g&g and the big rv

Where has this week gone? I’ll tell you where. EVERYWHERE.

My grandparents bought an RV a few years ago and make one awesome trip every year to see the country on the road. They were up in Montana at Glacier National Park last week when an avalanche plowed into their plans. So, they redirected to my new stomping grounds for a few days.

Company left Tuesday morning and we have barely unpacked. Boxes are everywhere. But we hurried ourselves after work to pick them up and take them to dinner. G&G got to meet John, see downtown Portland at dusk and eat delicious food from Ned Ludd— a fully organic farm to table dining experience. Very Portland. You feel like you are eating in the middle of Anthropologie. Ladies, can I get an amen???

Ned Ludd

We stayed out late and I had to be in Washington at the crack so an early morning run was out of the question…again. I spent the day with 6th graders in Longview for Outdoor School. It was a good change of scenery to get out of the office and hang out with kids among the Douglas Firs.

Last night I took them to a Ringside (a super fine steak house), per their request. Don’t worry, I didn’t object. We had a blast. It is so fun to talk to your grandparents as an adult. They ask all the right questions and beam with pride when hearing your accomplishments.  I squeezed their necks, thanked them for the millionth time, and made a teary-eyed exit without them knowing. Geez, I hope they come back soon.

I couldn’t go home yet, could I? Noway. My supper club was meeting and I couldn’t handle not making it, even if it was just for dessert! The night ended with so much laughter my abs hurt this morning. I love those girls.

Tonight is Bunco at Sally’s and a late night trip to the airport to pick up Samantha. But before all of that, this girl needs a good solo run to regroup.



PS: Many of you have asked about the move so here’s a sneak peak of the kitchen!


Christen comes to Portland

A lot has happened in the past 4 days. My sweet friend/fashion blogger Christen came to visit (check out her post on what to pack for Portland here). She is one of my very first friends from Birmingham and I have been looking forward to this visit for months. We did A LOT. So, here’s the skinny in shorthand form:

Thursday night – CL arrives!! Late night at Kell’s for brews and bar food.
Friday – Moving day for me. Movers arrive. Movers move us. Movers leave. Whew. Poor CL. Trip to Voodoo Doughnuts and walking on the waterfront. Small bites and pairings at Korkage for dinner.

Christen and her Voodoo Doughnut.

Clouds rolling in over the Steel Bridge.

Saturday a.m. – Waterfront 5 mile loop. Dropped CL at the Portland Rock Gym for climbing while I taught my 1st spin class.
Saturday p.m. – Wine tasting in Eola-Amity Hills at Evesham Wood and Methven Vineyards. Back to Portland for brews at Burnside Brewery and Grain & Gristle and late night at Dig A Pony.

Evesham Wood Basement

Wine tasting at Methven Winery.

Sunday – A late start due to the late night before. Vintage shopping at Animal Traffic on Mississippi. Brunch at the Screen Door (chicken and waffles, y’all). More vintage shopping. Portland Rose Festival on the waterfront for the Alabama Shakes and Vintage Trouble.

Monday – Wildwood Trail run!!! Coffee and pastries at St. Honoré.  Browsed the many isles of Powell’s Books. Lunch at Rouge and ice cream from Salt and Straw (I got the pear and blue cheese, game-changer!). We walked and walked and walked. Made cilantro-lime salmon over jasmine rice for dinner. Live music at the Muddy Rudder for one last cheers.

What an awesome weekend with my friend. In between what is listed above were good talks, dancing, advice giving and getting, lots of laughs and sentence finishing. I have missed her.

Statue to Statue 15k April 2009.

After I dropped her at the airport early this morning I thought back to the many, many early mornings we spent running together in Birmingham. She has seen me at my best and my worst, through big decisions and dumb mistakes. Running purifies friendships. I am so thankful to have had a dedicated friend to meet me at least once a week every week for nearly 5 years.

I am so glad she made the trek out to visit and run with me in Portland. Nothing has changed at all.

Working on waiting

I feel impatient and I can’t figure out why.

They aren’t going to pack themselves.

Maybe it’s because I am moving in 2 days and I haven’t packed a single thing.
Maybe it’s because I have company coming in 1 day and I don’t have anything other than oatmeal, peanut butter and 2 very brown bananas in my kitchen.
Maybe it’s because I am waiting on approval to move forward with about a dozen projects at work.
Maybe it’s because I feel like I have been waiting on something/anything since I took my first gulp of oxygen 28 (errr nearly 29) years ago.

