Birthday Feast

Today is Pete's birthday! Last year we traveled for both our birthdays to celebrate turning 30, but this year we're keeping it more low key. We're having a big meal that I've been working on for the last few days. The menu:

Happy Birthday Pete!


13.1 or Bust

You guys, I am running a half marathon in less than two weeks! That's 13.1 miles! The last one I did was in 2007, and after that race I spent years battling IT band injuries that were so bad I never thought I'd run 13.1 miles again. But, here I am. How did this happen, you ask? Lots of patience, determination and incremental progress. Here are my tips for coming back from IT band injuries:
  • Start running again slowly. And I mean SLOOOOOWLY. I started by running for one minute and walking for two. Every week or two I increased my ratio of running to walking by a minute or so, and if I was busy or sick and missed a week I re-did the last one. Many, many months later I was up to a 5k distance. Then, I slowly added mileage to reach a 10k training run. And, training for a half marathon followed.
  • Work on core and hip strength! For me, yoga and physical therapy exercises work the best. But, I also did a boot camp workout once a week that seemed to really help my strength. And, good old weight training helps too.
  • Stretch that lower back and hips! Yoga helps with this as well, and I make sure to stretch well after long runs.
  • Use a foam roller. Ideally, I would use one of these after every single run (I'm not always that dedicated). Here's instructions:

Now, get running! And, wish me luck, I'll be out in the rain on November 27 with 15,000 other runners!

P.S. Of course, I've already planned my food. I'm going to make pasta bolognese the night before with a beer. And, after the race we're going straight to Tom Douglas' Dahlia Workshop for a biscuit sandwich (a half marathon is probably the only way I can justify eating one).


Light reading list

All my graduate school reading has been making my head hurt,* and I've been dying for some fun, escapist reading to lose myself in before I go to bed at night. (I was trying to finish Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, but that was decidedly not meeting the criteria so I've put it aside for a while.) I'm especially interested in young adult books, since I'm spending quite a bit of time with teens these days. I asked some literary friends for suggestions, and thought I'd share them. I can't wait to read these!

  • I'll Be There, Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • Full-frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
  • Chime, Franny Billingsley
  • If I Stay
  • Repossessed
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • The Wave
  • The Eyre Affair
  • Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
  • Marcello in the Real World
  • If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period
  • How to Steal a Dog
  • Shine, Lauren Myracle
  • The Help

I also added a couple to the list:

  • Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl (I love reading about food, and I think Reichl is the best food writer around.)
  • Charlotte's Web (I heard an NPR story on the author, and decided it was time to read this classic.)

I've also started reading one to two poems each night from a book Pete gave me: Good Poems, by Garrison Keillor. I recommend this book to anyone else who wants to start dabbling in reading poetry!

* Becoming a teacher is hard!


Is it already time for Starbucks holiday cups again?

Hello there. I am busy, but I have all sorts of things I'd like to post swimming around in my head (along with LOTS of graduate school reading and information.)

Today the holiday cups appeared at Starbucks again. I had to get a latte immediately, of course. Such is the draw of the cheery, red cups. It made me happy on an otherwise stressful, tiresome day.

The cup also made me start daydreaming about Thanksgiving recipes and knitting patterns. I'm going to skip the stressful parts of the holidays this year (I hope) and just focus on the parts that make me happy. I'll save the stress for grad school.

I have another couple posts I'll throw up in the next few days. But, I wanted to note that all the pictures from my blog have disappeared. I think I know why, and I think it would be much too difficult to fix. So, I guess they're gone. I'm taking this as a sign I should start posting new content again. Yea for happy cups! Boo for stress!


Moment of Zen: Poetry

Oh, hello there. Life is crazy right now, and I'm mainly focusing on keeping my head above water instead of blogging. I had a little moment of zen yesterday listening to a poem by a man from Spokane, my hometown, and thought I'd share it.

Unfortunately, our local NPR station didn't post the text of the poem, but you can listen to Howell read it on their website: Poem: Christopher Howell and 'Dancers'

In other news, Pete and I will be making a trip up to the North Cascades National Park soon, and I cannot wait! I've been wanting to explore the park since driving through it a few years ago. And, it looks like we may even have nice weather.

Via Flickr:
Taken from Silesia Camp, Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park
That's Easy Ridge in the foreground.


Friday Fun (in songs)

Some Friday fun for you. Pete and I are chasing the sun to Eastern Washington this weekend. I'm planning to lounge near the water and read while he bikes up a mountain. Who has the better deal in this scenario??

I just went on a sunny run serenaded by Dolly Parton on my iPod. LOVE Dolly. I always said my dream was to see her in concert, so when she came to Seattle I was so there - along with every adorable gay man in Seattle, dressed as cowboys, of course. Well, she has a new song that's kind of catchy.


And, this is the one I always have to sing out loud when I'm running and it comes onto my iPod. It's irresistible (even if I do look crazy)!

Raul Esparza makes it look so EASY to sing amazingly. I love "Defying Gravity"! Maybe someday I'll take those voice lessons - then I'll be able to sing like this, right??

Well, here's hoping Pete and I find some sun. And, that everyone else has a fun, sunny, delightful weekend!


What I'm Eating

Trader Joes Apricot Mango Greek Yogurt - So yummy! It's big enough that it can last for 2-3 snacks or breakfasts, and the container is a really nice size to re-use in transporting other snacks.

Kind Bars - These nutty, fruity bars are delicious! They were on sale at REI, so I got a box of the mini bars to keep in my bag and my desk. Actually, I just ate Almond & Apricot Bar.

Post-workout foods - Smoothies can be great, but sometimes I really want to bite into something with some crunch, carbs and chocolate! I've been putting in a bowl: Greek yogurt, Kashi Go Lean or Heart to Heart, or Nature's Path Organic Heritage O's, strawberries and dark chocolate chips. So good when you're starving after a long bike ride, swim or run!

Fish - Costco in Seattle has wild Alaskan Sockeye, and we were gifted some fresh trout last time we went up to the lake. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, place the fish on it and brush on some olive oil and melted butter, sprinkle salt and pepper on it, and lay some lemon slices on top. Then put it in a 350 degree oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on how big the fish is. Check it often - you don't want to overcook a beautiful piece of fish! Throw in some potatoes tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper a little earlier, and some asparagus with olive oil at the late minute. Boom! Easiest, most delicious summer dinner ever.

Rhubarb - I made the rhubarb cake mentioned earlier - it was good, but not a winner I'll keep in my permanent recipe binder. I did have great success with individual strawberry rhubarb crisps recently, though. I had a little bit of rhubarb and strawberry in the fridge, and I wanted to make a dessert. It wasn't enough for a whole pan of crisp, though. I sliced up the strawberries and rhubarb and filled four ramekins, then sprinkled about 3 tablespoons of sugar over each, and then topped each with a little bit of crumb topping (I had some leftover from the crumb topping for these muffins, or you could just make a new, small batch) I baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 or 30 minutes. We topped them with (homemade) vanilla ice cream. YUM. I still have some rhubarb in my fridge - I'm thinking PIE. Why not go classic?

I wish I could talk about plans for exciting Fourth of July theme dishes, but we'll be out of town all weekend! I've been craving cole slaw, so I would definitely be making that along with some kind of red, white and blue theme dessert that involved cake, blueberries and strawberries. Maybe next year. We'll still be able to eat a burger and watermelon, and drink some beer on the Fourth - so we won't be totally un-American :). Happy Independence Day!