Friday, September 26, 2014


(i hit the stop button a wee bit late; was overwhelmed by the finish line)

it was a gorgeous day in carnation, washington. we'd gotten a good night's sleep in our hotel. the drive to the start and the parking was a breeze. packet pickup was practically empty. we saw matthew inman's intergalactic spaceboat of light and wonder in the parking lot with a 0.0 blerch race sticker on it. everyone there was a fan of a whimsical webcomic and running, our people... another runner in the parking spot across from ours had the same shirt as j.

i didn't blow my training by running too fast at the beginning and ended up reserving that initial energy surge for the poopy two to three mile slump. for some reason, i get to mile two and feel super slogged until mile three when i finally feel warmed up and on autopilot. this time, thanks to the rush, i didn't have that and it boosted my overall pace. 

all the training really paid off. my stamina and endurance were exactly as i'd hoped and i was able to enjoy myself... for the most part. this race was not designated as a trail race, even though it was on the "snoqualmie river valley trail". obviously i was concerned at sign up and investigated the course when it was posted, looking at the provided google street view to assess the terrain. what i saw was hard packed dirt with some rocks that were packed into the dirt, so i didn't do any special trail training. we started the race on a paved section of the trail which quickly turned off onto a nightmare of large, loose, jagged rocks that seemed freshly laid to prevent mud erosion or something of that nature. after about half a mile of that awfulness there was definitely more dirt than rocks, but way more loose rocks scattered about than i saw on the street view. i ran eleven or so miles on loose rocks and my left knee fucking HATED me. by mile eight, it was screaming after every walk break (five:one intervals the whole way); it wanted to be done! the two or three bridges with cement paving were such a glorious relief... that's not normal.

thank pasta we at least properly carb loaded

i made it though, and my knee didn't fall off or quit on me. i had to baby it for the next few days (R.I.C.E!!!), but it's back to normal now and ready for the next pounding. though i'm definitely not looking to do any full marathons, i do want to keep longish distance running in my repertoire. 

the festivities were super fun and fanciful. people dressed as sriracha bottles, nutella jars, and cupcakes. the aid stations had birthday cake, nutella sandwiches, potato chips, purple sugar drink, and couches with people dressed as the blerch encouraging everyone to stop running and have a nap. rainier brewery had an unofficial beer stop along the way, which was actually kind of a nice boost. there were plenty of people at the finish to cheer us across and our timing chips alerted the announcer who we were for a personalized congratulatory announcement. 

the emotions at that finish line were pretty intense. the relief that it was finally over! all those months of training, all the planning and talking about it and getting there to do it and actually running it and dealing with those awful rocks for almost three hours was all over and i never ever ever had to do it again if i didn't want to... all the smiling faces cheering us on at the end and our names being called... and j being there with me and seeing his smiling face full of pride as he looked at me... and j grabbing the medal someone thrust in my hand to ceremoniously place it around my neck for me... and the biggest, sweatiest, happy tearsiest hug i've ever had in my life... and then "TIMING CHIP RETURN!!"... to say it was all a blur would be trite and inaccurate. i remember every detail, every moment, every emotion in crystal clear h.d. and will never forget them as long as i live, for THAT was being truly alive... or really really high on supercharged endorphins and purple sugar drink. whatever.

Friday, September 5, 2014

did someone say "vegan lap dance"?

we're note sure about the lap dances, but the outfits and all edible items listed on the food menu of casa diablo vegan strip club are vegan... and delicious! oh portland, you are absolutely delightful.

YES dear readers, this is a review of a vegan strip club. do you have your big girl panties on? or gently tossed nearby? good.

we went to casa diablo (second location recently opened called black cauldron) on a sunny sunday afternoon, so the place was empty which was nice for getting a taste of the place without being overwhelmed.  we walked in and wandered over to the bar to order drinks and food without so much as a glance from anyone... no bouncer at the door, no cover charges, no background check, just walk in and enjoy yourself some full nude.  *record scratch* full nude?... and booze? YES and YES! 

eventually, the bouncer made his way over to our table, after we were comfortably seated and waiting for our vegan nomz, to make sure we were old enough to be there. he was an imposing stature with an underlying gruffness that seemed holstered, but was quite pleasant and professional. we chose to dine and view from the outside ring of tables, where dances were free instead of two dollars. TWO DOLLARS!!! unbelievable.

the food was great, the atmosphere was comfortable, the dancing was entertaining, and the bill was ridiculously inexpensive. we hear tale of mind blowing vegan oreo cheesecake, but every time we've tried to get some, they're out, womps.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

zoot's story

as in-focus as i can get her when she's awake

there once was a lady named bonni, who had so many cats she was tawny.... this isn't going very well. scrap that.

