Monday, September 19, 2011

I started my new job today. It was lovely - the people are lovely, I have a colleague where I didn't expect to have one, and the views are utterly fantastic. I'm as stoked about it after the first day as I was leading into it, which is a huge win in my book. While I'm a little jealous of the waterfront views that much of the rest of the office enjoys, my cube looks straight out at the Space Needle, so that's still rather nice. I'm still getting used to the idea that I'm a lawyer (well, almost...*crosses fingers and vaguely contemplates making sacrifices to the NY Board of Law Examiners*), but, then again, I NEVER want to be that lawyer anyway, so it very possibly doesn't matter.

A big highlight of the day, after I'd pounded up a few of the hills in downtown Seattle (dear god, I don't understand how a city can survive with the hills this city has between 1st and 5th Sts.) was stopping by the gigantic central library to get a library card and a healthy stack of books. Being an idiot, I'd only packed two books (aside from a couple of reference/textbooks) to get me through until the pod arrives next week. And, obviously, I've finished them. STUPID. So, now I am restocked and must remember to go and place a few things on hold. Apparently everyone else wants to read Hunger Games, Mao's Last Dancer, and Born to Run, too. Lame. Still, it was glorious and even better is knowing that going to the library doesn't even require a detour from my commute.

Plus, I saw Mt. Rainier!

Finally, a bit on the running. Last week, in between a trip to the Social Security office and the DMV, I visited the mothership and signed up for an REI card, just like a good little Seattleite. I also bought two pairs of shoes - another pair of New Balance Minimus (the original version - for some reason the update didn't feel quite as good, so I decided not to mess with success) and a pair of Saucony Hattoris. Now, I'd been looking at the Hattoris for quite some time, ever since I saw them reviewed on The Running Moron's blog. I'd even go into the running stores in DC and pick them up and think about how comfy they looked. So, last week, I FINALLY tried them on. And they feel amazing. So they went home with me. And then went for an 8 mile run on Sunday*. And, despite having killed my forefoot the day before in the pair of Minimuses that are now officially retired, the Hattoris were lovely and comfortable. And blue. They really do feel like you're running in slippers.

As for the run, I enjoyed checking out the Arboretum and the shore of Lake Washington. I got lost a fair amount, but my phone helped me. I had to walk some of the hills, but I was really, really proud of getting to 8 miles, even after giving myself permission to poop out after 7. I've got a ways to go before the half marathon, but I think I'll survive, at least.

*Yes, I do realize you should probably break shoes in first, before taking them on very long runs. But they just felt so perfect out of the box (and didn't cause any problems)! I'm SURE it helps that I've been running in shoes with a 4mm drop for months, so going to zero drop didn't really feel any different. It actually felt better because my foot felt better cushioned in the Hattori.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A few first ramblings about Seattle

Well, I've moved across the country and have started settling into my new life. This life involves a LOT of Ikea furniture. It also apparently involves me playing with my stamps a lot. So far, I've made a massive spreadsheet of all of my Yugoslavia and put them in chronological order - which is a really good idea, when the plan is to eventually accumulate enough to do a fairly decent rate study. I was shocked by how many of them I've managed to accumulate in a relatively short amount of time, given that they seem to trickle in a few at a time. Of course, this also encouraged me (as if I haven't spent enough this week already) to decide to start targeting some of the online auction sites a bit more aggressively.

So, if you're a stamp dealer who happens to have any Yugoslav covers mailed between 1988 and 1999ish, please give me a buzz!

I've also sat down and spent a bit of time thinking about how to revise a paper that I'm working on about the Thatcher Ferry Bridge stamp error litigation. What I mostly decided is that I want to go through the DOJ files at the National Archives as soon as I can - it's annoying that I LIVED in DC and never made it (granted, I was a bit busy this summer) out there and now need to plan a special trip across the country.

But, so far, Seattle is nice. I LOVE the weather, which is just as much like London as everyone always told me it would be: overcast, cool, sometimes a bit drizzly (I've been assured that soon, it will ALWAYS be drizzly), and so humid that you're sweating after five minutes. I love the house's location - living within a three-minute walk of a Trader Joe's AND a crunchy, granola co-op is just about the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me after so many years of it being hard to get groceries. I've managed to see a bit of the city while running errands; so far, my favorite thing was the crumpet and tea shop at Pike's Place Market. And, yes, I did stop to watch them throw the fish around. I can't wait to see more of the Market & try a lot of the food options. Plus, new housemate has been super awesome about taking me out places and making suggestions.

I've been running several times now. The local running store is only a 10-minute walk away and has running groups twice a week. I went on Thursday, which is the night that involves a post-run trip to the bar. That was lovely. I also ended up being the only person other than the organizer who showed up for another, Saturday, run around one of the lakes. Both runs were great, but I'm definitely slow compared to these other runners. I'm not ashamed of that and I know running with them will make me stronger, but I do kind of wonder where the other Penguins are? Do they not join running groups? Do they run with other groups? Or, are there fewer "recreational" runners in Seattle?

The other thing that will make me stronger (if they don't kill me first) are the hills. Dear god, the hills. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM. AND THEY ARE SO STEEP. I WILL NEVER MOAN ABOUT DC'S CAPITOL HILL EVER AGAIN. I had to walk a good number of them on this morning's run, but I was pleased to make it 8 miles without falling over. It puts me more or less on track for the half marathon in October, by which point I will hopefully know what my spring racing season looks like - some runners from here are doing the Hollywood Half, which sounds pretty amazing, but we'll see...