Monthly Archives: February 2011

I have found it!*

Much like I imagine a mother must have this awareness of the whereabouts of her brood at all times, I am constantly attune to the next long weekend or holiday in the calendar.

There are 65 consecutive work days before Memorial Day.

But President’s Day was just 4 days ago, and herein lies a little tale.

Way back in November, due to my intense anticipation for long weekends, I booked rooms at a bed and breakfast in Eureka for President’s Day weekend.  Eureka is about 5 hour’s drive north of here, on the coast, in Humboldt county.  I’ve never been that far north, so yay!  Adventure!  And bed and breakfast?  Please serve me up a slice of Victorian quirky quaintness any old time!

We were gung ho about leaving early on Saturday so that we’d be able to stop at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park on the way.  We packed on Friday night.  I did laundry so that we wouldn’t have to deal with that when we came back.  We were rip raring to go.  Long weekend!  Weekend getaway!  Long weekend!

And then we were off.

See the little snow capped mountains?

The drive took us through wine country.
iTunes were set to shuffle.

We stopped and slogged about with some redwoods.  We jumped down and stood inside the cavern of one and scuttled through the center of another fallen trunk that had a hollowed out middle.

And then we got to Eureka.  It wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  More bail bond establishments than I had anticipated.

The bed and breakfast was definitely cute and Victorian from the outside, but really more like a hotel on the inside.   The staff seemed to be comprised of community college students, who were plenty nice but not the sort of service professionals you expect for two hundred bucks a night.  Same for the restaurant in the hotel that we went to that night… it was fine, but they definitely had some delusions of grandeur.

We went for a run the next day on a path through an old growth forest reserve, which may have been the best run I’ve ever had.  The air was moist and cool and fresh.  Like a rain forest.  The path ran parallel to a little river and we often passed pretty little waterfalls.  There were little wooden bridges.  At one point, I told David that I felt like an Indian chasing after a deer in the woods** it was just that good.

I didn’t take pictures on the path, but on the drive back we did drive over a covered bridge:  Also, cows live here.

(My attempt at tilt shift application)

We wandered around Eureka.  One of the main points of interest, apparently, is this big green mansion, which you can’t go inside because it houses a secret society of warlocks.

We found The Lost Coast Brewery.  It was excellent.  There were beers.


Ten mini-beers

And later, nachos.

On Monday (which should have been a work day, but was part of a Long Weekend!  Weekend Getaway! instead) we got back in the car to head back home.  The drive back definitely seemed longer, but we had a nice little visit at a small cheese factory and later, a great lunch at a funny little gem of a place in a little teeny town.

And then, back home again.  I probably wouldn’t encourage a mini-break of your own in Eureka, but it wouldn’t be a half bad place to pit stop on the way farther north.  And I’ve still never been to Portland, so you never know…

*Eureka translates to “I have found it!”  Also, California’s state motto is “Eureka (I have found it.)”  Which means that the motto is basically saying the same thing twice. 

**I may regret this sentiment now, as David used this idea to try and motivate me while running the two miles of heinous.

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Filed under Up to Stuff

two miles

Begin preface:

Last year, I was too fat to fit into my snow pants.  I was too fat for a lot of my regular pants, and they’d been banished to storage in the basement.

I was in a non-exercise realm, which extended into a continent of excessive eating, and shamefully, into the ghetto of cigarette smoking.

I don’t remember what the exact tipping point was, but around this time last year, I started making tentative little efforts to get myself back into the Land of Thinness and Exercise.

In May of last year, I started the Couch to 5k training program and on the Fourth of July, I completed my first 5k race.  I did it alone and no one came to watch, by my choosing.  It was very slow going.  I think a little over 38 minutes.

Then I did a 2nd 5k within a month, with a friend, who left me in the dust.  So I ran it alone, but the running was witnessed by others.

And then I met up with a girl friend to run a few times.  I ran with another friend in Seattle when I was there.  Still slow.  But managing to tamp down my shame enough to try and do it with other people.

In November, I ran a 10K with David.  An hour and eighteen minutes. Totally exposing just how slow I am to my super fit boyfriend.  He ran with me the entire time, which I appreciated immeasurably.  I think some little cheater walk breaks would have interloped if he hadn’t been there to keep me honest.

