Saturday, December 3, 2011

Used to Be

I used to be a poet. I was reading through my file tonight. Full of angst, dark words, metaphor and prose. I don't know if it was childish emotion that lent strength to my particular abilities, but those poems would probably scare parents rightfully out of their minds when really -- truly, Mom, I promise -- most of those poems were just written because I liked the ring of the words.

Okay, there may have been some angst in there too. Who doesn't get to adulthood without a little angst? Some of them I really liked, and when reading them was like, "Wait, did I really write that?" Partly because it was something I liked and mostly because I don't remember where I had to be in my life to write like that.

Ah, how angst fades in memory as time marches on.

Here's a little something that's not so angsty that made me a bit misty-eyed.

Simple Words

I love you.
The simplicity in those words
Do no justice.
I love you.
And cannot describe the warmth
That abounds within me.
I love you.
Love the way you hold me tight
Wrap yourself around me
Like you’ll never let me go.
Love the way you tease me
Tell me I’m demanding
When all I want is hugs and kisses
And I know you don’t really mind.
I love you.
Even when you’re impossible.
Even when you’re grumpy.
Even when I can’t help but be
Exasperated.
I love you.
Because you make me laugh and smile
Because you give an inch,
but always let me take a mile.
Because you are my friend
And will never let me down
Because you hate it when I cry
And hate it when I frown.
Because you let me be who I want to
And never let me compromise who I am
For you.
I love you.
Because you know I’m worth it.
Every smile, every frown, every up, every down.
And I love you.
Simply, and because I can.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Big Words

I don't know why, but I really like big words. When I read them or hear them I attempt to define them in my head if I don't know them based upon sentence structure, or I define them smugly because I know THAT word.

My word for today is one that I stumbled across in a pleasantly well-written book that I'm reading.

elucidate (v.) [ih-loo-si-deyt]: 1. (used with object) to make lucid or clear; throw light upon; explain: an explanation elucidated his recent strange behavior. 2. (used without object) to provide clarification; explain.

Now let me elucidate upon my love of large words. Part of it is the study that shows that children who are read to every night before the age of 5 or 6 have a vocabulary that is easily 15,000 words greater than children who are not. My parents knew best, and read to me a lot. 

"Good readers have a diverse vocabulary. They ask questions when they are unclear about what a word means, they use the context of a conversation or the happenings in a book to decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words and they use varied vocabulary in referring to familiar objects (this bird is big, but this elephant is gigantic)."

And I read, a lot. And I like using what I know.

What is your word for today?

Ciao,
kc


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Saturday

Okay, so I apologize for the scrooge-ish whining of yesterday. I still stand by it, headlines that boyfriend was reading off to me this morning were ridiculous, like "One woman pepper-sprays another for XBOX while man is shot in parking lot." But I could have sounded nicer.

I perhaps was speaking with the foreboding of the retail-employed on that unfortunate day.

In other news. My gym was closed this morning when I went. Apparently they don't open until 7 a.m. on Satudays. Which is unfortunate when one shows up at 6:15 a.m. after one has valiantly talked oneself out of bed.

The effort was heroic, I assure you.

Luckily with the time change it was light enough to get in a run. We're dog-sitting for our neighbor's Aussie-mix who needed a walk anyways, so his butt got to come too.

Brief digression: Ollie-dog is one of the awesomest dogs ever. He "hugs" you if he likes you, puts his front paws around your waist and his head on your stomach so you can scratch him thoroughly. And he's incredibly well-behaved for being a recent pound-puppy. He didn't pull on the leash when we were running, he didn't cut me off, leash-line me or yank. Good boy.

ANYways. My point is, it hurt. I know, I know, I'm such a whiner. But from the way my body complained this morning you wouldn't believe that I ran a half marathon a month and a half ago!

I know that's my problem though. When my running season is over, I'm done. I'm no die-hard who keeps running four or five times a week when there's nothing to train for. So in all honesty, I have not run since then! Except for that one night when I had the bad day at work and ran around the tiny indoor track at my gym. Which doesn't really count.

Oh well. Guess I'm in different shape now. Round is a shape right?

Ciao,
kc

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

1. I don't like crowds. I love me some sales, but I like the ones that happen to be happening on the day I'm shopping that most people aren't aware of. The kind where you expect one price and then it's lower at the register and then the nice sales person says, "Oh and today you get an additional 20%..."

2. Black Friday is underwhelming.

3. It's a sad day that people in this country are more concerned about sales and "Black Friday" and force stores (and thus, their employees) to open on Thanksgiving just so they can get to sales quicker. Whatever happened to family? Thanking everyone? Giving thanks?

4. Yes, it's fun. No, I don't need any of the crap that's on sale. Most of it I wouldn't buy anyways.

5. Do I sound like a Black Friday scrooge? Perhaps. But while I will happily and willingly admit that it's fun if I'm with my mom, sister, and co., I don't go when I'm on my own. The crowds make me cranky and it's just stuff. Stuff I don't need.

Instead, I am home warm in bed giving thanks that Tyler and I have been together for 3 and a half years (as of yesterday), that Maddie has recovered from her asthma shot (poor baby, makes her dopey all day), and that we're healthy, (relatively) happy, secure and surrounded by a furry terrorist who loves us and family and friends who love and support us.

Happy Giving Thanks Day-After, good morning Black Friday.

Ciao,
kc

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SHUT the Front Door

Family is odd, eclectic, wonderful and usually loud and occasionally unbearable. Mine is no exception. Luckily, boyfriend loves me very, very much. Enough to happily handle kooky aunts, brazen uncles, and a thousand and one cousins, second cousins, children and parents.

I speak of family because my grandmother passed on October 11, 2011. She passed as any of us should hope to go: coffee in hand, snuggled in her favorite chair, her list for the day half-written in her lap. She was looking forward to seeing me in four days, and seeing everyone in the family in a little more than a month for my mom's birthday party.

My Nana is the reason good cookery floats in my genetics, she's the reason I enjoy turning my hand at arts and crafts, and how I know that my love for a good book and my constant reading is genetically related and not just me. Last year, when she was in and out of the hospital for months, Mom and I got sent to the library to get her a new stack of books. The way we knew we weren't picking ones she'd already read is because we'd check the spine on the inside cover...in the ones she'd read, she'd written a "P" lightly in pencil. We couldn't stop her from cooking random things like wonton soup, and her "fruit compost compote" that she brought camping was both loved and hated.

It's been a month, and still I have that niggling feeling in the back of my head that is my usual reminder that it's time to write to her again. Even though she won't receive it, I keep opening my drawer of smokey stationary that she send every time it'd been too long since I'd written and reaching for a card -- only to remember.

No more tears though.

We saw her off exactly the way she would have wanted. I don't know if you have ever heard of a Balinese Funeral Procession, but it's quite something. The Hindus of Bali carry their dead on a litter in a parade-like procession, circling the litter to confuse the spirit to keep it from returning home and using drums and flutes to further disturb it and chase it into the afterworld. At the end of the procession in Bali the dead are burned on a pyre, and celebration of life ensues.

This is how my grandmother asked to be sent forth. My uncles carried her ashes on a litter, and there was no burning at the end, but one of my nana's little old lady friends chuckled to me as we tromped down the street my mother grew up on banging pots and pans, "Your grandmother is watching us and laughing her head off right now because she made us look like fools."

I heartily agreed. Nana would have been laughing so hard to see us marching up and down the street. She also would have been in the center of it all (well, technically she was anyways) banging pots and hollering.

Nana was dramatic that way.

After the funeral procession, there were speeches, tears, and lots of champagne. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do...when in Pat's house, do as Pat would have done," one of my uncles said to me as we raised our glasses in a toast.

As the members of her Lunch Bunch, Symphony League, Danville Democrats, Book Club, and others slowly trickled out the door, family degenerated and became more family. We convened, glasses and treats in hand in Nana's favorite room, looking at old pictures and movies my uncle had brought and talking about her, family stuff and life in general.

Kids chased each other around the coffee table and wreaked a bit of havoc while we laughed and cooed over my cousin's 9-month-old. Predictably, a child tripped, a hand went out, and a glass bit the dust.

