Into the light!

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Pikes sunrise

…I see the light! In a good way. I haven’t had time to blog (isn’t that always the excuse?). Or I should say, “my life has been so crazy and stressful and changing, I had to set anything that wasn’t essential, aside.” So, blogging was one of those things.

What has happened since the last time I blogged? Gosh, when was that? Let me check…Jan 28. Bwahahahahahaha! Well, exactly a month after that blog, I was standing on a street in Colorado with full list of rental houses to check out. How did I get there?

Well, the last blog I wrote I as close to having peace and I could see the light. My husband had one offer in Virginia (at Quantico, DoD). An excellent job and offer, doing what he has studied and trained to do. An area we know well, were comfortable with, but not ideal (expensive, too far from the mountains/active lifestyle, but we’d make it work). He was thrilled about it…until Jan. when he progressed though the interview process with an opportunity in Colorado. We just didn’t think it would ever work out. Over 150 applicants, not gov’t related (what he had been focusing on), and when it seemed like he was a top contender, we didn’t think the offer would come close to the VA offer. Well, it did. And then some. The benefits were better, more stable work hours (not at the mercy of when units want to train), and COLORADO. All along I’ve told him that I would move wherever his job took him (within reason NEVER THE MIDWEST, my opinion did matter), as we moved to the New Orleans area for me. So, it’s his turn. I told him we could be happy at either location, but I have no shame in saying now that I pushed for CO. It’s more “us”. Way more us.

So, a week after he got an offer, he left Lake Placid, went to Ohio, came back to Nola. Less than a week after that we were on the road to CO.

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Cadillac Ranch. Finest TX has to offer.

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Found an old friend on our first day!

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Girl Scouts at the library. He couldn’t resist.

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Hotel takeout and House of Cards binge watching

I spent his first week of working desperately searching for a place to live…the rental market is insanely competitive! For instance, we found a charming little house and looked at it at 9:15am one morning. When we arrived, another couple was there (9am showing). We left that house to STAND IN LINE for an open house (for a rental!). Interviewed with the landlord. Put in application. Left there and went to the library and put in an application for first house. The next day we got a call that the 9am couple put in an application LESS THAN AN HOUR before us and they were approved. I did another interview with house 2, and we were one of the “top 3,” but didn’t get it. WTF.
Some highlights of our stressful week:

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Cozy mountain house: not bad for our first local dinner with friends.

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When there isn’t room in the freezer, apparently the porch is an acceptable option.

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Cute!

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Pickle bar?! Be still my heart.

We can pickle that!

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Neighborhood view.

On my last scheduled day there, I had all but given up and accepted the fact that we’d rent an apt for 3-6mo and buy a house. We had originally planned to live there for a year, then buy next spring/summer. I was leaving worried, not knowing when I’d be back. See, I didn’t want to move all our things and the children dogs until I knew we had a place to live!
I looked at the house, had a long interview with the landlord hanging out by the wood burning stove in the living room…paid her all the money, and immediately drove back to Denver since my flight was the next morning. Stopped at Whole Foods, rudely texted Bridget asking to celebrate that evening on no notice, picked up some fun things, picked up K from his conference, and went to her house. Oh, did I mention how awesome it is to have people I know that I can text and see within a couple hours?! FRIENDS! I’ve missed them!
In the end, everything worked out. I found something and I think it’s going to be great. It’s an old cottage (100 years) last remodeled in the 70’s-80’s. Haha. But the neighborhood seems great and our landlord is the bomb. Super cool and laid back, big time cyclist. She didn’t flinch when I said the 3rd bedroom would be the “bike room”. She replied “oh, any bike person is good in my book!” (I’m not the bike person, he is) We got along great and we both think we’re a ‘good fit’ and she felt that was important.

Some points I sent out in an email to my family (with some edits for privacy):

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IVYWILD. How will I not walk here every day for coffee? First world probs.

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The rest of the house may be outdated, but the working stove sealed the deal.

“We’re in the revitalizing Ivywild neighborhood. Ivywild is a huge, old school.  They have: a coffee shop, a bakery, a charcuterie, a farmers market, a bike shop (K is excited about that) and a brewery…all in the school. The old gym of the school is still used as a gym with workouts and movie nights.
The house is about 15min from Pikes Peak. That’s just one of the many hiking areas. So many mountains and trails are close and all the ski resorts are about 2 hours (with lesser known ones closer).

