Thursday Things

1. UGH YOU GUYS. I AM SO MAD ABOUT THE LOLLA LINEUP. CAPS LOCK NECESSARY.

I thought I was over my music festival phase, particularly my Lolla phase. I didn’t have that great of a time when I went in 2016, and I didn’t go in 2017 or 2018 because I had zero interest in attending. The lineups didn’t interest me at all, and hanging out with a bunch of drunk teenagers interested me even less. I thought maybe the penchant for Broadway I developed in 2017 turned me off popular music, and since the Lolla lineup never included, say, the original Broadway cast of Hamilton (omg WHAT IF), I didn’t have any desire to go.

Nope. It’s not that I don’t care about popular music anymore. It’s that the lineups for Lolla from 2016-2018 were awful. I’m not any more into popular music now than I was two years ago, but when I got an email yesterday morning with the Lolla lineup for this summer, my first reaction was, “Noooooooooooo!!!! THIS IS SO GOOD AND I CAN’T GO *all of the sobbing emojis*”

UGH. I want to go so bad. But there’s just no way it’ll happen this year. Lolla is August 1-4, and August 1 is literally the first day I definitely won’t be living in the city anymore. The lease on my current place is up on July 31, and while I don’t know when specifically I’m going to move, I feel pretty confident it’ll be by the end of my lease. And, no, it’s not like there’s a rule against attending if you live outside city limits, but it’s obviously a lot more logistically challenging if you don’t have a house of your own to return to via the CTA at the end of the night. Not to mention that the potential first few days after I move do not seem like the best time to drag myself to a festival that I barely had the endurance to survive when I was 22, never mind when I’m 28. There’s also the fact that I didn’t budget with the expectation of going to Lolla this year, and since I have been budgeting for other major expenses associated with the move (i.e.: needing to buy a car. Blech.), I don’t exactly have the flexibility to change my financial plans for the year to accommodate a Lolla ticket.

So I won’t be attending, even though my 23-year-old self would never, ever forgive my 28-year-old self for skipping when both Flume AND RL Grime are playing. Those were my two favorite DJs in my EDM phase! And frankly, both my 16- and 28-year-old selves will never forgive my 28-year-old self for skipping when Death Cab for Cutie is playing. I’m so sorry, High School Bethany. I apparently will not follow you into the dark *more sobbing emojis*

And those are just the nostalgia acts I’m mad about missing! Twenty One Pilots?! Kacey Musgraves?! Judah & the Lion?! AJR?! Fitz & the Tantrums?! After years of not wanting to see a single act on the entire lineup, there are suddenly enough for me to justify buying a four day pass (which are still on sale, as of Wednesday. Back in MY DAY, those suckers sold out in under an hour.).

Sigh. Growing up is stupid.

2. In happier event news, I went to a few sessions of the Big 10 Tournament last week, and it was so much fun!

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A couple friends invited me to come along with them, so after my run last Wednesday I headed to the United Center in time to see the Northwestern/Illinois game.

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Honestly, the game itself wasn’t that great until the end of the second half, but I suppose that’s what happens when you’re watching two of the worst teams in the conference play each other. The game ended up going into overtime, though, and that was really exciting!

I made it to both evening games on Thursday, arriving around half time of the Minnesota/Penn State game (which also went into overtime!) and staying to the bitter end of Iowa’s blowout of Illinois.

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Even though Iowa destroyed Illinois, who I was cheering for by proxy, since I attended with Illinois alumni (my real Big 10 loyalties lie exclusively with Michigan), I still really enjoyed the game. There were SO MANY Iowa fans there, and they got so excited every time their team did something well! I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such sustained enthusiasm. Iowa won by 21 points, but the way its fans cheered, you’d think it was a one-possession game down to the final buzzer. It made for a really fun atmosphere!

I also realized while I was at the Northwestern/Illinois game that it was the first time I had ever been to a DI basketball game. What! I went to a DIII school, so I’ve been to plenty DIII basketball games–like, almost every home game of my college career, save for my semester in Chicago–but I had never been to a DI game! So that was cool.

