Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the Morning Before Christmas

'Twas the morning before Christmas and all through the house
every creature was stirring, except for the mouse
And by mouse I do mean my sister so dear
With her boyfriend, I'm so happy they both are here!

The stockings are scattered on our wooden floor
The presents are stacked almost to the door
My hairdryer roaring as I get ready to go
Off to work with my co-workers and my boss named Brian Joe

I know I'll be looking out the window all day
Anxious to be home and with my family to play
As they're all waiting for me, snug in my home
All that's left is for Santa to come!

With Mama and Papa and Laurel and Scott
Don't forget the dog, Puck, he's here with the lot!
When Christmas day comes, we'll all settle 'round
our sparkling tree, with gifts by the pound.

I've never seen a tree quite so stacked
With so many presents, where were they all packed?
The best part of Christmas, however
Is the part I remember forever
The bright happy looks on everyone's faces when
They open the gifts I so lovingly bought them!
Because Christmas is about giving, it's the most important part
But it's also about living, and having love in your heart.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. I hope you have a very merry Christmas. I know I will!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"I should have been a rapper" and other things people say

It was our second trip north to Bellevue, Washington when a hip hop song came up on my iPod's playlist. Tiny little Melisa sat next to me in the passenger seat, while Taylor sat in the backseat. Melisa and I started doing the wiggle that can only be defined as dancing while strapped securely in our seats of the truck.

Taylor Swift said, "I should have been a rapper."


Hilarity ensued. It was to be the first of many "darnedest things" that he would say during that trip to training, and even now that we've returned, he still says them.

Taylor, a.k.a. "Taylor Swift" or "Swifty," is one of my fellow new co-workers. At 25, he still has a baby face that at first glance pegs him at 18, second glance will give him 22. Then he deadpans something along the lines of, "I like to hold cool things in my hand because they make me look cool" and age goes out the window as you're doubled over gasping for breath with laughter and instead of a number, he's just plain ol' "Awesome."

You're never quite sure if he's serious.

You're never quite sure if he's kidding either.

Both of which make it so darned funny.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Running in Snow is Hard

I have a moment! Literally, I have about 10 minutes before I have to gather my things and run off to work. This whole work thing is exhausting. Yesterday I was "done" at about noon. I just could not summon the energy. The day crawled. It wasn't as if it wasn't busy. It was. Not swamped like usual, but a decidedly steady stream of customers.

I realized why I was so energy-less later, when I managed to jam my sandwich down my throat in approximately 2.5 seconds. Apparently as I burn somewhere between 1800 and 2200 calories a day simply by doing my job (nevermind if I manage to hit the snowpack before work with a grueling run), three cups of coffee doesn't equal "breakfast." At my old job, I could get caught up in choosing my clothes or doing my hair, or merely enjoying my coffee and forget breakfast and be fine. At this job, it appears that that is not an option. This girl needs food!

You'd think it'd be obvious to someone who loves to cook — and eat — as much as I do. It just wasn't something I had to worry about at my previous — and extremely sedentary — job. At Verizon, I get fussy at about 2 p.m. if I didn't manage to squeeze in at least a ten minute break to snag a snack earlier on. The headache from lack of food hits at exactly 3 p.m. (this was tested last Friday when we were swamped and hopping from customer to customer with hardly space to breathe trying to make up for the hour plus wait time).

It's glorious. Odd that it's glorious? Not. I gained something like 5 pounds during the three weeks I was sitting bored at training and I feel as if I've dropped them all merely from running around at work (I don't know for sure as I refuse to own a scale). My kicks are tired, my legs feel great even though I've only managed one run since I've been back. It's a job and exercise all in one!

Just another reason to love my job.

Before I leave you, I want to tell you about a fashion thing that I discovered as I haven't talked about that sort of thing in a while.

I've always wanted to wear those giant bling-y rings and have never felt like there was a suitable way for me to wear them. My fingers are rather delicate and my penchant for big jewelry lately makes that extra touch a little too much. Except I discovered this new shampoo that makes my hair shiny and stay lush and smooth all day long if I wear it down, so I've been wearing my hair down more lately and combined with a drapy-necked sweater, there's not really room for big necklaces and my earrings are mere glimpses.

Enter big ol' ring. Hooray!

I'm sure y'all care, but I'm excited. And that's what matters right?

Also, in the spirit of the season, I'm currently rocking red and green nails — upon which one customer commented yesterday, "Hey! Her nails are Christmas tree colored!" and my co-worker, Josh, glanced at them and grinned saying, "Yeah. And I'm jealous."

Jokes ensued the rest of the day about Josh needing a manicure. I think it was funnier if you were there.

As soon as I can, I will tell you about one of my co-workers whom we have dubbed "Taylor Swift" or "Swifty" when he says certain hilarious things. (His name is Taylor, so it followed).


SUNDAY: 2.5 miles in 6 inches of fresh's like running in sand!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Letter to everyone...about nothing

Dear you all,

I love my job. I just thought I'd throw that out there. Even though I was in the store until 8:15 p.m. last night assisting with one last sale (to a very lovely woman who was super excited about her Droid but was so not tech-savvy...though perhaps, after last night's thorough tutorials, she has a fighting chance), so even though I was in the store and hour and fifteen minutes past closing and drove through a snowstorm at a crawl to make it home and just after 9 p.m. to a starving (and whining about it) boyfriend, I love my job. I didn't mind being there that late.

It made me sad because it meant my boyfriend time was halved, but I know that there will be plenty of nights where I'll get home on time like I did on Monday night and we'll curl up on the couch with our dinner and watch Dexter, or whatever TV show we're watching at that time. And he'll rub my legs and I'll give him a head rub and we'll smile tiredly at each other and just enjoy the time spent together before we go to bed and start all over again.

By the way, he's been a champion boyfriend. Monday morning, I got coffee and he cut up apples and celery for my lunch. Monday night, dinner was on the table (a very fancy from-the-box-mac-n-cheese with broccoli, which is a fan favorite around here). Yesterday morning, he full on made my lunch with a turkey sandwich, chips, apples and celery. Dinner was a little sketchier, but it was still 85% made by the time I got home (homemade pesto from the freezer on tortellini with salad, I'm telling you, that pesto business is a good call). Oh and the driveway was neatly shoveled yesterday morning before I had to leave.

He wins all the points. I have got to be the luckiest girl in the world!

Anyways, I promise I'll do a more thorough update this weekend when I have more time, but I'll try to continue to get little blips in here and there like this. Just to keep y'all in the loop you know.

Oh, and exercise has kind of fallen by the wayside. I was going to run this morning, but running's a bit more of a challenge when there's 6 to 8 inches of fresh snow. A challenge I'm not willing to conquer. My running coach is getting me an off-season training schedule, so hopefully that will motivate me, and now that I'm back home I'll be able to hit the mountain on my off days (I'm so excited!). Anyhow, breakfast is calling...


Monday, December 13, 2010

Back from the rabbit hole

Just so y'all know:

1. I'm home.

2. I'm alive (ish). I'm still countering a very persistent cold, but with me, so what else is new?

3. I'm going to my first "real" day on the job. I've worked at the store before already, but as my boss said, we weren't fully trained so he couldn't really have us doing anything of value. He said it in a much more smart-ass way, as his penchant, but the long in short of it was that.

4. I'm excited...I don't know what to wear!

5. I'm wishing I'd slept in longer.

6. I'm not sure why I got up at 6:30. I'm not running today as I'm trying to get better first, and I feel like I'm competing with boyfriend for morning space. His involves music. Mine does not. It's frustrating.