It’s less than 10min (about 7, parking to parking) to Garden of the Gods, a huge free park with 15miles of trails for walking and hiking. Great rock formations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_the_Gods

2.8 miles from 7 Falls, a waterfall park. It has some trails, but has tons of stairs to climb to the top of the falls.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g33364-d276141-Reviews-Seven_Falls-Colorado_Springs_El_Paso_County_Colorado.html

Finally, Red Rocks is a park and amphitheater. It’s 4mi west near the Gods and Pikes peak. It’s open for hiking, climbing rocks, running in the amphitheater, when there aren’t concerts. Also free. ”

What I found out while browsing the web at the airport* to fly back to Nola, was that the best CrossFit & Weightlifting Club gym in the city is really close. REALLY close. Walkable, ride-able, maybe 5min in the car depending on stop lights? CLOSE.
* I do not recommend Googling something that has the potential to be VERY EXCITING, or you may end up not stepping on the airport escalator correctly, and falling down. In front of many people. I was that person.

SUCH a far cry from our life the past 2.5 years. Our gym was an hour away. Great restaurants and farmers markets and Whole Foods was 45min-1hr. All this stuff…just about walking distance now…AND running, riding or a short car ride to all the outdoor activities that were our priority (why we wanted to live on the West Side of town).

There you have it! We are THRILLED. I think I’ve found my place. And already, some people. (I’ve missed having friends close!) Or, at least my state. I’ve loved CO since I was a kid. I told K that he will have to drag me out, kicking and screaming. I’m ready to settle. I told him that I really don’t think I’ll want to leave CO, unless it was another western state like UT. Maybe.

imageNow, I’m back in the Dirrrty South, packing up our house. We’re I’m doing a POD move. Expensive, but we don’t have enough household goods to justify a moving company 18-wheeler (and more expensive), and a U-Haul is ridiculous, not reliable, and takes forever. Not to mention, I’m probably driving back to CO alone, and I wasn’t driving a U-Haul across TX and pull the car on a trailer. So stressful. Anyway, so far I’m a fan of the POD situation.

I’ll be back in CO soon, once the POD is picked up and I finalize my travel plans (can’t drive across TX and not see friends and sightsee!). I should be settled in the new house well before April 1, which has been my mental “life will be different and settled by then” date that I gave myself in Dec. So, it’s been a long several months, but totally happy with the way it’s all worked out.

Don’t expect another update for several weeks. I’ll just be realistic about that this time.

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Shouldn’t have gone to REI on our first day, and 3rd day, and 4th day…

Days 8-11

Getting close to having peace! I see the light at the end of the tunnel with our uncertainty and I’m so, so happy about it. There are still several ways things can go, and I prefer one way over another, but I’ve made peace with whatever happens. Hopefully just another 2 weeks of this juggling act. I was sleeping so well the last week, but last night I was back to tossing and turning and thinking “what if”. I’m mostly excited and just anxious. Need to turn it “off” at night until decisions are made. Easier said than done.

Day 8: Kettlebell: swings, snatch, squats (10min)

Day 9: some HIIT
Rounds: 5
60 battlerope (30 reps per arm)
10 KB snatch (5 each arm)
5 goblet squat
Extra: sledgehammering the tire, sideways

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Warm enough for shorts, but my feet were cold.

Day 10:
Tabata airdyne (4min), + 2min warmup, 1min cooldown.
Then, 5min AMRAP
10 T2B
15 pushups
5 jumping squats
2 3/4 rounds. My T2B sucks and the rusted pullup bar really hurt my hands.

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Unattractive, I know. You’re welcome.

imageDay 11 (Jan 29): Pre-log: 2 sets of stairs at the big building. 20 minutes. Maybe more at home later.
I’m taking my computer into to be serviced, again. Apparently them replacing most of the major components didn’t fix the issue. So, going to run the stairs after I drop it off. Won’t get it back until next week.

Until then…

I am loving this Beyonce cover for the Fifty Shades movie. (I did not read the book and will not see the movie, but it’s so good on the trailer so I downloaded it)
Also on repeat: Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars Uptown Funk and Hozier Take Me to Church. That video though, I cannot link it. I don’t know if I love it as much anymore after seeing the video, because now the song just might make me sad. Heartbreaking, but relevant.

