September 2010

So apparently, someone (perhaps Father Time) played a joke on Mother Nature this week and put her calendar back a month. She now thinks it’s deep summer and the temperatures on the West Coast have been blazing since the weekend. I thought last Saturday was bad at the Boot Camp Challenge — but Monday, the high in SoCal flew to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday was supposed to cool down, and did so with a high of 107. Today, the high dropped to 95, which is much more comfortable, if we ignore the fact that it’s a day and a half from October. Old Man Winter gets to procrastinate more, and I also found a way to benefit.

Mr. W and I went to Disneyland after work yesterday and because it’d been so hot, nobody wanted to attempt an outdoor amusement park outing, so the usually crowded Disneyland and California Adventure were ghost towns. We discovered nooks and crannies and storefronts and other stuff that we’d never known existed. Stuff like…did you know Disneyland has a PETTING ZOO?

‘Scuse the unflattering photo, but I was being licked to death by overly friendly baby goats. They’re sooo cute! They must’ve had a good life, because they weren’t afraid of people at all. They came right up to me and nuzzled me. Actually, one nuzzled me as another licked my leg and yet a third tasted my purse.

Have you ever wondered what my Dodo would look like if he were a goat?

I can’t eat goat anymore, not that I was an avid goat eater to begin with. As I petted the head of a 4-month old pygmy goat, I whispered reassuringly to him, “I always root for you when I watch National Geographic Animals in the Wild Specials.” I want a pygmy goat. It’s amazing how they jump right up onto those barrels. I can’t do that, and I’ve been doing Insanity’s plyometrics for WEEKS. I wonder what fitness program the goats are on.
As we were leaving, the caretaker of the animals said that if we wait on the bench, they’re about to do a “running of the goats,” when all the goats go from the petting corral back to their homes for the night (apparently a staging area behind a wooden gate). So we sat, and soon, this little herd of goats, collars bells jangling, ran in a group in a beeline for what they knew to be home. They were followed by the one larger goat, a mountain goat, and then the sheep. Sooo cute!

We rode a few rides after waiting in very short lines, wandered around a bit, shared a candied apple, then had dinner at The Jazz Kitchen, a N’awlins style restaurant at Downtown Disney. Enjoying the atmosphere and anticipating great food, I turned to Mr. W and observed that we live like we’re on vacation on the time. He seemed plenty pleased with that arrangement. A live pianist entertainer, a filet mignon muffaletta, 2 mint juleps, a triple sampler of jambalaya/seafood gumbo/potato cheese soups, Andouille crusted yellowtail, 4 beignets, and a chicory coffee later, Mr. W and I set out for home as a fat, dumb and happy couple. I fell asleep in the car on the way home. I remember waking up as he pulled into the driveway, turning to him and saying, “I am pooped,” and next thing I know I woke up in bed. Perpendicular at the foot of it. I think this may have been the first time I went to bed before the hubby since we’d lived in this house.

So the much-anticipated (i.e., dreaded) Boot Camp Challenge has come and gone, and I live to blog another day.

Although the Southern Californian weather has been nice and autumny for a month or so now, clear and cool in the 70s, suddenly the Boot Camp weekend comes and temperatures were predicted to spike into triple-digits. It happened. The morning of, Vanessa came by my house at 6am and the two of us set off for San Diego. It very quickly got very bright and very warm. We made good time getting there, turning off our exit at 7:20a for a 9:20a start time. Immediately, we came to a standstill along with lines of cars coming from different directions all going into the Marine Corps Recruitment Depo. A girl who got out of her car and jogged ahead to see what was going on up ahead came back and reported that Marine security was doing thorough car/trunk checks on each car before allowing anyone on-base. We sat in that ridiculous line for an hour and a half to move 2 blocks. Dwaine and Claudio, who had driven from San Diego to do the race for the first time, complained to me via cell phone that this was crap and that they were NEVER going to do this race again. They pulled out of line, parked on some random street, prepared to walk the nearly 2 miles to the start point on-base and happened to run into us in the car security line, so they jumped in and I drove everyone there. (The security check even asked for car registration, which made me a little nervous since I was driving hubby’s car. But it was fine because the registered address matched up against the address on my driver’s license.)

