2016 Year in Review

I think most of my year has been consumed with running, but here are some highlights:

RUNNING HIGHLIGHTS:

According to Strava, I ran 790 miles (since May, when I started using Strava) – consuming 108 hours of my life. So if you figure I ran a similar amount Jan – April, I ran about… 1,580 miles in 2016! (For comparison, Seattle is 1,420 miles from Phoenix, by the fastest road route).

I ran (clearly, as evidenced above) some races:

Marathons: Carmel Marathon (PR, BQ) & San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Marathon (PR,BQ)
Half Marathons: None!
15K: Boise Race for the Steaks (PR- first time I’ve ever placed in the overall Female Top 3!)
10K: Fall City Days 10K
5K: Snoqualmie Turkey Trot, Run with the Fishes (PR, first sub-7 min/mile race; Issaquah)
Random Distance Runs: Roche Harbor Fun Run, where some guy beat me right at the end and I learned to never to let off the gas. Even in a fun run.

Most importantly, I got a good qualifier for the Boston Marathon at 3:31:43 – a good enough time to actually make it into the field! See you in Boston on Patriot’s Day, 2018!

Boise 15K
Between the two of us, we won EIGHT steaks at this run (2017 Resolution: Eat less beef).

Biggest social media moment: Getting re-tweeted by Meb Keflezighi, Olympic Silver Medalist in the Marathon (2004), winner of the NYC Marathon (2009) and winner of the Boston Marathon (2014)

Meb Quote.png

Biggest Fashion Moment: Discovering that Michelle Obama, one of my favorite people in the world, wore a similar dress in her White House Christmas Card / Canada State Dinner, that I had in my closet:

jason-wu-quote

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS:

Bill and I continued our tradition of accruing airline miles (and a desire to stay at Alaska Airlines MVP level), with trips to:
Carmel, Indiana (Family + Marathon)
Florence, Italy (Wine and History)
Ravello, Italy (Wine and Views)
Venice, Italy (Wine and Canals)
Milan, Italy (Wine and Fashion)
Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington (Boat Trip!)
Maui, Hawaii (Sun!)
Chicago, Illinois (Pearl Jam!)
Boise, Idaho (6th Wedding Anniversary + Unexpected Victory)
Austin & San Antonio, Texas (Marathon)

ITALY:

Other, Easy to Find Photos from Our Trips:

OTHER RANDOM FAVORITES:

 

Favorite Live Show: Tie between Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, and Bruce Springsteen in Seattle (so, the only live shows I went to in 2016)

Favorite New Thing that Makes My Life Easier: Blue Apron

Favorite New Thing that Ups My Style Game (Considerably): Rent the Runway

Songs that I Actually Downloaded from iTunes in 2016: Patience, Civil War, Don’t Cry, November Rain (Guns N’ Roses); We Belong (Pat Benatar); It’s All Coming Back to Me Now (Celine Dion); Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead); Hello, When We Were Young (Adele); Strange Tales – the full album (Lord Huron)

Favorite Podcast: Bill Simmons w/Cousin Sal – NFL Lines

Favorite New Shows:  The Night Of (well, mini-series) and Westworld

Best Sports Moment: Seattle Sounders FC winning the MLS Cup (FINALLY)

Worst Sports Moment:  Ohio State’s phantom first down and no PI call at the end of the Michigan game

Thing I am MOST Excited about for 2017: Going to Africa!!! (so. freaking. excited).

Thing I am LEAST Excited about for 2017: Donald Trump – a person so thin-skinned he can’t even ignore SNL making fun of him – being President of the United States of America (not surprising, if you know me).

2017 Resolutions:  Eat less beef (it’s just one of many things that is killing the earth); be more conscious of my environmental footprint, run 1,750 miles.

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2014 Year in Review

A quick recap of what was good about 2014:

Arthur and Team Peak Performance
This Could be the Meatball That Started it All. Or it could be just another meatball. (Image: Team Peak Performance)

Favorite feel-good story: Team Peak Performance Adopts Arthur, The Stray Dog (or perhaps it was vice versa…) I’m a sucker for a feel good dog story (Derby the Dog and his 3D printed prosthetic, Thai beach dog… you name it, I read it and cry at my desk [happy tears]). For some reason, this one stood out more than all the others. You’ve probably seen this by now, since it was widely reported on both social media and mainstream news media. Team Peak Performance, from Sweden, was participating in a grueling adventure race, The Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador, when the team captain shared a bite of food with a stray dog. This dog must have REALLY liked that meatball, because he proceeded to follow the team on their challenge. And nothing would stop him. Nothing. I can’t tell this story as good as the photos can, so take a look at a short format of the story on You Tube, and, if you don’t mind reading English subtitles, a longer format of the story via this Swedish production. And of course, you can keep up with Team Peak Performance and their new friend on their Facebook page.