"Shhhhhi-UT the front door!" My cousin cried out.

The room went silent, and then as one, we all roared with laughter. My cousin and her husband explained that they were trying to curb their language now that their little one was old enough to understand it...and repeat it.

As is unspoken tradition in the family -- or maybe just an inability to let go of a joke -- "SHUT the front door" was repeated over and over throughout the rest of the night. It could have been worse...last time we were together, the phrase that pays was "We don't talk about that."

Ah, family. It's only truly funny if you were there.

My nana was there that night, laughing with us.

Ciao,
kc

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fine, Fresh, FIERCE...part II

I left you at the Expotique. Now, we move on to race day.


A year ago, Siobhan was inspired by a line in the Katy Perry song "California Gurls" that went "Fine, fresh, fierce / we've got it on lock." and had me design a shirt for our Chi Omega family. It was never used, so I suggested that we use it for shirts for the race.



We did iron ons and the four of us boasted tees with that splashed across the front, and the three Chi Ohs had "We are Chi O, We Run NWM 2011" on the back.



At 6 a.m. we all blearily rose from our nervousness-free night of sleep to prep for the 7 a.m. race start. At 6:45, we toddled down to Union Square to join the other 24,000 runners.


We look like a pretty perky bunch for that early in the morning. It was the adrenaline of being about to run 13.1 miles through the street of San Fransisco. It was to be my fourth in just over a year, Siobhan and Vanessa were running their first, and Heather's fourth as well.

Union Square was packed. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too bleary to do so. It was all I could to to remember to take the above picture! The emcee finished up their warm up session that started at 5:45 a.m. and ended right before the start of the race, then he did his little schpiel and the racers were off!

Our first three miles went well, Heather and I split from Siobhan and Vanessa as we had planned -- we intended to meet back at the hotel -- and I experienced my first BIG race. The running speeds were surreal, because it felt like we were going faster than we were just because of all the people we were passing. That and the tall buildings mixed with the overload of people using the same Garmin satellites we were caused our watches to go in and out, confusing our pace and distance.

Regardless, we were doing well, our slow first mile countered by a peppy 2nd and 3rd. At mile three, we whipped out our first packs of shot blocks. I erroneously grabbed my extra sodium blocks. Shrugging, I ate them anyways even though I don't usually until mile 6.

That was to be my downfall. Once that extra salt hit my system, disaster struck. Dizzy, nauseous, tunnel vision. The extra salt mixed with the strain I was putting myself through to run the race had yuck pumping through my bloodstream. My body rebelled.

Our pace slowed from our peppy 9-ish minute mile to a 10 minute crawl. I was frustrated and kept apologizing to Heather, who kept trucking merrily and waved aside my pitifulness with good humor and optimism. The race was a blur from there on out as I struggled with my unhappy stomach.

I do know there were some fun things that I wish we had known about...like the sports bra exchange, where you turn in your bra for a brand new Nike one. Unfortunately, we wear our good bras to run. Whoops.

Anyhow.

Photo op in front of the Golden Gate Bridge


We finished. At 2 hrs and 15 minutes (according to our watches, which we stopped every time I had to stop to try to heave), though our official time was 2:22. But we did it!




I enjoyed it, though I'm blocking out our adventure back to our plush hotel -- my first true experience with San Fransisco's muni (5 minutes from BART to the Giants Stadium doesn't count). Anyways. It was fun. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Maybe even next year.

I learned a lot.

Ciao for now,
kc

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fine, Fresh, FIERCE...part I

Nike Women's Marathon. It's kind of a big deal. Only 24,000 runners. 22,000 of them are women, and only recently have men been allowed. Being the great city of San Fransisco of freedom and equality it only makes sense that equality goes both ways.

At least, it makes sense to me. And in this blog? It's really all that matters.


For having 24,000 people and their C.R.E.W.s there, it could have been a class-A royal cluster. Instead, it was amazingly and wonderfully well-organized. The lines we stood in were thankfully short and well-manned. In fact, the biggest snafu was self-inflicted.

Heather and I arrived at about 10:30 a.m. the day before at the BART station. From there, we knew it was a fifteen or twenty minute easy walk to the hotel I had booked. Laughing and toting our bags and shoes, we set out. We were meeting my little sisters from Chi Omega there and then we were all going to trundle on to the Expotique.

The neighborhood got shadier as we walked on. Not shadier as in shade, but shadier as in bars on windows, fewer women, fewer...sober, non-drug-dealer-crackhead-esque people. I didn't say anything as we kept on. Then we came in sight of the hotel.

Which was not a hotel.

It as a motel.

With no bars, when all of the other buildings had bars. And by "lobby" they really meant a speaker in a plastic window in the parking lot. I could not envision the lovely pictures of lobby, dining area and lush, if aged halls that were on the website.

It was less than ideal.

"Is that it?" Heather asked, skeptically.

"I think so." I replied dubiously. "Siobhan's going to kill me."

Not that she really would. But the tension I felt in my sinking stomach would have been vividly marked across her expressive features. The dismay that crept into Heather's tone would have been visible in the line of her posture.

I was nervous. My littles would be nervous. It all boded for a sleepless night.

After checking on when check in was, Heather and I agreed to head to the Expotique. Lingering on the border of the Tenderloin of San Fransisco (which might has well have been dead center if you asked me), was not our idea of a good time.

On the way there, we kept saying to ourselves, "Okay...we'll be okay...but..." in highly skeptic and wary tones.

We started poking our heads into hotels as we moved in the direction of Union Square. Most were fully booked. We encountered one or two that had small beds which would not suffice for four young women. Finally, we encountered a J.W. Marriott that had a king-sized bed and would provide a rollaway at no extra charge (a good thing considering the already-exorbitant cost of the room). We called Siobhan and Vanessa and presented our options.

They heartily agreed that switching our lodgings was a good idea.

That settled, we checked in and Heather and I enjoyed our plush suite for a few minutes until the other girls arrived. Then we all happily head out to the Expotique to pick up our race packets and enjoy the little tidbits and swag that they threw our way.




Luckily, the City of Fog was smiling on us, and it was a beautiful, sunny day. There was some fun stuff to be had, and my good friend Robert joined us for the afternoon. Us girls knew that the real swag was to be had the next day.

Which is where I leave you for now.

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bottoms Up!

Some of my favorite cupcakes ever were what we dubbed "Amazon Cupcakes." Like many things in my life (like consolation gifts, the kitchen dildo and others), I discovered that its only my family that really calls them that. To the rest of the world they are called "Black Bottom Cupcakes" or "Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes."

Oh well.

I never understood the whole "Amazon" part anyhow.

Regardless, they are in fact, delicious.

And apparently, in miniature, they are divine.





Black-Bottom (Amazon) Cupcakes
Filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Cupcakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted, warm
1/2 cup whole milk

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium bowl. Add egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat until almost smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. 

For cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Stir in vanilla and chocolate; beat at high speed 5 seconds. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Beat on high for 5 seconds to blend. Divide batter among cups, filling 1/3 full. Using tablespoon, hollow out center of each cupcake. Place 1 heaping tablespoonful cream cheese filling in each center.
Bake cupcakes until toothpick inserted into center (but not cream cheese filling) comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack.

 From epicurious.com 


I baked them for my debut as a Stampin' Up demonstrator. The recipe says that in regular size, it makes 12. As I'm too lazy, cheap and well...all of that to double a recipe. And there was going to be small people there (children) and it's such a waste when little fingers get dug into a chocolate cupcake and then the cupcake is abandoned.

So I went with miniature. Thinking that if a regular recipe makes 12, then in mini it'd make about 30.  Right? That's good logical math.

Oh, how wrong I was.

It made a bajillion. Or rather, 65 plus. Ish. A lot. And every single bite-sized chocolate morsel was delicious.

Until later.

Ciao,
kc

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tease Please

So it's been a while. And again I promised you that I would recap the month. Many things happened last month and this month that you missed out on.

Nike Women's Half Marathon

My nana passed

Boyfriend came home

I baked mini black-bottom cupcakes

I had my first Stampin' Up party as a demonstrator

My family had a memorial for my nana

I turned 25.

