Saturday, March 30, 2013

Live and In My Ears

Spring brings all the music to NYC. Seriously, all of it.

I'm trying my best to experience as much of it as I can.

First, one of my long time favorites Sigur Rós at Madison Square Garden. Wow.

A new favorite thanks to the husband, Bajofondo! I can only explain it as a tango electronic music mash up and one of the most high energy shows I've ever attended.

There are many more shows on the docket. This means more late nights, more time running around the city and more chances to be wowed by my BIG love of music. Sleep deprived work days will be well worth it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New York State of Mind

Y'all, there's nothing better than spending the day in the city with a dear friend, especially if that friend has never walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.
My friend happened to be in town for work on the same day I had the day off of work. We had made plans well in advance to spend the day together and I convinced her to book a room at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg instead of in Manhattan. We met up at the hotel and as I walked over drinking in the sunshine and big blue skies I knew immediately it was going to be an amazing day.
We headed to Grand Central Station to catch a glimpse of Nick Cave's Heard NY. We decided to grab a ridiculously overpriced cup of coffee at one of the restaurants in the Main Concourse and catch up. The view never disappoints.
We made our way to City Hall and over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to Brooklyn. It's always such a thrill walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, especially when you're with someone who is experiencing it for the very first time.
We walked through Brooklyn Bridge Park and then up on to the Promenade. We took the train to Prospect Park and walked some more. We did things that I love and that I think of as classic Manhattan and Brooklyn. It's always nice to revisit these places. I could visit them hundreds of times and it would never get old. 
Exploring the city and finding even more reasons to love New York City is just one of my goals on Go Mighty. What's on your life list? Join the conversation. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Weekend: Mount Snow

This weekend Jon and I packed up the Matrix and headed to Northampton, MA to visit a couple of our friends. We planned to go snowboarding on Sunday at Mount Snow, the first time for almost all of us. We booked a lesson which included gear rental and a lower mountain pass and headed out early Sunday morning.

I had tried snowboarding before, literally over a half of a lifetime ago when I was 15. The first time my brother and I went the conditions were perfect. There had been a huge snowstorm so there was over a foot of fresh powder. We didn't know what we were doing but all that powder kept us slow and safe, great for a first time out. The second time was awful. I remember my brother picking up snowboarding really quickly and me having no idea as to what I was doing. I didn't know anything about turning to reduce speed or how to stop other than making myself fall. Also, the slopes were icy and scary, not the best conditions for a beginner. After eating it one too many times I decided that I hated snowboarding and stopped trying. Needless to say I was apprehensive about our Sunday snowboarding date.

We had a great instructor (who had learned how to snowboard at 58!) and only five people in our class. After the first half of the class I started to catch on and really started having fun. I wish I had signed up for a class when I first tried snowboarding all those years ago because it made a huge difference. I also think knowing how to skateboard helped a lot. By the end of the day I had caught on and for the first time in my life I was really snowboarding, in control and catching my heelside and toeside turns with perfect tight transitions and a huge smile on my face.

It was fun trying something new with Jon and exciting to watch him while he was learning. I love that we have another thing to do together. He remarked after the lesson "Well, I guess our yuppie transformation is now complete." I had to laugh at that.

It was a great weekend and I am SO STOKED about snowboarding! The sad thing is that the end of the season is literally only weeks away which leaves very little time to snowboard again. I don't know if we will be able to try again this season but I do know that Jon, myself and our friends will be hitting the slopes next season for sure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Them's the Breaks, Kid.

After 2 months and 2 weeks (74 days today if you're counting) my body is telling me that I need a break from my Mile a Day challenge. When I started this daily running challenge the weather was less than ideal. There were days when the snow and biting wind nearly kept me indoors and the icy sidewalks made me scared I was going to fall and smash my face. Still, I suited up and ran through the winter and here we are on the official start of Spring.

Did I run every single day? No, I gave myself a break if my body felt awful and I needed a day off and walked those miles instead. Did I run almost every single day? Yes! I am happy to say that I did not miss many days of runnning. Did I cover at least a mile every single day? Yes, absolutely yes and usually much more than just a mile.