Derby and his 3D Printed Legs
Because you can’t have too many feel-good dog photos. Here’s Derby and his 3D printed prosthetics, schooling his owner on a jog.

Favorite Songs (Added to my Ipod in 2014…regardless of when they came out): 1. The Safety Dance – Sleeping At Last. You’ll hardly recognize it from the original version. 2. Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men. It makes me think of both an enchanted forest and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. 3. Sorrow (Acoustic) – Bad ReligionEvery so often, I hear this song on 107.7 The End and this year, I finally downloaded it and was like “Why did I wait so long to download this???” 4. Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon. My local alternative (is that still a thing?) radio station began playing this a few months ago on very, very light rotation (as in, barely played it). Now it’s everywhere, even Dancing with the Stars. 5. Riptide – Vance Joy. Ditto. [ps- this album was apparently recorded in Woodinville, WA – he’s Australian] 6. Can’t Go Back – Little Big Town. I don’t listen to country music so I’m not sure where I picked this song up (probably a TV show, probably Hart of Dixie) but I love it. 7. You+Me – Rose Ave. Starbucks generally does a good job with their free downloads, and this is by far my favorite of 2014 (and possibly, ever). PS- if the female lead sounds familiar, it’s because it’s Alecia Moore, aka Pink. 8. Flashdance…What  A Feeling – Irene Cara. How has this song been out of my life for so long? 9. A Life That’s Good – Lennon and Maisy Stella. These Nashville girls (real sisters AND fake sisters) are good. Really good. And they’re like, I don’t know… 16 and 10 years old? 10. If It’s The Beaches – Avett Brothers. The Avett Brothers are one of those groups that I SHOULD like, based on the sound I generally tend to be drawn towards. Yet this is one of the few songs I like (excluding the random breathy talking part in the middle…).

Cheese Car
If you go to coastal Oregon, you go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It’s just what you do. WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, JOEY.

Life Stuff! States I visited in 2014: Oregon, Alaska, Florida (twice!), California, New Mexico, Indiana, Michigan (just long enough to grab Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor) Crazy Mileage Runs to Achieve Alaska Airlines MVP Status: 1 (Spokane, the least likely of mileage run cities) Random Obsession: The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which had me tippe typee texting away with my friend Kim until the wee hours, with things like “OMG has CNN gone to the press conference yet? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO WATCH THIS ON FOX NEWS??????????”; and prompted me to read the definitive guide on the Air France Flight 447 crash (I’m now capable of sprinkling phrases like “the pitots were clogged with tiny ice crystals” into any air disaster conversation [conversations that were alarmingly frequent in 2014]).

Running Lady
This is the type of running form that delivers consistent PRs.

Races Ran: Cinco de Mayo 1/2 Marathon – 1:45:53 – 5th in my division Fall City Days 10K – 46:32 (PR) – 3rd in my division Snoqualmie Ridge Turkey Trot 5K – 22:10 (PR) – “1st” in my division (thanks to a gender dispute) Seattle 1/2 Marathon – 1:44:06 (PR)  – 27th in my division   Highlights From 2014: 1. Boat trip to Prince William Sound: Well, I guess I should say boat trip ‘IN’ Prince William Sound, since I did not have to do the hard part of getting the boat up there and back. We flew in to Cordova, and out of Seward and it was gorgeous for the entire trip (minus the first 4 days we were stuck in the incredibly tiny town of Cordova). One tiny paragraph doesn’t do it justice; I’m hoping to post an actual account, and if I do, I’ll link it back here! 2. “How Did This Get Made?” Live Taping: Mr. Sesh and I occasionally do “DINK” (double income no kids) activities and this definitely falls under that category. We both love a podcast called “How Did This Get Made?” – which is basically just three comedians reviewing terrible movies with the underlying tone of, “no, seriously, how the HELL did this get made?”. I’m not describing it well, just give it a whirl. Every few months they do a live taping of the podcast in Los Angeles, so Mr. Sesh and I jetted down to L.A. for the weekend to watch the taping (we got to meet Paul Scheer and brush past Adam Scott [ok fine, maybe HE brushed past US]. And the next morning we did brunch at The Ivy and got a table right next to the street, on the patio. Seriously, I don’t know how that happened. It was amazing. I paid 90% of my attention to spotting celebrities and eavesdropping on the ladies next to us and 10% attention to Mr.Sesh (don’t worry, he was doing the same). 3. Seeds planted for the beginning of my dog bakery business: Somehow this year I got the idea that I want to start a dog bakery business, so hopefully in 2015’s year in review, there will be an entry entitled “Started a dog bakery business!”. Woof!

Prince William Sound
Just a nice little Prince William Sound photo…for the road. Here’s to 2015!