Since I can remember I have been waiting. Waiting on my friend to get ready so we can get to class. Waiting on my parents to pick me up from school. Waiting for results. Waiting on that pricy dress to go on sale. Waiting for race day to arrive. Waiting on the perfect opportunity to speak up, take initiative, or back down. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Patience simply isn’t a word I know intimately. I like to move quickly, usually in a mess, and I don’t like being late.

I woke up this morning waiting on my alarm to go off and decided I have had enough. Patience comes to those who wait, right? So I decided to dedicate my day to becoming more patient.

Results thus far: I had zero road rage because I patiently drove into work. I settled into my office, opened the blinds, organized my papers and filled my Nalgene with ice-cold water instead of plopping down with sugar-filled coffee click, click, clicking away. I answered emails unhurried and thoroughly. Instead of becoming anxious I prepared a presentation, reviewed each item and presented professionally to a room of highly-qualified individuals.

It is amazing how calming it can be to not be in a hurry for the next thing.

There’s an old saying:
“Give me gentle and smiling eyes, keep my lips from hasty replies;
And let not weariness, confusion or noise, obscure my vision of life’s fleeting joys.”

Just caught myself looking out the window, ready to tackle a 12 mile trail run this afternoon; foot tapping chaotically, mind racing…shoot!

Be patient with me, y’all. I’m working on waiting.

Never stagnant

Last Friday was a day I had been looking forward to for a month. Our schedules have been busy with work, studying and training so John and I carved out some time to go on a date. In February I got a surprise in the mail from a Birmingham family: a gift certificate to Paley’s Place.  How nice is that? It has really made me pay if forward.

Dinner was divine. Local cheeses, wines by the glass, a new york strip, sturgeon and braised greens.  We polished off our meal with a rhubarb tart topped with basil ice cream and hot Spanish coffees. If it’s one thing Portland does well, it’s food.

Ready to go!

Saturday we loaded up our bikes and drove west towards Yamhill Carlton. We biked to a few vineyards then made our way to Haag Lake where we pulled out gourmet sandwiches and a bottle of rosé. John could pair cereal with wine, he is intuitive and knows his stuff. It was a perfect combination. We sat there for an hour watching speedboats come in and fishing boats head out. Then I made John chase me back up the hill. I haven’t lost all my biking skills from my sabbatical.

I did, however, pay for it on Sunday when I woke up to run the Portland Rock N Roll Half-Marathon sore from my show-off-session. My quads hurt in a way they hadn’t in a long time. But the soreness was the good kind, a reminder that my efforts didn’t go unnoticed by my body. The race was a last minute decision and I was running under a friend’s name so I had no method or motive; I planned to let my mood guide my pace.

Rock n Roll Half Marathon 2012

It didn’t take long before I felt my legs start to wake up, fall back in stride, and the soreness from the day before dissipated. My mind wandered the entire race, never focusing on the mile or pace I was carrying. It felt good to run and not be a slave to the clock at every mile. I walked home in the rain with some friends and stopped for coffee on the way. It did no good. I was in bed thirty minutes later sound asleep.

Finished in 1:44, not a PR but three weeks after Eugene so I will take it. Decided to take a recovery day today, actually my body is demanding it. Trail training begins tomorrow! Next stop: Wildwood 50K at the end of June.

Festivals Shmestivals

The weekend of all weekends has arrived. I honestly think we committed festival suicide when we moved out here. Memphis BBQ Fest and the Hangout begin today. Even though we have frozen Central BBQ ribs in the freezer for emergencies and String Cheese is playing a four-day show out here in July, I’m still going to miss seeing all our friends from home. I am not in denial; this year’s line up doesn’t even come close to last year’s. I do hope a good time is had but I also hope we are missed and remembered just the same.

Hangout 2011

I knew this was going to be a tough one to swallow so we have our weekend planned with lots to do.  A summer kick-off cookout, a dinner date we made reservations for over a month ago, a bike-wine tour, and the Portland Rock N Roll Half Marathon on Sunday. All is not lost.