7. Boyfriend's starting work today. He didn't sleep last night. He might be excited/nervous. He looks adorable in his uniform.

8. I think in the future I shall lie abed until he leaves so as to avoid morning differences. At least he made me coffee.

9. It's a good thing we like each other, a lot.

10. That's all, I just wanted to update really quickly. I'm back now, so expect more to come soon!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Cashmere Tip

So this is something that I've had so many problems with in the past. What's a girl to do when her nice cashmere and wool sweaters pill up?

Apparently, you shave them!

Gently, with the fabric laid flat on a surface (like the floor or a table), only apply as much pressure as you would when shaving your legs so as not to snag and cause holes. They make actual sweater shavers, apparently, but I just used my Venus with a fresh razor that will now be my "sweater razor." Disposable would work as well, I suppose. Combine with a lint brush to pick up the "decapitated" pills and your sweater will be returned to excellent condition!

That and always hand wash or dry clean and always lie flat to dry and never wring or agitate your cashmere and it will last you a lifetime.

Or at least, so I'm told.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

My feet ache from the three days of at the new job and the four mile run I managed to squeeze in with boyfriend's sister this morning. Then, instead of resting my tired kicks, I kept on them and ran around baking pumpkin pie,

 scrubbing potatoes (both sweet and regular!),

setting the table,

and preparing turkey stock for the gravy I'm going to make this evening. Our house is full of grandma, parents and sister of boyfriend, and I'm struggling to let go of the disaster that six people in a small cabin cause. As my feet ache more, however, letting it all go is becoming easier.

I'm just going to pretend I don't see it.

That works, right?

I love my job so far, which is good, and I can already predict that I will [hopefully] be good at it. It's a matter of talking to people and being the sweet person that I am, and let's face it, I've got that dialed.

While I'm not looking forward to another two weeks away from home — starting again on Sunday — I am excited to get to see one of my wonderful friends who lives in the Seattle area. She doesn't know it yet, but I plan on being at her house a lot in the next two weeks. I haven't seen her since May and I won't see her again until at least April, so I need to get my fix.

Somehow, I don't think she'll mind much.

I'm off to put my feet up and put a compress over my eyes while everyone is out and about. Mama Buwalda and Grandma Buwalda are at the grocery store picking up fixin's that got lost in the melee of coordinating, boyfriend and his dad are off cross country skiing and sister is entertaining herself quite well. Which is to be expected, as she is an adult after all. Wish my luck on my holiday ventures and I hope y'all have an awesome Turkey Day.

Pumpkin Pie (courtesy of Libby's canned pumpkin label)
Makes 2 pies

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 (29 oz.) can pure pumpkin
2 cans (12 fl. oz) evaporated milk
Easy double crust pie crust rolled and put into pie dishes

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shells. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temp to 350 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for two hours. Serve immediately (with whipped cream!) or refrigerate.



TODAY: 4.01 miles

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Go-To Hair

This hairstyle is my "go-to" these days. It's great for days your hair is dirty because it hides the grease, days it's raining or humid because you can put your bangs (if you have them, like me) back, and it's great because the messier it looks, the better!

It also doesn't take a lot of braiding skill and works for medium (shoulder length) to long hair. Though you can do a sort of version of this with short hair.

To Style:
Dry hair works best, as wet tends to tangle, but mostly dry is fine as well depending upon your hair texture. Mine gets worse tangle-wise in that partly-damp stage, so I have to dry my hair first. No parting necessary!

Grab a small section at the crown of your head like you would for the start of a french braid (slightly to one side, as you would for two french braids). Braid a little ways down and then start adding sections of hair, french-braid style. I usually just take hair from the edge of my hairline, so only every other one. Continue braid until you hit the approximate middle-back of your head. Temporarily pin. Repeat braid on the other side. Don't worry about how even the braid is, just keep the braid close to your head as your braiding and it'll stay relatively tight.

Once both braids are finished, unpin the first braid and gather the hair. You can twist it into a messy bun or throw it into a ponytail from there. Pin as needed.


I don't know if you can see in this picture, but I added a black headband (carefully tuck it into the braided hair) for a little extra. You can also start with the headband in and braid around it — though I find it's easier to add the headband later. I usually leave my bangs out, but on weekends or especially wet days, I'll braid them back too.

For shorter hair, just do the french braids and stop midway down and pin back with two bobby pins in an ex-shape to hold the hair in place.

Hit with some hairspray for extra hold, and you're done for a day of professionalism or just casual hair fun!

Oh, and did I mention that we got 8 inches of snow last night before I had to drive my hardy little Honda home from work? A woman came into the store and mentioned that at about 5:45. I wasn't supposed to leave until 7, but my boss looked at me and went, "Do you want to go home?"

Hands down, it was the scariest hour of my life. I'm so glad the snow tires go on today! And I just had a peek at the weather, luckily, slim to none chance of snow (20% before 10 a.m.) but the high today...wait for it...14 DEGREES. HOLY MOLY.

Though I would like to say to the wise-cracker who said yesterday, "If you don't like snow, you should live in California," that not all of California is sunny and warm. Some parts of California even get snow.

Hope your day is warmer than mine!


Monday, November 22, 2010

10 Reasons Why I Love My Garmin

10. Because of my Garmin, I have a better sense of distance when I run even when I run without it. True story.

9. With my Garmin, it's easier to find your way back if you get lost. It helps you retrace your steps. Which is a bummer when you have to retrace 3 or 4 or more miles, but it's better than being lost in the snowy woods. Or sunny woods. Depending upon the time of year.

8. With my Garmin, I can run in the woods and on trails and still know how far I've gone. Beat that,!

7. Because of my Garmin, it's easier to know that it's not about how fast you go, it's about doing to mileage. Yes, my Garmin tells me how fast I go, but when it's a depressing speed, I can just look at the "distance" box and see that I've gone far enough that it doesn't matter.

6. My Garmin tells me how fast I'm going, so when I'm too speedy, I can slow down and speed up when I'm too slow. My inner odometer might be nearly calibrated, but my inner speedometer still leaves something to be desired.

5. Because of my Garmin, I can go adventuring and check out new trails without worrying about how far I might end up going. I can go as far as I'm comfortable with and then turn around if necessary.

4. With my Garmin, I have worry-free running.

3. Because of my Garmin, if I don't feel like running that 4, 5, 10 mile loop that I have down pat, I don't have to. I can run somewhere else and still run the mileage I need to.

2. Because of my Garmin, I can explore different cities and locations while running.

1. Because of my Garmin, I run more often, faster, and farther. If that isn't reason enough to love my Garmin, I don't know what is.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just a few of my favorite things

First of all, training has been exhausting. I say has been because though I'm currently home, after this week I travel back to dreary Bellevue for two more weeks of training. I know that Arcata gets more rain than Bellevue, but I'm pretty sure they don't make sun up in that part of Washington. I would hate to live there.

Outfit from the "first day of work." Grey sweater: Elle for Kohl's, $3.99; Black silk Tommy Hilfinger tank: garage sale, $0.50; Belt: came with something else from Kohl's; Pants: Lucky Lulu's in San Luis Obispo, $60; Necklace: Kohl's, $12.99

Training. Hmm. How many words? We're there 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the trainer — a nice young man named Tyler — said with some enthusiasm last week, "Hey guys, guess what? There's a day in week two that you'll get out at 4!"

There were a few ragged cheers. And then he finished the statement, "...but you have to get here at 7 a.m."


Training is interesting though. I haven't lost my positive attitude about the job, and even if the job isn't my favorite thing in the world well, let's just say that Verizon Wireless is nationally recognized as the fourth best company to work for. They put an average of $22,000 into each employee before we even hit the sales floor and start making them money. They have the third best training program in the nation.