2013 Year in Review. Music, TV, Life. All in One Handy Post!

A few of my favorite things, from 2013:

Favorite Songs (not all actually FROM 2013…):
The Head and the Heart – Shake. This album seemed a little uneven compared to their stellar self-titled debut, and it’s a pretty weak from a “music cred” stand if my favorite song from the album is the first single, but… but it is.
Shovels & Rope – Birmingham.
I got this as a free iTunes download (quite possibly in 2012, but who cares) and I immediately became a huge fan. I also spent about 100 listens thinking they were dropping the N-word (which seemed weird, for a folk-duo) until Mr. Sesh google’d the lyrics and set me straight. Ahem… “Nickajack” is…apparently an “ill-defined area” in the rugged Appalachian foothills (I knew that $3 donation to Wikipedia was worth it!)
Wolf Gang – Suego Faults. This has probably been on my iPod for quite some time, and I can’t believe it hasn’t ended up on a previous year’s list… I think I got it off of Gossip Girl (or, for some reason I thought Friday Night Lights, but that does not make sense given that the album was released in 2011 and the show ended in February of 2011…). One of those songs that doesn’t really fit in a category, and not my typical “sound,” but there is something I find irresistible about it.
Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen. This is the song I like to blast really loudly when I need a boost (traffic, shitty work situation, general ‘bad day’, etc).

Songs I like that are embarrassing to admit: Blurred Lines (laughable), Wrecking Ball (better than her previous songs at least), Wake Me Up (country-dance-pop?)

Song I think I would have really liked if I had remembered to ever download it from iTunes: The Killers – Shot at the Night (maybe next year…maybe next year)

Googling "Claire Danes Crying Face" really delivered, but I didn't want to scroll too far for fear of revealing anything in Season 3.
Googling “Claire Danes Crying Face” really delivered, but I didn’t want to scroll too far for fear of revealing anything in Season 3.

Favorite New Show:
Homeland.
Yes, I know it came out a few years ago. Not all of us have the luxury of Showtime (just HBO). Sister Sesh bought the Season One DVD and we devoured it in weeks, and then finally (thank god) Season Two came out on DVD in September and it was EVEN BETTER. I mean, it’s TOTALLY ENTHRALLING TO WATCH A CRAZY CHICK AND A TERRORIST OUTSMART EACH OTHER AND THEMSELVES WHILE LIVING COMPLETELY EFFED UP LIVES.

I have nothing else to add on the television front, because everything else that came out in the fall of 2013 (that I had time to watch) sucked. In fact – I think Sleepy Hollow is the only new show I still watch and I feel my interest fading. Quickly. On a positive note, Community begins tomorrow! Yay!

I liked to think this guy was bicycling down the boardwalk with ice cream, but...he may have been an exterminator.
I liked to think this guy was bicycling down the boardwalk with ice cream, but…he may have been an exterminator.

Big 2013 Amazing Life Moments and Fun Things I Did (a regularly-formed sentence simply would not do it justice).

These are in no specific order, lest people Get Offended or Think I Am Shallow and Callous (hahaha. ha. ha).

1. Going to the Maldives. So far and away the best vacation I have ever been on, it can’t really even be touched by anything else. I mean, we were living in a luxury hut, over the ocean, with a private pool, in the Maldives…for…like… seven nights. Sharky and Ray, turtles, eating, dragging Mr. Sesh to the gym every day, private wine cellar dinner, suntanning (well, sort of, since it was 90+ degrees), swimming, snorkeling, jumping in our pool and taking endless photos to try and get the perfect “we love life and life loves us!” shot… every day was perfect. PERFECT.

2. Going to Dubai. And then we went to Dubai, which is literally the most surreal place I have ever been. It was like being on a movie set. Completely fascinating, but impossible to tell if it was fascinating in a good way or a bad way. Like a bad car wreck (well, no, I guess car wrecks would only be fascinating in a bad way…). But go. Go if you ever have the chance. It’s like a really gigantic Las Vegas, but with all the “sin” parts hidden behind closed doors.

3. New Babies for Family and Friends. 2013 was apparently the Year of the Baby because suddenly all my sisters and some of my friends suddenly had babies. Like, babies, that just…came out of the woodwork. Babies! Warm, tiny little babies that occasionally drooled and spit on me but redeemed themselves with their general cuteness.

Just me, hanging out with my camel.
Just me, hanging out with my camel.

4. Another Good Year for Running. Mr. Sesh told me runners reach their prime in like, their 30s so…good news… this aging thing is finally working in my favor! This year I recorded personal bests in both my half marathon (Fall City Half Marathon 1:44:34) and 5K (Snoqualmie Turkey Trot 5K 23:17). 2014 goal is to run my second full marathon, which… is probably causing Mr. Sesh some grief (you know, because he must always stay one ahead of me).

