Thursday, December 09, 2010

Dancing Down the Outerbanks

On our way to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for Thanksgiving, we said No Thanks to 95 and instead, strolled down through Eastern Maryland and the Outerbanks.  We did two nights in Chincoteague and two nights in Nags Head.

We must have rolled down every sand dune Jockey Dunes had to offer and collected at least 100 neck-laces worth of sea-shells. 

Can I help?

Mommy and Ian

Can I tell you something?
Pizza party in the back camper.

See my Sea-shells?

Wait up!


Jockey Dunes

When was the last time you remember being this happy?

Telling on us.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Sentir vivo

One way to do this (feel alive) is to pack your bags four days after you run a half marathon for a 'long weekender' to Europe.   The Photos

So, while I still can find my crumpled piece of scrap paper (a Swiss Air ticket) that I jotted down some epiphanies, insights and other notes onto, let me record this onto my Web Log...

+ The problem with a Lonely Planet writer illuminating a sweet hidden local gem …is that it kind of ruins the whole ‘hidden’, and ‘local’ part.  I believe we found this out the hard way and hence forth avoided all other hidden treasure recommendations.  Lonely Planet should let the planet be lonely.  My vote would be to get your sneakers on, find a map (and preferably be with a person who can read a map) and start exploring.

+ I knew Connor was a mean one with a map (like glance at a map showing a labyrinth of side streets, rivers and converging metropolitan areas - while driving - and seamlessly find his next turn).  But, I am telling you, I was astounded at how we covered about 12 miles a day over three days and saw some of the most amazing pieces of history imaginable, all through Connor navigating via a TINY free little 4" x 4" map we got at the Visitors desk. 

+ Barcelona - an old city, drenched in history.  While walking, you may rub shoulders with the old Roman Wall, happen upon the old Cathedral and bump into one spectacular spectacle after another.  Much of the city was not well organized with large descriptions and promotions of its 'sights'.  It was quite non-presumptuous. 

+ Guadi - amazing
La Sagrada Familia
la Casa Batllo

+ Even the Barcelona airport was a cultural experience.   Europe (or the limited places I have been) seems to be a melting pot of languages, currencies and cultures.  It felt to me like Europe is In-It together.  It made me feel  a world apart, being in the U.S.  

+ I saw so many older people smiling, laughing.  It really stood out to me.  They seemed to be not so jaded by a "hard life."  But, instead truly happy.

+ No one is in a hurry.  I call this the Chill Factor.  We're talking business men drinking beers in their business suits over extended lunches; people playing cards over breakfast.  Smoking, drinking, smiling laughing.  I get why people describe Europeans as Live for Today.

When in Rome...
+ ?Fumar, porque no?  Holy smokes, everybody smokes.  I think I almost got second-hand lung cancer watching the Flight Attendant sell box after box after box of 'Smoking Kills' (no kidding in huge font).

+ I got by with my 'Mi hablo Espanol muy pequito'.  But, thank goodness for my Pictionary skills....  Those of you who know me well can probably can conjure up a great visual or two.

+ I am not particularly convinced that the Spanish are in love with Americans.  I could be wrong.

+ The gracious town of Basel hosted us for one night also.  I found Switzerland to be so clean, just pristine and full of old-world beauty.  Cold, quite cold as well.

I am SO VERY eternally grateful to have been able to do this trip, and for this, I truly owe mi marido que adoro.  We had a total blast.

Also...I'm sure it goes without saying that I am operating on about a six week lag, but as I have said before, at least I am in operation.  

Also, I should mention, while the post below is still somewhat "fresh", that I smoked (IMO of course) the halfer with a 1 hour and 53 minute time - at least for a first-timer who had no goal whatsoever beyond 'just finishing' (preferably without embarrassment).  I got so nervous and excited for the Race and I loved having those feelings.  What better way to keep those fires burning than our trip to Barcelonita?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baltimore's Half Marathon

...was back on October 16th.  A Half Marathon is 13.1 miles. Exhilarating!  It was nice to have an accomplishment with a start and a finish.  Especially given most days feel like one long continuous series of small successes (we got our grocery order and had a day of happy conversations) and small defeats (we ran over part of our grocery order and taught our children a few new inappropriate vocabulary terms).   I liked the working towards something and the finality of actually having done it.

As for the difficulty level, the truth is that it was not that much different than what I do every day.  I'm sure there are some mothers out there who would be nodding.

The atmosphere in a marathon is bustling and contagious.  It can carry you through the race.  People were handing out skittles and gummy bears - beers around mile 10!  One street had Jamaican music jamming and the streets were lined with kids, grown-ups, some armed with pots and pans belting out a homemade rhythm to run to.  Thousands of people came out to cheer us on--and the weather was ideal.  Sunny and cool.  The hills, now the hills were another story.  Apparently, the Baltimore Marathon is only 10 years old.  The reason being, no one wanted to host a marathon in this hill-acious town.  Whew! 

I did learn a few lessons during my month-long training session, and during the race:

1. Don't stop.  If you stop, you may not start again.
2. If you did not train with it, don't race with it.  My warm top layer that had to go during Mile One of the race - the top layer with all my safety pins embedded into it and my race number - was not my most ingenious wardrobe choice to date.   Unpinning and re-pinning while running could constitute a new sports event in its own right.
3. Just drop the red skittle!   In my entire life, I do not think I have turned down a red skittle.  However, if I could have referenced this check list (#2), maybe I would have thought twice.  I think it may have taken five miles, but I did eventually get it down without embarrassing myself by spitting it out onto someone else or drooling on myself.

And, here are a few shots of the race - the first pic is of our very wonderful neighbors, John and Ellen and their buddy who I ran the race with:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fall Has Fallen

Noah's head, and...
 Noah being Noah.

Boys are happy and growing.  We love this time of year on the East Coast! :)  I think Thanks-giving is a perfectly timed holiday.  That is what my heart is full of these days.

I am also piling through...mounds of Barcelona pictures.  They light me up with smiles as I go through them.  I cannot wait to share.