the wonderful world of veena.

29 October 2013

the joy project: week forty.

week 40? that seems ridiculous. and yet, here we are. <silently patting myself on the back>

Sunday: ran - and survived - my first half-marathon. ladies' brunch with fantastic bloody mary's to celebrate. cheered the Packers on to victory at the sports bar down the road from my hotel and met a very sweet couple from Wisconsin. capped my day with a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger from Jack in the Box. definitely a Sunday for the books.

Monday: slept in and rested my muscles. roomie reunion lunch with the long-lost Cheryl. hung out with Miriam, Maren, and Cassie while they went climbing. yummy dinner at Tacko for my last night in town.

Tuesday: a long day of traveling, but it's always nice to return "home". and I read nearly 160 pages in my book. got a sweet card in the mail from Nana.

Wednesday: slept in and in and in. had a lovely dinner at Nathanial and Chad's that included yummy chicken and two bottles of wine.

Thursday: pretty uneventful day, if I'm honest...

Friday: family trip - minus the brother - to Orlando. planned my Disney World visits. beat my mother at foosball and then got my ass kicked in Skee-ball. met a friend of my father's from Detroit who's probably his coolest friend ever. free food!

Saturday: spent the day at the Magic Kingdom. rode Space Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, and Splash Mountain. bought some gifts for various kiddos. and then my parents' medical conference arranged for the whole lot of us to go to Hollywood Studios [previously MGM Studios] after hours. was so cool to have the whole park to ourselves. took my father on the Tower of Terror, saw the end of the Indiana Jones stunt show, took my father on the Aerosmith Rock 'n Roller Coaster [he didn't even realise it went upside down. twice], and saw the Beauty and the Beast stage show. super fun night. thank you, American Academy of Pediatrics.

it was a crazy week, going from one coast to the other, but it was definitely full of fun.

22 October 2013

1/2 marathon monday: I. DID. IT.



Monday: 5mi run around the neighbourhood [5.3mi according to my GPS, but I'm pretty sure it's jacked]. it was a gorgeous morning, and instead of creating some crazy route, I just ran to Walnut Grove and back twice. the return incline is a bit longer and more gradual than anywhere else in the neighbourhood, and it was a nice feeling to conquer it twice. all in all, a pretty good start to race week.

Tuesday: 3mi run around the neighbourhood. although the weather was pleasant, you could feel the humidity from the rain clouds rolling in, and I wanted to make sure to get in a run before it started coming down. this one was important as it was my last run in Memphis before the race and hopefully my last early morning run for the next few months.

Wednesday: 15-minute NTC Perfect Alignment with Gabby Douglas workout. good to limber up the joints a bit.

Thursday: technically a day off, but I attended a Zumba class with Miriam and Maren in San Francisco. my first ever attempt at Zumba, and it was pretty fun. the class was super crowded, so it was difficult to be able to do all the moves properly, and some of them I was just too uncoordinated to accomplish, but overall I had a good time. Maren has only been a few times before, so we kept each other company in the back and laughed when we kept bumping into each other.

Friday: day off, but lots of walking around town.

Saturday: 2mi run near Miriam's house. was good to get in a run and to get a little feel for a few of the hills in town. I know they weren't as steep as a few of the ones on the race course, but it was still good to just get out and run. made me feel a little bit more ready for Sunday's race. and I went for my run at 11.30am! it was incredible. the weather was fantastic, and it only got warm at the very end when there wasn't a whole lot of shade.

Sunday: RACE DAY. I ran 13.1 miles and lived to talk about it. definitely the hardest and probably most rewarding thing I've ever done. I hit a mental wall between miles 8 and 9, but I pushed through. I hit a physical wall between 10 and 11 and was just starting to get a little hungry, but then Whole Foods was handing out chocolate bars! those, and the orange slices at mile 8, were the second best things ever. the best thing? seeing Miriam and Maren at the top of the hill at mile 7 and again at the end of the race. finding them just past the halfway point put such a smile on my face, and then I nearly started crying when I found them after gear check. I cannot describe how amazing it was to have their presence and their support. [for more details, see the section below]

pre-race thoughts [written Saturday night]:

I'm feeling ready for the morning. getting in that run this morning really got me in a good place mentally for the race. I know it was only a couple of miles, but there were a few fairly steep hills along the route - definitely steeper than anything I've run in Memphis - and it felt good to be able to get through those and still have something in the tank.