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3. I mentioned in my training recap post on Tuesday that I spent most of my time on the bike last Sunday reading Educated. I finished it last Wednesday, and wow, what a story. I don’t think this was really supposed to be the main takeaway of the book, but what really struck me about it was just how much the human body is able to survive. I can’t tell you how many times I expected someone to die from their latest insanely traumatic injury, but (spoiler) no one did, and it blew my mind. It was a really great read, and I definitely recommend it.

I also appreciated that it took me just under seven hours to read. Before Educated, I read The Goldfinch, and that gigantic book took me TWENTY AND A HALF HOURS to read. Holy cow. I thought it would never end! That was also a great book, but boy, it was a commitment.  That’s the one downside of Libby: not knowing how long a book is until it’s too late. If it tells you how long a book is before you borrow it, I haven’t figured out where that information is, so sometimes I do things like check out The Goldfinch because it won a Pulitzer and realize just how much reading I signed myself up for once it downloads and my eyes fall out of my head at the page count, ha.

Is anyone going to Lolla this year? If so, I’d like to formally request to live vicariously through you, thanks.

Thursday Things

1. Throughout the month of February, I kept getting random bruises on my legs. They seemed to show up out of nowhere, and, in an incredible twist of events, (<- sarcasm), I assumed it meant I was moments away from death (this, despite having been to the doctor in late January and getting perfectly normal results on the complete blood count portion of my annual blood work). I decided to go to the doctor again, hoping they’d tell me I had a vitamin deficiency but assuming they’d tell me I had cancer, because that’s generally always my assumption at the doctor.

I got my results two days later, and unsurprisingly, I didn’t develop lymphoma over the course of three weeks. I did, however, find out that I’m iron deficient. (Iron being a mineral rather than a vitamin, so it’s not a vitamin deficiency even if it’s in the same vein.)

I can’t say it’s totally out of left field that I’m iron deficient, despite that not being on my radar prior to getting my results back. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, and when I do eat meat, it’s almost never red meat. I’ve also never paid any mind to whether or not I paired vegetarian sources of iron with vitamin C, which is apparently important to get that type of iron (non-heme, as opposed to heme, which comes from animals) to absorb.

I have to take an iron supplement now to get my iron stores back to where they should be, but I also need to start being a lot more conscientious about my dietary iron intake, which puts me in a bit of a bind. My cholesterol is higher than it should be, so I’m supposed to avoid red meat, but since my iron is lower than it should be, I’m supposed to eat…more red meat. I’m not really sure what’s expected out of me here?? I think I need to set up an appointment with a dietician (probably after I hit my insurance deductible), because I could really use some help in figuring out how to navigate this high cholesterol/low iron situation I’ve found myself in.

2. In an effort to raise my iron levels (not really, but it did was a nice coincidence!), I crossed a big item off my Chicago bucket list on Saturday: dinner at Girl and the Goat.

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(I’m annoyed that I did such a terrible job composing this picture *facepalm emoji*)

Truthfully, I didn’t know a whole lot about Girl and the Goat beyond the basics: that it’s Stephanie Izard (of Top Chef)’s restaurant, and that you usually have to make a reservation two or three months in advance if you want to get in. Imagine my utter delight, then, on February 20 when I was looking for reservations in May and instead found one remaining 4:45 p.m. slot on March 2 instead!

I now understand what people mean when they talk about the best meal of their lives, because this was, hands down, the best of mine. Every single dish, from the bread at the beginning to dessert at the end, was mind-blowing. I didn’t know it was possible for food to be so delicious. It was easily the best dining experience I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad I decided to make going a priority. It was more than worth the food coma I had for the remainder of the night.

