2015 Year in Review

Each one seems to get shorter than the last! While technically I have the same amount of time in the day (unless something really crazy has happened, that I’m unaware of…)… I feel like it’s work – workout – cook – sleep – begin again! So this 2015 Year in Review may be a bit shorter than in years’ past. Still – 2015 was a good one!

States and Provinces and Countries, Oh My!: Indiana, Texas, Chile, California – twice, British Columbia and Alberta – Canada, Maryland, Florida, & South Carolina. More or less in that order.

Favorite Songs from 2015 (well, they might not actually BE from 2015): Fool For Love, Lord Huron (one of whom went to school with Mr. Sesh. Which is weird/funny).
Shake, Head and the Heart [how has this not been on my list before?]
Chandelier, Sia [the video has a mere 1 billion views on YouTube]
Dearly Departed, Shakey Graves
Rollercoaster, Bleachers

Three Big Moments from 2015:

Chile Trip – In February, Mr. Sesh and I commenced our first trip to South America, heading first to Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park, and then north to the Atacama Desert (making packing a interesting feat). We both LOVED Chile, especially Patagonia. It probably didn’t hurt that we stayed at two amazing Awasi properties, either.  Special shout out to our amazing guide Kura and the best bartender in the Southern Hemisphere (or the world), Santiago at Awasi Patagonia. Cheers!

Kind of the Best Drink Ever
To be clear, there are… literally volcanic pumice stones in my drink. And it tastes amazing. Santiago, my hero.

Ran the Baltimore Marathon – I decided it was time to do a second marathon, as I’ve recently become a wee bit obsessed with “getting that Boston jacket.” (Mr. Sesh: “Technically you could probably just BUY one…”). It’s also been about four years since the first one, so the memory of the agony of training (and racing) had faded significantly. So on October 16th I ran in my second marathon, the Baltimore Marathon, and completed the race in 3:55:00 – shaving 36 minutes off my first marathon time. Good. BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Thus, I’m all signed up for the Carmel Marathon on April 16th an aiming for a sub 3:40:00 to qualify to apply for Boston (let’s not even address the fact that might not get me IN to the actual race).

Leslie Baltimore Marathon
I was…super not happy at this point.

Opened Chasing Rabbits Dog Bakery – Not sure why I buried this, it probably should have led the charge… but I am now officially a small business owner! Chasing Rabbits Dog Bakery was launched late in 2015 and it’s been off to a smashing (with friends and family) success! 😉 We’re appearing at local and regional craft fairs, and have a full e-commerce site (as well as an Etsy site). Our treats are made with natural, human food-grade ingredients, in small-batches. And, most importantly, dogs LOVE them! Probably because they’re filled with bacon and peanut butter and all sorts of other goodies…And yes, I’ve eaten them. They taste boring to me. But to a dog – delightful!

Motley Zoo Official Photos_2
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue Yappy Holidays Craft Bazaar – Our debut! (Photo courtesy: Motley Zoo)

Here’s to 2016! To Italy, and to making Chasing Rabbits Dog Bakery a success, and to QUALIFYING FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON! (all three of those best be on the 2016 Year in Review!)

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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.

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…

Session #8: Why-reka is Right

With “Favorite Things” pumping from the stereo system (yes, the “raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens” song… Kappa’s mixed CD was going well and then suddenly…this.), Sessionista and Kappa pulled into Yreka, CA at 5:45pm and were ready to pull out by approximately 5:47pm. Sessionista took the first exit into town to check out the Super 8.  Content to judge a hotel by its facade, did a slow crawl through the mostly deserted parking lot (all it took was one knocked over, sad looking umbrella by the pool for Sessionista to make her decision) and peeled out to find greener pastures (mistake #1). Avoided hitting a random deer and headed south to see what other motel could handle the Kappa/Sessionista combo.  Next stop was “historic” downtown Yreka, where there was such little sign of life, The Sessionista expected to see a tumbleweed jump in front of the 4Runner. Doing a few squares around Historic Downtown Deserted Yreka (again, the Sessionista was driving), Kappa and Sessionista continued their quest for lodging.

A few miles into Yreka, or as The Sessionista calls it “the Everett of Northern California” (it just keeps going and going….) Kappa and the Sessionista found a nice looking Comfort Inn. This would be the last time Sessionista judged a motel by its paint job (mistake #2). Booked a room with a depressing reception clerk (sample exchange: Kappa- “How’s business?” DRC- “Bad.”). Warning bells should have started pealing at this point. Instead, Sessionista slapped down her plastic and began the long haul up to her room (fun fact: no hotels in Yreka have elevators). One half step into what can only be the dingiest, saddest motel corridor in the Northern Hemisphere, and Kappa and Sessionista knew they’d been fooled by the pleasant ocher and tan stucco exterior. Hiding behind that facade was a creaky, stagnant, “one light bulb is all we can afford” mess of an interior. Some suspicious foody mildew scent greeted us as we fumbled our way towards room 206.

Next on the agenda was dinner, but since the DRC had told us there were only “2 places in town I’d eat,” (The Black Bear Diner and, inexplicably, some presumably Mexican joint named Casa Ramos), Sessionista thought a quick stop on Trip Advisor (like all cheap motels, this one had free wi-fi) would help make the decision. Noting they were staying at the worst hotel in town, the Sessionista noticed Black Bear Diner was listed (rather fittingly) as the shittiest restaurant in town. Not one to be fooled twice, the Sessionista dragged Kappa instead to the “best” restaurant in town, Grandma’s (mistake #3).