There were definitely days when the last thing I wanted to do was run but I have never, ever regretted finishing a run. I saw parts of my neighborhood that I had never seen before because of my daily runs. I was reminded of how much I dislike running (still working on that) but was also reminded of how much I love the feeling of accomplishment and the endorphins that run through my body at the end of a run. I also learned to listen to my body instead of powering through aches and pains like I did years ago which eventually led to some pretty serious injuries. Lesson learned!

This is why after waking up today with a wonky knee I am going to take a break from this Mile a Day challenge. I know that if I keep up my current running schedule I will exacerbate this minor injury and it will end up turning into something more serious. I still plan on running - just not every day. I am running the Eileen C. Dugan Memorial 5K again this year and it's only a few weeks away. I want to make sure that I can run the entire thing at my normal race pace without any fear of injury so that means resting this knee and lightening up on the running schedule.

I'll probably pick up the Mile a Day challenge again in the future but maybe only for 30 days instead of the entire year. For right now I can be satisfied knowing that I gave this challenge a really good try. Even though I didn't make it through the year I ran through the entire winter and now I can sit back and wait for Spring to unfold. That's a pretty good reward for all that hard work.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Trying Again

OK, so here’s the thing. I learned how to skateboard when I was 28.
I was never an athletic kid growing up and my mother never allowed me to join any intramural sports. I wanted to try gymnastics and volleyball but my mother said NO because she was afraid I would hurt my hands and then would be unable to play the piano. That was her reasoning.
So, no sports. Fast forward to my adult life and I am dating a dude who has been skating for the majority of his life. I start learning how to skate and find that I love it. Like seriously love it. There’s nothing more exhilarating then learning a new skill and working at it and seeing actual improvement. Also skateboarding is HELLA fun. Like really, really, really fun. That first summer of skating I had a crap ton of bruises on my legs and at first I balked at wearing shorts and skirts because of them. That lasted for just a second because I became really proud of those bruises. I earned every single one while learning how to skate and I was more than happy to show them off. 
I was fortunate to make some great girlfriends who also skate. One of them learned about the same time as I did and the other has been skating for years and years. There were a handful of other girls who skated as well and we all skating together for a while, arranging lady skate dates and taking over skate parks. That was rad.
Inevitably that boyfriend and I broke up. 
I skated on my own and with my lady friends for a while but after a little bit of time I just stopped. I moved to Brooklyn and moved my skateboard with my but didn’t skate. Luckily my girlfriends who skate eventually moved out to Brooklyn as well. We had a skate date, just pushing around a parking lot late at night over a year ago. It was awesome.
We decided to name our little Brooklyn skate crew the Lil Rippers. Sadly, we didn’t have another skate date that year. 
I know, totally lame. But guess what! My friend Sue and I went skating tonight. And not on some boring parking lot but at the House of Vans Skate Park which happens to be in my neighborhood. Girls Riders Organization (GRO for short) hosted a ladies only skate night and it was totally amazing.
The first half hour I was a total nervous wreck, scared and feeling awkward because I hadn’t skated in a skate park in over three years and hadn’t just pushed around in over a year. Sue felt the same way. But we pushed around and started getting the feel for things again and it all came back to us. It felt so great to be skating again.
Sue and I decided that we need to get back into skating again. There are things that I was starting to learn right when I stopped skating that I want to get comfortable with again. The first big one is dropping in, whether it be a mini-ramp or a big ass bowl. I want to drop in again and not be afraid. The second thing is getting my ollie back so that I can ollie up onto something or ollie off of something. This may mean some sprains (hopefully not) and definitely some new bruises but I guarantee I’ll be proud to show off those bruises because it will mean that I am skating again. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 10

Week 10 of our Portrait a Week project. You can find our entire set here.

We took these photos right before a party in our apartment. The living room is not normally filled with ottomans. Nahbi was not impressed.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I Saw: The Last Days In Instanbul

In the Grand Bazaar

We returned from Cappadocia back to Istanbul to spend the last few days of our trip exploring the other parts of this enormous city. We walked around the Grand Bazaar and ended up purchasing a couple long coveted Turkish peshtamel towels from a shop that has been in business for over 100 years. 