3. Another highlight of Saturday: visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory!

I wrote a whole post about the conservatory last year, so I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details this time around. This was a spontaneous trip: other plans I had Saturday got cancelled, so I figured, why not? I had seen on Facebook earlier that day that it was the last weekend to see a few of the palms in the Palm Room (they had outgrown the space, and since you can’t very well transplant a palm tree outside in Chicago, they needed to cut them down so other plants could get sunlight again. They had also outlived their normal lifespan–one of them was 93 years old!–so it was time.), so I saw them one last time.

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The Spring Flower Show is going on right now, so I reveled in the tulips and daffodils for a long time. Honestly, I could’ve looked at them all afternoon. I can’t wait for them to start popping up outside, too!

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This trip to the conservatory also gave me a chance to see the sprouting Century Agave in the Desert House.

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I read an article in Block Club Chicago a few weeks ago about the agave and was really curious about it. Century Agave only bloom once in their lives, which is what this one is doing right now. It sends up a stalk that will grow to insane heights (like, 30 feet insane), bloom, and then the whole plant will die because this whole process takes so much energy. It’s a little tough to see in the picture, but there’s a rope hanging next to the stalk that shows you how much it’s grown over time. At the time of the Block Club Chicago article, there was one weekend where it grew ELEVEN INCHES! In one weekend! Can you imagine?!

Anyway, it was the perfect weekend to go to the conservatory, between the agave and the palms, though I’d argue any winter weekend is a perfect weekend to go to the conservatory. It’s such a nice escape from the misery that is January through March around here.

Thursday Things

1. I’ve learned something important about myself over the past few weeks: there is a zero percent chance I will make a career change into event planning.

Through a variety of circumstances (shifting roles at work, agreeing to responsibilities without fully realizing what they would entail, among others), I’ve found myself at the helm of not one, not two, but THREE different events. I have very quickly learned that I hate–HATE–everything involved in the event planning process. I hate the research required, I hate the endless phone calls and emails with prospective vendors, I hate the endless phone calls and emails with hired vendors, I hate being the middle man between the people paying and the people who need to be paid, I hate the feeling that the success or failure of the event rests entirely on my shoulders: I hate all of it.

This, honestly, has come as an enormous surprise to me, because prior to being in the thick of event planning, I thought it sounded like a really cool and fun way to spend your time. I enjoy project management–having a gigantic task that needs to be completed and breaking it down into little, consecutive steps with deadlines that add up to completing the entire task–so it seemed like event planning would be right up my alley. I’ve even assisted with events before! I’ve been involved with race organizing before and generally enjoyed that, so how much different could event planning be?

I suppose event planning really isn’t that different, but what I didn’t realize with my involvement in race organizing was just how minor my involvement actually was. There is a BIG difference between working packet pick-up or race day information tables and being the person who makes those things happen: the person who has to find the venue, who has to schedule times for it to happen, who has to make sure the venue checks off all the necessary boxes (location, ease of access, convenience, etc.), who has to organize all the things that will be in the packet to begin with, etc. I, fortunately, have not had to plan any events on the scale of a race, but even the tiny events I have had to organize have been TOO MUCH.

I also now genuinely admire people who do enjoy event planning and make a living out of it. You’re all heroes in my mind, because no sum of money could make me ever want to do this full time. Or part time. Or on an as-needed basis. Or at all.

(As an aside, it boggles my mind how bad some vendors are about responding to inquiries. Like, you realize I’m trying to throw hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars at you, right? I shouldn’t have to follow up via phone AND email multiple times to get an answer out of you as to whether or not you can provide your services for my event, especially when two of the events I’ve needed to plan have been during decidedly off-season times. If I were a vendor and someone reached out to me with interest in using my services during the off-season, I’d be falling over myself to get their business locked in as soon as possible.)

2. Another thing I’ve learned about myself recently: I do not have a future as webinar leader.

I led some training at work last week and earlier this week, all of which took place virtually. I’ve never had trouble with public speaking, so I figured this would all be fine. I don’t actively seek out opportunities to get in front of a bunch of people to give speeches, I suppose, but a situation arises that requires me to address a group, I generally don’t have any issues with it.