This post will have to span several days as I intend to hit most of those topics in detail.

And this is just a teaser.

Tauntingly yours,
kc

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Downward Dog

This morning at 5:30 a.m. I hauled my butt out of bed to rejoin the ranks of those who practice (and for some reason love) downward-facing-dog and all that entails. In a word: yoga.

I'm sure muscles that haven't hurt since the last time I practiced will hurt in approximately two hours. Yoga sounds like a lame "sport" but if you're doin' it right, it'll kick your butt every time.

Painfully yours,
kc

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's not you, it's me

I mean it when I say it's not you, it's me. This month has been crap for enthusiasm in writing. I have decided that I am going to wait until November to detail my exciting time in San Fransisco running Nike Women's Half Marathon with 24,000 other lucky runners.

Essentially, once boyfriend is home, my life returns to relative normal and stuff and October is over and done with, I will return.

I promise.

Thank you for your impatience.

Ciao,
kc

P.S. Just to put it into perspective, I rarely run to get rid of angst and emotion. I slammed out 3 miles on the puny indoor track at my gym last night before I felt calm enough to do anything else. Like sleep. Or do a normal gym workout.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Photo Story

This was my weekend last weekend...and a present I bought myself...

My set up...iPad, pencils, drafting board, and my ubiquitous tea mug!




Ooooooh
This is how many pencils I had before (ish...I had a 24 box)

This is twice as many...
 
This is three times as many!

 For those of you who don't know, Prismacolor pencils are fantastic. The only downside is they're $1.69 per pencil. I had a Michael's coupon and a need for more colors as my 24 box has been whittled away from that lovely 24 number to about 15. Funny thing about pencils is that when you use them, they go away...

The Prismacolor 72 box (seen above) is normally around $115. Michael's had it for $99. I had a 40% off coupon and got it for $59. And there's a $10 mail in rebate on 'em. Can you say huge deal? I am excited...

So those were the promised pics of what I did last weekend. Sat in front of movies and drew. My picture is a lot farther on than that now, but there you have it!

Ciao,
kc

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sleepless and (almost) snowy

I know that I still haven't uploaded the promised photos, I will get to it. Eventually. I promise.

This week has been one epic fail where running has been concerned. I've been valiantly fighting off the first vestiges of what appears to be a cold. Symptoms seem to be the worst in the mornings, so it usually pretty easy for me to talk myself out of my run. Good thing I'm sort of tapering this week (even though true tapering doesn't start til next week) and all of my really critical running is out of the way.

Part of what's making this bug so hard to beat before it even gets started is my lack of sleep. Boyfriend is out of town and apparently my whole sleep system changes without him. I'm up late reading and I'm up early for whatever reason. Yesterday was my day off (read: no alarms set) and I was awake at 6:30! And I'm not sleeping well. At all. Except for last night, which was weird.

Winter is definitely impending, my manicurist told me yesterday that last month was ten degrees warmer than average and this month so far has been ten degrees colder. I'll believe it too. I don't remember October being so cold last year (this is the first month that I can compare like that!). Wednesday, on the one run I did manage, it was 27 degrees when I got my butt out the door. The mountains are whiter than they have been and frost is killing my tomatoes.

Oh well. We're heading into the winter months snug in our home which we have through February. It's almost time to ask our landlord about renewing the lease! How time flies when you are having fun.

Ciao,
kc

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Haikus

Running fail today
wish it was raining, it's not
think I'm getting sick

Cat was up all night
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow
good thing she's cute

My weekend was great
art overload, not enough
can I draw some more?

I know this isn't good enough. Once I can get the pictures off my damned phone I'll show you all the fruits of my weekend labor.

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exodus

On my run this morning it was 43 degrees and I had a problem focusing on my feet and watching where I was going (which was rather treacherous) for a couple reasons.

The sun was mid-rise and the sky was gorgeous, lined with ominous clouds on the horizon and spattered with pink and gold ones above.

And there was flock after flock of Canadian geese flying formation south for the winter. It was eerie how many of them there were. And then suddenly, there were none. The sky was empty. It was one of the oddest feelings I've had in a while, seeing hundreds and then none in the same short span of time.

It's hard to describe, and I'm guessing that my words aren't really doing much for it. That or the blood that is currently residing in exhilarated muscles and not in my brain has something to do with it.

Ciao,
kc

Monday, September 26, 2011

2.5

Only two and a half weeks until I:

get to go on vacation

get to see my grandmother whom I haven't seen in a year

get to steel myself for my FOURTH half marathon

get to realize that if someone had told me a year and a half ago that I would be running four half marathons by two and a half weeks from now, I would think they were nuts

get to realize that some days most people think I'm nuts for having run any half marathons at all

get to have some quality time with my mommy and daddy, nice and relaxing

get to leave my cat with a house sitter for a week...Aieee! (it's bizarre how concerned I am by that)

Happy Monday,
kc

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Connection

There is a time when I am puttering away the day and I look up at the clock and all of the sudden it's 5 o' clock and I realize that I spent the day quietly doing what I enjoy best.

Updating various and sundry websites (though unfortunately neglecting my own, the poor thing), working on Save the Date designs for a friend, finishing a baby quilt, planning future quilts for the various babies that will be entering the world in the next nine months, and just whiling away my time doing design and crafts. If I could have a day like this every week, my life would be complete.

Livin' the dream.

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Remembering

This is a time in my life when the honest-to-goodness most exciting thing are the facts that my cat snuggled like a little angel with me this morning for about 15 minutes and that my 10 miler on Sunday averaged a 9:45 pace. Oh, and the fact that I am well and truly playing hooky on running today due to the fact that I. Don't. Want. To. Which means that I may well have energy enough to do it tonight.

Funny how that works. Allow yourself to not have to and suddenly you want to. How does that make sense?

Anyways, along the lines of my reminiscing yesterday....

Three years ago, almost to the day I started the first day of my last year of college. I was ready to be done. I was stressed, tired of finals, midterms, and homework and just wanted to be out in the Real World. I'm not really sure what I envisioned the Real World to be like, and granted I do enjoy the everyday minutiae that makes adulthood what it is (don't ask me why but I take great pleasure in sitting down to write checks to pay bills...not the paying part, but the simple joy of writing checks, putting a stamp on it, and putting it in the mail...I doubt that I will ever fully switch to online bill pay due to the simple fact that I enjoy that so much), but I have since discovered that the Real World ain't all it's cracked up to be.

When thinking about that last year, I think about Tuesday morning meetings with the PolyReps, claiming tours and writing them in my planner in the special colored marker that denoted PolyReps (yes, I am that anal retentive...it was so I could see at a glance what needed to be done!). Walking backwards on those tours with the ease of long practice, joking with potential students and their respective entourages about warning me if I was going to run into anything (it only happened once or twice...and one time I tripped over a tree root and then a few moments after recovering I was tackled by a sorority sister determined to give me a hug...luckily everyone laughed).

I remember fondly telling those prospective students about the greatness of Cal Poly, how it boasts 19,231 students, 18,000 of which are undergrad; how it's been rated Best in the West for 20 years; how many of its departments are ranked number 1 or 2 in the nation; how its student to teacher ratio is about 20 to 1.

Man, if I could work for Cal Poly and live in Oregon, I would be set.

Also, I remember running with my roommate's dog and being so happy to see his overwhelming joy as I unleashed his full Aussie-puppyness and gave him full freedom to plunge ecstatically after ducks in the stinky lake near our house.

I remember bar nights with the girls, getting dressed up and tottering around on heels that would kill by the end of the night. Not drinking too much if at all, just dancing and laughing the night away.

Farmers' Market and late-night donut runs and Bali's trips. Whiling away hours in the University Union sleeping, studying, reading, or getting side-tracked from all of those by the friends that would inevitably walk by and end up sitting for "just a minute" until we all looked at our cellphones or watches and excused ourselves to rush to our next class.

Cooking too much food in my kitchen and inviting over all the boys and girls that I knew would come at the drop of a hat at the beckon of "lasagna!" or "pasta!" or "chicken!"

House parties, art projects, sitting in the grass in front of my department building talking to my parents on the phone about all the angst of a student. Roommate fights, drama, sorority scandal and fun, love, laughter, friends and impromptu "family."

