Lexd's Blog

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Checklist for Your Mid-Twenties September 6, 2011

Filed under: life — lexd @ 7:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

And so ends what has been one of the busiest summers I can remember. I didn’t do a TON of traveling or anything, but it was a good mix of working hard, getting out to relax, and some BIG life changes:

A) BF is here!

B) We’re now in our third month of sharing a 800-sq.-ft. apartment in Lower Queen Anne. I hate parking and I hate traffic, but I am truly unable to express how much I love where we live. I can’t explain how it makes me feel to step outside our building and smell the ocean, hear the trains in the distance, see the sunset on the water. LQA has a great assortment of bars and restaurants, and two major grocery stores and my bank are 3 blocks away. Hipster level: Medium. Fully acceptable.

The view from my neighborhood on a nice day. BOOM

 

C) I walk or use public transportation to get absolutely everywhere with a Seattle address (this excludes work and parents’ house). If you know me, you know this has been a dream of mine. IT IS AS AWESOME AS I EXPECTED

D) Getting back into baking. The Stand Mixer has a place of serious esteem in our minikitchen … taking up valuable countertop real estate. That being said, I’m making it earn this place. Peach pie, banana bread, zucchini bread, and cookies galore. Good thing I’m walking everywhere …

In other (less cool) news, I hope I’m not the only one who has seen a lot of upheaval in 2011 … and not necessarily the good stuff. While I’ve been pretty lucky, a lot of my friends are facing some pretty challenging situations. I don’t want to get into details, but I’m trying my best to be there for them, and it’s reminding me of the value of friendship … something I’ve sort of been neglecting since we got back from San Diego in June. Resolution: Hang out more with my friends when it isn’t necessary. Working odd hours can make this challenging, but I do miss them.

In closing, check out this 10-item “Checklist for Your Mid-Twenties” that I did not write. While the vocabulary gets a little lofty at times, quite a few of these resonated with me (and, at age 26, I suppose they should, given the title). It may not be off base if you’re a little older, too. It’s kind of shocking sometimes to see the things that you are dealing with explained so succinctly.

Have a great (short) week everyone 🙂

Currently Loving: Those cartons of egg whites at the store … no more wasted yolks!, The Head and the Heart (if you’ve never heard of them, please listen … so chill), and zucchini bread. My parents have more zucchini they can handle … good thing the folks at work seem to like my baking!

Seattle image by dherrera_96

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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

 

Getting it all out of the way March 20, 2011

Filed under: life,other — lexd @ 8:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Again, with the dormancy. So much for working on blogging more in 2011.

The last 1 2/3 months have been pretty tumultuous for me. In a nutshell:

  • My badass (and last living) grandmother Gloria passed away a month and a day prior to her 80th birthday
  • I got laid off, with less than a week’s notice
  • Long-distance is really starting to take its toll on my relationship with BF.

I think I hardly need to go into my grandmother’s death. Unlike the passing of my other two grandparents, we had time to prepare for this, and she was in so much pain all the time. Privately, her physician told my dad that he couldn’t believe she was still holding on — her body was completely failing. If this makes sense, it was hoped for but unwanted. We held a nice service, told stories about her, and drank Carlo Rossi Sangria in memoriam at a shindig later at her home. I am hesitant to expose family dirty laundry on this forum, but dealing with the estate has been challenging, and unfortunately has brought out the bad side in some folks. However, I cannot say enough good things about the Franciscan Hospice in Tacoma, WA. She spent a little over a month there, and between the massages, daily ice cream carts, and daily allowances of sangria (her favorite), I think her last month was as comfortable as it could have been. Their involvement was truly a blessing.

I am now also a product of the economy — laid off from a corporate job. Yes, I was contract, but it was cut short three months early with 6 days notice. I would also like to note that this is the first job that I haven’t left of my own accord. And, I loved it there, in case I didn’t make that clear on previous posts. I cried a LOT when they told me, I cried a lot all the way home, and I cried really hard when I told BF. While it was strictly a business decision (and my colleagues there have been wonderful in helping me find new career employment), I let it hurt my feelings … inadviseable. I worked so hard there, and I was so disappointed.

That being said, the timing was right. Better last month than the month before BF moves up here, and the bar I’m working at was actually looking for someone to pick up some extra hours — bingo. I’m currently working there full-time, and freaking loving it. I enjoyed working one day a week, but I so love my coworkers, the environment and the fast pace. I can honestly say I look forward to going in to every shift.