Until I had to lead these webinars! Holy cow! I’ve been a nervous wreck for all of them! I think it’s because there are so many more things that could go wrong with a webinar. What if my internet flakes out? What if my phone connection is static-y? What if people can’t see my screen? What if I click the wrong button and break everything?

And then, of course, there’s also the issue of the complete lack of feedback you get during a webinar. I have all the trainees muted while I’m going through my spiel so they can’t interrupt me, and we haven’t used video conferencing during any of the sessions, so I don’t get any audio OR visual feedback on how well my training’s going. Is anyone paying attention? Are they getting anything out of it? Do they think it’s funny that I used Parks and Rec characters for my examples? I have no idea! And it makes me so uncomfortable!

Too bad my annual review isn’t for another 11 months, because I’m going to have a LOT of things to tell my manager that I learned about myself and my working preferences this year!

3. Mark it down: February 26 was the first day I heard a cardinal singing in 2019. Spring, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, must be on its way!

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^ almost certainly not the cardinal I heard singing, but a cardinal nevertheless.

Last year I heard my first cardinal song on February 18, so it looks like the birds are more or less on the same schedule as last year! I’ve also seen some daffodils popping up in the first spot I noticed them last year, which is a bit more surprising. I’d think the weather would have more of an impact on them, but apparently not. Only 11 more days until we get to see the sun in the evening again! Probably a lot more than 11 more days until it’s warm enough to matter, though.

Thursday Things

1. I was all ready to kick off this post complaining about how I seem to have come down with a case of plantar fasciitis, but now I’m not so sure anymore.

I started to get heel pain in my right foot last Tuesday, but I told myself it was nothing (mostly because I had had heel pain in my left foot on Monday, and it disappeared overnight). But then the pain was still there Wednesday, and by Thursday, walking in shoes without decent cushioning had become quite unpleasant. Things were particularly bad in the morning, and it mostly felt fine when I’d run. All classic PF symptoms, right?

My foot really hurt Sunday, so I slept in my night splint from a previous bout with PF. I felt a lot better on Monday, but I figured that was due to not running on Sunday. But then I still felt fine this past Tuesday, even though I ran five miles on Monday?? Who knows. I may or may not have plantar fasciitis, I guess. But I did have a ton of heel pain last week, so I figure better safe than sorry, and I may as well treat it as if it is plantar fasciitis to be on the safe side.

Regardless of whether or not its my plantar fascia causing my foot woes, it’s a frustrating situation. I’m just trying to have a good training cycle 😦 Why do so many things seem to be conspiring to keep that from happening? I suppose this one is my fault–I decided to run more frequently than normal, after all–but it’s not like running four days per week is some groundbreaking idea. Hopefully it can hold up through this for another…six and a half weeks. Good thing this week is a cutback week.

2. I saw this (shown below) on a BuzzFeed roundup of “tweets about books only ’90s and ’00s teens will understand,” and WHAAAAAAAT!

WHAAAAAAAT!

That tweet is nearly a year old, so I guess I’ve been living under a rock, but this was MINDBLOWING INFORMATION to me. Hope Hicks was Jenny Humphrey?!

The whole roundup really spoke to me, honestly. I was a voracious YA lit reader in my teens, and I could not get enough of anything in the Gossip Girl wheelhouse: Gossip Girl, The It Girl, The A-List: I gobbled those books up. If I wasn’t reading one of those books, I was reading Sarah Dessen novels. Those books got me my driver’s license, I swear. I needed to get my permit driving hours in, so I went to the library–a 20 minute drive each way–at least once a week (though I think it was every four days?). I also cleaned up in the library’s summer reading game, in case you were wondering *brushes shoulder off*

It’d be so nice to have nothing but time to read again! I’m currently working my way through The Goldfinch (which is amazing so far), and it’s taking for.ev.er. I started it three weeks ago, have been reading it for 13 hours, and I’m STILL not even two-thirds of the way through O.O This is easily one of the longest books I’ve read in awhile. It usually takes me more like six to eight hours to get through a Libby book. They’re also usually in the 600 page range on Libby, while this one is 1100+. Good thing it’s a great read!

