Lexd's Blog

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The Final Countdown April 1, 2011

Filed under: life,love — lexd @ 5:21 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, you probably already know that they often exist in phases — generally speaking, the countdown until you get to see one another again. Because really … what else is there to look forward to?

Wednesday morning, BF and I started our final countdown. The next time we see each other, he will be on the west coast, having driven across the country. The details of this meetup are still being decided (there’s a wedding we’d like to attend in Napa, and he’d like to just be in the area when it happens), including important details like THE DATES. Looks like he’ll be here in June, though 😀

My time in Orlando was fantastic for several reasons. First and foremost, I saw BF all day every day except for Tuesday (he had to work). I got to go to a Yankees spring training game. We got to do a lot of cooking (something we both really enjoy). I caught up on some movies and TV shows, and I made him watch Despicable Me. I got my sunshine quota (and my sunburn quota, apparently). I also realized that I do not miss the Orlando area at all. I am fully convinced that the only reason I stayed as long as I did was BF and all my friends there. At the risk of being too dramatic, that area is a hellhole to me.

I also learned that I love to travel, but I hate the process of traveling. I experienced the worst flight I have ever taken (when the captain says, “please hold on, we are in for a rough ride” he isn’t kidding) — not just bumpy turbulence, but drops lasting 5-10 seconds in duration … for an hour and a half. I cried not out of fear of crashing (which was interesting to realize), but because I was desperate not to feel that my-stomach-is-in-my-throat feeling you get on roller coasters anymore. I arrived in Minneapolis in one piece, but in tears and with an adrenaline hangover. I also decided that every airport should have a pharmacy that dispenses Valium. I could have used it.

On the bright side, I got to listen to the new Adele album (BF’s computer has all my music, and it was so nice to update!), and I read a LOT: re-read all three Hunger Games books, as well as the second book in the Odd Thomas series, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, and I started Alice in Wonderland. I love vacations. I would also recommend any of the above books. Additionally, I decided that it’s too easy to buy books on the Kindle (good for Amazon, bad for me!).

Yesterday was sort of a crash course back into the normalcy of non-vacation life. Sort of jetlagged (3 hours is just enough to be annoying), I drank way too much coffee and managed to jitter my way through a lunch shift. I know I’ve said how much I enjoy my job (and I do), but yesterday it didn’t captivate me the way it has for the last month or so. Oddly enough, this realization coincided with a job interview at a non-profit here in Seattle. It was my first-ever phone interview, and I ended it feeling like I did really well. It was truly a double-sided interview — being employed definitely gives you a chance to better evaluate potential job opportunities without feeling like you have to take them. I enjoyed the conversation I had with the executive director, and I feel like my skill set would be a good match for the job. (It involves RESEARCH!!) The issue is, it’s non-profit and it was a (probably appropriate) red flag that the low pay for the job was mentioned in the first interview.

I’m supposed to hear back in 2-3 weeks, so we’ll see where that goes! I’m spending much of the day Saturday evaluating potential places to live for BF and I — we’ve no idea if we want to look for a place that can accommodate roommates, which neighborhood in Seattle, apartment or rent a house, etc. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m really looking forward to it. Talk about a step in the right direction!

Currently Loving: My Kindle (no joke), Fable 2 (got back into it after playing Fable 3 at BF’s place), getting all my bills paid for the month! WOOT

seattle skyline image courtesy of dherrera_96 (I know it’s randomly placed and huge, but I like the photo, darnit)

delray beach, fl sunset photo courtesy of dawnhops

 

DIY Spin Class February 14, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 4:57 pm
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I love spinning. It’s fantastic cardio, the music is usually fun, and I feel like I get a good strength workout in, too. It’s multipurpose, and I love that.

With the New Year — and all the New Year’s Resolution-ers that come with that — I’ve been unable to get a bike in any of my normal spinning classes in 2010. I’ve gotten there 15 minutes early, snagged a pass (which theoretically ensures you a bike) … and still been SOL. There are 39 bikes in the classroom. I can’t leave any earlier from work.

As you can imagine, this seriously bums me out, and means that my only options for cardio at the gym are the treadmill and the elliptical. I’ve been making do, running was fun for awhile (I never knew I could run 5 miles at one time before!), and now I’ve been mixing things up on the elliptical thanks to The Fitnessista’s workouts (the “boredom buster” is awesome).

But, I miss the bike.

So this morning, armed with a towel, waterbottle and the workout mix on my iPod, I went into the spinning classroom and decided to do my own mini spin class. (No, I didn’t use the instructor’s bike, but I was sorely tempted for a minute).

It was kind of weird at first, because I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I’d gotten used to the instructor telling me when to adjust the resistance, change positions, etc.

I ended up adjusting what I was doing to match the beat of whatever song came up on my iPod. It was sort of disjointed, but I don’t usually care about any “guided imagery” that the instructors use, so it was okay. I tried my best to mix things up … including sprints and seated climbs (both of which I hate with the fire of a thousand suns). I made sure to give myself a little rest every once in awhile in position 2 (usually during the bridge). And when I thought I was done, guess what song came on? “The Hand That Feeds” by NIN. My power song. I kept truckin’.

