Monday, August 30, 2010

The end of the Plague

I had an incredibly boring weekend. Determined to kick this cold/flu/bronchitis (WebMD tells me I could have any one of them, and also a slew of horrible sounding diseases that I cannot pronounce), I stayed in bed quite literally all weekend.

Like the good Eagles fan I am, I tried to go watch the game on Friday evening. I had been doped up on Robitussin all day and was feeling downright jubilant, so I ventured 2.5 blocks away to Govnr's Park and bellied up to the bar. But the game wasn't on. By the time I'd ordered my beers (2 for 1 happy hour), the Saints game was playing, but the Eagles were not televised. Even worse, I tried a new beer (Sunshine Wheat - New Belgium), and I couldn't stand the taste of it. When I mentioned this to Kyle, who braved my germ cloud (not unlike Pigpen's) and watched the game with me, I realized that it was not the beer, but my tastebuds that were making the beer taste terrible.

Around 7:30 my Robitussin high ended and I became so tired and run down that I went home mid-beer. It was an overall disappointing evening, especially when I got home to find the Eagles were losing to the Chiefs (although we ended up winning in the end).

So Saturday morning I made my way to Target and stocked up on anything and everything that would make me better. Humidifier, tissues, more Robitussin, cough drops, hand sanitizer, you name it. After a quick stop down to Englewood for a previously-scheduled reflexology appointment, I swigged some more Robitussin and headed to REI for the first day of their Labor Day sale.

A pair of Keens and two tops later, I headed for home, plugged in my new humidifier, and spent the remainder of the weekend locked inside my apartment, swigging Robitussin and blowing my nose profusely. After making my way through two seasons of How I Met Your Mother, I polished off Season three of Weeds on netflix yesterday. Never have I been so excited to go back to work on a Monday, if only to leave the confines of my apartment.

I'm remarkably better this morning, left with only a residual cough when I breath deeply. I feel a bit badly, this morning 3 or 4 coworkers are now sick as well, including my boss. But when the Berger mentality is to 'work through your illness' its really not my fault. While I did take half days, there were things that needed to get done, so I had to keep coming in. I plan on taking it easy this week in order to keep it that way - big weekend plans coming up!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Well if Ben Franklin says so...

After being sick for a full week and not drinking a drop of alcohol since Monday, I am down 2.4 lbs since last Friday. I hate when my body confirms that, indeed, beer is the culprit for my Denver weight gain.

I haven't done anything that could qualify as physical exertion since Sunday and I haven't even really watched what I've been eating, but alas, there goes 2.4 lbs with zero effort. I'm not quite sure I like this.

If no beer= skinny, I think I'd rather be a bit squiggy around the edges. And a happier person :) After all, according to one of our founding fathers, "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And who am I to disagree?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) I have been massively sick all week. Normally when I sick, I feel crappy for a day, rest, take some meds, and I'm fine. This cold is not messing around. I took a half day on Tuesday, felt a little better on Wednesday, then the cold moved back into my head and I sound terrible/am filled with snot today. Of course this is the first busy work week I've had since the move and am unable to take a full day off. Phooey.

2.) I haven't had any wine or beer since my 1 glass that I had Monday. This may be a record for consecutive days since I moved here.

3.) In a mere 8 days, my old roommate Lauren and our friend Katie are coming out to visit me!!! I could not be more excited.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rudi vs Beer

Sunday morning I finally ran the 3.1 mile loop I mapped out about two weeks ago. My growing beer belly, while oh-so-feminine and attractive, has reached epic proportions and needs to be tamed.

I started out a little after 9, thinking it would still be cool. It usually stays in the 70s here until 11 or 12, so I thought I was good to go. I was mistaken. It was HOT. Thankfully, I was able to stay somewhat on tree lined streets, but ironically the big park I picked out as my turn around point was wide open and the sun was blazing in all of its mile high glory.

I also failed to realize the hills involved in my 5k mapping adventure. Around 2 miles, it was just one long uphill in the bright sun. I diverted off course a bit, following a lesser incline in a shaded area to the west of the park.

I had planned on doing a run/walk, as both my lungs and heart protest to too much running, but hadn't determined the intervals. Accepting how out of shape I am, I opted to run 1:30/walk 1:00. After a few intervals, my heartrate was refusing to drop out of the 170s during the walk, so I upped it to a 2:00 min walk, with the last minute being a power walk.

Overall, it took me a long 40 minutes (44 with a "for the love of God why won't my heartrate drop" cool down).

