26 March 2011

Old?? Who said old??

Last night, Mark and I watched When Harry Met Sally. I had seen pieces of the movie before, and from my vague recollections, Harry and Sally were quite old when they got together.

I guess when you're in your teens and early 20s, "old" is a relative term. Watching the movie last night, I figured out that Harry and Sally were actually 32 - which is only about two years older than I am right now. And I am certainly not old.

Want another example of skewed perceptions? When I graduated from undergrad, I went to Paris for 8 months to do an internship. All of the interns lived together and most of us were around the "just graduated" age. On my second night there, this one girl - Mylene - kept talking about her skincare regiment and various creams, etc. As she talked, I just kept looking at her and thinking "you're what, 21 - you look like you're 18, why are you so worried about your skin??" Shortly thereafter, I found out she was actually 30. My next thought was, "oh, thirty - she's going to be no fun because she's old." Seriously? Why did I think that people suddenly became old and un-fun when they hit thirty? Is there something that supposedly happens to people partway through their 20s that makes them cranky fuddy-duddies? What lies have we been telling our youth?? As it turned out - Mylene was one of the most fun people out there, and her endurance for late nights, bar-hopping, and being social far outlasted the rest of us.

I think I'm having a hard time with this whole turning thirty this year.
But why? Your thirties are allegedly even better than your twenties. You're more established, maybe you are married and have a family of your own - no more dating. You've advanced in your chosen career, you have extra money for expensive hobbies (like triathlon). You know your likes and dislikes, and now can focus on getting yourself to where you want to be - no more wasting time "finding yourself." All of this sounds appealing to me. AND - the 30-34 age group in triathlon is more competitive than the 20-something age groups (meaning people must still be getting faster when they hit 30).

Thirty is not old, forty is not old - triathlon has showed me that 50 and 60, even 70 are not old. Just wiser. In my last half-ironman, I remember chasing down a woman because she looked like she was in my age group - when I got close enough to see her calf, I found out she was actually in her 50s. I am convinced that women who do triathlons often look younger and more in shape than their inactive counterparts. Since it's impossible to stop having a birthday every year, the only way to counteract the negative connotations of "getting older" is to stay active, eat healthy, and take care of myself. Maybe someday I'll be that 50-something getting chased down by a 27 year old, because I look younger than I actually am.

22 March 2011

food, Food, FOOD!

I just ate a burrito the size of my face. It. Was. Awesome. I've been craving a burrito for the past two days for dinner and tonight we finally made them. It's a (slight) break from our usual dinner dish - Mark and I haven't been terribly creative as of late, and we have about 4-5 go-to recipes that we cook EVERY WEEK. And this week, something snapped, and if I had to look at another dish of sauteed peppers, mushrooms and onions, or another pizza, or another veggie quesadilla, I'd just stop eating altogether. So, granted, a burrito isn't TOO different from a veggie quesadilla, but there's something amazing about the goodness of rice, beans, and avocado in a crisp, slightly buttery tortilla.

Fortunately, I've not tired of my chocolate vegan cookies. Bonus points that they are super quick and easy to make - I whipped up a batch after my workout last night at 9:30pm. I spiced them up by adding slivered almonds AND shredded coconut. I'm enjoying this cooking and baking thing. Had you told me five years ago I'd be a little Suzy Homemaker, I would've laughed in your face and gone back to eating my boxed Mac and Cheese. But something has clicked and I think I cook dinner more often than Mark does now (fewer nights that I have to do the dishes!).

In other news, I think our dog is going through the adolescent stages of testing our authority. I've caught him (TWICE) getting up and food surfing off the counter. He's also unnecessarily rough with the cats. And he HATES it when I take my computer out, because it means I'm not paying attention to him. Attention whore. Our neighbors must think that we have a pack of elephants living in our house - elephants that love to rumble up and down and up and down and up and down the stairs at 10pm every night. I thought only cats had bewitching hours, but apparently dogs do too. Oh well, I guess it makes us even for all the times our neighbor plays Call of Duty at 1am and the walls in our house shake.

Speaking of neighbors, we have a set of neighbors who have these (horrible) yap-yap dogs. Every morning my day starts with: 1) Our neighbors walking their dogs around the complex, all the while barking at absolutely nothing; and 2) me peering out a window while expressing my sheer dislike of said dogs. It's a routine now - my day wouldn't be the same without it. This morning was particularly comical - the yap-yap dogs were being walked around the neighborhood for the umpteenth time (how many pee breaks do they need?!?) while Mark headed out the door to go to work. On his way to the car, Mark saw three of our other neighbors out, all walking their (well-behaved) dogs. ALL of them, INCLUDING the owner of the yap-yap dogs, all rolled their eyes and said "I hate those dogs" IN UNISON. At the same time, I poked my head out of the door, looked at Mark, and said "I hate those dogs." So, I guess the feeling is mutual across the neighborhood.