Luckily, because so many people were so delayed due to the checks outside, the race start times were pushed back to give everyone time to get in. We had enough time to get our “goody bags” before the race, except it turns out, hard times have hit the Marines, too, because there was no goody bag this year, no dog tags, just the usual commemorative T-shirt. Oh well. The crazy duo, Dwaine and Claudio, went to the race registration desk as I went to check in my bag. When we all met up again, Dwaine announced, “I signed us up for the elite division, so we’re lining up to start now.” WHAT? They’d never even done this race before and had no idea what to expect. I waved them off and we agreed on a meeting place for after the race. Soon, the elite men and women were off. Then the civilian men runners lined up, time was counted off, then they were off. And then the women. Vanessa and I made our way to the center-ish of the giant cluster of runners at the start line. We saw some men here and there with us and wondered why they weren’t running with men. She guessed they may have been late. She again told me that because she was feeling less-than-perfect, and because she felt under-trained, that if at some point she fell behind, to just leave her. I already knew I was not going to do that. Finishing time on this race (which wasn’t even chipped so the times aren’t accurate anyway) is not as important as being the friend to Vanessa that Vanessa has always been to me.

The gun fired, and we slowly, like cattle, made our way to the start line and crossed it to begin the race. The sun was beaming and we were all sweating before we came out of the corral. No shade, no moisture in the air, the temps must’ve been in the mid-80s already at about 9:50 when we finally got going. I’ve never tolerated direct sunlight well athletically, and I felt the energy sap from my body as I jogged lightly with Vanessa toward the first obstacle. I could hear her, recovering from a cold, wheezing next to me. The first series of bounding over stacked haystacks was surprisingly effortless. After that, we rounded a corner, went under a misting doorway and dripping, hit the first series of true obstacles. 8 or 10 large round logs were placed horizontally, about 3 feet apart, like hurdles that we had to get over. Unfortunately, they came up to about chest level for me so although running momentum got me past the first one or two easily enough, I didn’t have enough space to create momentum for the next ones and couldn’t get myself over. I got one leg up and slid back, then noticed some hay bales down the center of the hurdles to give height. I went to the center and borrowed some height and made my way across more easily, finishing with a 6′ high hurdle that I again used some hay stack to get over, landing easily on my feet on the other side, thanks to the glucosamine+chondroitin supplements I’d been taking recently for joint support. A few steps in later, I noticed that the discomfort on the back of my right leg wasn’t going away. I did a test high-step and realized I’d pulled my hamstring when I hyperextended it on the log I slid off of with my right leg still over it. I forced a quick stretch, pulling my right knee into my chest while standing, and the pain increased, but decreased tremendously when I dropped my leg back down. I did this few more times between obstacles and the pain became very manageable so that’s how I finished the race, doing overs and unders, dropping into and coming out of foxholes, going through speedy pushups (thanks, Insanity!) crouching and running through tunnels (thanks, short-genes!). And then I came to The 6 Foot wall. The thing that had intimidated me for weeks leading up to the race, so much so that I went out of my way and trained on this wall at a nearby sheriff’s academy:

The training there was very discouraging; I was instructed by people who can climb these things, to run toward the wall and to take my next right-foot step onto the wall, which would then boost me up and I’d have the height gained to simultaneously grab the top of the wall and pull the rest of the way up. Sounded good in theory, except this wall was painted and slick. Any step on the wall instantly robbed my momentum by sliding the mounted foot downward, and I’d end up lower on the wall than if I’d just walked up to it, and jumped up. I could still go up the wall by jumping straight up, getting my right forearm over the top, and then pulling myself up by upper body strength alone, but it’s slower than a true step-up. I could do a true step-up if I lodged my stepping foot in the chipped-out foothole in the center of this wall, but that’s cheating, right? I doubted I’d have a foot-hole at the Marine Corps Boot Camp Challenge wall. I left that sheriff’s wall frustrated and bruised, but figuring I’d use the haystacks to “cheat” if I had to, and if the lines there were too long, I’d just do my jump-up instead of run-up over the wall, which I’d practiced a few times on the sheriff’s wall.