I am also going into tomorrow with the full knowledge that I may have to - and probably will - walk up portions of a few of the hills. it's nothing to be embarrassed of, and I'd rather do that and be able to complete the whole course rather than exhaust myself and end up having a poor race. from looking at the course map and speaking with Miriam and her roommates, I've realised that miles 6-8 have the worst of the hills, so I also know that if I can get to mile 9, I'm good to go. I also know that my own adrenaline and the adrenaline and energy of those around me will propel me forward, too.

so here we go, 13.1. let's make it one for the books.

post-race thoughts [written Monday night]:

wow. I did it.

it was by far the most physically demanding thing I've ever done in my life, but it was also such a feeling of accomplishment to cross the finish line and know I had done what I set out to do 15 weeks ago when I started my training.

it was an awesome, cloudy, cold, foggy morning, which is my absolute favourite weather to run in. the first 3 miles were deceptively flat, but it was cool to run by the Ferry Building and along the piers that early in the morning. it kind of felt like the city was empty and the runners and the volunteers were the only people in the entire place. the first few hills - down by Fisherman's Wharf - were challenging, but I ran through them. the bigger ones, between miles 6 and 7, were tough, and for both, I ran the first half and walked the second. and at the top of the hill in Presidio, right after mile 7, I saw Miriam and Maren, who had come to cheer me on. it was so wonderful to see them, and the poor girls got a big shout and a very sweaty hug for their trouble.

I started to hit a mental wall between miles 8 and 9, but the orange slices the volunteers were handing out got me through it. Miriam had mentioned them to me on Saturday night, and she wasn't kidding when she said how awesome they were. it was the middle of the last big hill, and it gave me a break to walk and get my head back in the game, and it was perfect.

I started to hit a physical wall between miles 10 and 11. my hips were hurting, my hamstrings were starting to cramp, and I was starting to get hungry, which is something that's never happened to me during a run before. but nevertheless, hunger was coming. and then I turned a corner, and there were volunteers handing out chocolate bars from Whole Foods. it was the definition of perfect timing. I grabbed some chocolate and some water, chowed down, and took a minute to stretch out my hamstrings. by that point we were at the turn for the half-marathoners and only had about 1.5 miles to go. after 11.5, that's pretty doable.

my pace definitely slowed waaaaayyyyy down toward the end, but I don't even care. I finished a half marathon. I ran the hills. I made it. that's all that matters.

the highlight of the race: besides the orange slices and the chocolate bars? definitely Miriam and Maren. seeing them at the top of that Presidio hill put such a huge grin on my face, and the adrenaline carried me nearly another 1.5 miles before I crashed. and when I found them at the end, after the finisher's necklace and the tee and the warming blanket and the food bag and the gear check [even more exhausting than it sounds], I nearly burst into tears. I was on such a high while simultaneously being drained, and the combination of that with finding my friends who had gotten up stupidly early to come support me nearly did me in [if I'm honest, I still get a little emotional just thinking about it]. they were definitely my heroes that day.

the oddest part of the race: the number of women who kept stopping to take pictures along the way. like at every single mile marker and with every single sign posted along the way. the number of women texting while walking. the number of women talking on the phone while running. I don't know about you, but I have zero desire to do any of those things while I'm in the middle of running 13 miles. but maybe that's just me.

the best sign of the race: "GO! GO! GO! You're running better than Congress!" truer words have never been spoken.

the most misleading sign of the race: "Keep running! Hot firefighters are waiting for you!" so every year, one of the big pulls for the race is that there are "hot" firemen waiting at the finish line to give you your finisher's necklace and take pictures with you. well, that's only half true. yes, there are indeed firemen at the finish line, but they're not exactly hot. I passed some hot firemen around mile 2 outside their station, but the ones at the finish line weren't really doing it for me. the ones handing out the necklaces were rather old and had seen their better days about 15 years ago, and the ones in the picture area were far too pretty. [I found out later than the ones at the photo-op area were actually models who had been hired for the event. nice job on the fake promo, Nike] needless to say, after all that buildup, it was quite the letdown.