5. Buying our First House Together. In July, Mr. Sesh and I bought our first house together. We learned a few things about our new house and we’re still learning (ask him about setting up the Nest). But we both love it and so far haven’t found any reason to pack our bags and run screaming out of it (ghost, demon, insect infestation, etc).

States and Countries Visited in 2013: Maldives, UAE, Indiana, Canada, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Florida, California

Sports Teams that Better do Better in 2014: Michigan football and the Seattle Sounders. I mean, HOW CAN YOU BOTH BE SO BAD IN THE SAME YEAR? Michigan basketball was my only sports highlight in 2013 and even they lost in the NCAA finals. I mean, even one of my fantasy football teams went 4-7. GUH.

Here’s to 2014 – Treat us well.

“It’s a Great Day to be Great.” Sessionista’s Super Bowl Running Diary Returns

OK, caveat…. I was just at the bar at Snoqualmie Pass and I’m sort of super buzzed on Washington Apples (it was way bigger than normal!). And the Kahlua girls were there, so $1 Kahluas and coffee. Or Kahlua and Peppermint Schnapps and hot chocolate as the case may be. (Not very good in case you’re curious).

And so it begins, at say… 4:15pm…about 45 minutes into the Super Bowl. Fucking Live-ish Blog Begins.

4:15pm: My head actually hurts and I stopped drinking 45 minute ago. Fucking Comcast didn’t save the game. So we’re at 8:11 left in the first quarter. 0-0.

4:16pm: In case you’re wondering, I am rooting for the Packers, based solely on the fact that one: The Steelers “beat” the Seahawks in OUR Super Bowl and B: Brett Favre doesn’t play for the Packers anymore.

4:17pm: The house smells amazing, like amazing, awesome BBQ pork which I was smart enough to stick in the Crock Pot when I was sober. Amazing. Sadly, am not hungry after eating cheese sticks and pizza at the bar.

4:19pm: Already pimping the Halftime Show, with 6 minutes left in the 1st quarter. Bill hates the Black Eyed Peas, in case you’re curious.

4:20pm: First commercial for me! Bud Light. Three Musketeers. Lame.

Sadly, I saw no puppies during the Super Bowl. For that, it's off to Animal Planet's PUPPY BOWL!!!
Sadly, I saw no puppies during the Super Bowl. For that, it's off to Animal Planet's PUPPY BOWL!!!

4:21pm: HA! Ok, the Chevy with the Timmy thing is actually pretty funny. Get it, like Timmy fell down the well…) But Lassie is a truck. (It seemed funny at the time. But I was fresh off the sauce)

4:22pm: OH THANK GOD, there’s going to be another Fast and Furious. THANK JESUS AND MARY AND JOSEPH. I was extremely concerned that Paul Walker and Vin Diesel were going to wallow in poverty the rest of their days.

4:23pm: I don’t know if this game is more boring than it actually is because I’m drunk, or what, but I’m bored.

4:23:30pm: WEEE TOUCHDOWN PACKERS!!!! Apparently Aaron Rodgers heard me. 3:44 left in the 1st, 7-0 Packers.

4:30pm: THAT WAS A TERRIBLE PASS, MR. BEN. THANK YOU. TOUCHDOWN PACKERS. 14-0 Packers.

4:33pm: Dear Ben, Somewhere in northern Idaho, a logger is filing a police report for stolen property. He’d like his beard back.

4:35pm: Man, I was worried there wouldn’t be a claymation commercial with Eminem during this Super Bowl. My day is now complete. Also, apparently he actually REALLY likes Brisk iced tea, as opposed to all the other products he shills for. Along with my Grandma and Nancy Reagan.

4:36pm: I’m trying to remember what XLV means from Middle School. 45? Super Bowl 45? Maybe I shouldn’t be touting the public education system so much.

4:37pm: Bill just made a good point. Don’t pay attention to the time stamps on this because I’m definitely on tape, not live. Stupid bar. But it was so good. But damn you, bar! Damn you.

4:38pm: There’s a good chance I can run faster than Rothlisburger. End of the 1st quarter.

4:40pm: WEEE!! Charles Woodson. Go Blue! I knew there was a reason I was rooting for the Packers.

4:45pm: Last year Bill predicted an onside kick to start the second half. I’m still waiting for him to make some amazingly accurate prognostication.

4:49pm: 7-3. Apparently the other team scored while I was petting the dog.

4:50pm: Good timing. Bill just  said “This looks like a Bud Light commercial.” And then the guy said “Give me a Bud” and then he broke into “Tiny Dancer.” And that may have been the guy from Prison Break. Wow. Times are tough. Also, it was no “onside kick to start the second half” but he’s still got a little somethin’ going on, that Bill.

