Wednesday, September 29, 2010

T minus Four

So, my week has been super super super busy as the countdown to moving day is now at 4 days. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, SUNDAY.

Panic now, please?


I had nightmares about moving day the other night, the whole night, which ended up with me giving up on sleep at about 6 a.m. The truck was only 17 inches long instead of 17 feet, the truck disappeared, the truck was too big, the truck was too small, our stuff was too heavy, you name it.


I don't feel stressed, but explain that to my subconscious. She begs to differ. We're stressed. And overwhelmed. And just generally a bucket full of crazy.


I am excited though. Super duper excited. About moving. And living with boyfriend. Still stressed, though. And sad to be moving away from my lovely lovely lovely friend. :( Sad day.

So, really quick post just to update  y'all. I will post more about the tea party and food and fall favorites next week after I'm settled in Oregon! However, tonight, I'm off to laud the graces and wonders of Cal Poly for hopeful little high school students at the local College Night. I'm pretty excited about that too!

To summarize:
• I'm stressed AND excited about moving
• College Night tonight at Eureka High School, 6 to 9 p.m.
• Tea Party details to come
• And more pumpkin recipes coming up!


TODAY (really early): 4 miles
YESTERDAY: 5.83 miles — we lived dangerously and took a short cut, but shhh! I can't tell you where!
MONDAY: Awesome girl-date with lovely, sushi, and stupid/fun chick flick!
SUNDAY: 3 miles
SATURDAY: 10.25 miles in 1 hour, 50 minutes!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Fall to all

First of all, Happy Fall! Fall means crisper air, chillier nights (can you say, snuggles?), and most of all...PUMPKIN!

My mother has always made the best pumpkin muffins, in the world. Along with delicious pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup.

My first year living in a house off campus in college, my roommate and I discovered how easy and cheap pumpkin pie is to make yourself once you've put out the intial money for the spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice will last you through hundreds of pies, so while they're $5 to $8 a jar, it ends up being mere cents per pie. We always followed the mantra, "When it's Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label label label, you will love it love it love it on your table table table..." and just used the filling recipe on the back of the Libby's canned pumpkin can (not the canned pumpkin pie mix, just regular pumpkin). Easy peasy, and if you're really lazy, put down the $2.50 for a frozen crust and you'll have pumpkin pie in a matter of minutes.

If you're really fancy, like me, you can roast your own pumpkin and puree the flesh for your very own pumpkin. You get the added benefit of having seeds to roast and pumpkin for days. It freezes easily and conveniently, and you can even freeze it in portion sizes for easy use. (Much like I do with pesto, but that's another blog)

To roast your own pumpkin:
Cut the top off the pumpkin, much like you would if you were going to carve it,* and then cut the pumpkin in half. It's easier to cut it in half once the top is off. Scrape out the "guts" and (if desired) collect the seeds in a bowl.

You won't use the guts for anything, so they can be tossed, composted, or whatever.

Place the pumpkin halves with the inside facing down on a baking sheet with sides, and fill baking sheet until just coated with water. In an oven preheated to about 400 degrees, bake the pumpkin until soft when stabbed with a fork — about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven when done and wait for the pumpkin to cool. Be careful, it will be extremely hot.

When the pumpkin is cool, scrape flesh from the skin into a large mixing bowl. With a fork, pie dough cutter, or even a blender, mash the flesh until there are few to no remaining lumps. Now you have usable pumpkin! For reference, 1 lb. of pumpkin (16 oz) is the equivalent of 3.5 cups of home-cooked pumpkin.

* You can carve it first, but make sure you are planning on baking it the next day, as pumpkins rot pretty quickly once they're cut into. For instance, carve it on the day of Halloweenand bake it November 1st.

To roast the seeds:
Rinse all the goo and guts off of the seeds once you've scraped your pumpkin. The easiest way to do that is to put them in a strainer (mesh works best) after you've picked them out of the pumpkin guts, and toss them a bit with your fingers. Don't worry if you don't get all the "guts" out. It won't hurt you. Spread the rinsed seeds out on a baking sheet, preferably no more than one layer deep and let dry. They should be good enough in a couple hours, but I tend to leave them overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and toss the seeds with a little oil and whatever spices you'd like. Cinnamon and sugar make 'em sweet and candy-like, I prefer garlic, salt, and pepper for more of a popcorn taste. Try basil, nutmeg, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, chilli powder, or even a bit of soy sauce for different flavors. Put seasoned seeds in the oven and bake until toasted — 15 to 20 mintues. Keep an eye on them and if they start to look really brown, take them out.

The seeds should be slightly crunchy and slightly chewy when done. A yummy, healthy snack!

To come: pumpkin muffins!



Thursday, September 23, 2010


I love shoes. Have I mentioned that I love shoes?

You might have noticed when I dedicated an entire post to these:

Or when I posted TWO photos of these:

I can't help myself. I love shoes. There are so many reasons to love shoes.

1. You can get perfectly good shoes, gently used, at thrift stores, garage sales, second-hand shops for very little money and not have that weird gross feeling that I get when buying clothes at those places. I still do it, but they require a couple washings first. Shoes don't require that.

2. Shoes always fit. Even if you gain weight. Even if you lose weight. Even if your boyfriend dumps you, they are still there for you.

3. They will never leave you. They won't be offended if you box them up and put them in the back of your closet for months at a time only to pull them out to wear them once and return them to the back again. They don't mind if you stop wearing them in lieu of a younger, sleeker model. They don't mind if you consider them frumpy, dumpy, sexy or smart.

4. You can never have "enough" shoes. It's not like cars or jeans or sweatshirts. There's always a drastically different pair to be had.

5. I'm sure there are more reasons, TELL ME SOME OF YOURS.

Basically, I love shoes.