So at the actual race, imagine my surprise to see that the 6′ wall is actually a stack of ROUND logs. Hand- and foot-holds galore in the spaces between the logs! There was one haystack against the right side that a bunch of girls were lined up to “cheat” on, and a drill instructor stood at the middle of the wall, facing us as we ran toward it, pointing to his right and yelling, “The hay is a CRUTCH! You do not need to use a CRUTCH! Get up the WALL!” I got up the wall. Aside from the pushup stations, this was THE easiest obstacle in the race. After jumping down, I immediately threw myself on my stomach and did a crawl underneath a cargo net. There are some advantages to being small.

The bad thing was that after this series, I lost Vanessa. We’d separate for the obstacles and rejoin to run together to the next obstacle, and she was usually just ahead of me, so all I had to do was find her and catch up. But this time, I couldn’t find her. I spent the next mile or so running looking back, surprised I wasn’t being yelled at by DIs for it, hoping she’d just emerge in front of me or next to me. Vanessa said she saw me ahead of her rounding a corner, but didn’t have the energy to make the sprint toward me. I ended up finishing the race about 4 minutes ahead of her, just enough time to come back and look for her, see her coming to the finish corral, and get a cup of Gatoraid to hand her as she walked by. I was exhausted and winded, surprised that the race took so much out of me, my hamstring was humming, and I had small jolts of pain on my left side somewhere mid-course where I finally stopped to walk it off, but it was nowhere as horrible as when I ran the race a few years ago. Unfortunately, the time also showed that I’m about 4 minutes slower than before, but I choose not to rely on this time (about 34 minutes) because it wasn’t chipped like it was before, so the time didn’t start at my crossing the start line, and didn’t stop at my crossing the finish line. =P

Claudio and Dwaine were looking for us as Vanessa and I walked toward them, and Claudio snapped this photo, saying something about my looking way more exhausted than I should’ve looked. I’ve never done well in direct sun and by this time, it was close to 90 degrees if not over.

The first thing Dwaine said to me was, “This was fun! We’re gonna train for this and do it again next year!” They did well, btw, finishing the 3 mile obstacle course in 27, 28 minutes. We wandered the booths on premises for a little bit afterwards, loading up on free Myoplex shakes, Cliff Bars, photo ops, then changed and walked back to my car. Speaking of “changed,” did anyone know that Claudio’s really a Thundercat?

I drove the boys back to their street-parked spot (LUCKY that they didn’t get a ticket), and we disbanded. Vanessa and I opted to spoil ourselves. So we went to RipTide for this…

After lunch, we wandered by a Halloween Boo-tique in the same shopping area, where suddenly, Vanessa’s thyroid medication went horribly wrong…

And THEN, the best part…pampering ourselves at my 4th salon pedicure ever! How cute is this, now that I won’t be tearing my feet up in running shoes for at least a few days?

All’s well that ends well (except for Claudio’s injured knee). I’ve missed Vanessa, and it was really great to see the guys, too. I’m glad I did this incredibly uncomfortable race. 🙂

(As usual, rest mouse pointers over photos for captions.)

On a social networking site a few hours ago:

Cindy is counting down…11 hours till the Marine Corps Boot Camp Challenge with Vanessa, Claudio, and Dwaine! …maybe I should get some sleep.
Maggie: Good luck. Think tall thoughts as you approach that 6 ft wall.
Me: HAHAHA! “I am taaaaall. I am feather-liiight. Gravity does not define my movement…” *falling on face*

