Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twelve for 12: January Progress Report

It's really the end of the month already, which means starting tomorrow HRH is going to start getting pissed that she has to learn a new month at school.
It also means that I need to start actively looking at my Twelve for 12 List of Things to Do to make sure that I can cross them all off the list by December 31, a mere 335 days away (that includes the leap day).
So, let's see how things are going.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal Planning - Week 2

Last week's meal plan was a success!  I had to switch Monday and Tuesday's plan, but everything else fell into place almost perfectly - I say almost because I didn't really love the caldo verde that I made, but I'm willing to try another recipe for it sometime - and the result was a veggie drawer that only had a bit of kale and broccoli leftover.  Both of those have found their way into this week's plan, so there isn't worry there.
Thus, I am really going to push myself to keep this planning up; I want to make sure that we are eating those wonderful vegetables that come to us so, so fresh, and of course I want to waste less overall (veggies and other staples).  It really was kind of fun looking at my favorite blogs and websites and in my favorite cookbooks to find recipes that will help me use what I have in the crisper (and pantry).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

On Your Mark... Get Set... Save the World

Thank you, Solomon family.
It has been a GREAT run.
I realized this week that I am one of those Superstitious Athletes.  I don't really know how it happened, but on Friday night, I was taking my freshly laundered running tights, new top, et al out of the dryer, and I painstakingly rummaged around to make sure I had both socks that had the BLUE Champion® logo.  "I need to wear the blue socks," I thought to myself.
Why?  I have no idea.  I have a pair with a pink logo and many pairs with the gray logo.  They are all the same socks.  I could even wear one sock with the blue logo and one with the pink, and I would not be able to tell you the difference.
But as I set out my race day attire, I HAD to have the blue sock.
Earlier in the day, I got mad at myself for not getting to the ribbon store before it closed.  I have to wear a bow in my hair (usually just a plain ol' grosgrain ribbon), the color of which is representative of the race somehow.  How I came to add this to the wardrobe is a long story, and since this is going to be a long post anyway, we'll have to wait for another time on that.  I thought about going to one of the craft stores that are open until 9 or 10PM, but I decided to wear a ribbon that I already knew I had at home, the one I had worn to the ovarian cancer 5K I ran back in September.
"Gosh, I hope that it's OK to wear the same ribbon."
Yeah, like anyone was going to notice.  But I still thought that, multiple times, as I resisted the temptation to make just one more stop to get myself the "perfect" ribbon.
So, there we have it.  I'm a Superstitious Athlete.  I can no longer make fun of the baseball players who polish their fingernails or football players who must eat the same meal before each game.  I am one of them.  Just not extremely famous and well-paid for my amazing athletic talent.
Even though The Husband set his alarm to go off a half hour earlier than I did (he usually takes about an hour's worth of hitting the snooze button to rouse himself into his pre-coffee, almost-humanlike state - he actually left the race to go get coffee, although races ARE pretty boring, so I am not holding that against him; that he didn't bring me back a doughnut is what I hold against him), when my alarm went off, Zooey naturally thought it was Time to Run.  Sorry, girl.  She begrudgingly went on an early walk with The Husband while I brushed my teeth, put on mascara (a race is no reason not to look your best), and choked down my pre-race breakfast of a Naked® Green Machine smoothie and a sesame bagel smeared with peanut butter.  The other day I had played with the idea of making my own pre-race smoothie.  Then I remembered how early I had to be up.
Last year, I was terrified that I wouldn't get to Schnepf Farms (the amazing local peach farm that has hosted London's Run for the past several years) on time to start the 10K.  The farm is out in Queen Creek, and the road narrows to one lane each way.  Of course, because of the event, traffic was extremely backed up last year, and while I made it in time, I didn't want to risk it for the half marathon, which started before the 10K.
We were out the door by 6:30, and we got there with enough time to spare so that we were able to sit in the car for a bit, enjoying the heated seats (that was just me) before it was time to head out into the pre-dawn chill and hit the Porta-Potty line (seriously the best half marathon advice I've gotten).

Friday, January 27, 2012


Tonight is London's Run Eve, the night before my first ever half marathon.  I feel that I have prepared and trained as well as possible, despite having a bout with both the flu and the common cold.  I've tapered, I've made sure that what has gone into my body has been the result of a wise decision (for the most part - I'm sorry about the Dr. Peppers), and I picked up my race bib this afternoon just before buying a new top onto which that race bib shall be pinned.
Still, I'm nervous.
I knew I would be.  One does not simply walk into Mordor take 13.1 miles lightly, and I certainly know that while I have trained well, there is always the unexpected.
And that's when it happened...

