at REI Headquarters has been extended a few times, so I'm still commuting down to Kent daily to research, learn about and write about all the sweet gear we sell. Pretty pleased to still be working there! What kinds of things do I write? See here. Straightforward as our writing tasks often are, I am forever inspired by my colleagues' cleverness and creativity.
3. Yours truly has become a running/training/athletic MACHINE! Well, so I like to think. I got in a bit of inspired frenzy to sign myself up for a bunch of races. On the docket for the coming months are two full marathons, one half, and my third official ultra (50K). Oh! And I'm going to run 30+ miles around the perimeter of Mount Saint Helens in a few weeks with my friend and fellow Dutch/Swedish hybrid, Ged. Wish us luck!
4. Speaking of running...in July, a team of 11 friends and I tackled the Ragnar Northwest Passage 190-mile Relay for the second year in a row. Our team, the Alpacas by Day, Ninjas by Night, had a blast. I wrote a story about it for the REI blog here. (Beware: link does not always cooperate in Firefox. Try another browser if it doesn't work.)
I am blessed with good friends in this city.
5. Speaking of more running, I tackled my steepest, most rugged trail run yet last month, with my now-longtime trail running pals, Elodie and Tom - the Angel's Staircase run in the Methow Valley, about four hours east of Seattle on the other side of the mountains. 5000 feet of elevation change over 25 kilometers, peaking at 8000 feet, with stunning views in all directions. 6th place among women, I'll take it!
This ridiculously awesome photo courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama.
Beautiful views courtesy of race director James Varner, whom I interviewed and wrote this story on for Outdoors NW magazine several months ago.
6. Oh, and let's talk about where those marathons are that I've signed up for. I'm going to Vegas, baby! Running the strip at night - a nighttime marathon, how cool is that? Talked into it by my lunchtime running buddy at work, Logan (not that it was a really hard sell...)
7. But what's even better than Vegas? Answer: Flying over the North Pole on a direct flight from Seattle to Amsterdam to visit my mom and run the marathon there next month! Dutch Rosetta Stone lessons are in full throttle again. Can't believe it's taken me four years to get myself back to Holland, but it will great to see my mama and run 26.2 in the city that made me truly fall in love with running in the first place.
I took this photo in 2007. The marathon course runs along this river.
8. Alan took me to see Weezer on my birthday last month. In case you didn't hear the story (I love this story!), Alan and I were walking along a street in Seattle many months ago and passed a billboard advertising Weezer in Seattle on August 19. Knowing that I was once upon a time a big Weez' fan, he asked if I'd like to go. Snootily, I scoffed that the only way I'd go to a Weezer concert today was if they played Blue Album start to finish. We turned a corner and the next billboard we saw was, "WEEZER - Playing Blue Album and Pinkerton, start to finish." Wha?!! So we went! It satisfied in the nostalgia realm in big ways.
Yup, I was quite sure I could dig up an old photo of me in my trusty Weezer tee. Me, at 15, with my parents and Dutch cousins/family I haven't seen in years.
9. Been trying to ride my bike more lately...commuting a lot around on two wheels, including several bike trips up to Green Lake in the north part of this city, to go swimming with Oberlin friends - Ruth, who's happily staying another year in Seattle to continue working for Habitat for Humanity, and Shari, who spent the whole summer here leading kids' nature camps for the Audubon Society. Do I have cool friends or what?
10. So, I've been writing all this while sprawled out on a bunch of pillows and blankets on our balcony, looking at the night profile of the Cascade mountains, the shimmering Lake Union, the Seattle skyline all lit up, and even a good number of stars. Really, really happy in the new apartment! A good friend of mine whom I'll kindly keep anonymous recently paraphrased my blog as "Blah blah blah ohhhh Seattle, blah blah blah I'm so special because I love Seattle soooo much blah blah"...snarky, sure, but that's the nature of our friendship anyway (he's the big brother I never had!) and furthermore, I can't imagine a better summation of my feelings. Thank you, you know who you are, for stating it so eloquently. Indeed, I freakin' love this place!
11. Have we been over the fact that I get to have a reunion next month with this wonderful woman?
It's been a long time coming. Thank you, good world, for giving me the opportunities to work hard, play hard and accomplish so many of the things in 2011 that I hoped I could. And thanks to everyone in my life who's making this one amazing ride! You all are great.