Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Let's talk about all of the wonderfulness of 2010. Because really, there have been some truly wonderful events in my life chronicled on Eat Run Read this year.

I made some amazing food, went on more trips than ever before, saw 2 friends and my sister get married, and I did some really fun stuff with my awesome DC friends (6x6, LLC, LOTR-Emily, Photoman, Co-Worker Megan, and SpeedyKate to name a few)!

First let's talk food:

For LLC's birthday I did a 6-layer Coffee Butterscotch Spice Cake.

Pizza Parties were an event at my house.

LOTR-Emily's Caramel Birthday Cake

Some cakes were less successful, but pretty hilarious. Aka, the Blue Cake

And oh the places I went!

I went to Boston for Jess's birthday and a Dessert Extravaganza

Aishe married Kelly in Texas and my study abroad group had a reunion. 

6x6 and I went to Florida

Costa Rica was the most ridiculously insanely awesome vacation ever!

Amy married Jordan in Vail, Colorado. 

Sister1 married Geoff in San Francisco. (If you haven't seen the pictures yet, click on that link!)

Firsts of 2010:

I started doing Bikram Yoga (this post and this post and this post). 

Sister2 ran the National Marathon in pink spandex and a unitard! And finished in 3:30:50!

I started Refugee Assistance volunteering with a wonderful Congolese family.

I started writing for as the DC Running Examiner

Mama visited in March, Jess came in August, and Sister1 and Geoff came to visit in November.

My favorite books this year were:
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
Life with Picasso by Francoise Gillot. 
Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Running was a bit not up to par in 2010, but I did manage to race the Capital Challenge 3-Mile Race in April, and a pretty epic all-day relay (River to Sea) in New Jersey in July. 

Phew! It's been quite a 2010!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Visibility? Optional.

Sorry to go MIA on you all of a sudden! Even the most diligent of bloggers needs a break sometimes, and I just spent three days skiing in Tahoe with Sister2 and her boyfriend (just like last year) without internet access.

The first day skiing at Mt. Rose was absolutely gorgeous - a perfect high-20s blue-bird Tahoe day. The second day was just as fun, but not quite so nice. It started out a little gray and snowy, and progressed to become a no-visibility ski-in-a-cloud experience. I didn't mind too much, I've skied in pretty much every condition imaginable. We still managed to have fun despite the fact that our faces were buried in our jackets and every now and then a gust of wind would attempt to blow us off the mountain. 

Which reminds me of another no-visibility experience I once had...

Gather round kids! It's time for a story about a day, not too long ago, when I was much more hard-core than I am now.

When I was a junior in high school, I raced in the Junior Olympics at Mt. Bachelor (Oregon). Mt. Bachelor would be a great place to ski except for one thing: I'm pretty sure it's always in its own personal cloud. 

Our first race of the series had already been canceled twice due to weather, and the race organizers were getting antsy. So they decided to try to run the downhill anyways, despite the fact that we couldn't see a thing. It was so windy on the top of the mountain that the chair lift was closed, but that didn't stop us. 

We piled into the back of a snow cat -- kids, skis, and poles -- and braced ourselves to stay in as we made the treacherous trip up the mountain. Once we got to the top there was no going back down (that snow cat trip was a one-time thing, thank you very much!). 

I sat huddled with my teammates, backs to the wind and hoods pulled up over our helmets, just our very red noses sticking out between our goggles and coats. After what seemed like forever the race was about to start. 

One of our coaches came over, Alright girls, a little rough out there but it should be ok. But listen up! If you're skiing, and all of a sudden you're in a white-out, do not panic. Just stand up, throw 'em sideways, and go to the side of the course. You'll get a re-run or we'll figure something out.

Oh great, I thought. The fact that we're getting a what-to-do-if-you're-blinded talk does not bode well for this race. 

[I should mention here that downhill is the fastest ski racing event. It's not unusual for even junior racers to hit speeds well above 60 mph.]

We watched the first few racers disappear into the clouds, listening to the coaches radio up how the course looked (they were positioned lower down where you could actually see something). 

Ok girls, one more thing. When you drop over the waterfall pitch, be wary of the winds. Some racers are getting a head-wind, so stay low to make yourself aerodynamic enough to maintain your speed. But a few have gotten a gust of tail-wind, so if all of a sudden your maching down the pitch, DO NOT stand up because you'll the wind will push you to go even faster and you'll totally loose control. 

It's a fine line in ski racing between wanting to live and wanting to go fast, so I hoped for a gentle tail-wind as I stripped off many many layers down to my speed suit and ran a few laps around the start area to warm up. 

My coach clicked me into my skis and I waited in the line-up to go, visualizing my run in my head and jumping and shaking an an attempt to stay warm. I slid into the start gate, clicked and planted my poles, and looked into...nothing. Pure white-out. 

Racer ready.! Racer on course. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve and Home Activities

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. It's like the calm before the storm, everything is building, and pretty much all I can think about is the impending Christmas day

"Calm" may be the wrong adjective though. Frantic may be a little more appropriate, as I have been running around trying to get everything ready! I arrived home very late Tuesday night to a rainy San Francisco. (I was delayed, but I can't complain. After all, I did experience the magic of human flight, and sat on a chair in the sky!)