I biked for about 40 minutes. I got really sweaty. I kicked serious ass. And I realized how much I miss spinning!

While it may seem odd that I can really push myself on a bike without an instructor — when I have issues with the same thing on the treadmill — I think it’s because I go song by song. I listened to what my body was telling me … instead of listening to someone else. When nobody is around, it’s a lot easier to focus on the different muscle groups in your legs: How much gas do my quads have left, can I up the resistance and finish the song? Can I pull a sprint … or a hover out right now? Am I squeezing my hamstrings on the way up?

I busted out a couple of circuits per the Winter Shape Up week 3 afterwards, and felt like a total badass.

Now that I’ve gotten this first one under my belt, I’ll probably do this a little more often. Odds are I’ll start going back to the spinning classes when the resolution crowd drops off in March … but it was empowering to see that I can push myself hard, even when nobody’s looking.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! BF and I have a devastatingly romantic day planned … looking at apartments for our move at the end of next month. Ugh, at least I am making him take me to First Watch to fuel up 😛

image from pedrosimoes7’s Photostream

 

Warning: Food(ie) Rant October 26, 2009

Filed under: food,rant — lexd @ 5:17 pm
Tags: , , ,

I have a confession to make: I am a food snob.

This epiphany hit me over the weekend, as I was eagerly researching local restaurants here in the Orlando area for the upcoming five year anniversary with BF. I have two requirements as I plow through this search:

  • No chain restaurants
  • I refuse to pay more than $35 for an entree (call me cheap, but you shouldn’t have to pay more than that for a delicious and memorable meal)

I’ve run into this problem in Orlando before, but it’s never hit me quite as hard as it did when I was perusing Yelp and Urbanspoon. And Orlando Magazine. And Seminole Magazine. I discovered two things:

  • Orlando is a land of chain restaurants
  • Many people in Orlando equate price with quality.

As you can tell, these directly contradict my restaurant requirements above.

I figure this post might raise a few hackles, but seriously. Check out UrbanSpoon’s list of best restaurants in Orlando. Almost half of the top 20 are chain restaurants.

I am not trying to argue that chain restaurants are always crap (although the ubiquitous TGI Friday’s and Applebees are reliably terrible). In fact, I dined at Bahama Breeze last night, and had an enjoyable meal. The one time I’ve been to Seasons 52, it was wonderful. Outback often makes a great steak for the price.

But if someone from out of town were to ask me for one restaurant recommendation for the town I lived in, and the best I could muster was a chain restaurant, I’d be pretty embarrassed.

To prove my point: Check out Orlando Magazine’s restaurant rankings for 2009. Best take-out? A GROCERY STORE. Best Chinese? P.F. Chang’s. Best Mexican food … TIJUANA FLATTS? I love some TJ’s, but when it’s ranked as the best Mexican food in all of Orlando, you’ve got a problem. (To friends not from Central Florida, Tijuana Flatts is a chain kind of like Chipotle.)

Also, when I finally get a recommendation for a “great” restaurant around here, it’s usually obnoxiously expensive, and/or underwhelming. Case in point: Ravenous Pig, Ceviche, Hue, Spice, Citrus. Certainly the food was tasty at each place (most of the time … SPICE), but I think it’s telling that when I have the opportunity/desire to go out for a meal, none of these places come to mind. The food simply isn’t worth the price, to me.

To those who cry that I haven’t been to Texas De Brazil, Del Frisco’s, Charleys or Houston’s … the same principle applies. $150-200 worth of food does not a great anniversary meal make.

So, yes, I have moved beyond just being a “seafood snob” (if you have never eaten Atlantic salmon, DON’T), and into food snob land.

And, if you care, we’re going to Melting Pot for our anniversary. Last year, their high-walled booths, decently-priced bottles of wine, and the fun of fondue itself created one of my favorite anniversary dinners ever.

 

Sensitivities of Living Away from Home July 7, 2009

Filed under: other — lexd @ 1:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

Tomorrow, for the first time since Thanksgiving, I’m flying back to Seattle to see my friends and family.

I got a little more jittery as I typed that sentence, I’ll be honest.

It’s an excited jittery. I was “in charge” of this trip (which is a huge deal for bf, he is such a planner, and relinquishing control was hard for him), and I am proud to say we have less than 6 things planned for the five days we are there. It’s going to be nice to just sit around with my family, play Rockband, bocce ball, BBQ, drink great Washington wine, and hopefully see some friends I haven’t seen in years.

What I’m nervous about is coming back here to Orlando.

My dad and I communicate pretty regularly via email. He tells me about fun meals they’ve made (my family is a big cooking and eating family), my brother’s lacrosse games, my dog, house renovations, the new car they bought, etc etc etc. As you can imagine, for the most part, these emails are full of good things. And, as the time crept by since the last visit I made back home, my selective memory kicked in, and for the last three days, my brain is just full of the great, fun stuff I remember from Seattle.