the low-point of the race: the area just after the Finish Line. with 5,000 more runners than last year crammed into a smaller area, it got super congested. the line for the food bags got backed up, which backed up the area for the warming blankets [which were much needed. it was cold], which in turn backed up the line for the Finisher's Tee. I was stood still for 20 minutes after just having run 13.1 miles, and my muscles were not happy with me. we all needed to stretch, and there wasn't enough room, and it was super frustrating [I found out later that at one point, the line was backed up to within 20 feet of the finish line. that would not have been a good situation]. by the time I finally got my stuff from the bus, I just wanted to get out of there and away from the crowd and to anywhere I could have some personal space. the main thing that frustrated me - other than not being able to stretch, of course - was that up to that point, I had zero complaints about my race experience, and I hated that it ended like that. I didn't get a picture in front of any of the signs, I didn't see what they had for sale in the Finisher's Boutique, and I didn't get a chance to just hang around and soak up the experience, because all I could think about was getting out.

beyond that, though, it was an awesome experience, and I'm already thinking about the DC race in April 2014. I can't wait for the lottery to open next month. I still think a 10k is my favourite race, but the Nike Women's is just a cool experience to be a part of.

and the Tiffany necklace certainly helps.

[definitely wearing this one until kingdom come]
and now for a few days off and a lot of unhealthy eating. I think I earned it.

19 October 2013

the joy project: week thirty-nine.

Sunday: Green Bay managed to squeak out a win in Baltimore [the first Packers victory in Baltimore since 1974!]. yummy Indian lunch.

Monday: visited some of my old buddies at the B&N. essentially got offered my old job back.

Tuesday: second interview for a potential job. fun dinner to celebrate Jane's birthday. got to hang out with Quincy the dog.

Wednesday: started off a bit rough, but a Skype chat with Ellie and a phone chat with Dylan put me in a significantly better mood. also hearing that a job I wanted in Bombay is still open and available. and also watching India beat Australia in a one-day match.

Thursday: read 100 pages in my book during my journey to San Francisco. much-awaited catch-up time with Miriam. attended my first Zumba class. Indian feasting on the floor of the kitchen with Miriam and Maren.

Friday: submitted my CV and cover letter for a position in Bombay. chatted with Shonali and pretty much decided we will be attending the Bangalore edition of this year's NH7 Weekender [gotta carry on the tradition, right?]. picked up my race packet at the NWM expo, quick catch-up chat with Cheryl, found my name on the wall outside Niketown, and picked up some swag from the store. grabbed a drink with Dave and Jay, and then Mo and I had a nice dinner before heading home and crashing. also, Bee and Brandon got engaged!

[pretty cool, I won't lie]
Saturday: relaxing morning. Miriam made pancakes for breakfast. went for a run at 11.30am! can't remember the last time I've been able to do that. ran into Hunter Brasfield while waiting for a bus to my hotel; got a free ride into town and caught up on the last 6 years of Hunt's life. watched highlights from some very interesting SEC games [Arkansas-Alabama not included]. found out that baby Evelyn [daughter of Lindsay and Steve and my little Muffin] made her entrance into the world a week early! congrats, Wright family!

and in approximately 9.5 hours, I'll be tackling the hills of San Francisco. wish me luck.

16 October 2013

becoming intentional / keeping in touch.

I mentioned yesterday that I am attempting to become more intentional in my communications with friends, and I wanted to talk about that a bit more.

At Caitlin's Bridesmaids' Luncheon a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Gaga, Cait's maternal grandmother. As Gaga lives in California, I had often heard about her but had not before had the opportunity to meet her. At lunch I sat near her and got to listen to her talk about her best friend of 50 years who was also in town for the wedding.

To think of being at an age where I can say I've been friends with someone for 50 years seems incredible. And not just friends, but friends who have shared every milestone, every up and down, every celebration and sorrow with each other.

She spoke of the intentionality that it takes to maintain a friendship like that over the years, no matter the distance or the circumstances. The calls, the letters, the visits. All the things we tend to take for granted in this digital age.

I will sometimes forget that I've not spoken to or emailed a friend in too long, because I've been following their posts on Facebook or seen their pictures on Instagram. I still know vaguely what is happening in their lives, but I'm not present in it, I'm not participating. "Liking" someone's status or commenting on a photo doesn't necessarily mean that you are actually active in someone's life. It means you're out there on the fringes, but it takes more effort to maintain those ties.