Even these shoes:

These shoes support me even at 7 a.m. this morning, when the moon was still out in the lightening sky and while my body wasn't quite awake, my brain was courtesy of the espresso I had before hopping in the car to go rouse my lovely running buddy to go run 5 miles, 3 of which were fast, one of which was sub-9. They support me even then.

Coming soon: moving news, fall favorites (recipes and more!), tea party preparations, and lots more running and fashion.


THIS MORNING: 5 miles, tempo
YESTERDAY: 4 miles

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Use your words

In the spirit of applying the advice given by the Pioneer Woman in her post "Ten Important Things I've Learned About Blogging," I have been diligently posting often. Notice the lack of dropping off the face of the earth.

It helps that I'm moving away from this place that I grew up in and don't like being in on October 3. Less than two weeks away. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

There is a God.

Today, we're going to talk about something that many people don't talk about very often, even though we use it every day. Language.

Language, like so many other things in this day and age, is tumbling downhill drastically. I mean, perhaps my vocabulary is more extensive than most due to my love for a good book, but I would argue that that is no excuse.

A child who is read aloud to by a parent has twice the vocabulary of its counterpart who has not been read to by age six. The disparity is significant as well, 2,500 words as compared to 5,000 words. You want your child to be able to read "See Spot Run"? Read to them.

"According to the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 37 percent of fourth graders and 26 percent of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level; and on the 2002 NAEP 26 percent of twelfth graders cannot read at the basic level." (

This among other things contributes to our quickly declining vernacular.

Those of us who are well-read and can read more quickly than the average, are often stunted by those who are not. Inevitably, we are forced to define ourselves.

My former roommate once commented that she often had to look up words I say because she was too embarrassed to ask again what a word means. Apparently, when I define words, I occasionally use equally obscure terms that she then has to go look up because she doesn't want me to explain myself again.

I don't think the phrases I use are particularly extravagant. My boyfriend does accuse me of using "three inch words" but in the time we've been together, he's grown used to it and has altered his stance from complaining to questioning. I am his very own personal dictionary. I get text messages and phone calls asking me to define this word or the other.

It's precious.

I love it.

I love him.

(We're Giants fans)

Luckily, I think that stance is adorable rather than tiresome. It challenges me to put to words that which I know on a deeper level. I don't usually know the exact meaning as I've more often than not gleaned the usage from the context of the text. A few I've learned over the course of my life and have been defined to me using the same rudimentary terms I use when speaking to him or others. The challenge is to define words that I can use in a sentence and get the context correct but have never seen a definition for. That challenge is a thrill for me, though sometimes it drives me to

It has become more and more rare for me to have to go look up a word that I don't understand. It does still happen, however, but when it does I'm often surprised. The most recent — and only one I can recall with any surety — happened when I was reading Hope and Hard Times by Ted Bernard (I mention it in a previous blog) and I came across this word and for the life of me, could not figure it out. I thought at first that it was a typo, but the context didn't make sense.

"Posits: v. used with object: to lay down or assume as a fact or principle; postulate. n.: something that is posited; an assumption; postulate."

And now I have a new word with which to bewilder my audience. Hooray!

I suppose the thing that most discombobulates me about the state of our national vocabulary is the stubbornness with which people who should know better cling to misconceptions and incorrect assumptions.

When I was fifteen and a sophomore in high school, I had no less than three — and quite possibly as many as five — arguments with my English teacher about the legitimacy of "gooder."

Gooder — as I argued then and will more vehemently attest to now — is not in any way, shape, or form, a word. Good, better, best. Not good, gooder, goodest. The travesty was that the teacher presented the argument that I knew what he meant and therefore the correctness of the word didn't matter.

It made me want to scream.

I wish I could remember the title and author of the children's book that drilled that in to me at a young age (complete with beautiful illustrations of chicken and such), because then I would direct you to it. I also had a teacher in fifth grade who was a stickler for grammatical accuracy who made sure that was in my brain and that it stuck.

Say it with me now, "Good, better, best...NEVER good, gooder, goodest." Gooder and goodest — as my spell check is protesting with that angry red line beneath them — are not words. You can say them all you want, but that doesn't make them words. You will never win points in Scrabble with them.

Another anecdote which is more brief as it didn't happen to me, but rather to a friend of mine. This was with another English teacher — which says so much for their credentials — a couple years later. We may have been seniors. We had written papers and my friend, who I learned the "walking dictionary" portion of my personality from, had used the word "peruse" in her paper. Our teacher marked it as the incorrect spelling and usage of "pursue." It wasn't until my friend presented our teacher (privately of course, so as not to embarrass her) with a dictionary and the definition of peruse that the teacher capitulated and admitted she was wrong.

My last complaint is the gross usage of "funner." Even worse, "more funner" and "funnerest."

Want to see my face twist with disgust and hear me choke in protest? Use those words in my hearing and prevent me from correcting you.

I have a friend who uses those words out of sheer perversity because she likes to see me squirm. I know she does it on purpose, and my protests fall upon deaf ears. I've heard her speak to others and she uses the correct "more fun," only with me does she wield the ungainly and ugly "funner."

If I ever speak with you, and in some bumbling state of ebullience, I rush through a word or phrase that is unintelligible to you, please, stop me and have me define myself. I am more than happy to. In fact, I enjoy it. It's a challenge.

In the meantime, don't expect me to dumb down my vocabulary to fit with the local vernacular, because I just won't do it. I'd rather die an ignominious death than see more words be lost to the tomes of Webster and Merriam, never to see the light of day or an agile tongue.

Wow, that sounds almost dirty. Somehow, I think you'll get over it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Waist Belt

Two posts in one day? Sure, I'm bored enough. Why not.

The greatest trend ever in fashion is the waist belt. Why did I not discover this years ago?

