Staycations

I haven’t had an entire week off since about July 2012 (before I started my full-time internship in early August 2012). I’m a bit of a control freak and a worrier so I never like to take time off and detatch from work. I had used about five of my twenty vacation days so far when I realized it was late September and I could only carry over 5 of those remaining days, I decided to take this week off and do nothing.

Well, I took this week off, but I didn’t do nothing, technically. I slept in most days to 8am (a good two hours later than I usually sleep!), which was nice. I kept track of my work email on my phone and as far as I could tell, no shit was hitting the fan at all. Which was nice. Very nice.

Movies: I saw two – Cuatro and Gravity (in IMAX 3D). They were both good.

Shows: I saw A Night With Janis Joplin & Bronx Bombers. Both were awesome!

Cooking: I made chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, chocolate chip cookies, butternut squash soup, and this linguine without the shrimp. Because I was lazy.

the beginnings of butternut squash soup

TV: I don’t have cable, but I do have Netflix and I felt called to watch seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal. So I did. It was good, but you had to really be paying to it. I’m looking forward to the next episodes! But damn, Kerry Washington, I wish you wouldn’t have had all that plastic surgery.

Yoga: I made it to six yoga classes. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (x2), and Saturday. I took four classes with one of my favorite teachers whose classes I can never make (because of timing) anymore. It was awesome. Apparently I have to slow my practice down. A lot. And she taught me how to use a yoga block to give myself a neck massage. Amazing. Below is my heart rate monitor after my most grueling vinyasa class:

Running: I ran twice. Once last weekend (6 miles) and once today (3.2 miles). That’s good enough for me.

Coffee: I drank lots of coffee. I went to Birch, Ground Support, Think, Joe, and Everyman Espresso. I spent too much money at these establishments.

Food: I finally got to try Dakota Bar on 72nd and Columbus with two of my friends last night. I liked it – though it’s incredibly overpriced. The mini-burgers were really good though! I also had lunch with a friend down by his office at Bar Ciccio in SoHo. 

Firsts: I went to my first meditation class tonight. It was awesome. And it cost only $5. It was a thirty minute meditation, followed by a thirty minute dharma talk, and then cookies and tea. It was amazing. They were incredibly welcoming. Check them out here.

Banksy: The incredible and elusive street artist left his mark on the Upper West Side last night so I went right over to see it this morning. Pretty amazing.  My dad was with me and asked me to tell him when he gets arrested. After which he asked me to email him the photo and he put it on his FB wall. 😉

Central Park: And lastly today I spent the afternoon with my dad taking photos in Central Park. We walked around most of the park (except north of 100th, just because we ran out of time), walked through the Whitney, and got lunch at Untitled. My dad had shockingly never seen the Reservoir before, or Bethesda Fountain (even though he did see the original Broadway production of Angels in America (part 1) in the early 90’s!). It was a nice day!

Overall: Not a bad 9 days off.

The Key is Breathing

I started running again semi-regularly about a month ago. And by “semi-regularly,” I mean I ran about once a week. The thing was I started running longer distances than I ever had before. I used to run 2-2.5 miles at once and be done. Occasionally I’d slip in a 5k, but not normally.

Then I had my heart set on completing the loop in Central Park. Which is, like, six (6!) miles. I tried once, and cut out some, and then walked about ¼ of the way so it was four miles and some change. Then I tried to run the perimeter of the park and gave up after about 3 miles, cut across the park, and went home. 

You know what I did every time I wanted to stop? I breathed. Whenever my yoga teachers have told me in the past to breathe into where ever you feel discomfort: they’re totally right. Just breathe. But finally today I was able to do it. I took a couple of 20 second walking breaks, but I did it (at a pretty good pace of 10:22/mile) and I felt great. 

image

And then I started to not feel so great anymore. I ate a ½ cup of oatmeal before I went out but with probably no more than a ½ cup of water, so I think I was pretty dehydrated. I ate a grilled cheese and avocado sandwich and a lot of water after.

After I showered and started running errands, with plans to go to two super easy yoga classes tonight, I started feeling really shitty. Like really, really shitty. 

I came home and laid down (and watched a really random, sort of okay but probably not movie called “Waiting For Forever” and now I’m taking it easy for the rest of the evening. I really want to order Chinese (since grocery shopping obviously didn’t happen today) but most of me thinks this is a pretty terrible idea.

So, a question to all the (maybe 2?) runners who happen to stumble upon this entry: Was I feel shitty because I ran the longest distance I’ve ever run? I’m attributing my being run down to the fact that I was dehydrated and the weather was super warm last week and now it’s finally acting like it’s fall out.

Yeah. That sounds about right. But I did it! I ran all six miles. Do I ever want to increase my miles again? Nah, not really. Marathons, half-marathons, and basically anything longer than what I ran seem really silly to me.

