The Best of 2016

I started and abandoned a few posts during the year detailing some of the major things I did this year, but I still want to show them here.

January:

New Year's Eve was spent with Christina, Capri, Carmen, Ben and Martin at Artist Home's party at Conor Byrne. We pre-func'd at Capri's with some prosecco cocktails before heading over. I had an extremely bad headache, though, so I left shortly after midnight. Yay for it being walking distance from home!

I have been a Friends fan since the show started and know virtually everything about it. So, when I saw that Central Cinema was hosting a Friends trivia night, I knew I had to go and dominate. Luckily, Carly, Annie, and Kim are huge fans, too, and we even got together beforehand to prepare. Brianna joined us on the day of, and though we made some dumb mistakes, we took home the second-place prize out of 40 teams!

February:

Christina loves 80s music, and Nite Wave happened to be playing in Ballard on her actual birthday!

March:

I did a lot of running and swimming, but then got tendonitis in my ankle...

April:

After several weeks of physical therapy, I was able to finally run the Seahawks 12k! I register for the race every year, but for one reason or another have never been able to attend. I didn't really have time to train due to my injury, but at least I finished!

For Capri's bachelorette party, we went to dinner, a speakeasy and then dancing. I think it's safe to say that fulfilled my Capitol Hill quota for the year. Raj also met up with us at the very end of the night, since it wouldn't be the same without him!

May:

Obviously, the biggest thing that happened in May was heading to Spain for Capri and Sergi's wedding. I stayed with Bea in Barcelona on the first night, and then Capri reserved an apartment for the rest of the time we were in the city.

On the 30th, we left Barcelona for the vineyard house in Tordera and went to Calalla de Palafrugell for a stormy lunch on the beach.

On the 31st, we drove to France to tour some castle ruins in the Pyrenees and eat crêpes.

On the way back to Tordera, we stopped in the tiny medieval village of Besalú.

June:

At the start of June, we were still in Spain. On the 1st, Christina, Raj and I walked and drove around Costa Brava before meeting up with everyone else for dinner in Begur.

We went to a couple old villages (Peratallada and Pals) on the 2nd and perfected our selfie art.

On the 3rd, Capri and the rest of the wedding party had photos to take, so the rest of us (me, Raj, Martin and Capri's mom) went to Girona at Sergi's suggestion. I really wish we had been able to spend more time there, because it was amazing! We saw a few of the locations where they shot Game of Thrones and walked along the entire wall that runs around the city.

Capri and Sergi's wedding was on the 4th, and it was hands down the best wedding I'll ever go to. The location was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the dancing lasted until after 3am.

Missing this Tordera house!

July:

With a trip to the Enchantments coming up soon, I went on a soggy hike with Capri, Raj and Amy to Mount Defiance.

For the second year in a row, I participated in Ragnar Northwest Passage. This year I was on a different team, with Carly, Annie, Kim, Carly's stepbrother David, and his friend Katie. We had more than our fair share of issues, including a flat tire before 5am and an injured runner, but we finished!

August:

I took a day off from work so that my mom and I could watch a Seahawks practice.

And right afterwards, I went hiking to Rachel Lake with Raj and Capri!

September:

Raj won the lottery for an Enchantments permit in the Stuart Lake Zone! This meant we had to hike up Aasgard Pass to get into the core zone, and...I ended up having a panic attack as we made our way over there. I still had a good time, even though I did have to spend 6+ hours by myself waiting for the rest of the group to come back. I think I made the right decision about not going up, especially since I hadn't been training and hadn't even been running because of a stress fracture. At least I got to try out my new ultralight one-person tent!

October:

Not a very exciting month, as most of it was spent cleaning and organizing my condo. I didn't even do anything for Halloween! But I did go to the Seahawks game against the Falcons with Mariana while she was in town for less than 24 hours!

November:

When the Seahawks schedule was announced earlier this year and I saw that they were playing in Tampa after Thanksgiving, I pretty much immediately booked my trip down there. Luther's parents overlapped with me by a few days, but we all had a great time, as always! If only the Seahawks we know and love had shown up for that game, too... I didn't see any dolphins or manateezes during the trip this time, but I did see Mariana and Luther's new house! Hopefully I can visit again soon!

December:

This month flew by, and I didn't really take very many pictures, honestly. We went to see A Christmas Carol at the ACT Theatre on Mom's birthday, with dinner at Sullivan's beforehand. A few days later, we did my birthday present for her, which was to see the Theater Anonymous production of It's a Wonderful Life.