* Rebecca said last nite that Mr. W and I have had 4 past lives together, and I said you’d think we would’ve learned by now.
* After looking like I suffered massive defensive wounds on my forearms and knees, I’m only slightly more confident that my practice climbing 6-foot walls would make this Saturday’s MCRD Boot Camp Challenge better.
* Mr. W and I think it’s time to take action on Daughter’s stalker.
* 4 friends’ babies popped out in the last month; 2 last week, 1 yesterday, and more on the way.
* According to my dentist at my teeth cleaning last week, my mouth is not ridden with cavities, but with cavity-looking stains from my recent 2 weeks’ worth of black tea and coffee consumption, so I have now cut both from my diet.
* Kenny Loggins performed at the lake, and I only recognized two songs, “This Is It” and “Footloose,” the latter of which he did on encore although the crowd wanted to hear Top Gun’s “Danger Zone,” which he did not play.
* I have no idea what to pack for Greece and Italy to not stand out as a tourist ripe for being pick-pocketed.
* I am still faithfully doing “Insanity” at lunchtime, and my cardio is getting stronger.
* I may have finally outgrown Dinneylan (plus ghetto misbehaved people inundating the place is quite the turn-off).

The evening started off promising. Mr. W and I went to Seal Beach to pick up my ring. I LOVE it; the lower profile makes it much more practical, the jeweler had rhodium-plated both the engagement ring and the wedding band, and the set looks amazing; glittery and like a million bucks. The center stone looks smaller now than it did, but the new much-more-secure 6-prong short Tiffany setting only seemed to enhance the brilliance of the diamond. Then we went to Basil Leaf again, where I had the most frustrating grilled chicken sandwich (banh mi); every time I bit into the bread, the insides would squirt out the other sides. I also had another young coconut, and I think I’m done with coconuts for awhile. We ended the outing with a visit to the coffee house we go to when we see Rebecca. I had a chai latte with soy, Mr. W had some coffee thing or other.

And then, I don’t know what happened. I guess I can say I started feeling more negative than I could justify. Sure a few things bothered me — something this person said irritated me, the dismissive way that person treated something didn’t sit well with me, and someone else’s inconsiderate poor planning was annoying, too. Small stuff, no personal attacks, but I was feeling knotted and sick. All I could think of was that maybe I was picking up on and absorbing other people’s negativity, and it wasn’t my own cuz my life was just fine. I was starting to wonder what I could do to meditate away this empathic bad mood. And then I noticed that there was light coming out from the bottom of Mr. W’s daughter’s bedroom door. She’d come home in the midst of my crapshoot evening, I hadn’t said much to her, and altho it was late, I got up and rapped lightly on her bedroom door. “Come in!” she said in a lively way. At least she was in a good mood.
I cracked open the door and poked my head in. She was on her bed with textbooks, notebooks, and snacks spread around her, mid-text on her cell phone. “Hey, did you end up going to Disneyland on Friday?” I asked.
“Ugh, no I didn’t,” she said, and invited me in to tell me the whole story about her social life and her current frustrations with people. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart (I didn’t burden her with my feelings, this was just for her). When I got up to leave, she thanked me for talking to her, and added that she appreciates every conversation we’d ever had about her feelings and problems.
I told her, “You know that I’m proud of you and how you’ve learned to handle things, right?” She had grown so much since I’d met her as an excitable perky (if socially clumsy) 13-year-old.
She replied, “Thanks to you, because we’ve been having these talks since I was in 8th grade.”
I laughed and said, “I take VERY LITTLE credit for this stuff. By the time I talk to you a lot of the time, it’s just curiosity about what’s going on because you’ve already handled it.” That really is true, especially lately.
She looked at me earnestly. “I remember a lot of the things you’ve told me since I was in 8th grade, and I’ve told those things to my friends. I always say, ‘Cindy is so wise, this is what she told me.’ ” As a vision of an owl flashed through my mind’s eye, I laughed her compliment off and told her it was really not me, most of it is her learning on her own, and we said our goodnights.

And that is how the intimacy and appreciation from a 19-year-old stepdaughter fixed all the bad feelings about an evening. What folly, that she thinks that I save her, when she does so much of the saving.

