Monday, June 28, 2010

The surprise of a decade!

Because that's probably how long it will take me to get over the shock... I still can't seem to believe it happened.

I'm turning 30 this Wednesday at 10:06 am. I love my birthdays. Every year, I look forward to the one time the whole year where I can put together all my favorite people (my friends) and all my family (also my favorite people) under one roof for a few hours just for me...with all the selfishness that entails. It's MY birthday. It's what I want.

I never quite see my age as a factor to worry about. Ever since I was very young, I've always wanted to be older. I've never really looked my age, probably until now. Finally, I feel that my real number age is starting to catch up with how I've felt for the past, oh, 20 years? Exaggeration? Perhaps, but very close to reality.

However, this year, I was kind of done throwing myself my own birthday. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed every birthday party I've planned for the past five years: beer and dinner at Lompoc, drinks at the Bitter End. Dinner at Noodles followed by drinks at Touche, dinner at la Calaca Comelona followed by dancing at Mambo Lounge. And finally, the scariest of them all: Kareoke! This was the tough year, however, after having been with the same person for 5 years, my first birthday with out him. I was lucky enough to still be on speaking terms with him, but at least I had my friends to distract me from his absence, not to mention cute boys to flirt with.

Now comes 30. I thought it nice to do something big and over the top, but I felt that I'd pretty much already done all I could do to top myself...except a surprise party. I always had this Romantic notion that my significant other would plan this elaborate party for one of my birthdays and we'd all laugh, and I'd cry and the night would be tied up in a fantastic fushia bow with dancing. After 5 years it never happened, but that is also A LOT to put onto one human being and a lot to expect on my end. So when my friends and sister-in-law started to inquire about my birthday plans for the year, oh in APRIL, I said, "Eh, no big deal. Perhaps something quiet. I know thirty is a big year, and I'm not afraid of it, I'm just don't feel like throwing myself a huge party." A surprise party, I was asked? Yes, I've always wanted one, I replied.

That was April.

Fast forward to last Saturday. Things had been coming together nicely for me. My cousin finally gave me the go-ahead that he and his gf Karla were visiting. I rounded up a few of my friends for some beers and pool the Friday following my actual birthday, dinner with the family on my REAL birthday was finalized so I was pretty much set. I was really excited too because my SIL was planning a cocktail party just around the time my cousin and his gf were gong to be here. Perfect, I thought! What a great way to celebrate a welcome to Portland. Little did I know...

Saturday rolled around, and my best-friend Kelly drove up from Corvallis to take me out for a pre-birthday breakfast. She can't make it to my celebration cuz she's busy being an amazing DIY bride! We hit one of my favorite breakfast spots, Byways Cafe in the Pearl and proceed to wonder around for the next couple hours, talking weddings, family, boys and getting older. We have so much history together that if I'm in a foul and negative mood (which I totally was! Thanks for putting up with that Kelly!) she's just tell me I'm wrong. Ha! It was great. She even held back a bit of banter, all in my honor!

Finally, our lovely day was coming to a close and I had to get ready to go to a cocktail party at my sister's, (you can read her account of my party here )but I really wanted to get a pedicure. And because I'm so anal, I had all my clothes and jewelry and set out for said party and good thing, because I was running late! When I got home, I was a frantic mess! Ah! I thought, but its ok, its just a few friends. Usually I primp and prim for about, oh, an hour to get things just right. Not this time. I threw on my strapless brown dress, which incidentally caused a little bit of a mini-drama: I finally broke its zipper. Morgan helped me pin it closed because I knew I'd have to be cut out of it, oh well. But no fear. Off we went: pin-ed dress, vintage jewelry and hot pink flip flops. It's just a small get-together I kept telling's not like its that big a deal. (This is what I tell myself to stave off the freak out...little did I know.)

My friend Kristin texted me just as I was getting into Morgan's car. When are you heading out, she inquired. I told her we were on our way. So I'm in the car telling Morgan how hungry I was and trying to steer clear of any negative thoughts to do with my dress, or how I didn't really do my hair or that I didn't re-do my make up. I just chose to be positive about the whole ordeal. It's ok, it's just a small get-together...

We get there and I start looking for Kristin's car. Ok, she's not there yet. Then I grab my stuff (right, I had a change of cloths because I knew I'd have to get cut out of my dress) and walk up the stairs. I try the door. It's locked. Ah, the 2 second frustration. I knock. Paulo screams (as usual) "IT'S OOOOOOPEN!" and I think to myself "no it's not" then *poof* magically the door *is* open. I push through and to my surprise there's a group of people that look vaguely familiar all standing in the entry way screaming "SURPRISE" at me. At first, I thought "what? for who?" and then I saw streamers and I sign that said "30" as well as a few familiar faces that weren't *supposed* to be there, and being the smart cookie that I am, I put it together. The surprise is for ME! They're here for ME! (I'm actually shaking as I write this right now, haa haa, reliving it!) And in true Navarro form, I start crying, crying and shaking and laughing and crying, and more shaking. I didn't know what to say. Krista hands me a drink to calm my nerves, but no matter, I can barely get it to my mouth without spilling! And in true Navarro Mom form, she comes rushing up to me as I'm basically weeping and just hugs me for a while. I'm her baby you see, her little tiny baby who is turning 30 this year. I'm so overwhelmed with happiness that all I know to do is laugh and cry, all at the same time and one by one my family members come and give me hugs. Man, if this is how I get at a surprise party...imagine a proposal and then my wedding? Future husband be warned =)