3. Speaking of the 2000s.

A couple weeks ago in dance, my teacher played a song I recognized from a previous session during our warmup. I went back through my old videos and found it in our routine from January/February 2013: six years worth of sessions ago.

I lose track of how long I’ve been in dance and often have a hard time wrapping my head around how long I’ve been in class. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been six years. I don’t know that six years even sounds that long?

So for whatever reason, I translated that amount of time into the 2000s: 2003 to 2009. When I realized the same amount of time passed between 2003 and 2009 and 2013 and 2019, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. February 2003 was the second semester of seventh grade. February of 2009 was second semester of my freshman year of college. That sounds like such a long time! That FEELS like such a long time! It felt like a long time then, it it stills feel like a long time to remember it now. But somehow February 2013-February 2019 doesn’t feel like nearly as much time?

I guess it’s because not quite as much has changed between 2013 and 2019 as it did between 2003 and 2009? I mean, I suppose if I think about it, a lot has–I have different friends, I live in a different apartment, I have a different job–but a LOT more changed between 2003 and 2009. The general day-to-day of my life (get up, go to work, exercise, go to bed, rinse, repeat) hasn’t really changed at all since 2013, even if some of the details have. There’s a pretty big difference between being 12, in seventh grade, living with your parents and being 18, in college, living on your own. I assume that’s part of why the past six years have felt like a second, while the six years between 2003 and 2009 felt like a lifetime. But it was still weird to realize that!

 

 

Thursday Things

Florida trip recap edition! I had hoped to get this up last week, but I was super busy after I got home, so you get to hear all about my time in the magical land of livable conditions in February today.

1. I went to Florida during the first weekend in February with a few friends. One of them had a conference in Orlando, and we all decided that was as good of an excuse as any to escape the frozen wasteland that is Chicago for a couple days. It took us a bit longer to get to Orlando than any of us anticipated: some of us were on one flight while the rest of us were on another, and both of our flights were delayed by over two hours due to mechanical issues on the planes that were supposed to take us to Orlando. But our planes got us there safe and sound very late Friday night/very early Saturday morning, and after…definitely not eight hours of sleep, we made our way to Universal!

I had never been to Universal before, but all of us are Harry Potter fans, so stopping by both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure was a must. Another must: getting breakfast at Voodoo Donuts before going into Universal Studios. Not feeling up to going to Voodoo Donuts in Eugene was easily the second-biggest disappointment I had when I was there for five hours last summer–the first being missing NCAAs at Hayward Field–so I was not about to miss my chance again!

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Once we got to Universal Studios, we made a beeline for Diagon Alley and immediately got in line for Escape From Gringotts, the main ride in Diagon Alley. It was the right level of scary and I, a non-roller coaster person, really enjoyed it!

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We wandered Diagon Alley for a bit, then got on the Hogwarts Express to travel to Hogsmeade inside Islands of Adventure.

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Getting on the ride inside Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, was once again our top priority, so we headed straight to the castle to get in line. I loved this ride, too! Again, just the right level of scary to be thrilling without ramping up my anxiety (ahem, Space Mountain). I also LOVED waiting in line. The inside of the castle is just like in the movie! They even have talking pictures. Really. It was AWESOME.

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We were all hungry after getting off the ride, so we went over to Jurassic Park for lunch, but not before stopping for an all-important Butterbeer.

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We also got pumpkin juice, which, like the rides, surprised me by how much I liked it. It’s made with apple juice and definitely tasted more apple-y than pumpkin-y, which was fine with me.