The beach wont be the same, guys. I see you Paul Simon…

Go ahead, make a list

Lately I have been making a lot of lists. To do lists, grocery lists, lists of wants, lists of needs, lists of workouts, lists of races, lists of books, lists of restaurants, lists of events, lists of emails to return, lists of ideas, lists of lists. It’s really getting out of hand.

Here is one of my favorite lists:
This morning I took all my lists and shoved them in the top drawer of my desk. It only took about 10 minutes before I had to dig through them so I could remember who I was supposed to email about what and by when. Enough organization, enough lists, and I think I can control the situation. Notsomuch. They do, however, help me stay on task and remind me to buy that present to drop in the mail so it reaches Alabama before the baby shower that I will have to miss takes place.

So, in honor of my many lists today I have created a list of why lists are a good great idea.

  1. Lists bring order to chaos.  We live in an era of overstimulation; lists help me organize what can be overwhelming.
  2. Lists are finite. I like to get specific on some lists and then branch out into another list sometimes, and then another and another…you get the idea.
  3. Lists can be as long or as short as necessary. If I only need to pick up 3 things at the grocery store then that’s a good list!
  4. Lists can be a stress reliever. Everything becomes obtainable and takes the pressure off of deadlines.
  5. Lists keep me from procrastinating. It helps me look at a really big task and tackle it one item at a time.

Remember: a list is ONLY useful if it resolves a problem or leads to action. You have to actually do what’s on your list for it to get done.

Looking for a good way to start a list? Your 1st item should be “make a list” then by the end of your composition you can mark it off! I get to mark “post to blog” off my list for today. The satisfaction of a completed task can be priceless.


Kid at heart

This past weekend was full of F-U-N.

Saturday morning I hopped in the car with my new friends from Dublin and we drove out to Hood River to meet up with a few others for a 10-mile run along the Columbia River Gorge. It was my favorite kind of run, the kind that is full of good conversation and breathtaking scenery. Our pace was quick but I didn’t realize it until we were back at the trailhead shoving our faces with gummy bears and cooling off.

We made our way for beers and lunch at Full Sail Brewery (Feed Coleman wrote a good post on their brews here) and then drove up to Mt. Hood Winery for the remainder of the afternoon. Around town everyone kept asking why we looked so happy after running so much. It hit me that we were making an impression on every crowd we found ourselves in that day. “They said the running group was on the way. I didn’t know you would have so much energy…” -the owner of the winery told us before leaving. Like a kid after a long day of vacation, I fell asleep on the way home. Sunburned, happy and worn the heck out.

On Sunday I woke up with a serious decision already made: it was high time to get a bike. RED sold a few weeks ago and I literally haven’t stopped window-shopping since. To be honest, it wasn’t a great financial decision but I just couldn’t wait until the end of the summer and miss out on this weather. Soooooo drum roll, please. I purchased a Cannondale Synapse! I had a million things to do but I brought her home, tossed all my responsibilities to the side, threw my helmet on, and hit the road. I biked across bridges, down the waterfront, I got lost, I climbed hills, I stopped at the grocery store and finally made my way home THREE hours later sweaty and satisfied. Worth. Every. Penny. (that I don’t have!)

She’s a beauty!

I like acting like a kid. I like running freely on the trails, laughing hysterically and loudly over lunch with friends or fearlessly venturing out into the city on my new bike. My excuse for childish actions is that deep down I hope someone else sees how simple life can be and would realize that we are all a little happier when we do things we love without worry.

“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.
After that I liked jazz music.
Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.
― Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Friday Five

  1. These came in the mail this week and got me super pumped about Christen’s visit at the end of the month! #ivegottheshakes

  2. Discover Spanish Podcast. I found a Spanish class I want to take this summer so I have been brushing up on my skills while driving to and from work. Yes, I am that girl talking to herself at the red light. The clips are short and informative and keep me practicing at least 30 minutes a day.
  3.  Bar Method Super Sculpting I & II. It’s not in my budget to be a member so I bought the DVDs. It is excellent recovery for running, incorporates strength training paired with loads of stretching, and I can do it from home. Just a warning: your legs WILL earthquake shake. Totally worth it.
  4.  CAAD10. Who knew I could love a bike so much? I test drove her a few weeks ago and now I am hooked. Trying to decide if she’s worth the green.

