I need a jumping buddy

I'm starting off by saying that my ice plunge partner was in a car accident last week and has a mean doctor with NO sense of humor *ahem* hurt her foot and is unable to participate. Having seen the weather report, some people would say I lucked out because it is going to be cold on Friday. I'll probably still go as long as I can find a plunge partner. We're not allowed to do this alone. My pooky bear is the perfect, although very unlikely, candidate for new jumper. I'd jump with any of the running friends but they've all sworn off actual jumping in favor of spectating. A couple of the runners have kids (read: boys) who are old enough to jump so the kids are also candidates. (Do you think my running mates would mind if I introduced ice plunging to their kids new year's traditions?) We'll see who my partner is when I wind up taking the plunge.

In other news, I caught up on some reading today, recovering from the long drive and staying out of the snow. What'd I see?


Vacation: Exhausted

I don't know how some of you people come to town and just go go go all day and all night. I'm ready for a nap.

After the family party Grandma came to our house. Grandma was almost as sick as Dad was when I arrived on Tuesday. She tried to eat broth but her throat hurt really bad. (If I don't go home with the plague it will be a miracle.) So we put her to bed.

Mom and I headed over to the phone store which was completely empty. (I know, what the heck?) My phone died on Thursday, like can't turn it on, nobody home, nothing makes it better, died. Luckily this one is under warranty. This is the second of the same phone to die in about a year of my owning it. (I don't get you people who can have phones that last three and four years. What's your magic?) So they're sending the replacement phone to my house. But I had to buy a new phone so I can have a means of communication on the drive from where I am to my house. Once I receive the replacement phone I can take the purchased phone back for a refund. Is anyone else dizzy?

After shopping we cleaned up (some) from the Christmas party. Although the second we sat down we both about passed out.

This morning I helped Dad pack Grandma's stuff to go home. We only forgot one bag and luckily that was Christmas presents and not clothes or money. Dad went off to Portsmouth with Grandma.

Before lunch I did a little workout with weights. My arms and legs feel like they're about to fall off. I wonder if the 8lb weights at the gym really are still 8lbs. Dad's 8lb weights felt heavier. Maybe I'm out of shape.

I met Deb for lunch (Skyline, duh!) and then we went to the Krohn Conservatory and walked a little of Eden Park. It's really windy. While walking and driving we discussed running The Pig Half marathon. Initially I had been opposed to running it because of certain, um, concerns. But when Deb talked about it I started thinking it wouldn't be that bad. Plus one of the St Paul runners is also thinking about running it so I might have a travel partner. (Read: One of the St Paul runners has a brother running the marathon who will never stop bugging her if she doesn't run it. But I'll take advantage of the situation all the same.) Deb said she'd let me know if a week or two what she decides. I guess then I can run the Minneapolis Half still too. I'll have to bump up my long runs this spring ahead of marathon schedule.

Now I'm back home. It's snowing outside but it doesn't appear to be sticking to much other than the bushes. (I know, they have bushes here that are still green. It's wild.) Dad's on his way back from taking Grandma home and I think I'm about to take a nap. I think Jenny is coming over to eat leftovers to visit with me in a little while. I hope she eats the leftovers because I never want to see food again.


Family Stealing Party 2009

Really, it's the family Christmas party but we play a game where we all steal each others gifts. I had a blast. Here's the photo proof.

It's not a party unless we get to see someone's underwear.


Christmas: A Lot of Fun Actually

I was planning to run this morning but got a reprieve because of lousy weather. (It's vacation therefore I shall not run in the rain.) Instead, I got up mildly late. We had a lazy morning and opened presents around 10:00.

This is referred to as "the family Christmas tree" this year since I made them throw away the old Charlie Brown Tree when they moved.

After presents I cooked Christmas dinner. I actually liked cooking. It made me feel like a grown up. Possibly increasing the enjoyability was the fact that I was only cooking for six people and all of us were heading to a huge supper so there wasn't pressure to produce mass quantities of food. I also did the dishes (because if it was Mom she'd be wrapping them up around sundown and Dad's just getting over the plague so he's not allowed to touch dishes or food right now).

Once all the dishes were clean, we headed down to Kentucky for Christmas Spaghetti.

Luke helped me take some pictures. And we took one of ourselves.

Irmghard's new favorite toy and the sweet guy who gave it to her.

After all the cooking and cleaning and eating, that's how I was feeling too.

Tomorrow is the family steal-a-thon Family Party which we're having at the condo club house. I think it's going to be really fun and I can't wait to see everyone.


For vacation I will cook, clean and lift heavy things

I can't even remember what I did yesterday (and am too tired to make the two mouseclicks it would take to read my entry from then) but I woke up exhausted.

Mom and I went to get my car back from the shop. Merry Christmas Liz! Here's new tires and an oil change.

I cooked lunch (notice how I didn't mention breakfast? Yeah. I didn't eat it either.) and then got to work. We're having what I lovingly refer to as the Family Steal-a-thon at our house on Saturday, actually at the "club house" but still, basically here. Mom is basically getting it catered which means we're making about five things instead of ten. I made Tangy Cauliflower Salad as a side because most of the catered sides are, um, quite rich.

After the cauliflower I cleaned the kitchen so I can mess it up tomorrow when I make Christmas dinner. Cauliflower gets everywhere. The little crumbles break off and get on the floor and they're impossible to sweep. They have some sort of stealth action that makes them not want to be swept away.

Mom and I took one load of assorted items to the club house today too but I wouldn't let her set it up. We took chairs (for the 45 people who are coming on Saturday) water, tea, and fruit juices and a couple of the snacks. I couldn't bear to send the tangy cauliflower away though. I spent so much time with it today.

Yesterday it was pushing the cart up the hill. Today it was standing and cooking, cleaning, and carrying heavy things up stairs. I'm wondering how people say they don't get exercise at the holidays. I'm wondering how early I really need to wake up tomorrow in order to run before presents and cooking. It feels like I'm going to need a run just to relax by then.

Right now I'm waiting to go see Mark and Irmghard a whole lot of family down in Kentucky. Where Mark will be cooking. Remember when I said I didn't eat breakfast? This is why. I have an empty belly and I can't wait to fill it.

Merry Christmas!


Vacation: Underway

Vacation so far feels like work but it's a welcome change from the other kind of work.

After running which I wrote about earlier I convinced Mom that we should go back to Skyline for lunch. It was packed. Clearly everyone else from out of town had the same thought I did.

After Skyline we went to the toy store across the street and got Luke's present. I picked it out.

Then, lists in hand, we headed over to Hyde Park Kroger where (surprisingly) I ran into no one that I know. It was packed. Nut-house may not be the right description, just tons of people and tons of shopping carts. The store also has a very odd layout. The produce is the last thing you come to. It was about there that I really felt like any more people surrounding me with their carts was going to give me a panic attack.

(I'm still hungry by the way.)

After Kroger I went down to the Green Dog Cafe and got the last of my Christmas presents to my parents. Wow, just took like 10 minutes to read their menus. Now I'm really hungry.

When I got back from my solo shopping trip, Mom and I went over to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a new stock pot (which is awesome by the way) and bath grip strips (family in town and all).

I dorked around and recovered from all the shopping, driving and traffic. I took Mom back out for one last trip of the evening, to Bangkok Bistro, my other favorite Cincinnati food for take out. Dad still isn't eating so much.

And then I started cooking.