The Seahawks played on Christmas Eve, and since Mariana and Luther were in town for it and the holidays, we did a big tailgate, arriving before 9:30am. I was under-dressed and freezing for most of the day, so I don't think I'll make that mistake again. I couldn't find anyone else to go with me to the game, but luckily Mariana offered to sit with me for the second half!

Stephanie and Ryan couldn't come up for Christmas, so we Skyped with them in the morning and took a (blurry) family picture (with the dogs, too, of course).

Stephanie and Ryan actually arrived on the 29th, and we had a family dinner in Renton on the 30th with Pat, Mike and Donita.

And, I guess that's 2016! Of course, there were many more moments where photos weren't taken, as well. The year had its ups and downs, but I'm glad for the time I spent with everyone!

2016 Resolutions

Here we are on January 1, 2016, so what better time to share what I plan to do and achieve during the new year?

  • Use all my vacation time

This was a goal last year, and I ALMOST made it! I only lost two days, and hopefully I can get that down to zero this year. I'm going to Capri and Sergi's wedding in June and will try to make a decent vacation out of that trip, so hopefully that will help! I also hope to go to Arizona and Florida at some point, as well, and I'll likely have to take a few days off for CPA exam studying...

  • Read at least two books per month

I always try to read 40 books each year and fail miserably, but in 2015, that was largely because of school. I'll still be in school during 2016, but I'd like to try to read more than I did last year, even if that means swapping out a few Netflix binges.

  • Keep my condo tidier/organized

This is a really hard one for me every year, but I'm 30 now, and should be able to adult better, right? (Yes, I just used "adult" as a verb.)

  • Pass three sections of the CPA exam

If I have things planned correctly with school, I will start studying for the exam in May. Goodbye, life!

Year in Review: 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I went on an overnight backpacking trip to the Enchantments in June (recap). Before this, I had only ever been car camping, and this was much more work. So worth it for the views, though!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I think I did a bit better than last year, at least...

  • Use all my vacation time

Last year I lost eight days, because I had maxed out how much could get carried over into the following year. This year I'm "only" losing two.

  • Buy a new car

Finally! I traded in my 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser for a brand new 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek. I love it! My phone automatically connects over Bluetooth and starts playing audio as soon as I start the car, and the adaptive cruise control is like magic. I started paying for parking at work, so now I spend my mornings commuting with podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang, Womp It Up, Nerdist, Best of Friends, and Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig. It's pretty perfect. So long Petey the PT, and hello Monica the Subie. (She's named Monica because I was listening to Best of Friends on my car's first mini road trip, and I had a minor freakout when I spilled my chai latte in a cupholder.)

  • Figure out how to get my 5th year of college credits, in order to take CPA exam

Done! My therapist (and others) helped me weigh all the different options, and I finally made a decision. In May I started classes toward a Master's in Accounting at DeVry's Keller Graduate School of Management, and I just finished my fourth of 11 total classes. While it is fairly expensive, I went this route instead of a more traditional school since they own Becker and the CPA test prep classes count toward course credit. Also, there was no need to take the GMAT, they waived any other admissions tests, and they gave me a scholarship. It's going well so far, and pretty soon it will be time for the CPA exam...

  • Keep my condo tidier

Nope... I got really busy in June, and things went downhill from there.

  • Read 40 books (or 14,000 pages)

Nope. Mostly due to starting school, since it seems like if I'm going to read, it should be a textbook. But also, it's way easier to distract myself with Netflix, and I'm in the middle of re-watching the entire X-Files series, in preparation for the new season in January.

  • Go to at least one new country

Nope. After deciding to start school, this plan got put on hold for now.

  • Go to at least one new state

Not this year.

Yes, I will make more resolutions for 2016. (And they're here!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yep, two! Adrian had her son Ellis on March 4th and Katy had her son Murray on October 12th. Both are too cute!

Also, two of my cousins had babies: Taylor had her son Clark in April and Shauna had her daughter Brooke in September.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Nope. (Phew.)

5. What places did you visit?

Arizona twice, Oregon and Florida.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

This year was a little better on the dating front (fewer first dates, more fourth, fifth, etc. dates), but I'm getting tired of it. So, is a boyfriend too much to ask for...?