lovely lady at my work who loves cats and can't say no to a cat in need almost demanded that she be the go-to when conchord was going to be home alone instead of the ditz with a dog named kitty who lives upstairs in our building. seriously, that girl brought her dog with her to meet conchord *blink blink* which didn't go well, obviously. 

anyway, bonni and her daughter take wonderful care of conchord while we're away, but she couldn't help but notice and mention that conchord seems very lonely/bored. most cats are absolutely fine being lonely/bored, but conchord was raised with other cats before he was given to the shelter, and in the shelter didn't thrive in the kennel so had to be kept in the menagerie with other cats to snuggle with instead... so he might want a friend... and bonni picked up on this is what i'm getting at. we live in an apartment with one bathroom, two cats wasn't on our list of priorities, but then bonni said the magic words: "take one of my kittens; if it doesn't work out, i'll take her back."


see, bonni had seventeen cats when i met her, then over the spring she took in a mom with her pinky babies that were found in a bramble of blackberry bushes, and suddenly she had twenty-four cats. which made conchord's obvious ennui a more urgent matter in her mind now that she had kittens to find homes for. which is all fine and good, but six-hundred fifty square feet is just barely big enough for two humans and one cat with all his accessories and play area; i wasn't convinced it would be a good idea... but she had planted the seed in my mind and it quickly grew into a giant bean stalk up to kitty nirvana. j wasn't opposed and had mostly had two cats together in his experience, so yeah, why not... 

the magic phrase of non-committal was uttered, bonni's cat matchmaking expertise and prior experience with conchord had me all excited to bring a new playmate home. 

she told me the alpha kitten had just the perfect personality for conchord, but that the others had more interesting markings. obviously personality is much more important, so we went that route. her name was hastily assigned "pikachu" by an eight-year-old, not gonna work. we set out to think about what to name her now that she would be ours, before even meeting her of course. i can't function if there are loose ends! "conchord" is a monty python holy grail inspiration, and there aren't many females in the movie, so zoot was quickly thought of and decided on for its versatility and shenaniganz = zoot can also be "her identical twin sister dingo" when we feel like messing with guests, and when she's a wicked, bad, awful, naughty zoot!... well, we're all set on that. 

we picked her up on a friday evening so they'd have the weekend to test the waters and make progress on being buddies before we had to leave them alone all day for work. when we pulled up outside, she was being fawned upon by a gaggle of children and one thrust her upon me suddenly. she curled right up in my arm and purred and purred... and you know where this is going, we're not taking her back no matter what happens with conchord now. *eyeroll*

so far, she's quite the bundle of fuzzy joy other than obvious kitten behaviors that make my jaw clench and conchord tired, but we will have to put up with for several more months. she's not even that bad. she mostly stays out of the curtains and doesn't knock stuff over very often, doesn't chew on shoes or claw everything in sight, just the rugs... and us, actually, but it's all in good kitten fun. i have a doozy at the moment that's not safe for work. she was being calm and cuddly one morning while getting ready for work. no clothes on yet i picked her up and held her on my chest while petting her and chatting with j. i said something that made j laugh, which startled zoot and she ended up clawing all down my left tit. it looks like a damn horror movie. luckily she missed the nipple. conchord already got that one a couple months ago. oi vey. you'd think i'd learn. not even a little bit. so soft!

Friday, August 29, 2014

sea ecks five

lovingly named "the creme filling" because of its white on black color scheme, our little mazda cx five grand touring is quite a treasure. the zoomzoom is fabulous, the bose sound gives eargasms, the comfort is a dream (heated seats in february, aw-yiss), the sleek is mouthwatering, and the name is giggle-spot-tickling-shenaniganz:

"i'm loading pictures of the creme filling into my box."
"can you get your pole out of the creme filling."
"are the balls in the creme filling?"
"is there eating allowed in the creme filling?"
"don't forget, my purse is in the creme filling."
et cetera, ad nauseam...

the "birth story" for this little bundle of joy is, well, a birth story that took me a year to write. (happy birthday-ish creme filling!) if everyone is upset and glaring daggers at each other while you sign the sale agreement, you're getting an amazing deal. (i paid less than what the car is worth a year and 18,000 miles later, gangster.) i cried in frustration at least twice, j had to use the lawyer card, my credit union had to intervene and set them straight, my insurance company got all "oh no they didn't", and the internet rep we initially dealt with was red-faced embarrassed for her sales team. 

all this during a very stressful move where we're coordinating job interviews, apartment hunting, and car buying from a thousand miles away and having to make arrangements to get everything done the one weekend we can get up here to settle it all before we move. 

