Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Ocean

The only thing missing in Bend is my ocean. That place I've gone my whole life when the world is just overwhelming and life is boiling over and stressful... 

I used to drive to the closest beach, regardless of the weather (though fog was my favorite for this type of moment) and just sit in the sand, heedless of getting sand on my clothes or in my pockets, wrap my arms around my knees and just close my eyes and breathe. 

Something about chill, gritty sand under my feet and freezing Pacific Ocean water just calms my soul.

Today, completely by accident, I found my ocean here in landlocked Bend. 

I was going on my planned run (3 miles to the gym, work out there and then run straight back the 2.25 miles that the direct route is) and the weather today is that close, misty rain. 

With my bared legs slippery from sweat and raindrops, water dripping from the brim of my ball cap, and the sky close to the ground and soothing grey, it felt like I was running at home...and I found myself turning down side streets and extending my run just to stay in the weather with my thoughts, and peacefulness and...

Well, clearly I sound a little crazy, but I'm more relaxed today than I have been in weeks. I found my ocean. 

And I ran seven miles.

What did you do today?


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cupcakes in the Wonderful

On my walk with my sister yesterday morning, across the continent and several time zones, in which I am walking the puppy and she is secure in her Boston apartment with her dachshund and we are chatting on the phone, she informed me about a new cupcake recipe she was trying.

I was intrigued.

Cookie dough cupcakes? Those sound like two extremely delicious things in one...kind of a two-for-one situation.

I like those situations.

She got her recipe from Annie's Eats blog, and boy...there's a lot of butter in those suckers. The original recipe calls for THREE STICKS in the cupcakes alone! That's a cup and a half of butter! Wowza!

I substituted 1/2 cup of all natural, no-sugar added applesauce for one of those sticks, and the result still tasted damn delicious. I'm thinking it changed the texture slightly, but as me personally doesn't mind a little oddness -- and our guests for the evening, their toddler, and my Tyler didnt seem to mind either -- I'd rather go for a little more healthy! Especially considering how much butter was in everything else....

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
recipe courtesy of Annie's

for the cupcakes...
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used 2 sticks, and 1/2 cup applesauce)
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semi sweet or bittersweet)

for the filling...
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 

for the frosting...
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

for the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total). Combine butter and brown sugar with a mixer. Beat on med-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add dry ingredients to mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, mixing each addition until just incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 - 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the filling...
Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on med-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

for the frosting...
Beat together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the confectioners sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well-blended. Frost as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips for decoration.



Friday, June 14, 2013


Once upon a time, when Banyan was really little, he had lots of toys. Their numbers have dwindled as he's gotten larger and a bit more destructive (baby teeth don't make a lot of headway), and been replaced.

One toy we had a hard time taking away, even once it was beyond just a carcass was his eight inch plush toy with buggy eyes in the shape of that bloodsucking insect.

Maybe it was the legs, maybe it was the texture, but he was pretty upset about tick being shredded and he loved carrying around the dismembered legs...that put one in mind of severed gross...

Luckily, I believe in online shopping...and if a dog's day could be made, I made it.

Tick II was as well received as the original, an eyeball quickly removed and stuffing littering the floor.

All in all, totally worth it to make my puppy the happiest one (for the moment).


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blogging Made Easy

Did you know that Blogger now has an app for the iPhone? That makes it way easy to upload stuff?

Theoretically I'll be blogging more.

I'll let you know.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some kind of woman

You all know me...I'm an artist, I have an odd relationship with books, I cook here and there, I make at least a pretense at being a serious badass about running...

Something you may not know is my penchant for sweatpants.

I have returned jeans in order to afford sweatpants.

If I had a penny for every time my dear devoted man asked me, "So are you gonna put real clothes on today?" and I looked at him guiltlessly and replied, "what's wrong with sweats?" ...well, I would probably have at least five bucks by now.

So when I hopped in the car and drove to Portland last night for a work training this morning, and I realized at about 2 hours in that I forgot sweatpants for the evening and my drive home, I was positively giddy with excitement over the prospect of new sweatpants. I grabbed dinner to go at Cheesecake Factory in Washington Square Mall and practically skipped down to The Gap where I proceeded to luxuriate in the fact that I had a reason to buy the summer weight version of my all time favorite sweatpants EVER.

Luckily, Tyler knows the kind of woman he's marrying.

He's a very lucky man though, because not only am I a sweatpants girl, but I'm the type of woman who when presented with a coupon the next day (this morning) I take my frugal butt back to the store in order to get my 40% off my new sweatpants.

I may be a sweatpants kind of girl, but I'm also a smart sweatpants shopper.

Sweatpants are sexy, right?


Saturday, June 1, 2013


I'm sure that you guys are tired of hearing about running, and my back, and how hard it is to be patient and heal and all that good stuff. But tough stuff, you get to hear more about it.

As I was running my fastest time yet since I've been healing (5.29 miles in 52:23 if you must know), and without stopping no less, I had time to think about where I was a couple months ago versus where I am now and how I really have never felt so blessed to be able to move.

Am I 100%? No. Am I close? Or at least a huge leap forward compared to where I was? Yes.

My new running buddy, Bethany, and I ran last Sunday and it was miserable. I ached from workouts the day before, my hamstrings were tight, we were parched, the universe felt against us for that run. When we finished, I cut myself off mid-complaint when I looked at my Garmin and realized, "Hey, we did three miles in 33 minutes...while that's not breaking any records, in March it was taking me 40 minutes to do 2.5 miles."

Returning to running has been so arduous, because like any patient, I don't want to be patient and wait and work slowly through the pain and listen to my body and what its telling me and actually stopping when it says stop rather than going and pushing on like the athlete in me instinctively demands. Tell you what, I've never felt quite so in tune with myself. It's...odd.

Many young stupid runners will tell you that when their body hurts, they push through the pain. Heck, many athletes will tell you that. Those who have been injured occasionally will say, yes, push through, but once you reach that point, stop. I only listened to my body when something was blindingly obvious and simply screeching for my attention, so trying to focus on what my back muscles are doing while I'm running is very counter-intuitive to me. It's a conscious effort, and a constant one.

The stopping bit is hard too...that's why I'm not really supposed to run by myself, because I tend to forget to stop. Because an extra 400 meters won't kill anything will it? And that's where I get into trouble, because it is always that "extra little bit" that exacts the most punishment...

But I'm getting better, and healing, and it's wonderful.

And I couldn't have done it without the whole "team" I've had this time, between my doctor and my PT and my trainer, not to mention my running buddy and my co-workers who inspire me and yell at me, and my friends who tell me about their mileage and make me go !! I want that again!!!

Slow and steady wins the race, and if I'm a little tight this morning, it's no where near the agony I used to have — even heavily medicated...

I'm getting there. Getting better.

I'm healing.