Trumped by Technology, As Usual

It’s amazing how quickly I forget my own actions and am tricked by the way technology connects every part (arguably too many parts) of my life. Take, for instance, the following scenario:

 10:15 a.m. average Tuesday morning in the gray walls of my cubicle

I receive a forwarded email at work from a co-worker about an event in Portland that I might want to attend. My train of thought goes something like this as I skim the text for the basic info, “Oh cool, what day is that? Huh, I don’t know if I can make it… whatever, I’ll just look at it at home when I’m not distracted.”

I proceed to then forward the email from my Microsoft Outlook work email account to my personal, unprofessional-sounding gmail account (which I will likely open on Google Chrome later in my work day when I lose all sense of self-control and check my personal email at work).

45-60 seconds later…

I glance at my smart phone sitting just beyond the reach of my desk phone and coffee cup to see the blinking green light indicating a new notification of some kind.

“Sweet, someone cares about me, wonder who text or emai… wha…? Why is my name on the… Oh, right. I just emailed myself. Damn.”

I wish I could say this hasn’t happened over a dozen times. But if I did say that, I would be lying.

(Let me just email this blog post to myself now that I’ve written it on my work email account.) It’s a vicious cycle.

Yeah, It’s One Small World Out There

After fighting with an almost-seven-year-old iBook 4 for several years, I finally broke down a couple weeks ago and purchased the new material-love of my life: a refurbished MacBook Pro, which has since changed my life (and leaves me with no excuse not to blog regularly). I’m reconnecting with people all over the world (literally) now that my main email correspondence isn’t done either 1) at work as I flip between my gmail screen and excel spreadsheets or 2) on my smart phone when I attempt to write an email using a keypad made for someone the size of a toddler.

In my recent reconnecting, I’ve had the chance to “hang out” (no, not on Google+, who uses that?) on Skype video chat with friends in Germany and Scotland, all of whom I haven’t spoken to in months. When I said to a friend, “Wow, video chat is awesome, it just feels like I’m hanging out with the person I’m talking to!” he response was a mediocre, “Um, yeah…” Apparently everyone else discovered this several years ago. Welcome to 2012, Liz.

The most noteworthy, random reconnection came when I found out my friend, Chance, and his wife, Valerie, who are currently serving in Malaysia, are expecting a baby! (This too was old news because, naturally, everyone found out on Facebook before Christmas and I’m just hearing about it via email three months later.) I responded to the mass email update about baby shower planning with a personal message relaying the usual congratulatory remarks. Chance replied right away with the following:

I’m bummed we couldn’t connect over Christmas, but I think you may have become a part of our baby’s life anyway over the break. [Right off the bat, I’m thinking, “huh?” and proceeded to re-read that sentence a couple times trying to figure out what the heck he was talking about.] We went to Goodwill in Seattle (Lynnwood, specifically) to look for baby books, clothes, and all that stuff. Valerie had a bunch picked out and as we were flipping through them after we left, we saw “Elizabeth Purdy” written in a child’s handwriting on the first page. Kid you not. I don’t know if your parents cleaned house and donated to Goodwill, but it looks like you’re passing on a childhood book to us. Is it possible there’s another one of you in Seattle? Hard to believe.

Ha, hard to believe, indeed. I hope little baby Edman follows in literary footsteps set before him/her(?)!

(I’d also like to thank everyone for their suggestions about what to name my new bike. I received many ideas, sometimes in the form of text messages that simply read, “Charles,” “Thomas,” “Daphne” with no further explanation. My mom suggested “Chandler” so I could have Joey, my Subaru, and Chandler, my bike, but the Friends reference was a bit much–I already refer to “Phoebe” and “Ross” as though I hung out with them last night. I’ve tried out several names on the rides to and from work and am still struggling to find the perfect fit, but Daphne and Tommy are the final contenders thus far.)

Shamrock Success

Today it was confirmed that I am not a terrible runner.

I’ve had a love/hate/hate/hate/love relationship with running for about 10 years and besides one brief attempt at running the St. Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle as a high school freshman (with Annie Mesaros, who dragged me along because she was just so excited to be on the Edmonds-Woodway XC team), I have never run in any races. And I’m not really sure why? I even managed to live in Spokane four years and escape the Bloomsday run. But today, my no-race legacy ended when I was further initiated into being a Portlander by participating in the 34th Annual Shamrock Run with 32,000 other crazy people.