7. What days from 2015 will you always remember?

June 17 when I turned 30. August 27 when Marshawn Lynch randomly showed up at the Getty summer party. November 9 when I was at work for 27.5 hours straight for our Oracle project launch. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Pulling the trigger and getting started on my fifth year of school to be able to take the CPA exam. I put it off for far too long because I was always busy, but the fact is that there's never a good time, so I couldn't keep waiting for it. And I'm not doing too bad either, considering how hectic work has been (3.75 GPA)!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Probably the state of my condo. I don't think it was ever in a state where I felt comfortable having people over, except maybe at the very beginning of the year. Hopefully next year will be better.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

It honestly seemed like I was always getting hurt this year. Did I suddenly become a huge klutz? Among more minor scrapes and strains, I sprained my neck working out, sprained my ankle on a hike, got nailed in the knee by a softball, fainted twice, and, most recently, had my bloodiest injury of all time. (I will probably think of that last disaster at every Seahawks game from now on, but I am glad to know I have friends who will step up and keep me from freaking out.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought too much. The best thing was probably my flight to Florida for October to visit Mariana, especially since that trip was perfectly timed in the middle of work craziness. I was so unbelievably stressed out in November, and it would have been 10 times worse without that trip! #manateezetherapy

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

No idea, honestly.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Other than the downpayment for my car, it went toward backpacking/hiking gear, but at least I won't need to invest in that stuff again for a long, long time.

14. What did you get really excited about?

The Seahawks beating the Packers in the NFC Championship. Getting a really good (for me) pace in a 10k in June, even though it was mismarked and wasn't actually a full 10k. Buying my new car, and driving it constantly.

15. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Probably "Clearest Blue" from the new CHVRCHES album "Every Open Eye," since it's awesome and their live show was pretty memorable.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? Probably about the same (unfortunately).
c) richer or poorer? Poorer due to tuition payments.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Cleaning, organizing, and getting my condo in a state where I actually like it.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spending my money on unnecessary things, like parking lots instead of paying for monthly parking and fines from not paying bills on time. I had a $15 toll bridge bill go up to $140, no joke. I need to do a better job at tracking that kind of thing.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

On Christmas Eve, we went to my grandparents' house for dinner, as usual. I love that this is a tradition we continue, even as the family grows exponentially. This year there were 40 people (including the babies) in the small rambler, and 26 people in the cousin (and cousin's kids/significant others) picture alone. Stephanie's boyfriend Ryan went with us, so I started getting the questions about when I would bring someone, too. Sorry, but don't hold your breath, Grandpa.

Christmas was spent at my parents' house. We opened presents and drank cran-orange mimosas all morning, and my cousin Jobie came over for breakfast and to hang out. After that, I watched some Christmas movies (A Christmas Story, Elf, Home Alone 2, etc.) and kept drinking mimosas. Grandma and Grandpa had dinner with us that night, and were thankfully pretty mild on the racism front. And no one mentioned wanting to vote for Donald Trump!

20. What was your favorite TV program?

Wow, did Master of None come out of nowhere or what? I watched it twice within two weeks, and it is still just as good the second time.

As for older shows, I may have rewatched all of Friends in its entirety three times (plus many, many random episodes), and I went through all of The X-Files once, in preparation for the new season's debut in January.

21. What was the best book you read?

The First Bad Man by Miranda July. What a wonderfully weird creature she is to have written that book, which I immediately added it to my list of all-time favorites. No, it isn't for a lot (or even most?) people, but for everyone else, I actually felt inspired while reading her articulate and insightful sentences (in between the ones that made me shield my Kindle's screen from roaming eyes on the bus).

"If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have?"
"I wondered how many other women had sat on this toilet and stared at this floor. Each of them the center of their own world, all of them yearning for someone to put their love into so they could see their love, see that they had it."
"You will eat, you will laugh at stupid things, you will stay up all night just to see what feels like, you will fall painfully in love, you will have babies of your own, you will doubt and regret and yearn and keep a secret. You will get old and decrepit, and you will die, exhausted from all that living."

22. What music did you get excited about?

I loved Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit and listened to it on repeat during the spring. I also finally understood why Sleater-Kinney is awesome, first with their new album, and then more so with The Woods and some older stuff. I wasn't really looking forward to the new CHVRCHES until I heard it (I got kind of burned out on their first one), but it was somewhat (read: very) awesome, too.

23. What did you want and get?

As mentioned above, I wanted to buy a new car, and I did! It had always been my goal to do this by the time I was 30, and I waited a couple months longer, but I think it still counts.

24. What did you want and not get?

I wanted tickets to the Super Bowl in Arizona, and even went as close to the stadium as possible (a nearby Greek restaurant charging $400 for a seat inside), but tickets were between $6,000 and $12,000, so that wasn't going to happen... 