I wrapped presents while the chicken broth and wild rice were cooking. The entire time they were cooking, over an hour. Then I got into the active phase of making the soup: peeling the chicken off the bone. It's so yummy. (I am so hungry.) Mom was making Moon Beams, the best treat ever, but I only got to have two because they're for the party.

We both finished cooking around the same time. Chicken broth is never, like, a clean thing to make. The pot gets this weird chicken goo-film on it that can't be described. It's not really that gross, just hard to clean. Plus the broth boiled over and stained the stove. It gave me a mild heart attack thinking I wasn't going to be able to get it out. I think I did mostly. Thank god for that glass top stove cleaner.

Now it's well after midnight and I'm dog tired. All my wrapping is done. One-third of Christmas dinner is done (the soup). And we picked out family photos to embarrass everyone else entertain everyone at the party. Tomorrow I plan on sleeping in. Not sure if I'll run. Also not sure when Christmas Eve Dinner will be eaten. Mark's cooking. Yeah!

Ok, my eyes are starting to cross. I'm headed to bed.

Let the Vacation Begin

Yesterday (Tuesday) I did the drive in 10.5hrs. That's about the shortest it's ever taken me. It helped that I stopped twice in Wisconsin and then drove all the way to Ohio. No one knows what I was thinking. Actually, I kind of remember what I was thinking. I know that while driving through Illinois I planned to stop in Indiana for friend chicken and french fries. But in Indiana it appeared I would get home in time to eat Skyline which made me want to get home even more. YUM So I didn't stop in Indiana for fried food. I just kept driving. I had a nice talk with Mark and Irmghard and a really nice conversation with Jenny.

In the beginning of Indiana I called my Dad. I asked where the nearest Skyline is to the new place. His response, "Hmm. I don't know. I just know the one you went to last time you were here." Me - 'how late is it open'. Dad, "I don't know". Me (sensing the conversation was going to be way less helpful than I anticipated) 'is Mom home?' Mom wasn't home at the time but I called back and they actually waited for me to get home to go out to eat. So I got home, put my stuff down and got back in the car to eat.

Dad, sadly, has some sickness. Virus? Swine flu? It's not entirely clear. Boo. I haven't given him a hug yet.

This morning my alarm went off at 7am. Where am I? What's that noise? Why is it so dark? I went back to sleep. An hour later I did wake up and get out of bed. I went for a run mostly because I've been dreaming about running here for a couple of weeks. Wow are there a lot of hills here. Here's what I did this morning. That part of the hill right after the first mile marker is steep. They don't make 'em like that where I run.

Right now Mom and I are planning the menu for several of the Christmas events we're having. I'm cooking on Christmas day. (I feel like such a grow-up.) It's only 6 people that I have to cook for. I'll be making creamy chicken wild rice soup (in honor of my Minnesota heritage), roasted veggies and pear-blue cheese flat bread.

My next goal is to convince Mom that we should have Skyline for lunch instead of whatever she wants to make here. And then we're going to Hyde Park Kroger (where I'll undoubtedly run into like 1o people that I know) to go grocery shopping. It'll also undoubtedly be a nut house which is why I want to eat before hand.


Merry Christmas: My Favorite Christmas Pictures

In honor of Christmas I'm reprising some of my favorite Christmas photos.

Bonus points to any family member who can tell me where this first one was taken. I love that I'm sitting on John's lap in this.

This one is classic Mark but I think the look on Brian's face is the funniest. He's the one who looks sweet and innocent but is secretly breaking closets or something.

The true secret to awesome photos of your family: Strap the camera to the 4-year-old's wrist (strap tightly) because adults will make faces for her they won't make for anyone else. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

And if all else fails, find the cute little kids and take their pictures.


Still brr, although less brr than Tuesday

I ran this morning with the St Paul crew. At the end of my run I had frost and icicles in my hair. I think that's so cool. Bragging rights. The only thing cooler would have been if steam were coming off my head. (It might have been, I just couldn't see it.)

I tried to work today but the computers were not working. Well, the computers were working, just not the internet or email or my calendar or my to do list. Luckily I had a training planned in the afternoon. Even more luckily the three hour training took about 90 minutes. So I went home.

I did some productive stuff today. I got on the rowing machine at the gym. (Yes, that's two workouts today. I won't be working out tomorrow in honor of Amanda's birthday.) I did my laundry which is always a big relief. I cleaned my house somewhat. At least enough that a teenager can see it without me dying of embarrassment.

And then I played on the internet.
  • This is how things were at the office today. (In defense of the office, when the computers are working again, things will be much better.)

  • HCFS is bad for you. And the follow up, bacon is awesome (sorry to my Jewish friends, bacon is yummy). And the follow-follow up watching TV is bad for you and stopping it makes you thinner. Duh, Duh, and Duh.

  • How powerful I feel when I go caving, running too actually.

  • Coffee and tea cut the risk for diabetes surprises me only because caffeine... well, no I guess it doesn't surprise me but I'm trying to cut coffee out of my diet completely because... for some reason caffeine makes me totally hypoglycemic, a condition best remedied by eating things with simple sugars. Yum. I also decided to stop drinking caffeine because the caffeine withdraw really impacted my marathon training. I thought it'd be nice to not deal with that at all this year.


Holy mother of Wow is it cold outside!

After the second or third pair of pants didn't fit quite how I expected, I decided it was time to get back on the horse (so to speak) pick a new marathon and start training. (I have some very crazy awesome friends who think I'm going to be ready for the frozen half. They're out of their minds but that leaves me free to cheer instead.) After determining the social work trip that would've totally screwed up marathon training was moved to spring 2011, I picked the Twin Cities Marathon as my next race. What else was I going to pick?

Sunday night after the best 5k in town (where it was only slightly warmer than today), I sat down and mapped out my next marathon training plan. I did this last year too so I knew how far I had to run each week and how far my long runs needed to be each week as well. I like the schedule I found because it's a 40 week program, the 20 week marathon training plan and the 20 week "you have to be able to do this before you even start training for a marathon" plan.

Also, I noted to Amanda that the last two races I've run (the 5k and the marathon) have been at, um, a biologically inconvenient (read: painful) time. I learned, there's an app for that. Which I installed onto my iPod. Seriously, that's one way I know the next marathon can be more pleasant. The app actually proved helpful right away in scheduling step back weeks on the training plan and for picking which spring races to run. Minneapolis Marathon here I come. I will be running the half just like last year.

In honor of the training program, I ran today. Outside. For 4 miles. Wow! It's cold. I gave the yaktrax their first workout of the season. I was glad I had them in a few spots where the wind comes off the lake and blows snow all over the path. I probably could've made it without them. There were a few places where I wished I didn't have them on too. I ran an out and back path around Lake Nokomis. When I got back to my car after running I first noted that my Dreidel Dash hat was covered in frost and my balaclava had literally turned to ice and was frozen in one position. I had icicles in my hair too. When I got in my car I thought "oh, my legs have also turned to blocks of ice" but they thawed quickly. I celebrated by going to the YWCA and sitting in the hot tub.

I'm trying to remember what training in the cold was like last year. I remember a lot of early mornings in the cold. What was I thinking? I think I did that because the YWCA is the least pleasant place on earth in January. (When I want to know how many people make new year resolutions about getting in shape I go to the gym in January. Anyone I don't recognize is guilty.)


Dashing... More like a slow trot actually

Wow! am I out of shape. I didn't really have high expectations for my time in the best 5k in town so the 38:00 time wasn't actually a huge disappointment. It turned out to be a really fun race. A friend of mine dropped 5:00 off her time from last year.