Man, I miss college. Did I really have to graduate?

Ciao,
kc

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Remission

I would like to start out by apologizing to you all, I have been remiss in my duties as a blogger. Here it is the end of September already and I haven't posted since August! The horror! Part of the problem is that I've had too many fun things going on this month:

- a quick but fulfilling visit with a dear Sister from college
- a quick and cold camping trip with lovely Heather and co.
- this weekend will see a visit with Heather and co. again (hooray!)
- and most importantly, I had my first vacation since May and it's only 3 and a half weeks until my next one!

I've been reminiscing a lot this month. It was only a year ago that I was having nightmares about the truck rental place only giving us a 17 inch truck rather than a 17 foot truck, wondering if the move was actually (finally!) going to happen, wrapping up things at the paper and getting super excited about becoming an Oregonian.

Now I'm an Oregonian of almost a year, I have Oregon plates (though I've held out on the drivers license, bad I know) and I still love it here. Most importantly, I have lots of fun things to look forward to here in the near future:

- Nike Women's Half -- only two more weekends of big runs, aiee!
- Halloween, my all time favorite holiday
- my birthday, my second favorite holiday
- my mommy's birthday bash (she's 39 again in case you were wondering)
- ski season (bought my pass already!)
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with parental units and co.
- sister's gradumacation in Boston in May
- Siobahn's wedding in July

See? So much going on. Now if only I didn't have to do the lame stuff like go to work so I can afford all my fun activities.

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kicks and giggles

I went running this morning. Not that that's a surprise or anything. I do have a race in about six weeks. No, what is noteworthy is that I found a nifty new trail that gives me a second six-mile loop with which to mix things up with and just because I wasn't quite fulfilling my masochistic tendencies, and I needed 9 miles, I threw in the Butte for good measure.

Pilot Butte is a random hill popping up in the midst of my neighborhood. A random hill that is a one mile steep climb UP and then one mile steep downhill. Ouchie. But I did it and it was much needed...seeing as how NWM is in San Francisco and that town has only a couple gnarly hills.

I got new shoes again. I may have told you this already.

But I didn't run in them today.

I got new shoes because my feet are grody with calluses and blisters upon blisters and apparently that's not supposed to happen if your shoes fit properly. So I spent and hour at the local running store getting shoes to make my feet better. Then I ran in them all week, and apparently "fitting correctly" means I don't pronate as much as I have been for the last oh, ten years or so. Which is a really good thing, but it means my calves are being used differently which is a whole mess of pain.

Ugh.

So I did my long run in my old shoes to give my poor muscles a break. My feet were looking prettier after a week of not rubbing or callusing. Hopefully one run won't set them back on the path of ugs.

Ciao,
kc

TODAY: 9 miles
MONDAY: 4 miles
SATURDAY: 3 miles
FRIDAY: 4.5 miles
THURSDAY: 6 miles

Friday, August 26, 2011

Winter on the way?

Everything is saying winter is on it's way. The calendar, sweaters in the stores, shorter nights...everything that is, except the weather. It's almost nine o'clock at night and it's 75 degrees outside. My run was hellish in every sense of the word. Painful AND hot.

Ugh.

Well, snow will be here soon enough. No sense in speeding it up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Running hard

After a stint at home, boyfriend has left again, this time to go home to Arcata to do some work for my parental units. He was very cute before he left, very concerned about leaving me alone again. We have done long distance, and as you know most of the summer he was off at camp leaving me bereft and alone.

Okay, so not really bereft, but it sounds good right?

It's important to remember, and something that I have learned after long consideration (not to mention trial and error), is that if you are really truly meant for each other you'll make it through anything. Doesn't make distance any easier, but as I pointed out to boyfriend before he left, if we're going to be together for our whole lives one summer isn't going to hurt us.

I meant for that to sound more poignant and philosophical than it came out. I think I'm just tapped out for poignancy.

Instead, I'll move on.

My running buddy kicked my ass last night. She's done it before but this time was on purpose. Last week we ran really fast because we lost light and needed to get our mileage in. Apparently it wasn't a one time thing like i thought it would be. Last night when I got to her house she seemed nervous.

"What's up?" I asked her.

"Well," she began, wringing her hands, "I have though about it and I really need to work on my pace" -- she's running a marathon the week before NWM in October -- "so I'm shooting for 9 minute miles so we really need to run faster..."

And keep in mind, folks, that we've been running 10.5-, 11-minute miles.

"Okay." I said. "You set the pace. I can't promise I'll like it or be able to keep up, or that I won't whine, but let's do it."

Famous last words.

Four miles. Averaging 9:28. Holy crap.

It's a good thing I like her. One thing that I realized though is that I run for fun. I'll let her kick my butt, but for a split second I thought about dedicating myself more to speed and hardcoreness, and then I just realized that I run because I enjoy it. I don't run for speed, or glory. I run for me, to feel good, to look good and to finish.

I'll let her push me and kick my butt, but that's all I'm gonna do. Just my regular workout. I mean, with her busting my butt a couple times a week.

I gotta go tackle my list for today!

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Runner's Ear

I don't think I ever truly talked about my race a week (and a half?) ago. There was so much going on, it kind of got lost in the miasma of family, friends, work, and all the fun things we were doing. For the second time in a week I find myself confused as I have (a) time off and (b) nothing pressing that needs to take up my time.

Except maybe that ginormous pile of laundry that is sitting clean on my bed and needs to be folded.

But who really needs to fold laundry anyways right? I blame my mother for that oversight in teaching me domesticity (not really, just folding laundry for some reason has ever been the bane of my existence).

And for the record, the first time in a week where I've found myself confused was last Tuesday when my family all left and I came home to...nothing pressing. It's an odd feeling after several weeks of go go go go even on my weekends.

Anyways, my race. I started the race seconds after the gun went off because the line for the restrooms was half an hour long and at the point when everyone was lining up, I had reached the very front of the line and was not about to run for two and a half hours with my bladder bitching at me. I was going to have enough things bitching at me, I didn't need one more.

I needn't have worried (not that I did) though because the first several miles of the race were bottlenecked as only two people side by side could run on the trail. There were several points where runners (myself included) bushwhacked a bit just to pass people because we were slowed to a crawl. Not that I'm speedy or anything, but we were pretty backed up. And then people started walking around mile 3 in the middle of the trail and slowed things further. Idiots.

Around mile 7, while bounding down a particularly technical piece of trail (mountain goats would have found it easy peasy, but humans? not so much) I thought to myself that I was feeling pretty good for where I was at. Time-wise, I was slow, but where I expected to be, and my body felt good and the run felt strong.

Then at mile 9, my feet went numb.

It's an unfortunate side effect of my job being on my feet all day. There are some morning where I'll have pins and needles for an hour or so when I get up, and in the evenings when I get home the balls of my feet will be numb and my arches pins and needles. What I should have done was taken the day prior off as well to give my feet a break.

Once the feet went numb, all havoc broke loose. My knees started bitching and no amount of, "Nothing hurts, nothing hurts, nothing hurts" (my mantra for races when my body whines more than I do) made it stop. Mile 10 was rough as I reached the bottom of the trail that entered Shevlin Park, which was the end point for this point-to-point race (interesting concept I might add) and looked up at my nemesis from training — the hardest trail in the park — and thought to myself, "Really???"

At mile 11.75, a finished runner stood by the side of the trail telling us we had two more miles to go. Luckily, my Garmin knew that was wrong, but for a race that was taking everything that I had mentally and physically, it was the last thing I wanted to hear.

Mile 12 saw me at the entrance to Shevlin, mildly confused at what looked like the finish line until I realized that the course shot us back up the road and down another trail to finish the race. Longest mile of my life.

At mile 13, I put on a burst of speed thinking — wrongly, I might add — that as the race was supposed to be 13.1, I only had a tenth of a mile and should finish strong. That speed petered out at 13.15 when I realized there was no finish line immediately in sight.