Total Calories burned: 469
Max Heart rate: 192
Average heart rate: 170

It was my goal to be able to run 3.1 before football season started, but I think I'd even be happy just to run/walk a lap, then walk a lap before football games on Sundays. After moving for 6.2 miles, drinking beer is a perfectly acceptable all day event, right??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Last night we gathered up a team for trivia night at the local watering hole. We got there at 6, thinking trivia started at 7 and we wanted to grab a few beers at the happy hour price before it ended at 6:30 (although 6:15, bar time). Unfortunately trivia didn't actually start until 8, but we bravely drank beer until it began. Five 5 barrels and one free pitcher of PBR later, I am rethinking my ability to drink 'good beer' on a weeknight (or in any large quantity). I was hangover-central today, saved only by the fact that thursday AM is Breakfast Burrito day in the office. Oh, and my team WON trivia night!

2.) Spokane is officially on the list of cities I would never, ever want to live in.

3.) This weekend I am FINALLY getting my very first massage. For the past three years, I've said "oh I'll get a massage when I (insert milestone/accomplishment)" but I never actually do it because I'm cheap and have trouble justifying the money. But there is an Aveda teaching salon here in Denver and it offers discounted services! Woot! Afterward, I'm either going to take myself to see Eat, Pray, Love or Get Low. Lovely little Saturday!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weekend recap

Camping was a lot of fun and the Echo performed admirably in the mountains! I wasn't the fastest car on the uphills, but I certainly wasn't the slowest! Thank you, giant RVs and trailers.

Buena Vista is about 2.5 hours from Denver, beyond the Front Range and in an area known as South Park (which I learned is also the setting for the cartoon - allegedly. I'm pretty gullible so Kyle very well could have been pulling my leg). Its crazy - once you get over the Front Range, there is this wide open area full of farms and little towns before you get to the next set of mountains.

About 14 of us set up camp at a small campground right off of Route 24. The location left a little to be desired, but it suited me just fine for my first excursion. On Saturday I hopped into a car with one of the couples (it was me and approximately 7 couples. singleton, anyone?) - but we headed over to the next town, Leadville, to watch the finish of the Leadville Trail 100 - a pretty big mountain bike event, or so I'm told. Big time biker Levi (some long last name) finished first, breaking Lance Armstrong's record finishing time from the previous year.

Leadville was a very cute little town with a surprising amount of pink and purple homes. We never quite figured out why. After watching the first ten finishers, we headed back to the campsite, passing Mt. Elbert (the tallest peak in Colorado), Mt Harvard, and Mt Yale on the way back. Mt Princeton was right below our site, finishing out the collegiate range.

Our campsite was at 8,200 feet, but I got up to 10,200 in Leadville. Given that I'm still adjusting to any kind of activity at 5,200 feet, hiking was out of the question. Mt. Yale is a "14-er", and I'm anxious to give it a climb next year once I've done a little more running and a little less beer drinking.

I'm in Spokane for work, so pictures will be forthcoming upon my return!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Roadtrip Highlights

Once Alliy arrived in DC, we made a beeline for Georgetown Cupcakes. Yum!

After packing up the truck and sitting in horrendous traffic on I-95, we arrived in Murrell's Inlet, SC

On our way out of Pensacola, we lucked out and were on the beach while the Blue Angels were practicing

Then we headed on to New Orleans, where we promptly went to Bourbon Street and got a Hurricane.

And Beignets at Cafe du Monde!

Before we left, we stopped by Sandra Bullocks house to say hi.

And then we were on to Katy, Tx to say hello to old friends (mom's sorority sister and bridesmaid)

After a quick overnight stop, we arrived at the Alamo!

We got a bit silly in Texas...

And then we drove. A lot. With not much to see.

We visited the Carlsbad Caverns (there are caverns behind us, I promise)

And forced mom to let us pull over in pitch black to take a picture of entering Colorado!

Our last stop before Denver was the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I played a little soccer while Al practiced her balance beam and mom did a bit of fencing.

It was a great trip!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) I had a brilliant plan last night to have two beers at happy hour and then go for a run. Shockingly (sarcasm sign), it failed miserably. After three beers (Fat Tire) at bar #1 with a coworker and Kyle (yay, TWO friends!), the coworker (Dave the intern) headed out while Kyle and I biked over to our local bar, Park Tavern, for two more beers. We had to walk our bikes home.