Ironically, I feel like I'm a PolyRep again, spouting awesome facts like that. I never thought that I should mention my PolyReps position for a sales position other than the fact that they were (duh) kickass and extremely prestigious, but in retrospect, I should have. I sold Cal Poly to incoming students and their parents. It's one thing to sell a cellphone, it's quite another to sell a university to a bored 18-year-old whose feet hurt and has been on fourteen other campus tours. Basically, I'm highly qualified for sales.

PolyReps 2008-2009. I'm in the middle (to the immediate right of the two girls wearing yellow headbands).


Oh, and did I mention that apparently it's more difficult to become an employee at Verizon Wireless than it is to get into Harvard? That's a big selling point for them. Harvard's acceptance rate is 3%. VZW's hire rate is 0.5%. Granted, more people apply for jobs at VZW than to Harvard, but still. Talk about impressive metrics.

Okay, enough about my job.

I did a bad thing yesterday. Well, not bad bad, but let's just say that every thrifty bone in my body is in agony, and while I'd do it again, I wouldn't do it frequently as it goes against every single grain of how I was raised.

Let's rewind.

I'm sure you've all come to realize that I'm a bit of a shopaholic. It is my drug of choice, but it's something I can choose not to do. But why should I when I am a smart, sensible shopper who puts time and energy into creating a budget based on my income that gives me wiggle room for shopping? Yes, my friends, I budget for shopping. But that's what makes it okay. It's my hard earned money, and so long as I'm still paying my bills on time and saving money, I can spend it any way I want.

Top: Lauren Conrad for Kohl's, $24 (60% off original ticket); black pencil skirt & belt: Apt 9 for Kohl's, 24.99; shoes: Versace, consignment (so I wouldn't actually wear the shoes to work — standing in those for 8 hours? I think not! — but they're my babies and they're pretty!)

One thing you may or may not have realized (though as you are all wonderfully intelligent, so I'm going to assume you have) is that I am a smart shopper. I can wait ages for that sweater I like to come down to a price that I'm willing to pay. After all, why would I pay $40 when I can wait four weeks and get it on clearance for $8? I do like new, but I don't mind wearing secondhand...though I think my attachment to new is the fact that I grew up wearing mostly handmedowns. Nothing wrong with it, but it's much like my mild attraction to TV — I didn't have it (much) growing up, so now that I can, I do, within reason.

Okay, so on to the bad thing.

Sonoma Life & Style ballet flats: Kohl's, $29.99

I went to Macy's. And I bought something. Granted, I also went to Kohl's, but let's face it, Kohl's is amazing. Everything I bought at Kohl's was marked at 40 or 50% off and then I got my 15% off on top of that for being a Kohl's cardholder. It's hard not to be happy about that. I never feel guilty about shopping at Kohl's.

But Macy's. Ouch ouch ouch ouch.

But, in my defense, I need work clothes. I have business casual attire, but VZW has a pretty strict dress code. Close-toed shoes, slacks, sweater or button-down, no cleavage (like that's a problem for me) and I can wear skirts and dresses but I have to wear tights or nylons and no visible tattoos. And let's face it, a girl like me doesn't want to wear the same thing every week. I like options. I like to mix and match. And since I'm not allowed to wear certain things in my wardrobe, I had to update.

Striped sweater: INC International Concepts for Macy's, you REALLY don't want to know; black dress slacks: INC International Concepts for Macy's, can't tell you (these are a bizarre fabric too, but super super super comfy to wear); shoes: Versace, consignment

Yes, I could have waited, because I have two serviceable pairs of slacks. But I have two weeks of training coming up, and let me tell you about these slacks. The first pair is a pair I shelled out a good deal of money for ($60, I think), because I needed dress pants and didn't have much time to find some. But I bought them ten pounds ago. So I can wiggle into them, and they fit all right (i.e. they don't look like I'm about to explode out of them), but it makes for a long day as they're not especially comfortable. My other pair, I got at a bargain price ($6 at Kohl's!), but they are a size 8. And I kind of float somewhere a little north of a solid 6, but I'm not an 8 — kind of unfortunately, as then they would fit and I wouldn't be having this problem. So they're a little big. But not so big that I can take them in myself — I really ought to take them in to a tailor — so by the end of the day, I've got saggy-butt syndrome going on, and while that means that they are super comfortable, it means that after two hours, they're not super attractive or professional. In a business that's one part first impression, well, let's just say I would be skeptical about someone whose pants don't fit.

Not saying everyone would be skeptical, but I would be. And I'd be distracted by it.

So, with my very lucrative job (I get my first paycheck on Wednesday...they pay us for training and travel time and expenses, so it's a hefty one), I went for it. Please don't judge me, this doesn't happen often, sometimes it's just necessary. I did get some lovely slacks and a sweater. Though be proud of me, I walked away from a gorgeous pair of chocolate brown leather riding boots that actually zipped up my calves over my jeans — which hardly ever happens.

Cranberry sweater: Nordstrom Rack, $14.99; gold sequin tank: Ross Dress for Less, $4.59;
brown dress slacks: Daisy Fuentes for Kohl's, $27.99; shoes: see previous photo

But I did apply for (and plan on immediately cancelling) the Macy's card, so I did get 15% off. And in the spirit of thrift and streamlining, and curbing shopping, I cancelled my Victoria's Secret credit card (and I was even a VIP member...). Mostly because I realized that I hardly ever used it, and didn't really take advantage of it, and when you buy one bra a year it's not really necessary. In addition, I even cleaned out my closet of the stuff that now that I can't wear them, I'll really never wear them. Also, the stuff that missed the first round of culling (from my move) that really needed to go still. I've noticed too, that now that I can dress fancy, I don't dress down very often. I mean, I dress in jeans, but I still dress up.

Grey sweater: Nordstrom Rack, $19.99; black dress slacks: Daisy Fuentes for Kohl's, $27.99; black ballet flats: Target, $12.99

Except when I'm in my sweatpants, and let's face it, that's just unavoidable. At any rate, that means my selection of casual tees has gone down. Not to say that I don't have casual tees, I just mean the ones with graphics on them.

Button detail on collar of grey sweater

Though I'll never get rid of my Ed Hardy. Call me silly, but I really like it! And I only have one. So it's okay.

Black crop sweater: remnant from a sorority recruiting event; ruffle top: Candies for Kohl's, $22.80; grey striped dress slacks: Macy's, $39.98; shoes: Versace, consignment

I'd like to apologize for today's fashions not being my normal thrifty, sale-digging finds. Girl's gotta splurge sometimes. Anyways, tell me about your shopping experience. Are there times when you pay full price even when you don't necessarily have to?

In other news, my lovely friend moved to Portland on Friday. I'm so proud of her! She got a job and made the commitment. I know she'll be much happier as an Oregonian, and we're only 3.5 hours apart now instead of 6.5. Which is super exciting. It means that if we really really need to see each other, we could do a day trip. And that makes me so happy, you have no idea.

Also, it's been snowing again. Yay! The mountain is projected to open Wednesday, but boyfriend isn't optimistic, as it needs to get dumped on in order for that to happen. Though it's predicted to get 10 inches of snow by then, so perhaps.

I ran again yesterday. I forgot my running shoes for training, which had me smacking myself for as the very nice hotel we were staying at offered free access to a nearby Bally's Fitness Center for its visitors. Oh well, next time. My Garmin's back from the Garmin doctor, and now actually works properly. It even told me the battery was low! It didn't used to do that! They actually ended up just sending me a brand new one, but they were so efficient about it, that even though my first Forerunner 205 was a poop, I'd still recommend getting one.