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

--Shel Silverstein, "Whatif"

I love this poem that resides in my copy of A Light in the Attic, one of several compilations of Shel Silverstein's poems for kids.  When I was younger and still part of what the target demographic for such a book, the poem rather terrified me.  What IF (fill in the blank with an irrational fear, usually of something crawling into my ear, to be honest)?
But as I got older, I realized that there is not really a need to play The Worst Case Scenario Game.  It helps that I have started to cry, that I've lived through (sadly) a couple of wars, and I don't think my dance card will ever be filled up with admirers, and yet, nothing happened.  That "if," whatever it was, wasn't really anything.  Whatever happens... happens.  What if I trip over a root (possible - this race is on a farm, after all)?  Well, then, I trip over a root.  What if I sprain my ankle after having tripped over said root?  Well, hopefully a dashingly handsome runner will notice my plight and carry me all the way to the finish.  Pshhh, yeah.... as likely as... well, those pesky Whatifs.  
It's easy to take Whatif Drive all the way to Freakoutville, but I managed to navigate back to the safer waters (yes, I realize I'm mixing metaphors - what are you? The metaphor police?) of Just Being Excited and Nervous At the Same Time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Man, A Plan, A Canal

Who has two thumbs, likes terrible puns, and has the love for history rhymes (and palindromes) only an English teacher could?

The Man
Well, duh, it's The Husband.  Because he works four ten-hour days for his work week, there is always the possibility that ten-hour day will stretch into twelve or more, which generally means I use his absence as an excuse to not make anything for dinner except a stolen handful of HRH's Goldfish® crackers.  I justify it by telling myself I don't want to be in the kitchen and leave HRH to her own devices alone for that long.  Thus, I often go to bed less than thrilled with my mealtime decisions for the day.  Anyway, regardless of when The Husband comes home, I need to have something good in my belly, and he deserves the chance to be able to warm up something delicious and healthy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Taper Madness

At this time next week, I will have finished my first half marathon.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep myself busy in order to make sure I don't spend an evening absolutely freaking out.
In the countdown to the big day, I've decided to avoid meat as much as possible.  I, of course, haven't mentioned that to The Husband yet, and he came home from picking up our vegetables bearing not only said veggies but also some cedar planks and salmon, so I suppose I'll have to choke that down.  Darn.
At the same time, my desire for carbs has taken over my thoughts about food, and most other thoughts as well (which is actually a good thing, since I'm thinking about bread instead of the new running shirt that I decided that I "need" to get before the race).  I gave serious consideration last night to calling Oregano's and ordering eight loaves of garlic bread and a side of their "Bollo Pasta."  To go.  I mean, you don't think I'd eat all that bread in public where people would judge me, do you?  That's an in-the-car-in-a-deserted-parking-lot kind of activity.
Fortunately, I held myself back, and my quest for carb-y goodness led me to have what, at the time, I determined to be absolute genius - tofu-angel hair stir fry in peanut sauce.
OK, that kind of sounds weird, but we don't have any udon or other appropriate noodles.  However, we did have two bok choys in the fridge needing to be used in a fairly timely manner, so there you have it.
While rummaging around the fridge (which totally needs to be reorganized and wiped down, but I'm ignoring that for now), I came across a jar of Thai peanut sauce, and I took it out, thinking that I'd use it for the stir fry sauce.
Then I looked at the ingredient list.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Thoughts on Thursday - In Case of Emergency, Get Comfortable

Actually, I was thinking about this yesterday, but I elected to quietly "go dark" for the day to, in my own small way, challenge the proposed SOPA/PIPA bills in Congress.  I truly believe that piracy needs to be battled, but I also don't feel that the sweeping measures these bills take are the appropriate route.  Considering that I work online, I wasn't completely able to stay off the computer yesterday, but I only used our internal system and email.  Thankfully, I have Bejeweled on my iPhone, so last night I played a bit of that to unwind.  New. High. Score.
But let's get back to something far less imperative: sweatshirts.
Take a quick look at this (poorly lit because of poor timing, but whatever) picture:

This is the back of Ursula, our new(ish) Subaru Forester.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Broc-N-Cheese (A.K.A. the Post that Goes Against Every Fiber of My Being)

