Saturday, September 7, 2013

Summer Catch-Up Part I.

It seems that summer just completely got away from me - I had plans to blog more frequently, to work out more often, to eat healthier food.. and now it's September, the school year has started back up again, and I feel like the last few weeks of summer (even though after Labor Day it seems the consensus is that it's fall now - which Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are in alignment with since pumpkin coffee is EVERYWHERE now) aren't enough time to accomplish everything I need to get done. 

I had meant to do more updates during the summer. While I didn't go on a big trip this year, which was a bummer and sort of a break in tradition, I did a lot of little, fun trips. I worked during the month of July this year, since buying my condo means that I actually need to work during July now, and this also took away from the ability to flit off for a week to somewhere of my choosing (of course, I am a teacher, so I'm not flitting anywhere on my budget). 

Every week/weekend this summer, I had things to look forward to.

That added push that made the work week more bearable, even during the entire week when it was over 100 degrees and the air conditioning in my building broke. 

Fourth of July was spent lazily. There was Kan Jam played, terrible SyFy movies watched, and delicious vegetarian/vegan burgers made and enjoyed on my balcony (along with amazing beer from Ommegang Brewery). I'm telling you, MorningStar does right by vegetarians. 

The summer really kicked off when I joined Ed at the Belmar 5 Mile Race. Ed works at road races part-time, in addition to his other job, where he does all the timing and scoring for races, along with his boss and boss's family. (Bragging point - Edwin and his company are so good at what they do, that they are handpicked every single year to time the New York City Marathon, which is a bigger honor than I ever realized). We headed down the shore to Belmar, NJ where we spent two nights hanging out with his boss and boss's wife, son, and future daughter-in-law. There was a lot of drinking, eating, and talking about running/traveling.

Along Ocean Avenue in Belmar - I took it as I sign that I was supposed to be there.

After the 5 mile race was finished and the results were entered, the six of us walked from our hotel to Bar A, a Belmar staple. It's massive - there's a grotto, a ton of bars, a cabana area, a VIP section.. it seriously goes on and on. The racing committee comped our drinks, so we took full advantage. 

At one point, Ed's boss (who was a little tipsy) came over to where we were all sitting, threw Twizzlers down, and said, "This is the perfect combination - enjoy!". Beer + Twizzlers were a very big hit .

Ed's boss's wife Anna made us do shots. She was so excited to do copious amounts of shots - I said I was too old for shots now, and she just gave me a dirty look.. when in Rome.

Edwin didn't have enough sugar for his lemon drop shot, so she was kind enough to give him more.

Edwin and Brian picked flowers for their (tipsy) girls.

The next day, after sleeping for twelve hours (and still managing to get up at 7 a.m. for Bagel Sunday - Jersey Shore bagels are NOT as good as the ones from where we're from), Ed and I headed to Lobster Fest, which is exactly what it sounds like.

The entire boardwalk of Bradley Beach was taken over by food truck upon food truck serving all things lobster. We first walked the boardwalk, scoping out what we were thinking of eating and what had the best prices, and we then headed to the sectioned off beer garden for $5 Blue Moons while we made a game plan for food. We ended up taking three trips to food up before heading back up north.

View from the beer garden - we were lucky enough to get a spot in the shade, so we were NOT moving.
Trip #1: Lobstah rolls.

Trip #2: Lobstah mac and cheese.
Trip #3: I sent Edwin for oysters, which he did bring back... 
along with hints of his Puerto Rican roots - pl├ítano with Spanish cheese, and my favorite thing in the whole world - arepas, which is a flatbread made from cornmeal with Spanish cheese inside. It's absolutely incredible, and while there was a lack of lobster, the oysters and Puerto Rican food more than made up for it. 

It was the best start I could ever think of to the summer - the beach, food, friends, and lots of cold drinks.

Currently listening to: Holy Grail - Jay-Z ft. Justin Timberlake... which my dad has now informed me is his favorite song - he takes back "Wake me Up" by Avicii. So fickle.