4:51pm. Every BMW X3 in the world is made in America. Shit. I feel like I actually just learned something.

4:53pm: Woah. Woah. Aaron Rodgers looks like Jake Gyllenhaal in a helmet. Wow. Insane. Is that what “beer goggles” means?

This is Aaron Rodgers.
This is Aaron Rodgers.

4:55pm: Natalie Portman is apparently in every moving coming out now.

4:58pm: Troy Aikman looks like he is getting younger. Frightening. Somebody get Harry Connick Jr on the phone for his biopic.

5:02pm: I kind of want this game to just be over so I can pass out.

5:03pm: Is there such thing as a Super Bowl without monkeys?

5:04pm: Bill: “God, I hate the Black Eyed Peas.” See?

5:05pm: YARGH! Interception! Bush on the pick! Weeee Packers! Stupid Big Ben! Go back to the bar, mother effer! That’s two picks! (you would actually think I cared about one of these teams at this point).

This is Jake Gyllenhaal.
This is Jake Gyllenhaal.

5:08pm: Touchdown Packers! While I was spell checking this bitch. 21-3. Jesus, this is actually getting to be too much of a blowout.

5:10pm: Nice red pen in the back of the Packers head coach’s hat. Somebody get that man a pocket protector. What does he do with it during the game? Seriously.

5:15pm: Every Packer player has made the injured walk of shame through the bar to the locker room (really, I feel like  you’d get your $500 worth for a ticket by just by hanging out in that bar).

5:19pm: Wow, the Steelers might actually score a TD before the end of the half. There it is. Heinz “Ketchup” Ward.

5:20pm: I’m taking a break at halftime to do some severe spell checking. A Washington Apple makes for a – shit, did the announcer say that Ward was running a Dick route? I must have heard that wrong.

5:27pm: We’re fastforwarding over the halftime show in effort to A: not have to watch the fucking Black Eyed Peas and B: to make this more relevant.

5:43pm: And we’re back. Halftime is over. My belly is full of pork sandwich.

5:45pm: 12 minutes left in the half. Super tired. Not sure how I’m going to make it through this game.

5:47pm: Here’s the deal. This game is just a game. The commercials are really nothing to write home about, or in this case, blog about…

5:47:30pm: Touchdown Steelers. 21-17 Packers.

5:51pm: Or maybe Jared Leto. I see some Jared Leto in Aaron Rodgers.

And this is Jared Leto. A debate for the ages. I'll let the public decide.
And this is Jared Leto. A debate for the ages. I'll let the public decide.

5:57pm: Possibly the worst Super Bowl commercials in recent memory. The Tibet Groupon commercial was actually just kind of horrifying AND dumb, all in one.

6:04pm: I wish Bill would go make me some cookies. That sounds so good. Fresh baked cookies. Yep, I’m clearly loving this game.

6:07pm: FINALLY. Thank you Chrysler for putting together a good commercial (although it was close there when Eminem showed up, fresh off his Claymation gig for Brisk. Clearly someone has some cash flow problems). “Imported from Detroit.” I love it. Seriously, one day, ONE DAY… Detroit will be cool again.

6:12pm: I think I’m going to make cookies when this game is over.

6:20pm: Mmm. A “bang bang incomplete pass.” Sounds lovely! I feel like he had it. But then again, I’m rooting for Green Bay.

6:28pm: Oh thank god. The 4th quarter has finally begun.  Jesus! GB just recovered a fumble! (not, actually, Jesus on the field).

6:30pm: Still on the fence over Jake versus Jared. The eyes are all Jared but the presence is all Jake.

6:38pm: Good news, Green Bay scored while I was cleaning up my pork. And that’s not a euphemism for anything, either.

6:42pm: Totally sober, but totally tired.

6:43pm: I mean, what is there to comment on? There are no funny looking players, no funny looking coaches. Nothing for me to mock. The closest I can get is that Mike Tomlin looks like Wyatt Cenac from the Daily Show. Which is just weak.

6:44pm: Ironically, this is actually a good game, from a football perspective. I mean, the game was/is close, the Steelers are trying to put up an epic come back. And yet I’m counting down the minutes until its over.

6:45pm: Not sure if I already said this, but Ben Rothlisburger is seriously not attractive.

6:46pm: Touchdown Steelers. It’s like he’s saying “Fuck you, Sessionista. Fuck you.”

6:55pm: We’re actually finally live. 3rd and goal Green Bay. Couldn’t have come at a better time, I’d say.

6:56pm: And now its a six point game with two minutes (yay!) to go.

6:59pm: Clearly Hyundai and Bud Light are the only companies with any money these days. And, weirdly, Chevrolet, who I’m pretty confident doesn’t have any money.