  5. Happy Mother’s Day to mi madre. Even though I am 3,000 miles away I am still going to be thinking about you on Sunday. HINT: A super big surprise is heading your way to make up for my absence. Although not as charming as me…
I am heading to Hood River tomorrow for some trail running along the Columbia River Gorge and to celebrate some birthdays. Have a great weekend, y’all!

From JLB to JLP

The Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

I remember last February in Birmingham when the roads iced over on a random Thursday afternoon. I was frantically wrapping up my week at work before catching a flight to Florida for my roommate’s wedding. In the mix of all the chaos I was on the cusp of missing the deadline to submit my lengthy application to the Junior League of Birmingham. I had two houses to drop off recommendation requests before grabbing my bags at home. I may or may not have slid half a dozen times on the black ice en route (sorry mom!). I called my former boss, insert super advocate for the JLB here, and told her it just wasn’t going to happen– there was no way I was going to get everything together and submitted in time. Long story short she made some calls, gathered my recs, signatures, forms and by the time my plane landed back in Birmingham, I was in.

When I accepted the job on the other side of the country one of the first things I did (besides freak out) was send in a league transfer request to the Junior League of Portland. I wasn’t about to let down all those great women who worked hard on my behalf.

Eight months of training, learning, volunteering and LOTS of meetings, myself and 80 or so other women graduated to Member status last night! Cue throwing hats, floating confetti, toasting glasses… well not quite, but it was a big deal to us.

We received our member placement for next year and I am excited to inform you that I will be on the Marketing and Communication Committee as the Public Relations Chair. It’s going to be a big responsibility but I am pumped! Just be forewarned of future posts that list in detail how I have over-committed myself and I don’t know if I will ever make it out alive. You. Are. Welcome.

As I hopped from conversation to conversation I realized how thankful I was that a former member and sustainer were such advocates for me to join in the first place. My monthly calendar stays packed meeting up for the League, dinner and even Bunco. These friendships have evolved in such a short amount of time but they are real and simple and remind me of friends from home.

Joining the league has been life changing for me.  I was dangerously close to throwing in the towel because of some bad weather and a flight to catch. My experience here would undoubtedly be very different. I never imaged that over a year later I would be living on the other side of the country and making lifelong friends through the League. And now look at me, a graduate!

Party of One

How often do you do something completely solo? Without calling a friend to join you, or perhaps you can’t find anyone that is free. This happened to me multiple times this weekend. The tough part about being new to a big city is the lack of close friendships you have. The kind that are easy and don’t take any thought or extra effort. With John and the other interns slaved to the hospital and my running friends resting their legs, this weekend I found myself, well, by myself.

I managed to peel John away from the books for an hour on Saturday afternoon and we walked to our favorite Mexican spot, Verde Cocina, for margaritas and plates loaded with farm to table veggies. After lunch I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I had already run 12 fast, very hilly miles so I wasn’t about to put any more strain on my legs. On my way home I remembered Delta Spirit was playing a free afternoon show at Mississippi Studios. Free tunes! Amen. I couldn’t resist not stopping to get my fix–even if I was all by myself. 

It was awkward at first but I grabbed a beer, found a good seat, and enjoyed some savvy guitar riff. Twenty minutes in and I made friends with the table next to me and we were swapping dates of upcoming shows. Let’s be honest, I could talk to a brick wall but show up to a concert by myself! It was a big move, but the right one. And to think I would have missed good music and meeting new people if I had bailed and gone home.

Sunday night I found myself in the same boat. A friend from Ole Miss is the sound manager for Katie Herzig who was playing at the Aladdin Theater. He put me on the guest list so I couldn’t pass it up. And boy am I glad I didn’t. She and her band are beyond talented. Guitars, mandolins, a cello, horns, keyboard, drums… I was one happy lady. Just because my plus one couldn’t make it didn’t mean I had to miss out on all that artistry.

It’s good to try things by yourself. You take in more of what’s around you; like opening up a sixth sense. Suddenly I was more aware of beats and instruments, the conversations around me, and how much fun I was having sitting at the end of the row all by myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I thrive off the company of others and I believe some experiences are more enjoyable when you have someone to share them with. Like sharing a good bottle of wine, a new flavor of ice cream or admiring local artwork. But you better believe from now on I’m not going to let the lack of company stop me from hearing some local music at a dive bar or hitting the Wildwood Trail when the sun is out–and that is a rarity around these parts I don’t want to miss.