After another week of feeling completely crummy, hacking up what I am convinced it 5/8 of a lung, and starting yet another round of antibiotics for yet another upper respirator/sinus/ear infection (jealous yet?), I'm back on the blog.
Being sick makes me hungry.  Not that, you know, I generally shy away from food, but when I'm sick, I want just about everything that you can think of, including every food product presented to me during commercials (even if I am loathe to admit what those commercials were).  Of course, I go through my "I want matzo ball soup" phase (generally I whine to The Husband, and he goes to get me some - ahhhhhh), and I have of late gone through a few "Hmmmm, pho sounds really tasty, too" phases.  That's natural - soup is practically the perfect food for sick days, whether it's chicken noodle or miso.
But what might not be "normal" is my insane need for macaroni and cheese.  That's right - dairy (butter), dairy (milk), and more dairy (cheese) is soooooooooooo perfect for those with stuffy noses.
I try to stay away.
OK, I really don't.  The Husband tells me to stay away from it, but I have to have my half-and-half in my coffee, and when a girl wants herself some mac-and-cheese, there's not much that can be done except to get said girl her mac-and cheese.
Thankfully, my tenure as a Catholic school teacher left residual guilt on me, and I felt extremely really sort of bad about making myself my favorite casserole dish while The Husband was out watching the Patriots prove that Jesus really isn't a Broncos fan.
So I took a page out of my most recent issue of Vegetarian Times and made a big, fat dish of Broc-N-Cheese.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Twelve for 12: Project Planning

We are a mere week plus days into the new year, and after looking at my list, I think that it will be a helpful tool for me to plan out my strategies to make sure I end the year with all 12 agenda items:
  1. Run a half marathon (considering I already signed up, I felt that it was best to put this as Thing #1)
  2. Begin painting the house (interior)
  3. Continue collecting my china pattern
  4. Participate in at least one new run/race event
  5. Declutter the master bedroom (or at least start)
  6. Begin my masters
  7. Start and finish at least 2 knitting projects (although in a post to be named later, I may carry one "start" from 2011 over)
  8. Take HRH to one, new, exciting Thing each month
  9. Obtain a post-race massage (this is not indulgent; studies show they help runners recover)
  10. Read a book that is not intended for the 3-year-old crowd
  11. Donate blood 4 times
  12. Spend more high-quality less-TV time with The Husband
crossed off with a flourish.
Think of it as (English teacher nerd alert!!!!!) an outline as a precursor to the first draft, the final draft of which won't be revised until December.
Like writing an essay, things will have to change, and the order that I placed my objectives above are most certainly not going to be the order in which I complete them.  
Some of those items are not going to appear in the outline below.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Twelve for 12

New Year's Day means resolution time for many many people.
I hate resolutions.
And, considering my luck with this past year, I clearly hate "goals" that, by their very nature, shouldn't be that hard.
So I'm trying something different this year.  "New year, new you," right?

You have my full permission to smack me upside the head for using that horrible, terrible, disgusting cliché.  In fact, I highly encourage it.

At work, I am known for my "to do" lists on my famous Legal Pads.  Most of my department colleagues know that if "it" is not on The List, it will remain Not Done.  I prefer white legal pads, but when a yellow one is presented to me, I will not turn it down.  However, it needs to be wide ruled rather than college ruled (although for binder paper, college ruled is the only way to go).  Even with my new, shiny, lovely iPhone 4S and all the bells, whistles, and list apps I have at my fingertips, I often choose to make a grocery list or, recently, Christmas gift shopping list, on my beloved pad (insert joke about having "the original iPad" right here).
For further proof that The List works, my friend Kat over at Tenaciously Yours, has created an Ultimate To Do List of things she wants to accomplish by the time that young pup turns 25.  Thus far she's crossed many an item off that list.
And that Crossing Things Off The List is such a nice feeling.  I love being able to take that blue pen and make a right-to-left scratch across that Thing To Do.  Ahhhhhh.... accomplishment.
So... in this new year, it's time to make The List of Things To Do.

  1. Run a half marathon (considering I already signed up, I felt that it was best to put this as Thing #1)
  2. Begin painting the house (interior)
  3. Continue collecting my china pattern
  4. Participate in at least one new run/race event
  5. Declutter the master bedroom (or at least start)
  6. Begin my masters
  7. Start and finish at least 2 knitting projects (although in a post to be named later, I may carry one "start" from 2011 over)
  8. Take HRH to one, new, exciting Thing each month
  9. Obtain a post-race massage (this is not indulgent; studies show they help runners recover)
  10. Read a book that is not intended for the 3-year-old crowd
  11. Donate blood 4 times
  12. Spend more high-quality less-TV time with The Husband

And there we have it.  Sure, some things have the word start in front of them, so there isn't really an end date.  But I can't truly start and finish my masters this year (that would be pretty awesome if I could, but let's be realistic here).  And since our house only has one room that is properly painted, I don't want to make myself a promise I can't guarantee that I'll keep.  But if I can start, I can work to put these items on The List for next year - just with finish where we have start this year.

And why, may I ask, is "giving The Cat more love
than The Stupid Dog" not on this list???
OK, 2012.  BRING IT.