Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carb Loading. Seven Weeks Early.

I am exhausted this week.  It's more than likely from all the excitement and fun of the long holiday weekend, but it's still not super fun to hit one's wall at, oh, noon.
I'm starting to think that I need some help from the Dr. at ten, two, and four.  But we don't want to go down that road, do we?  I just managed to zip up my size 6 jeans today, and I'm not going back.
I've also been a bit sore and achy.  In fact, I am lounging with a heating pad against my neck and shoulders right now.  And it feels soooooooooooo gooooooooooood.  It's making me want an electric blanket.  Do they even sell those here in Arizona?
Thanks to a combination of a little one who thought that 5:30 was a good time to get up and a crazy work day unraveling my best laid plans, Tuesday ended up being a rest day instead of cross training, so I knew I had to get something done today, but even pilates seemed like it was too much, so I popped in the yoga DVD instead.  It actually felt really nice to stretch out this morning, so I know I needed it.
That HRH wanted "slurp-a-spaghetti" for dinner didn't help, either.  I horked down two bowlsful of angle hair with about two pounds of parm before HRH could take five bites (relax - I had red sauce, which I'm pretty sure Congress just decided was a day's worth of veggies).  Then I had half a loaf of French bread.  That whole appetite increasing thing that Runner's World magazine has obviously kicked in.
Time to boil some eggs.
Tomorrow is a run day - I can't put that off - but I think I'll take it a bit easier than my usual, pace-wise.  I mean, if Zooey lets me (she's serious about her training).  But I think I'll continue with the yoga for this week and then regroup on Sunday.
Running Pack in the Sky - how do you combat change of weather and/or mileage increase slumps?  What's your favorite energy boosting food?
What's your favorite revitalizing strategy?
Bonus Question - what literary allusion did this blog post include?
Now, if you'll excuse me, Zooey and I have a date with a pillow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What I Did on My Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend; or, Can You Keep a Secret?

I've been kind of lazy of late, not posting, wanting to sleep, all that jazz.  But I realized that if I procrastinate any longer on finally doing a Thanksgiving post, it'll be Christmas.
Crap - the Christmas decorations.  Those'll have to wait.
Thanksgiving in our house means pot luck at my mother-in-law's.  My husband has a great deal of family who still live here in Arizona, and her house is a good central(ish) meeting spot.  So all I really do to start preparing to think about Thanksgiving each year is to wait for her to send out an email asking what we all are bringing or would like to bring or want her to tell us to bring.
This year I volunteered for:
  • cornbread dressing (it's only stuffing if you cook it in the bird; there can't be anything more terrifying than attempting to cook a bread product inside the ass of a raw piece of poultry)
  • green bean casserole
  • an apple pie
Somehow we also ended up smoking one of two turkeys that were in attendance at the gathering (they didn't get the email invitation, though), so Scott actually took Bogey (the smoker) down to his mom's house the day before Thanksgiving to get it all set up and to give her dogs time to plan out what items they would chew up and destroy.
I have been using the same dressing recipe for years.  Thank you, Food Network, for giving me Overstuffed Pumpkin with Cornbread, Apples, and Turkey Sausage with Sauvignon Blanc.  It's delicious.  And the recipe I printed out doesn't tell me how many calories each serving is, so that's a bonus.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Saving the World - In my Undies

The adult in me wants to start this post with a memory of my dad and something about how exciting it was to participate in my second Colon Cancer Alliance's Undy 5000 5K Run.
The 12-year-old in me wants to start this post with a completely inappropriate joke.
Choices, choices...

The good news is that I can compromise.
My dad, who subscribed to "laughter is the best medicine" policy, named his colostomy so he could discuss it a little more easily.
He named it Sparky.
The mascot of my beloved Arizona State Sun Devils is named Sparky.
I'm convinced that my dad named his colostomy as such just to drive me insane.
Haha, Dad - I got you this time.
(this is where I could put in a close-up of my rear end in the ASU undies I bought for the event, but you did not come here to see a close up of my rear end)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Iz Gunna Get Mee Mai Morsel, O Yes I Iz!

I once saw a documentary about dogs and how they differ from wolves.  Part of the show argued that because dogs have become dependent on humans, they give up on fairly simple tasks, while wolves would rather chew off a leg than ask for help.
Clearly, no one has informed Zooey of this canid helplessness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Do You Like... Mushroom Pie???

If Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were to ask me that (hey, a girl can dream, right????????), I'd say, "Yes.  Yes, I do like pie.  I like apple pie, blueberry pie, peach pie, cherry pie, chicken pot pie, and then some."  I mean, c'mon - two layers of carb-tastic crust with a delicious filling - what's NOT to like?
So when I saw several of my blogging buddies start talking about #PieWeek, I totally invited myself like the ugly girl tagging along at the fraternity party.
Thank goodness they like me.
Because this is a group of bloggers who make some flat drool-worthy pies!
Case in point:
So I am honored to offer a savory addition to this selection of sweets.
OK, so it's confession time first.  The one rule I had to follow - to use Kirsten's No Excuses Pie Crust recipe - I sort of, kind of broke.  Not really, but I used whole wheat pasty flour instead of all purpose flour.  It really wasn't that different, so not really that much of a rule break, but I worked in Catholic schools long enough to feel that I needed to confess that minor transgression.
Just so you know, this pie crust recipe is superbly easy AND divine after coming out of the oven.   I have always used Martha Stewart's pate brisee recipe, but I think I'm going to switch over to this one.  It's more fun and less pretentious than Martha.  Plus I love Kirsten but have no emotional attachment to Martha.
OK, so back to the pie.  I had thought about doing a trial run of the pie I'll be making for Thanksgiving, and I should probably do that anyway.  But I opted to look for a new savory pie that would fit into my "less meat" plans.  So when I thought creatively for a few minutes googled "savory pie," mushrooms were the immediate front runner.
I kind of wanted to just copy a recipe from another website, but none of the recipes really sang to me, so after narrowing down the field to four candidates, I opted to just combine them and make my own recipe (I even tried to measure stuff out and all that - so weird for me!).