I have friends I've not been in regular contact with for a number of years, but not because of a lack of interest in their lives. Often I use the excuse that my nomadic lifestyle makes it difficult to keep in proper contact with people, and while that is true to an extent, I cannot continue to use that as a crutch to fall back on. I want to be more active, more involved in my friends' lives. I want to participate again.

So I am making an effort to be more intentional in my interactions and communications with my friends. I emphasize "making an effort" because I know it's not something that is going to change overnight. It's something that will be ongoing, and I will take some time to find my rhythm, my routine, but it's something I really want to work on.

I'm starting slow. Emails. Random postcards and letters. Skype chats. An occasional phone call, when I'm feeling a little crazy. And hopefully I'll get back to the point where it's something I no longer have to work on but something that just comes naturally.

Thank you, Gaga, for reminding me to take time to treasure those people I'm lucky enough to call friends.

15 October 2013

random rambles.

just a quick update on the thoughts spinning through my head. I know you're thrilled...

1. I have decided that I blame the Sports Illustrated cover jinx for ending the Grizzlies' and the Braves' seasons this year. they put Mike Conley on the cover back in May, and the Grizz got swept out of the Western Conference finals. two weeks ago they featured the Upton brothers [along with Kate Upton. still don't know who she is], and the Braves self-destructed in the NLDS. and it's all SI's fault.

2. since my impending first-ever half marathon just didn't seem to be enough for me, I am now also entered in a 5K Fun Run in Orlando for the family members of the conference my parents are attending at the end of the month.

3. making 7-layer dip and brownies for our Room to Read book swap fundraiser last week has inspired me to cook again. we'll see how long that lasts.

4. I'm so glad to have DVR back in my life. it's just so nice to not have to wait for the new episodes of the shows I love to download. the interwebs in India can be sloooooooow. I know, I know, first world problems and all that. I'm just saying I'm enjoying some of the comforts of being in the States right now.

5. I am attempting to be more intentional in keeping in touch with my friends. More emails, more cards sent, maybe even more phone calls if I completely lose my mind. I was reminded a few weekends ago how important it is to treasure our relationships with our friends, and I am determined to be better about it. also, I found a stack of postcards from Hampi, Nepal, and Bombay to go along with my ones from Graceland, and they need to be sent. so what if they have US postmarks. it's the thought that counts.

and there you have it. you're welcome.

14 October 2013

memphis loves: national civil rights museum.

During Maggie's brief visit last week, she and I visited the National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis.

The Civil Rights Museum is located on the premises of the Lorraine Motel, the very site where Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in 1968. The building opposite the motel has been renovated and houses exhibits on the timeline leading up to Dr King's final months, explaining how he came to be in Memphis to protest on behalf of the rights of sanitation workers while side-by-side chronicling the movements of James Earl Ray, the man convicted of Dr King's murder. Additional exhibits present the various conspiracy theories that theorize other reasons for and people behind the murder. And a final exhibit shows different aspects of the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, including the advancements still being made here in Memphis in the area of civil rights. The building next door to the motel also houses exhibits but is currently under renovation.

For history and civil rights buffs such as Maggie and me, this museum is like catnip. We whiled away nearly 3 hours in the museum, reading every note on every board and following the movements of both Dr King and Ray as their paths eventually crossed in Memphis on that fateful morning. We pored over every artifact, watched nearly every video in its entirety, and spent an inordinate amount of time scrutinizing the reconstruction of the bathroom from which Ray fired his shot.

Probably my favourite part of the museum is the wall of fallen freedom fighters [my name, not the official one]. There is a wall upstairs in the museum that lists the names of many people who have been killed fighting for civil and human rights around the world, from Gandhi in India fighting for independence from the British to college students in Mississippi and Alabama fighting for equal voting rights for all citizens. The names are lit from behind with lights that are arranged to resemble the nights sky on the night MLK Jr was killed. The last paragraph on the epitaph in particular really struck a chord with me:
The National Civil Rights Museum honors the spirit of leaders of human rights movements in the United States and abroad whose lives, though tragically cut short by assassins, were not sacrificed in vain. These are ordinary people who made extraordinarily courageous choices: to stand by their convictions, to represent the concerns of others, and to mobilize individuals into mass movements for change.