Just a heads up too, my posting will probably continue to be spotty as I start work in the store on Monday and my out-laws (boyfriend's parents, grandma, and sister) are coming to stay with us for Thanksgiving. So we'll have a full house on top of me being busy with work. But I'll make an attempt!

I'll leave you with one of my family's favorite Thanksgiving recipes, just in case, in celebration of one of my favorite holidays. They are delicious and always get gobbled up — but if we can managed to squirrel some away we do, as they're amazing the day after Thanksgiving with leftover turkey and some cranberry sauce! Also, in the summertime, you can use this recipe to make homemade burger buns or just as a bread to bring to a barbecue. The recipe even says it can be used for pizza dough. If you try the pizza dough, let me know how it goes! They go great with any holiday meal as well, not just Thanksgiving.

Refrigerator Rolls (recipe from San Fransisco - A La Carte)

Makes approx. 5 dozen rolls

2 packages (2 tbsp) active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
7 to 8 cups unbleached white flour, unsifted

Dissolve yeast in the warm water for 5 min. Set aside. Combine butter with the boiling water and stir until butter is melted. Cool and place in very large bowl. Add cold water, sugar, salt, eggs and yeast. Mix well. Add enough flour (between 7 and 8 cups) to make a soft dough that when beaten does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Cover and refrigerate immediately for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Dough can be kept in refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. When ready to use, remove any amount needed, place on a floured board, roll out about 1 inch thick, and cut or shape into any size desired. Place rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet and let rise for 1 to 2 hrs. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon the size of the rolls.



TODAY: 4.45 miles
YESTERDAY: 3.1 miles

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Putting it to the test

So I'm here to warn you that I'm about to drop off the face of the earth. I'm hoping that in my evenings I'll be able to find a computer and tell you all about my training (though I'm pretty sure I can't tell you anything other than how it makes me feel as it would be breaking my confidentiality contract or something), but I'm not holding my breath.

Though I've not been all that great about blogging recently anyhow. The holidays are coming up, you know, and I was finishing my job hunt.

The job that I hinted at weeks ago — you know, the one where I dropped into the store and got an interview on the spot? — is with Verizon Wireless. I'm pretty sure they can't shoot me for telling you that much. I was actually offered the job on November 1st, but after you're offered the job you have to pass a drug test and a background check. Now, I'm no hardened criminal, so I knew I would, but it still had me biting my nails to the quick (figuratively...I'm not a nail biter in real life).

Now, I was supposed to start in the store tomorrow and leave for training in Beaverton (near Portland) on the 29th — although there was some confusion there too, as corporate said Bellvue (near Seattle in Washington) and my new manager (who seems to be a lovely man, I like him already) said Beaverton. Thursday night, I'm entertaining my friend Brittany who stopped in for a two night visit on her way home from Wisconsin, and we're sitting down with boyfriend eating dinner when my phone rings. Normally, I'm not so crass as to answer my phone during dinner, but I noticed it was my new manager. Since it was 7 p.m., I was mildly concerned as to why he was calling, so I answered.

"Hey kc," he said. "I have some good news and some bad news."

"Okay," I said, my heart pounding as the words "bad news" trigger scary adrenaline.

"Well, first of all, you're cleared. You passed your background check and your drug test. Congratulations, you're an official employee. That's the good news."

"Okay," my heart slows to a more normal rate. "Then what's the bad news?"

"The bad news is that corporate wants you in Bellvue on the fifteenth."

"The fifteenth as in Monday?" I know my voice squeaked a little at that. "This Monday?"

So, as you can see, I've had three days notice. First, they were going to fly us there. Apparently, there were 27 new trainees they were going to have to book flights for — not just for this store, in total — at the last minute. Yesterday, my manager calls me and tells me we're no longer flying, we're driving. They're renting a car for the three of us from this store and we're leaving at 2 p.m. today.

First of all, 2 p.m.? Who leaves for a 6.5 hour trip at 2 in the afternoon? Apparently, we do. Oh well.

I am looking forward to it, in spite of all the last minute planning and running around feeling like a chicken with my head cut off. I have a project I'm going to work on while I'm gone — I'm sending out holiday cards this year — and I'm taking my camera and if I have my own room and a long enough mirror, I'll take pictures of my carefully planned business attire. I think I did a good job of picking out clothes that I'll be happy wearing that still conform to the dress code requirements. We'll see.

So anyways, I'll be gone for this week and then I'll be back for the week of Thanksgiving, though I'll be working in the store. I will try to find time to post a few turkey-day recipes that I love and cherish, so look forward to that. And then after Thanksgiving I'll be back in Bellvue for two weeks.

And then the holidays will be here before I know it and chaos will reign! Oh boy!

Oh! And exciting news: I'm back to running! Out of consideration for my foot/ankle, I didn't go very far yesterday (don't know exact mileage either, because the Garmin is still at the Garmin doctor), and if I manage to squeeze in a run today, I'll be happy, but I won't be running in Seattle just yet. But a little bit is better than none, especially as I'm not training for anything right now, so the fact that I'm running at all is excellent!


YESTERDAY: ~2.75 miles

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adventures at Gap

That's right, I forgot. I'm so sorry. But I did forget that I was going to tell you about Christmas shopping and some delightful finds!

I'm not a Gap shopper...too expensive and too preppy. I haven't been in a place in my life where I've needed to invest in clean cut clothes from Gap. I'm pretty good at making outfits from handmedowns and thrift shopping, and the sale rack at Kohl's. But my beloved sister put a challenge to me for her Christmas list, and because of it, I went to Gap.

The challenge:
A classy raincoat in red or plaid.

Gap, unfortunately, did not have the ubiquitous raincoat, but the mission sent me to their sale rack (where all of their raincoats were). Much to my joy. So no raincoat, but browsing scored me a comfy striped cotton tunic and a classic white buttondown in a boyfriend cut — all for less than $20! At Gap! Who'd have thought?

I rock the buttondown with my boots and this gorgeous necklace I picked up from the Kohl's sales rack. Today, I paired the buttondown with my black boots and my charcoal grey blazer for an interview. Very vogue and very "I'm a designer" professional.

Now I must go, because boyfriend is home!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Three Cup Day

Okay, okay, FINE.

I know I've been a class A slacker about posting, and that I really ought to be posting more and that I really have no good excuse, it's just that nothing's really happened yet. It's snowing (beautiful) and it's a three-cups-of-coffee-and-a-nap-and-I'm-still-tired kind of day...maybe it was because I was up at 5:30 and spent the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. chasing after a bubbly 2-year-old?

Yeah, that might have done it.

She's super cute and I just started babysitting her. After my babysitting horrors in high school, you'd think I'd never want to babysit again, but I shoved them aside with the acknowledgment that I need money, and if a woman who's at most my age is willing to pay me to run after her child, I need to do it. After all, she's working two jobs, going to school, and is a single mom, I should be able to hack a couple hours right?

Actually, in this instance, I can. The little one is low-maintenance as far as the toddler set goes. At one point, she even knocked a tin lunchbox off a shelf and had it hit her square in the face. No tears, just a wavering demand for a "hiss" ("kiss") and then she was right back at it.

Most charming toddler I've ever met, barring an adorable cousin or two.

And she calls me "hiss-en," and says, "squeeze" for "excuse me." How cute is that?

Not much else has happened. I am still waiting on that job we talked about earlier. But I should know this week. And I'm still talking to the people at my dream job, even though they're not hiring. Just being a good girl and keeping the door open just in case. Doesn't hurt anything to try.