Yesterday after work, Mr. W and I went to Seal Beach to visit Rebecca at the coffee house. We got there a few hours early, so we thought we’d try out a Vietnamese restaurant we’d seen on Main Street called Basil Leaf. What was attractive was a sign on the front door that says, “NO MSG!” Mr. W gets occasional cravings for pho, but I always resist because I don’t want to ingest toxic amounts of MSG and feel gross and bloated afterwards, so he rarely gets his pho cravings satisfied. This place was a great find and is DELICIOUS! I also had an entire young coconut to myself. Chilled. They just hacked the outside green stuff off, gave it a lobotomy and me a straw and spoon. I’m always surprised how great and lightly fruity coconut water tastes to me, cuz coconut flavored liquors, foods, chocolates, etc. is horrible to me. I also don’t like that scratchy scrapey shaved coconut texture. Young fresh coconut, however, I’m able to clean out. I ate everything edible in there. Mr. W turned to me at one point and said, “You’d better lay off that coconut.” I froze with a mouthful of the tender white stuff, thoughts of saturated fats scaring me for a moment, spoon still poised in stab-dig position.
“There’s something about young coconuts… it’ll give you the runs.”
“Oh,” I said with relief, “I don’t care.” I went back to digging and eating my coconut.
He instantly took out his iPad and said he’d look the information up. Turns out, fresh young coconuts are very nutritious and are quite low in saturated fat and calories. I remembered learning that surgeons back in Captain Cook’s exploration days would directly IV-inject coconut water into the vein for dehydrated sick sailors. And, I’m happy to say, I did not get the runs. I plan on eating more chilled young coconut whenever I come across them. I’m happy they don’t taste anything like coconut flavoring.

On the walk to the coffee house, we passed by a jewelry store that does custom jewelry. I’d been wanting to get my engagement ring adjusted for some time. The center stone sits so high that I bang it into everything. It’s only held by just 4 prongs, so if one prong breaks, the diamond is gone. It’s gotten so that I take it off the moment I get home, and don’t wear it if I think I’ll be using my hands for anything (dishes, gymming, kayaking, rafting, holding onto ride handles at Disneyland, reaching into my purse…), and I check it frequently to make sure the stone’s still in place. =P It’s become very impractical. So we went into the store and spoke to the owner, who’s also the jewelry maker and designer. I examined a lot of his work and liked his taste. We also chatted with him a long time about the jewelry business and his philosophies about random stuff. We liked him and his no-nonsense approach to his field and commissioned him to reset the center stone in a 6-prong Tiffany setting, lowered 2 millimeters. He also asked if we could leave the wedding band with him so he could make sure if the dimensions change on the engagement ring, there wouldn’t be a match-up problem with the band. So walking out of there later, I felt very naked without my rings on. Until we pick up the rings next week, I’m gonna wear my other rings that I hadn’t worn in years. Today I have on a white pearl and peacock pearl yellow gold ring, accented by 2 diamonds, that I’d bought in a state of delirium and delusion of richness in college. It’s kinda fun, changing up the jewelry wardrobe, which is something I rarely get into.

At the coffee house, it was an intimate small crowd. I enjoyed that. Rebecca turned and smiled at me out of the blue at one point and asked, “Are you two ‘trying’ right now?” I explained there’s no “trying” with us, and that when we were ready, we’d just go to the doctor and get everything done. She said “it” feels very close around me, and that if she hadn’t known I couldn’t be pregnant right now, she’d think I were. I do feel very close to this soul, and I’ve felt it for awhile now. Just yesterday, before leaving to see Rebecca, I was typing up a case cite of Riley vs. Pappadopoulos [(1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1616, 1624, if anyone cares to know] and suddenly, BAM, “Riley!” It felt like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle just glided seamlessly into place, completing a portion of a picture. No wonder my friends’ kids’ names of Kyden and Tyler always seemed to sort of resonate with me. I saw a “y” and a long “i” sound long ago. Plus, it’s one of the rare names that sounds good with Mr. W’s odd-sounding last name. So unless and until an even more perfect-feeling name comes up, hello, Riley! And Riley (well, his spirit anyhow) says hello to all of you!

