florida

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!

#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!

#manateeze and #keybreak in #swamplandiaz

One of my goals this year was to visit a state I hadn’t been to before, and having a friend move clear across the country made that a very easy goal to accomplish. I bought my flights before she’d even left, knowing I’d want to see both her and the sun before too long.

Sunrise over Mt. Rainier on the way to Tampa, Florida

Sunrise over Mt. Rainier on the way to Tampa, Florida

One of the only requests I had was to see a manatee while I was there, so we bought Groupons for a tour in Crystal River and drove up there on Friday. Apparently a lot of the manatees swam out of the area with the tide earlier that day, so we didn’t see too many. However, we were able to find one to swim with, and I touched it with one little finger. (It felt like sandpaper.) Mission accomplished!

Underwater selfie while looking for manateeze

Underwater selfie while looking for manateeze

Hello, Mr. Manatee!

Hello, Mr. Manatee!

We only had one day between our trips to Crystal River and Key West to spend closer to where Mariana lives, and it resulted in a lot of day-drinking in pretty Clearwater (as well as one of the weirdest-looking sunburns I’ve ever had). Dolphins sighted: zero. Vanilla Ices: one

Sunset in Clearwater

Sunset in Clearwater

Key West was nothing if not memorable, and I hadn’t laughed that much in so long. There were spring breakers everywhere, and because our trip also overlapped with St. Patrick’s Day, it was even crazier. We saw body shots, a completely passed out/possibly drugged girl, cover band trolls (groupies), old people grinding, and more. Much more. I didn’t get a key lime pie (I was never hungry whenever we walked by a place selling it) and I didn’t see any six-toed cats, but it was a great side trip with lots of dancing and booze. And if you’re ever considering taking a ferry down to Key West, think twice. I think Mariana’s Instagram caption put it best: sunset with a side of barf bags.

Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point

Foot selfie, the first time these toes have touched the Atlantic Ocean

Foot selfie, the first time these toes have touched the Atlantic Ocean

Sometimes statues take good selfies

Sometimes statues take good selfies

Pelicans are weird

Pelicans are weird

The boat of sick, sick nightmares

The boat of sick, sick nightmares

Then it was time to head back to Seattle… It was a wonderful week—and a much-needed break—and I was sad to see it end. But with as much PTO as I have, and now that Alaska is going to start flying to Tampa directly, I’m sure I’ll be back. There was so much that we didn’t get to do, that I’ll have to!

Bye bye, Florida…

Bye bye, Florida…

Mariana—Thanks for being such a fantastic hostess and for taking me to such fun, beautiful places! It was definitely a memorable trip, and it was great to spend so much time together again, bap! xoxoxo