My birthday went great, and I wanted to show you some photos. Smitten Kitchen posted this recipe, which I just had to try. Chocolate souffle cupcakes with white chocolate mint cream. Yum yum.

Mine didn't turn out nearly as pretty as hers, but they tasted just as good. Delicious! I want to try Nutrition Nut's pumpkin chocolate chip bread next, I even got the pumpkin out of my freezer in order to make it, and then I spent all day yesterday doing...well, nothing. I can't even remember what I did yesterday.

Isn't that terrible?

We'll see if inspiration strikes this evening with the snow falling quietly outside.

I did pick up the world's most delicious heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joe's on Sunday morning. God bless daylight savings and early risers. One upside to getting up early that I hadn't thought of, is that with my body being used to being up at nearly 7:30 a.m. on the dot, meant I was up at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning! Fall back, hallelujah.

I did some early morning grocery shopping after having a fulfilling morning of sipping coffee and whatnot.

Anyways, after making a beautiful salad on Sunday night with said heirloom tomatoes (such pretty colors), pomegranate seeds, parmesan and some cucumber that I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of, I was so pleased with the tomatoes that I dedicated lunch to them yesterday.

Multi-seed sourdough bread from the Village Bakery (where I haven't been yet, but I am told is the place to go), thinthinthinthin-sliced leftover barbeque'd chicken that boyfriend made for dinner Sunday night, topped with heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper. Oh. My. God.

If they make food in heaven, surely it's this.

Is your mouth watering yet? I hope so.

Now I'm going to switch tracks and retrace back to my b'day.

Boyfriend, as well he should, wins the day with the Columbia rain shell/running jacket and beautiful earrings he bought me. The jacket, while quite nice and fancy, isn't particularly exciting, so I shall only subject you to the earrings:

Beautiful, simple, tasteful. And he picked them out all by himself. He was so cute giving them to me...all full of wiggles. Precious. Ahem, rugged...manly...and...erm...stuff.

A lovely gift that I received today, I'd like to acknowledge because it has me written all over it — and I know that the lovely lady who gave it to me reads this blog and it would tickle her pink to see it. And seriously me. All over it. I mean, not literally, but really...

I told it you it had me written all over it. It's a tea towel and super cute at that. 

My little sister won the card category in awesomeness.

I mean, right? Hilarious. And I have a weakness for kitties. Boyfriend got me a kitty card too. I think he just likes hearing me say, "Kitty!" It's embarrassing but inevitable when I see a kitty.

Okay, well, I think that's enough for now. Snow is beautiful and tomorrow, I promise I will regale you with news of Christmas shopping (I start early) and some new fashionista finds. (Oh, the joy.)


P.S. I am currently not running in order to let a running-induced injury heal..we're not sure what it is, as I have no medical coverage at the moment, but it's healing on it's own. One more week and I'll be back at it...newly attired with my jacket and running tights!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Because I'm a Princess, that's why

While I was visiting home this weekend, my mommy threw me a princess themed birthday party. Because I'm a princess, that's why. I also had a Halloween blast and ran 6 miles with my lovely running was great to catch up with her. Every time I see her I realize she's even more awesome and I miss her so much when I'm away. :(

Anyways, mush aside, here are some photos from the Princess Party.

We dressed the table and the room!

A princess carriage and beautiful pink mirror brought the table together.

Individual wands and giant diamond rings added a bit of sparkle.

Cousin Mija (the chihuahua) joined us and everyone tiara'd up (see my papa behind me).

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the piece de resistance: the princess cake with recipe provided by Smitten Kitchen's fabulous chef. Beautifully strawberry flavored and decadently pink, it was quite a showstopper at the party.

And props to this 94-year-old princess, it was her first princess party! What a travesty.

Boyfriend's grandma was so thrilled about her tiara and diamond ring, it was adorable!

More on Halloween later, lovelies.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just My Luck

I am a big believer in letting things happen. Well, I am a big believer in actively letting things happen, worrying myself to the quick at the same time.

What's done is done, you cannot change it worth a damn, and a lot can happen in a short amount of time.

Now, today, the theme is a lot can happen in a short amount of time. Sort of "letting things happen" and "everything happens for a reason" and "if it's meant to be, it's meant to be" all at the same time, but mostly just about the former.

This week has been both the longest and the quickest I remember in a while. The longest because I spent all of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday, but that's another story. After a miserable Tuesday evening (we went into town and checked on my job prospects Tuesday afternoon: absolutely nil), I rose on Wednesday determined to go out and just do my own thing for the afternoon.

I dolled up, because that makes me happy (leggings, black garage sale boots, leopard print tunic, and my grey blazer with some bling, for those who are wondering), and trundled into town. I had no plan in mind, just that I wanted a pick-me-up.

I went to my haven.

Kohl's. Shopping in general, Kohl's in particular. It is my element. I don't know why, but I love Kohl's more than I've loved any other store ever.

I'm a big believer in retail therapy, but I'm also a believer that part of retail therapy is allowing yourself the freedom to buy if you find something you'd like, but if nothing is all that special, you can leave without buying anything and leave just as satisfied. Which is a good frame of mind to have when one is as money-tight as I am right now.

Also, if you do say, "Okay, I'm allowed to buy something," be reasonable. It's about being frugal and about letting yourself do the thing that makes you happy at the same time. For instance, I spent $10 and am perfectly happy.

Anyways, that's not the point.

So I was in Kohl's, and I noticed their "We're hiring for the holiday season!" sign. With an inward sigh, I acknowledged that, hey, it's a job. I inquired and was directed to their online application. Promising myself to look into it, and patting myself on the back for my good sense at multi-tasking, I trundled over to Macy's.

Seeing a similar sign in the doorway, I borrowed a pen from one of the cashiers and wrote down both URLs so as not to forget them. After smelling, touching, and sighing over the fabulous shoe section, I strolled through the store and acknowledged that while lovely and enticing, Macy's is altogether out of my price range on a normal day when I'm not worried about money. With Macy's it's about the feel, rather than the purchase.

I consulted my watch and noticed that it was about time to look into another job prospect I had promised myself I'd look into while I was in town.

On my way to my car, I noticed a store. I won't name it just yet, as I may jinx it, but what happened next still has me reeling.

Smart girl that I am (modest, too!), I had a stack of resumes in my backseat. I snagged one on a whim and a sigh of, "Well, I'm here, I may as well," and walked across the parking lot to the store. Walking in, a sweet-faced middle-aged woman greeted me and asked if she could help me with anything.

"Actually, yes," I said in my best 'I'm a professional' voice. "I'm looking for a job and was wondering if you were accepting resumes?"

She smiled encouragingly.

"We actually are at the moment. Just a minute, let me take this back and see if my manager is available to speak with you."

He was.

He asked if I had time for an interview right then.

I said yes.

He explained to me after the interview that there was a process I had to go through with corporate, but he would do his best to expedite the process as they needed someone soon. That was yesterday afternoon. After getting home and submitting my application to corporate, I went to sleep happy that I might — just might! — have found a job.

This morning, corporate called for my first (of two) interviews with them. It went well, and we scheduled my second interview for tomorrow afternoon. If they still like me after that (and how could they not?) I have to undergo a thorough background check and pass a drug test (easy peasy) and then I'll be hired!

So fingers crossed for me, hopefully you'll be reading a money-making girl's blog here soon!