Talk of the Shamrock Run surfaced among my roommates in early January with all sorts of aspirations for group training sessions and a whiteboard chart in the house documenting our weekly mileage. We immediately named ourselves appropriately–Team 2512 (our house number)–and signed up online paying $30 to get up early one Sunday morning in the distant future and run a length never before achieved: 15k.

As you may have predicted while reading the previous paragraph, the hopeful January ambitions were quickly altered when the whiteboard remained at the bottom of the basement steps untouched and two of my roommates registered for the 8k, rather than the 15k. But, I had acted too quickly signing up online, and I refused to turn back now; I was running the 15k, and worst of all, I was actually telling people about it.

So my usual routine of 30-minute morning runs a few times a week continued, but my roommate, Shereen, began suggesting longer weekend runs with big hills. Knowing that I had paid $30 and March 18 was now circled on the calendar in big red marker (metaphorically, of course), I struggled to find excuses of why I couldn’t accompany her.

The result?

My roommate, Shereen, and me ready to take on the 15k Shamrock Run.

Ran the whole thing without stopping, my time: 1:31:34, pace: 9:50.

I’m not exactly setting world records, but I will call it a personal best. My breathing and heartrate stayed low, and I stayed, mentally, very positive.

In fact, I may have experienced the endorphine post-run high, because I was smiling through the last 2 miles, high-fiving every little kid standing on the side cheering because they were just too cute, and at the finish (when I assumed I would be keeled over wanting to die) I was… fine. I mean, I definitely felt like I had run, but, it felt great! After abandoning Shereen on the first major hill at the four mile mark (even though I said I wanted to run the whole thing together, I’m a terrible running partner!), she crossed the finish line two minutes after me and we shared an attempted-high-five-turned-hug to celebrate and congratulate one another one the longest either of us had ever run.

My other roommates completed their 8k successfully and I had a beer in hand at 10:15a.m. I mean, it was part of the deal signing up, so I indulged for novelty’s sake, but who really wants a beer on a Sunday morning after running 9.3 miles? A lot of people apparently, but I stomached 2/3 and called it good-enough.

So when’s my next race? Don’t worry, I’ve already been asked and invited to run a marathon in June. Let’s not get too crazy just yet. I’ll keep you posted.


AND (I forgot to mention) I just  passed 20,000 hits on my blog today. When the WordPress fame frenzy occurred someone speculated how long it would take to make it from 10,000-20,000 hits since it had taken 3.5 long years to reach the 10,000 mark. It seems as though the traffic has increased significantly after my “appeal” (and lack of maintenance), 10,000 hits from Sept 23, 2011 to Feb 27, 2012. Not too shabby. Thanks, friends.

It’s Time

Yesterday I received an “accountability text” message from my sophomore-year roommate, Meghan, letting me know it’s time to update my blog. I didn’t exactly ask to be held accountable, but I do appreciate that Meghan has taken the initiative to let me know the displeasure of my reader(s–maybe I only have one left?).

I have, I admit, completely failed in the blogging world since my brief moment of WordPress fame. Perhaps it’s because the honeymoon period of having a new job in a new city has worn off. Don’t get me wrong, things are good, it just takes a little more searching to find the meat of the story worth sharing when the 9-5 routine is in full swing. Plus, I’m in charge of the blog at work, so what was once a creative outlet and leisure activity now has a bit of a mandatory feel. But in the midst of any lull I may blame on the daily grind, my competitive nature is surfacing as my business-major friend is about to have prose published before me and my Spanish/Bio major friend is currently maintaining a far better blog with thoughtful reflections on loving and serving others.

So, what have I been doing?

Well, for starters, rather than giving up something for Lent, I’m taking on the daily practice of writing (great, I’ve said it publicly, all sorts of accountability now). I won’t necessarily be writing on my blog (though a few items may surface here eventually), just in my Moleskine whose pages tempt me to fill them with substance. Perhaps the returning daylight and literary activity with my new book club (yes, I feel like a 45-year old when I say that) will offer stimulation.