we priced everything, researched our options, made our choice, shopped around, made the internet reps fight each other for the best deal, found it, and made the appointment to sign. we arrived after driving up from los angeles and they began the encounter with "we sold your car yesterday, but we have this other one that is exactly the same for you." uuuh, not exactly the best approach with that, but sure, that happens all the time, whatever. WRONG! 

after a few hours of arguing and bringing out the lawyer card, j finally got them to admit the car they were having us sign for was not comparable and required a price reduction (missing $500 worth of add-ons we didn't need, weren't getting, and sure as hell weren't going to pay for!); then they started playing games. they tried to get us to give up and leave by saying they called my credit union and were told i was only approved for a $20,000 loan and the car is $30,000, so oh well, kthxbi. nice try! i was actually approved for a $45,000 loan in advance because i've learned my lesson with these car loan people and my credit union is amazeballz... so i called them up, explained the heated situation and they said "ms. de la o, give me their number; i'll take care of this asap." and he did. for all you socal folks with teachers in your lives, i can't say enough good things about schools first federal credit union. 

from there it's a blur (literally because my eyes were full of tears) of signatures and mumbled apologies from various other staff (not the idiot who started us off on such a great foot). we finally got to sit in the car and learn what all the buttons do so we don't crash the damn thing and all i wanted to do was go home and never look back. i have since taken the creme filling to the competitor dealership (that lost the bid by $100 that would have been money well spent; hind sight) for service because i refuse to set foot in that place ever again. 

oh, and a.j. was with us the whole time, being the most patient eleven-year-old i have ever met. pasta bless him.

since, we have had fabulous adventures in our new home state in all weather with our lovely little a.w.d. mazda and we can put that terrible experience behind us. the end.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

i'm her identical twin sister, dingo

this is zoot 
(or dingo if the mood strikes)

she is the very most presh kitten acquired to keep conchord company all day while we work to pay for his meat. this morning, she jumped up to the windowsill and landed in the auxiliary water dish up there full force, which startled her and made her very sad. she sat there dripping wet with the cutest look of distressed confusion on her face until i helped her dry off. (auxiliary water dish because cats prefer their water source to be a fair distance from their food source and we don't want them drinking out of the toilet.)

conchord is getting used to the idea of another cat. he wasn't excited at first, but he wasn't violently opposed either. he hissed and whined and avoided her antics, but didn't go out of his way to make her feel unwelcome at all times. eventually, he started playing back, then he didn't care if she was at his food dish with him. last night, they slept next to each other on the same side of the bed. soon? snugglefest 2014! hopefully.

remember these curtains? zoot loves them... boo. she hasn't tried to climb them for the sake of climbing, but she plays and plays and plays all around them and sometimes loses control of her toy and ends up in a flurry of curtains instead with her claws out. womps. she's so cute though! lol. they're just ikea curtains, no bigs. 

conchord enjoyed his reign over her from high atop his perch... for three days. zoot figured it out last night and had a blast climbing all over the H.E.S.S.

she had a few accidents on the bed because she was too busy playing to get to the bathroom all the way across the apartment (when you're that small, six hundred and fifty square feet might as well be the whole state of oregon) to get to the litter box. she has no problem with our toilet litter box set up, when she has time. so we put an additional litter box in the living room for now. the accidents have stopped and we'll see about scooting it over to a less conspicuous area until the potty training is complete.

i only have pictures of her sleeping because she's blurry at all other times of the day. we love her to pieces and hope conchord doesn't hate us for forcing her upon him so suddenly.

Friday, August 15, 2014

second hand and consignment

i have fallen head over heels in love... with that polka-dot box has my heart... 

conchord is pleased with it as well... his new favorite box, actually.

i digress.

they have super nice, designer stuff that someone wore once, then proceeded to keep in their closet for four years because it was too nice to give to goodwill (guilty, sorry goodwill). they give you money for these things!

they mail you a generously sized return bag to stuff full of goodies you don't want any more. they pay for shipping both ways. once they get all your stuff, they go through and give you money for your items based on quality and resale value, etc. you can look up what your stuff is probably worth ahead of time on their clothing calculator and you can opt for item insurance: if they don't accept or don't offer you enough for an item, they'll send it back if you've prepaid for the return shipping. otherwise, anything they don't accept goes to charity. then, you use your money to buy things you'll actually wear for less than a steal! or you can ask them to send you cash. very few items require consignment, but otherwise, all your stuff instantly turns into credit/money; no waiting for it to sell; start shopping immediately! the only total bummer being no men's clothes, and i haven't found a similar site for them. hopefully they'll add menswear to their site soon. they didn't start out with kids, so maybe.