Also, side note, I went on my first run today since this weekend. 38 degrees made me wish I had a proper pair of running tights, but I cranked out a brisk and easy (though cold and wet!) 3.25 miles in 30 minutes. I found a new loop to run while I'm at it — which is good because the ol' Forerunner is having problems (been having problems) and I'm sending it back to Garmin to be fixed tomorrow, so I'll be Garmin-less for a week and then some.

Wish me luck on the job, I hope your respective winters are as lovely (though not as chilly!) as mine is right now!


TODAY: 3.25 miles

I Had A Dream

So, I had a dream last night. Nothing new, as I am a highly imaginative person and often have dreams and even remember them.

In this dream, I got engaged (to the right person, don't worry), but the kicker was not only was the rock huge (and I have tiny little fingers and hands) but it was made out of apple cider. Could somebody please tell me the significance of this?

Needless to say, I woke up confused.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Hunger Diaries

Photo courtesy Marie Claire, Hearst Magazines, Nov. 2010

I was flipping through my Marie Claire November 2010 issue this afternoon when I came across this:

The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Could Be Putting You at Risk

Six popular bloggers advocate healthier living, but are they putting readers — and themselves — in danger?

Photo courtesy Marie Claire, Hearst Magazines, Nov. 2010
The trend of food bloggers, I suppose like myself, who are also "addicted" to exercise is inspiring a serious issue among women who read our blogs. Not so much like myself, as I actual eat my desserts in addition to bragging about them (let me tell you about these glorious homemade Oreos my mommy made...) and will happily tell you that I'm happy with my size, shape, weight and face.

It's not true across the board.

I do agree with the article in some senses, in that not all blogs promote a rounded outlook of health and happiness. Some show a distinct addiction to their training and what they put in their bodies — unlike say, those of us who don't feel the least bit guilty about rest days (oh, rest days, I adore thee...) and will happily cram one's face full of homemade oreos all day without even a twinge of guilt (hey, I ran 13.1 miles yesterday. I'm justified for like...a year.) — but there is the caveat that not all food/health bloggers are dabbling anorexics.

I grew up with one of the attendees of 2010's "Healthy Living Summit," and I know for a fact that while Nutrition Nut On The Run adores bizarre foods and has an overabundant fondness for veggies (I mean, I love me my broccoli, but not in chocolate...) but I know that she has a healthy love for herself and her healthy lifestyle is well-rounded and well-balanced.

I agree that it is something to be very aware of, as the trend is becoming alarming. But being healthy and fit is a lifestyle that more should adopt — though not at the degradation of life.

Heavy things, my friends. What do you think?

Ciao, bellas,

P.S. It's snowing again.

Sorry, Reckless Running Over Here

After a brutal 4.5 mile uphill, my lovely friend and I powered painfully through the last three miles of our 13.1 mile race yesterday morning in a raining, blustery Portland. It was pouring when we climbed out of bed at 5:45 a.m. in order to get to the start by 6:30 a.m. so we could pick up our numbers and chips that she forgot to pick up on Saturday. After some miscommunication with our sole C.R.E.W. (Cranky Runners, Endless Waiting) member (boyfriend), we got our numbers and were ready to start.

At 7:25 a.m. and thankfully no longer raining, 1,600 racers lined up on 2nd Street in Portland, waiting for the gun to start us on our 5k, 10k, or half marathon races. Stupidly, lovely friend and I had chosen a half marathon.

We were cranky, cantankerous and had three weeks of solo-training-whine-buildup to release. It all came out during a dry first mile. We determined that our 6 a.m. meal was too long ago (though were it not for crossing of communication wires we would have  had a little more fuel to start out on), and chomped on our first shot bloks at mile 2. At mile 2.5, I was regretting the running tights under my red shorts and the neon yellow rain shell.

Then, at mile 3, the sky opened up. First merely spitting, but definitely raining, we commiserated that maybe, perhaps, the rain jackets and tights had been a wise choice. As rain began dripping off the brim of my S.F. Giants hat, we agreed that caps instead of the propeller beanies we had intended to wear (to go along with the race's "Alice in Wonderland" theme, as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum) were the better call.

At mile 5, we hit the beginning of the Hill.

"Did you look at the course map?" Heather gasped as the incline began to take its toll on both of us, our speed dropping from a shaky 9-minute-mile to 10s.

"Yeah," I barely managed, equally breathless, as my right hip flexor began to cramp, "It's like this for like a mile and a half. I think."

"We can do it."

"I know."

As the rain came down harder and the other lanes of the road (that was not coned-off) hissed with cars going downhill at speeds upwards of 40 mph. The line of runners chugging up the incline moved further out into the road as the gutter and subsequently, the bike lane became river-esque. The cars loomed closer and we tried to utter exclamations.

Water pooled in the sleeves of our waterproof jackets, trickling down our collars to accumulate inside. The combination of sweat and wet provided an unanticipated conundrum. How can one wipe off one's face when everything is wet?

We ate our second set of shot bloks about a quarter mile into the Hill. At mile 8, as we chomped our third set, I exclaimed, "Do you realize this is the second set of bloks we've eaten on this damned hill?"

Cursing ensued, as it struck home that this Hill was far more than 1.5 miles. We were entering mile 4 of the hill and mile 9 of the race.

"I didn't know you could go uphill this long," my lovely friend growled.

The top seemed to loom and was greeted with broken cheers on our parts. Glimpses of blue sky and a distinct slackening of the downpour was greeted with equal jubilation. Then, the road took a sharp right and we were faced with more horror.

It was the Heart of Darkness of Hills. And it steepened sharply after that turn.

"We should have done more hill repeats," I uttered painfully.

"We should have run more," lovely friend pointed out.

As if 25 miles a week wasn't enough.

The hill petered out at mile 10, and we were past acknowledging that our goal of breaking 2 hours was probably not going to happen. We were hoping for a finish at that point, as our burning legs, churning stomachs, and drenched bodies were petering out as well.

"If there are any more hills, I'm going to kill someone," I growled.

And then the path jutted upwards again.

"Okay, who's first?" I moaned.

Needless to say, our last three miles, while speedy, were tumultuous. We alternated "point" — the ultimate running buddy trick, where you have to keep up with whomever gets a spurt of energy; it helps keep pace and means the bitching alternates — and struggled to keep our legs pounding the pavement. A near tumble down a sharp incline off the side of the path, and a stumble into a runner passing incited comments of how falling down the hill was not, in fact, the quicker way to go and, "sorry, reckless running over here."

But we made it.

2:05:42. With a hill we were unprepared for and torrential rain, we did pretty damn well.

I was 714 out of 1655, and 51st out of my age division. Therefore I am not complaining.

About how I did, that is. My aches and pains are a different story.

We drove home to be greeted by the first snow of the season. Boyfriend can barely contain his glee and my parents and lovely friend got to see the house for the first time. I will post the only picture taken from the race as soon as I get it from my mom. Rain made our C.R.E.W. rather scant, and we were only hailed at the finish line, but we'll take what we can get.

More later.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Impending rain

My lovely friend sent me this, this morning:

"When you don't think you can do something, sometimes things just fall together really well on race day and you totally surprise yourself. So it's worth it to put yourself out there and take some chances."
Lisa Koll, U.S. distance runner and four time NCAA Division One Champion

Which is really really good to know, as I don't feel prepared for Sunday's race at all. Two months of training on top of the month and a half I did for the last race and I feel unprepared. We started training right after my last race.

What the heck? I should feel geared up and ready to go.

Maybe it's the impending rain. It poured last night here, which I don't mind, but it's supposed to rain on Sunday in Portland. 7:30 a.m. race + rain. Ick.

Oh well, I'm an Arcata girl. We know rain.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome Baby!