We spent a fair amount of time walking around Islands of Adventure. Everyone else went on the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride, but I didn’t want to risk getting wet so I hung back. We returned to Diagon Alley after that to get ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s, where they had sticky toffee pudding ice cream. WHAT. Sticky toffee pudding is my favorite dessert, so I obviously got that flavor. We got kicked out of the park soon after finishing our ice cream since it closed at 6 p.m. that night for a music festival, so we got dinner on the CityWalk and then returned to our hotels to rest up for Disney the next day.

2. On Sunday, we started our Disney adventures at Magic Kingdom!

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I haven’t been to Disney World (or Florida at all, for that matter) since spring break 2001, so needless to say, it’s been awhile. I was really excited to go back and experience it at 28 vs. 10!

We started at Splash Mountain, which I’m pretty sure scared me more at this age than it did when I was 10, ha. We got breakfast at a cart afterwards, and naturally, I spent my entire meal staring at a White Ibis hanging out nearby:

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UGH, what a beautiful bird! Its pale blue eyes are just stunning. Seeing ibises was easily one of the highlights of Disney for me. #onbrand

We went to the Hall of Presidents, rode Pirates of the Caribbean, and climbed through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse before heading to Tomorrowland for lunch. We wandered that side of Magic Kingdom for awhile, killing time before our Space Mountain FastPass+ time rolled around. We went on “it’s a small world”:

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and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which was…maybe not worth the 45 minute wait, in my not-preschooler opinion. Ha. But then we went on Space Mountain which I swear I liked at 10, but scared me so much at 28 that I had a hard time breathing when I got off from all the anxiety that dumb roller coaster provoked, so there’s that. It all balances out, I suppose 😛

We finished our rides for the day with Under the Sea, and then half the group went shopping while the rest of us went to dinner at The Plaza. Those of us at dinner left the park a little after 6 p.m. to head back to the Ticket and Transportation Center, because we had tickets to Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise.

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I had read a couple reviews on Disney blogs that suggested the cruise wasn’t worth the price of admission, and meh. Maybe that’s true. The smoke from the fireworks kept us from seeing the projections on Cinderella’s Castle, and the desserts were definitely deficient in the chocolate department in my opinion. I thought it was a cool experience regardless, and I’m glad we did it.

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I made sure to get my money’s worth of dessert, don’t you worry. This was plate #1 of…three? I think? Eventually I stopped filling my plate and just shoveling what I wanted into my mouth. Ha. What half marathon goals? 😛

3. The last day of the trip, we went to Epcot. I loved Epcot when I was a kid, even though it’s more “adult-y” (though, story of my life, haha. Pretty sure I was born 45 years old.), and I’ve wanted to go back for years and experience it as an actual adult. Ironically, my favorite part of going to Epcot in 2001 was visiting the countries, and this time, it was visiting the Disney characters. Apparently I’m reverse maturing.

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We started the day at Soarin’, then had (what turned out to be) a totally unnecessary breakfast before hitting up a bunch of character spots, where we met Vanellope and Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph, Joy and Sadness from Inside Out, and Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. (We also later met Donald in Mexico, Mulan in China, and Tigger randomly in the United Kingdom.)

Real talk: I 100 percent get that it sounds silly to meet characters as a grown up. I know that there’s a normal person inside that costume–a normal person who’s almost certainly younger than I am–and you’d think that would kind of ruin the magic of it all. But man, it was so fun! The people who play the characters go above and beyond to make you feel special, even if you’re a grownup with no kids in tow. I was wearing my shirt from the Life Time 5K in 2016, and when Minnie saw it, she “asked” if I’m a runner (by mimicking running and then pointing to my shirt). When I told Sadness I was SO excited to meet her (…which I was), she traced a single tear down her cheek. When I told Donald it was nice to meet him, he pretended to kiss my hand, like I was, you know, a Disney princess. I MEAN, COME ON. I know it sounds so stupid, but they just make you feel like it’s a big deal that they’re meeting you rather than the other way around, and I don’t think it matters how old you are: it feels awfully nice to be treated like that.