In addition, you get to climb up to the balcony where MLK was shot to stand in his place and peer into the room he was staying in. It's more powerful than you might anticipate.*

Regardless of if you know very little or a whole lot about the Civil Rights Movement or about Dr King's life and work, the Museum is a great visit. I visited it once when I was in my second year at Rhodes, and it was great to see how it's changed over the years. The renovations that are currently going on will continue into 2014, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like once they're finished. And in general I think it's a great learning opportunity to have such an interesting piece of history right here in town.

Important Info:
Location: 450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103. downtown Memphis, just off Main St.
Cost of Admission: $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens or students with an ID; $8 for children ages 4-17. TN residents get in for free on Mondays between 3 and 5pm. Members get in free anytime.
Hours of Operation: the hours change a bit between summer and winter hours, but the main thing to know is that the museum is closed every Tuesday and on major holidays [luckily for us, it's not affected by the government shutdown].

So whether you're a Memphian or if you're just in town for a visit, be sure to carve out some time to visit a pretty spectacular place.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: there are currently a number of renovations that are going on and that will be in place until at least mid-2014. as the renovations progress, you will no longer be able to climb up to the balcony, so either do that in the next 6 or so weeks, or wait until the middle of next year.

1/2 marathon monday: it's almost go time.


Monday: [maggie was in town, so no running happened]

Tuesday: 6mi run at the Greenline. was a beautiful morning, the Greenline was pretty empty, and I kept up a pretty good pace. all in all, a nice run.

Wednesday: slept in. occurring more and more often these days.

Thursday: groggy 5.73mi run around the neighbourhood. I was super tired but forced myself to get up and get ready for a run, and then it was foggy, so I had to sit around for about 15 minutes before it was light enough to head out, so I just was not in it, mentally, physically, or emotionally. was supposed to be a 6-miler, but I cut over at one point and just said I'll run as much as I run, and that will be that. just wasn't my day.

Friday: day off.

Saturday: 9mi run around the neighbourhood. last long run before race day. I changed it up a bit for this one and ran some intervals: 3mi run; walked for one song; 3mi run; walked for two songs; ran for three songs; walked for one song; ran to the finish. even though it was cool outside when I left for my run, you could also feel the underlying humidity, and that was definitely a factor in my being sluggish at the end. I also did the intervals so that it gave me a chance to chew on my Gu chomps. I realised a few weeks ago that chewing them while I ran didn't sit right in my stomach, and it was much better to walk for that bit. I also realised that, while I think I'll do alright next weekend, I will most likely not be able to run 13.1 consecutive miles on the hills of San Francisco. I'm not trying to sound defeatist, and I will certainly give it my best, but I'm also being realistic. and I would much rather do some intervals throughout the race and finish rather than completely wear myself out and not be able to complete the course. we'll see what happens come race day, but I'm prepared either way.

Sunday: day off.

holy cow, where have the last 14 weeks gone?

I've said it a few times in the past few weeks, but I can't believe how quickly my training has gone. it seems like just yesterday I was struggling to run 3 miles, and now I know I can run at least 9 consecutively [from 4 weeks ago, not from this Saturday].

it's unreal how quickly these weeks have gone, and I still can't really believe that my race will be finished by this time next week.

so what do I want to get out of this race?

being that it's my first half-marathon and it's going to be hilly, I'm keeping my expectations reasonable. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: my number one goal is to finish. I don't care how fast or slow it goes, I want to cross that finish line in one piece and get my finisher's necklace. I don't have a specific time goal in mind, nor do I want one. I just want to go out, enjoy the city and its beautiful views, and have a little fun along the way. there will be thousands of others out there doing the same thing I'm doing, and it's great fun to run a race alongside complete strangers.

so here we go, SF. let's do this.

13 October 2013

restaurant review: the nook atlanta.

Last Friday, while in Atlanta for Caitlin and Wes' wedding, I grabbed dinner from The Nook, and I thought I'd share my experience with you.

