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

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I played you love songs, you'd say we're playing house, now you still say we are

First of all, there's something really great about naturally waking up around 6:30 a.m. It means that it's quarter to eight and I've already had my coffee, done some work, unpacked a bag, and watched Glee. And of course, decided to blog.

I wanted to write last night after my four mile run, but I got caught up in unpacking just one more bag, and then another, and then another — you understand.

It's my intention to go take better pictures (i.e. not with a cellphone) today, but here's a teaser.

This is a two minute walk from my house. It's the headwaters for Spring Creek or something, and it flows into the Deschutes. All you can see is this tiny trickle that comes from underground to fill this whole pond that then gushes into the creek (where I'm standing) with a torrent of water that is unbelievably beautiful and seemingly impossible.

Half a mile from my new house, literally down the road (the road turns into the trail), is the Deschutes National Forest that runs along the river. I ran my run yesterday down that trail and I could see the water through the trees.


You'd think with me being from the redwoods and all that I would be unimpressed by stumpy evergreens and high desert scenery, but I'm not. It's a different kind of beauty, and in some ways, it's all the more beautiful to me because I didn't grow up surrounded by it.

I will admit that to some extent, I take the redwoods for granted. I can't help it. They've surrounded me my whole life, and they're just trees. Really really really really big trees, but just trees. Here, it's different.

Less damp, certainly.

I don't know. The redwoods are beautiful, but somehow, the area here is more beautiful. Maybe because this place is a place I've chosen to be. I choose to be here. I'm not forced here by a job, or by birth, or anything. I'm here simply because I want to be.

Well, that and boyfriend's here. But it was my idea.

We just let him think it was his idea.


P.S. Apparently, I suck at making fires in our wood stove. At 38 degrees this morning, I decided it was necessary. Less than an hour later the damned thing is out without ever really getting hot. Good thing I'm dating a boyscout...and we have electric heat.

YESTERDAY: 4 miles, 37 minutes

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our New Home

Oh my goodness, I'm here. I'm here and I'm mostly unpacked. And I have internet. And the house is finally quiet. The new house isn't quite big enough for four people to navigate around each other (and a myriad of boxes in varied states of unpacked) without tension running a little high. Especially considering the emotional state rendered by the stress of moving.

I had my first meltdown yesterday. Hopefully the first and last, as boyfriend and co. drove home today. Boyfriend is off to pick up his truck and his parents (co.) are headed back home and then off to the east coast.

The meltdown was incited by a phone call with our internet provider. A very nice, young-sounding man named Rob had informed me that our internet had not, in fact, been activated on Friday as it was supposed to be and no one was exactly sure why. I need internet by this afternoon for my telecommuting and was in a mild panic because of it.

I'm talking full-on squalling meltdown.

Luckily, his parents were out and about and only boyfriend was there to witness the mess. We've been together long enough that he's a veteran and a pro at handling such situations. He's good at soothing noises.

Surprisingly, the meltdown was not incited on Sunday when we got lost. Or when the truck ran out of gas on the side of the road after not seeing hide nor hair of a gas station for 200 miles. Or when it took us 9 hours instead of 6.5 to get here. Or when we realized that there was only one air mattress and his parents were using it and our mattresses were buried in the very back of the truck and we had to heave-to to unload the entire truck before darkness fell (it gets pretty black out here) in order to have something other than beautiful (hard) wood floors to sleep on.

The meltdown was also not incited on Monday when I woke up to a house full of boxes and no coffee. Or when we ran around and around and around town (20 minute drive away) picking up things, trying to find things, inevitably getting lost and most assuredly bickering.

Just the last straw. Oh well.

Did I mention the truck ran out of gas on the side of the road? Couldn't be helped. We didn't know that we wouldn't be seeing a gas station for that long, or we would have gotten gas in Grants Pass. Thankfully, we were caravan-ing and my boyfriend had the forethought to put a gas canister in the back of the truck, so I was able to take the canister to the nearest gas station (seven miles away) and return with enough gas to get us to the gas station to fill up.

In other news, ready for a tour of my new house? I thought so. Please excuse the mess.

This is my living room and my "office" alcove.

My office. I have a beautiful view of spruce trees and a bird feeder that already has little birdies visiting!

Our "reading corner" and breakfast bar.

Dining room and backdoor.


Fireplace is in the center of the main living area. The kitchen is to the left and the hallway at the right goes to the bedrooms and bathroom. Straight across from it is my office.

Another kitchen view. Carpet was $7 at a garage sale.

View out my front door. The building on the right is our detached garage.

More front yard.

The wall on the right is the outside corner of my office. The tree is right out my main office window.

Path to the garage and the garage.

Front of the house.

Another living area photo.

View of living room from "dining room"

Also, I've done my first cooking in the house. We had a family friend over for dinner last night and I whipped up a quick batch of pesto.

Fresh pesto!

Pesto is easy to make and delicious on anything.

To Make Pesto:
Using a blender or a food processor (I prefer the processor), put in a generous handful of fresh basil leaves, a tablespoon of pine nuts or walnuts (I use pine nuts), a couple cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste and olive oil. Run the blender or processor until pesto is fully processed.

It made the store-bought ravioli (nothing wrong with that) a little more interesting than simple marinara would have. Be careful though, if you use too much garlic it has a pretty good kick. I added too much garlic. It is however, really yummy that way.

Keeps the bugs away too.

In addition, if you have any extra, you can freeze it for later use. I usually use an ice tray and freeze it in cubes for easy use. One "cube" is perfect if you're cooking only a little bit for one, two to four "cubes" if you're serving more people.

I had my first Oregon run yesterday. I called my lovely friend before I left (it's our plan to run "together") and then again when I got back. Boyfriend accompanied me with his bike and a beer (classy at it's finest...sigh) and I ran up the road towards the mountain. We're on the road that goes up to Mt.'s actually a quicker drive to get to the mountain for us than it is for us to get to Bend itself.

I'm used to running at sea level, so I was slower than usual thanks to less oxygen, but I still managed to do the whole Fartlek workout. Go me!

All righty, that's enough for now. Further updates on my life coming soon, as well as those promised pumpkin recipes!


YESTERDAY: 60 minute Fartlek
SATURDAY (10/2): 8.25 miles on trails