Grandma’s proved to have the décor of a Hansel and Gretl house and the food of a sub-par Dennys. Kappa ordered the waitress’ “favorite” menu item which literally was three slabs of turkey on a hoagie. Luckily whilst waiting for that gem to arrive,  patrons could peruse the smattering of Christian books for sale. Or perhaps choose from the creepy tail-swishing cat thoctkys. Or simply observe the other clientele, like the lovely gentleman with the Confederate flag baseball hat that deemed him a “Rebel!”. To sum it up, the food was bad, the waitress was nice (but probably spitting in the food since Kappa and Sessionista alternately giggled and then went silent every time she arrived), and the hostess had never been asked to split the bill on to two credit cards.
In a last ditch attempt to find some sort of redemption in Yreka (another fun fact: it’s pronounced “why-reek-a”, but The Sessionista prefers “wreck-a”), Kappa pointed the 4Runner past the motel (actually in search of a Starbucks…. what silly, delusional girls…) and found the solution to what could serve as cheap entertainment: Wal-Mart. Subtly pulling out her camera lest something worthy of peopleofwalmart.com appear, Sessionista and Kappa trolled the aisleways, hoping they didn’t find anything they liked or wanted (err…Sessionista did snag a $3 pair of leggings, but she is unemployed and therefore shopping for clothes at Wal-Mart is ok… No. No. Nevermind. Not ok.). Sadly Wal-Mart was quiet at 9pm on a Monday night, so Sessionista and Kappa piled into the car and headed for the exit. Only to be thwarted by….<cue scary music>…cats. Three random cats. Kappa hit the brakes as the cats just glared into the headlights. Sessionista started freaking out and screaming “why the EFF are there effing CATS effing EVERYWHERE on this effing trip?!” while Kappa (rather nonchalantly, considering the bad horror movieness of it all) picked her way through them and headed back to the relatively cat-free motel (don’t worry, Kappa saw another cat in the parking lot the next morning).

Turning in for the night, Sessionista gingerly slipped into what she hoped were clean sheets and rested up for her next adventure, braving the remnants of a Pacific typhoon.

Session #7: California is to the South

Celebrating the freedom of a little extra time off, The Sessionista and her friend Kappa decided to go on a week-long road trip to San Francisco. Fifteen minutes on the open road and there was a slight problem. Namely that Kappa didn’t seem to quite grasp that California was to the south of Washington. Not the north. Whilst zipping down I-5, The Sessionista, riding shotgun, suddenly had to inanely wave to the left and mutter “Uh…we…uh…that lane…what the…hmph. We’re now headed north.” On I-405. In Southcenter. Literally, not even out of the 425 and The 4Runner is going in the wrong direction. Five minutes later, Kappa dutifully turned around in Tukwila and headed southbound on I-405. Still laughing about their little mishap, Kappa and The Sessionista approached the I-5 split and what did Kappa do? Tried to go northbound. Again. Screaming Sessionista bleated “NO! NO! DO NOT GO THAT WAY!!! SOUTHBOUND!!!!!”, quickly realizing her chances of getting to California were hovering around 10%.

Finally safely tucked onto I-5 (a road that would literally DELIVER them to the Promised Land), Kappa and Sessionista experienced a relatively uneventful trip south. First stop? McDonald’s for a little hash brown action (again, Monopoly game going on, total compulsion/obsession/addiction…). Next, far more important stop? The Woodburn Company Stores. The Sessionista headed straight into the Banana Republic outlet (and immediately figured out all the effing clothes are made special for the outlet…is it so hard to give us the real thing?). Slightly unemployed but slightly still a fan of shopping, Sessionista dutifully (and rather responsibly) took a fab sweater to the cash register and confirmed the price was reasonable before purchasing (for only $39! And Oregon, blessed haven for shoppers, has no sales tax. All in all The Sessionista commended her excellent commitment to saving money.).  Kappa got a few steals on some pants, then it was off to Arby’s for some beef before continuing south. Like two little old ladies, Kappa and The Sessionista unleashed not one but TWO coupons on the unsuspecting cashier at Arby’s. Saving their cash for the more important stuff (like clothes). The cashier? Not amused. The Sessionista? Super amused.

Continuing their journey south (very carefully, with extreme concentration being paid to all freeway entrance signage), Kappa and Sessionista chatted non-stop for 8 hours, then stopped by Sessionista’s old stomping grounds, Grants Pass. Filled with confusing one-way streets, Kappa and Sessionista managed to take not one, but TWO “nostalgia tours” by her regular stops during her childhood trips to San Jose: the Motel 6, Sizzler and The Jelly Donut (all, PHENOMONALLY, still in business) whilst searching out a gas station. The Sessionista was now in the driver’s seat, which proved to be a bad idea when she couldn’t figure out how to take the e-brake off, pop the gas cap open OR roll down the window…

Luckily Grants Pass was only a little over 100 miles from Yreka (It was that or Weed. Weed, CA… a name that’s aching for the top spot on the List of Shitty Town Names [although many 15 year old boys find it awesome]). Since Yreka delivered so much content, The Sessionista is saving it for a separate blog. Especially since she’s signing off from this one whilst sitting on the edge of the bathtub in the bathroom of a super-nast Comfort Inn (listening to the drone of not one, but two fans) and taking advantage of what may be the only power outlet in the hotel.

Random Animals by the Freeway (alive):
Cats: 2 (the first was horrifying, the second one elicited a “WTF is going on with the cats on the freeway???” from The Sessionista)
Hawk: 1 (sitting on the ground)
Deer: 2 (1 dutifully posed for a photo)
Random Animals by the Freeway (dead):
Raccoons: 329

License Plates (covertly kept track in The Sessionista’s head so as to not be teased mercilessly by Kappa): Washington, Oregon, California, Nebraska, South Carolina, Missouri