In December, I registered for Bay to Breakers, a 7 mile “race” in May.  David said he’d do it, too, so we’ve been doing a bit more running together lately, in vague preparation for that.  And then!  Very recently, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I wanted to do the Oakland half marathon coming up at the end of March.  Even if it meant planning to walk some of it.  And so we’ve gotten a bit more committed to doing a long weekend run together, completing 6 this past Sunday and 4.5 the weekend before that.

Which ends all the prefacing and brings me to my point.

I had a plan to go to my gym after work yesterday to do an “easy” 3 or 4 mile run on the treadmill.  But then, towards the end of the work day, David says that he wants to do a quick run and that we could do it together.  I agree to this plan.

He suggests that we do 2 miles.  And then he asks what sort of goal should we have.

“I don’t know.  What sort of goal do you think we should have?”

“20 minutes?”

“Um, well… the most I’ve done at that sort of pace is 1.5 miles on the treadmill.  That seems kind of a lot and fast.”

“21 minutes?”

So, with no small dread, I agree to this malarky.

And then we go.  David lets me set the pace.  He’s got the Garmin on.  I’m trying to be fast.  He says we’re doing some kind of pace in the 8’s.  I calm down a little bit until it’s some kind of pace in the mid to upper 9’s.  It’s fine for about 3 minutes.  And then it, along with my wind, just. starts. sucking.

I think about the girls who post their running stats for 10 mile runs with paces like this one for the entire duration and I think vile thoughts about them and about me.

I think about the ginormous cookie I ate from today’s free lunch.

I think, mostly, pitiful little thoughts of woe and desperation.

David, of course, is fine and able to talk to me.  Which he does.  Saying things like:

“You’re doing great!”  (LIE)

“You look really good.”  (LIE)

“You can totally catch that guy.”  (Biggest lie yet)

It was rife with terribleness and a very strong desire to stop.

And then I did stop, ’cause it was over.  2 miles completed.  And it was less than 20 minutes.  I wish I could feel proud of this, but it was so heinous.  How can you feel proud of 19 minutes of heinous?

So while not proud, I might say that I’m amazed.  Amazed that I didn’t give up and start walking in a snarl of vituperativeness.  Amazed that somehow David made me do it.

I’m also amazed, in a full of absolute dreadful sort of way, that this may happen again.


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Filed under Chubby girl

I scoff at intuitive eating

I see mumbo jumbo about intuitive eating all the time, these days.  It seems like it’s just everywhere.  Or maybe I’ve just fallen into a really intuitive blog roll.  Whatever it is, it’s definitely starting to get my goat.   Just today, I wanted to virtually poo-poo at some blogger* who was writing about just how clever she was to be eating intuitively.  She details out all these plans to stop and assess her satisfaction level throughout the meal.  I was imagining this and realized just how impractical that would be.  If you ate JUST enough to not be hungry, how long would that last?  I was reading her post while I was eating my 10 am oatmeal.  A meal that I always have right at 10 am and that I’m usually pretty darned hungry for when it’s time to have.  So half way through it, I had a think.  ‘Am I still hungry?  Well, no.  I am not actively hungry right this second any more.’

I had some more thinks.

Should I stop eating this now?

Will I make it to lunch if I don’t finish this?  I totally doubt it.

Maybe I could have little spoonfuls every 30 minutes, just enough to abate the slightest twinge of hunger, but no more.

Because I could spend my entire day just eating little mini meals. Kind of like hooking myself up to a constant stream of nutrients with an IV!

And then I turned back into myself.

I get that no one’s really suggesting that we dose ourselves with little tastes of food just to satiate the edges of hunger.  Really, the whole idea sounds nice.  It sounds very normal.  Just eat when you feel like it.  Whatever.  No big deal.  But when you’re like me, it IS a big deal.  I can’t unmake it a big deal.
It seems that the origins of the idea are logical and well thought-out, but then begins spiraling into various states of disarray as it falls into the hands of women, looking for a way to stop forcing themselves into certain behaviors.  Looking for a way to not feel bad.  To not be undone by a foe, like the pint quart of Somoas special edition ice cream that I ran afoul of last week.
I would like to believe that one day I can get to that state of normal.  That it will be like that “fake it until you make it” saying… if I follow a plan and guidelines (created from information and math and not intuition) that mimics normal eating, maybe one day I can do it without having to think so much about it.