I know very well that this is selective memory, and that I left Seattle for pretty specific reasons. It’s expensive to live there. The traffic is atrocious, and there are no plans to fix it in the near future (besides tolling 520 … but that bridge is going to fall down before they get anywhere with it). The weather is terrible 9 months out of the year. I hate scraping my car windows. It’s where I was born and raised, and being one of those people who never tried anything else scared the holy hell out of me.

I’m kind of reaching a point, though, where I wonder exactly how much having my friends and family around me will cancel out some of the shitty parts about Seattle. Could I handle crappy weather and terrible traffic, if the family and friends I spent 23 years developing relationships with were within a 1-hour drive?

If you were to ask Mom_D and Dad_D, they’d tell you that I was always the most independent kid. I was ready to GTFO and go to college by 16. I didn’t bat an eyelash at missing lesser holidays with the family when at school. I moved across the country, for God’s sake. So, this confuses me even more.

I really, really REALLY miss my family. I suppose it is as simple as that. I know that when I go visit them, it will be “fun vacation time with family” — which I know would me markedly different than “I live and work in Seattle, and spend time with my family.”  But … would it be worth it? The grass is always greener, as they say … but when it’s seriously cost- and time-prohibitive to see your family, it puts things in a different light.

I know BF throws around the idea of moving home, and then naysays it. But last night, I got pretty upset, and he threw it out there again. I know I always get upset when I visit/leave home (I think before I go, it’s all sorts of nervous energy and an outpouring of emotion that I just stow away in order to be functional down here), and he said we might want to consider moving back … or at least moving closer … if this is how I really feel. I know he’s concerned about me, but I also know that he sort of wants me to take the reins with where we’re moving next. Maybe moving back to the PNW would be a good choice for both of us.

I keep thinking there’s all these other places that I want to live and experience, but I hate only being able to spend 12 days a year with my family … if that.

 

Internet Fuckwad Theory March 24, 2009

Filed under: other,rant — lexd @ 3:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

As much as I would like to think that the Internets have been around for a while, people are no longer socially maladjusted, etc etc etc …

People CONTINUE to prove me wrong! I’ve decided that the majority of the comment boards on the Orlando Sentinel’s web sites are like 4chan /b/ without pictures for the ignorant and bigoted who think they are funny. Except it is in no way as funny as 4chan sometimes is.

I’ve been on comment boards, discussion boards and forums around the county (and even some around the world), and it blows me away that people who comment on the Sentinel’s posts still just don’t get it. They are living proof of John Gabriel’s “Internet Fuckwad Theory”:

A reporter just told me they’re looking into registration that’s a little more intense, but will that really help when all these people are just THAT STUPID?

 

Why I Left Home (And Why I’m Still Away) February 19, 2009

Filed under: other — lexd @ 2:13 pm
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As is to be expected, when I told my friends and family that I was leaving Seattle (born and raised, with a 4 year stint at Washington State U) and moving to Orlando, there was surprise and even a little disgust. 

As it turns out, many Seattle-ites are fiercely protective of their city and state, and according to them, nothing could be better. Also, as is to be expected, my friends and family weren’t super excited about me moving 3,000+ miles and three time zones away. (Direct quote from my mom, “Could you have moved ANY further away?” The answer? Miami and the Keys would have been further. But I’m not moving there)

One of my best friends (whom, sadly, I’ve been a terrible correspondent with) left to go teach English in Hungary two years ago. She’s got some intense wanderlust and had an amazing journey across Europe, made incredible friends, and had some funny (and scary … a p.m. graveyard walk in Kosovo?!) experiences. Although I’d moved the second furthest away among people I knew, I was still jealous and read her blog the second I knew a new post was up. 

My friend went home to Seattle last month – her teaching contract was up, and she needed to rebuild the bank account for her next adventure. Her most recent blog is about how she’s feeling now that she’s home … and she admits, she wasn’t too happy about it at first. She called the town where we’re from “vanilla,” and says that she slipped relatively easily back into the role of working, saving money, and looking for teaching jobs overseas. Exactly what she was doing prior to Hungary in the first place. 

When people ask, sometimes I wish I was back home. I’d already have friends to hang out with on the weekends, and I’d be able to see my family whenever instead of having to cough up at least $500 to fly cross-country (and spend at least 11 hours travelling). But, would I have grown, or changed? Seattle wasn’t a challenge anymore. And to be dead honest, the idea of never having experienced anything outside of that part of the country (on at least a semi-permanent basis) scares the living hell out of me. 

I still have a lot of places I want to see (looking at you, the rest of the SE U.S.), live (yes, New England, that’s you), and experience (waiting on that hurricane, as terrible as the thought is). It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but not only is that outweighed by what I see and experience … but I’ve actually proven to myself that I’m strong enough to do crazy, young, impulsive things like move across the country. 

Had I stayed in Seattle, I wouldn’t have known any better.