So as the crying finally subsided, hugs for everyone. There some new faces (Z and G) and some old faces (Kelly, you totally lied, Kristin, Golda and Bruno) and some faces I'd not see in months (Diane) and of course, my tried and true (Payal and my family, (Tom and David are pretty much family).)

Hungry? Yeah, that went away fast, so drinking it was. Krista, being the caretaker that she is, shoved a plate in my face and I began to fill it with a few things I thought I could down: some salad, roasted beets and mini sopes. Other than that, no food for me and there was a lot of food I regretfully did not eat!

I had a wonderful time. Better than I could imagine with great company, a great location and fantastic food and boos. I was in Andrea heaven. And the cherry on top? An impromptu dance party filled with Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Beyonce, and Christina Aguilera, just how I like it followed by an impromptu Argentine Tango performance with Bruno.

This year, I've come to realize and appreciate how lucky I am to have a family that loves me and I love them, and this moment was just an even bigger example of why and also of how grateful I am. And this even showed me how my friends are a big part of this too. I've never felt more loved. I've been through little emotional bits here and this past year and a half and am just so happy I have this support system.

I'm so happy (perhaps a little exhausted) all all those months of lying and my mimi freak out was so worth it all in the end. I'm not really sure how else to say it so I'll just say it simply: Thank you and I love you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bar Withdrawl

Yesterday was my last day of my 30 day unlimited pass at The Portland Bar Method and already I'm having withdrawal. I miss the heat in my burning muscles, the super hard pretzl positions, the dance music, but most of all, I miss the feeling of accomplishment I feel after I've done it.

I decided that my working outs will consist of reshaping my body and helping my body to dance better. Obviously a wonderful side effect would be to lose some weight and trim up, but I'm trying really hard not to focus on that. SO about a month ago, I started going to The Portland Bar Method, which is kind of a mix of Pilates, Yoga and Ballet all in one. I knew that if I wanted to be a better Tango dancer, I needed to start strengthening my muscles and working on my posture. Well Bar has done/is doing just that for me. Not just for Tango do I need this however, I've been going to a chiropractor for a problem with my pelvis and she too was very adamant about needed to have better posture (core training) and stronger muscles to protect my joints. Mostly I can crack every bone in my body and usually there is *something* in my body that hurts or gets injured. When I run, my back feels like its going to snap a part and my knees hurt. When I bike, my knee pops, when I Tango improperly, my lower back aches. So I've been trying to correct this for the last year. So far, so good! And the last time I went to the chiropractor, she could tell the difference in my legs and glutes. My glutes are a big problem because although they are the largest muscle in the body, (are they? I should look that up...) I never use them. For some reason I taught myself to use my back instead. So these last few months have been all about re-training my body to use its muscles properly. That's where Bar comes in. We get into a bunch of contorted positions that make you REALLY think and focus: ok, use that not this, feel it here and here.... and that I do. My only regret, however, is pushing myself too hard to the point of injury. I was out for a week in total because of that and I felt bad. I pulled my hamstring last year and apparently, re-injury is quite common and quite easy.

So these next couple weeks, I'm taking a break from bar. I'm going to go to a massage therapist to see if she can get the scar tissue out of my hamstring and glutes. I'll still try to do some walking and perhaps some light weights.

So, my goals for this year: More bar to strengthen those muscles, more tango. I think I didn't go ONCE this month, start walking, maybe move back into running a couple miles a week or so and learn a new dance. Hip-hop perhaps?

Oh and also, after my birthday festivities and all the eating I'll be doing, I've planned on doing a vegan cleanse for a week. Not like the crazy one I did last time, NO THANKS! But this one is all smoothies and vegetables as well as grains. I think I can live with that!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Injuries SUCK