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens! I mean, obviously. I wore an R2D2 Christmas sweater to the showing, and was pretty bummed not to find Star Wars leggings in my size, too. During the movie, I could not stop smiling when Han and Leia each showed up, and I loved all the references to the earlier movies. I'll probably see it in the theaters another time or two.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

For the first time ever, I took the day off from work, but I left my wallet on my desk, so I had to stop by the office that morning (looking really cute, too.........). My parents and I went up to the Alpental area for a gorgeous, sunny hike to Snow Lake, followed by Trailhead IPAs at the car and dinner in Magnolia at Palisade. That weekend I planned another celebration with friends, and it was fun to see multiple friends groups in one place! We started at Reuben's Brews, and then went on to the Waterwheel for cornhole, ping pong and karaoke. I was so surprised by how many people came, and felt so lucky to have found them all! (Longer recap here.)

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

I was a little too casual in 2015, honestly. I wore sweatshirts to work more times than I should have (despite our general lack of a dress code), and hardly ever wore shoes with more than a half-inch heel. Most days I either wore my beloved brown oxfords, or the black leather Vans I got for my birthday.

28. What kept you sane?

I ran a lot more this year, and really enjoyed it when I was able to get out consistently. It was nice to be able to take a break from school and work, and zone out while listening to podcasts.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Steven Hauschka. I may or may not have a picture of him looking so model-like in red pants saved on my phone. And John Krasinski, always.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

Guns. Fuck those guns. The gun control debate needs some serious attention and action ASAP. I'm tired of seeing news reports about mass shootings every few weeks.

31. Who was the best new person you met?

I'm not sure if I knew Lynn last year, and if I did, it wasn't well at all. We started hanging out mostly doing trivia, and then gradually started hanging out a bit more during the softball season. She got me to join her Ragnar Relay team, which was amazing, and we did a few other runs together, as well. And she just started working a few blocks from my office, so now we can be lunch buddies! 

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Time and circumstances change things, and it's best to be adaptable rather than dwell on the way they used to be. It's not healthy or productive, and can actually be damaging, whether with work or relationships.

33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I'm on the outside of love
Always under or above
Must be a different view
To be a me with a you

I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
I'm standing at the gates
I see the beauty above
I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
Of course I'll be alright
I just had a bad night
Nada Surf - Inside of Love

#manazombateeze in Florideeze

It may have taken a year and a half, but I finally made it back to Florida at the end of October. Coordinating schedules and time off between two busy people is hard, but we eventually made it happen. The timing turned out to be perfect, anyway, since work was just about to get insane due to a project launch. I told my manager I wasn't going to work at all during the week, needing to come back feeling refreshed, and that wasn't a problem at all, thankfully. I hadn't been on a real vacation in six months, and during that one I still had to do some work, so this was a much-needed break. (Plus, that last trip was to Arizona, which I think only half counts, since I'm there so often.)

My flight came in Tuesday evening, and we spent the following day in Sarasota. Although it was too wet to kayak alongside gators, we saw plenty during (and after) an air boat tour. We also collected several air plants, however a giant one fought back via at least a hundred fire ants that came pouring out of it. One of them bit me, but beer tasting and giant Connect 4 afterwards helped.

This was the view for most of Thursday, and honestly I could seriously get used to it. No fair... Seattle beaches are so dirty from bonfires and the water is so cold.

Friday was fairly perfect, beginning with kayaking/paddleboarding with a new manatee friend that played with us for several minutes and ending with beers on a rooftop bar where the average age was 60. I even (finally!) got to see a dolphin off in the distance during beach time.

Apparently I like to go to Florida for holidays. My last visit coincided with St. Patrick's Day, which we spent in Key West, and this time I was there for Halloween. I really do love Halloween, even though I'm generally too indecisive to make costume decisions. Even if I start thinking about them a month in advance, nothing is decided until Goodwill. We spent a lot (LOT) of time on Pinterest, and I think we made a good call going as treasure troll dolls. The idea came together really well, especially for being last-minute, and we got a ton of compliments, including from another fellow troll! Strangely not many people were dressed up for the CHVRCHES show (though Lauren Mayberry herself was dressed as Edward Scissorhands), but that just meant our costumes were that much better. (And CHVRCHES, for the record, was 10x better than either of the other times I've seen them. That new album is amazing.)

It was so hard to come home at the end of the trip, especially knowing that Seattle was already dark and cold. (The whole "fall back" thing is such a blessing and a curse.) Frankly, it was more than a little tempting to "accidentally" miss my flight and stay another day or two, but logistically that wouldn't have panned out so well. Now, though, I kind of just want to go back.