But until then, I just don’t think it’s realistic to suggest that we should just go around talking to our heads and bodies to access what we need.  While I don’t want to go haranguing strangers on my blog, I will say that *this blogger did recently talk about starting to eat a brownie and then decided that because it wasn’t The Best Brownie Of All Time, she spit it out.  She chewed it up and spat it out.  This was an intuitive eating victory for her.  People commenting on her post were all congratulatory of her wise decision there.  But I actually think that’s crazy.  And if that’s a demonstration of just how normal intuitive eating can be, I click the Dislike button.

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Filed under Chubby girl

dreams that could happen in real life

I had a dream in the wee morning hours today that I was in a class at the gym.  A girl approached me and said “Last class, you totally farted right in my face!”

As I dreamed really really hard trying to conjure a viable response to this, I woke up, glad that I didn’t actually have to come up with something to say.

Hopefully, such a confrontation will never take place, but what would you say to that?


Deny it?

Fart again?

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Filed under Tidbit


I have a thing for Anthropologie.  Like, possibly a pathological thing.  Nothing makes me close my eyes and pass over the credit card like this store does.  I keep a wishlist running at all times, updated regularly.  And I check to see what’s gone on sale every Tuesday (which is when they list new sale stuff).

So, of course I perked right up when I got wind of a new Anthro spin-off with a wedding slant.  BHLDN launched on Monday, because nothing says Valentine’s Day like $WEDDING!$

No surprises here – it’s beeeyootiful.  I love that there are several wedding gowns in colors that are not white.  Lots of textures and patterns.  Definitely not your ubiquitous strapless sateen here.

The little sparkly buttons up the back and especially on the sleeve here are just so girlishly wonderful that I have to say “devine.”
Except I bet my arm would never fit in a sleeve like that.
And also, doesn’t that elbow skin look weird?  I know some people have weird elbow things, but not me.  Just right now.  With *that* elbow.  Anyway.

Cerulean details!  Gorgeous Victorian pendant with two different cords.  All the mis-matchy faux vintage goodness!  <swoon>

Ever since I started going to weddings in England, I feel vaguely obsessed with hats and fascinators.  No idea how you manage to pull it off.  I suspect that you just stick it on there and then take more of your daily recommended dose of “fuck it.  i’m a bad ass.”
Once I started poking around at the idea of a wedding hat, I learned that they’re really quite expensive.  And around these parts, what you can find is really more of the church-going-black-lady type of hat, rather than the horsey-English-wedding sort.
So BHLDN has got a bunch of hair accessories, all of which you’d definitely have to be a bit ballsy to rock.  And oh, how I long to rock ballsily.  And now, I also long to laugh with my other bride friends while we hold our pagoda parasols, too.

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Filed under Maggie's closet

a very good birthday

We’ve been having this unseasonal warm and golden sunny weather lately here in the Bay Area.

It stopped on Sunday and got back to February as usual:  a steady stream of drizzly, gray, cool days.

But the blissful amazingness was still going strong on Saturday, which was a special treat for Jessica, who gets to have her birthday this time of year each and every year.

While I get all weird and jiggity about my own birthday, I’m definitely in favor of the institution in general.  And I was definitely in favor of a birthday flavored picnic near Stinson Beach on a warm Saturday.

It was a great day for pictures.  I took many.

It was also a good day for cheeses and rosé and tree swings and for the birthdays of best friends.

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Filed under Special happy things

I totally get a do over, right?

So after all my mature, serene, and well adjusted peremptory feelings about Valentine’s Day, I kind of snarfed all over it.  I know I’ve said that I don’t care about it.  I don’t need to pay $100 for a dinner out that would normally cost $50.  I don’t need any presents.  And even if I did want presents, I would totally forfeit in the spirit of fairness, because Valentine’s gift ideas for boys are just beyond me.

But I did think that it could still be special without going to an awful lot of forced effort to make it so.

And then?  It just wasn’t and now I’m bitter.  I’m just like all those other girls who cry because they didn’t get their diamond studs!  Except I’m all mope and moan because the TV did get turned on.  And Family Guy was watched.  I didn’t shower when I got home from the gym, since it was already getting close to 7 and we needed to start dinner.  I had developed a handful of zits on my chin, some of which were being huge and mean, so  I was feeling gross.  David had a headache.  Once the TV went on, I was already feeling two sheets to a weep about it, and I didn’t say anything; just felt all harumph instead.  Dinner wasn’t ready until a quarter to 9 and we ate on the couch.

So, I thought I didn’t care.  But I do, I guess.