Perpetually flattering to any (like myself) who have a lovely narrow waist (or can at least pretend to have one) that is constantly cast into the sidelines by "baby-making" hips (not my quote, but appropriate, nevertheless). I love the tunic-length trend, as I'm fairly long-waisted and short-legged, so in the shorter years it was harder to find clothing that properly covered my tummy.

Luckily those years were in high school when showing my cute, flat tummy was age-appropriate. Now, not so much (nevermind that the "cute, flat" bit comes and goes as well).

As such, I can still purchase looser-fitting (read: correctly-sized garments) without losing my petite waist in the process. No longer does the rule tight-fit-or-not-at-all apply to me. Granted, when wearing tight, tight jeans or my prevailing ultra-favorite — the legging (it's like wearing sweats, but you're not!) — I tend more towards flowy and not bringing it in at the waist (I've got good legs, it works), but with skirts and more loosely-tailored bottoms, I need something to balance out the hippage.

Introducing the waist belt.

I'm becoming quite the accessory-diva. I never would have thought. I've come so far from the girl who thought one sensible pair of black heels, one pair of sensible brown heels, maybe a nice neutral flat, a pair of sandals and running shoes were all the shoes one could ever possibly need. I've sprung miles from the girl who thought her belts should stay in the belt loops and only be worn when necessary. Eons from the girl who wore the same small silver hoops everyday and thought necklaces were a nuisance.

How wrong I was.

People, I have discovered fashion. It could be considered a travesty, and certainly something many (my mother, sister and boyfriend included) will never understand, but I am no longer the girl who is satisfied with just five pairs of shoes.

My Versaces will attest, nothing is better than having choices.

Especially when they're so deliciously black and patent and leather. Mm, mm, good.

Just for the record, my Auntie Carol's cardinal rule of never throwing anything away (clothes/accessories-wise) that still fits and isn't worn out just because it's not in fashion at the moment suddenly came true for me today. And I didn't think it would happen.

A dear friend gave me this faux pas of a shirt for my birthday/Christmas. A brilliant jewel-tone teal, with dolman sleeves and a drapey collar. Awkward through the bustline and horrible in the sleeve length. I did what I could to salvage it — cutting the sleeves to near-shoulder length (from wrist!) saved it somewhat — but mostly just sighed and shoved it in my drawer, not willing to immediately goodwill it as he had worked so hard to find something he'd thought I'd like.

Here we are ten months later, and I'm in a hurry, clad in a charcoal grey tulip skirt that somehow always manages avoid the goodwill bag by being worn every three or six months and determined to wear my Versace stilettos practically pulling out my hair as — miraculously — it's sunny outside so the sweater I was originally going to wear was so not appropriate* and I couldn't find a shirt when lo-and-behold in the back of my drawer is this brilliant jewel-tone teal that I had very nearly forgotten as I have never worn it.

I pull it out and shake out the wrinkles and put it on. It needs the touch of a black waist-belt, but then it's done and it looks pretty good! Next time I'll wear a tank top underneath as it gapes rather significantly if I bend over, and the material isn't all that nice so it shows the waistband of my skirt (which is rather awkwardly placed and the skirt was cheap, so it's poorly sewn to boot), but ultimately, I'm excited as I have a new outfit!

Apparently, saving pays off.

Just promise me you won't go overboard with it and become a hoarder, m'kay? Thanks much.


* Yes, the weather does affect my clothing choices. If it's sunny, I celebrate by wearing colors. If it's not, whatever.

Eventful weekend

First of all, see? See?

I went for my run yesterday. That's me putting on my shoes. My mommy took that picture. Thank you, mommy. And I didn't get wet, as it stopped raining for my run. But my cool new Garmin Forerunner 205 decided that .3 miles in was a good time to be the first time to crap out. Damn it. So I sprinted the hill but probably only ran 2 miles. Oh well, I ran it fast because I was mad.

Secondly, I found out this morning that the half marathon I was supposed to run on Oct. 30th in Bend was cancelled!! Oh no! They gave me the option of running the weekend before (the 24th) in Portland or just refunding my money. Convenience has now been eliminated, what to do? Double damn. I have to make a decision soon, but we'll see. My parents will be in Portland that weekend, so maybe it's just worth it to run that weekend.

I hate change! Especially when it's a deviation from the original plan. Ugh. I don't adjust well. It's not one of my better traits. I'm working on it.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I house and dog- and kitty-sat. Technically, it was his job, but as I was there, I get credit too. In middle school and in high school at sleepovers, my girlfriends and I always just fell asleep in whatever positions we watched movies and gossiped in: usually one big puppy pile. Or so I thought that was what it was called.

I got to see the true definition of a puppy pile this weekend. Two of the four dogs we sat were puppies.

I don't know what kind of dog they are, but Otis and his sister are pretty stinkin' cute. The first night, Lucy (Otis' sister) didn't snuggle with us, but Otis stretched out quite comfortably on the other side of my boyfriend under the covers. They spooned most of the night and puppy spooning jokes/comments ensued with some hilarity and faux-pouting the next morning. The second night, Lucy joined us for Monsters, Inc. and then at the end of the movie, we decided it was time for the people to have the majority of the bed and threw the pair of them off it. Otis promptly jumped back up and gave me that (see photo) face.

Puppy faces are irresistable. Especially sad, "please?" puppy faces.

I sighed and let him snuggle. Boyfriend grumbled about not getting his fall-asleep cuddle, but we managed with Otis sandwiched between us.

At some point in the night, I woke up to find two balled puppy bodies between me and boyfriend. I woke boyfriend up and we threw the puppies off the bed so we could have some cuddle time. Again, I woke up later to find myself sandwiched between puppies. I threw them off.

In the morning, boyfriend was diagonal trying to find some space on the already smaller-than-we're-used-to bed, I was on my side curled around Lucy and Otis was sandwiched between my shinbones and boyfriend's legs. When I cracked my eyes open and groaned, lots of puppy tongues ensued.