7:04pm: 4th and 5…. 56 seconds…almost able to make my cookies…and…. incomplete. Grab your cheeseheads, ladies, it’s all over and the Packers have won the Super Bowl.

YAY PACKERS! YAY! Well now that Rodgers has his helmet off he looks like neither Jake or Jared, and rather like a trucker.

Until next time,

The Sessionista

ps- “It’s a great day to be great,” in case you’re curious.

Walter Kelly is Smashed on a Train

On Tuesday morning when I checked my email, I started laughing. “Walter Kelly is Smashed on a Train” was the title of an email from Bill, reminding me of our last day at the Olympics. Rewind 24 hours…

Bill and I woke up at Wes and Lynda’s 100% refreshed after getting to sleep in a BED. Well, maybe not a  100%. I was feeling it from my 3 generous pours (the last of which came from a box apparently). We picked up the SkyTrain and headed back to the city. We didn’t have any events but I was looking forward to walking around downtown and seeing the torch. When we got back to the house we found the house full again (always my cue to leave) so Jenny, Dan, Bill and I headed downtown to show Jenny and Dan Robson Square then to go take a look at the cauldron (it sounds so evil…).

Bill, Stealing my Limelight. I'M THE TV STAR, BILL.
Bill, Stealing my Limelight. I'M THE TV STAR, BILL.

At Robson we found the usual…crowds of people milling around not really doing anything. I did get to see some people take the zip line (hope they enjoyed those 30 seconds). As we were walking by the BC Pavillion, I saw a guy with a camera looking to interview people (ever since my famous Taco Time moment, I’m always on the look out for my next big break). When he said “Is anyone from Seattle?” Bill volunteered to speak to him. Turns out he was from Evening Magazine (um, hello, if John Curley was still doing it I’d have SEEN my chance at  fame and beat Bill to the punch). After a brief interview (which translated into this soundbite, aired a few nights later: “The activity is just incredible.” We can’t all have catchphrases like “it’s the cheese and sour cream” now can we?), we decided to walk down to the International Broadcasting Center (or IBC for those in the know) and look at the torch.

All week long my dad was bitching about how it was behind a chain link fence, which didn’t seem that big of a deal. Then we got down there. Not only was it fenced, the fence was about 100m (did you notice how all my measurements are in metric in these blogs? Totally unplanned, but apparently Canada has had an effect on me) from the torch so it just looked all sad and lonely.

Plotting it's chance to break free from prison, the torch slowly simmers.
Plotting it's chance to break free from prison, the torch slowly simmers.

Bill and I thought our train left at 6pm, so we got lunch with Jenny and Dan at Steamers, potentially the biggest restaurant I’ve ever been in. It felt like there was seating for 500. Jenny and Dan were staying another night, so after lunch they headed off to visit LiveCity Yaletown while Bill and I caught the bus back to the house. At this point we didn’t have event tickets (you ride free with an event ticket for the day) so I’d perfected the fine art of putting on my Canada mittens and covering up the event date on our old tickets every time I boarded the bus (positive that they were going to bust me, which wouldn’t be a big deal minus the fact I of course went to Canada with no Canadian money, treating it like America Deux. Then I realized the Canadians are generally too nice and probably aren’t going to kick me, who was clearly visiting for the Games, off of public transportation).

When we got back to the house we decided to actually check our train tickets, only to discover it didn’t leave until 7:40pm, which made a lot more sense. This time we didn’t have first class so we had to slum it with the poor people. Kidding. In my opinion first and regular class were exactly the same, minus the fact they didn’t give me a $3 discount at the bistro car.

Before we left the station, I went to the bistro car to get a mini haggen dazs. As I was waiting in line, there was a guy at the end of the bar asking for a beer. The bistro car guy was like “We can’t serve alcohol until we pull out of the station.” The guy started getting all belligerent and was like “What…I can’t get a beer? Man, I need a beer…” I headed back to our seats, which were in the car that was connected to the bistro car. Bill and I started up a lively game of Go Fish with my Care Bear cards (Bill won 5 games straight. How is that even POSSIBLE?). 20 minutes later the woman across the aisle starts waving at this guy who is sort of stumbling along the train aisle. She’s like “Hi Walter!” Walter plops down in the seat in front of Bill and is like “You know my name?” and she says “I’m from Seattle, of course I recognize you. They [us] are from Seattle, too, the know you too.” I’m like “Uh, no, I don’t know you…” as he’s shaking our hands and we’re introducing ourselves. When he turns around, Bill starts Googling who the hell he is as he’d introduced himself as Walter Kelly. The name sounded sort of familiar to me when suddenly I was like, “Oh god, it’s the Q13 Fox weatherman.” Bill’s Google search has by this time pulled up this as the first entry ‘”Walter Kelly is Pure Evil!”. I have to control my laughter since he’s right in front of us, and the woman is acting like Brad Pitt was sitting across from her.