I made eggs and bacon for dinner two nights ago. I got up to get pepper and when I came back, this was left on my plate. The dogs are thieves.

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At least they left me one piece of bacon.

 

Days 4-7.

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Top of the parking garage. Nice view before the shit I’m about to write.

Day 4 (Jan 22): Today sucked. Bad. On top of super-stressful and upsetting news in the morning, I took my dogs to the dog park in the afternoon to relax, and to walk. Well, my little guy, Ory, got ATTACKED by a big dog. Trying to kill him. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t recall a time in my life I’ve actually FREAKED out, yelling, crying, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it….so upsetting and I’ve never felt so helpless. As I cried in my car-before driving home and after the asshole LEFT the park after yelling at me for not ‘helping’ getting his vicious dog off mine (which, btw, he put his hands INTO his dogs mouth to try to release his jaw…and got punctured)…anyway, he left without checking on my dog, me, or giving me his info to pay for the vet bill…I kept thinking to myself, “what is wrong with you, you held guys who had been blown up in Iraq and were strong as a rock, yet you completely LOSE YOUR SHIT in the dog park?” It was one of the most horrific experiences ever.
Absolutely shitty day and I made the decision to (safely) drive home and have some hard cider.
Walk: 20 min.

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One of his punctures. :(

Day 5 (Jan 23): Gosh. I am writing this 2 days later and I cannot remember what I did. I spent the day trying to recover from the day before…UGH. I need to blog every day. Maybe it’ll come back to me…
Treadmill: 40minutes! YES! I blogged and walked on the treadmill. Whew.

Day 6 (Jan 24): 40 min ‘hill’ training. 2 rounds of the stairs, and 2 rounds of the parking garages at the tallest building in the city (not that tall). It’s the only way to get this kind of cross-training since we live at sea level with no hills.
Felt it in my calves!

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Concrete stairwell sucks.

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Time for the parking garage…

Day 7 (Jan 25): Treadmill walk: 20min.
Kettlebell swings: 50
My calves are sore from the stairs!

End of week 1 thoughts: I didn’t do enough “real” workouts. Day 6 kicked my butt, and there is nothing wrong with walking most days, but I can step it up this coming week. I’m ok with it, I need to ease back into the routine.

After my hard stair run, I treated myself to a strawberry cortado. It was delicious.

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Why did I wait so long? What I’m LOVING!!

I’ve had my eye on an InstantPot since the beginning of 2014. At that time they were $200+ on Amazon and my CrockPot was being unreliable. For someone that makes bone broth almost every week, this was not acceptable. I couldn’t justify the InstantPot at that price and I needed a new slow cooker as well (and the one I wanted was very expensive…I do love my kitchen toys).
(No one reads my blog, I am not paid, I do not get any money from talking about things I like or products, and get no credit for linking things to Amazon. I’m just making it easier for you to look at them.)

Fast forward to November and my CrockPot lid handle broke. InstantPot went on Cyber Monday Lightning Deal! I WAS SO EXCITED. Here’s my chance. I still felt like I didn’t “need” it since the CrockPot lid handle is only $6 to replace… but I could get it then and hold off on a new slow cooker since it’s having other issues too. This version of the IP has been out a while now, and the price has consistently been closer to $100, which is much more reasonable!

MIND. BLOWING.

I was so excited for it that I took it with me on my holiday travels. I hauled it in the car all over the country (it’s very sturdy, I didn’t worry about it breaking) and made so much pho and bone broth over the holidays.

You guys (like 4 of you reading this). It makes amazing broth so fast. FAST. With less than half the amount of bones than I used in the slow cooker. I usually follow NomNom Paleo’s recipe, or some version of.
Broth:
InstantPot: 1.5lbs bones: 30min-2hrs (depending on type and how much of a hurry you’re in)
Slow Cooker: 3-6lbs of bones: 24-36 hours.
The 1.5lbs (up to 2ish, I just throw them in) makes THREE batches of bone both that gels. THREE. And those 3 batches are all done in less than 6 hours (3 if you only do it for 30-60min at a time). The slow cooker takes over 24hrs to get it to extract all the nutrients and gel, and if I try to run it a second time, there’s a good chance it won’t gel.

