Tuesday, March 27, 2012

24 hours in San Francisco

Last week was spring break for OU. Because B is a grad student, he got the whole week off from work AND school. Most of the break he was busy studying for his tests that he has to take to graduate but by Wednesday I had convinced him that it would be a great idea to fly somewhere for 24 hours....

I ended up taking off Wed-Fri because there wasn't much going on that week. The high schools that I work with was closed and, let's face it, most people that I work with were gone on vacation anyways.

Because I had a doctor's appointment Wednesday to get screened for skin cancer (which I'm happy to say that after a biopsy was taken I'm in the clear for any of that cancer business), we decided to wake up at 4am Thursday morning and head to the airport with the idea that we would be flying into Seattle....

Well, I forgot to mention, to keep costs down, we decided to fly standby (my dad flys for Delta airlines so we got B a buddy pass). We got on the plane from OKC to SLC just fine. From SLC we encounter a problem: all planes to Seattle are completely jam-packed full and there isn't a likely chance that we'd be able to get there today, let alone come back the next day.

B and I decided to get creative. We wandered around the terminals looking at the flights that would be leaving in the next hour and see one for San Fran and one for Portland. We decide that San Fran would probably be easier to get around via public transporation and have more to see in such a short amount of time. We check the loads - they look good - and off we go to San Francisco.

By noon, San Fran time, we arrive and have no idea what we're doing. Luckily, the train (aka the Bart) wasn't too complicated and we somehow managed to get to the downtown area from the airport pretty seamlessly. B had an Iphone app that let us locate and reserve a hotel room at a lower rate and our next stop was dropping off our small roller bag full of one days worth of clothes to change into and travel sized soaps and lotions. The people at the front desk gave us some direction as to how to get to the Fisherman's Wharf because we thought, being from Oklahoma and all, we're by the coast so there must be some seafood! And off we went via cable car. Yes, we were total tourists.

Little did we know the cable car would cost $6 to travel maybe one mile and we'd be smushed like sardines next to a woman with a very southern accent shouting out landmarks and several out-of-towners with small children. We were relieved to finally make it to Fisherman's Wharf and eat a crab salad sandwich (pictured below). 

The rest of the day we spent walking...and walking...and walking. We went up hill and then downhill and uphill some more. I soaked in as much of the view as I could because the ability to just see the ocean was pretty amazing. And having HILLS - we don't have any hills in the great state of OK!

After exploring China Town and all the fun shops, we finally got tired from all the walking and settled down for a beer at a pub. B had a friend from high school that now lives in the SF area come meet us and we drank and laughed and enjoyed ourselves until the late hours of 9pm.... (really in central time it was 11pm and we were up since 4am that morning!)

The next day we got up early (again the 2 hour time change helped us out with this one) and had a fantastic breakfast at a local diner and then headed back to the airport.

This is where the fun begins....

The day before, when we had decided on San Fran, the loads on the plane looked fairly good - meaning there was a high chance we wouldn't have a problem getting on a plane home. When we showed up to the airport it showed that there were only 2 available seats on the plane and.... wait for it....25 people listed on standby! B and I were nowhere near the top on that list. We started to panic a bit. We thought, maybe we should try flying to Minneapolis and then try OKC the next day? Should we stay another night in San Fran and hope to get on a plane tomorrow morning? Every plane home for the rest of the weekend looked bad. We even began making plans of flying into Dallas and having family drive us home if getting into the OKC airport wasn't going to happen. Sure, it would have been nice to just stay another night or two and play around in SF, but we're not exactly in the right place to be spending money on hotel rooms and more restaurant tabs. Plus, B was freaking out because he needed to be home to study.

But, there was still a small, small chance we could get on the plane back to SLC - at least. So, we sat and watched as all the ticketed passengers got on bored and then waited to see if our name would be called for the standby seats. My stomach was literally in knots.

Then, something amazing happened.

OUR NAMES WERE CALLED! I couldn't believe it. B's name was called first and then mine. My hands were shaking when the lady at the counter handed me my ticket. Apparently because of the daunting number of people on the standby list, a lot of people didn't show up or decided it wasn't worth the hassle. So we got on the plane, found our seats and then sat on the runway for an hour before takeoff. Typical plane travel....