Imagine sitting behind a drunk version of this guy for 1.5 hours.
Imagine sitting behind a drunk version of this guy for 1.5 hours.

The best part is Walter Kelly is also the same guy who was demanding booze all night from the bistro car. In the next 45 minutes, we are lucky enough to be treated to Walter’s life story, the fact that his wife is Canadian (helpfully mentioned 13 times). We also see him fuck around with the Customs Agent who boards our train at Blaine, who is 100% not amused by him. In short, he’s wasted and it’s relatively hilarious (although the funny factor was already over when we got to Bellingham, I would have shot myself if I had to listen to him all the way to Seattle). This is a guy who came back to his seat carrying 3 beers at once. I mean, I’ve seen someone double fist it, but 3 seemed a bit much. My favorite quote of the night, when asked about his recent move to evenings: “Man, morning was something else. Anything goes. Evening is like ‘it’s going to be 50 and cloudy.'” There you go. From his mouth to god’s ear, or whatever the saying is, Walter Kelly tells it like it is. On Q13 Morning News, anything goes (vision of him getting in front of the green screen and just windmilling his arms about screaming “Today’s weather is going to be FUCKING WILD!” or something.

So ended our big Olympic journey. It was very fun, very sleep depriving and very… Canada. Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee (well, I do, in my new Team Canada sweatshirt and mittens). See you in Russia.

Ciao!

The Sessionista

Spectating at 144 km/h

Sunday dawned bright and early at 6:00am when Jenny and Dan knocked on the front door, bringing Simmons Olympics HQ to near-bursting. Comatose, having gotten home after midnight the night before, I started muttering”Is someone knocking?” and then in true sisterly fashion failed to get up and actually open the door. Luckily my dad was up to let her in, considering she’d left Bellingham at 5:00am and drove right up to the border (all lanes open. At 5:30am. Our tax dollars hard at work.). 20 minutes after Jenny arrived (and then promptly left the house in favor of SITTING IN HER CAR. No one ever said Simmons Olympics HQ was welcoming) my dad tried to set the home on fire by incinerating his toast (let’s just say we were hoping the Brinks security system didn’t automatically call the fire department, as we frantically swung the door open and closed while an ear-splittle whistle shattered the 6:30am peace).

Realizing I was going to get no more sleep, I got showered and escaped to Starbucks prior to leaving to the luge. We had to buy bus tickets to take the Oly bus up to Whistler, and when we got to the ticket station (inexplicably NOWHERE near where you get on the bus) one of the five volunteers that were standing around helpfully mentioned that “the last bus” was supposed to leave at 9:30am (current time: 9:53am) and he was going to have to call and see if there was still a bus around to take us. As he radioed up to where you actually pick up the bus, we stuck our credit card into the super helpful bus ticket buying kiosk, which, prepare yourself for a brilliant idea, only let you buy one ticket per credit card swipe. Time-wasting at its best!). We then RAN, literally RAN up a giant hill to catch the bus and made it just in time.

Wet and disgruntled, we arrive at Luge.
Wet and disgruntled, we arrive at Luge.

I took the opportunity to nap on the 2 hour bus ride to Whistler which made the trip go by VERY fast. Once there, we went straight to the luge track, marking the only time I’ve been to Whistler without seeing the village. I was a little doubtful of luge- first, someone DIED there a mere 2 days prior. Second, it didn’t seem like a good spectator sport. These guys are moving at over 140km/h at the end of the track. My head does not spin that fast. Plus when we got there it was a total deluge, even on the mountain. Just pouring rain. So we went to the warming hut for a few minutes and the rain lessened before we headed up to the track. We found an awesome spot at turn 14, where they’re going plus 120kmh, and immediately started a competition as to who could snap a picture of a luger first (Bill). Then the sun came out and we wandered around and found different spots along the course and finally settled for awhile on a spot AFTER the finish, where they were braking. Which allowed us to get pictures, wave, throw pennies on the track (kidding about the pennies, but it did make me nervous how easily a child or evil adult could chuck something on the course…). Bill had to keep elbowing some guy out of the way who spent the entire time talking on his cellphone and smoking. Dear sir, please go ruin someone else’s Olympic experience (side note: we saw the same guy walking down Robson the next day. In a city with millions of people we saw the same irritating guy. Amazing.).

Good thing Dan stuck his Flip Video into my shot. See? Lugers. Close. I kept waving my Oly mittens in their faces.
Good thing Dan stuck his Flip Video into my shot. See? Lugers. Close. I kept waving my Oly mittens in their faces.

