Take me out to the ball game!

Tonight, I went to my first Mariners’ game in almost three years! There’s nothing that screams summer like sitting in the sun at a baseball game with a beer in your hand. Well, we didn’t exactly have the sun today – it is May in the Pacific Northwest, after all 🙂 Luckily, the M’s stadium has a retractable roof so we were spared the omnipresent Seattle spring drizzle. But I did have a beer in my hand and a couple of hours of QT with my dad, so all was well!

Let’s back up and talk about the rest of the day first, shall we?

Toast and Flying Squirrel Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed PB for breakfast:

I was super energetic during my workout this morning, which was a nice change! Perhaps the coffee bean crunchies in the PB helped?? Anyway, I completed a sweaty 50 minutes on the elliptical and then showered and changed at the gym before heading up north to meet my mom for lunch.

We went to Honey Bear Bakery in Shoreline, which is right near one of her schools (she’s a speech pathologist). We split the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Sandwich and each got a cup of tomato basil soup as well. The sandwich was sliced chicken, pepperjack cheese, pickled jalapenos, and jalapeno-mango salsa on whole wheat. Mmmm.

I ate a couple of chips and skipped the bread that accompanied the soup to keep room for a few bites of that cookie in back there. My mom has as raging a sweet tooth as I do so we’re a good pair.

I ran a bunch of errands and continued the fun task of organizing my room. I’m beginning to see progress – I can actually see a good portion of the carpet now! Who knew someone could have SO MUCH CRAP!! Goodwill is about to get very lucky… I’ve got five bags of stuff to give away so far!

All that organizing sparked my appetite, so I took a snack break and vegged out with Ellen for awhile. See the glow from the TV reflected off the glass coffee table? My yogurt, Kashi GoLean Crunch, and bananas hit the spot.

Before long, it was time to head to Safeco. My dad and a few of his guy friends share season tickets, so he goes to a decent number of games each year. They’ve actually had this arrangement pretty much as long as I’ve been alive and growing up, I probably went to two or three games a month? It was pretty sweet, especially since in the ’90s they were pretty good. Now? Ehh. But it’s still fun 🙂

We went down early to grab a bite at Elysian Fields, which is a brewery and restaurant about a 5 minute walk from Safeco.

Their beer is far better than their food, in my opinion, and the only thing that caught my eye was the chicken sandwich. I suppose this post would have been more aptly titled “Day of the Chicken Sandwich.” It was good, nothing special – just spicy chicken, cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato on ciabatta. I was surprisingly hungry so I polished off the sandwich but left most of my fries. It was too dark to get a picture of my beer, but I wish I had – I ordered the Cerise Amour, which was a Belgian style beer brewed with sour cherries. It was actually almost magenta colored! It was delicious, light and crisp with definite tart cherry flavor, but not in an overpowering way.

The game ended up being great! The M’s beat the Rangers 3-1 and my dad and I had a fun time catching up. We don’t spend much time one on one when I’m home, nor do we talk much on the phone. He’s a great guy and as I get older I see how many similarities we have and common interests, so it’s really nice to hang out.

View from our seats:

I wasn’t tired when I got home for some reason, though it was 10pm, so I watched my most recent Netflix arrival, The Hurt Locker. I got on my trainer for about a half hour of it and snuck in some additional exercise too. Trainer = best home gym addition ever.


Getting my life in order

I woke up this morning to a sea of boxes in my room. My first instinct was to hide under the covers to avoid the mess, but I decided to whip up a pot of banana oats to make up for a week without banana oats. A whole week! Not sure how I persevered through the last several days, but somehow it happened 🙂

I made a bigger portion than usual since I was starving, using 1/2 cup each of oats, milk, and water, and a whole banana. I think that half a banana is really the best amount for even this size – a whole one, though it was small, kind of threw off the consistency and it was thicker rather than creamier. It was still delicious, of course. I’m just being picky.

You know you’re in the house of a political scientist (my dad) when you’ve got a Bill of Rights mug…

I knocked item after item on my to-do list, which was pretty long since I basically wasn’t on the Internet for a week. I had all the moving related things to do, like changing my mailing and billing address for all my various accounts like Netflix, car insurance, etc. I also thought I made headway in my room, but three hours later, it basically looked the same, except I had several bags of books, clothes and random items to donate.

I didn’t watch my time all that carefully and suddenly I was in a rush to shower and eat and get out the door to my 3pm interview with the manager of Mariposa, the restaurant at Neiman Marcus in Bellevue. My best friend from college, Mallorie, has an older half-brother (got it?) who is the General Operations manager at Neiman and when I met him a few months ago, he had offered me a job at the restaurant for the summer if I wanted it. That was the easiest job search I’ve ever done!

I drank a green smoothie on the way – 6 oz OJ, 2 oz milk, handful spinach, 1 scoop TJ’s whey protein, and 1 cup frozen mango. I made sure to check my teeth about a zillion times for spinach flecks!

I’ve never been in a Neiman Marcus before, and that place is SWANKY. I felt self conscious just breathing there and kept worrying I’d knock into some crystal display on my way to the escalator.

Anyway, the interview went great and I basically just need to wait on a background check to clear to get started, and I’m assuming that won’t be an issue. The plan is for me to work about 25 hours a week, or 4 shifts, through mid-June when schools are out, and then I’ll switch to taking care of Chris’ kids for the remainder of my time here. It’ll work out about six weeks for each gig. I may also pick up a shift on the weekends later on in June and July if I feel like I can do that in addition to working for Chris.

I checked in with Chris after my interview, and we made plans to go to dinner later that evening so I could meet his wife Kristyn and their kids, Abbie (10) and Finn (8). It didn’t make sense for me to go all the way home from Bellevue just to come back 3 hours later – which would be rush hour time – and I had my gym bag, so I made good use of my time and did 50 minutes on the elliptical, followed by leg weights.

