Monthly Archives: February 2011

First Impressions

First Impressions

Last Friday, John and I did something we hadn’t done in a long, long time: we traveled to a new city. I’ve never really considered us jetsetters or anything, but I used to identify myself as someone who enjoyed traveling. But after we acquired Laura last May, we just stopped. Maybe it was a natural progression—buying a home turned on the nesting juices; maybe I just got burned out with all the home remodeling and lost the energy to travel; maybe I felt like completion of the construction necessitated a period of staying put, as appreciation and recognition for getting the job done. Whatever the reason, I started feeling stagnant—being a homebody wouldn’t have been so bad except there were no game nights, no hosted dinners, no anything.

Thankfully the new year has given me a swift kick in the ass, and now I feel ready to pick up where we’d left off. In early Fall, I’d received news that Les Mis– the musical that had ended its US run a couple years back, was touring again for its 25th anniversary. Yes, that’s what took us this last weekend to Chicago. Since my friend Joe is also a Les Mis fanatic, and Chicago was also on his and Jess’ list of new cities to explore, what better time to visit the Windy City than the dead of winter, right?

Actually, we lucked out. The prior week, Chicago had been pummeled with a massive, record-breaking blizzard. Amazingly, for the two days we were there, the weather was nice and warm and sunny. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. Chicago was such a cool place—we walked everywhere and checked out so many places—the Field Museum, John Hancock Observatory, Millennium Park, Culture Center, etc…

The city was so large—its expanse reminded me of a lot of NYC but fortunately, without the attitude, high maintenance peeps, and dinginess. The only half-downside was the food—super tasty but super unhealthy and fatty. Yup, another few days there and my Tracy Anderson program would have been thrown off the table completely.
Also, this was our first time on a true destination vacation with J & J, and it worked out beautifully. Super chill, no drama, no annoyances. Yay.

My take aways from the trip?

  • I can handle cold weather destinations so long as I’m prepared (nearly always the case!).
  • My waterproof Timberland boots continue to rock. They take me all kinds of distance in all sorts of environments.
  • I’m going to give Les Mis a rest. Yes, I have to say, the original style remains the best, and I was honestly a little bummed by the contemporary tweaks… it’s ok, I still enjoyed the production and I still cried like a sissy but I’m realizing that there are plenty of other musicals to see. Next up? Billy Elliot and Miss Saigon (repeat).

In other news, I have my second singing class tomorrow. I’ve been practicing the exercises (albeit not every day as suggested), but I’m still skeptical how the teacher is going to take this shit voice of mine to the next level… I’ve also been scrolling through my ipod in search of a song to sing for the recital. I probably know Les Mis the best, but a musical of that caliber seems a pretty lofty goal for a newbie like me, so maybe something more modern? Fuck, I don’t know. At this point, nothing seems doable. Any ideas? Sara Bareilles, Fiona Apple, Dido, Ingrid Michaelson, Madonna??? Ugh, maybe teacher will have some thoughts.

Visiting Friends

Visiting Friends

I just realized that the title of this post can be read two different ways, with visiting as a verb or as a participle. I know, I’m a dork. The new year’s been a busy one so far. After my mid-January trip to LGB to visit Pamela, I had a weekend to chill and then my friend Nathalie came for a visit. She had never been to the SF Bay area, so the touristy thing was in order. I really kinda hate doing touristy things (she knows this), but I tried to be reasonable to a Bay Area newbie. Playing host just kinda stresses me out– having to plan transportation, scheduling, meals, etc… for like five full days. Even when my parents visit, I get stressed taking them places. Luckily since my parents have been to the area three times already, I already developed a list of ideas. But with Nathalie, we had kind of lost touch on and off over the last two years, so even though we were close friends from way back (middle and high school), I just wasn’t sure what she’d be up for. Ahead of her arrival, I sent her the list, and she narrowed down a few items, but unfortunately, when she arrived, her knee had been hurting (she had a bad fall at work followed by surgery last year), so that kind of limited things to do. But it was good reconnecting and catching up. Still, I was really pooped afterwards (I am a true introvert!). Socializing with others exhausts me, even if I’m having fun. I just don’t take well to constant contact (John’s probably the only person I can hang around for longer than a few days without getting too irritable, and even he can only last a few days beyond that… :)).

Anyway, Nathalie and I did a lot in five days… we walked around Monterey, hit up the Gilroy outlets, rode the Roaring Camp train through the redwoods in Santa Cruz, picnicked at a local winery, caught a movie, sang karaoke (twice!), ate some yummy sushi, Thai, cooked at home, and ventured into the SF to ride the cable cars and eat some clam chowder along Fisherman’s Wharf. The bummer of the visit? While in SF, I got lost and made an illegal u-turn. Yup, sucks, especially now that my clean record (since 2003) is marred. I feel like I just ruined my perfect attendance record at school. Oh well, at least no one was injured.

Since the visit, I’ve been getting back up to speed at work and also getting into my latest OCD activity: I’m trying the Tracy Anderson Method. Yup, why not. I’ve always wanted a dancer’s body, so this time, we’ll see what something like that takes. (Damn you, Black Swan. Natalie Portman made me feel like such a sloth!) The Tracy videos are not easy (lots of pain and burning), but I’ve done 2 days and already I can feel a difference (maybe it’s just wishful thinking).

Today I am crazy sore… I think it’s because I did Tracy Anderson Friday night and then kickboxing Saturday morning and trampolining Saturday night? I dunno, everything just hurts. Hopefully today’s day of rest will suffice and tomorrow I’ll be back and ready. Fingers crossed.