Luckily, the race ended at 13.3 and I found an unknown reservoir of speed (from where, I have no freaking clue because I thought I was tapped out, finished, finito) and managed to sprint the last 100 yards, finishing the race dead-on at my predicted time of 2:30:00. A lot slower than my past races, but reasonable considering my shape and the technicality and challenge of my first trail half. 

Also, I wanted to let you all know that I spent last Wednesday sitting next to my tomato plant eating all the ripe tomatoes off of it. All 8 of them. Tiny, juicy and sweet. Yum yum.

Ciao,
kc

TUESDAY: split 9 mile ride
MONDAY: 4 miles (really fast as it got DARK!)
SATURDAY: split 9 mile ride
FRIDAY: 4 miles
WEDNESDAY: 5.5 miles

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Too much corn

So this past weekend we hosted a host of people in and around our little home. Mom, dad, dog and sis bunked with us, horrifying Maddie into a weekend long sulk in our closet. She still hasn't quite forgiven us and doesn't quite believe us when we assure her that the dog is in fact gone.

Grandparents galore and cousins too stayed at a nearby hotel, and the whole posse gathered to watch me run an excruciating and highly technical half marathon and sister to run a successful 7 miler. Then we all trooped off and I'm pretty sure all we did was eat after that -- though mom, sister, boyfriend and I enjoyed a relaxing float down the river.

They have all departed now and I am left with a fridge full of....corn. Apparently none of the ten people we guested ate any of the ten ears we cooked. What am I going to do with all that corn? Well I'll tell you what I did do.

Corn and Tomato Salad

3 or 4 ears of cooked corn, kernels cut from the cob
3 good sized tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste

Mix 'em all together and you have a delicious summer salad that uses all your extra corn! Or some of it anyhow. Mine is a little too garlic-y. My cloves were a little large and I used 4 instead of two...which will keep the mosquitoes away!

Ciao,
Kc

Friday, July 29, 2011

Veggietables

We have a baby bell pepper! Don't worry, it's supposed to be little. We bought this plant because I thought it looked adorable. Don't ask me what I'm supposed to do with baby bell peppers...because I have no idea.


We have tomatoes! I ate the first one a couple days ago. It was sweet, juicy and delicious. Now I want the rest to get ripe so I can gobble them up too!



And we have zucchini. It's little. It sat on the vine for a week before I finally picked it yesterday. I think the pot the plant is in stunted it a little bit. I kept meaning to get a bigger pot and it just never happened...oh well, next year.



And I start tapering in four days! Aiee!

Ciao,
kc

WEDNESDAY: 5 miles
MONDAY: 4 miles + 11 mile bike (split)
SUNDAY: 10 miles

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Bieb

I never thought I'd say that I liked anything about the Bieb (a.k.a. Justin Bieber)...until today. At my second day of my internship I worked on a cover for a book about the Bieb. It wasn't that it was a particularly challenging cover to work on or anything, but what touched me today (and the Bieb helped me realize) is that I am not just playing anymore. I'm in the big leagues.

Stuff that I am working on and touching and being a part of will be available to millions.

It's a rather humbling, shocking, fantastic, elating, nerve-wracking, surprising, wondering feeling all rolled into one. It's just...wow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Movie Review

I reviewed Horrible Bosses (Bateman, Spacey, Aniston, Farrell, Foxx and more). Check it out.

Quick Cake

I was just sending an email off to my lovely Heather with the recipe for the infamous six-minute chocolate cake that has graced many a girls' nights as well as family time and satisfied quick cravings. I thought to myself, "Why haven't I put this on my blog? It's an invaluable recipe!"

Passed to me from my mother, who I think got it from the Moosewood Cookbook (though she'll correct me if I'm wrong), it is critical for those of us who have insatiable chocolate cravings and need a quick fix. If six minutes is too long, you cannot be helped.

Six Minute Chocolate Cake
 1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c veggie oil
1 c cold h2o
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift dry ingredients into 9 inch round. In 2 c measuring cup, mix oil, water, and vanilla. Pour liquid into pan and whisk ingredients together. When batter is smooth, add vinegar and stir quickly just until vinegar is evenly distributed. Bake for 25 to 30 min.

And don't forget to add sugar!

In other quick news, the first day of my internship at Faceout Studio went fantastic. Getting up early was hard on my lonely day off, but I had fun and even learned some new tricks with Photoshop. I did a mechanical in the morning (which is where you're given the approved art for the cover and then have to extend it into a full jacket, complete with provided copy) and a proposal presentation in the afternoon. I can't wait to go back!

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Playlist

The weirdest songs inspire me get my groove on when I'm running. Here's a few:

1. Blood of Cu Chulainn - a music only theme from Boondock Saints

2. Cooler than Me by Mike Posner

3. Get it Shawty by Lloyd

4. Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace

5. Last Name by Carrie Underwood

Like I said, super odd. The first is a theme from Boondock Saints and it just smooths my stride out and puts me in a very zen place while I'm running. When I hit that one, I'll often repeat it once or twice — and at 5 minutes long it makes my runs go by! Cooler Than Me was my "power song" for my first marathon and gets me pumped ever since. Those of you who've heard it will know that it's not exactly what you'd think of when it comes to "power"...pretty laidback. Who knows.

Number 3 is one of the few pop/hip hop songs that never seems to get old. Maybe it's because you can hardly understand what he's saying so it's easy to zone out while he's "singing"...again, who knows. But if it works, who am I to argue?  Number 4 makes me air guitar if I'm not careful. It's one of the few "angry" artists in my repertoire. Heavy rock...the other one that gets me going like this one is Dr. Feelgood by Motly Crue.

The fifth is odd mostly because it's a country song and while my girlfriends used to tease me that I knew "an awful lot of lyrics to country songs for someone who hates country" — because I adore linedancing so much and went all the time when I was in college — I'm still not a number 1 fan of country. Maybe 1 in 20 or 30 of the songs in my collection are country songs (though I just downloaded two this morning...so that's not always true, though I also downloaded 4 songs of the music I normally listen to). Anyways, Carrie's fun and gets me into a bouncing beat. I also rock out to her Before He Cheats and Cowboy Casanova. Don't judge me 'til you've tried it.

Just wanted to share a little bit about some of the things that make me go when I'm running. And yes, I meant to just say "go."

Ciao,
kc

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a good day

Tonight it rained. And poured. And a co-worker generously gave my bicycle and I a ride home so that we didn't have to and get all wet. And then when I arrived home, the sun broke through the clouds and shined. Shined so much that I couldn't bear to not go run.

It helps that I had one badass day at work. I defined kick ass rockstar status today. Not that I'm bragging or anything. But I did. I finished off with a 3.67 accessory ratio on 9 phones. I have never sold that kind of ratio on phones before. Well, on that many phones before. Usually, when you've got that many phones out it means its an "add a line" day, which is fantastic because it hits your "new" bucket, but it usually means what those of us in the trade call "naked" feature phones -- no accessories, no data, no nuthin. Barely a payout at 50% of the $9.99 that the line costs the customer to add it to their bill. 

But today, I hit a groove thang and rocked that shit.

I'm not pumped or anything either.

So you know, 3.67 means I sold approximately 3.67 accessories per phone (i.e. case, car charger, screen protectors, bluetooth headsets, headphones, docking stations, car mounts, etc.).

Anyways.

Went for a painful run...painful because I wanted to get 'er done so I ran hard. Just 3 miles, but after the cold that wiped me out this weekend "just" is not a little word. Last Tuesday (a week and a half ago), I ran part of the course for my half marathon in August.


I don't know if you can tell in the photo, but that's not a tan. It's dirt! I had to wash my shoes when I got home! Did 9.25 miles in the hot hot hot and got my feet diiiiiiiiirty! It was fun though, the trail is beautiful and should be interesting to do 13.1 on.

I also found new shoes!


Amazon.com had 'em on sale (whoohoo) at 82 bucks (hey, it's $35 less than I usually put down for 'em) and then my fabulous Amazon card had points on it (because I love Amazon) and so I only had to spend $22 for 'em! Hooray! Cheapest running shoes ever.

And now I shall finish this post with a brief montage of Maddie.




No, I don't love my cat at all...why would you think something like that? She's not the focal point of 90% of my cellphone pictures, and she definitely doesn't run our lives! Nooo...though if we're not sure what we used to talk about before we got our precious Terrorist...is that a bad thin?