Last year, like most after ending a long term relationship, I decided to try some new things (discover who I am) and some old things (re-discover who I was.) I decided I wanted to stay active and I missed sports. The only sports I ever played seriously was volleyball. Soccer I touched upon (since we're a soccer family) but volleyball is where I stayed. I started playing volleyball in 6th grade. I've always been pretty athletic and can pretty much pick up any sport and be semi-good at it, so volleyball too came naturally. What didn't come naturally, was my parents having to shell out a bunch of money for me to get better. You see, 6th grade was probably about a year after we got back from Mexico: broke. So while all my other little 6th grade friends attended volleyball camps and clubs...I didn't. I played Winter Ball, which is the poor man's version of camp. So by the time I got to be a freshman in high school, everyone that was on the same level as me, or even below, got that much better...way better. My best friend from middle school was freshman starter for Varsity...I was on the freshman team. Then next year I made JV. I figured that was the case because I was in a car accident that summer and couldn't perform my best. I hurt my back. Junior year, my coach was SURE I'd make Varsity because I was the best on our team. Nope, back to JV. I also figured it was because I sprained my ankle bad that summer, so again, I couldn't perform my best. You see, I do better when I'm challenged, not when I'm on top, so I figured one year of Varsity under my belt and I'd be golden by Senior year. She had other ideas. Basically the head coach told me that there was and never will be a position for me in Varsity, would I like to be the towel girl? I said fuck that. ( upsets me, and no I didn't really say that but I was PISSED!) I had been going to her volleyball camps since 6th GRADE and she still didn't see me as Varsity material. My parents were finally able to afford a PSU camp where all the coaches thought I was already on Varsity. I was good. I wasn't great, but I was good and I knew I could get better.

After the heartbreak, I turned full force to theatre and music...and that's basically who I became...a singer and dancer. But I still wondered what would have happened had I continued playing sports.

So fast forward 9 years and I decide to join Kate's underdog Volleyball team and it all comes rushing back: the muscle memory, the competitiveness, the adenine rush...and the injuries. Obviously, I'm not as young as I used to be and in my naivete, I start playing without warming up and POW...pain in my butt, goes all the way down the back of my leg. Hmmm. I wonder, I've never felt this way before. I play one more game and it gets worse. The pain originates from the bottom of my right butt cheek, around the bone, all the way down the back of my right leg's knee. It doesn't heal. I can't turn over in bed, I can't get out of the car, I can't turn and twist my leg, driving hurts, sitting hurts. WTF. After a couple months of pain, I go see a sports medicine dude. He takes an X-Ray (which is for bones, yes.) And says there is no damage to the bone, but what might have happened was a bone to muscle tear, versus a muscle to tendon tear and that it takes MONTHS of recovery. Well, F. Here comes me getting fat.

Now, fast forward another year...and I hurt it again and again. Every time I think its healed up, Youch! I feel it again. The problem is that now, this is the muscle I have to use for all my dancing! It's quite depressing. I mean, I can recognize the first inklings of pain, but since doing bar method, I'm in sore ass pain every single day, so I didn't notice the difference. So, I decided I need to take a break, a one week break. THAT'S SO LONG! I'm super bummed.

So here I am, ice pack on my leg and butt, heating pad at night and mom playing physical therapist and massaging only the area I would have liked a boyfriend to massage: my butt. *sigh*

Here's to a speedy recover. Send good healing vibes my way so I can start up my bar come Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend-Central O

I never have plans on Memorial Day. That's seems like almost a travesty and usually I think it is. How I'd love to be invited to go camping or BBQ with friends or the like. Instead, I slept, slept and did more sleeping. I did do a lot of thinking about what this day means, so it wasn't a complete waste of brain space.

My roommate had her best friend from Kentucky in from out of town, Tina. They were chalk full of plans: Beach on Saturday, Mt. Hood area Sunday, Central Oregon Monday. She's not seen her for about a year now and I know how that goes if I've not seen my bf for a year: I want her all to myself. So as much as it sucked to not hang out with them (cuz the roommie and I are pretty cozy and each others' wing woman in times of hiking and dancing) I totally understood. But then the roomie asked if I had plans on Monday. With a certain someone and his "perhaps" of a hang out looming in the air unresolved, I decided to take her up on it. She invited me to go with her and Tina to the Painted Hills in Central Oregon, Mitchell to be exact.

So off we went. I took A TON of pictures, but I'll only include a few. It's lovely to travel with the ladies cuz one or all three of us always need a pee break at some point ;)

Here we are at a rest stop almost there. You can see the terrain start to change.

Here we are at a res stop AT the painted hills. Man, its breath taking.

Finally, we drive up to the Painted Hills view point and this is what we see:

I, in all of my 30 years (almost 29 more days, yay!), have never seen anything quite like this. I felt like I was not only in a different state, but on a different planet. I was in awe. Sadly though, it was raining during most of these photos but we took it like champs. Here we are at the trail that explains the painted hills. I was too busy trying to stay dry and take pictures, as were the girls.

That there is Morgan, doing her best to hide.

Our next stop was the indoor John Day Fossil Museum then back home.

We decided to take a different route back than the way we came in and so glad we did. Apparently through Condon, Oregon there is are wind turbine farms. I have been this giddy since Jurassic Park came out when I was 13. I'd never seen anything like it, especially up close! It's my new favorite thing. It's such a contrast between serene landscape and technology. It's just so awesome.

Back at another rest stop in Biggs. Across the river is Washington and to the left is Portland. We're on our way home!

Finally, a beautiful sky to such a wonderful trip!

*click to enlarge photos.