Friday, September 10, 2010

Summer End Review - The Tidbits

So there are a few summer events that don't necessarily deserve their own blog post or are kind of boring. But I think it's important to write down what else we did this summer. I actually feel pretty satisfied with everything we have fit in. Summer goes by so quickly that it's easy to run out of time; but we were busy and productive all season long.

Robb moved to a new Metropolitan Market; he now works in the brand new Kirkland store. He's happier in this store than he was in the Seattle store and has more regular hours. He's finally managed to get a semi-regular schedule that allows for Sundays and Mondays off just about every week. It is really nice for us to have at least one day every week were neither of us are working and we can spend time together. While he is working mostly nights now, we do have that Sunday together every week.

Robb had knee surgery this summer in an attempt to fix knee pain he's had for a few years now. Scans and x-rays showed a torn meniscus and a possible cyst on his knee. However, once opened up neither concerns were actually there. So Robb has spent the summer trying to recover from a knee surgery he didn't really need to have and he's still experiencing knee pain. We're trying to figure out the next steps. Hopefully physical therapy will do the trick. Even though he had to deal with the pain of knee surgery, he enjoyed his week off for the surgery and recovery immensely.
Fairs, Festivals, Farmer Markets
The U-District Street Fair in Seattle was in early May and is kind of the kick-off to summer and the street fair season. We hadn't been to this fair before and were excited to attend. It was a nice festival with blocks upon blocks of good booths and large crowds. I don't want to say that I'm over festivals, but they're all starting to look the same to me. And I really don't like large crowds.

We made it to the cheese festival in Pike Place Market again this year. However, we probably won't be attending another cheese fest in the near future. Because of Robb's job, we've actually ended up buying and eating most of the cheese that is sampled at the cheese fest - and I hate fighting the crowds for free cheese that I already know about.

We visited the Green Festival last year and had a really nice time exploring the booths and listening to the speakers. This year the Festival was a little disappointing. There were a lot less booths and the topics of discussion were not as interesting to us this year. But I did enjoy listening to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! speak; and I also learned a lot about why corporate banks are bad, and why I should move to a local bank or credit union.

We visited the Bellevue Art Festival on the hottest day of the year. This festival, like the city of Bellevue, was actually both classy and pretentious. There were hundreds upon hundreds of artists displaying and selling their art. We were impressed with quite a few of the artists, although we could never afford to buy their work. The best part of the day was our strawberry-lemonade we bought from a vendor that mixed up the strawberries and lemons right in front of us. It was a delicious cold refreshment to help with the 90+ degree heat.

Robb had been wanting to visit the Des Moines waterfront farmer's market for quite some time. So on a dreary summer morning we went on over and checked out the very tiny market. We bought some sub par cheese bread, and a decent head of lettuce and that was about it. We looked at a famous Des Moines statue (a man kissing a fish and grabbing the fish's breasts), ate at a hot dog restaurant, and browsed a used book store. I actually read an article recently about the saturation of farmer's markets in the Puget Sound area. Almost every community and neighborhood feels the need for a farmer's market now and farmer's are getting strained. It's difficult for them to bear the costs necessary to be at all these different markets, and some markets have less participation because of this.

We recently visited our absolutely favorite farmer's market which is in Ballard (and I believe it was just voted the best farmer's market in Washington). While we didn't buy any produce that day, it was nice to walk around. This market is about a couple of blocks long and has a huge variety of vendors selling everything from potatoes, to tomato plants, to organic beef, and fresh fish. It is always bustling and has a great vibe to it. Afterwords we strolled around Ballard and then took in a movie at the Majestic Bay Theater. The Majestic Bay is one of those old revitalized theaters that make you feel very artsy and independent for attending. It was a very nice theater and if we lived in Ballard I am sure we would go there all the time.

In addition to my other running adventures this summer, I also participated in two local races. The first was the Tacoma Sound to Narrows 12K. This challenging course requires a run through Point Defiance Park, and up some challenging city hills. This race is supposed to be very difficult, and with the heat the day, it was a bit rough, for sure. But I felt very prepared because I had run, at some point or another, all parts of this race before during my regular training runs. For example, I've run around the Point Defiance Five Mile Drive several times (sometimes two times in a row)! And every single Tuesday for the past few months I've been running about 4 miles with a friend who lives in Tacoma. Our route takes us down and back up the killer Vassault Hill that is a death trap for most people finishing the Sound to Narrows race. While the hill looks daunting for your last mile of the race, it was somewhat of a breeze for me because I knew what to expect and I run up it every week!
The second race I completed was a 5K that my running club hosts. Our races series is small and intimate (and super-cheap because we don't provide prizes, t-shirts, etc.) So I ran the 5K and won my age division! I got a first place ribbon. Now the fact that I was the only person in my age division might bother some people, but I'm still happy with my ribbon and my finishing time!

The third race I did was the Seafair 5K. Robb and I had signed up a long time ago to do this race together. If you recall, I did the 8K about 2 years ago and Robb did the 5K last year. This year Robb wanted to run the 5K again to beat his time from last year and I wanted to run it with him so we could run our first race together. Now, for some reason I'll never know, Robb ended up scheduling his surgery only 1.5 months before race day. He recovered enough to run/walk the 5K and we did it together. Even though we walked a few times, Robb still beat his time from last year! I'm actually pretty sure that we won't be running Seafair again next year. They changed the course this year, which led to a much more crowded area for the finishing chute. Also, even though I registered months in advance, when I picked up my packet on race day they didn't have my shirt in the size I ordered; instead of a small I could choose between a large or extra-large.

A Fall Preview
So I've got one more summer post to complete about our visit to Crater Lake, Oregon. Then it's time to move into the fall posts. We've got a lot going on in the next couple of months. On Labor Day Weekend I visited my family in Florida. I hadn't been to Florida in well over a year, since my sister's wedding in March 2009 (post is coming soon about that trip). At the end of September Robb and I will be hosting our first large party. Members of my running club are going to come over for a membership meeting, chili cook-off, and underwear run (not sure what my neighbors will think.) Then in October we'll be heading to Victoria, British Columbia for my first visit to Canada and my first marathon. We're also hoping to have a lot of vegetables in the next couple of months from our garden. We've had a pretty cool summer, so our garden is only now starting to take off. The cucumbers, summer squash, and spaghetti squash are finally starting to come in. We've got tons of green tomatoes on massive tomato plants; I hope they turn red before it gets cold again. We had a dark, chilly, rainy day recently that really made it feel like summer was over. I'm looking forward to pumpkin spiced lattes, sweaters, and boots - but I'm also mourning our all too short summer this year.

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