2.) This weekend I'm going camping! I'm a little apprehensive about driving 2.5 hours to hang out with people I've really only met once (with the exception of my boss), but that fear is offset by the excitement of really seeing what Colorado has to offer! I'll bring my camera and be sure to post pictures (in a relatively timely manner) next week.

3.) Tuesday I stayed late at work to start writing my paper for my practicum. My portion of the paper will be combined with my practicum advisor's writing and will become a journal article for a special issue of "Human Dimensions of Wildlife" to be published sometime next year. Once the article is completed in early September, only three credits will stand between me and graduate school freedom!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ready for Some Football

It's so very close to being that time of year. Football season. With training camps in full swing, I now have new news to read when I log into the NFL section of Unlike last year, the Eagles seem to be staying fairly healthy during camp, unlike last year when our offensive line dropped like flies.

I'm pretty excited for the season to start, not only to sit guilt-free in a bar for hours on end every sunday but also to see how the young team pulls together. I have faith in Kevin Kolb (if you're curious how to pronounce his name, my Fantasy Football team is named "Corn on the Kolb"), but we have have a solid group of receivers. The defense last year left plenty to be desired, but with some new safeties on board, I am eager to see how the Eagles D shapes up. The Eagles went from having one of the best and most impressive Defensive lines (also the heaviest, I believe - mmmm cheesesteaks), to fairly pitiful last year. It was disheartening to watch missed tackles and our blitz-heavy defense playing sloppy.

So while I'm eager to see a new Eagles team (I had two more paragraphs written about the offense and trading McNabb, but I'll spare you all), I am also very excited for bottomless mimosas at the bar down the street and drinking copious amounts of beer in good company while mentally tallying up fantasy team points. There truly is no better game and no better time of year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blogging Slacker

So, every morning I have had the intention of writing a blog post recapping my DC bucket list. What I'd recommend, what was overrated, etc, etc. But it seems like such a daunting task. After all, that's going to be one LONG blog! So instead, every morning I've haphazardly found something else to blog about in order to procrastinate just one more day.

Today is no different. This morning I FINALLY made it down to the gym in my apartment building before work. I slogged out 30 minutes on the elliptical, which was surprisingly difficult. Without feeling like I was putting in much effort, my heart rate got to 171 and I was sweating quite a bit. But its a start. And a good one at that.

Given that I was up early, it was no surprise that I made it to work early and am feeling productive (non-work related blogging aside). I always know how good exercise makes me feel afterwards, its just that push of making myself do it. But, for now at least, I am motivated to keep going. Also motivating? My pants are starting to get snug again (shakes fist at delicious yet caloric good beer).

But today, I need that feeling of productivity to plow through some work as well as knock out one of my last few papers of grad school. After work, I'm locking myself up in my office and I'm not leaving until at least 10 pages are staring back at me (safely saved in several place, including email. I do not want a repeat of the spring semester!)

How do you guys motivate to get your workout done?? Any tricks or tips?

Monday, August 9, 2010

You've spoiled me, East Coast. While I'm really enjoying Denver and it's lack of humidity, there are a few aspects of the East Coast that really can't match up.

I tried out a new church this weekend. While I have always appreciated the experiences I had at Central, I don't think I ever really grasped how much that church (used) to have its act together. The music program was beyond phenomenal and the youth groups were very active. I still credit the church for keeping me out of much more trouble in high school.

The church I tried was the First Baptist Church of Denver, a mere 15 minute walk from my apartment which was delightful at 10 am on a Sunday, before many other people are out and about. I had to ask someone where the sanctuary was, which was a bit embarrassing - I mean, who can't find the biggest room in the entire building?? The attendance was low, but that's to be expected for a Sunday in August. The reason I had picked this church was because its traditional service and open church choir. The new age non-denominational church groups have always been a bit of a put off to me, as they seem to really strive to not fit the traditional church mold, as if they will only attract members by pretending not to be a church.

But within five minutes, the associate minister recognized that I was new and came by and said hello and offered me a welcome packet. The senior pastor had a great message that I really enjoyed, and instead of preaching, it felt like more of a conversation, even though the congregation wasn't talking back. One verse into the first hymn, however, I discovered that I reeeally can't hit those high notes anymore, but I have no idea how to sing alto, so I squeaked my way through it, offending the ears of those around me.

During the portion of the service where you get up and talk to the people around you (I felt very uncomfortable - one woman even hugged me, pushing my personal space issues to the limit), but a girl around my age (with spiky pink hair) introduced herself to me and said she led the young adult group. Given that there were only 3 young adults in attendance, I have a feeling its a small group to lead.