Not my baby, but my godsister's baby. My first god-niece? Eh. We'll go with it.

She came home from the hospital today, but I'll (hopefully) get to meet her this weekend. When I'm in Portland for my second half-marathon. Anyways, I was so excited about this little one, that I knit her a hat today!

For size reference, the flower is 1.75" across. So tiny!

It's so tiny! I don't know if she'll wear it, or if she'll even get to wear it, but it's the thought that counts and it was fun to make!

I've also been super crafty lately, beginning work on the quilt for boyfriend. He requested it a while ago and last week we went to the fabric store and picked colors. He was pretty cute..."Where are all the boy colors?" he asked.

Two of eight colors all cut out!

I've only got three of eight colors cut out so far, and as I'm doing a snail trail pattern, I've got a lot of work ahead of me! We chose purple, teal/blue, bright green and yellow. A bit brighter than I had thought it would be, but it worked out. Hopefully it'll look nice...if it doesn't turn out as what we were picturing, I'll find someone very lucky to gift it to as it will still be beautiful!

I was cutting away the other night and boyfriend asked, "So are you almost done cutting?"

I said with a smile, "Well, this is the third color of eight that I have to do. Which means I have five left, so yeah, I'm almost done."

Apparently, he didn't realize quite how much work it was going to take. I pointed out that this is why I made such a big deal about being sure about the colors we picked! I'm sure it will be lovely. Fingers crossed!

I can't believe my race is on Sunday! Wish me luck while I increase in my antsy-ness as my activity level is halved for tapering. Yay, tapering, ugh, tapering. Love it and hate it. Love it because I don't have to run (there's no such thing as over-tapering), but I hate it because I can't run as much as I'm used to so my body starts to keep me awake at night — plus there's the side issue of my body still wanting as many (or more!) calories as I usually intake when I'm running 20 to 25 miles a week, which makes me feel torpid because I don't run it off.



Oh god. I'm running 13 miles this weekend. What was I thinking??


TODAY: 2 miles, 19 minutes flat...I was speedy. Ooops.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time to taper

Really? Really? I'm tapering already?


I have not, in the two months that I've been training for this thing, felt this unenthusiastic about running. In the morning it's cold and I am not yet equipped to handle running in the cold (with my birthday coming up, I'm hoping that will change...haha), and in the afternoons I just. don't. want. to.

The absence of my lovely friend has taken its toll, people. I am supremely unmotivated. Awesome.


Just wanted to throw that out there.

Also, boyfriend and I have discovered this nifty little bar and grill down the road from us. Aptly named "Boondocks" as we are, in fact, in the boonies, it boasts a surly barman and a chirpy, fifty-something waitress/barwoman with short, bleach blonde hair styled with gel, giant diamond earrings and a craggy smile. And more importantly, the Giants game on a flatscreen TV. And decently priced drinks and appetizers.

Boyfriend spent the whole game there on Saturday (I joined him at the top of the 7th), and we both went for innings 2 through 7 yesterday. Quite fun.

In other news:

 Sorry for the image quality, cell phone again. It's just so handy!

Corn Cheese Casserole
3 eggs
3 Tbsp Flour
1/2 cup cream (or milk)
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
 dash pepper
1 tsp dill
2 Tbsp parsley (I don't usually use...)
2 cups corn
2 Tbsp butter
2 c diced onion
1 large carrot grated
1 small red pepper
1 c grated cheddar
1 block tofu (optional)
Salsa for garnish

Combine eggs and flour in blender. Add cream, milk, honey, salt, pepper, dill, parsley, and half the corn. Blend. Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions in butter until transluscent. Add carrot and peppers, saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining corn, blended ingredients, and cheese.
Pour in to buttered 9 x 13 inch pan  and bake uncovered about 35 minutes until golden and knife through center comes out clean. Serve with salsa.
Boyfriend was dubious about this dish, but I find it yummy in the extreme. He liked it once he tried it, but he was pretty incredulous when I added the tofu. For the record, I blend half the block of (firm) tofu in the blender and then add the rest of it chopped to the saute pan.
I also added a little broccoli that we'd cooked the night before. It was pretty tasty. Bon appetit!


P.S. My race is on SUNDAY! That's six days away!

YESTERDAY: 6 miles

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Black bean, sweet potato goodness

We've had quite the adventure so far, living in our little cabin in the woods. Yesterday, we got a barbecue for $20. My caveman was quite thrilled to be able to grill meat and play with fire. He's off on a bike ride right now, getting his wiggles out and leaving me in peace to do some work and talk to you!

I have some job interviews next week, one at a coffee shop and one at a graphic design studio. I'm kind of hoping for both to work out. We'll see. Professional face on and chin up and away we go.

Other than that, not much to talk about, I just wanted to leave y'all with this awesome recipe. My sister loves it and apparently makes it quite often. It's one I found when I was first learning to cook and have handed around, but often forget about myself. I made it the other night and boyfriend was impressed — though disappointed at the lack of meat.

"I'm a man. Men need meat."

"Yes, dear."

The following night, we added some ground beef to the leftovers and it was still quite tasty. I prefer the vegetarian version, but know that a pound of lean ground beef can be cooked up and thrown in with quite tasty results.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I usually use yams...the orange ones that everyone seems to think are sweet potatoes but actually aren't)
1 tablespoon chili powder*
1 jar (16 oz) mild salsa (about 1 3/4 cups)*
2 cans (15 to 19 oz each) black beans

In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes, chili powder, salsa, and 1 cup water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add beans with their liquid and cook 3 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.

*To kick it up a notch, use medium salsa and add a bit more garlic and chili powder.

Just a note, this recipe makes a lot of food, so don’t double unless you’re serving more than say…five people. It goes great with corn bread.

And I don't mean the fake kind.

Buy a box of cornmeal, which is like, $2, and read the recipe on the back of the box for cornbread. It's actually easier than cornbread out of a box. And tastier. For a little extra moisture in the bread, add a generous handful of corn (thawed if frozen).

Running is going well, it's almost time to taper! Our race in less than two weeks!


YESTERDAY: 4 miles
TUESDAY: 60 minute Fartlek, 6.4 miles total

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There goes Peter Cottontail

Okay, so I realize that I grew up in the "wilderness" and so I really shouldn't be so...amused? Surprised? Thrilled? to see all the wildlife around here. I mean, lovely friend and I saw like six bunny rabbits when we went running at Patrick's Point a couple weeks ago.

Nevertheless, I was just captivated by a bunny sitting outside my kitchen window for the last fifteen minutes. Cute little bunny who's brown fur is speckled with white for the upcoming winter.

And do you want to know what that little bunny did?


He sat there.

And sat there.

And sat there.

After hopping there, of course. But then he sat.

And I sounded like some never-seen-a-bunny-in-my-life tourist calling to boyfriend to come look. *Hand to face* What have I become?

But it was cute...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dangerous Encounters?

Okay, so not so much. But the wildlife here is not only ridiculous, but they're not scared at all.

Exhibit A:

Vicious? See that? That panther is not scared of me at all!

So I'm not serious in this instance at least. Kitty (name still unknown) is a brave little bugger who thought to invite himself (herself?) into my house the other day, without so much as a "don't mind if I do." Silly kitty.

However, exhibit B is a little cooler and I'm being much more serious.

Exhibit B:

That's a coyote.

A live one.

A live wild coyote. Or so it would have us think.

The cute butt on the bike is boyfriend.  Please don't check it out, only I'm allowed to do that.