I actually got to run with a friend's son for the last half mile or so. We talked about football. Speaking of football. After the dash, I had to sit at the table for my work which is a community partner of the race. I showed up at the table (changed from my sweaty/icy racing clothes) and she wasted no time saying, "I have to get home and watch the Vikings". I was lead to believe that in the third quarter the Vikings were down like 16 to 7 or something. Loosing to the Bengals. And I wasn't emotionally prepared to hear it from my dad tonight (who lives in Cincinnati). Imagine my joy when I got home and watched the last 2:00 of the game (literally) and watched my Vikings win! And clinch a play-off spot!

This race also made me think about training for my next marathon, perhaps the Twin Cities in 2010. The other option is Grandma's. I don't have quite enough time to run Minneapolis. The thing about Twin Cities is there's a possibility I'll go to South Africa again with more social workers and that would be in August/September right as training reaches a fever pitch and there's no way to train in South Africa. People just don't go out and go for a jog there. But the trip hasn't been scheduled yet. Who knows.

I'm feeling like I need another big race to train for. For some reason a half-marathon just feels to easy to train for now. Never in my entire life, did I imagine I'd think that.


The Cincinnati in me wants a snow day so bad it hurts

It's Minnesota and we finally have snow. It comes at a high price though. Snow with no wind is pleasant. Snow with howling wind, well the snow doesn't even stay still long enough to run a sled through it so what's the point really? At least the lake will be frozen so Amanda and I can jump into it.

I actually had a really nice day, despite an unusual amount of driving. Most of the driving was before the storm started. I got home around 6:00p, but I was in Minneapolis about two miles from my house since about 3:30p. The drive home was a short distance in slow but moving traffic.

Now that I'm home and cozy, it'd be nice to have an excuse not to work tomorrow. On the plus side, I don't need to be at work until 9:50 (or so) so I can leave my house after rush hour. That at least will be pleasant.

More on the Old Magazines

In my last post I told you all about having way too many old magazines. Beth suggested Art Scraps in St. Paul.
I also did a web search about what can I do with my old magazines. And the results are:

Apparently everyone at Tree Hugger just recycles them.

I could make my own tables and other furniture.

But the coups de gras was the discussion here. Among my favorites are:
Look for your local FREECycle organization. In my area it is done by zip code. You can find Free cycle in the groups area of yahoo.com. OR simply type freecycle.org. It is a GREAT concept. You are trying to rid of stuff and someone else might like it for free - they come and get it. Saves the landfills. (This one is actually useful.)
first see if the library might want them. if not how about an elementary school or even a welfare office, doctors's office. etc. (I don't think it's called "the welfare office" anymore, but useful ideas.)
You can check with the jail in your town. They may take them for the inmates to read. They will not however take any hardback books. WIN!!


A Time for Healing?

After my poor mental health post I took a step in the process of healing from bed bugs which I dealt with for a long, really long, too long, ridiculously long, time.

A result of the multiple spraying, inspections, and packing of everything in my apartment is that my clothing, and basically all of my textiles lived in plastic bags for (oh my gosh) the past year except clothes/coats/towels/sheets/etc I use regularly. I think my loathing for all Ikea furniture was made perfectly clear when I threw away the piece of crap dresser I bought from there. But I love some of there other little things (hello $3.00 rugs) including their dresser and closet containers. (New rule of thumb: Ikea furniture - bad; Ikea textiles - generally good).

Sunday I took all my clothes, sheets, and towels out of the plastic bags (I'm referring here to the Mondo-size zip locks) that had been their home for the past year. I sorted everything out. Then I cleaned my linen closet which was ridiculously cluttered for how little is actually in there, and stored the sheets and towels.

Having taken stock of my clothing I went to Ikea in search of organization (in addition to a Christmas present specifically requested by Mom). I bought one of those cubbie/drawer things that hangs over the clothes bar. My choices of color were a red/orange (just no) white, or black. I chose black because the white can look dingy. I forgot that it's really hard to see in the black drawers. (It's an unusual complaint and I won't take the thing back for it. I just want you to know.)

The now-sorted clothes went into the hanging organizer well. And presto my room is clean. The laundry hamper now fits back in the closet since the floor is no longer cluttered with over-large ziplock bags. It just made me feel so much better to have two clean closets and every thing back.

I also cooked actual food yesterday, peanut butter curry. My parents were interested to hear I can get fresh-ground peanut butter at my co-op. Seriously. The little machine just makes it right there for me. On the curry, yum!. I needed a better curry to rice ratio but the recipe I found (truly African) didn't have measurements so much as an ingredient list and loose information about proportions. It's really a miracle I got as close as I did. Ingredients in the curry include raisins and cashews. All my favorite meals involve fruit. Well, many of my favorite meals and almost all of my favorite deserts involve fruit. Yum, nonetheless.

I also sorted out my tupperware drawer. How does that get so out of control? and today I sorted out the last drawer to have textiles in plastic bags: the drawer full of my kitchen towels. It just feels so much nicer, I feel better about myself, and less loathing for living here now that stuff is back where it belongs. I actually didn't realize how much loathing I had for having my place that way until it wasn't.

My progress in the apartment has left me with a couple dilemmas. My questions to the readers:
  • I have a crap ton of the really good take out containers that the Chinese restaurants use for soup. What can I do with them? Is it dumb to give those to Good Will? Anyone want them. They're really good. Problem is they're all the "large" (read: two servings) size and I don't want them. I think they're partly responsible for the chaos in my tupperware drawer.

  • I have, also, a ton of magazines, mostly Eating Well, that I'm not using anymore. What do you do with old magazines? I think there's like an art form now of folding up pages from magazines and making them into coasters. How do I find a local artist who will use them? Is there anyone else that will use them? I think I could recycle them too.


Sunday Linkfest - Since football today was entirely disappointing


Hermit Saturday - Almost

What'd I do today?

930-ish, I got out of bed and ran my Run fast up hills route. Hey, it's cold and I am going to run outside in a 5k next week (Sign up if you haven't!) and I can count on my fingers the number of times I've run outside since the big day. I didn't go quite the full distance because I ran into Cheryl a few blocks from my house and I stopped to say hi.

1100, Watch my Bearcats try to give me a heart attack in their eventual win over Pitt. (Side note: I've technically completed programs at both of these schools.) Brian Kelly: Stay in Cincinnati!

1400, that game finally ends with me jumping up and down. I "read" part of The Two Towers (on tape) and had lentil soup with chicken for lunch. I basically hung out all afternoon watching various football games and movies. BTW, this is a Bearcat but this is what a Bearcat really looks like.

1830, go to the Liquor store because there's more football tonight (since when do I like football?). In the parking lot, my mentee calls me and says, "can you take me to the emergency room?" and the surprising answer was No. (I'll support that decision to anyone who has questions but seriously, if she needed to go, I wouldn't have said no.)

1850, went to the YWCA and hung out in the hot tub, where I talked to a (mildly hot) guy named Alex. I neglected to mention that was my first name too. Also ran into Cyndi (yes, I did spell that right, and I spell all Cyndi's that way now) and got to hang out with her little baby.

2000, (is it weird that I do military time?) Now watching the Nebraksa/Texas game and still fighting with my mentee about why I will not take her to the ER to get antibiotics. She just hung up on me so I'm thinking we're pretty much done with that conversation. Do you think less of me now because it's not a satisfying feeling at all. Also, go Nebraska. Today has been a big day for punt blocking in all football games.