I am loving this overcast slightly chilly weather! After SoCal reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit last week, and we spent Labor Day long weekend in Vegas last weekend where it heated to 106, this temp in the 70s is luxurious. It also made for the perfect running weather yesterday at lunch. We hit a 3-miler, which was great, because it earned me a guilt-free trip to True Food Kitchen for dinner.

A coworker had seen Dr. Andrew Weil’s (of the anti-inflammatory foods concept) restaurant venture on the news and knowing that Mr. W and I are health-foodies, given us the heads up. I looked up the Yelp reviews and was determined to go. This new branch at the open-air Fashion Island is only a month old, and reviewed at 4 and 5 stars, with a couple of fast-food hicks complaining about its portion size and what-not in barely coherent sentences giving it 1-2 stars (which reviews I disregarded). Knowing that Ann loves a certain Charlie Palmer restaurant/bar attached to Bloomingdale’s, I asked her if she’d like to meet for happy hour drinks at Charlie Palmer and then try out True Food Kitchen for dinner afterwards. Turned out True Food Kitchen doesn’t take reservations for groups under 8 people, and walk-ins have very long waits after 5:30 pm, and Ann had some logistics obstacles that made her unavailable that early, so I thought we resolved everything by arranging to have Ann meet us at Charlie Palmer AFTER Mr. W and I ate first at True Food Kitchen. Ann loves the food at Charlie Palmer and would like to eat there anyhow.

Mr. W and I got to True Food Kitchen right before 5:30p, and as promised by the hostess on the phone, we were seated right away. We walked by the fresh-smelling bar loaded with whole ginger, fruits, kale, and went to the patio seating in the nice sunny (but not hot!) evening, right up against the living plant wall. We had a hard time deciding what to order; the menu looked incredible. The waitress informed us that all ingredients are fresh, healthy and organic whenever possible, purchased from local farmers markets. The restaurant even purifies its own still and sparkling water! We started with a ginger margarita (made with fresh ginger they juice at the bar and limes, not mixers) for hubby, and an antioxidant fresh juice called the Medicine Man (Olivello Juice, Pomegranate Juice, Cranberry Juice, Black Tea, Soda Water & Muddled Blueberries, $6) for me. Hubby is now ruined as to all other drinks, he told me. This was my first experience with olivello juice, made from a highly nutritive sea berry, and it was delicious! Next we shared an herb hummus appetizer ($8). Coarsely ground and flavorful, which we enjoyed, tasting like a less-processed version of other hummus we’d had. Their house-made pita bread was fresh and soft. For entrees, he ordered the Omega-3 Spaghetti Puttanesca (cooked Ahi Tuna, Organic Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Parmesan, $16) and I ordered the Roasted Garlic, Wild Mushroom & Tuscan Kale Pizza ($11). He was amazed at how flavorful his pasta was, and surprised at the unexpected perfect integration of fish in lieu of less healthy meatballs. As for my pizza, I think my eyes rolled back into my head and stayed there for a few minutes. It was THE most savory pizza I’d ever had, and I couldn’t believe it was healthy, the dough made of organic flour, spelt and flax seed.

I’d never thought of kale as a pizza topping, and it added terrific texture without robbing any of the taste from the wild ‘shrooms. Spinach couldn’t do that. People who complained about portion size, by the way, must be used to supersizing their burger meals and eating entire large fast food pizzas on their own. The sizes here were great, I had to take half of the 8-slice personal pizza home. (And I have it right here for lunch today, I can’t wait!) Dinner turned out so much better than our expectations that we gave dessert a try. I was curious about the lemon olive oil cake with Greek yogurt and strawberries, so I ordered it.