Boyfriend decided it was time to get up and feed the puppies and their older counterparts and at last, I had some space.

Other than those shenanigans, we had a productive weekend.

At the massive garage sale last weekend, I picked up a "lovely" bench for $1.50. Actually, it was kind of a scungy bench, but the woodwork was nice and "Oh, you could just re-cover it" fell from my mommy's lips and I was sold. Plus, it was a $1.50! Actually, it was two, but I offered $1.50 and the nice man didn't seem inclined to argue.

Sunday morning (after the puppy pile night), boyfriend and I tripped off to the fabric store where we spent a mildly-funny hour picking out fabric.

He wanted fish.

I said no.

He wanted sailboats.

I said no.

He wanted birds.

I said, "Where do you think we're going to be living? The beach? We're moving to a cabin!"

He wanted camo.

I said, "Oh, hell no."

We settled on a lovely, not-too-masculine-not-too-feminine stripe in pale blue, cream and brown. That being the only one we truly agreed upon that would work. And then spent the better part of an hour pulling out the thousands of staples holding on the original upholstery. Dad foolishly offered to help, and mommy got suckered in too.

It was family bonding at its finest.

There were a lot of staples.

Then, after a second trip to the store for a new pad, we re-covered the bench. $50 later, it looks pretty good, eh?

Sorry the color is sort of washed out, but it looks really really good. I'm excited to put it in our new home.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

I won't melt

I have to go run. And after running 6 miles (4 normal, 2 fast) yesterday in the rain and returning damp and uncomfortable, I'm not really inclined to go out in the drizzle again. It's not really raining yet, but the way things are, it will be by the time I tie on my shoes.

Nothing beats running in the rain. It's beautiful, usually quiet — even the car noises seem to be more peaceful. A camera just doesn't do justice to the dark clouds rolling over the bay when I run out at the Arcata marsh, rain pattering and dripping off the brim of my SF Giants hat (I'm a Giants fan, didn't you know?). It's truly beautiful.

But when I say nothing beats running in the rain, I'm lying. Running when it's dry beats running in the rain. Unfortunately (or fortunately? I can't decide), I'm a Humboldt County girl so I know that I won't melt from a little rain. Not even a little. I won't melt from a lot of rain.

I'm going, I promise.

I just don't want to. Luckily, it's only three miles. And with my feet being as speedy as they are lately — and the fact that I'm running by myself and therefore am more inclined to get bored more quickly — I can run it pretty fast.

All right, all right. I'm going.

See? I'm gone.


TODAY: 3 miles (I promise!)
YESTERDAY: 6 miles, Tempo

Friday, September 17, 2010


When it's rains, I get wet smell the new air heavy with water, clouds and damp. Every good Arcata-born-and-raised girl knows how to deal with rain. We know it won't last.


Okay, so it will.

I mean, really, this is Humboldt. We have three seasons: completely wet, mostly wet, and damp. Four words: 42. Inches. Per. Year.

Like eskimos with their forty words for snow, we have a hundred for rain. Spitting, sprinkling, misting, raining, damp, pouring, sheeting, sleeting, dumping, buckets, splashes...words for  big drops, little drops, barely-there drops.

We're snobbish in our definition of rain.

"That's not rain," we'll say. "It's just spitting."

"That's not rain," we'll accuse. "That's sprinkling."

"That's not rain," we'll smile wisely. "It's just damp."

We know the smell of rain, the scent of wet to come. The exact way pavement smells after the first rain and the last rain. We can eyeball clouds and know that they're too high, too low, too fluffy, too soupy, too whatever to hold rain.

We know when it'll be a squall and when it's here for days. We know if it's too cold to rain or just right.

I didn't own an umbrella until I was 18 and unprepared for record rainfall at my advertisted-9-inches-a-year central California school. We don't do umbrellas in Humboldt. Parkas, raincoats, plastic bags, are where it's at.

I didn't know rainboots were "cool" until I was 20 and wandering around my college campus after a (my definition) light sprinkle and every other girl was wearing rainboots in polka dot, plaid, neon colors, zebra stripes, what-have-you. In Arcata, after you grow out of your hated childhood pair — you know the kind that pulls over your regular shoes? — you suffer or get sensible, waterproof sneakers.

When we were in high school, we'd wear skirts and sandals on rainy days and bring an extra sweater for our legs. Bare legs dried faster than jeans and kept you warmer. Better cold feet than damp jeans all day. In high school, you judged how important it was to have your textbook in class versus how important it was to stay dry — as your locker car was in the back parking lot and a 5 minute walk or 3 minute run.

We Arcatians know that running doesn't keep you dryer in the rain. You might feel better about it, but you get just as wet. Raincoats, now those keep you dry. Staying out of the rain? Even better.

In Arcata, you can tell the people who were raised here and have lived here for a while by how they handle the rain. The people dashing through the rain, wearing fancy boots and desperately trying to fuss with their umbrella — those aren't locals.

The person in the cords with the worn knees and the fancy parka with the hood pulled up, wearing heavy duty hiking boots that are most likely waterproof and lined with a sturdy pair of wool socks and walking reasonably but determinedly through the torrent?

That person's local.

I'd bet a hundred bucks on it.

YESTERDAY: 5 miles, Tempo

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome to my life

Nothing gets me going like a brand new design challenge. I don't understand why, but it's probably why I enjoy my "job" so much. It's probably why I'm so willing to jump at any opportunity, paying or not, to design something new.

Lately, it's tattoos.

Friend Karen, my lovely friend's roommate/landlady, is an ultramarathoner (i.e. 50k or 31 miles) and wanted a way to "record" her races as a tattoo. The concept here is the laurel wreath of victory will get colored with each race, and the different colors (her idea) represent different years. Pretty cool, huh?

The thing that kept me nearly sleepless last night, however, was a phone call from my friend Shae Lynn. She and her husband went from super-intellectual (cognitive science and international politics, respectively) to farming.

