Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Plugging Back In

A friend told me a while back that it usually takes her about two weeks to get back into a normal routine after vacation. I believe it.

When you're used to going 100 mph, then you slow down to maybe 15, getting back up to speed can be rough -- obvious by my lack of blogging of late. I got back safe and sound from the Outer Banks on Saturday, June 19 and spent the rest of my weekend at my parents house before coming back to DC. Since then, it's been a bombardment of happy hours, birthday outings, new job celebrations, World Cup watching (and crying), restocking the fridge, and oh yes, catching up on work and getting back into the working groove.

Our trip to Avon, North Caroline was calm, quiet and blissful. About an hour past Kitty Hawk, Nags Head and the more touristy parts of the OBX, there's not much down in Avon except a grocery store, gas station and few shops and restaurants. You can make the drive from one Welcome to Avon sign to the other in about 5 minutes, maybe 6 if you get stuck at the light.

We spent most of our days getting up whenever, going to bed whenever, and laying around on the beach with a full cooler.

The house my parents rented from a family friend was fully stocked with beach access, a pool, pool table and an incredible view in between the dunes overlooking the ocean. It sounds like a scene from a Nicolas Spark's book, doesn't it? By the way, Rodanthe, as in from the book/movie "Nights in Rodanthe," is a township right before Avon.

We did venture out a few times. We went to the worst mini golf course I've ever seen. It was like someone had just mowed patches on a big lawn. Come on, at least give me a windmill to aim at or something.

Tad taking charge.
Leslie and Josh, super excited to play.

One of our day trips included an outing over to Ocracoke, an island filled with artisans, gift shops and Black Beard museums located a few miles off Hatteras Island and it's only accessible by ferry.

We also stopped in Frisco (more than once) for Scotch Bonnet fudge -- ooohhhh so good -- and drove around Buxton for apple uglies.

And don't think we didn't sneak in a few exciting moments here and there. I was there with my parents, my sister, her boyfriend and Tad. My father often likes to take dinner time as an opportunity to bring up sensitive or controversial topics relating to current events. He finds the discussion fascinating but it usually leads to a lot of eye rolling from my sister and someone saying, "well I just don't agree" then silence. Case and point, first night we're there, my sister's boyfriend began going off on Obama's policies and how the unions are fueling the deficient and unemployment. Until then, I had never met anyone who had not only listened to Rush Limbaugh outside of the "Daily Show" but also consciously took on his views, God bless him. It was all poor true blue blood Democrat Tad could do to bite his tongue.

Another exciting thing was I got to try out wind surfing for the first time, which was awesome, I'm completely hooked. It was sort of like snowboarding -- another sport I love -- with a sail. I think I fell off seven times by my last count and I was definitely sore afterwards. Totally worth it.

Avon is the type of place you go to relax, probably retire to one day, and it can be a nice change of pace. Not a lot going on and sometimes that's just fine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lauren Unplugged

Tomorrow night, I am OBX bound!

Heading out to Avon, North Carolina for a week of fun, relaxation and unplugging so I won't be blogging for a few days.

Once again, I'm leaving this...

For this...

Talk to you next week! Signing off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Random Wednesday: World Cup 2010 Edition

Sex and Soccer: Some soccer coaches insist their players keep their eyes on the ball -- and nothing else, but can abstinence really make a difference in your soccer playing? We ask an expert.

Travels of a Soccerholic: My friend Daozhong is World Cup-bound right now, and will be blogging about her travels to and around South Africa, as well as her projections for the games.

I do enjoy how Google is running live stats and schedules on the games.

World Cup gamblers in England are "smoking died vulture brains" because they think it'll help them predict match results and outsmart bookies. That sounds about as smart as taking vodka shots through the eye.

This sports website compared 32 World Cup teams to 32 NFL teams in terms of skill and record. Why? No other reason than football is as popular in America as futbol is to the rest of the world and we Americans needs some sort comparison to understand the hype.

Going e-Couture, Nike unveiled their 2010 World Cup jerseys made from recycled plastic bottles.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Betty posted this on Facebook today. Pretty amusing...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Two Races

I was on my feet most of the weekend. I don't think my legs have been this sore since the first week of high school soccer practice.

Saturday I woke up early to head out to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with my friends and coworkers Kasey and Betty. The plan was to run the whole thing and I was all for it, even though I'm not much of a runner and both of them are marathon champs. I think I would have been able to do it if Kasey and I hadn't met Betty at her apartment before the race and then ran most of the way to the starting line on the National Mall -- 3 miles away.