Both the bar job and the long-distance are starting to take a toll on my relationship, however. I work odd hours, so BF and I don’t get to talk much. When we do, I guess I come across as terse and uninterested. Clearly that’s not the case on my end, but it’s hard to figure out how to fix it when we only get to talk for about 20 minutes a day. I don’t want to air our shared dirty laundry on here, but we are currently trying to manage each other’s expectations and attitudes in a way that becomes a win-win for both of us. We’re both growing resentful of each other (he of all the fun I’m having up here, at work and socially), and I’m growing resentful of his inaction regarding job searching, committing to a date to move, etc. We’re working on these things because we love each other, but I can honestly say the last couple months have been the most challenging we’ve had in more than 6 years. It’s a good thing I get to go see him on Wednesday!

Anyway, looking forward, I get to spend a week in Orlando (while the fam spends 4 days in Vegas, jealous!), I am really enjoying my job, as un-career as it is, and am still squirreling money away so I can move out in the next couple months. I am spending time with old friends, reconnecting with others, making new ones, and enjoying the hell out of living in the Seattle area. Still glad I moved? You betcha.

Currently loving: “Ratatat” by Lex, SUN DRESSES, and that I’m comfortably back into my early-college Lucky Jeans!!

 

 

On Mountains February 9, 2011

Filed under: other,rant — lexd @ 11:33 pm
Tags: , , , ,

So, it’s been 6 months since I moved back here, and I am still stoked. Not just because of beautiful days like today (it’s cold but NO CLOUDS NO RAIN BRING ON THE SUN) … for a lot of reasons. One of these is MOUNTAINS.

For those of you who have only lived in the Pacific Northwest (or anywhere with substantial mountainous terrain), you may not realize how freaking awesome they are. While I love the beaches of Florida, it always felt like a little something was missing from the horizon. Having grown up in Washington, THERE WAS SOMETHING MISSING.

BEHOLD:

image from ellie

All kidding aside, this is exactly what you would see on a clear day as you went around your business anywhere in the Seattle area (including the Eastside). This, friends, was a part of the backdrop for me. And, I never realized how accustomed I’d grown to mountains until I moved somewhere without them.

Don’t get me wrong, Florida has incredible sunsets and amazingly lush greenery. But when it comes down to it, I still smile every time I catch a view of the mountains around here. This is a shot up on Snoqualmie Pass, about an hour from my house (I-90 runs through the Pass):

image from starmist1

And this was taken at an unidentified point in the Cascades. I’m sure it was massaged with Photoshop, but do you see what I’m getting at? The greenery and mountains up here are &$^%*#@ epic:

image from christygordon

I am kind of struggling right now, because the photos don’t quite do the views justice. It’s one thing to be looking at a photo … and then it’s another entirely to actually see an incredible view like that in person. Particularly so when you are doing something mundane like driving to the dry cleaner, or the grocery store.

Especially when it’s the big daddy:

image from dizfunkshinal

Every. Single. Time. I see this mountain, it makes me happy. While I’m sure the above photo was also Photo-massaged, here’s one that’s not quite the same quality … but Rainier still looks incredible.

image from jay galvin

Imagine seeing that during your commute 🙂

That being said,  a “clear day” is required to partake in this natural beauty. And I suppose at that point, the joke is on us. According to Seattle’s Wikipedia entry, the city has — on average — at least partly cloudy skies 294 days a year.

Enough with the photo-ing. My name is Lex, and I %^$#@(* love mountains (even though I can’t ski, board, sled, or climb, and I hate the cold). I still love them.

Currently loving (besides mountains): “Panic Switch” by the Silversun Pickups, this columnist’s response to the question “How do I know if she loves me?” (sent it to BF and apologized for never making him a shark-shaped pancake), fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu comics

 

 

Another axe to grind December 2, 2010

Filed under: rant — lexd @ 12:06 am
Tags: , , ,

I don’t want to go on a rant here … but I’m getting a little tired of the “wow, 1″ of snow, shut down Seattle!” jokes. Seriously, $%*# off. That’s great that you grew up in upstate New York and nothing short of two feet of snow even delayed school, but that’s not how things work around here.