And I’m pretty sure I’d feel incredibly… shitty after running one.

Strawberry Fields, October 9th, 2013, 8am

The anniversary of John Lennon’s birthday is a day I always celebrate. I got to Strawberry Fields a couple of times, I sing some songs, I blast it through my iPhone. This year was even better because I played DJ at work today and my colleagues very graciously humored me while I played through the 6.5 hours of John Lennon and Beatles music that I’d packed onto an iTunes playlist on my work computer (because you wouldn’t believe how impossible it is to find John Lennon’s actual albums on Spotify).

I burned Mind Games Sessions (Disc 1 and 2), John Lennon (acoustic), Wasuponatime, Imagine, Abbey Road, and The White Album (discs 1 and 2) onto my computer. 

And after that was over, I played the Across the Universe soundtrack which, thankfully, was on Spotify. (And yesterday we listened to Instant Karma all day.)

I stopped by Strawberry Fields on my way to work this morning (the above photo was taken at 8am) and then I stopped by again after my yoga class ended at 9pm. At 9, there were dozens of people there and many musicians set up, all happily playing, and singing, their hearts out.

John Lennon is tied in first place with a certain Billie Joe Armstrong for favorite musician ever. And why not? Lennon was one of Armstrong’s inspirations growing up so it make perfect sense. Taking a few hours out of my day (and my colleagues’ day) is the least I can do to celebrate him.

I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together.

I had two intense workouts last weekend.

On Saturday morning I went to my favorite 9am intermediate level vinyasa class with one of my favorite teachers. It was killer. She’s a killer. But I love it, and her. According to my Polar (above), I burned almost 500 calories. Whoa.

I woke up on Sunday with an ass that was so sore (from yoga the day before, perverts) that it was painful to sit. But with the weather being so lovely, I decided to run outside for the first time since right before the new year. I did a little over 5k and it was good. I was running way too fast – according to my time on the treadmill that I’ve been using, I’ve been running 11 minute miles (but treadmills suck, so screw it). I need to slow it down and see if I can run around the entire park once. I don’t want to do it and allow myself to stop – I feel like that’s cheating and not really running, stopping and going, that is.

Still being sore on Monday, I decided to skip my advanced yoga class and work late instead and tonight I decided to cook instead. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll make it back to my second-favorite yoga class. 

Memories: Shakespeare in the Park Rush Lines of the Past

There are certain theatrical events that are worth a good 12 hours on the street. This is one of them.

The last time I’d waited on an early morning line for tickets to a show was at the Public was probably 2007. Long before a HAIR revival was a glimmer in any producer’s eye, The Public presented a one-weekend only staged concert production of it in honor of its 40th anniversary. I love HAIR more than my friends (I kid, but you get the point) and I’d yet to see a professional production of it, so this was a must-see. It was also high on the priorities list for my friend Kristen who was matriculating at NYU not far from the Public at the time. I remember getting a call from Kristen around 10:30pm the night before the concert and her saying, “people are already at the Public,” and all I could reply was, “see you by eleven!” and hung up. I was living in FiDi so I packed a bag and met up with her where we chatted, slept or stayed caffeinated, ate, and played card games as the hours ticked by.

About 30 minutes before tickets were given out, the sky opened up and it not only rained, it poured. It was a little annoying, but mostly magical. Here’s photo evidence:


We went home, drenched, but with tickets in hand.

We toasted with the friends we’d made in line in front of us around noon. It was brunch time soon anyways, right?

The concert was, obviously, worth every second on the street that night. And the next summer it came back, and that season HAIR was back on Broadway.

WTF. I requested number 24601. Someone’s getting an earful.

I ran my first race ever today. I never thought I’d run a race. It was a 4-mile race for the Central Park Conservancy in Central Park (duh). I started my GPS app a little before the start line whenever I started running and I ended up running 4.48 miles at 8’59"/mile, for a total time of 40:17. I walked for about thirty feet somewhere along the third mile and choked on water (almost) around the same place – though some extremely nice fellow racers stopped to make sure I was okay. They obviously knew I was a newbie.

Not bad, but I was really sweaty after. I also scored a spot in The Color Run 5k in Brooklyn next month which I’ll be doing with a couple of friends, so that’ll be fun. Truth be told, I’m doing it for the free sweatband, heh. I’m really excited for that one actually, except for the commute time. I’ll have to be up and out the door by, like, 6am.  

Here are a few pictures that I took at Strawberry Fields on Saturday.  It was a complete madhouse.  It was probably the busiest I’ve seen it in six years.  I couldn’t get anywhere near the Imagine mosaic in the center, so these are most of the people who came out to sing.  I’m happy to say that the spirit there was happy and peaceful.  People weren’t starting fights with people who were trying to get through the crowd, etc.  Guitars were seen in numbers.  It was nice.  I’ll post the entire album when I can upload them to Flickr.  Enjoy!