After the snow fell on Seattle last month, I’ve been trying to find the stashes left to ski in the mountains, namely Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood. Took my first little trip into the backcountry on New Year’s day and have had pretty good success finding some powder this season (but after a season of a half-day skiing at Eagle Crest in Juneau last year, it doesn’t take much to improve).

Not exactly a bluebird day, but no complaints.

Off the mountain, the kitchen has been heating up with new recipes of Kale (who knew greens could taste so good?!), accompanied by Alaskan Amber, and my local Gonzaga basketball-viewing partner, Brittany. What could make for a better Thursday night?

Lucas was jealous...

Last weekend I attended a conference on, you guessed it, justice, hearing speakers like Shane Claiborne, Dr. John Perkins, and Richard Twiss, giving me plenty to think about and making me realize I really need to know more, read at least ten more books within the next month, and probably go to graduate school for peace and justice studies ASAP (unlikely). The weekend also shed light on what the “trendy” justice issues are, sex trafficking and human slavery seem to be the popular injustices worth fighting for these days. Who knew some social justices issues were “cooler” than others? But the quantity of booths and non-profits focused on that work confirmed that I am definitely not with the “cool justice” crowd. I opted out of the chance to buy a $30 dollar t-shirt covered in contemporary art and silk screens of the continent of Africa. I also learned, as I was at an exhibitor booth representing JVC Northwest, that some Protestant individuals don’t think Catholics are Christians. Interesting…I think I need to review some materials from my Religious Studies classes.

In other news, besides thought-provoking conferences, I get to attend the occasional webinar for work to acquire new ideas. Some are better than others:

Helpful review of a 5th grade writing lesson. If only I were 10...

Finally, I’ve adopted the quintessential Portland lifestyle activity: I am a bike commuter. And I kind of love it. It’s a great transition to and from work and as I passed the nearest gas station today and saw the price was $4.05/gallon, it was confirmed that I will be riding my bike every day this week (Dear Wall Street Speculators, Thanks for helping me quit using my car. Love, Liz). This is my favorite (only?) newly acquired possession, and just as Joey, my Subaru, has a name, I’m hoping the right name for my new companion will surface soon–I’m open to suggestions.

This photo looks like it should be for a Craigslist ad, but I'm keeping this baby for a while. Name: Stone? Stony? Eh... it's just not quite right. I need to let the relationship blossom naturally before premature naming.

How’s that Meghan? 🙂

Ok, Fine, It’s Really Snowing in Seattle

I wasn’t willing to admit that a snow storm was probable on Tuesday night when the forecasters said we’d have several inches in Seattle. I insisted on driving up to Seattle from Portland on Tuesday night, my boss allowed it so I could make it up before the storm and still go to my planned events later this week.  The roads were clear almost all the way up I-5 and not a flake existed anywhere in Seattle on Tuesday night.

Even when I woke to about 4 inches yesterday at my parent’s house on Queen Anne, I thought it would  be raining by now.

I can tell this is a rite of passage into adulthood: I’m not sledding and I’m wishing the roads were clear so I could go about my schedule as planned. What happened to racing up and down the hills?! I guess I only do that in the form of downhill skiing now.

I hate to perpetuate the hype, but it is quite literally still dumping in Seattle right now. There have been teasers with freezing rain early this morning, but as of now, it’s just snow, and it’s still falling.

I’ve taken refuge at Bustle Coffee Shop on Queen Anne with several others who are resisting the urge to sled and have laptops open in an attempt to work.

Bustle Coffee Shop is, in fact, bustling with activity as every table is taken with people seeking Wi-Fi and warmth.
People are coming to the frosty door defeated as they see every spot taken already. Sorry!
But the view is still lovely and the people watching is, of course, fabulous.
When I see cross country skis propped against the bakery door, it makes me feel like I'm living in Sun Valley.
And this child, has just about had it with her mom wasting time indoors getting coffee. "Bye, bye... bye Mom..." she keeps saying to her mom at the counter as she swings the door open and closed (letting cold air in). Awesome.

So, whatever Mother Nature, just do what you do and I’ll just keep changing my plans, and learning to enjoy it 🙂

As mom says, "Gather up as many good experiences as possible. It increases your chances of being a pleasant old person."

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