As for the coyote, he trotted along the bike path we were on for a while on the other side of the barbed wire fence. I thought maybe he just felt safe in the fact that he was probably the "bigger" predator and as we were in a no-hunt zone, which reads "teeming with people all the time," he probably felt secure in the fact that he's the most dangerous thing in his territory. Top of the food chain as it were.

And you know, the barbed wire fence was between us and him.

Then he hopped the fence. And began to chase butterflies on and around the path.


Yeah. Right.

I'm sure he is legitimately wild, but he's not scared of people. Nosiree. Mom though rabid, but he made no move towards us and other than the being three feet from us big scary people on bicycles (quite literally), he was engaged in fairly normal coyote behavior.

Speaking of wild animals...

Boyfriend has settled into his man-cave and I may or may not see him this winter. He's asked for a spare key to my car so he doesn't have to hunt down my keys to move my car out of the garage so that he can set up his skateboard rail and skate in the garage. All that's missing from his lawn-chair decor is a mini-fridge full of beer. And that's what snow's for, right? He's out there right now listening to the S.F. Giants game on the radio. I haven't seen him in hours.

Oh well. So long as he's happy. At least I don't have to listen to the game.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

We're not in Kansas anymore

I'm salty. But that's what happens when you run.

Twelve miles.

Owwww. The altitude and all of the stress/exhaustion of moving finally caught up with me yesterday, and other than the 5 mile run which was managed only with much bitching (in my head, don't worry, not out loud as I was by myself) and at 7:30 a.m. because that's when my lovely friend could run, I did absolutely nothing.

Nothing nothing nothing.

Well, that's not true. I made pillows.

And I roasted a pumpkin.

And I finished a hat I was supposed to have done by last Christmas and started on my second (of three that were promised last Christmas). Maybe they'll be done in time for this holiday season? One can hope. I still have a sweater I have to finish from three years ago. That's what happens when the initial thrill of "I can do this!" wears off and the craft projects that you used to whiz through take forever.

Though it's kind of fun sitting in my little cabin watching TV and knitting.

Oh, and I did laundry.

So yesterday, I stayed exhausted, did nearly nothing and was in bed and asleep by 9:45 p.m. and I even "slept in" this morning. Seeing as 6:30 a.m. has been my go-time all this week, and 7:45 a.m. this morning was when I finally pulled myself out of bed — that's sleeping in.

Today was all productivity. After making my coffee, and letting myself snuggle with my cereal and my coffee on the couch for one episode of "How I Met Your Mother" (my current staple, lent to us by a friend of boyfriend's family who lives in Bend), I was up and at 'em.

I folded the laundry I did yesterday. And no, in case you were wondering, I don't consider folding part of doing laundry. Mostly because I hate to fold laundry. Can you say, "Honey Do List"? I'd rather stack the cord of wood that's outside. But it was raining this morning, so I folded laundry instead.

Then I whipped up some pumpkin muffins from the pumpkin I roasted yesterday.

Unfortunately, the pumpkin wasn't particularly flavorful, so they're kind of wimpy muffins. And I needed to add more flour, because the pumpkin was a bit watery, so they're kind of flat. But nothing says "neighborly" like a plateful of fresh muffins, and nothing says "quick and easy breakfast" or "best girlfriend ever" like fresh muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins for your Tasting Pleasure
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup oil
4 beaten eggs
1 lb canned pumpkin (3 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin)
3 1/2 cups flour (1 cup whole wheat, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose,
unbleached flour)
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, beaten eggs, and pumpkin. In a second bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Alternate adding flour and water to the brown sugar, oil, beaten eggs, and pumpkin. Stir until just mixed. Place muffin batter in tins 2/3 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Once I'd popped the first dozen in the oven, I busted out the vacuum to give our floor — which was rather dirty from all the moving — a good once over. My boyfriend has the best vacuum ever. It's got this head that goes in all directions (gets into tight corners easily!) and it's lightweight and easy to manhandle, and you don't have to use a bajillion different attachments for hardwood, carpet, etc. Just one. And it does it all!

I'd marry that man for his vacuum alone.

His mother thinks I'm kidding and thinks that statement is hilarious.

I'm not.

Though he does have many other wonderful attributes, so I'd marry him anyways. Regardless of his vacuum. It's just a perk. And don't tell him I talked to you about marriage.

Then I cleaned the bathroom, put another round of muffins in the oven, made up the bed in the guest room, and put the various odds and ends that don't have a home and can be stored in our attic storage. This is no small task for me as I am short (ish) and the ladder is really high up hard to reach. So I can get the attic door open, but I can't get the ladder down from the floor.

Not even when I stand on tip-toe.

Luckily, boyfriend has this cute little stool that he made when he was a cub scout that I've been toting around the house with me. Comes in handy when I'm trying to neatly put things on shelves, above cabinets, or get into the attic. It's so cute.

I finished up my muffin making, took some muffins over to my neighbors Linda and Lane (Lane built the house), and then had some lunch.

Then, lovely friend and I motivated to run our 12 miles for today.

It felt like I was at a higher altitude and that I took my rest day on Thursday and ran five miles on Friday instead. Oh wait, I am and I did.

It was hard.

It hurt. A lot.

But I found this nifty little 5.25 mile loop in Sunriver (we're just Southwest of Sunriver, which is the resort town south of Bend, between Bend and Mt. Bachelor). It's 1.75 miles from my house to the beginning of the loop, so I had to do an extra 3.25 miles in there, but it goes along the Deschutes River a ways on the prohibited-hunting side...oh, didn't I tell you? Yeah, it's hunting season...don't want to go more than 2 miles into the forest without a bright orange reflective vest or the hunters might think you're a deer. And shoot you.

So we don't do that.


It goes along the river and then it cuts over to the resort stables and past the little resort airport. Few to no houses out there, and it's this really pretty valley with lots of horses in the pastures dotted with fir trees and blue spruce. Then it travels back into the resort and loops around the lodge and through some confusing trails until I finally found the place where I turned around at 2.5 miles yesterday.

Really beautiful.

It'll be nice in the winter. I can drive to the starting point and just run around the resort, so that I'm off the road and within shouting distance of people in case something happens. Because it's just smart to be prepared.

So I did the loop, and then started the loop again to get my extra mileage, because I knew that if I had to run past my turnoff it wasn't going to happen. So I had just turned around (I went out and back 1.65 miles), when a group of four deer trotted across the path.

"Cute," I thought and kept running.

The deer paused to check me out, rather unperturbed by my presence and kept moving along the path ahead of me. It was two young ones just grown out of their spots, a doe and a buck. They disappeared around a corner and I thought nothing of it until I rounded the corner and practically ran into them.

The buck, in typical man-style, was answering the call of nature right next to the path and taking his time about it. The doe and little ones took off down the path at the sight of me, but the buck kept on doing his thing.

I nervously ran past him, coming within ten feet of him, and then kept on when he just looked at me. I ran on for a little bit, with maybe twenty or thirty feet between me and the doe and co. when I heard tap-tapping behind me, and I glanced back. There was the buck, trotting behind me.

Like, right behind me.

I wish I had had my camera. I had my phone, but it didn't occur to me at the time and I think he was as surprised as I was that we were so close. I sped up and he sped up. I slowed down, he slowed down. Finally, I stopped because he was making me nervous and I didn't know what else to do. At that point, to my relief, he took himself off into the underbrush to catch up with his family who had wandered off the path at that point.

Adventures with wildlife, I tell you what.

Between the deer and the chipmunk who really wanted to get in the house today (I looked up at one point and he had climbed halfway up our screen door and was chattering away), I'm a bit on wildlife overload.

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.


TODAY: 12 miles
YESTERDAY: 5 miles