Once in SLC, we had a 2 hour layover and of course the first thing we did was down a beer in celebration for making it as far as we had. Then we had to go through the whole mess of waiting to get on the plane to OKC because, as it turns out, that plane was full, too! Our only saving grace that time was that we were the only two people on the standby list. But we made it. After every passenger boarded we were finally cleared my endorphines were pumping. You know when you finish a marathon and it finally hits you that you're done? The relief is just amazing and that is what I felt when I finally realized that we would not be stuck for an undetermined number of days in a city far, far away with little to no money to spend and nobody we knew. We were back in our home by midnight that night and the trip finally over. It was definitely an adventure. I would have tried to document the day better had I not been suffering from extreme stress.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New shoes!

I did it.

That's right.

I bought some shoes.

I just broke down and dug into my wee-bit of savings to purchase some new Asics GT-2170s. Oh what a beaut! The color is even called Tahiti which makes my purchase substantiated since, hey, if I can't go to Tahiti for spring break, I'll do the next best thing and buy running shoes in spring break colors....

I just couldn't deal with my shin-splint-causing, over-a-year-and-a-half-old shoes anymore. Unfortunately, I ordered them online so that I could find the best price, which means the old ones will have to be used again for tonight's run because we're having 80 degree weather! I just can't resist letting this beautiful weather pass without making the most of it. Remember the last post when I said I'd boycott until Oklahoma's weather improved? Well, luckily for me Oklahoma weather changes every day. Literally.

I got a 4-miler in last night at an extremely slow pace, but the OKC Memorial Marathon is in the back of my mind and I'm hoping I can at least run the half. Maybe once my new kicks arrive I can get in some really good workouts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lately it has been so hard to get out and run. My first problem is that my shoes are almost a year old - ancient in running shoe years - and thus the root of my shin splints that I'm currently suffering from. I really need some new ones, but we all know those don't come cheap and I haven't exactly been able to factor it out of my AmeriCorps salary. I keep thinking just a little bit longer and I'll have an actual paying job which means I can update the ol' wardrobe. And I keep waiting and waiting some more. You know I haven't bought a new sports bran in over 3 years? Unfortunately, car maintenance (my breaks are just about shot), rent and food remain higher on the priority list.

My second problem is the fact that the wind is terrible! Whoever came up with the lyrics, "OOOOOOklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains" candy-coated what Oklahoma really experiences. It's rarely ever a nice soft breeze; it's the kind of wind that'll knock your own wind out of your chest. It'll kick up all the dirt on the ground and throw into your eyes while, at the same time, your hair gets blown out in all directions. And, if you naively decided to wear a dress? You poor, poor thing.

To make matters worse, it spurs the onset of a relentless bout of allergies. I've been taking zyrtec, allegra, and even local honey, but my eyes still hurt and my whole face feels congested.

Running in this kind of wind is just plain miserable. I decided to boycott until Oklahoma decides to have better weather.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mustache March

Has anyone out there really heard of "mustache March"?

Didn't think so.

I'm not sure where B got the idea, but now he's growing a mustcache because its March. OHHHH MAKE IT STOP! I tried to tell him that he missed the boat for "no shave November" but he won't listen to me. Mustaches really are a terrible thing. Also, I didn't want to make this known to the public but B has even gone so far as to join an internet mustache club!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'm going to tell you about some cool things that I've been able to do. I've also had quite a few revelations about myself that I'm pretty excited about.

Since January, I have been a volunteer intern at OU's Office of Development. I'm doing this while keeping up with my AmeriCorps job, which has made my free time almost non-existent, but I really am loving it. This has been a wonderful opportunity for a number of reasons:

1. I get to go to a bunch of cool events put on by OU and the Development Office (particulary the two programs that I work under which are the President's Associates and the Women's Philanthropy Network). One such event included the OU "Teach-In" that brought in 7 well-known scholars/historians/professors to lecture about America's Founding.

2. I've had the opportunity to do PR work for these events including two articles that you can view here and here. In the near future I'm going to be interviewing a WPN member who runs a non-profit in NYC for kids with cancer (its a really good story) and posting that, as well as an OU men's basketball game that I'm going to tomorrow.

3. Because of all these experiences I think I'm no longer "Erica Undecided." Well - at least not completely undecided. All of these things has changed my outlook on what I want to do career-wise, just when I thought I would never figure myself out. Funny how things simply fall into place.

In other news, last weekend my mom, sister and I traveled to stillwater for my brother's baby shower. I could not be a more excited soon-to-be aunt! Below is a picture of the adorable cake and cake balls (that I absolutely could not stop eating!!!!) and me with all of the balloons. The baby is going to be a boy if you haven't been able to tell from all of the blue.