I enjoyed The Nook for the following 6 reasons:

  1. the Totchos. for those of you not in the know, Totchos are a creation of the Nook that are tater tot nachos. and yes, they are just as amazing as they sound. I went with the Loaded PoTotchos - cheese sauce, sour cream, bacon bits, shredded cheese, and scallions - and added jalapenos on the side. and because I ordered the snack-size, they were only $5 and still super filling.
  2. it was walking distance from my hotel. I don't know Atlanta super well, and my car was in valet, so I didn't want to have to drive anywhere to pick up food, especially since the Braves game was on at the time, and I wanted to watch it. so walking distance was key.
  3. I also wanted something not super heavy, particularly since I was staying in a hotel and didn't want to waste food / have leftovers. being able to order the snack-size was a great option.
  4. a cool atmosphere. they have great outdoor seating, and it was already filled with people enjoying a beautiful Friday evening when I walked over just before 7 to get my food. and inside it has the feel of a nice comfortable pub, with great bar seating and a number of televisions. I sat at the bar and watched the Braves game while I waited for my order, so I only missed a few half-innings while walking back and forth.
  5. the price. I know I got the snack portion, so my dinner was ridiculously cheap, but the full-size order was only about $9, and I can imagine that I could make that stretch to 2 or 3 meals. that's pretty good bang-for-your-buck. for a city like Atlanta, the prices on the menu were really reasonable.
  6. the view. if you sit outside, you have a view of Piedmont Park. that's pretty nice.
Important Info:
Location: 1144 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309. about a 5-minute walk from my hotel, the W Midtown, overlooking Piedmont Park. if you're driving in on I-75, it's exit 250 for 10th St / 14th St.
Parking: there's a limited amount of parking in the alley just next to the restaurant, or else you can park at a garage around the corner and get a discounted rate with a receipt from The Nook.
Serves: brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks.
Specialties: Totchos, Bloody Marys, Fishbowls.
Prices: very reasonable. snack-size Totchos are $5 and full-size is either $9 or $10. either way, a good deal. I only briefly glanced at the rest of the menu, but it looked pretty reasonable as well.
Methods of Payment: accepts cash and cards.

It was just what I needed for my Friday night dinner, and I'm glad I decided to check it out. And it's safe to say, after experiencing totchos, I'm pretty sure my life will never be the same.

the joy project: week thirty-eight.

busy week. lots going on. but also good fun.

Sunday: helped the mummy make yummy Sunday dinner. Maggie came to visit! watched Barfi and discussed Bollywood gossip.

Monday: toured the National Civil Rights Museum with Moo. lunch at Huey's.

Tuesday: wrote and mailed lots of cards and postcards to various peeps.

Wednesday: Old Navy Stuff and Save 30% off Sale. it's always bad news for my wallet but excellent news for my closet. made 7-layer dip for the first time in ages.

Thursday: made brownies. hosted a book swap with Walshie and Jane and raised $110 for Room to Read's projects! also scored The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman in the swap. been wanting to read it for a while and can't wait to get started on it.

Friday: had lunch with my mother at McAlister's. caught up on my book club reading [this month is The Secret History by Donna Tartt].

Saturday: last long run before my race [which is next weekend!]. lunch from the newly reopened Chick-fil-A by our house. relaxing day watching lots of college football.

and although the Braves lost in the NLDS and Arkansas got dominated on Saturday, it was still a good week.
woo pig.

09 October 2013

tv binge-a-thon: greek.

Yes, I am a 30-year-old woman who just watched the ABC Family show Greek in its entirety and loved it. In my defense, I was introduced to it by my 34-year-old brother. Not sure what that says about my family, but there you have it.

And oh, Greek. What a great guilty pleasure you were.

Even though I was in a sorority in my undergrad days, it was NOTHING compared to how the Greek system is portrayed in the show. Obviously I know they exaggerated many aspects, but even the "low-key" things they do in the show would have been considered slightly over-the-top at Rhodes. And the crazy hazing. Yikes.

For me, the main draw for the show - other than the ridiculous drama, of course - was Cappie, one of the main characters. He was, hands-down, the best character on the show, wasn't overdone, and seemed like he could be an actual person in real life. He was funny, he was a loyal friend, he had a great sense of humour, and he just seemed real. He didn't seem like a made-up caricature of someone and actually reminded of a few of my friends.

I also liked Ashleigh, especially as the series progressed and they made her character more three dimensional. And although I began the show hating Rebecca [because, let's be honest, everyone hates Rebecca at the beginning], I like how her character evolved, and I really liked her at the end. Also, Calvin and Dale were pretty great.

I didn't binge watch this one quite the way I did with Friday Night Lights, but I came close at the end there because I just wanted to see how it would wrap up and end. It went pretty much how I predicted it would, but that didn't make the drama and hysterics any less entertaining.