Not that there's anything wrong with farming.

I like farmers.

I like Shae Lynn.

It's a good combination.

That and she keeps bringing me business that makes me wiggle with glee. I designed the logo for their attempt at dairy farming (which collapsed only because of misinformation on the part of the farm they were to rent):

(c) 2010, K.Calderwood Design

And when they moved on to chicken ranching, she called me up again:

(c) 2010, K.Calderwood Design

For a glimpse into the process of an artist, visit my site here, where Early Bird Ranch and their logo is my featured piece. Mostly because it was such a fun logo to design, but also because it's my latest piece.

It's easy to get inspired by chickens when I can wander out into my parents' backyard and watch the hilarity that ensues from tossing two watermelon rinds into the chicken pen.

Chickens are dumb.

Chickens are hilarious.

Anyways, the latest project is her website. Now, I'm not one to get thrilled by websites, but my experiences with websites (other than my own) are fairly humdrum. Shae Lynn wants something kitcsh but professional, cutesy but staid, something that says, "We ARE as idyllic that farm on our label." Because they are. I've seen pictures.

Now that, my friends, is a design challenge. That is what's making me wiggle with glee.

Too bad I have to work today, or I would be parked in front of my computer with my sketchbook trying to concept.

Life is rough.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Skinny moments

I love skinny moments.

Skinny moments are those moments where you suddenly notice that hey, all that working out (meaning, running miles and miles and miles in my case) has paid off. Where you can see your toes without that little bit of tummy in the way. Where your jeans fit and you're not distracted by those ever-present love handles. Where you glance in the mirror and go, "Whoa!" in a good way.

I've never been unfortunate, or even obese, but everyone's got their bad days. Everyone has those days where you step on the scale and think, "Really?" in a bad way.

It makes those moments where your legs look better than you ever remember them looking even better.

Just sayin.'

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today was a good day

This morning, well, afternoon I suppose, I had a rare opportunity. I was bereft as my lovely friend had a lunchtime meeting and I was working the night shift so we couldn't run together today. I was having a hard time getting motivated when I thought, "Hey, my mommy could ride her bike with me as I run!"

Luckily, my mommy agreed that that was a good idea. She hasn't been training for half marathons, so there was no way she would be able to run with me, but bike? Most definitely.

As I started out (she caught up with me, as my ever-industrious mommy was finishing up making yummy jam from fresh, local blackberries), I dropped down from our "moutain-side" home that was firmly ensconced in the fog — part of my motivational problem — and into beautiful Humboldt County sunshine. Who'd have thought? Desperately wishing I'd brought my sunglasses, I nevertheless had lifted spirits as I grumblingly proceeded to run my Fartlek.

My mom caught up with me after my fourth or fifth stride-out (I lose track really quick with those and just go by time), and exclaimed that she was surprised I had gotten as far as I had so quickly. I pointed out that I'd been running for nearly 30 minutes at that point, so I should have been at least 3 miles out. After that, she pedaled along cheering me on when I picked up and chatting with me during the intervals. It was wonderful and fun to get to spend some quality time with my mommy in the sunshine.

I got to spend quality time with my mommy this weekend, too.

This weekend was a local "Bargain Lovers'" weekend in Ferndale (you know, where The Majestic was filmed). The whole community turns out with various and sundry yard, garage, and rummage sales. After snapping up a tattered, but full-of-potential end of the bed bench for a measly $1.50 (marked at $2! I exercised my bargaining muscles early and often) as my first purchase, I knew it was going to be a good day.

We arrived in Ferndale (braced with coffee and small bills) at about 9:30 a.m. and didn't call it quits until 3 or 4 p.m. The sun was out and it was beautiful as we scampered happily from sale to sale throughout town — unknowingly getting sunburned and walking miles and miles without noticing.

The day's best buy would have to be a pair of black leather boots I found.

Jacket: Express, hand-me-down; black & teal tanks: boutique in San Luis Obispo, Five Dollar Fabulous; black leggings: Impressions at the Bayshore Mall (where Gap used to be), Five Dollar Fabulous; BLACK LEATHER BOOTS!!!: garage sale thrift!

I joyously picked them up (where they were slyly tucked beneath a table amidst a jumble of other shoes) along with a soft grey cardigan — of that earthy, warmer grey like the infamous Italy boots — and practically skipped to the lady running that particular sale.

Now for those of you who are experienced bargain hunters know this cardinal rule, for those of you who aren't, here it is: never offer what you would be willing to pay, always go lower and be willing to walk away if they demand more than the item is worth to you. Many garage sale managers will "panic" when you set down the item and turn to leave and will let it go for a more reasonable price. If they don't, set it down, walk away, and come back later. If the item still hasn't sold, likely it will be released at the price you want it.

Never pay more than it is worth to you.

This is a double edged sword however, and be reasonable and true to yourself. If you actually want the item, need the item, whatever, pay the piper. Because it would be terrible if that's just the thing and you come back and it's gone. If it's an impulse buy — and most things are — walk away. Likely, you can come back and it'll be there.

Back to the boots.

So I walked up to the woman in charge of that particular sale, cardigan and boots in hand, and blithely offer two dollars. Now, I wasn't all that attached to the sweater, but we girls all know that good, cheap boots are hard to find and so I was willing to go as high as $5 for those puppies. Imagine my surprise when the woman said, "Well, actually, everything is 50 cents, so both is just a dollar."

Was she nuts???

Why let them go at half what I offered? I was the idiot who didn't see the sign! What would I have possibly done if I had paid the two bucks and then seen the sign? Nothing!

I think we need to see them again, don't you? Yes, yes, I agree.


I snatched up a bunch of other goodies as well, spending $35 in total.

Cute ballet flats by Soda: 50 cents!

Then I just had to do a photo shoot with the rest of my finds!