Wednesday was our annual cousin's Santa Clause visit. We go to Stanford Shopping Center an take a picture with the big man every year. Sister1 wondered if perhaps this should be our last year doing this...maybe we're too old? We stood in line in the enchanted forest, an infant in its mother's arms in front of us and a couple toddlers behind us, discussing one cousin's first semester in college and my youngest cousin's high basically, we were "too old" ten years ago. Oh well! I don't let silly things like age stop me from fun and family tradition!

I've been doing a bit of Petaluma running - 
The Run to be exact. (44 minutes on Wednesday and 47 on Thursday! Woot woot!) And a lot of cupcake and gingerbread cookie eating (Sister1 was on her honeymoon, so Sister2 took over on the baking front).

Yesterday I met up with Ex-Co-Worker Megan for brunch at the Dipsea Cafe. She looked at me over the menu, "Mollie, I'm kinda embarrassed, but would you judge me if I ordered a meal and a side?" 

Ummmm NO! Best. Idea. Ever. No judgement here. We each got a eggs and then split a pancake. Yummm! 

I've been Christmas shopping like crazy, but I don't mind. People always complain about shopping, but I think it's really nice that so many people get out each December and choose gifts for the people they love. The stores are decorated and there's (usually tasteful) Christmas music playing and it's just so festive!

Last night Sister1 and Geoff and I watched The Muppet Christmas Carol. Aka the BEST Christmas movie in the world. Sister1 and I sang along, obviously. 

And now today here we are, Christmas Eve. My family will soon head out for our Christmas Eve hike on Pt. Reyes, and then the real holiday baking will begin! I think I'm going to make cakeballs and the Peppermint Whoopie Pies to bring to Christmas....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sister1's Wedding: Pictures

Here's the Sister1 Wedding Story in pictures (as promised). She got married at City Hall in San Francisco and it was gorgeous! First they waited to sign the official papers (you take a number, like at the deli!). They had their ceremony in front of a huge Christmas tree covered in paper cranes, then took pictures around the building. The next day we had the reception at my parent's house in Petaluma.  It was a great wedding!

Sister2 and I proclaimed ourselves Co-Maids of Honor and gave toasts for the couple - scroll down to read them through the pictures. 

At City Hall


Sister2's Toast

I remember the first time I met Geoff when I was twelve and Jean and I took turns telling Geoff embarrassing stories about the other.  

I won’t repeat the story I told him about Jean because she’d kill me, but I’m happy he stuck around after hearing it. 

Since then, I have made myself part of their relationship by tagging along and playing the little sister role up as much as possible.

Throughout their relationship, Jean has done a lot to take care of me and I have been waiting years to be able to officially call Geoff my brother.

Although their engagement wasn’t a surprise and it was something I had been waiting on for quite some time, it came at a time when I needed some reassuring in love and a lasting relationship.

Jeannie and Geoff made it through high school graduation, the confusing and frustrating college years, a semester apart while Jean studied abroad, post-graduation unemployment, and multiple apartment changes.

They have figured out how to press each other’s buttons. 

I don’t know how many public group hugs Geoff and I have made Jeannie put up with and it scares me to think of how many purses Geoff has bought Jean in addition to the hundreds of cupcakes he has had to eat.

 But I guess it you’re going to have something forced on you, it might as well be cupcakes.

Through it all, though, they have become an amazing couple that I cannot imagine apart.

You guys really are an inspiration and I am confident that you will be together for the rest of your lives.

I am so happy for both of you and love you both very much.


My Toast

Like Bridget said, as the younger sisters we’ve always looked up to Jeannie. 

Since she’s really not that far ahead of me, I’ve pretty much followed directly behind her, watching the example she’s set and always just wishing I was as cool as her.

I remember watching her ballet lessons and swim meets, dropping her off on her first day of kindergarten, and on her first day of college.

And every time I wished I was doing what she was doing.

And just as she has led the way as a Zapata sister and daughter, she and Geoff together have set the example for us as a perfect couple.

As the older sister Jeannie holds so much power of approval. 

She’ll tell us to wear, what she thinks - I think we’ve all suffered under the condemnation of the ugh and eye roll. 

Because though she’s a quiet one, Jeannie has very strong likes and dislikes, loves and hates, and there is a very fine line between them.

Geoff, on the other hand, is much more simple.

I’ve been a huge Geoff fan since they started dating in High school.

(The Reception in Petaluma)

And the summer after their freshman year he spent almost every day at our house, so even though they were a relatively new couple he was already starting to feel like part of the family.

And here we are, 8 years later, and they’re married.

And unlike Jeannie, Geoff’s likes and dislikes are easy. 

 Because Geoff loves to make Jeannie happy.

And he is the only person in the world who can make her smile that beautiful smile the way she is right now.

I’ve never seen Jeannie as happy as she is when she’s with Geoff, and I am so excited to officially welcome him into the family.

So here’s to Geoff, our newest sibling and officially favorite older brother.

And here’s to Jeannie, my wonderful older sister - I wish you both the best and all the happiness in the world.

 I love you.

Congratulations Jeannie and Geoff!