Their shop cat had two different colored eyes and we were told that it was a special Turkish cat that comes from a village by a salt water lake. The cats are known to swim and fish from this lake. This guy looked like swimming was the last thing on his mind.

We had the chance to take a ferry down the Bosphorus and decided to make the trek up a very steep hill to see the ruins of Yoros Castle and hopefully get a glimpse of the Black Sea. Sadly, there was a ton of mist and it completely blocked our view at the top. 

The castle ruins were actually closed due to an archaeological dig. However the security guard at the top of the ruins motioned for us to come through a door in the wall and we got to walk around. There was a very sweet street dog keeping the guard company. He was very happy to make our acquaintance.

On another day we took another ferry along the Golden Horn. We made a stop to see Chora Church and the beautifully preserved and elaborate mosaics inside.

We walked around the very small village and found our way to the old city wall. We climbed to the top for an incredible view of Istanbul. I started getting a little bit nervous being up so high, specifically because at the very top of this portion of the wall there was a huge pit that went down several hundred feet. The majority of it was blocked by a metal railing. One small part of it was blocked off by some very flimsy wire. Not very safe.

What you can't tell from this picture are that the stairs are very narrow and steep. There are two more sets of stairs after this one required to get to the top of the wall.

We visited the Basilica Cistern, found underneath the Old City in Sultahnahmet. There were lots of enormous koi swimming around. Many were so fat they could barely move. Kind of gross but the Cistern itself was really amazing.

 A blurry photo of Jon with one of the two Medusa heads found in the Basilica Cistern.

The rest of the time was spent finding the best food in the area according to Istanbul Eats. Every recommendation they made was spot on and thanks to this site we had some the best meals of our entire trip. At dinner one evening Jon exclaimed "I feel like this is the food I've been waiting for!"

We had a great trip and a really wonderful time traveling together. Travel is a major passion for Jon and I'm more than happy to participate and to experience more of the world. We're already thinking about our next trip. Korea, Sweden, Croatia, Patagonia- there are so many places we want to go! We'll get to them all eventually.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What I Saw: Cappadocia

Very early on our last morning in Cappadocia.

We were fortunate to have the time to visit Cappadocia in the middle of our trip. Cappadocia is located in central Anatolia and is a beautiful and historic part of the Turkish countryside. The landscape is characterized by tall rock formations that are called "Fairy Chimneys" as well as homes and other buildings such as churches and monasteries that have been carved in the rock. Our hotel was a converted cave home and there are many other hotels and homes that have been updated and are in use today. There are even more of these structures that have long since been abandoned and are found everywhere in this beautiful countryside.

We went on a number of hikes around Goreme, the little town where we stayed, and were blown away by what we discovered on our own. 

On our first hike a little local dog found us and kept us company until we headed back to the main road. Apparently this is pretty common. 

Aside from this little dog there was no one else out on the trails when we went hiking. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

We had the chance to visit one of the underground cities in Cappadocia. This one was built 16 floors deep. Not the best place for a tall person.

It also snowed one of the days we were in Cappadocia, reminding us that it was definitely still winter. The snow only added to the beauty of the landscape.

Exploring this beautiful countryside was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I hope we can come back again soon.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What I Saw: Istanbul

We woke up late our first day in Istanbul due to some wicked jet lag and immediately set out to see the major sites in the old part of the city. 

The Hagia Sophia was definitely a highlight. It was a church, later a mosque and is now a museum open to the public. This building is over 900 years old. 

We wandered around the neighborhoods surrounding the Hagia Sophia and found other mosques that are currently in use for religious services. They are much smaller and newer but no less beautiful.

Another highlight was Topkapi Palace. This enormous compound was the jewel of the Ottoman Empire. We walked around for hours and hours and I'm convinced that there are still parts that we did not see.

The decorative tile work is beautiful and can be found in nearly every single structure on the palace grounds.

We take our sightseeing very seriously.

After a few days in Istanbul we made arrangements to travel to Cappadocia, the beautiful countryside located in central Turkey. Jon and I both were anticipating something special but we had no idea how amazing the next few days woud turn out to be.