Ciao,
kc

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Victory Garden

This is going to be a blog with mostly pictures. Though I do have a few things to say.



Our first baby tomato, on our Sungold tomato plant. Our Valley Girl hasn't yet started producing.


Our tomato plants are going ballistic, don't you love their homemade poles (those are recycled ski poles) and covers?


In pot on the left is Catnip that Maddie protects fiercely...through the window, I might add...mint and a small strawberry plant. In the pot on the right is our sole surviving zucchini plant that now, a week later is four times that size.


Clockwise from top rectangular pot: chocolate mint, basil, and another strawberry; marigolds, spanish something (I don't remember, but it's not doing well), and another strawberry; summer squash; mini bell peppers.

They're doing great. The lettuce in the front yard however, thinks its too damn hot. Which it is for lettuce.

In other news, and this is not necessarily new news because I was so excited for her that I told most everyone who reads this blog anyways, but I wanted to share because I'm so incredibly happy for her. Okay, here it goes:

My lovely wonderful little sister (Chi Omega sorority sister, soul sister, sister of my heart) is engaged! As much as I grumble about the multitude of weddings that have invaded my life, I am happy and excited for her because he's pretty wonderful too and they've been together forever and darn it, it's about time.


Congratulations, Siobhan and Michael. I love you!

Okay, now I have to go figure out how I'm going to run 9 miles. Wish me luck!

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So Running

So running...I promised I would tell you about it. I ran this morning and oh man you should have heard the internal line of whining. I did not want to run this morning. I did because I'm supposed to run tonight, but boyfriend is coming home today after being gone for a week and a half and when I'm being perfectly honest with myself (which I always try to be) I know I'm not going to get around to it this evening.

Why would I when I haven't seen him for a week and a half? While it's not that long, I get to see him for less than 24 hours. Only a little more than 12 hours really, and most of that will probably be spent sleeping. (You know, because it's night and all).

Anyways, so running.

I'm probably where I was at this time last year, definitely whining about it (but let's face it, that just doesn't go away and it's intensified when one has to be self motivated...at least for me) and slow. Slow is fine. This is nothing new to me. I have always been slow.

Thanks, Dad, for bestowing upon my genetics the desire to run but I would have appreciated the fast genes as well. (He ran in college for those of you not in the know. And he was pretty good too. I've seen the trophies.)

Running.

It hurts so good. I hope I run for the rest of my life. Running my eight miler the other day had me elated and exhausted. I kept thinking to myself, why did I stop for the last six months? Today, I remembered why I stopped.

1. I'm not a good self-motivator. Never have been in that regard. Have to have something like a race (5 weeks!) to get my butt in gear. Good news is that lack of self-motivation is offset by the fact that I hate to quit.

2. Running is boring by yourself unless you're in a groove. I ran exactly 3 miles this morning. Every single one was like pulling teeth. My body was still waking up, I couldn't find a rhythm, yadda yadda yadda. Grooves are nice, today was not one.

3. Snow is cold. And hard to run in. Even with a race, it's a huge deterrent, as we discovered back in April. Ooops.

4. Everyone needs a break for a while to get back to the place where it's fun again.

But...I run because...

1. It makes me feel good. It's hard to have a really bad day after a run. Even after a bad run, its hard to have a bad day.

2. It makes me sound like a badass and feeds my ego (which really doesn't need any help, but you know...if I have one flaw a little ego ain't bad).

3. It is actually fun if you're in a groove and can go for miles. And miles and miles.

4. It makes my butt look good. (Oh come on, it had to be said)

5. It makes me happier, healthier, more pleasant to be around and more motivated for the rest of my life. And this one is really probably the biggest reason I run.

...Now, if they only made shoes that would last longer. Anyone want to chip in for my next pair? These ones (purchased in January) have just about reached their limit...

Ciao,
kc

TODAY: 3 miles + impending 9 mile ride (split)
FRIDAY: 9 mile ride (split)
WEDNESDAY: 3 miles

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The birthday week

As many of you know, in my family we celebrate the birthday week. We do a whole month when we can get away with it, but most people won't let us (which is just plain ridiculous, in our opinion). Boyfriend has never quite bought into this supposed scam where we celebrate a whole week for my birthday (and my mother's, and my sister's, and if he's lucky, my dad's). I've always encouraged him to make a big deal out of his birthday, but he hasn't ever quite caught on to how awesome it is until this year.

Apparently it's the big 2-6 that's done it to him, or something. Because last year at the Giants' stadium, he couldn't quite grasp it (it was several days after his actual birthday). This year, he started to see the value in it on Tuesday night (last week).

"I'm too tired to bake cookies tonight, I'll just do it tomorrow," I told him, after he valiantly braved the (warm, beautiful) night to go fetch more chocolate chips from the store so I could bake said cookies — which I had promised him for his away-camp job to sustain him.

"But it's my birthday...week..." he ventured cautiously. Then, he apparently liked the sound of that. "It's my birthday week, bake them tonight. I'll help you."

I eyed him suspiciously, wary of the monster I may have unleashed, but baked the cookies while he "helped"...by eating batter.

Wednesday — being my only lonely day off last week, having had to sacrifice my other day off to training for the job (and so selflessly collecting overtime) — I woke reluctantly but determined to get my shit done. I had seven miles I needed to knock out before it got too hot to be bearable (it reached 88 in our backyard yesterday...at 6 p.m. when I thought to look at the thermometer), I needed to bake a cake for birthday boy's birthday barbecue and I needed to get some stuff at the store in order to make lunches for the week at work.

I managed to have a mere half hour of peace with my coffee and my breakfast until boyfriend came pelting down the stairs.

"What are we doing today?" he asked hopefully.

I sighed, tired from my six day week and rattled off the things I wanted to get done. His face fell.

"But it's my birthday week..." he said.

Little did I know, Wednesday would turn out to be one of the best days I've ever had.

My seven mile run went well, and I compromised with boyfriend who was super cute and wanted to come with on his bike the whole way, but I met him for the last two miles instead so we could be together — him on his bike, of course. I couldn't have handled him trailing me the whole way — seven miles you need time to do your own thing and the only time it works is if you're both moving the same way (i.e. running) — but I enjoyed him getting me through the last two miles.

I finished my run strangely exhilarated. Apparently, when you haven't been on your feet for nine hours it's not such a hardship to do a few miles. I baked part one of his cake.

At this point, I have to digress from the wonderful day in order to explain something. I don't make cake from boxes. Therefore, the word funfetti is pretty much the bane of my existence. What the attraction of the relatively tasteless boxed cake flecked with unnatural colors is is beyond my ken, but apparently, it's a big deal to some people.

I suppose I shouldn't judge — me, the lover of Necco conversation hearts and candy corn.

But when I ask my loved ones, "What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?" when they know my skills as a baker (bake-ess?), I can't help but get a little offended by the word "funfetti" when it leaves their lips.

When in Portland with Siobhan, I said, "Guess what kind of cake boyfriend wants for his birthday?"

Jokingly, she guessed, "Funfetti?" and then launched into the memory of the time when one of our other friends had said that to me and the look on my face apparently could have killed and I uttered the words:

"I. Do. Not. Make. Cake. From. A. Box."

Which was sufficient to cow that friend into meekly requesting an alternate.

After finishing the story, Siobhan looks at me and said, "I was joking when I guessed funfetti, but from the look on your face I'm betting he asked for funfetti."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Tyler Buwalda — knowing my aversion to funfetti — requested funfetti. To the point where a friend of ours kept saying she would make him funfetti if I wouldn't. Unfortunately — or fortunately, I suppose, depending upon who you ask in this situation — I happen to love that man a whole hell of a lot.

Yes, my friends. I. Made. Funfetti.



Not from a box. Did you know you could even do that? I had an inkling, but not a full one. You make a white cake and dump a bottle of those long waxy-looking sprinkles into the batter. Voila, funfetti from scratch.