And the thing is, the whole reason that I feel like I don’t, or shouldn’t, care about Valentine’s Day is because every day should be Valentine’s Day, shouldn’t it?  Do I really need a day to say “I love you and I love us and I think we’re pretty special?”  Obviously, laundry and nights out with the girls and bad days at work and whatever else will get in the way some times.   But there should still be plenty of days left for valentines.

Like today.  I’m totally going to request that we have a non-tv night.  I’ll get home in time to start dinner at a reasonable time and I should be able to make sure that the table is clear.  I may even break out the Scrabble board.  How’s that for a do over?

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Filed under The David

i like my valentine

It’s only Valentine’s #3 for us.  I think spending last year’s with my dad, who was visiting while in town for a trade show, kinda broke the pressure for us.  So now we’re happy to just cruise through it.

I had some <ahem> hairs forcibly removed for the occasion, ’cause it’s nice to show a little effort, right?
We are making a special dinner (Smitten Kitchen’s heart stuffed shells), so I’ll be having a special lunch tomorrow.  We picked out flowers at our grocery shop yesterday.
And I think maybe we’ll try not to turn on the tv at all tonight!  Imagine that!

I’m glad that I have no angst on Valentine’s Day today.  And I’m really glad that my Valentine is such a good one.

And since I’ve got such a great guy and can feel secure in my romantic love department, I’m also really glad that I’ve got so many other people in my life for whom I feel great love.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

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Filed under The David

Up close and personal

David got me a lens for my camera that I had been drooling over for ages for Christmas.  It’s a 100 mm macro lens, which means that I’d be able to focus in on things much closer than I had been on my 50 mm lens.

But, its aperture doesn’t go as low (or as high?) so I don’t get as much light and haven’t had much success farting around with the new toy indoors, where it’s too dark.

So I’ve been a royal poop head and haven’t used it all much so far.  Which is great, because I’m an awesome person to give presents to.

Which is all preface to say that a month and a half later, I spent some time and tried out the new lens yesterday!

It was a really great day for some picture taking.  For just about anything, really.  It’s been crazy warm here in the Bay Area.  Like 75 degrees.  In February.  And yes, it’s California and all, but the weather is not usually that blissful here.  We still get crappo gloom and drizzle in the winter.  We just don’t get this:

My parents' house in New Jersey last week

But miraculously, unusually, wonderfully… instead, we’re having this:

So we had a gorgeous afternoon walking about two miles away to the next neighborhood over where we wandered around and stopped for libation.  And I got in a little quality time with my new lens.

I learned that I can take this picture of the handsome guy sitting across from me:
And this picture of the dude in the tuxedo t-shirt sitting about twenty feet away:
I think it’s a pretty good lens to have and I’m looking forward to getting my bearings with it.  And yesterday was a really good day for some bearings.  And for sauntering around with a nice fellow on a really nice sunny day.

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Filed under Photography

Getting dressed

Many days, I have a plan for what I’m going to wear. I will have a vision to combine a green argyle cardigan with a maroon tweed skirt. This particular vision startled my HR lady into saying “so many patterns and colors!”
Or I’ll pair my black and white striped sweater with a colorful silk scarf tied around my neck in a big bow, cropped jeans and black boots. I got many comments about the Frenchness that day and I wondered if I were wearing a costume more than an outfit.
Admittedly, a lot of days, I’m just wearing the same jeans over and over with various t-shirts and layering bits.  I don’t always have these inspired visions.  Mostly I’m just trying to not be naked.

Today I wasn’t inspired and I would have loved nothing more than to just put on my same old jeans, a concert t-shirt and a cardigan.  But I was having a dirty hair problem.  Too dirty for public display.  And my interest in showering was – 38.  I’m classy like that.

I concocted a plan.  A head scarf!  I covered up all the grimy hair with a fancy scarf.  In fact, the very same scarf that I had around my neck with the Frenchness.  In order to make this seem like a normal thing to wear, I also put on a blousy white shirt with puffy sleeves.  And since the shirt is rather voluminous, I put a big belt on top of it.

It started to turn into a gypsy costume.

So I added a big chunky silver bangle, some silver dangly earrings and some boots.

Here you have some evidence, thanks to a handy iphone self portrait.

Take note of:

Head scarf

Blousy white shirt







Someone at my office has already called me a pirate, so, that’s a win for me, right?


Filed under Maggie's closet