Thus, I give you...

Monday, November 7, 2011

I, Runner

In all my life, I never thought I would start a morning like this one.
Since it's Monday, I set my alarm last night for 4:45.  The ungodly wakeup time is so that I can get in a run before the day really begins.  Scott usually walks Zooey around 5:15-ish, but I need to run and get back to shower before he drags himself out of bed to shower, since he has to be at work at 7:00.  I run three mornings a week as I train for my first half marathon (in January), two of which begin at oh-dark-thirty.
However, HRH threw a huge wrench into the whole scenario when she shuffled into our room sometime between midnight at that oh-dark-thirty time slot.  I have no idea how early late early it was, but instead of taking her back to her own bed, I hauled her up and snuggled in with her.
And then the alarm went off.
Now, you need to understand something about my dog.  When my alarm goes off, Zooey, whose own bed is on the opposite side of the room, is ready to roll in about a millisecond.  She knows that Scott's alarm equals walk, and my alarm equals run.  Based on three-plus years of research, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that runs are infinitely more exciting for my girl.  Most run days are met with an excited, low bawl, which I try (in vain) to shush so no one else is woken up (by "no one else" I mean HRH - Scott's on his own).
Today was no different, and Zooey patiently impatiently frantically waited outside the bathroom while I donned my running gear (clearly she disapproves that I take more time to get ready than she).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Man and His (Smoked) Nuts

WARNING - this post shows just how immature I am.  Continue at your own risk for extremely tacky jokes that are likely best appreciated by 12 year old boys.

Since getting his smoker (which I've named Bogey), Scott has been looking for new and interesting foodstuffs to to smoke.  We've had ribs, chicken, turkey legs, and more.  Basically, if it's dead and available at our local grocery store, Scott will try to smoke the bejeezuz out of it.  I think we are now officially in charge of making a pulled pork for Easter dinner with the family.
So it didn't surprise me in the slightest when he told me that he subscribed to some e-newsletter that was dedicated to all things related to smoking (at least it's more productive than Mafia Wars, right?).  I've already stated that I will not eat anything that originally came from the sea - smoked fish is a bit too much for me.  But I'm willing to entertain other ideas, especially meatless options, since I am trying to eat less of the stuff in the first place.
Well, apparently, you can smoke nuts.
(I totally tried to type that with a straight face, but I confess I didn't manage it)
This isn't earth shattering news to me, and I'm sure it's not to you, either.  During my tenure on the grand jury, I helped our group consume at least 3 Costco-sized containers of the Blue Diamond® Smokehouse almonds.  I had to request on many days for them to stay on the opposite side of the room for fear that I'd just start eating them straight from the jar.  So I was kind of excited when Scott decided to take on this challenge.
Of course, almonds would be my choice, but Scott also picked up some peanuts (both raw) to experiment with.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Knitting in Knovember - a Challenge to My Readers

November has begun, and even if I didn't have a calendar every which way I looked, my Facebook and Twitter feeds would have reminded me, as several of my friends and colleagues are beginning to list the things for which they are thankful.  Me?  I'm thankful that I have so many things for which I can (and should) give thanks; they are truly too many to list.
But too many people have scant little for which they can say "thank you," which leads me to today's post.  Here in Arizona it's just now starting to "cool down" to the mid-80's, and the meteorologists on the local media stations are nearly stroking out in their excitement to report that by the end of the week, we'll even get down to - dare I say it? - the 70's (insert swooning).  My vast collection of scarves, hats, blankets (including my beloved ASU snuggie), and sweatshirts totally gives away the fact that I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and spent a few years in the cold climes of Michigan, as none of them get the wear and tear they deserve.
This is something for which I put on that thankful list.  I can always find a blanket, a sweatshirt, or a thermostat to help me get warm (I am one of those perpetually cold people).  If I need socks, I have an entire drawer full of them.  I can always get myself warm.
But there are too many people who can't.  Even in Arizona, which does have cold weather and does have snow, there are too many people who must deal with the cold by trying to put a brave face and gutting it out instead of being able to snuggle up with something warm.
That's why I'm not knitting any presents for my loved ones this holiday season.  Instead, I'm knitting a blanket (ideally two, but I want to be realistic at the same time) to donate to someone who needs it more than my mom needs another scarf.  I have yarn, and I have needles.  In fact, I've been working on a blanket to donate for some time, but I always manage to find another project to put before it.  Now is the time for me to stop making myself leg warmers (which I can't really wear right now), HRH a hat (which she just won't wear period), or anyone to whom I'm related any more scarves (I'm pretty sure they all just breathed a collective sigh of relief).
My friend Alicia has decided to crochet and donate several hats, something she was inspired to do after Lily had her bone marrow biopsy a few weeks ago.  I love how she has taken on and embraced this project, combining her love of crocheting and her desire to do something good.
So here's my challenge to you: make something - anything - warm to donate to a good cause this winter.  A scarf, a hat, a blanket, a pair of mittens.  Anything that you can knit, crochet, sew, or tie that will help someone stay warm this winter will do.  Then, email me a picture of it by November 30.  I'll post the pictures during an early December post.
If you aren't so craftily inclined but still want to participate, consider making a donation to or holding a donation drive for One Warm Coat, an organization dedicated to making sure everyone has access to a coat to keep out the cold.  I'll be happy to post pictures of coats who are finding their way to a new forever home as well.
I can't wait to see what you all make!