The Friday Five

I haven't done one of these, but The Friday Five looks interesting this week:

1. What song do you play the most? According to my play list (and please keep in mind I spent quality time running with my iPod this summer): Healing Hands - Elton John; FutureSexLoveSound - Justin Timberlake; I Run for Life - Melissa Etheridge; A Little Less Conversation - Elvis; Affirmation - Savage Garden

2. What song do you play the least? Angels Would Fall - Melissa Etheridge and Sorry to a Friend - Edwin McCain have last been played two years ago, of the songs that have actually been played at least once.

3. What's the last song you added? Parachute - She is Love. (Quick plug here for Skreemr.)

4. What's your favorite playlist? My exercise playlists. I have one that's several hours long for those looong runs I did this summer and one that's shorter with only fast, fun songs with a good beat. Favorite songs for exercising, besides those above include: Fire Burning on the Dance Floor - Sean Kingston; Burnin' Up - Jonas Brothers (I feel no shame); Temperature - Sean Paul; Remember the Name - Fort Minor; Lose Yourself - Eminem (I know it's Eminem, but I feel like I'm in Amsterdam at about 38K every time I hear it); Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry and 4 Minutes - Madonna.

5. What kind of iPod (or MP3 player) do you have? My first one was a Shuffle, the 1G model, orange. My second iPod is the Product Red Nano, which accommodates my Nike+ sensor that Amanda and Eric and Kelly got me when I graduated. My most recent purchase is a 2ng gen iPod touch (maybe it's a 3rd gen, is there a 3rd gen? probably second gen) that I love. It's great to be able to watch movies on airplanes. 'Nuff said.

My day started off with a bad touch and started off from there

Thursday: A colleague was walking around the office carrying a stuffed bear. Said colleague explained (to someone else while I was in the room listening) that the animal represents a positive spirit and she carries it around for anyone who might need it. (I was not judging. Well, ok, I was judging but I was feeling bad about it and I wasn't judging out loud for sure.)

Friday: I had no time today for anything. I had about an hour to get all of my work done for the day. Then I had a meeting, then off to the School of Social Work to educate young minds about working with seniors. About five minutes into my work time there's the fuzzy bear (and said colleague) literally in my face. Bad Touch. I was neither pleased nor amused. Amanda said it's how she feels every time I say "do you need a hug?". NO!

The morning meeting wasn't too bad, until the end and by then I had an excuse to duck out because...

I went to the school of social work to talk to people about working with seniors. It could have gone better. I had twice the time to work with as I expected, and (I'll admit) I was under-prepared. But I think the students were also fried because it's one week to the end of the semester. Poor things. The last semester was by far my favorite.

The end of the day got much better. I saw Amanda and my pooky bear at the No Coast Craft-o-Rama. It was a great time.
::Steps up on soap box:: To all of you who make jewelry that you sell, I encourage you to make some with surgical steel hoops/clasps/hooks etc. For me, earrings are my most favorite girl accessory of all. (Most of you have noticed that I rarely wear skirts or dresses and never wear make-up.) Earrings I love. And I'm always bummed when I see earrings I'd like, and I'd love to support local artists but they don't make earrings my sensitive ears can wear. ::Steps down from soap box::

We had awesome food, I had Vietnamese and they had tamales. Yum!


It's always a sign of my mental health when:

  • I wake up and run (or go to the gym): this week, I've worked out or ran all three days, last week not so much

  • My kitchen and living room are clean: No. Just, no.

  • I cook for myself: the only reason I "cooked" for lunch today is because I couldn't fit in fast food between my meetings. Ditto for tomorrow. Awesome Chinese with Amanda last night for dinner and I'm pretty convinced tonight's dinner will be from a restaurant as well

  • I take a shower every day: only doing that because I am actually working out

  • I get out of my house: well, last weekend was a holiday so it's hard to use that as a measure
Where's this list coming from? At one point last week, it'd been a really long time since I'd run or done any kind of physical activity and I was starting to worry about myself. Post marathon depression is apparently a real thing, as is Seasonal Affective Disorder (will I ever see the sun again?). Anyways, I decided to take stock. Things aren't quite as bad as I thought. Particularly surprising is that I haven't missed a day or working out yet.


Thanksgiving: Status Update

Liz: Lying in bed
Number of people snoring: One in my room with me, one next door (actually louder than the roommate), and at least one dog down the hall
Nose: Still plugged up. I see Afirin in my future.
Contacts: Much better. (Amanda, no worries because I do have a new pair with me.)
Sleepy: Me, not so much. But the dull glow from the computer doesn't seem to bother my roommate (who opted for the 12:01am shopping start time last night with no naps today and is now sacked out).
Food I ate today: Surprisingly little. Snack mix (and not a lot) for breakfast, lasagna for lunch and a left-over sandwich and creamed corn for dinner, plus two cups of coffee, three twizzlers and many pistachios. Sadly, no more turkey for Liz.
Shopping left to do: Mom and Dad (duh, they're here, I can't do it all now), my mentee, and one thing for a colleague.

I was also thinking of Thank-You/Christmas cards to all the Bolder Options donors. I guess I should get on that one.

My Thanksgiving: Just, wow

O'dark-thirty: Wake up. I have a sinus infection. My whole face feels like it's about to cave in. Pack food. Go.
Can't remember what time: Keep driving. I was given advice to avoid Chicago entirely. I did.
Been-on-the-road-too-long o'clock: Gary, IN is my least favorite city to drive through. The only traffic I hit all day.
Oh-crap-I-gotta-pee: I remember Amanda told me a human bladder can hold 200 CCs. I can tell you, an entirely full bladder is a painful experience.

No one wears a watch 'cause it's vacation.
Morning: Wake up. Have the cereal my mommy brought me. Later morning, RUN! It was a cold day when I started and ended up cold and rainy so I cut it short (sort of) at around 40:00. A nice and slow run because I haven't run since my trot around the lake a few weeks ago with Jenna.
Lunch: What's the point in eating right now?
Immediately after we don't really eat: All the cousins/aunts/uncles/kids (wow! there are a lot of people) showed up. I sat back and watched the mayhem. It's fun to watch my cousins suddenly act like adults because they have kids.
4:00pm This is the only exact time I know because it's time to EAT! We had my favorites including creamed corn, sweet potatoes, mash potatoes, stuffing (there were even more kinds of starch but I lost track) ten different kinds of pies, lasagna, and eggplant parmesean. (Did I mention there's this weird Italian contingent in my extended family?)
Later: Wow! There are a lot of people in this house.
In the evening: I had some coffee and was doing one of my favorite things: checking my newsreader. I read this article about Thanksgiving Turkeys and now cannot eat turkey. Ever. It's not a gross thing, just an ethical thing. (I wonder if my turkey bacon comes from the same turkeys that we use of Thanksgiving. That would be a big problem.)
Late: Tried to sleep. I didn't sleep so good (see the above mentioned sinus infection)

Omyguswhutimeizit?: I'm up. I'm up. We went to Macy's where I got my first Christmas present: a wool coat. Charcoal, with a hood and a zipper. (Kelly: Is this like the coat it took you a year to find?) This eye-issue started at Macy's. I thought it was crap in my contacts.
1030 or 1100: Get back to the house. It's not crap in my contacts. It's my eye. Wow, does it hurt. BTW, I don't know what happened to my glasses but they're not in my suitcase. Liz walks around with no contacts and no glasses. Liz cant see the big-screen TV.
I ate lasagna in my semi-blind state.
1:30pm-ish: Back to shopping. I helped Mom pick out several items and Barnes 'N Noble (if you're reading this, they're not for you). The contacts were back in my this time and my eye hurt less but still noticeable.
Did I mention all the football we watched all day? Go Bearcats!
Then we went to Bath & Body and I got my soap for the year. No, seriously. We also shopped in Bed Bath & Beyond where I did not buy anything.
Dinner-time: I did beg Mom to come down to the basement and talk to me while I spent quality time on the elliptical. Then we ate again.
More shopping: This time on the internet. I bought my gift for Dad (Eating Well Magazine), the Melcher Christmas steal-a-thon Christmas Passing Party (a gift certificate to Kiva - hmm, I hope my family doesn't read this blog), and gifts for Amanda and Kelly (I do know better than to tell that one).
My eye is still bothering me, this time it is the contact. You know when you get that weird halo/blurry/funky thing lenses can do? That's what I've got going on. I'm not sure what the issue is but the pain's basically gone. I'll take the blurry vision.