Mariana, thank you for being such an awesome host (again!) and for making sure I had a great time (again!). I would have had fun no matter what, I'm sure, but petting a manatee, seeing gators, drinking on beaches, and dancing along to an awesome CHVRCHES show made the trip all the better. I loved being able to spend time together, sharing stories and laughing, watching Walking Dead and doing nothing at all. Those are the things I miss every day. All the x's and all the o's, bap!

Goodbye, Summer

And just like that, summer in Seattle ended. That's how it felt, at least. After months of above-normal temperatures and more 80+-degree days than ever before, something in the air changed. One day it was warm (dare I say even hot), and the next it was foggy, a bit drizzly, and easily 20 degrees colder. Afterwards, there were a couple more glimmers of the summer-that-was, but I immediately felt the shift in the seasons, and there was no going back. Out came the sweaters and sweatshirts, worn even on forecasted warm days. I started wearing socks with my shoes again, and shook the dust off my favorite fall jackets.

But even as I pack up my tees to make room for more reasonable and increasingly necessary layers, I'm remembering that this summer was one for the books, for sure. Maybe because it seemed to start so early, avoiding the typical "June gloom," but it seems like I did more this summer than I have in a long time. I already wrote long posts about a few of the most significant parts of the summer (turning 30, backpacking in the Enchantments, and Ragnar), but there were a number of other adventures, too.

The summer started with Sasquatch over Memorial Day weekend, my first time back to the Gorge in five years. There were so many good bands playing, that I couldn't pass it up. Jenny Lewis, St. Vincent, The New Pornographers, MØ, Courtney Barnett, Sylvan Esso, Modest Mouse... It only could have been better if Neko Case had been there, too. Thankfully we stayed in a big condo in a newer part of Crescent Bar rather than the campground, so we were spoiled with a pool, actual beds, fancy breakfasts, and playing cards on the back deck. We did miss quite a few bands since we were never in much of a hurry to get to the amphitheater, but I saw that ones I really liked, was a foot away from Annie Clark crowdsurfing, and met Courtney Barnett.

This summer I found that I actually really like the 10k distance for races. My first ever was the Brooks 10k at the end of May, and I exceeded my expectations, despite not getting much training in beforehand. I didn't stop at all, and finished in under an hour (barely). I had never done a race with finisher medals before, so that was an added bonus. My second race, the Snoqualmie Valley 10k, was both good and bad. The good was that I hauled on that course, finishing second in my age group and 10th overall for women. The bad was that they didn't mark the course correctly, so it was 0.2 miles short. And I felt so good, too! Oh well. The age group medal is still valid.

This was also the first summer in 15 years that I got to go boating on Lake Washington! Our family friends have a boat, and normally they take it out when I'm either busy at work or without giving much notice. While both of those were true for this day, as well, I was still able to make it! The lake water was super warm, especially for June, so we jumped off the back of the boat in between beers and glasses of wine.

The Fourth of July was spent in Capitol Hill, beginning on Christina's rooftop and ending with karaoke at Rock Box. The fare was your typical Americana: tacos, tortilla chips and margaritas. The songs were mostly those from the 80s that I had never heard before.

I think I went to four Mariners games this year, and two were back-to-back in July. The first came with a tirade by Eric about how much the Mariners suck, complete with booing the home team and cheering for the Tigers. The second came with free seats, free food, and free beer. (And I think the Mariners won that one.)

2015 was finally (FINALLY!) the year I traded in my stylin' red PT Cruiser for something that suited me a little better. The PT was actually a better car than people give it credit for, so I was very particular about what I replaced it with. I wanted a similar amount of space without it being too big, and the Subaru Crosstrek was the perfect match. I got the Limited model loaded up on features, so hopefully it will last as long as the PT did. Once I got it back from the dealership after they fixed a scratch (big drama, not going there), I decided to take it for a mini road trip up to Bellingham. I had never been on Chuckanut Drive (except one small piece in May), and this seemed like a good occasion. My car also found its name on this trip: Monica. After my huge freak out from a bit of chai latte splatter, and due to the fact that I listened to the Best of Friends podcast during the whole trip, there was no other option.

Then there were all the other things I didn't have pictures from: girls' beach day, Lynn and Tim's anniversary party, Raj's birthday, Mariana's visit, Adrian's visit, #Blessed softball games... Lots of good times with fun people, for sure. Hopefully this fall will feature more of the same! (And maybe I'll get better at documenting, seeing as how all of the photos above with friends in them were taken from others' phones.)