Friday, April 6, 2018

i *heart* ny

2017-2018 is a big year ... Chunglunds turned 10, I turned 40. What better way to celebrate than a little getaway? So, we decided on New York City for President's Day. And yes, it has taken me a couple months to blog about it. Don't judge.

In 2000, my mom flew with me to New York and left me at my apartment in lower Manhattan---the heart of the financial district. Fresh out of college, I was certain that I was an adult. Looking back, I really had no clue what I was doing. Late night cab rides, takeout margaritas, eating PB&J to afford your regular sushi fix, dinner parties, dates with men you met at the bar the night before---the kind of things that you now realize as a 40-year old mother are not really "adulting," and you really hope your children someday have more sense than you did ... except they probably won't and you will cringe at home and try not to think of them falling asleep on the subway and somehow ending up at the end of the line of the 456. Just kidding. That didn't really happen ... I don't think?

So, our little trip down memory lane last month was an entirely different experience.

The thing that was the same? How much I love the urban grit, the subway, the tall buildings, the rows of brownstones, the coffee shops, the West Village. I could go on. On this trip, we definitively determined that we were East Coast people.

But we wined and dined like you don't do as a poor grad student. We saw a Broadway Show that I didn't get student rush tickets for. We walked and walked and walked some more.

On the High Line.

NOT through the MOMA, but the Sackler Wing at the Met (thanks Karin) and Central Park

Through the snow in Times Square

I even saw some potential Minnesotans, or at least friends of Minnesota.

And we ate and ate and ate some more too. Momofuku Noodle Bar, where the kimchi pales in comparison to my mother-in-law's---but the noodles were bomb. Plus, the pickled mushrooms were the perfect addition.

I finally got to try out my friend Jake's restaurant in Brooklyn. Was cool to see him doing his thing and being successful. Always happy to support a fellow Carl and a fellow swammer.

I had probably the best meal of my life at Blue Hill, where I didn't take any food photos because it seemed like not the place to do so, so sorry. It is cozy and intimate. The food is innovative, fresh, delicious---I can literally not say enough good things about this. Just go there. You will NOT be disappointed, unless you lack tastebuds. Oh and the service was impeccable, if you're into that sort of thing. Let's be honest. Who isn't?

And a trip to NYC wouldn't be complete without seeing Julia in a no-name bar that plays excellent 90s music. There was no Madonna and we kept our shirts on. In fact, I think we were both wearing dresses, so that could have gotten interesting.

We spent the long weekend revisiting old memories and making new ones.

Oh, and NOT drinking the $9 bottles of Fiji water. WTF.

It was exhausting in a good way. But for our next trip, I vote for a cabana on the beach with bar service.

Friday, March 23, 2018


There's really not much to say.

We came. 

We saw ... the beautiful lake. 

Some of us skiied. Some of us didn't, but I don't have photos of that. 

We wore matching pajamas and (sometimes other people's) Uggs. 

And we conquered ... the champagne. 

A much needed weekend with some of the best women I know. 

this is 40

I'm 40! Eeeeek! I don't even know what it means. Does it mean I have to start shopping at Chico's? And wearing clogs, like my mom?


It means you have become wise enough and vulnerable enough to let some incredible women into your life. The ones that video chat serenade you happy birthday first thing in the morning. The ones who call you just to let you know that they are thinking of you and text you to make sure you are OK when they know you've been through so much this year. The ones that swoop you up and take you to lunch and let you cry. The ones who make sure you have the perfect red lipstick and adorable shoes.

these ones!
It also means that you have found a group of friends that support you as you continue to see just what your 40 year-old body can do. Running hills, climbing stairs, running fast, marathoning, and next up ... ultra marathoning. (YIKES!) These are the girls that will get up at 5:30 to punch and kick things in celebration of your 40th year ... and they won't forget the champagne!

More than anything, it means family. I, with a little help from Gus, have managed to create the perfect little family. Perhaps not all that photogenic, but perfect nonetheless.

And finally, Gus pulled off a brilliant and swanky birthday dinner with all my nearest and dearest.

Cheers to 40 years for this lucky girl! Thanks to everyone that helped celebrate. We did it well, if I do say so myself.

Monday, March 5, 2018

where have we been?

We go through a bit of celebration fatigue between Thanksgiving and February. Spending most of December prepping for Christmas, our anniversary tends to get a bit overlooked. We're also the people who ran away to Vegas and got married in a drive-thru and didn't even bother to tell my best friend when we met her for breakfast the next morning, so celebrating our union isn't really our thing. But this year, we celebrated 10 years and made a bit more of an effort.

First of all, I got a frivolous present AND a card! The card is kind of unprecedented and the gift I love due to its impracticality. It's shiny and big and I don't wear it that often, but it sure looks pretty. 