Tomorrow: Who knows? I'm thinking about running but also thinking about going on the elliptical instead. I've got to get back into training for my winter 5k.


The ER: The Sweetest Thing I Heard After...

I did have to go to work today for a little while despite my adventure last night. While there, many of my colleagues told me to go back home. (Thanks.) I did have one thing I had to do and couldn't re-schedule, but I only stayed a few hours.

While I was explaining what happened, a colleague said the sweetest thing I heard today (besides Amanda taking me to the ER and staying up all night): "Do you want me to come and clean up the blood in your house?"

I made the comment that my bathroom looked like a crime scene. The colleague noted that some people just don't like cleaning that stuff up, and a problem of living alone is that any mess is my own. Luckily, while other people's blood makes me want to pass out, the site of my own doesn't bother me at all (unless it's gooooshing out of my face).

Still, I feel like one friend who will get out of bed and haul @ss across town in the middle of the night and another who will clean my house for me is a sign that I'm making a family here. Sweet.

my latest trip to the ER

Sunday night around 11:30pm: I went to sleep. All was normal.

Sunday night/Monday morning 1:30am: I woke up. At first I thought I had a runny nose but quickly figured out it was a bloody nose. Which would not stop. Applying pressure made it worse. A Google search (rarely a good idea in this situation) did yield some helpful information. The most consistent information was: if the bleeding doesn't stop in ten minutes, go to the ER.

1:40am: Still on the fence about the ER, but still bleeding.

1:41am: The biggest blood clot ever came out of my body. (Ewww.) At that point I was really scared. I called Amanda and begged for help.

2:00am (Thank goodness Amanda got her car fixed.) The bleeding slowed to a dull trickle. The magic words at the ER seemed to be, "I can't stop bleeding" because I got right in.

The timeline in the ER is a little blurry (Amanda could tell you better). But the doctor came in, looked at me, left, came back, left again, and then came back to actually work on my nose. It had basically stopped bleeding by then and I was feeling pretty guilty about dragging Amanda out of bed and across town for something that basically stopped on it's own.

And then the doc touched me. Gooosh. And we were back in bloody nose business. So she cauterized the area. Holy mother of Wow! did that hurt.

The doc came back to check on me and found that I'd sprung a leak so she cauterized more. This one didn't hurt so bad, but it still did not tickle.

4:07am: "We'll give that ten minutes to make sure it stops" says the doc.

5:00am: Still no doc to do one last check (thanks Abbott Northwestern) but the RN sent me home with follow up instructions. I called in sick/late to work and went to bed thankful for health, health insurance, and a friend I can wake up in the middle of the night from a dead sleep to sit with me in the ER so I won't be scared.


Running a marathon taught me to have faith...

Amanda and I were talking about a circumstance unrelated to running. I was enumerating the values of taking one particular action and Amanda was noting the possible risks and negative outcomes associated with said action. In response, I was encouraging faith in a positive outcome. I was trying to explain why I'm so sure the positive outcome is the one that will actually be created out of the circumstance. In explaining my point, I made a statement Amanda really liked:
Something about running a marathon taught me to have faith
I was saying that I had faith in my ability to create the experience I wanted out of running the marathon. Not the experience of running 26.2 miles in a certain time, or running a certain speed, but all the experiences that went along with it that were so positive like raising a whole bunch of money (there's still time to donate) for a great mentoring program and having people make a 26-mile-long line and cheer for me as I ran by (something you should all try at least once). The experience I meant was just knowing that the marathon was going to be a wonderful experience. I didn't know if I was going to finish or live to tell the tale. But even a few days before I ran I knew it was going to be great.

The other day we got some really discouraging news at work. That information highlighted a larger a concern we've all had about the something that's been going on (or not going on) at work for a long time. The news is discouraging on its face. But the circumstance actually creates an opportunity (finally) to address this larger issue. In the end, something really positive will come out of this, even though it didn't appear that way when it showed up on our doorstep. Why?
Because something about the experience helped me find my faith that I can create the reality I want.

Sidenote to my friend Amanda: I'll also refer you to what it says up top just below the title of the blog and tell you to Man Up.


I need to train for a new marathon, and I've found a miracle cure

I've had two unusually severe migraines this month. I'm not sure I got a migraine the entire time I trained for the marathon.

Ergo, I've decided I need something new to train for. I'm thinking not a marathon because I don't want to tear up my joints prematurely (I plan on using them for a long time to come) and I don't want to buy that many pairs of shoes again. I did hear tell of some Freeze-your-@ss-off-Half-Marathon in the middle of January that I will be, um, strongly encouraged to (read: if all else fails, shamed into) run with the St Paul runners so that may be my new goal. (For some reason, the 5k wasn't the correct motivation; something about the distance I think. But I can't wait to run it.)

I haven't run as much since the big day. For a while it was resting, then motivation, then the time changed and I have even more issues than normal about getting up because it's dark, plus add to that some days I should now be running at the Y and I have a whole separate mental block about that. I need some positive motivation to make me actually run at the Y. (I'm fine once I get started, but just the thought of it...) I'm open to any and all suggestions.

My new training plan, for now, is to train for the I-have-no-idea-why-I'm-running-when-it's-this-cold-Half-Marathon. All the running I did last year taught me I'm really happier going for a nice steady run for a couple of hours than hauling tail for a couple miles. And the Best 5k in Town will be a great speed training session for the longer race. (PS, you should list the Dreidel Dash over at RaceberryJam.)

In migraine related news, I found a freakin' miracle drug yesterday (as I lay in bed feeling like I was going to die). The migraine I had yesterday was the most severe one I've had in a long time and I was really desperate. I remembered an old (read: legal) prescription I had for some, um, really strong pain killers and I had some leftover pills.

Lord only knows why I didn't cut the tub in half, but I swallowed this entire horse pill (per the instructions on the bottle). I compare the strength of this medicine to using a power saw to cut a piece of paper in half.

Twenty minutes passed by and then: I didn't have a head ache, I wasn't in any pain, I couldn't remember pain, I swore my head and my entire body would never hurt again.

And then I slept for like five hours.

It's like a whole day of my life that I'll never get back. But those pills. Wow. What a relief to be pain free for all that time. I'm a little worried I'll get addicted (I haven't taken any more) but the sleeping part didn't feel right. Almost like a hangover without the sick, so I really don't want to take the pills ever again, despite their awesome pain relief.


the best dinner I've ever cooked


I'm a little worried seriously concerned that I'll still be full tomorrow morning when I wake up to run. What'd I make?