We went to Epcot during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which included a thrice-nightly Disney on Broadway concert. Obviously I was interested in that, so we ended up making a reservation at Rose & Crown in the United Kingdom for lunch that came with reserved tickets to the 6:45 p.m. Disney on Broadway show. Unbeknownst to us, the reservation was for a three course prix fixe lunch, so we ended up getting way more food than anticipated (hence why breakfast was unnecessary). It was all super delicious, though, especially the sticky toffee pudding I got (in non-ice cream form) for dessert. Nomz.

We wandered through the countries all afternoon. I saw my first anhinga in Italy:

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All about adding birds to my life list.

Then at 6:45, it was time for our Disney on Broadway show, featuring Gavin Lee and Heidi Blickenstaff!

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Both were in various Disney shows on Broadway in the past: Lee was Bert from Mary Poppins (though more recently he was Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, which is why I wanted go. When SpongeBob performed its song for being a Tony nominee for Best Musical last year, the song performed was basically a Squidward solo. I figured if this guy was good enough to get to do that–especially when there had been a lot of hype about Ethan Slater, who played SpongeBob–he must be worth seeing live) and Blickenstaff was Ursula in The Little Mermaid. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed by the show, mostly because it only lasted 30 minutes, but it was a really great 30 minutes of entertainment. Lee and Blickenstaff were both insanely good, and it was quite the treat to see them live (and from the second row, no less!).

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We got dinner in France, popped by The Seas to visit Nemo and Marlin:

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before settling in to watch IllumiNations:

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It was quite the show, and a great end to a fantastic trip to Florida 🙂

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Thursday Things

1. Greetings from the tundra!

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I’m sure it’s not breaking news to anyone that it’s been polar cold in Chicago recently. I haven’t left the house since Tuesday and don’t have plans to until tomorrow. It’s so cold we even had to close the windows in my house! That’s how you know it’s serious 😛

My office seemed to be the only one in Chicago that didn’t close for the weather, but I at least have the ability to work from home. That’s especially beneficial at this particular moment in time for me, not just to avoid frostbite/hypothermia, but because I managed to lose my Ventra card sometime between leaving the office and arriving home on Tuesday. Not just my Ventra card, actually – the entire wallet I kept it in *headdesk* Fortunately it was just my repurposed student ID wallet from college, so there wasn’t much important in there (just my Ventra card, the card from my old gym that I was too nostalgic to get rid of, and some of the old, pre-Ventra CTA passes that don’t even work anymore). I’ve reported it lost and ordered a new card, but it’ll be at least a week until that arrives, so getting around town is going to be a bit of a headache in the mean time. Plus, I need to find a new ID wallet to hold my card. Sigh.

2. Losing my Ventra card has really thrown a monkey wrench into my workout hopes/dreams this week. I had zero intention of going to the gym on Wednesday, even though my training schedule called for intervals that day. This is only a three-run week for me instead of a four-run week, so I had a bit more flexibility and could swap Thursday’s cross training for Wednesday’s run, which was a lot easier to get done at home.

But of course swapping Thursday’s cross training for Wednesday’s run implies that I’d be doing Wednesday’s run on Thursday. And I could do that. But I don’t want to do that. I mean, I want to get my run in, but I don’t want to go outside to get to a gym where I could do it. I could cut my losses and skip the run entirely, but I have a feeling I’m going to be doing  a lot of loss-cutting over the next several days. I’m supposed to be escaping to warmer climes on Friday, and while I certainly intend to try to get in all my scheduled workouts, I have some serious doubts that everything will go as planned. It’s one thing to bail on one run; it’s another to bail on three runs and a cross training session. Under normal circumstances I’d get over it, but I really want to take this training cycle seriously to, at the very least, be able to feel like I put in the work necessary to run a sub-2:00 half, even if I don’t end up running a sub-2:00 half. Blah.

3. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a trip than I am for the one I have scheduled for this weekend. I want to get OUT. OF. HERE. I just hope everything at the airport sorts itself out by the time I’m scheduled to depart on Friday. All the cancelled flights over the past few days have made me nervous about what kind of trickle-down implications that could have for my flight Friday, but hopefully I’ll be able to get out on time. Fingers crossed.

Thursday Things

1. Whose bright idea was it to train for a goal half marathon during the winter? Seriously, what was I thinking?

I assume I was thinking something along the lines of, “You run faster when it’s cold outside, so you should train for a race that will likely be cold.” I was also probably thinking something along the lines of, “This will keep me engaged and interested during the winter,” or, “You got your PR at this race in 2014, so it seems like as good of a race as any to try to PR again.”

Regardless, I definitely did not consider how difficult it would be to do all the training I wanted/planned to do when the sidewalks are anywhere between glazed with ice and buried under inches of snow. I mean, I can get my running done on a treadmill. I just wish I didn’t have to do so much of it on the treadmill. I think, when I put this training plan together, I had it in my mind that the only obstacle I’d face would be cold and darkness. I guess I forgot that it snows during the winter? The apparent impossibility of clearing sidewalks in my neighborhood is going to turn me into the sort of runner who longs for summer. Out of the six runs I’ve done in training thus far, a whopping two of them have even had the option of being outside. Gross.

I know things will get better as the cycle goes on, because presumably, it won’t stay in the single digits/teens forever. (Right?) But unless there’s a dramatic change in the forecast, I’m staring down a treadmill PDR next week, which, ugh. That certainly wasn’t a record I hoped to set as a result of this training. (Though hey, if I don’t PR my half, I guess I’ll have something else I can say I accomplished for the first time! Haha.)

All that being said, the last time I came within spitting distance of my half PR (F3 in 2016), I did most of my training on the treadmill, so perhaps I shouldn’t whine about this so much.

2. I had my annual physical on Tuesday, including the biometric screening I have to get done for work to avoid paying through the nose for my premium. That biometric screening requires a blood draw (boo), and that blood draw requires fasting ahead of time (boo x2).

I waited too long to schedule my physical this year, which meant I couldn’t get an appointment any earlier in the day than 11 a.m. As someone who is usually famished by the time I get around to breakfast at 8 a.m. or so, the idea of not eating until after my 11:00 appointment was concerning, especially since I usually have dinner at 7 p.m.

So, Tuesday morning, I did what any normal person would do: I set an alarm for 1:30 a.m., got up, and had a snack before my eight hour window closed. Ha. It felt weird getting up at 1:30 in the morning just to eat pretzels and almonds, and certainly didn’t do me any favors in the sleep department, but at least I wasn’t starving when I woke up!

I got (most of) my numbers back yesterday, and my cholesterol continues to be too high. My doctor recommended I “exercise regularly.” Guess the six days/week, including three two-a-days/week, doesn’t count as “regularly.” Or maybe it’s the brown rice, black beans, and fresh veggies I eat for lunch literally every week day that are the culprit? *rolls eyes forever*

I don’t have a family history of high cholesterol, so I will admit that it’s a bit out of left field for me to have mine, but I really, really don’t think that my lifestyle choices are to blame here. I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat as if I were one probably 80 percent of the time, and I’d guess that when I do eat meat, 95 percent of that is chicken. I’m not a “cheeseburger every week” sort of person. I’m more like a “cheeseburger every quarter” sort of person. So all of this “exercise more and eat red meat less” stuff is…unhelpful, to say the least.

3. We don’t control the heat in my apartment, and sometimes, I really like that! We don’t get charged for it, and it’s not up to any of us to decide how warm or cold it should be, so that eliminates the possibility of thermostat wars. Other times, though…

indoortemp

Yikes. If it were that warm during the summer, that would be enough for us to turn the air conditioning on. “Air conditioning” this time of year just means cracking the windows, but it really seems like that shouldn’t be necessary in, you know, January.