After luge we saw Bill’s mum for a few minutes and then caught the bus back to Vancouver as Bill and I were meeting up with a group of friends from my days at SonShip. In a true nod to my “worst guest ever” status, we were approximately 3 hours late getting there. This time on the bus ride home, I was lucky enough to be treated to a Cultural Olympiad video that was on a loop. Curious how long the video was? 15 minutes. The bus ride was over 2 hours. You do the math. Percentage of people who wanted to kill themselves when they got off the bus? 100.

Bill and I caught a break on Sunday night- after arriving 3 hours late to Wes and Lynda’s, Lynda still loved us enough to invite us to stay at their house for the night. It took me approximately 1.5 seconds to agree to that idea. A bed? A private bath? PRICELESS. After 3 glasses of wine and a massively good time with old friends, I slipped into a deep and peaceful sleep preparing for my last day at the Olympics…

The Joy of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

On Saturday afternoon, Bill and I headed over to Pacific Coliseum to watch what was turning out to be a premiere event…short track speed-skating. As usual, it was raining so we bundled up for the 1.5 mile walk to the Coliseum which was really a mere .25 miles from the house, sans the intense, crazy, people-wrangling system VANOC had set up. After walking opposite the venue for 20 minutes we finally found our way to the security line, where we stood in line another 20 minutes, before being examined by someone who looked like they were pushing 18. Lucky Bill got a special little “massage” when he kept setting the sensor off.

Is this the face of Olympic terrorism? That's what one volunteer thought.
Is this the face of Olympic terrorism? That's what one volunteer thought.

Venue problems continued once we found our way into the Coliseum. Question: How do you get to your seats when the access point for your section is entirely roped off for accredited people only? Answer: Enter 3 tunnels away and crawl over 100 people. This was actually the volunteer’s response when I asked how she expected me to get to my seat: “We’ll just need you to pick a row and start making your way over. We’re working to resolve this.” Apparently somehow NO ONE managed to notice this little issue prior to the venue opening? Really? THEY STAGED AN ENTIRE GAMES AND DIDN’T NOTICE THIS MASSIVE LOGISTICAL PROBLEM? Not one to make waves, I carefully slid by everyone’s toes, clutching my food, muttering “I’m REALLY sorry about this…”. One section through, I saw a whole free row of seats (Miracle! I won’t have to trod on anyone!) and started walking across this blessed seat tundra, only to hear a furious, clipped Eastern European-accented voice start berating me, “You can not be here! Stop! You are breaching security!” I looked around to find out who the hell was yelling at me, and saw a stern-faced volunteer (the only volunteer that I encountered, in the entire 96 hours I was there, that was not dripping smiles and sunshine. It’s like they gave them happy pills along with their turquoise volunteer jackets.). I said, “Well, I’m seated in section 8, so I don’t know how you expect me to get there.” To which he delivers this lovely Eastern-block response of “That’s of no concern to me. You can’t be there. You’re a security risk.” Yes, me, in my fuzzy red Olympic mittens, holding two pork sandwiches, is quite the risk indeed. I stand there, looking incredulous, watching him steam with irritation until he furiously mutters “Just move! Just keep walking!” Which I do. All the way to my seats, which are about 4 rows shy of the ceiling.

A victorious Ohno shows goes all American on the Canadian crowd.
A victorious Ohno shows goes all American on the Canadian crowd.

We settled into our seats and watched short track speed skating which is super fun since there are bound to be tight races and crashes. Plus, both Ohno and J.R. Celski, both from Seattle, were on hand. In the marquee event of the night, the men’s 1500m finals, we got to watch Ohno wrestle his way to near the front of the pack, only to be bumped by one of the Korean skaters. Luckily he caught himself, but lost precious seconds, leaving him back in 4th place. On the last turn, in a pure “Oh my god, this is why sports are so awesome to watch live” moment, the 3rd place Korean, greedy to pass his teammate in 2nd place, loses and edge and takes both himself AND his teammate out, leaving room for both Ohno and Celski to cross the finish line in 2nd and 3rd. Yay America!

After speed skating we took the bus downtown to try and see Wilco at LiveCity Yaletown (one of the major Olympic entertainment venues). We found a 45 minute line, so we ducked into a little restaurant serving “the best mexican food in town.” Except when we got there at 10pm, they were only serving drinks because according to the proprieter, they ran out of food at 6pm! And it smelled SO good. I slammed a Growers (hard core, i know) then we headed back downtown to Robson St where they had roped off the streets, turning much of the popular city roads to pedestrian-only. After standing behind the CTV local news booth, waving and cheering and doing the “look at me! look at me!” thing that everyone does when they’re in the background of a shot, we ate some street meat (GOD, i can’t even BELIEVE i did that) and then went back home, exhausted and looking forward to getting to sleep past 4:00AM.

Mmm...nothing like a good street dog.
Mmm...nothing like a good street dog.