The cake was moist and thick, more of a pound cake than a true white cake, and if I could do it again, I would try a different white cake recipe, but as I don't make white cake very often (probably because like funfetti, it's something I'll only do by request because I don't particularly care for it) I'd never used the recipe before. So anyway, not going to use it again. Maybe just as a one layer white cake with a glaze, but not as a fancy cake.



I did do fancy frosting, standard vanilla buttercream with a twist of lemon zest. And of course an organic strawberry from Whole Foods and fresh mint leaves from the garden. I don't do box cakes, and I don't half ass cakes.

So anyways, to continue our amazing day we rode our bikes over to the grocery store and the liquor store to stock up for the barbecue in the evening. Did you know that in Oregon, you cannot get hard liquor at the grocery store? I never realized how convenient having it all in one place was because I always assumed that it was normal to have the tequila near the beer and the beer near the bread. Anyways.

We enjoyed the sunshine and the short bike ride and then took a drive over to Tumalo Falls.


Beautiful.


That's a pretty cute birthday boy if I do say so myself.

We topped the day off with a nap and then a fun barbecue with friends for his birthday. It doesn't get much better than that.

I was going to tell you all about my running lately, but I just did a little 8 miler this morning and it pretty much wiped me out. So that'll have to wait til at least tomorrow. As does what I wanted to tell you about my garden. I wanted to get this much written and posted today so I didn't hear about it from my peanut gallery!

Love you all,
kc

TODAY: 8 miles
MONDAY: 4 miles and 11 mile bike ride (split)
SUNDAY: 9 mile bike ride (split)
FRIDAY: 3 miles with hill repeats and 9 mile bike ride (split)
LAST WEDNESDAY: 7 miles

Monday, June 27, 2011

Incoming

Just so you know, I'm in the process of laboring over a large and extensive blog detailing the fun events of last weekend. I promise I'll finish it tomorrow so that those of you waiting with bated breath can read it.

TEASER: There may have been funfetti.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oregon Drivers

I drove to Portland and back this "weekend" (my weekend, which by now, we know is irregular. It's Tuesdays and Wednesdays now, in case you were wondering). I saw Heather and met up with Siobhan and had a lovely time eating divine Belgian waffles and omlettes at Mother's Bistro and getting into trouble at Williams-Sonoma and Powell's.

Someday when I have a million dollars, I am going to go to both those stores and spend it all.

Not really, because we know I'm more sensible than that, but you get the idea.

Anyways, the drive reminded me of the greatest irony I have encountered since moving to Oregon: Oregon drivers. The irony is that as a "California Driver" I am supposedly a reckless speed-demon with no regard for lanes, lane-changes, or other drivers and therefore am theoretically the scariest thing out there.

Please note the use of "supposedly" and "theoretically."

Granted, as a California driver, I do go maybe a little faster than your average Oregonian driver. But that's about it.

Before I really go into this, I do need to say one thing I do appreciate (and like!) about Oregon driving laws is the fact that unless you're passing, you are required by law to remain in the right hand lane. That means that for the most part when Grandma is going 30 in a 55 zone, she's where she ought to be and the rest of us can safely pass her. The other thing I like is that in Oregon, you are required to move over into the left lane (if possible) when there's an "emergency vehicle" pulled over.

I am pretty sure I did that before, but having someone get pissed at you and scream by on your right kind of defeats the "safety" purpose (which is what tended to happen in California).

Now, everyone behaves (for the most part, there's always one asshole who can't drive out there on the road) and stays in the right lane when there's two lanes. The problem arises when there are three lanes. Oregon drivers just get so damned confused that they don't know which "right" lane to pick so they end up driving slowest in the middle lane with idiots passing them on both sides and causing general confusion and issues.

*Hand to face*

The next issue (and really, there are only two major issues...now anyways) is stop signs. We all know and love the "California roll" or "California stop." Oregon drivers think that is scary as all get out, but I would argue that at least with both of those "stops" the foot is touching (albeit lightly) the brake. Which is a critical point.

The "Oregon roll" or "Oregon stop" does no such thing. There has been more times in my seven months of living in Oregon than in the nine years that I have been driving and aware of such things that I have seen a person pull up to a stop sign and disregard it entirely.

"Oh, was that a stop sign? Well, it's just a suggestion, not really a rule or anything."

No brake, no token slowing, no nothing. Just...whoops!

It's scariest when I'm running and attempting to cross the street when they do that. I need to carry a bullhorn while I'm running so I can notify the idiots. Hollering doesn't seem to affect them any.

Luckily, they do believe in stop lights. Thank god.

And they say I'm the scariest thing out there. Nice try though.

Ciao,
kc

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting my butt in gear...

It's that time, folks. That dreaded time of year when you bring your summer shorts, tanks and skirts out of hiding only to discover that either your dryer has wreaked havoc on them and shrunk them all (which is the story we're going with by the way) or the winter months have wreaked havoc on your thighs and butt and the wiggling required to get into them is just not worth it.

I've started riding my bike to work with the onset of summer, and the 9 mile round trip will surely do me some good. Barring the downpour on Sunday evening that left me drenched and foul-mooded, it's a wonderful ride and a great way to wind down after the harassment of the day.

Shake your head because it's time for that obnoxious skinny-girl bitching. My waist is a trim as ever, but gravity, metabolism, and an inability to kick my own ass into gear is making my lower portion expand — not alarmingly, but disconcertingly and frustratingly. Isn't it the way of things too that we don't notice these things until it's time to do something about them? Wouldn't it be nice if they just stayed put and when we managed to finally start returning to the bouts of activity that we love, they're already where they ought to be?

That would be nice. Unfortunately, reality bites.

It wouldn't be so hard if my natural inclination during the dreary months was not sloth. When there's sunshine, I'm fairly easy to motivate into activity, but not so much with its dreary outside -- not to mention, snow is a serious deterrent.

In the spirit of the summer months being upon us (and boyfriend leaving me for six weeks for his job and so I have nothing better to do in the evenings other than run) I've signed up for my 3rd half marathon. I'm still doing the NWM in October, but October is a long time away. My ass does not have that kind of motivation six months out, and we've discovered that I need it!

Haulin' Aspen is the morning of Sunday, August 7th. That gives me about a month and a half to get into shape to get into gear. I am confident that I can do it, and now I have no excuses!

Here's to no excuses and the summer months ahead.

Ciao,
kc

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yesterday after closing at work, a co-worker and I were assigned to move a security device beneath the "floorboards" of one of our displays. Where it was made it inaccessible, and as the touch devices tend to go off on a daily basis, we need to have them easy-to-reach to minimize obnoxious noise and aggravation.

As is usual, we had a customer finishing up with one of the other reps.

She had a little girl with her, probably about six.

As Ryan and I were struggling to push wires through a tiny ass hole in the floorboards — that his fingers could barely squeeze to and my tiny hands just reached — the little girl stood over us and offered her advice.

"Want me to show you?"

"Are you wearing a necklace? It's pretty. Be careful!"

"Are you doing it right?"

"Let me see?"

"I can show you if you want."

"Did you get hurt?"

"What's he doing there?"

"What do you have?"

"That's not going to fit."

"Do you need help?"

Our responses were varied and usually half-formed as the security thing kept going off. I couldn't help but smile though. She was such a good "helper" and was well-pleased with herself when the job was done.

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Small Victories

It's important in life to focus on the small victories because the big picture will overwhelm you quickly if you're not careful. Yes, I have numbers to meet all month, but I had a killer day yesterday.  Yes, you may have six finals this week, but you prepared well for the one this morning and you know you rocked its socks off. Yes, you have a million things to do today, but you got the most difficult out of the way first so you're allowed a little slacking.

Small victories are the building blocks of the big picture, and without them, you'll never finish that picture because you'll just get too overwhelmed by the little things that didn't get done. Focus on the positives.

In other news, my bike ride to work takes 20 minutes. Hooray for sun and good weather continuing to inspire me to do that!

Ciao,
kc

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Words

I have this file of stuff I've written. Some of it is so old I read it and cannot for the life of me remember what the angst I'm writing about was caused by. A boy? A girl? Drama? Dumped? Who knows. Time heals all wounds...if only I knew that back then and believed it.

This one caught my eye and has a happier lilt to it. I thought I'd let y'all have a look-see because I liked it.