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Delicious meat jello! ALL THE NUTRIENTS!

Soups: 10 minutes! I use the broth as a base and throw in raw veggies and meat, and it’s done in 10 minutes or less! I made an amazing chicken soup and it took 8 minutes.

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Broth: 30min. Soup: 10min. Perfect for a sick day/week.

I wanted the pressure cooker to learn to make pho (sweet potato noodles for the paleo version) since the traditional stove-top is very unreasonable (18+ hours!) and for bone broths. Hard to justify an appliance just for broth, yes? Well, I’ve made pho 4 times in the past month and I lost count how many batches of broth.

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Just the pho made the pot worth it.

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Last night I made a hatch chile stew and K said, “I really think you’ve already gotten your money’s worth out of that thing.” Pretty sure he’s right. I don’t know how, and why, I lived without it.
These don’t look great, but 1. it’s good and 2. these are going in the freezer.image

I didn’t feel like firing up the oven to roast some sweet potatoes, so I thought “I’ll try them in the IP while I chop veggies for my salad.” Well, 8 minutes later, perfectly soft sweet potatoes and no mess! Since 1/2c water goes in the bottom and the potatoes sit on the provided steam rack, there was no mess!
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Sounds insane and unbelievable, but it works and it’s safe.

Oh. And since it’s a 7-in-1 appliance, I don’t even need a slow cooker anymore. I’m throwing mine out and have no plans to replace it. Don’t be intimidated by all the buttons! If you can work a slow cooker, you can work this. Use the setting you need (I usually use “manual” and set the time) and that’s it! I can’t wait to try coconut milk yogurt!

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Hello, lover.

It really is everything people say it is. There are tons of recipes online and many bloggers post creative things they’re making (even canning vegetables!).

Workout! I wrote this while walking on the treadmill! Double-win.
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2015. 365. Goals and shit.

Last year I didn’t have my heart into the 365 days of ‘purposeful’ workouts. I don’t think I even made it 2 months? And many aspects of my life suffered. My health, mental health, motivation…it’s all related. Since I’m a fan of the positive snowball, I’m doing it again this year. And will finish. It seems manageable since I had a VERY successful 2013 (19 marathons/ultras +100miler, fast, strong, healthy!), took ’14 ‘off’ and was sick and unhappy way too often. Just looking back on the end of 2014, I was sick in Sept, again in Oct. and most of Dec. and at least 10 days in Jan already! Definitely related. Now it’s time to hit it hard again this year: take care of myself, get healthy, get strong.

Now, it’s not going to be easy. I’m already very unsettled right now with a major life change(s), but it’s nothing I haven’t been through before. It’s the uncertainty that I’m not thrilled about. Hopefully things will be figured out in Feb, then finalized, by the end of March, so the end is (again, hopefully) near! But, any routine and taking care of oneself only helps these stressful times, so that’s what I’m going to do. Try to maintain some semblance of health and stress reduction during this time. (oh, and these are all good changes, btw!)

For many years, I’ve had the goal/resolution/life rule to learn or do something new every year. I don’t have anything specific this year -yet- but with the changes happening, I’m not worried about it. I know that life will settle down and I’ll find a new hobby or trip to throw my money and time at (Hello, Skeleton School in Lake Placid or Park City…I’m looking at you). Things in the past have been: learning a new sport, run farther (50 & 100 miles), a certain trip/experience, learning to knit, etc. SOMETHING new to grow as a person. I visited at least 2 new places and did new things at those places last year (Zion NP & Lake Placid), and learned some new knitting techniques (how to make a hat, knit with 2 colors, new stitches). So, the “learn something new” thing will work itself out.

Other goals:
knit at least 5 projects (making my way through my neglected project box)
read 10 books
3-5 new marathon states (Booked: South Dakota, the rest…up in the air)
These ‘goals’ feel pretty random and I don’t feel commited. So, many I shouldn’t even write them. I really am more worried about, and concentrating on, getting healthy physically and mentally. Overall, I’d like to get through this big change with some sanity, grace, and not lose my mind. Which is probably where those 3 items come in: they are balance. They balance the mental, the physical, and the feeling that I am accomplishing things. I am aware that I can’t control a lot of this right now, and I’m choosing to take a lot of this on myself as it helps my partner and our finances, so when/if it gets hard and stressful, I need to remember those things. I think I can do all this, as I’ve done it before. Just keep telling myself that…

HERE WE GO!