The last little season of 10 episodes [I'm approximating, I don't remember exactly how many there were] seemed a little hastily thrown together, but they still managed to run the gamut of hilarity, drama, and ridiculousness. And I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I might have shed a tear or two at one point in the final episode. If you've watched it, you know which moment I'm referring to. Felt like the end of an era.

If you're looking for a fun, light show to pass some time, this could be your new addiction. All the seasons are available for streaming on Netflix, and it'll definitely keep you entertained.

And then we can gush about Cappie together.
woo pig.

08 October 2013

1/2 marathon [tuesday]: almost there.


Monday: ran 2.4 of what was originally supposed to be a 5mi run. it drizzled all through the night and into the morning, and it was pretty wet outside, so I decided to just run a short one. it would be just my luck to sprain something or otherwise injure myself 3 weeks from race day, so I decided not to take the risk. I ran around 8am, the latest I've run in months, and it was nice and cool, only getting humid right at the end. I was originally going to skip the run and do the elliptical to avoid the wet pavements, but the thought of doing so kind of depressed me, so I headed outside anyway. I especially wanted to loosen up my muscles, which were pretty stiff after Saturday's long run.

Tuesday: 30-minute NTC Get Toned Intermediate Circuit Challenge workout. lots of squats, so my quads were definitely burning at the end of it.

Wednesday: day off.

Thursday: 4.25mi run at the Greenline. ran my fastest 5k ever, which was promising, but ran out of steam a bit at the end. even though it wasn't super humid, it was very warm, so I was glad it was a shorter run. still enjoying the Greenline, especially during the week when it's fairly empty.

Friday: in Atlanta for the Goodrich/Jones wedding festivities, so it was another day off.

Saturday: day off. I needed my rest for the party that night.

a pretty uneventful week. sometimes those are good.

because of the rain on Monday and the trip to Atlanta for Cait and Wes' wedding, my schedule was a bit crazy last week, and I didn't necessarily train as much as I could or should have. the two runs that I got in were pretty good, and I'm hopeful that the weather is finally taking a turn toward fall. the days are getting shorter as well, which means I'm able to sleep until almost 6 and head out for my runs around 6.25 or even later, if I drive to the Greenline. those 5.15 wake-up calls were tough to take, so I'm thankful to be able to sleep in a bit even on those days I run.

we're down to 2 weeks until race day, which is kind of mind-blowing. I entered the draw for the race at the beginning of June, I found out I was accepted at the end of June, and I began my training the second week of July. back then, it felt like I had ages until 20 October, and now it's only 12 days away [I got delayed and am only posting this on Tuesday...oops]. I still kind of can't believe it.

I have lots of thoughts going into my last few weeks of training, but I also have a lot of other things I need to take care of this week, so it looks like those thoughts will either be their own post later this week or combined with next week's training log.

until then, happy running to you.
woo pig.

06 October 2013

the joy project: week thirty-seven.

Cait and Wes' wedding week!

Sunday: slept in and lazed about and didn't get out of bed until 12.30. it was incredible. all-day pajama day. cloudy and cool weather [high of 72! amazing]. finally finished the final season of Greek. nice chat with Lindso. solid Sunday.

Monday: nice cloudy and rainy day. perfect weather for sweats. started a new coursera course on International Organizations Management. prepped for Tuesday's interview. yummy McAlister's chili for dinner [it was really good chili weather].

Tuesday: playing catch-up for my Introduction to Global Health coursera course [you should really check out coursera if you don't know what it is]. survived my first job interview in 7 years. hammered out some details for a Booktober event I'm hosting next week with Walshie and Jane [and opened Microsoft Excel for the first time in months].

Wednesday: slept in. caught up on some emails. refused to shower until 2pm. finally went to the parlor. thought about what I needed to pack for Atlanta.

Thursday: reunion with roommate Shelley in the ATL.

Friday: Cait's Bridesmaids' Luncheon. I got to see Caitlin, Lara, Bridgette, Ansley, Catherine, Nana, Pops, Craig, Andie, and Pete, and I finally got to meet Kelly and Louisa, Pete's wife and daughter. too much fun. tried "totchos" [tater tot nachos. wow] for dinner - my stomach was extremely happy. Braves beat the Dodgers to even the division series.