Anyone (far, far away from Arlington) want two yappy, obnoxious dogs? I'll bribe you with oreo balls.

09 March 2011

Erin's Dirty Thirty

Me and the birthday girl

I just got back today from spending the weekend down in Nashville celebrating Erin's 30th birthday. Erin and I have been best friends since college and this weekend can be added to the long list of fun times we've had. I'd say it's pretty close to the top. The whole weekend was a surprise - I arrived and surprised her on Thursday; her cousins Kelly and Melissa arrived and surprised her on Friday; and her friends Nicole and Dan arrived and surprised her on Saturday. Dinner on Saturday night at a trendy restaurant and then partied the evening away at The Big Bang Bar, a dueling piano bar in downtown Nashville. In the end, the night proved that 30 isn't really that old - we still know how to have fun, hang with the younger 20-somethings, and are capable of staying out (way) past our bedtimes once in awhile. It was so nice to spend the weekend with Erin and Ashley, see Reagan my goddaughter, and see everyone else! Here are a few more pictures from the night out. PS - you know you had a good night when, two people are asleep on the bar table by the end of it, the next morning (on only three hours of sleep) you are at the airport, unshowered, with hair still smelling like last night's bar, and the stamp from the previous night still visible on your hand (bonus points if the stamp reads "Bang This"). I was that description, personified, last weekend.

Dinner with Kelly and Melissa

Erin, Nicole, me and Kelly

I think this sums up the night quite nicely

08 March 2011

1, 2, 3... A, B, C

Everyone else is doing it, so I'm joining in:
A: Age - 29. But if you're looking for my USAT age, that would be 30.

B: Bed size - Queen. I share it with Mark, our dog and two cats. Cozy.

C: Chore I hate - doing the dishes. I've made progress though, at least I do the dishes now, rather than hide them in a closet. Or throw them out.

D: Dogs - we have one and that is enough. Miles is our very sweet English Setter.

E: Essential Start Your Day Item - Food. Any type of food. I'm always starving.

F: Favorite Color - blue-green.

G: Gold or Silver - Platinum. I thought platinum and silver were the same thing, until we went engagement/wedding ring shopping. Then I learned better.

H: Height - 5'6''.

I: Instruments I Play - nothing now, but I used to play the flute, the piano, AND the accordion. I was 6 when I played the accordion, for the record, and thus didn't have a choice.

J: Job Title - Survey Specialist (recent promotion, yaaay!) at a social policy research firm. I like making surveys, but I don't like taking them.

K: Kids - none of my own!

L: Live - NoVa, where I've wanted to live ever since I was 12 years old.

M: Mom's name - Molly.

N: Nicknames - Yaya (courtesy of my brother when he was 2 and "Caroline" was too complicated). Mark calls me Caro. I could also name off the litany of names (Karen, Carolyn, Carolina, Caroleena, Kelly, Carrie) that people call me when they mispronounce my name).

O: Overnight hospital stays - never.

P: Pet Peeve - WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority). Yes, it is the cleanest transit system I've ever seen BUT, if I am paying $7.50 a day to go the 5 miles to work, I'd like the bus to be on time, the metro not to break down multiple times a week, and a working escalator here and there. That's all.

Q: Quote from a Movie - "Back to school... Back to school... To show my dad that I'm not a fool..." (Billy Madison)

R: Right or Left Handed - right!

S: Siblings - younger brother (24 this week) and three sisters (23, 21, 19). Technically they are my sisters-in-law, but I consider them my sisters because they are awesome.

T: Time you wake up - prior to 5am if it's Tues/Thurs and I'm swimming with Team Z. Otherwise, it's after 6. I don't really have a set time.

U: Underwear - none of your business!

V: Vegetable you Dislike - I can't really think of any. I vehemently hate cantaloupe and melon, but those are fruits.

W: What makes you Late - Ummm, I don't need anything to make me late, I do well enough with that on my own!

X: X-rays you've had done - for my teeth at the dentist.

Y: Yummy food you Make - Vegan chocolate cookies, OREO BALLS, my mother's Chicken Pot Pie, homemade pasta, veggie quesadillas, butternut squash soup. I used to be a master of The Blue Box Special Mac and Cheese, but I've grown up.

Z - Zoo Animal Favorite - I don't really like the zoo.