Black silk Tommy Hilfinger tank: 50 cents; necklace: Elle for Kohl's, $12.99; pants: Elle for Kohl's, $8.80; Versace pumps: consignment, $75

Brown sweater: $3 garage sale find; brown belt: came with a shirtdress; red leather skirt: hand-me-down; opaque tights: Target, $10; brown boots: Payless Shoe Source, gift from a friend because I kept borrowing them

And lastly, I picked up some snuggly snow-worthy wear as I'm moving to Bend, Ore. with the boy and that's snow country!

Vest: $1; blue jacket: 50 cents
I also snagged some other things for my move north — a rug, more winter wear, and some picture frames — and rounded out the day with a 6 mile run with my lovely friend (this was on Saturday).

Whew. That was a lot. I'm moving on and getting back to work!


TODAY: 60 minute Fartlek run

Monday, September 13, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

So, while reviewing pictures I have taken and want to take I realized that I'm behind in posting about some delicious food.

Here I was, drooling over my new-to-me clothes and shoes — from a local garage sale event that lasted all weekend — and I realized that I never posted about some food I drooled over not too long ago! I tantalized you, teased, mentioned it and just never posted!

Well, the pictures aren't fabulous, but here you go:

Green and red bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini, tomato, onion, mushrooms
Vegetables roasted to perfection with salt, pepper and olive oil
Whole wheat pizza dough, mozzarella cheese, roasted vegetables, pepperoni

Roasted Veggie and Pepperoni Pizza! Yum yum yum!

Basic pizza dough — substitute 1/2 of flour with whole wheat flour
Fresh vegetables, roasted to taste with a little olive oil, salt, pepper
Tomato sauce with fresh basil (fresh from the garden)
Mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni to taste

Assemble and bake for about 20-30 minutes at 475 degrees. Less time needed if using a pizza stone. Perfect.

Pizza is one of the easiest things to make. Throw the dough together the night before and you can have easy-peasy pizza. Same night, it takes hardly any time at all. And it's delicious and with whole wheat flour and garden fresh vegetables, it's completely nutritious.

Add a 6- to 9-mile run right before it and it's just the right balance of calories and carbs.

So, the next time making a meal that's good for you sounds like a drag, whip up a quick batch of dough and make the perfect pizza. Try toppings like a drizzle of olive oil and basil with fresh chevre or feta and tomatoes. Or pesto with parmesan and zucchini — a great way to use up the last of the summer's produce if you were the idiot who planted more than 1 or 2 zucchini plants. Pine nuts, olive oil, feta, spinach and mushrooms make another great pizza. Yum yum! WHAT ARE your FAVORITE TOPPINGS?


SUNDAY: 5 miles
SATURDAY: 5 hours of walking in the hot sun + 6 miles

Friday, September 10, 2010

Font Lovin'

First of all, is it weird that I get turned on by type? No, no, don't answer that. It was rhetorical.

Be forewarned, this posting is not for the faint of heart, nor those who despise work of art.

Or for that matter, those who live/have lived with graphic design/graphic communication/print technology/packaging/typography/etc. majors/professionals/etc. Those of you who have, have probably heard this stuff a thousand times and would be best served ignoring it and moving on.

As an avid reader, and someone who makes their business doing design and print work, I have an unnatural fondness for printed objects when they're well executed. Looking at a book that has been well-designed, printed on nice paper, and abides by all of the rules that my design teachers drilled into me in college (proper balance, good use of whitespace, never ever fake small caps), I literally get shivers of joy. It's like the beginning of a relationship where the love is still new and you still get that exciting little thrill every time you see the person. The heat pooling in your stomach, the constricting of the lungs, the sudden independence of your understand what I mean.

I have that love too, of course, I'm not completely abnormal. But give me a book, or a box, or a magazine that has been so completely thought out that it just begs for you to touch it...well, you get the picture.

I save packaging that inspires me. I have a clutter of boxes under my bed (prime packaging real estate) that I drag out whenever I'm really stumped on a project.

I adore Stila's packaging.

I spend full price on books that make me drool — whether or not they're in a genre I like. I purchased The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo when it first came out (you know: spot varnish, slick paper, good color...) and that was like two or three years ago and I still haven't gotten through it.

I grin like an idiot every time I see Humboldt State University's "new" signs as they're in my absolute favorite typeface...
Hypatia Sans Pro, my absolute favorite typeface.

The downside of this fetish is that I get the horrors and am physically ill when presented with something less than beautiful. And by less than beautiful, I mean screwy margins, poor alignment, giant font with not enough leading.

I see I'm speaking Greek.

This is now a mini lesson on the beauty of good design. I am going to attempt the first two years of my degree and countless lectures, lab hours, and projects into a few paragraphs. Wish me luck.

If you Google "history of font," the first site to come up is kind of a bizarre site, but it has a decent blurb about fonts.

"What is a font? A font is all the letters, numbers, punctuation and other symbols which compose a typeface. Fonts were first developed as cast lead type for printing presses, and were later digitized as typefaces for use on computers." (

Another quick definition. Typeface. Typeface is similar to font, but the terms are not interchangeable.

"A typeface is a set of characters of the same design. These characters include letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols." (

 A font is composed of a typeface. Font is technically a specific size and style of a typeface. For example, "Arial" is a typeface, and "Arial 12 pt black" is a font.

Font (and thus, "typeface") was developed technically by monks before the printing press was even dreamed up. Calligraphy is stylistically considered a font, but of course, back then it was the only font and they didn't call it that. They called it "calligraphy." Duh.

The first typeface was designed by a man named Johannes Gutenberg, who is the man who "invented" the printing press. The Chinese technically beat him to it about five hundred years before, but at that point it was our European fore-fathers who were recording history and they hadn't yet found Asia, so the Chinese get shafted for credit.