Saturday: slept in. got to chat with Shonali and catch up properly for the first time in months. Cait and Wes' beautiful wedding and super fun reception. yummy bbq for dinner. danced for hours. participated in my first ever wedding photo booth [thank you, Kelly and Pete]. got to meet more of the Goodrich family and finally got to meet Bridgette's husband Chris.

[the effects on Google Hangouts are great for overgrown children like Shonali and myself]
[so happy to see my favourite little brother Petey after entirely too long] 
[my beautiful Bridgette]
it's going to be hard to beat this last week, but I have a feeling visits from Maggie and our Booktober Book Swap will come pretty close.
woo pig.

02 October 2013

tv binge-a-thon: friday night lights.

"I completely love the fact that when you binge watch a series you live it"
-my dear friend Sastri who knows me entirely too well

My name is Veena, and I love binge-watching television shows.

Phew, I'm glad I got that out of my system.

So, Friday Night Lights. I've been hearing rave reviews of the show for a number of years, but having read the book and seen the 2004 movie adaptation, I figured I didn't need to see a show also. How very, very wrong I was.

When the show originally aired, I was in India. A number of American and British shows air semi on-time in India, but as you can imagine, American football is not very popular on the subcontinent, so this was not one of those shows. At the time it aired, I didn't know many people who were watching it in real-time, but I was constantly reading articles online of how the fans kept clamoring to bring the show back from the brink of cancellation.

I'd forgotten about it for a few years until earlier this summer when Nathan Jesson and I were compiling our 64-team bracket to determine the Greatest Sports Movie of All-Time [debate still ongoing]. The movie adaptation was included in the list, and when we decided to watch it in late May, I mentioned to Nathan and his brother that I had not watched the television show. And you wouldn't believe the looks they gave me. Absolute incredulity. Nathan assured me that I would definitely love it, so I was intrigued.

When I was back in Memphis, I watched the first few episodes on Netflix and found it intriguing. And then I housesat for Walker & Joe for 2 weeks and took full advantage of their Netflix to watch a few more episodes. And then a few more. And then a whole season. Before I knew it, I had completed all 5 seasons of the show in approximately 10 days [in between which I wrote my final Capstone paper for school and sorted out a few other odds-and-ends as well].*

I obviously loved it. Just as Nathan Jesson said I would.

I loved the drama. I loved Coach Taylor. I loved Tami Taylor. I loved the football. I loved most of the characters. I loved the stories. I really loved nearly all of it. And above all I loved Tim Riggins.

It's one of those shows that just sucks you in. It's got such great heart, and you get attached to and invested in nearly every one of the characters. Every time Tim screws up, you shake your head, because you saw it coming and you know he's better than that. Every time Tyra chooses a stupid guy, you shout at her for not respecting herself more and knowing she deserves better. Every time Julie hurts Matt, your heart breaks a little for him, because he's dealing with so much and he's just so damn sweet. Every time Vince acts out, you find it difficult to hold in your frustration, because you know he's going through a lot but you also see how far he's come. All the characters have their ups-and-downs, and I ran the gamut of loving and hating nearly all of them.

And the characters are really the heart of the show. This raggedy bunch from small-town Texas who are just trying to make something of their lives. I love how the show exposes their vulnerabilities and makes them real people. I know some of the storylines are stretched [let's not even get into all that business from season 2], but they somehow still remain believable.

You can see the similarities between some of the characters in the book / movie and the characters in the show. Tim Riggins is like Danny Billingsley. Matt Saracen is similar to Mike Winchell. Jason Street and Smash Williams both have characteristics or story lines similar to Boobie Miles. It's not exact, which I liked, but still somewhat true enough to the original story.

Since I had my marathon viewing of the show back in June, both Dylan and Britney have also watched it in its entirety [Nathan Jesson has some mad persuasive skills] and loved it. Bee even admitted she almost likes football now. Catherine and Drew are currently watching it. And any other friends I've spoken to who have seen it have loved it, too. It's pretty universal that way.

So if anyone out there is still yet to watch it, check it out on Netflix. I promise you won't be disappointed.

oh, and clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

*In my [not very strong] defense, only the first season is a full 24 episodes. The 2nd season was cut short due to the writer's strike [and thank goodness, because it was definitely the worst of the lot], and seasons 3-5 had between 12 and 15 episodes. I feel like that makes it not quite as depressing. Right?