Calamari with mushrooms and capers over greens in a goat cheese dressing. I'm calling it Liz's Awesome Dinner for short. I don't have a recipe that I can point you to, so let me tell you the story of how I made it up instead.

1.) I'd been seriously craving squid for a long time and my dinner at La Hacienda on Friday night merely held me over for a while but didn't fully satisfy the craving. (I was pretty careful this time about not letting Amanda steal my squid too.)

2.) Squid was on sale (I guess, what is a normal price for squid?) at the Co-op.

3.) I bought goat cheese yesterday. (Goat cheese should really become a staple of my diet.)

4.) I really wanted salad. I crave salad about as often as I crave seafood so I usually honor my desires.

5.) I had to go to the YWCA today which is only notable in that it got me out of the house and near the co-op to begin with.

I trawled around the web for some good calamari/squid/whatever-you-call-it recipes. Fried didn't sound good to me (read: frying food at home didn't sound good to me) and I don't own a grill. So I was left with broil/bake/roasting or the pan-seared/saute option. I found some recipe for baked squid with potatoes and olives and I thought I'd try that.

When I got to the co-op though, they had these local greens that I bought for my salad craving, and then I noticed the local mushrooms (which I supplemented with shitake mushrooms that are decidedly not local). At that point, I remembered I had capers at home and decided to do a piccata-like thing instead of the recipe I'd found.

I got home with my squids (frozen of course) and first had to learn how to thaw them properly. I did the bowl/change-the-water method which worked well and didn't waste a ton of water.

I sauteed my mushrooms and carefully added the capers right at the end.

I chopped the squid into rings (in a big WIN for me, the tentacles had been pre-separated and the eyes were already gone) and marinated the rings and tentacles for a while. I had to sear the squid pieces a few at a time so they could all make contact with the bottom of the pan. (This is the one part of this entire blog post it's ok for Mark, my cousin the chef, to read. He'd probably cringe at the rest of it.)

After all the saute magic, I added the "piccata" mix into the squid.

Then I created my own salad dressing or olive oil, red wine vinegar and goat cheese and added it to my yummy locally grown greens. I added the seafood mix and sprinkled with Parmesan. It was so good. Sorry to my friends reading this who don't eat squid for religious reasons. Not sorry to anyone reading this who just thinks squid is gross. You don't know what you're missing. Besides being yummy, my squids were a good source of important nutrients like copper and selenium (I'm sure I'll need those for something).

A good way to start a Sunday morning

This morning, I'd planned to wake up and run with the St Paul girls (whom Amanda refers to as my "running mates"). I woke up and checked Facebook (standard procedure in case anyone can't come) and got some good news on another front (more on that in a minute). I got to Lake Nokomis and met Jenna (the other St Paul girls dumped us). We had a great run. Lake Nokomis at sunrise is just about gorgeous. Plus the sun rise today was all purple and red and even more dramatic than usual.

After completing my exercise, I came home to verify and get more information on what I learned from Keith Ellison's facebook feed. We are one step closer to having an actual health care system. Although, as noted it aint a law yet. Find out all 39 democrats who voted against the bill. (Dennis Kucinich?!?) And, in other good news Gov. Pawlenty is clearly gearing up for a run for president in 2012. I'd just like to point out that health care in Minnesota is cost effective and provides excellent coverage despite the governor's many many attempts to eviscerate the very programs meant to keep costs down.

How does the US stack up against other nations in health care spending? It's what everyone has been saying. We spend more to cover fewer people and tend to score lower than other industrialized nations on public health indicators. (We can talk about abortion but the same people opposed to health care covering abortion have opposed expanding the health care that would reduce our ridiculously high infant mortality rates.)

Note: Apparently this post will be about politics.

Next up in health care: Legalize pot. I learned recently that many other industries are opposed to this because hemp is a better fiber for clothing, rope, and pulp for paper and can be produced with less stress on the environment. Also, in the Netherlands (where pot is basically legal) there's actually a smaller percent of the population actually using it than places where it's illegal.

And I think this is just cool. What a great idea, to take apart HIV and make it carry something that makes us better rather than sick.

Now, H1N1 is all over the news and I'm sure everyone reading this knows someone who's had it already. (Do those people need the shots then?) Here's the treatment method I'm sure we all want our kids to learn. And the tragic real life example of isolation and H1N1. (Although, honestly, how many of you, when you read that story thought "I can see Russia from my house".) And, yet another reason I don't shop at Wal-Mart. (And another reason employers should be required to provide health insurance.)

Hopefully stepping away from topics that can piss people off, I recently discovered I love this show.

I've always wondered what Hydroponic gardening means, especially since last week when I dropped a ton of money on tomatoes grown in a hydroponic garden in Minnesota instead of tomatoes grown some other (less expensive?) way in some far away state. I think I could totally do that in my windows.



Just a little story from my day

The funniest part of my day:
After Amanda and I ate an awesome dinner at La Hacienda, we drove seperate to her house. She was in the lead and I got stopped by a few lights that she sped right through proceeded through safely. So I was shocked when I got to her apartment door and it was locked.

I'd already seen her car parked out on the street.

Did she come in the back door (which never happens)? I unlocked the apartment door (with the magical key I don't actually have because it would be against the rules). The apartment was dark.

Where is Amanda?

I called her. No answer. It went to voice mail after two rings. Now I'm starting to get nervous.

Go back downstairs. I verify that it is, in fact, Amanda's car parked outside and not some red-car-impostor. Where is she? Visions of calling the police and reporting my best friend abducted between her car door and apartment door are dancing through my head. I've had a rough enough day, I don't need this at the end of it.

I started to go back upstairs to think. And then I heard her voice. A neighbor had called her into his unit to "look at art". Ha, a likely story.


After all that...

After all that work I did figuring out how to vote, I almost forgot to actually do it.

Again, I took my mentee to the bus stop this morning. Early. And then I had to be in downtown St Paul at 8:15am. (Yeah, I laughed when I heard what time they wanted me too.) So I couldn't vote before work.

I didn't have breakfast either. Which pretty much set the tone for the day. I've been hungry ever since. Someone finally let me leave after 4:30p tonight. After trying to convince a someone from my office that netbooks are a waste of money for the way our staff use computers. (Sorry but the person they have picking out computers for us, it's like handing me some x-rays and asking me to diagnose a tumor.) I'm not sure it worked.

So I was exhausted when I got home, and even less likely to go out because it was raining. I made myself a pretty nice dinner (eggs, bacon, bagel, and roasted veggies) and was sitting enjoying it when I thought...

"Oh %#@&!"...I haven't voted yet. Which I left immediately to do.

The results of my first Ranked Choice Voting (also known as Instant Runoff Voting) experience: I'll tell you about it the week before Christmas when my vote is finally counted. The ballots were fine, easy to use, the same as the ones from the previous years. It was more the homework I had to do ahead of time picking who to vote, although I probably would have had to do a similar amount of homework because I was picking people I'd never heard of for offices I didn't even know existed (hello Board of Estimation and Taxation). And now I'm here typing and wearing my "I voted" sticker which is really the main reason I vote.


An interesting day, and it wont be the last one...

Today was a looong day.

It started at 6am when my alarm went off. I had a little internal debate. I surprised myself even by actually getting out of bed to run. My new 5k race prep plan is called "run fast up hills". I only had a short time to run this morning, so I did just under 4 miles. Turning on the "elevation" feature will reveal, I was fairly serious about the "hills". None of them is too tall, but some are pretty long for being hills in my neighborhood. Side question: Why does GMaps have the bike paths but not the running paths on their maps?