i recently went on a shopping spree, getting a whole new wardrobe of fall sweaters, mostly banana republic, and only spent one hundred dollars... ! ONE of their fancy schmancy sweaters is usually that much and i got all of them! ...the original amount i paid was one hundred and thirteen and change, but they "found a tiny flaw (small stain)" in one of the sweaters i bought while packing it so they gave it to me FOR FREE! i couldn't figure out which one, that's how tiny the "flaw" is. 

i recently ran into a similar website geared toward back to school for kids (thanks, casey) is brilliant; kids grow fast and schools need financial help.... so duh. the difference is, the money you'd get for the clothes and part of the price you're paying for the clothes you buy goes to school music programs, but you can choose which school, score! ...and nice kids clothes at less than a steal! all those fancy limited too (justice now, i think) clothes i wanted as a kid, at a quarter of the price. Through August 20th you can get 20% off your entire purchase with code ‘BackToSchoola20′ and you can always request your free donation bag with no purchase necessary.

happy shopping!

p.s. this post is way not sponsored, as usual; i wish. ;-)

UPDATE: they gave me $73.12 for my first bag, WOOOT!!!!! bag number two is on its way. time to shop!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

the dust has settled

...for the most part. i got myself to yoga and back without the gps, so... practically native now. i'm at a weird cross roads with "the five". apparently, "the" ___ freeway only happens in california and everyone else thinks it's strange. do i stick to my roots and carry on, letting people know pretty quickly that i'm originally from los angeles, or do i embrace my new home and make an effort to use "eye five"? HALP! i'm having an identity crisis! votes below *wink*

we decided to stay in our current apartment when our lease was out and signed another year, which was a load off. it's nice to be out of a lease, but then you have to justify the few months paying extra for month to month by moving soon. *cue thunder and quick pan up to barf face* no, just no. now that we're staying we get to put more holes in the wall, ftw! we'd crammed everything into a forty-five dollar per month storage unit in the basement of our building because we planned to move out in spring. i've started work on breaking that stuff out and making places for it in our apartment. there's some prime real estate over the dresser i want to puncture and put up shelves.

(that whole wall is naked!)

not sure if i want to go industrial with some adjustable metal shelves

or keep it classy with some lack seamless shelves
adding shelves will allow me to have my out of season wear in the house without having it in the way of the current season's clothing... cuz we have seasons up here, you know. and no, not just rain, cold rain, more rain, then hot sticky rain, GOSH!

conchord turned four on the arbitrary, yet awesome, birthday i gave him to help me remember better than whateverthefuck date we actually got him (i was in a very bad place at the time and not paying much attention to dates). since the shelter said "he's probably about four" in january, i decided he was born august nine of two-thousand and ten. 

found out i'm finally going to have a nephew! seven nieces and one nephew, shenaniganz. in congratulations, i sent my sister some peepee tee-pees.

anyone who's been around a baby boy knows what's up. for the diaper change neophyte, most baby boys squirt pretty epically when you remove their diaper for changing. all over the changer, the changing area,  the wall, sometimes the ceiling; it's a mess. something about the fresh breeze on their mini junk makes it feel all nice and they just let loose. 

i'm up to twelve miles on the long runs in preparation for beating the blerch... NEXT MONTH! i'm not worried. the training plan has been great and i'll be doing fourteen miles twice before the race to make sure thirteen point one won't ruin my fun (oh dear, unintended rhyme; leaving it!) on race day.

since this post is turning into a number off, here's another! my wedding ring is up for sale (link with sale deets here). i don't have any urge or financial reason to sell it; simply not wearing it enough to justify such an expensive piece in my armoire. i love it a ton and wear it in rotation with other rings, but don't really "need" it, and it's worth some serious coin, so why not put it out there and see what happens. in the mean time, i can still wear it as often as i have been, no bigs. 

we are absolutely in love with bikram yoga and have made plans to do the thirty day challenge after we beat the blerch. thirty days of bikram yoga, in a row! (see also: suicide by drowning in sweat) it's so fabulous that j loves it too! he was hesitant at first, but fell in love with the twenty-six sweaty poses and we have such a great practice going. though i have started to miss my pilates something fierce. i've decided not to go for (and put in all the time training for) a full marathon. thirteen miles is plenty far and i plan to keep the long run of at least ten miles on weekends tradition going, but during the week i want to do more yoga, more pilates, and we've been dying to take tango lessons! j got into tango a few years back and got me all excited about going with him. i've always wanted to dance; tis why i sprung for the choreographed dances at the wedding... maybe that's what got me interested in pilates (the unofficial physical therapy/cross training for dancers), lol, reflections. anywhozle, getting deeper into yoga now will hopefully help keep the gloomies at bay come winter. i've got my light at work and my yoga. gotta line up the shrink and get the hormones in check next. i have twoish more months till it's grey time all the time; gotta get my ass in gear!