Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Travel charm bracelet

Charm bracelets aren't usually my style. But while wandering around Eastern Market with Abbie earlier this month, I just happened to pick this one up. Then I realized that the clasp is engraved with "I love travel." (I know, it's hard to tell in the photo, promise, it's there.)

It went something like this:

Me: Abbie! It says I love travel.

Abbie: That's perfect for you.

Me: And it has a compass bead, and a camera and the Eiffel Tower and a shamrock...(at this point, I'm starting to run out of breath since I'm reacting much like I did when, as a kid, I met Belle at Disney).

Abbie: You have to have it.

Me: It's $12.

Abbie: Get it.

Turns out, it was only $8.

More of me acting 5.

Abbie: You're getting it.

And, that's the story of my latest jewelry acquisition. I love it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Three day weekend in Italia?

So, what should one do with a three-day weekend in January?

Go to Rome, obviously.

A friend of mine is spending the year in Rome and the travel bug has been hitting me hard lately.

Solution, book a flight to Italy!

What do y'all think? And, who has suggestions for what to do in Rome?

Estonia is on the calendar for March/April. And now maybe Dublin in August. It seems that I'll be making up for my lack of international travel the last two years all at once.

Southern Days...Again

Back in February, at the NOLA half, I decided it was a good idea to register for the Savannah half. All to save $5. It's how my brain works.

Having done a much better job of training for this half, I was actually looking forward to it and was mostly injury free, if you don't count my, as my sister calls it, old lady hip.

Since we'd just moved from the apartment complex from hell to a townhouse about a mile away, Grover was not in his right mind. That poor pup was acting as if we were just going to ditch him on the side of the road. Clearly he didn't understand that we picked the new place with its awesome yard just for him. So, I brought him along for the 9ish hour drive from Alexandria to Savannah. Amazing that I used to make the drive from DC to Alabama...don't think I'm cut out for that anymore.

Grover and I made it to the hotel and he was not especially thrilled about having spent the entire day in the car and was confused about the hotel room. At one point, he crawled into the corner behind a chair and just curled up there. Weirdo.

Note to self, never get a hotel room near the lobby when you have an already stressed puppy with you. I think I got maybe 2 hours sleep before the race since Grover felt the need to defend me from every single person who walked by or sound he heard. Thanks Grove, but I'd rather sleep. It was a rough night.

But, at 0500, I was up and ready and heading to the shuttle spot. That was a mess. The logistics for this race were a disaster, but I'm sure they'll do it better next year. Oh, forgot to mention the hour I spent trying to cross the Talmadge Bridge to get to the expo. Made it the race start eventually, roughly 30 minutes after the race started, and was off!

The old lady hip was causing me to walk funny on Friday and I was worried I wouldn't be able to race, but on race day, it held up alright. On the shuttle over, I made friends with some former Marines who were running the full marathon. Shortly after I started running, they passed me carrying their massive Marine Corps flag and Old Glory. A great sight to motivate you.

We ran through some sketchy parts of Savannah, but also some nicer spots. I was impressed by how friendly and supportive everyone was along the race route. That's always helpful as long as they don't tell you you're almost at the finish or it's all downhill when it fact you're miles away and it's up a huge hill (flashback to the Nashville half when I almost punched an onlooker telling such lies!).

The race ended in Forsyth Park near the iconic fountain. Really beautiful area on a beautiful day. While back in line waiting for the shuttles again (more logistical nightmares), I got to chatting with some people in front of me who were from, none other than, Alabama. Really, I feel like 'bama is following me, even if I was down South. Also chatted with the people behind me who were from all over, including California...long way for a race!

After the mad dash back to the hotel to shower and pack up in 14 minutes flat, Grover and I headed to Tybee Island. I thought about checking out Hilton Head, but decided I'd rather see Fort Pulaski and the lighthouse. Only they weren't free like the guidebook said and I didn't have the cash or the time to justify spending the cash to look around. Instead, I wandered around the island for a bit, walked out to the shore and just enjoyed the view.

Despite my love of Virginia and DC, there are moments when I miss the Southern way of life. And I definitely love Tybee. Beautiful oceanfront, but also a really eclectic that used wooden turtles to direct you to points of interest. If I get the chance, I'll be back.

On the way back home, we stopped in Fayetteville to see a few friends. One I had met a few years ago at Fort Leonard Wood while participating in the military reporting workshop. He's at Fort Bragg now. Also got to lunch with the awesome April, who now reports on military happenings in the Army town and is an SPJ bud. Plus, Grover got to hang out with us on the patio while we grabbed some Chipotle -- a big deal for F'ville.

A fun time all around and added another medal to my collection. I love races that give you medals for just finishing, makes my day. Not sure I'll drive that far for a race again though, at least not by myself. I say that having already told a friend I'd do the Charleston bridge run with him in March.

But, you know me, and there's a fair chance I'll do exactly that again, and you can read all about it.

Races coming up, the Hot Chocolate 15K at National Harbor, the DC Rock n' Roll Half, and seriously contemplating the first Rock n' Roll half in...Dublin! How do you skip that?

Catching Up

Okay, okay, I've been a slacker on here and I know it!

So that DC Scavenger Hunt was a bust. Markeshia and I were stoked about it and started strong, but it was so unbelievably hot and I, as usual, got myself a dazzling sunburn, that we stopped caring after awhile and got lunch instead.

A good idea, but the scavenger list included things like a orange crayon, a ketchup packet and a tin foil hat among other useless things. We would have much preferred a hunt for DC related things, or with more DC trivia/history. Although, because of that hunt, I did discover that Taft was not just the president who needed a special bathtub, but he was also the only president to have also served as chief justice of the Supreme Court. He was also a defense secretary of some sort. Turns out, he was one of the more accomplished statesmen. Whodda thunk?

There have of course been more trips to Yorktown for things like the wine festival at the riverfront, which I highly recommend. So much wine, so little time. High school pal Matt definitely poked fun at me for getting tipsy. What can I say, I'm a lightweight.

For my August birthday, there was a winery trip. Grovester got to come too. K-9s in the Vines at Linganore Winecellers in Maryland. Who doesn't love a day at a winery surrounded by pups! Grover loved it, roommate and I loved the wine. Again, insanely hot, but a great birthday at an event that benefits the local animal society.

A few weeks later, the roommate and I made the 5-hour drive to Blacksburg for our bud Ellen's wedding. We all used to work together in Fredericksburg and Ellen and I were roommates in the early days of her and Ethan's relationship. Long drive, but worth the total shenanigans that included the Hokie bird showing up for a twirl around the dance floor.

Then it was time to get serious about training since I had signed myself up for the Rock n' Roll Savannah half marathon. These things always seem like a good idea at the time. But, I'll save that for the next post!