Since I was traveling, then sick (again!), I’m starting my 2015 on Jan 19. Who says the 365 days have to start on Jan. 1? Not me.
For a while, I’m going to log some food. I don’t know how much I’ll keep this up, but I need to get back in the habit.

So. Let’s go 2015!

Day 1, Jan 19: 40min walk with my cousin. Easing into this.
If it’s in the 60’s and I can wear sandals, it’s time to walk! (I wore real shoes for my walk)
imageDay 2, Jan 20: CrossFit! 1hr. Tried the new location of the old gym we used to belong to (2012-13). I enjoyed it.
Squat Snatch: 2x35lbs, 2x45lbs (way too easy), 3x65lbs, 2x75lbs.
WOD: 3rds for time RX
400m run
15 push press (65lbs)
15 toes-to-bar
15 box jumps (20in)
Food: 3 boiled eggs, 1/2 grapefruit
1/2 apple pre-wod, 1/2 after
2 burger patties, big salad, 1 sweet potato
another burger, salad
imageOooof. My hands are not in CrossFit shape! Not acceptable!

imageDay 3, Jan. 21:
AM: 40min walk
2 pieces bacon, 1/2 grapefruit, handful of nuts….uhhh…it’s 2:30p and apparently I need to eat!…big salad w/tuna.
CrossFit workout didn’t look fun, so I decided not to go.

UPDATE: Jan 22. (I will workout today, but not yet. That entry will be the next blog post. I just wanted to get this published.)
Life has thrown another curveball, and my knee-jerk reaction is to protect myself, our little family, and our finances. So. I don’t know what CF gym I’ll be joining again (I wanted to go back to our old, good, place). I don’t even want to go back to the place where I was going in Nov or Dec (that’s half the price), because I feel like I’m in survival mode. I can workout at home. I’ve got weights, tires, a pullup bar and plenty of places to run. We’ll see. I’m sure my husband will completely disagree and tell me to go back to the gym, but I just don’t know if I’m comfortable with that right now. I can get by on my own through March just fine.

This year…oof. I hope it gets a lot better.

I wanted to end my blogs with something light and funny, and I’m lacking pictures in this wordy post, so I’m leaving you with my attempt at a food pic. The dogs were waaaaay too interested in my lunch.

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I can haz tuna?

 

Oh, hello there.

I’m late to blogging, late for the “new year resolution” entry, blah blah. It’s been a crazy month, month and a half. No way I can even catch up, but I’ll recap a little bit here.

Went to Lake Placid at the beginning of December and it was so much fun. I learned so much about skeleton, bobsled, luge, how the USOC works, and meeting some neat people. I had so much fun, I extended my trip another week because I didn’t want to go home. I ended up with a nasty sinus infection & cold while I was there, but not unexpected.

A couple days after I got home from LP, I packed up the kids (dogs) and hit the road to Ohio to spend the holidays with K’s family and see friends. What was supposed to be 2, relaxing, weeks (we hardly made any plans!), turned into 2 stressful, busy, weeks. UGH. Not restorative, not relaxing, not enough sleep, still trying to get over my sickness.

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Zombie Nativity in Cincinnati!

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So funny.

Left there and drove straight to Knoxville for the Pistol ultra, to pace a friend doing the 100. The weather was cold, miserable, and I got about 2 hours of sleep -in the drivers seat of my car- in 40hrs.

Left Knoxville and drove to DFW to dog/housesit for my good friends who were going to run the Dopey & Goofy Challenges at Disney. They were going for almost a week and needed someone. Good reason to see them, and another opportunity to -hopefully- relax and do fun stuff.
Nope.
Arrived on a Sunday evening and was exhausted. Monday, felt more human after a great night of sleep.
Normal day Monday.
Woke up in the middle of the night with food poisoning.
Not a functional human on Tuesday.
Recovered from that for about 2 days.
Then wake up with a cold on Friday.  Spend the weekend hydrating, bone broth-ing, NyQuiling.

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Watch all the squirrels.

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All the puppies!

