Thursday, October 1, 2015

30 Before 30 - Part 2

{back to part one}

8) Watch Silence of the Lambs - 7/26/2015

i'm a big fan of psychological thrillers and suspense movies. not so much gore/horror/slasher films, but the movies that give you the creeps or make you question all your assumptions about life. so by that token alone, The Silence of the Lambs has been on my list of classic movies to watch for years. the fact that the majority of the movie was filmed in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas just adds to its appeal! and it did not disappoint. in fact, as soon as i finished watching it, i wanted to go back to the beginning and watch it again. the most famous Pittsburgh landmarks in the movie are the Allegheny County Jail and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, but i was not prepared for the creepiness of seeing an apartment complex a quarter-mile from our house on the screen! this apartment complex was where Catherine Martin's abduction was filmed. so weird! 

9) Have a picnic overlooking the city - 7/30/2015

we ventured up to Grandview Park on Mount Washington for this scenic lunch. the park is built on a hill, but we managed to find a flat spot to set up the blanket and relax. the juxtaposition of leafy green trees, robins, and bees buzzing lazily overhead with the bustle and noise of the city below was unexpectedly soothing. one of my favourite things about Pittsburgh is that its many diverse neighborhoods offer such unique perspectives on the city ... and Mount Washington's may be the prettiest! 

10) Visit the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium (8/2/2015)

we had so much fun at the zoo and aquarium with Auntie Kris, Auntie Karla, Raychel, Nik, and fifteen-month-old Naveigha! the girls especially loved the elephants and giraffes. we got a special treat when the polar bear started dancing his way out of his cave, shimmied back in, and then back out again. too funny! i didn't find out until later that there's a glass tunnel under the polar bear and shark exhibits, so we missed out on that chance to see these impressive animals up close. we did have fun at the Kids Kingdom play area, and Greta loved going down the big slide!

11) Complete a 5K (8/8/2015)

this was the item on my list i was most hesitant about being able to complete, and i am so proud that i did it! i've always struggled with cardio and much prefer strength-training or isometric exercises like Pilates. and even that had fallen by the wayside after having Greta, then spraining my ankle, then yada yada yada excuse excuse excuse. bottom line is that i was totally out of shape. so i started the Couch to 5K program in May with the podcast from the first few weeks were fine, but i just couldn't imagine myself running an entire three miles. i decided to stick with the program, and found it extremely easy to follow, since it only requires 30 minutes three days per week. sometimes i'd take Greta in the stroller, although using her Chicco Liteway stroller meant that we were limited to paved roads and smooth sidewalks (the latter being pretty hard to find around here!). lo and behold, on July 28, i hit the 3.2 mile (5K) mark for the first time. ten days later, i ran the Yinzer 5K at North Park with a time of 35 minutes and 30 seconds - just under a 12 minute mile. i did have to walk a little during the second half as the course went uphill, but overall i was thrilled just to make it to the finish line! it was such a beautiful day, made even better by the fact that Nick and Greta were cheering for me at the finish line, and that Julie was in town that weekend and ran it too! my absolute favourite part of the whole thing was that the other runners and walkers were so encouraging and uplifting. the course took us out around the lake and back along the same road, so as the fastest group of runners got to the halfway point and headed back to the finish line, they were shouting "you can do it!" and "keep going!" to the slower groups. and i teared up, every. single. time. i mean, at one point i was gulping back sobs and hoping that it just looked like i was out of breath. the whole event was the perfect culmination of nine weeks of hard work, past the hurdles of my own self-doubt and penchant for stopping things halfway through. i can't wait to run another race!

12) Ride the Gateway Clipper - 8/8/2015

these beautiful boats offer sightseeing trips, dinner cruises, and formal events. i didn't quite make it to any of those, but the clipper ships also provide ferry service between Station Square and the North Shore, where Pittsburgh's professional sports teams play. after the adrenaline rush of running that 5K, Julie and i joined some of her coworkers in taking the clipper across the three rivers to PNC Park. we cheered on the Pirates as they beat the LA Dodgers! Greta kept pointing to the river and saying "pool!", and while she loved pointing to the boats on the water, i don't think she quite figured out that we were on a boat ourselves. so fun, and it definitely beats trying to find parking near the stadiums!

13) Watch The Heathers - 8/15/2015

okay, here is where i started to cross off some items on my list that simply weren't feasible and replace them with backup options. i  wanted to do and see a whole string of things in New York, and those are now added to next year's list! so while this movie didn't hold quite the same appeal as Silence of the Lambs, it did come highly endorsed by Kira, and i just had to watch it. verdict: hysterically funny in a dark, twisted, expletive-filled way. 

14) Make pickles - 8/16/2015

i was almost as nervous about making pickles as i was about committing to run a 5K. i know pickles are supposed to be the most basic, simple thing to can, but leave it to me to screw it up. so i figured that my best option would be to make refrigerator pickles -- no actual canning involved! i made 2 jars of Refrigerator Sweet Pickles from The Pretty Bee, and 2 jars of dill Refrigerator Pickles from Our Best Bites. still slightly nervous about this endeavor, i let all four jars sit for a week and a half so they'd be good and pickled before i opened the jar. and ... voila! real, delicious pickles, crunchy and flavorful. the theme of this entire project was becoming abundantly clear: why did i wait so long to try this?

{part three here!}

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