Overall, I'll definitely return. Everyone seemed welcoming and friendly, but it was certainly nothing compared to what Central once was and I will have to be conscious not to compare the two.

Sidenote: I've already hit an internal conflict. The church service runs from 10:30 - 11:30, while sunday football begins at 11 am in Denver. When the Eagles play the early game, it will be hard to decide to go to church instead of the local bar...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Last night I officially became a volunteer for the Red Cross. The Mile High chapter is MUCH more efficient than the Arlington chapter. My first training session is saturday (yikes!) and I've signed up for the Disaster Action Team. Basically, I'll haul my butt out of bed at 2 in the morning upon occasion and help families and firefighters at fire scenes.

2.) I've got plans for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with DIFFERENT PEOPLE. This is impressive and I'm hoping to expand the number of people I know. It's really hard to form a social circle from scratch.

3.) Earlier in the week, the space heater I keep under my desk broke (well, actually it started smelling like electrical burning and then was sparking. I'm too afraid to turn it back on). Oddly enough, I'm having trouble finding another space heater in August, so I'm instead wearing a giant cardigan sweater and slippers while at my desk. Brr.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Making Levar Burton Proud

Right around the corner from my old office in DC was this wonderful little used bookstore. Lauren and I would drive over every now and then on Saturdays and wander around, picking up bagfuls of new books to take home with us and fill our bookshelves. On one trip alone, I came home with no less than a dozen books.

Unfortunately, I have also been in grad school for the past three years, severely limiting my reading time. And when I wasn't reading for school, I wanted to turn my brain off as much as possible which usually meant sitting mindlessly in front of the TV.

Now that I've adjusted to living alone, I have found so many more hours for reading. Having no roommate to goof off with and not a whole lot of TV channels to watch, I'm happily filling my nights and weekends with all of those books that were dormant on my shelves.

As previously mentioned, I have book ADD - I'm STILL trying to finish The Happiness Project (she moved onto topics such as spouses and children, which I couldn't relate to as much), and am almost done A Walk in the Woods for approximately the millionth time. American Wife still sits unfinished on my nightstand, keeping My Horizontal Life company.

But in spite of those pages waiting to be finished, last night I started yet a new book: Eat, Pray, Love. Yes, I realize I'm a few years behind the times. Quite frankly, I hadn't wanted to read it when it was being hyped, but now that the movie is being released, I'd rather read the book and compare (although, really, a book is almost always better).

So far, this book falls into a unique category of "books that keep me awake." Usually I read right before bed, and therefore most books make me sleepy. After reading for 3 hours last night, I was still wide awake, trying to read just one more chapter. I have plans tonight, but I'm excited to get home after them and crawl back into bed with Liz and her yearlong adventure in self-discovery.

But after I finish this book, I swear I'm going to finish the others. Unless something better comes along...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Take me out to the Ballgame

Sunday afternoon I went to my very first Rockies game. The Rockies were finishing up a three game sweep of the Cubs and the previous two games had been nothing short of incredible. On Friday, the Rockies scored a record 12 runs in the bottom of the 8th, which captured both franchies and MLB records for hits in one inning and consecutive hits (13 and 11).

Saturday's game resulted in an apparently elusive "cycle", where one hitter hits a single, double, triple, and home run all in one game.

So Sunday, I was moderately excited to go to the game. Not being a huge fan of baseball, I was at least excited to see what the beer selection would be at the ballpark. It was pretty standard fare, Blue Moon, Coors Light and Coors "heavy" (Also known as Coors Banquet - who knew??).

I met a few of Kyle's friends and they were very nice, but most live outside of the city. I thought I had found a fellow eagles fan, a girl who graduated from Springford, but she is unfortunately more into baseball and hockey. It was nice to talk Philly for awhile, though.

The stadium is located in or near LoDo (I'm still not sure of the boundaries), where to the east you can see the skyscrapers and to the west you can see the mountains. Or so I'm told. It was a bit hazy that day, so the mountains were only occasionally visible. The game was apparently a good one, with the Rockies winning 8-7. Afterward Kyle and I went to a yummy burger joint on Colfax, a dodgy street known for dive bars and interesting characters. Our last stop was called The Cheeky Monk - a Belgian beer place that my Dad will really enjoy when he comes out to visit (so long as my mom can ignore the sketchiness of the area its in). Colfax is not somewhere I'd want to be alone after dark.

So that was pretty much my weekend. How was yours?