And now…today…I get to take my computer into Apple where they will send it off, wipe it clean, replace some important hardware, and send it back to me. I will probably be without my computer for a week.

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Nope, not so good.

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Don’t think this is supposed to keep happening.

One of my friends said after the food poisoning, “well, you’ve got nowhere to go but up!” Well, apparently not and while I’m upset about my computer, they’re fixing it pretty quickly, and free, and I caught the issue in time to backup all my photos and important files. Small victories!

While I feel like I’ve been run down, sick, and not home, I’m generally ‘ok’ with it all. I’m handling it well. I’ll get home, be able to rest, get into my routine, and eat well. I’ll get better, my computer will be fixed, and this crap is just temporary. I think big, good, changes are on the horizon too…which could be stressful, but hopefully worth it in the end.

When I return, I’ll have my “goals” for the new year written. I’m starting my “new year” later this week when I’m at home. Who says it has to start on Jan. 1?

Until then, I leave you with a needy pup.

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Your pillow is mine, peasant.

Where I try to catch up.

That’s probably worthless and boring, but I’ll add hit some high and low points in the last couple of weeks.

Non workout related: the maps people are making on FB of the states they’ve visited make me laugh. Many people are counting states they’ve driven through, on their way to visit another place. The people who are NOT doing those maps? My runner friends who are chasing 50-States status. Like my friend who has done a marathon in all 50 states, 3 times. I’ve been keeping a map of the states I’ve done marathons in for 5-7 years now. So, I will not be participating, but you can check my map that I keep here! (I’ve visited far more states than I’ve run in, btw)

Good stuff: great workouts until about a week ago, Thurs?.  I even was FIRST female in the gym ranking on 11/6! So cool! Of course it was a moderate weight, long workout, with running. Right up my alley. Or, trailer park. (The term du jour is “wheelhouse.” I loathe the term. So, when someone uses it, I reply with, “Oh your trailer park?” Yes. Yes, I do.)
Anyway…
10 rounds (for 10 years), of 11 air squats, 6 hang cleans, then 2004 m run.

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image(10/27) We did Helen too. I love Helen. I am at least 2+ min slower than my PR. :( My pullups need some work, and my engine could be a little stronger, but I’ll get there.

imageSpeaking of working on pullups, a week later we did this killer WOD. It was a LOT of push jerks and pullups. It was a miracle my hands didn’t rip and I’m so glad I did it Rx.
For the 2 of you that care, that’s 10, 9, 8…1 of push jerks, and 2, 4, 6…20 pullups.

imageRandom workout pics:

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knot in my back hurt, stopped at 6rds instead of 7.

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Veterans Day: 3 Wise Men. Named after the 3 Wise brothers, 2 of whom died in combat. 3 WODS.

THE WISE BROTHERS.

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What I wore on Veterans Day. Tights are black camo.

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Painful 3-6-9 workout of hang cleans, burpees, and squats. 18 solid rounds though!

That’s enough “catching up”. The last time I blogged workouts was the end of Oct. That’s too many days. Moving on.

The not-so-good: I slept wrong on Wednesday night. Or had poor posture. Or both. I don’t know. I felt a knot in my shoulder and it was uncomfortable. It got worse as the day went on. Friday, I was pretty miserable. I went to the gym thinking I could roll it out on the lacrosse ball, heavy duty foam roller, and other Mobility WOD torture toys. I couldn’t lift my arm, I had shooting pain up my neck. I was nauseated.
Unsuccessful (multiple) calls to my massage therapist, and no ART practitioners were open on the weekend.
Let’s just say I spent the weekend doing a recovery WOD:
hot pad on the floor.
Lax ball.
Epsom bath.
Stretching.
Sleep.
Repeat.
Repeat.

Tuesday (yesterday) and I went to the gym as I was feeling more functional. Spent many minutes on the Mobility ball. Did a scaled workout. Felt ok. The knot is still there, but it’s tolerable. I have the number of a masseuse the women at the gym recommended.
Scaled workout: 3 rounds of 50 double unders, 10 power snatch (45lbs). Time: 16:15.

I leave you with this funny. I was thinking about providing a fun little snapshot at the end of the blog, sort of like Anderson Cooper’s Ridiculist.

Would have been wrong to hit this car? I think this is even worse than taking up two spaces. Let’s just park right in the driving lane, shall we?
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