We met for dinner at Barrio, which is actually where I had met Chris for the first time a few months ago when Mallorie had come out to visit. It’s an upscale Mexican restaurant and Tequila Bar in the heart of downtown Bellevue. Everything on the menu looked amazing, but I ultimately went with what I had last time – the Smoky Pork en Cazuela. This dish of braised pulled pork with almonds and raisins, jicama slaw, and beans came with corn tortillas to make your own tacos.

I had a great time with Chris’ family and am really looking forward to taking care of the kiddos. The family has memberships to the Zoo, the aquarium, and all sorts of other kid-oriented places in Seattle, so I can tell it will be an action packed and fun summer. Abbie is hilarious – she was talking about how she wants to be a pediatrician and go to Harvard and how much she loves school. Sounds like a mini-me…

Before we knew it, it was 9pm and the kids had to get home to bed and me back to Seattle. All in all, a fun and productive day!

You say goodbye, I say hello.

Today, I bid Portland, my home for the last 3 years, goodbye, and said hello (again) to Seattle.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I know, I’ve been quite absent the last week. As you may recall, I left Beaverton last Tuesday to stay with my friend Tyler for the rest of the week before spending the weekend in Eugene for the marathon. For some reason, the wireless password at Tyler’s didn’t work on my computer and I wasn’t able to get on the internets while I was there. It was actually really nice to be away from my computer for a few days. I read the entirety – 550 pages! – of American Wife while I was there (it’s a fictionalized account of Laura Bush’s life, BTW); got in some high-quality work outs; and also got in some high quality veg out and girl time with Tyler.

The whole last weekend deserves it’s own post, so I’ll attend to that tomorrow (I say that today, as if saying so MIGHT just make it happen…) and we’ll just deal with today, today.

Given that it was my last morning in Portland, and that Kristina and Tyler had run the marathon on Sunday, Mike suggested meeting at Pine State Biscuits for breakfast before I hit the road. I cannot believe I didn’t go to this place earlier and am now kicking myself for all the missed opportunities. Pine State Biscuits is a literal hole in the wall on Belmont that specializes in – you guessed it – biscuits.

My friends had the option of being in food comas the rest of the day, so they ordered the Reggie (see above) while I went with a regular biscuit with jam and a side of baked apples. Even on a Monday morning at 10 am, the place was super crowded, so we took our food to go and ate at Kristina’s house just down the street.

It was nothing short of amazing. The biscuits were flaky and light, and I think they were made with a bit of cornmeal as well. And the baked apples? Yuuuuum. Buttery, cinnamony, plump – I’ll be experimenting with this in the future…

Once finished, the time came for goodbyes. It was really sad to say goodbye to my friends. I’ve only known Mike for about a year, but he is one of my favorite people that I’ve ever met. His humor and support got me through training for my first marathon, and made me want to come back to TNT for a second season. Kristina, Tyler and I have been friends for just half that time, but I love them just as much. T and I have been running together every Saturday for months, and I think enduring 20 miles together brings you much closer than just spending three hours together. I will be back in just 2 short months, though, to do the Firecracker Triple – three half marathons in the three days of Fourth of July weekend – with Tyler. And, she said she would come up to Seattle to run a few miles with me in the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon on June 25th!

I hustled back to Beaverton to get the last of our stuff – my bike and Jacob’s computer – and began the three hour drive back to Seattle around 1pm. On my way home, I was thinking about all the firsts I had in Portland. Some were fantastic, some were awful at the time but are now funny memories, and some were of course just plain awful. Overall, though, I am so happy that I was able to spend the first (almost) three years of my “real” adult life in Portland. Here’s just a partial list of all the “first times” PDX and I had together:

  • paying rent
  • having a credit card… and then another
  • getting in a car accident… and then another
  • living with a boy 🙂
  • breaking a finger (my left pinky)
  • running a half marathon
  • running a marathon
  • trying (and loving) yoga
  • actually liking beer – and being able to tell you the difference between an IPA, a red, a trippel, and a brown
  • being in a relationship over a year
  • leaving the country with a boyfriend
  • lobbying legislators
  • having a grown up job…
  • … and losing a job
  • dyeing my hair
  • fundraising for a cause I care about
  • working in a restaurant
  • snowshoeing
  • getting over the stigma about online dating and doing it myself… and meeting the perfect boy (man? weird)
I have had a lot of firsts here, and I hope I can come back here someday for some more firsts – like buying a house, or having a kiddo, perhaps??
These thoughts made my drive fly by, but didn’t keep my hunger at bay for long. I grabbed a Naked green juice at Starbucks and had an apple not too long after.

It was pretty smooth sailing all the way home – and then the fun part of unloading all my crap began. Who knew that one person could acquire so much stuff??? Check out my room…

Only about 1/3 of that came in my car today and the rest was brought up when my parents came to PDX and also when J and I went to the San Juans a few weeks ago. This should be so much fun to go through in the next couple weeks… not.

My mom and I were on my own since my dad had an event at the university, so we popped down the street to the Third Place Pub for dinner. It’s a cozy little space in the basement of Third Place Books, a new and used bookstore in my neighborhood, and the pub menu is Greek food. I ordered the vegetarian meze plate, which allowed you to choose three antipasti and/or salads. I went with green olive tapenade; cous cous with almonds and apricots; and a traditional Greek salad.

I spent the remainder of the night trying to make some semblance of order in my room. I made a little headway before breaking for the Daily Show and Colbert Report. My exercise today was 25 minutes on the bike trainer in front of the TV and some light weights.

I’m pooped. Gotta get some good sleep before tackling the sh*tshow that is my room.