I took my mentee to her school but stop this morning. (Why does she need someone to drive her to her bus stop? It's not the teenager's fault but please don't get me started.) That's the reason I actually couldn't do a long(er) run. It's ok, it probably only cut off a couple miles.

Work, work, work
I was the second one in the office today, just after 8am. I pulled up and most of the lights were off but there was one car in the lot that I didn't recognize. One of my bosses got a new car it turns out. (Guess who was first at the office.) And I worked. And worked. And worked. My last home visit was at 5pm. And then I actually went back to the office for a little while.
One of the volunteers in our office (actually, our only office volunteer) had a death in the family so I left the office and went down the street to Sholom for the shiva. (Follow the link for an explanation if you don't know what I'm talking about.) It started at 7pm (that's right, I was working on hour 12 at that point...).

Toilet Paper!
Sometimes, a Target run is just what's required and tonight was no exception. I got coupons (probably everyone in Minneapolis reading this got the same coupons) from Target for their brand of, like, everything including toilet paper. When I got to the store, the shelves were completely bare of the Target brand. (That's how I know you all got the coupons too.) No worries, I successfully picked a different brand to meet my needs.
Also, I was happily able to buy beer tonight, so I'm chillin' now. (The fact that I can still type coherently tells you not to worry.)

Am now drinking a beer. Will go to bed soon.

What tomorrow holds:
1. Pick up the mentee even earlier than today (7:30a) becuase...
2. My first home visit starts at 8:15a tomorrow. (Now seriously, why did I schedule that?)
3. Which means I probably won't be able to vote until after work. I will feel naked all day without my "I voted" sticker.

Another note about voting:
Both of my posts (I've only written two) mentioning instant run off voting, otherwise known as ranked choice voting seem to draw comments from people who can't possibly read my blog on a regular basis. (If you're reading this as a "note" in Facebook, you'll need to head over to the actual blog A4bats to see the comments.)

I'll let you know tomorrow what I think about ranked choice voting. Although, it's possibly I wont let you know for several months becuase the City of Minneapolis is not allowed to use electronic ballot counters that are not federally certified. And there are no federally certified machines that can handle instant run off voting. (Iam not making this up...) Here's one place I read it:
Since there is no federally- or state-certified voting equipment capable of counting a Ranked Choice Voting election, the election will be hand-counted to determine the winners. Minneapolis election judges will begin working on the hand-count Nov. 4, and winners in individual races will be known as the count proceeds in the coming weeks. The hand-counting is tentatively expected to be complete by Dec. 21.

My ward is the second to last to have our votes counted. My thing is, if this is in multiple states, how do we not have a federally certified machine that can count my vote. A hand count? To save money? Although apparently in the next few years there will be a federal machine that can count votes this way. All I can say is, don't laugh my St. Paul friends. This question is on your ballots this year.


Ranked choice voting: doing my homework

Election day is coming. This is the first year Minneapolis is doing the ranked choice thing. It's new and I want to be prepared, so I spent some time tonight thinking about my vote. First thing about "ranked choice": There was primary day last month when I felt naked without my "I Voted" sticker. (I didn't get one because ranked choice eliminates the primary.)

Here's the thing. I am a reasonably well educated adult, so this whole voting thing should be easy for me. Wow. Because it took me at least an hour to figure out who I wanted on the park board (where I pick 3 at large members and one from my park district), Board of Estimation and Taxation (who knows why I spent time on that because it may not even exist after this election) and what to do about the City Charter Amendment Question (to eliminate the Board of Estimation and Taxation). The charter amendment question was the hardest to decide. I had a hard time finding information from either side I thought I could trust. City council and the mayor is also up for election but I already knew basically who I want to vote for in those elections.

So, with everyone picked out, I had to actually make a list so I remember who I want. You'd think it'd be easy right? There are no less than 12 names on my list, plus instructions on how to vote on the amendment. (I've never heard of any of these people. I hope they're all real.) And I didn't even use up all three choices for the Mayor or City Council. (I know. The list could have been even longer.)

What I've learned from the process:
1. Ranked choice really requires some serious thought before election day. It's like homework.
2. I suddenly care about the park system. (Duh, given the insane amount of time I spent running through our parks this spring and summer.) I told my mom what was important to me about the park system (meaning for me to enjoy running around the lakes) is what time the bathrooms are unlocked in the winter (because they take away the biffies in the winter for some inexplicable reason) and how often the paths (lakes and parkways) are cleared. (Who can say single issue voter?)
3. When I think about the parks, I always consider the rec centers and sports teams as separate from the lakes, parkways, and the falls. That's a very inaccurate thought.
4. League of Women Voters of Minnesota is an excellent website that really helped me make decisions about my vote. They also endorsed a position on the City Charter Amendment, helpful since it's the only site other than the "yes" and "no" sites of any credibility. WIN. Second WIN for the league, their national chapter has an explanation of health care that doesn't make my head explode.

Since the marathon, I haven't really been motivated to run... but I cooked a lot today

Today was actually one of the first day I was really motivated to do much of anything. I was going to do a long(ish) run, then have a beer and watch the game. Alas, it is not possible to buy alcohol in Minnesota on a Sunday. (I know. It is ridiculous.) So I had no need to run to burn of calories in anticipation of alcohol. I was additionally confused by this whole fall back an hour thing. I spent most of the morning laying on the couch instead. (Win.)

I got up long enough to go to the Co-op where I dropped over $60, mostly in produce. Among other things, I bought fresh tomatoes. What's that? Oh look, a pig flying by... I then spent an awesomely productive day cooking. I'm not going to document it here. (Although, if you like reading about those things and finding new recipes, may I suggest my friend Chris' blog.)

What did I make? I was jonesing for some soup. A lot of times at work, if I eat soup I don't eat anything else so I need a hearty soup with protein and carbs.

First, I made White Bean and Vegetable Soup. I made it basically as described there.I used the blender to puree about eight cups of the soup, as opposed to the two recommended in the recipe. That's more a texture than a taste thing. Also, I will reheat these in the microwave so it's better if the ingredients are a more uniform consistency and size.

Tomato Soup was a late addition to my menu but I badly wanted some. This recipe looked good as it included lentils, meeting my protein and carb requirements. Plus, cooked tomatoes are like the healthiest thing in the world. Obviously, this was the reason for the fresh tomatoes I bough. This one, well, you would recognize the ingredients from the recipe but not much else. I used big tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes) because they were the only ones I could buy that were grown locally. All I know is they were "from the vine" and they were the round red ones. (People tell me there's a difference between roma, heirloom, cherry, etc, but raw tomatoes make me shudder so I've never done a taste test.) I roasted the onion with the tomatoes. After the roasting, I pureed the tomatoes, onion and garlic, and then cooked them with the lentils. I don't know why I wasn't in the mood for pureed lentils. Perhaps it was all the pureeing with the other soup. I think I used way more lentils than were called for, but yum nonetheless. I confess, I did have to add a bit of sugar to the soup to cover the recognizable bitter tomato taste, but dude, I bought fresh tomatoes and actually turned them into something I will eat.

Last, I made roasted vegetables which is so much my specialty there's not even a recipe I can refer you to. Today, it was roasted broccoli, cauliflower and edamame. (Firefox doesn't think "edamame" is a word, but I am spelling it correctly.) I always toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then pick any additional flavors. Today, I added sesame oil and lemon juice. Apparently, there's a roasted edamame recipe for every day of the year. I highly recommend them. They're yummy and have iron, which I always have trouble including in my diet. Next to Brussels sprouts, edamame is my favorite thing to roast.