Blues and Shoes
Why write a sad song when you could sing a happy one?
I asked myself today.
It’s about blues, shoes, and what you lose
Because you can’t take it with you.
But when your sky is painted grey, with the charcoal of depression
And your fingers can’t but help to tap that melancholy beat
Dream on, look up, and add a little sun to your rain cloud.
It’s about spaghetti and string beans, chai tea and good friends
It’s about staying up late, and singing out loud
It’s taking the beat of your heart and the heat of your brain and sending them to different corners
They don’t get to play today.
Because your mind just won’t play nice and leave your heart alone,
It sits and whistles its lonely lonely tone
When your heart can’t help but sing for love
And the beat rolls on.
Leaving you at home with your blues, shoes, and what you lose
Because you can’t take it with you,
But you might as well enjoy the abstract with all you’ve got
Never minding a little mud or those charcoal skies
Knock your mind some sense and tell it to stop
Because it’s not about grey skies and fat thighs and big sighs
It’s about a hug from your honey, a laughing tear drop
It’s about running because you can, and smiling because you can’t stop.
Why write a sad song, when you could sing a happy one?
Sing along to the words in the beat in your heart and joy
Chase those grey grey clouds away
Because this smile, this laughter, this love…it’s gonna stay.

The ABCs of Me

A: is for Attitude

Because I have one. A large one. On days that it's particularly bad in a smartass kind of way, one of my managers will shake his head and say, "So it's one of those days is it?" and then rebuffs the 'tude with strenuous coaching that allows me to get the smart-aleck out of my system before I hit the floor.

It's like he knows me or something. 


Mom, no lecturing me for being a smart-aleck. I'm pretty sure it's genetic.


B: is for Broccoli

Because I love it. And adore it. Wes Chesbro (you know, one of the politicians in California? His wife used to run a daycare that I went to when I was little) once told me that they were miniature trees. I think I've been addicted ever since. My favorite is broccoli with the "blue box" mac 'n' cheese. Fake, neon orange cheese has never tasted so good.




C: is for Caring

As a friend, I will always love you. No matter what. I will be there for you when you need me, even if you're not there for me. The only thing that would make me walk away is if you take that caring and throw it in my face.

D: is for Designer

It is my first love and my last love.  I will design and do art for the rest of my life.

E: is for Evil Genius

I am not an evil genius. Though it is something to aspire to, but only in the best way possible. In the sense of my love for surprises, I want to be an evil genius. I adore surprising people in a good way. Thinking up the surprise is even better than chocolate.


A couple years ago, two friends and I conspired for our other friend's birthday. We kidnapped her from her work — conspired with her co-workers even to keep her there when we were running late — and treated her to a beauty evening, made her up and gave her a dress and shoes and took her out for drinks. Unfortunately, she ruined the evening later at her party by throwing a tantrum (rather sad as it was her 25th birthday and "It's my birthday and I can cry if I want to" is only cute when you're six).

Last summer, I conspired with my sister to surprise our mother with a visit. I picked her up at the airport in San Fransisco on the way home from a road trip for a friend's wedding and took her home. We knocked on the front door (which no one ever does, really) so when Mom opened the door she was super confused to see us and didn't register immediately that it was my sister home from New York to see her for a whole week. That was probably one of the best presents we've ever given her.


F: is for Friendship

Without my girlfriends (and guyfriends) I would be lost. I just re-lived the whole "new town, no friends" situation for the 3rd time in my life and I must say, it's not a favorite of mine. I desperately miss my friends in SLO (that's you, Siobhan...well, not just you, but hey! Shout out!) and now my Heather is in Portland and that's sad too. But I'm making new friends here in Bend. Like Staci and our neighbors and Staci's boyfriend who is now my State Farm Agent because apparently Geico sucks.

Just saying.

And yes, I did mean to say "my Heather." Well, I didn't at first, but at re-read I liked the look of it, so I left it. 

G: is for Goodie Goodie

I used to get taunted with that moniker in middle school. The only thing that's changed since then is I've learned that dying my hair is the bee's knees and I've got ink'd. I'm still a goodie goodie to the bone though. I don't do stuff that's too bad. Like text while driving. Or jay walk.

Okay, maybe I jay walk a little.

H: is for Hot Stuff

Because let's face it, I am.

I: is for Ice Cream

I don't like buying ice cream for one reason: I love eating it. Doesn't even really matter if I don't like that particular flavor all that much, I'll still manage to choke it down. It's problematic.

J: is for Jubilant

I'm bubbly when I wanna be, damn it. No, really. I tend to be bubbly and obnoxiously sunshiney when I'm happy. Which definitely isn't as often as I would really truly like, but it's a good thing right?

I'm also obnoxious in the morning. I have to have a book to read in order to not be. Or just get up and do stuff. Maybe O should be for obnoxious.

K: is for Kristen

Oh, come on. I had to.

L: is for Little Sister

"The most important thing about Kristen is that she has a little sister named Laurel." I once wrote those words for a school project. They're true. My sister is awesome. She is rockin' and super smart, beautiful and has just as much 'tude as I've got. We had some shaky years growing up, but we've finally reached the maturity to be friends again and I am super lucky to have her as my sister...even if at one time I wished we could just put her back.

M: is for Maddie-Cat


Our little Terrorist and ever-popular with guests, she's invaded my life as thoroughly as any other animal has. We have conversations, she tattles on Tyler, and encourages general mayhem. I don't know what we talked about before we got her.



N: is for Noodles

I love noodles. And basically I couldn't think of something else for N. All that would come up was Noodles! But I do eat them often. My other staple is bean and cheese burritos.

O: is for Overshare

If you don't really want to know the answer, don't ask me. Unless we don't know each other that well, I won't even give you the warning shot. If you ask, I will probably tell you. I don't see the point in beating around the bush if you legitimately want to know.

And sometimes I just share without you asking.

P: is for Princess

Because I am one. We know this already. Enough said.

Q: is for Queen

"If they just let me wear the control-the-world helmet all the time, we would just be better off," are words that have dropped from my lips from time to time. My dear friend Robert has said time and time again that I need a shirt that says that. Things just go better that way.

R: is for Running

I love to run. I really do. Once I get my butt out the door and get moving, I love the rhythm, the peace of it and the results most of all!

S: is for Sunshine

I could never permanently live in a place that has sunshine less than half the year. I don't care if it's freezing or sweltering, just so long as I can see the sun shining in a bright blue sky.  My mental health is important to me (obviously) and I have learned that I require sunshine.

T: is for Time

I never have enough. I want more for love, laughter and peace of mind. I want more time to spend with the people who mean the most to me. But as we know, right now I have to make my bricks so that I have that time and money later.

U: is for Unwritten

My life is full of things I've written, I'm just waiting for those things that I will write and I hope that someday I have a book published.

V: is for Virtues

As in: patience is not one of them. Boyfriend will attest that I am much happier if I am in the driver's seat. That being said, I do have many other virtues.

Loyalty, honesty, organization. You know, the works.

W: is for Wine

I love wine. It is delicious and fantastic and it makes me tingly and silly.

X: is for eXtreme

Did you know that nothing adjectivial (it's not a real word, I am aware) begins with X? We're going with eXtreme. Because in one sense, I am. At least...I'm told I can be.

Ultimate frisbee is my one "extreme" (that I'll cop to, anyhow). I've recently been told that when talking about it I act and sound "extreme." I am, I suppose. How many people can say that they caught the disc and concussed themselves, but still got up and finished the point in spite of the world spinning?

Yes, I suppose I'm extreme.

Y: is for Yuck

There's a lot of stuff I'm willing to try. Squid, tongue, oysters, kale, cauliflower...I intend to try frogs' legs and snails before I die. I'll never say no to a "no thank you" bite. That being said, I still manage to be the world's pickiest eater (according to everyone who's ever had to go grocery shopping with me).

Peanut Butter? Nope.

Bell peppers? No thanks.

Pork chops? Uh, no.

Nuts? No way.

Bread crumbs for breading stuff? Ick.

Canned vegetables? I'm sorry, that's just not food.


Z: is for Zucchini

Why can't I get it to grow?