Couldn’t taste the olive oil, but it kept the lemon cake moist and saturated-fat-free. The yogurt wasn’t overly tart like I’d expected, but offset the cake and organic strawberries perfectly. The sauce isn’t syrup, but frothed strawberry puree. Light and delicious. Hubby ordered a flourless chocolate cake (78% cocoa, I think they wrote on the menu), which was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, garnished with a generous sprinkling of cocoa nibs. The flourless cake was sitting in a small pool of caramel sauce. I thought it was great, the cake melted in my mouth, but hubby thought it was too sweet, not being a dessert fan. He WAS, however, extremely impressed with his organic coffee, which he had black, and it was rich and flavorful with no acidic aftertaste. Total damage given 2 drinks, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, 1 coffee: $74 including tax. Not bad!! The stuff was healthy fine dining in a casual clean and trendy environment. Where else can we find all this? The waitress was terrific, too. She was young (they all were), but very competent and knew the food and concept. She was also prompt, attentive, the food arrived dizzyingly fast, and I saw that she’d thoughtfully written on my leftover pizza box “Wild mushroom pizza, 9/8.” How many times have we dug thru our fridge and pulled out mystery boxes and said, “What the heck is in HERE? How long’s it been there? Why’s it so furry?”

Our outdoor dining seat faced Bloomingdale’s across the parking lot, so even though I couldn’t see Charlie Palmer restaurant from where we were, I knew it would be a short walk. I texted Ann as we were finishing dessert that we were nearly done and would be on our way to meet her soon. She texted back that she was leaving her house to Charlie Palmer. I confirmed with her that yes, Charlie Palmer is attached to Bloomie’s, and she soon texted that she was already there, and Mr. W and I started walking. We soon realized we were looking at a Bloomingdale’s Home Store and not the department store, so we entered the mall and checked the directory. A helpful concierge at this rich mall came by and asked if he could help us find our destination. I explained what were were looking for, and he seemed confused for a moment, then pointed us out the two glass doors on the other side, told us to go around the corner, and that the restaurant would be there by Bloomingdale’s department store, but that it was called 59th & Lex Cafe, not Charlie Palmer. I thanked him and walked off with hubby, saying, “Oh, I wonder why Ann’s always called it Charlie Palmer.” Maybe that’s the old name? Maybe the bar has a separate name from the restaurant, like Downtown Disney’s Catal and Uva Bar? We soon walked to Bloomie’s, and then around it, and then hit a parking lot. We went around to another side again. I was confused and called Ann.
“We’re lost, is there a separate story?” I asked her.
“What? Where are you?” she asked. I could hear other patrons happily buzzing in the background.
“We’re right in front of Bloomingdale’s, but we’ve walked around twice and can’t find it. We’re looking at a Yard House.”
“… Are you sure you’re at South Coast Plaza?”
!!! “…no…”
As Ann laughed at me, I wailed to Mr. W, “We’re at the wrong mall!!” These darn outdoor rich people’s malls have always been interchangeable to me. As he was feeling icky from a long weekend of bad eating in Vegas, he asked me to tell Ann we’re sorry we missed her, and that’s how we stood up my friend, Ann, who I now owe at least 2 drinks to for being a putz. I’m sorry, Ann!!

I got out of lunch a tad late yesterday and had to cover for a busy court in the afternoon, so I had to skip the lunchtime Insanity workout. To make up for that, Mr. W and I ran my usual course last nite — a hilly trek from our house down past the lake and back, 4.42 miles total. I’d started running it (sometimes with the girl stepkidlet) at a pace taking me about an hour and some odd minutes. (There are some really long killer uphills!) We managed to get the time down to right about an hour when her summer vacation hit and she stopped running. I still went on for a few more runs on my own, shaving more time off until I averaged about 49, 50 minutes. I used to run flat land at approximately an 8.5-minute mile pace, so this wasn’t good enough. I know I have to make allowances for the extra hills, but still. Anyway, my last run was in June. Last nite, I donned my brand new Asics (coolest, most comfortable model ever! I have these in the blue), and ran it with Mr. W. The weather was perfect and cool. Not only did I not get blisters, and didn’t die without my iPod (which is battery juice-less), but I felt good thru most of my run and ended up shaving more time off! 45 minutes! It’s still a hair over a 10-minute mile, but I’m much closer. I think the Insanity workouts have helped strengthen my legs and cardio.

Now I’m less nervous about this month’s boot camp race I signed up for.