Gutenberg's first press was in operation by 1450. He developed a typeface for the press - heavily based on calligraphic styles of the era - and proceeded to print a 42-line Bible, popularly known as the Gutenberg Bible, for the common man in 1452. About 180 were printed.

Of the 47 known remaining copies, a whopping 21 are complete. Most of the complete originals are in Europe, but The Morgan Library & Museum in New York and the Library of Congress in D.C. among a few other locations in the U.S. boast copies on vellum and paper.

So that's the beginning of fonts. Today, you can find a bazillion crappy free fonts online at sites like and A true, excellent typeface takes thousands of hours to complete. Each character has to be adjusted with specifications set for how close it stands next to another, baseline, x-height, special characters.

Any low-grade typeface has at least 54 characters. That's your standard alphabet in caps and lower case. Any standard font has at least six times that many, if not more. Small caps, special characters, punctuation, numbers, Greek letters...and there's options like "oldstyle" and "tabular" for numbers, alternate glyphs for each letter, etc., etc.

Zapfino, created by renowned typeface designer Hermann Zapf — Zapf dingbats, Palatino, among others can be credited to him — in 1998, is a nearly-overused font that I guarantee you have seen at some point. It is a script font that is extremely popular on wedding invitations, advertisements, they're even using it in movies now for titles and such.  Zapfino is a pretty extensive font, but is by no means the largest. It has only one weight — weight is regular, bold, italic, etc. — and its character total is still nearly 1500 characters.

I think you get my point. Moving on.

Style and design is not just font. Font can add to it, but it can also detract from it. A common design error is "the more the better" which is never true. Amateurs think that the more fonts used the better. Not true.

When designing anything stick to a maximum of two fonts. Three if you really really really really have to, but the standard is two. However, watch out. Even if you only use two typefaces, if you use all of the weights of each you have the same problem as using a bazillion. When in doubt, K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Whitespace whitespace whitespace is next. Or rather:

Whitespace is beautiful. We love whitespace. Whitespace occurs in several places, but the two most important are margins and leading.

Everyone knows what margins are, right? Margins are the space between what's on the paper (as far as text, images, etc.) and the edge of the paper. Leading is a bit more challenging.

Leading is defined as the amount of vertical spacing between lines of type. When you "double space" something in Microsoft word, you are adding leading. Doubling it, in fact. When you "single space" text, you're subtracting leading. It's really quite simple. The challenge is setting the appropriate amount of lead in regards to the type. But that's a lesson for another day.

Those are just a few elements of design, and I've left you with giant gaps in your design education, but I feel as though I've rambled on and on for days. I'd like to finish up with a couple of my favorite books in terms solely of design quality.

Kushiel's Mercy (Hardcover) by Jacqueline Carey. Her paperbacks are a little lacking in whitespace, but this hardcover novel is fantastic - and the paper is epic.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (also hardcover) by Stieg Larson: There are two copies of the hardback version of this book. I'm attracted to the one with the sleek cover with the spot varnish (shiny ink on the lettering), but the innards of both are equally elegant.

Hope and Hard Times by Ted Bernard. A dreary, dull, dud of a read by an author who thinks quite a lot of himself (more than necessary), but when my editor handed me the paperback book, I spent a full twenty minutes just flipping through the pages, reveling in the elegance of it. Not only is the text in Adobe Garamond Pro, my all-time most adored typeface (classic that is, use-all. Hypatia isn't really something you can use for everything, Garamond on the other hand, you totally can), but it is printed entirely on FSC Certified paper. FSC is Forest Stewardship Council, which is "an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests." ( Can you say "orgasm"? I think I'm in love.

Also, my current read, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Beautiful margins, love love love the mod-classic placement/design of the header and footer on each page...sigh.

Excuse me, I need to go ogle my books.

WEDNESDAY: 3.5 miles (up a really big hill)

For Later

when my laters run into tomorrow
and tomorrow into forever,
I think of you.
   (I always think of you)
Now, later, tomorrow, forever
Whenever peanut butter gets smoothed onto one half of a sandwich
When the pieces slide into place and the puzzle is whole
Tomorrow, when there are wings on my feet as they pound the pavement
Like my heart pounds the cage of my bones.
"Shh," you whisper
   (A whisper in the night as lips move on skin)
You think of me.
   (You always think of me)
When paint drips to be caught by a meticulous finger
When feathers of snow drift from the promising sky
   (promising cold to come)
...chased away by the warmth of a heart pounding its cage of bones
In a step, a breath,
in one hundred "laters"
We are together.
Today, yesterday, past, present
   (and ever)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where'd it go?

1. Today, my head is not attached. I'm not sure where I left it, but it wasn't on when I got up this morning. God help me, as I don't know how I'm going to get through today.

2. Seriously, I did one of those classic put-conditioner-on-my-loufah-instead-of-soap things this morning, and very nearly left the shower with shampoo in my hair.

3. "Coffee Break" down by the Sunny Brae Murphy's Market makes the best cappucino I've tasted since Italy. And it's hard to beat Italy with espresso.

4. I need to write their owner a note expressing my expressions of their espresso.

5. Did I mention my head was missing?

6. I can't remember the last time I was this tired. But it may have been the last spring quarter of college in my print quality class where we were discussing the pros and cons of gravure versus litho for the umpteenth time in my 3 years as a Graphic Communication major and I fell asleep — in the back of the room mind you — because I was cozy and warm and soooo tired and Dr. Keif stopped his lecture to yell at me.