We went to dinner at our favorite local place. Full caviar service and dessert. The cake you see in the photo below is soooo good that it makes another appearance at my birthday party.


We also took an impromptu trip back to Disneyland---due, in most part, to my failure to bring the tickets when we took our family trip. Ooops. But all is well that ends well, no?

There was a trip to NYC scheduled in there too, but that deserves its own post. 

We are 10 years strong. Don't be fooled. This is the highlight reel. Marriage is hard. But we keep at it. There are times where all you want is to do the right thing. The thing that will make the other person happy and no matter what you can't seem to get it just right. But we keep trying. There are nights when there is no amount of talking that can fix it and staying up all night just makes the next day even worse. But we stay. And after 10 years when it's not as bright and shiny as those Vegas lights that we were married under, you take comfort in knowing that you agree on the big things---money, politics, family. You create romance where you can, even when that means going to the gym together just so you can hold hands for a few blocks on the walk there. You watch the two beautiful lives you created and know you've done something good. Together. You stay. Through the ebbs and the flows. The highs and the lows. You just stay. You keep trying. This has been a helluva year. But we're still here. Cheers to another 10 and many more after that. Because ... we're Chunglunds. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

remember, it's all luck

Thanks to the wonder of social media, I stumbled across a commencement address given by some guy named Tim Minchin---I don't really even know who he is but maybe that made watching the video even better. I rarely watch videos on Facebook. So, the secret is out. I probably just liked your video because I like you not because I thought the content was somehow outstanding. But anyway, this guy gave these graduates 9 life lessons---all of which were good, but one which struck a particular chord.

Remember, it's all luck. You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born, and incredibly lucky to be brought up by a nice family that helped you get educated and encouraged you to go to Uni ... Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

With what little I've learned about the circumstances of my adoption, I am incredibly lucky to be here. It wasn't just the luck of being born. It was the luck of being found after being abandoned. It was the luck of being chosen by "a nice family that helped [me] get educated and encouraged [me]" and continues to support me at every stage in my life." It was the luck of being surrounded by coaches, teachers, parents of friends, and other mentors who invested their time and energy in my future.

You can study. You can train. You can work hard. You can do all the right things. But success is never guaranteed and should not be taken for granted. Because without a little bit of luck, it all could be profoundly different. Many of the good things in my life can be attributed to being in the right place at the right time. Of course, this doesn't diminish the fact that I have put in some long hours studying, working, and networking so that when the "right" time appeared and I could be appropriately positioned to take full advantage. But nothing is ever certain.

I fully intend to set the Js up for success in whatever way I can. It is my job. But it is also their luck that I subscribe to the school of thought that it is my job. I hope they are wildly successful in life and that all their hopes and wishes that they talk to me about before they fall asleep at night come true. More than that, I hope that with that success comes humility, vulnerability, and compassion. I want them to be the kind of people that wish to bestow their luck onto not only their children, but others as well. Because we all could use a little luck.

If you want to watch the whole address, it's here. It's equal parts wisdom and hilarity, which is kind of my thing.

And a gratuitous photo of these two lucky goofballs for good measure.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

road to CIM

Most often the fodder for the blog is the Chunglund children. But this time, it's all about ME!

Last year, Heidi whipped up some good Kool-Aid. It took a little bit, but I drank that sh*t right up somehow managing by April 2017 to find myself signed up for my first marathon. It has been quite the journey.

I got my first taste of running dirty. Because everyone runs 16 miles on the trail after making 30 fondant unicorn horns and frosting cupcakes for their offspring's 7th birthday, right?

I saw many many sunrises, did more fartleks, and ran more hills than I care to remember.

There were post-long run mimosas.

I got to witness my first ultra marathon up close and personal, while crewing for my dear childhood badass mother runner friend.

I got in a training run with a friend, who prior to this I had only had training swims with.

And we both finished! And she got her BQT! Bostom 2019!

I met a new friend, who happens to be the sister of the neighbor of another childhood friend living in Minneapolis. Small, small world.

I ate gallons of Gu and logged hundreds of miles. It has been quite the trip. Oh yeah, I tripped and fell a lot too.

But I always got back up.

I felt pretty emotional picking up my packet and realizing that this is where the rubber hits the road. We were about to see how well I had actually trained.

It all came down to this ...

I had the best cheering section.

I got emotional at mile 13 when I realized that I was going to be able to finish this and not hate it.

I finished marathon. I did it a couple minutes (give or take) under my time goal. But even better than that? I met many new friends, reconnected with old friends, and got to know existing friends waaayyy better.

And that's a wrap. I ran a pretty conservative, evenly paced race, and felt pretty good all the way through ... which begs the question of what my limits truly are. For now, I'm hoping to finish out the year with 1,000 cumulative miles. I'm not signed up for CIM 2018 ... yet.