While a lot of our drivers are indeed fundamentally retarded in anything more than rain, our inability to function as a city (and a county, really) when it snows is due to a few major things:

  • Topography. Seattle is a stick shift-driver’s worst nightmare, even in prime conditions. Hills inside the city limits go up to an elevation of 500+ feet, and down to sea level. Some hills have up to 21% slope. And, these aren’t just arterials. Queen Anne Ave, for example, is a pretty heavily-trafficked area, and has an 18% slope. If you think I’m crazy, just follow the link on the header for some official numbers from the Seattle DOT.
  • Anti-snow supplies. On average, it doesn’t snow more than a few days a year in Seattle and the surrounding areas. That being said, it would be kind of silly to invest in and maintain a bunch of snowplows, salt, sand and de-icer, wouldn’t it? This is particularly true in a city that is considering implementing a toll between $3.50-5/trip to pay for repairs on a bridge that has needed it for years. The money isn’t there, folks, and if a politician suggested spending money on snow equipment, he/she would be flayed alive. So, the ENTIRE City of Seattle currently has 30 trucks that can be fitted with rubber-edged snowplows, 2 honest-to-goodness snowplows, and 4 de-icer trucks. That is 36 vehicles for a city with 617,000 residents (in Seattle proper … 3.4 million in Seattle Metro), that spans 143 square miles, with 1,531 miles of streets deemed “major arterials.”  So, for every 17,139 Seattleites (CITY Seattleites, not METRO Seattleites who may commute in) and 43 miles of major arterial road, there is one truck. To top it off, our rubber-tipped snowplows will clear snow, but not ice (which, as you’ll see, is the real problem).
  • Weather. The Pacific Northwest — and particularly Seattle — serves as a “landing pad” for big weather systems moving through the Pacific Ocean. We’re also surrounded by two mountain ranges, which tends to add a level of unpredictability. In a 2008 Seattle P-I article, UW atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass said the following:

The so-called “Puget Sound convergence zone” is a moving target that describes a weather reunion — when an onshore weather system that gets split by the Olympics meets again somewhere over the greater Seattle metropolitan area. And what kind of weather you get is, of course, determined to a large extent by where you live — how close to the water, elevation and the like.

And, if you check out the average temperatures in Seattle’s winter history, you’ll see that they usually dance around 32 degrees F … freezing. This normally wouldn’t be a problem until it gets cold enough to snow … then it warms back up during mid-day or early afternoon (partially melting said snow), and then drops again in the evening (freezing said melted snow into sheets of ice). THIS is where things go awry … and leads me to my next point:

  • Drivers.

Ninja Edit: I’ll be honest, I got to this point, logged on to Reddit randomly, and found this post: “In defense of Seattle drivers.” It achieves everything I was trying to do in this post, and he’s got way more cred than me because he’s from ALASKA.

So, anyway, /endrant. Lots of fun stuff to blog about, and per usual, it’s just banging around in my head, waiting for an outlet. If I can pry myself away from my umpteenth playthrough of Earthbound, I may just do it tonight 😀

Currently Loving: Hugo’s cover of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” puffy vests (preferrably with hoods … this sort of looks like the one I’m wearing today), the Victoria’s Secret fashion show (not only was Gerard Butler there, but the girls all genuinely looked like they were having so much fun)

this incredible image brought to you by ShedBOy^

 

Whirlwind September 23, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 11:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Many apologies for the lack in posting. It’s certainly not for lack of things to write about. In fact, things have been CRAZY.

Instead of writing some 1,000+ word post that nobody will get all the way through, I figured I’d just kind of do a bulleted list. I’m in PR and social media, see … bullets are our lifeblood.

Anyway:

  • Working from home is not the party people make it out to be. (Well, people who don’t work from home seem to think working from home is awesome.) It is really hard to do full-time, both because of distractions, and the temptation to work ALL THE TIME. As with anything, you need a freaking break every once in a while.
  • Behold: If you live solely on credit for a month, your credit card bills will reflect that. I don’t know how this one got past me, but I choked when I looked at my credit card bill this month. And then promptly created a payment plan for myself.
  • Live music is awesome, whether it’s in a coffee house, at a festival, or at a concert. I experienced all three in the last two weeks. I also forgot how many bands there are in the Seattle area … and how many of them are good. Les Marseilles (sp), for instance.
  • I am repeatedly disappointed with the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville. The last couple times I’ve been there, the food has been subpar, and the service was terrible. Honestly, their beer isn’t good enough for me to put up with that. This did not change at last weekend’s SausageFest event (Yes, “sausagefest”). They had ONE beer tent, and the event was held at the brewery. Are they serious? Poor planning. 6,000 people, 1 tent.
  • At said festival, I definitely tried a beer called “Meat Hook.” It was a bacon-infused ale. First taste: Pleasantly smoky. Aftertaste: “I just ate bacon and now I have reflux” taste in my mouth. Would not drink again. So, I retaliated by eating a bacon-wrapped meatball instead.
  • My 360’s hard drive is having problems. While this has freed up a considerable amount of time, it is also SO frustrating. I just hooked it up again, dammit!
  • I am officially making a goal of running in the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon next summer. I did the maths, and I have time to do the couch to 5K plan (I’m in week 4 right now), the couch to 10K plan, and then a half marathon plan before then, with a couple weeks of breaks/fun runs.
  • That being said, my shin splints are just getting worse and worse. It hurts so badly to run some days (like today). I’m rocking the post-workout stretching and icing to try and help it, and as I start to run longer (and further) I’ll probably have my sister tape them to see if that helps.
  • I discovered today that hanging out on the elliptical for about 15 minutes after a run does a pretty good job stretching my shins and calves out. I’ll try that, too.
  • I got hired at a local restaurant/bar last night to pick up a few shifts a week. I worked a “follow” shift last night, and even though I was on my feet for 6 hours straight, I had SO MUCH FUN. I forgot how much I enjoy serving.
  • It’s a tequila bar, so I have a lot to learn.
  • My dog is the best coworker ever. He may not answer phone calls or help me proof my work, but when I am freaking out about something stupid, he gives me a “shut up already” look. When I’m legitimately upset, stressed and freaking out, he knows that it helps if he comes over to cuddle. Also, he’s always hungry, so he reminds me to eat. I just wish he wasn’t so gassy all the time. He can’t help it, he’s just getting old.
  • LDRs still suck. Looks like early 2011 before BF will be up here. It’s a hard balance to strike. We are saving so much money and paying off so much of our debt in our current arrangement. I guess it’s just sort of a “how long can we put up with this” situation. 😦
  • Rehabbing my shoulder is not going well. I’m pretty much constantly in pain when doing upper body workouts, so it’s been a challenge to keep motivated. Stupid scar tissue.
  • I put this up on Facebook … and I know a lot of people say this … but I really have the absolute best group of friends a girl could wish for. From my best friend of 18 years to people I met in college (and those in FL of course), no matter who I hang out with or what we do, I usually end up relaxing, laughing until I cry, and having so much fun. I love them so much. This was a huge reason I moved back to Seattle, and it’s proving to be 100% worth it.

I guess that’s all for now. Back to a semi-regular posting schedule 😀

Currently Loving: C20 coconut water (best I’ve found so far), The Vampire Diaries (I’m so sorry, I got hooked and couldn’t help it), rainy weather (there’s something that is just so comforting about the soft patter of Seattle rain), hearing the high school baseball games through the open window as I lay in bed tonight (the park is across the street from our house), surprise “I love you” text messages from BF 🙂

image from the Seattle P-I

 

New Goals September 8, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 5:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

So, I’ve said it out loud a few times in the past couple days, and nobody laughed (including myself).

I AM GOING TO RUN A 10K IN THE NEXT YEAR.

I know this sounds ambitious, particularly because I’m only on day 3 of my entire “Couch to 5K” workout, but I agree with many others online who have tried the program (and who have kept running as a result). It’s something I can actually do, and that I can see myself sticking with.

Why? A few reasons:

  • It is interval training, which is my favorite way to make long workouts seem shorter (and still keep them effective).
  • Theoretically, each week I will be seeing forward progress. I know I’m not the only person who is motivated by results (regardless of whether it’s weight loss/gain, moving up weight loads lifting, or increase in flexibility … isn’t that what it’s all about?), and I know I’ll be excited when I can run longer, faster (even if it’s just an extra 30 seconds!).
  • It’s only three days a week. That means I can do whatever else I want on the other days, hence helping address my workout ADD. The only thing I have to be careful with here is not killing my legs with spinning/stairs/lifting on the “off” days.
  • Perhaps the most important: It is session 3 and I am still looking forward to running today. 😀

“Well, Lex,” you might say, “a 5K is pretty different than a 10K … you know that, right?” Yep, I know. But, if I can run 3.1 miles at a decent clip after working through this, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to tackle anything. And, I want to say I’ve run a 10K. That is a BIG deal to me … and I think it’s a great goal. It makes me excited to work harder! I’m still checking out local 10Ks here in Seattle to set as my goal race … any suggestions? There’s no “TrackShack”-esque entity up here.

Currently loving: Hootsuite (this is work-related, but I LOVE this tool), chia seeds (finally found them at our local PCC), and a short work week!

photo from Foto43