The outside temperature at 8 a.m. in D.C. was already near 80 degrees and HUMID. I was drenched by the time we got there. All those mornings I had spent running on a treadmill in an air conditioned gym didn't help me prepare at all. We asked some random guy near the starting line to take this photo and I think I was still trying to catch my breath because look miserable.

From left to right, me, Kasey and Betty at the starting line.

The three of us snuck up towards the front of the line together and I started off running strong, but lost my two marathon running friends pretty quickly after that. I alternated between power walking and running it, mostly power walking. 5K may not seem like much, but if you're not used to the conditions, it can really take it toll on you. I stopped twice to help women suffering from heat exhaustion get off the road and get help. It was brutal out there.

Even though I wasn't doing this race for time, I still finished in 46 minutes, which I felt pretty good about. What I was so much more aware of was why I and everyone else was doing this: for our loved ones. Over 50,000 people showed up to participate and almost every one of them were wearing signs that said "In memory of my mom, my aunt, my sister, my grandma," or "Fighting for Lisa," "Celebrating my survival: 5 years!" Seeing all of people together sharing the same struggle was a little emotional, especially since it's a struggle women in my family have faced as well. I feel proud to have been a part of it.

Today was a completely different kind of race, again in D.C. Tad and I were house sitting for the weekend out in the sticks of MoCo so once again, we got up early this morning, drove back to our apartment, unloaded, hopped on the metro and headed to Woodley Park where we met Daozhing and Ruth for brunch at Open City.

Open City is an incredible coffeehouse and diner, famous for their eggs dishes. The wait for a table on a Sunday morning can take over an hour but it's so worth it. My mouth is watering just thinking about the applewood bacon scramble right now. Dao is leaving on Tuesday to head to South Africa for a few weeks for the World Cup so this was our sort of good bye get together. It only took a month for us to coordinate our busy schedules but it was nice to catch up with good friends and wish her well.

Full and protein-powered, Tad and I headed down to Freedom Plaza to meet another group of friends to participate in the annual Washington Post Hunt.

Crowd gathering at Freedom Plaza.

It's a logic puzzle scavenger hunt around the downtown area, sort of like a Da Vinci Code type thing, where you have to hunt for clues and solve brain teasers in hopes of taking home the grand prize: $2,000. The person or team that solves it the fastest wins and people take it very seriously. We saw hundreds of people with D.C. guide books, GPS equipment, coordinated t-shirts, people running straight into traffic -- it was nuts!

Tad staring intensely at the list of clues.

Stu and Lizette figuring out which direction we should take next.

And the puzzles are hard! Here's an example of one. First, you had to find where these feet were located on a map in the special WaPo Hunt edition of their magazine.

If you count them, the total was 555.5 feet, which you then had to remember is how tall the Washington Monument is. So then you went to the monument, and you also happened to remember that you had seen an illustration of a guy with a pink umbrella standing at the monument in the magazine. Then you had to notice that he was wearing a t-shirt with the number 74 on the back of it, which then corresponded with a piece of a clue in the magazine as to where the final solution was. I'm just going to stop myself here because I know I've already lost you.

I've been told that if you manage to solve two out of the five pieces (and each piece has several parts) then you're doing pretty well. Between Stu, Lizette, Anthony, Beth, Tad and I, we solved three, but obviously weren't quick enough to get the grand prize. Still, at least we know what to expect next year.

After all this running around this weekend it was nice to come home tonight to catch up on blogging and just not move for a while before I hit the ground running for Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Random Wednesday

Links I found. Enjoy.

This is so incredibly dorky, but also amazingly awesome. LEGO printer uses felt-tipped pen to print stuff (thanks, Dave!).

This bacteria have a "right brain" that just won't quit: E. coli art.

Google Maps tell you where to go and how to get there. Bing Maps tell you where to live. BOOYA!

This is how I feel about the Twilight series. A little morbid, but you'll also learn something about MIT's Science Fiction Society.

PHOTOS: Sinkhole swallows an entire factory and an intersection in Guatemala. You can't even see where they went! Coworkers today were joking that it looked like the work of Superman... or gnomes.

"Drunk" parrots litter this Australian town, and veterinarians are stumped as they try to help the birds through their "hangovers."

More Office Shenanigans

I didn't do it, but I think I know who did. I think it's the same person who committed this office scandal. I did eventually find out who it was, but I'll never tell :)