7. I like sleep. Sleep is good.

8. I got dressed no less than four times this morning. For some reason, I could not put together an outfit this morning. It may have been because my brain was not properly functioning. Luckily, I was lucid enough to realize that the first three outfits just did. not. work. As much as I love reading the "What was she thinking?" column, I never really want to appear in one — or be a nominee for one.
  •  Outfit #1: Red-brown leather tulip-pencil skirt, heather-grey sweater, Versace pumps. Realized that the skirt called for more browns, less blacks.
  • Outfit #2: Tried different skirt (houndstooth wool in red/cream/darkbrown). Grey sweater clashed. Tried with stockings.
  • Outfit #3:Houndstooth wool pencil skirt with Versace pumps and black top and stockings. Gold zipped pockets on skirt showed and clashed with silver work on pumps. Ooops. Different shoes not an option as bare legs were too cold today and don't have brown stockings.
  • Conclusion: need to invest in opaque tights so I can wear boots with my pencil skirts.

9. In case you were wondering, I settled for jeans and a black wrap sweater I've liberated from my mother's closet. (What? She wasn't wearing it!) Dressed it up with my beloved Versace pumps and a new chunky necklace (my Auntie Carol loves me) and was able to get out the door presentably.

Chunky statement necklace courtesy of Auntie Carol

10. Sans coffee.

11. Hence the expressing my espresso at Coffee Break. There is a God.

12. My brain not being attached today could prove problematic (I mean, unusually so, rather than just standardly) as today is Wednesday.

13. Wednesday is a busy day.

14. Lots of brain-requiring tasks on Wednesday.

15. Thank God I got both my stories written this week yesterday. You know, when my head was still attached to my neck. Before I lost it.

16. Speaking of stories, I wrote the cover story this week! It's about running. Go running. Go me. Read it here. And here. And here.

17. I'll bet you didn't know I could write! I'm not just a pretty face. Or just an artist. I have a myriad of talents. That's right, myriad. Wow, I need more coffee...

18. We made a delicious pizza last weekend. That I really wish I could talk about right now, but I'm just too tired. And you shouldn't have to deal with my lack of brain-age right now. I'm sure this sounds like the most intelligent post I've ever written. I apologize.

19. Profusely.

20. I'm sorry. I'm done, I promise.


YESTERDAY: 60 minute Fartlek
SUNDAY: 3 miles

Saturday, September 4, 2010

8 miles is a lot

Paradigm shift. That's what my professor at Cal Poly said to me two years ago. We were talking about printing presses and design and capabilities and business modules, not running, but the application is the same.

There's a country in Central (or maybe South) America where the "rite of passage" to manhood is the boy/man going out into the relative wilderness and running 100 miles. One. Hundred. Miles. I heard that, and while rationally knew that it was possible, just thought, no way.

Three and a half months ago, 4 miles was my "big run."

4 miles was a lot.

When my professor was talking about paradigm shift — in relation to business modules — he spoke of thinking outside the box. When you need a new idea, when you need to think outside the box, you need a paradigm shift — to shift your view of the world — to help your ideas flow from "impossible" to "probable." Anything is possible if you allow your interpretation of the world to shift.

Scientific discoveries are made by people who don't conform to popular belief. Regardless of whether something is possible or not, because of the way you — and therefore your brain — view the world, you will see what you want to see. For instance, if you know that birds can't fly, your brain will interpret the sight of a bird flying as something else — launching maybe, gliding from one branch to another. Simply, not flying. Allowing your worldview to change and accepting that maybe, in fact, birds do fly allows your brain to interpret birds flying as just that.

Does that make sense?

You see the world the way you think the world should be. Not on the surface think, deep, dark, inner belief think.

If you think the world should be puppies and kittens and rainbows and love — deep down believe it — you'll see it that way. Whether or not you rationally dismiss the idea as probable, you will see the world as puppies and kittens and rainbows and love and your mind will interpret anything outside of that norm as something acceptable to that paradigm.

You can shift your paradigm, however. You can change the way you interpret the world. It's not easy. It's a conscious (sometimes unconscious, I suppose) effort.

Three and a half months ago, four miles was a lot. Thirteen was impossible. Thirteen was unattainable. Thirteen miles in 2 hrs and 7 minutes? Unthinkable.

Today, I ran 8 miles.

And didn't blink. Didn't think, "Oh my god, eight miles. That's so far." Just thought, "Oh man, gotta run eight miles today. Probably take us about an hour and a half. That's not so bad." And by the time we were out the door I was antsy to run 8 miles. I was ready to run 8 miles.

Eight miles is doable. The three miles I get to run tomorrow? Pffft. Piece of cake. Three miles is nothing.

Four months ago, three miles was a lot. Think about that.


TODAY: 8 miles, 1:25:something

Friday, September 3, 2010

So the trick is...

New shoes.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: When you're running, you just gotta protect those kickers. After a week of my knees bitching and complaining, I shrugged it off — ignoring, I might add, the lack of tread on my soles. It wasn't until the shin-splints started acting up that I knew.

The Cold. Hard. Truth.

It was time to shoes.

Sigh. It's only been since May! Mom kept saying things like, "I'm so proud of you for going through a pair of shoes in such a short amount of time!" and all I was thinking was, "That's great and all...would you care to finance the next pair?"

Because running shoes, as we've discussed, don't come cheap.

I mean, if I were prepared for such a short turn over I would have been browsing websites for good deals. I suppose it makes sense when I actually think about it, as you need to replace them about every 300 to 500 miles, closer to 300 — kind of like changing the oil in your car — and we've been averaging probably about 18 miles a week, ranging from 15 to 25. 18 miles x 17 weeks ~= 300 miles. All on paved roads which wears 'em out even quicker.

That's a lot of mileage.

Holy crap.

What was I thinking?

Oh, right...I like the way I look when I'm in shape. "I'm in shape. Round is a shape," just never had the right sort of ring to it. Things fit better when I'm in shape. And I'm actually a six, not just wishing I were. Not just pretending I were.

Well, off to do important things. Or something. I've written an article about running for the publication I work for that goes to print next week. I'll post the links when it gets uploaded. Something to look forward to, my dears!


THURSDAY:  5 miles — tempo run
WEDNESDAY: 3 miles, light strength & conditioning