I know. We should all send winter coats down to Hell and tell the air traffic controllers to look out for flocks of pigs when I willingly by Brussels sprouts and tomatoes. Also, seriously, I did not know "Brussels sprouts" was spelled with an "s" at the end of the first word. The co-op today did have Brussels Sprout stalks today, which I'd never seen before.

Last night, I cleaned out my freezer, which was pretty depressing. There was a whole bunch of food I cooked that I wound up not eating. Those included paad thai with the wrong (and consequently overcooked) noodles, an early attempt at roast vegetables which did not go so well, and some quinoa thing I should've made a lot less of to begin with.

Happily, the freezer is now full of stuff I am much more likely to eat. About eight single serve containers of my white bean soup, three of my tomato soup, and three of my roasted vegetables. Nom nom nom.

Now that I've got food for the entire month of November, I just need to run so I don't embarrass myself in the Dreidel Dash. By the way, Beth, on numerous occasions, has told me the course is totally flat. Here's the route. However, turning on the elevation feature of Gmap Pedometer reveals that Beth is smoking something good. It's ok, I need to learn to run UP hill in a 5k.


Danger: Bowling may cause tight ham strings. Wait. What?

No. Seriously.

Yesterday we went bowling. (My team from my office. Yes, my job is that cool.) We bowled two games, some people just bowled one. My wrist is mildly stiff. My ham strings though. Wow. Super tight. They've been tight ever since I took this really long run.... But one of my colleagues, who did not just run a marathon, had similar symptoms so we decided to blame bowling.

I got a 98 in my second game, which was the high score of the day. I got 3 strikes that game. I'm considering the first game I bowled to be a warm up. Although both times my score was higher than my age.

I'm starting to miss running, feeling like it's time to get back out there. I ran once this week, worked out once and took an hour walk. And now it's raining. So I'm thinking about waking up early and working out at the Y again. I haven't been able to get to the Y much this week because I've been taking my mentee to the bus stop. That situation just highlights the ridiculousness of several systems she has to deal with, not the least of which is that no one except the principal can change her school bus stop and the principal is apparently never there.

I also made my Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) plans. Next step: getting the days off work. Ever since I got done with the marathon, I've been getting super excited for Thanksgiving.


I think I have a sinus infection

I think I have a sinus infection. Although it's not totally clear. Last night a sinus headache gave me the worst migraine I've had in a long time. The migraine is mostly gone (oh crap, I just realized I forgot to feed my fish), now I just don't want to eat.

(My first thought when I started typing was "I wonder if this will show up on Facebook now, damn news feed")

Life after the marathon is going ok so far. My first instinct was to pick a new marathon to train for. Although my brain tells me I should take a lot of time off. A lot of you will be screaming "Liz, you're young, train, have fun". I think you're partly right. But I'm young, my knees have to last a lot longer than you old geezers you more experienced runners. Really I watched someone my parents age run her whole life and then not be able to run anymore because of arthritis. And if I had to pick between running a marathon every year for the next ten years or never running a marathon again but still running 5ks when I'm 80, I'll take the running with the senior citizens option.

I'm starting to get excited for Thanksgiving too. (Speaking of running) because I always take an awesome long run to justify the insane helping of sweet potatoes that follow. Mmm, sweet potatoes.

BTW, at work, I sent someone home sick last Wednesday (the day I flew to Amsterdam) 'cause I was afraid she was going to give her crap to me before I ran. Good thing I did because she was H1N1 positive. I just saw her today. She looks much better, glad to see it.


One more post from Amsterdam

I got an hilarious email from my parents the other day. Basically the son of a family friend is also (somewhat accidentally) living in Amsterdam and I should email him.

Sometimes (rarely) I just do what I'm told. I haven't seen this person, we figured, since I was five years old. But I emailed him anyway. We actually just went out tonight. I had a really nice time. The two of us went to a really chill restaurant near the hotel (which it turns out is about a five minute walk from his house) and hung out. I had a really good time.

I think the rest of the crew is out at a steak house (which makes sense with three vegetarians in the group). Although by now they're probably out at a bar or, um, coffee shop enjoying themselves. I've learned that I can't consume too much alcohol after a race either, so I'm fine hanging out with a few stragglers in the hotel.

I had this dream a few nights before the marathon that I ran the marathon and finished and then couldn't remember the run. That's not totally how I feel now, although it does feel like it was a lot shorter than five and a half hours. As a whole. Some parts of the race feel like they took a lot longer than that.

And I still can't think about running. I'm taking a break. Maybe I'll start swimming again or something. Just kidding. But taking a week off does still feel like the right thing to do.


More on the marathon

I have no idea what I've said already.  Here's kind of a breakdown of the race:

0-7.5K: The "first loop" was a nice little jog through the city center and through one of the parks.  It was around 3 or 4k that a power walker passed me.  No joke.  My roommate told me powerwalkers can walk 8 minute miles so I didn't feel so bad.

7.5k - 16k: Took me down to the shores of the Amstel River.  I could see everyone running on the other bank for a looooong time.  It also had some bizarre loop in it, probably only to add distance.  It just made the water stop farther away.

16k-21k:  Probably the prettiest part of the course, which is really saying something.  The Windmill was right before the water stop.  There were sheep and cows and geese.  I couldn't believe there was so much pasture land so close to the city.  And, I took 10:00 off my former half marathon time.  WIN.

21k-25k: I just tried to keep it together for this part.  I thought I was going through a park but it was more like an industrial park.  I was getting lonely and tired.  

25K-30K: It was around 27 or 28k that I started throwing in short walks.  It was much later in the race than I thought I'd walk.  This was also the point where my back started to really hurt.  It was a little bit of stretching and a little bit of some other issues.  I took my second dose of ibuprofen somewhere around 25k though, so I knew I'd be better.

30k-35k:  I saw the happiest clock I've ever seen in my life.  Becuase it was around this point that I figured out I could almost walk the rest of the way and still finish.  I started walking a little more, but I was still running a lot.  It was somewhere in here that Eminem's "Loose Yourself" because a big part of my strategy.  Also it was about here that the half-marathoners tried their darndest to run me over.  The half marathon started about 3 hours after the full started.  I was happy for the company at the end of the race, despite the risk to my physical safety.

35k-40k: Where is the freaking water?  Nope, the water stops are still every 5k, even though it's the end of the race.  Mercifully the rain started about here so I could cool off a little.  I was walking more frequently by this part of the race, but received much more encouragement from the half marathoners than the fasties who tried to harm me earlier.  

40k-42k: Lots and lots of walking.  By this point, I knew I was going to finish.  I must have awesome shoes because despite the blister the size of a strawberry my feet did not hurt.  Lots and lots of encouragement from other runners.  And then, I saw the stadium, took one last walk and absolutely goosed it to the finish line.

Other thoughts:
Last night at our pasta dinner, Ryan told us some story about being a Bolder Options mentor and remembering the kids when we ran.  So it was awesome when "Man in the Mirror" came on near the end of the race and I totally did think about the kids.  I was a mentor for those of you who didn't know.

I sort of knew ahead of time that this was going to be a really fun day and that I was going to finish.  It's the closest to absolute faith I've ever been.  Nice.

I just got distracted by people asking me to go drink and dance so I'll have to finish this later...