Our Fourth of July celebrations were awesome. Things started off right with a fantastic run, and the good times just kept rolling. I partied (gently, responsibly, and while wearing compression sleeves) with a few dear, dear friends. These are ladies who I’ve known since I was in fifth grade. The intervening 20 years have included LOT of bad hairstyles, boy drama, and general shenanigans. But the true test of friendship: These girls bore witness to – but wouldn’t, for any price, spill a word about – some of the most embarrassing moments of my adolescence. So don’t even bother asking them about “pants”, “band pants”, “blue paper men”, or “Sir Holly the Fibber”.
Hopefully, they won’t hold it against us that we threw them out around 11 PM, as we had Big Plans for Friday the Fifth: KMN and I were headed for ROCHESTER!! My parents have been kind enough to share their cars with us while we’re here. There’s only one catch…both of my parents drive cars with a manual transmission – and Run With Holly is an automatic girl, all the way. [Yes, she should learn. No, she hasn’t yet.]
Thankfully, KMN learned to drive (I believe) an army truck with a manual transmission. Ergo, I have a chauffeur all weekend! With this arrangement, the drive to Rochester just flew by: A 90 minute nap, chatting, some coaching, reading the Drew University magazine to him, finalizing Rochester plans, and suddenly we were pulling into Bruegger’s Bagels on Mt. Hope. While these bagels are not really up to New Jersey standards, they are acceptable by Rochester standards – and they were a once-a-week treat for me during grad school. Munching on an Everything bagel with cream cheese was a nostalgic experience.
We were soon joined by M. (my partner in crime throughout graduate school) and her husband – who drove many hours to come visit with us, and some other Rochester friends. M. and I walked over to the Medical Center to see who was around, but on this Friday-between-a-holiday-and-a-weekend, the place was eerily quiet. We managed to surprise a few people, most of whom were pretty shocked to see us together again, since, although we were pretty inseparable during grad school, we currently live thousands of miles apart. I also got to enjoy an iced coffee with E., another smart and savvy scientist that the University of Rochester brought into my life. I photographed none of these adventures.
In the evening, we met up with some of my Rochester running family. It’s no secret that I love Rochester – and these folks are a big part of the reason. Getting a PhD is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding (damaging?) experience, and these are the people who picked me up, dressed my wounds, and sent me back into the lab again and again. Some of them were my surrogate parents, and others stepped in as siblings, when I needed family. My coaching mentor is also part of this group, and I can’t begin to repay what she has given to me – in experience, opportunities, and faith. There are never enough hours over dinner when I’m hanging with these guys and gals. I could sit at the table for hours, listening to their tales, sharing about Singapore, and laughing over our past adventures – I love soaking in their energy, enthusiasm, and good humor. I was so busy doing so, in fact, that I forgot a photo. Again.
The awesomeness continued this morning, when one of “the other Hollys” drove out to me so we could go for a run, sorta like old times (after wasting five years of vaguely knowing each other but not getting seriously introduced, we finally started running together at lunch – four months before I graduated). We logged some miles on my beloved Rochester Canal Path, and blabbed about science and running. Besides the fact that my more-buff-than-ever arms STILL felt twiggy next to hers, the morning was a rousing success. Except – you guessed it – I didn’t take a picture.
But I DID take a picture of brunch, which KMN and I enjoyed at James Brown’s Place, on Culver Road.
I can’t believe that, after over six years in Rochester, I’d never been to this spot. The breakfast was delicious, the servers were so friendly, and there were at least eight other items on the menu that I wanted to order. [Blackberry pancakes with peach sauce? Cinnamon raisin or banana bread french toast? Omelets galore? One of each, please!] We enjoyed our breakfast – and the genuine neighborhood feel – by eating at an outdoor table. Splendid!
Then, it was time for a Blogger First: A real, genuine, blogger meet-up. OK, maybe there were only two of us, but how many run-bloggers can Rochester really support, anyway? Griselda Mood and I yakked about Rochester, running, blogging, training, families, marathons, and did I mention running? Yes, she’s just as enthusiastic and funny as her blog suggests. And guess what?!??! We remembered to take a picture.
The only sad bit? C-Money was down for the count, cutting a tooth and running a fever. Guess I’ll just have to stop back and meet her some other time. 🙂
I suspect our husbands were similarly relieved when we both returned, unscathed, from meeting a stranger in the park. [Actually, we really met at Lovin’ Cup, where the staff patiently let me sit for a total of three hours and two coffees this afternoon. But whatever. Details. Next time I’m dragging her out for a run! To a park! I’ll even submit to a background check first, if her husband still doesn’t believe that my intentions are pure.]
I collected KMN from the largest (and most book-less) Barnes & Noble I’ve ever seen, and we zoomed out. My handsome chauffeur delivered me to a meeting with a client, and now…here I am.
We have grand plans to enjoy some Dinosaur BBQ later tonight. [Good BBQ isn’t so common in Singapore.] I cannot wait to get my hands on some of their Tomato-Cucumber Salad, and an order of fresh french fries, and their cornbread, and probably a rib or two. So if I’m MIA tomorrow, blame the food coma…
Rochesterians: What’s your favorite brunch spot in the area (I’m filing it away for next time!)?
Runners: Do you have a “running family”? When have they pulled you through a tough time?
Anyone, anyone at all: What’s your favorite BBQ “style” food (doesn’t have to be the meat)?