Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Kitchen, Many Hearts - Tricks, Treats, and Thanks

I have found myself getting more and more excited each time we have one of our OKMH gift exchanges.  Not for the package that comes to my door (although that is darn exciting - way more exciting than the bills and election flyers I usually get), but to see what everyone else sent everyone else.  While we are scattered across the map, it's like we live just down the street from one another.
Which would be the awesomest block on the planet were it to actually happen.

Clockwise, from top left:
Mads, Kirsten, Megan, Kat, Moi, Jeanne

This month, we came full circle; I received my first OKMH package from Mads back in February, and it was finally my turn to send some goodies to her.  I had a lot of fun putting her package together, so make sure that she's your first stop on the train today.
And since Jeanne was the first lucky lady to get my gifties, her package was the one that I received this month.
For the record, Jeanne gets the award for the most beautifully packed boxes and probably some of the most hilarious handmade cards EVER.

My personal favorite is the grammar one - top left.
And while I could have laughed at the cards all day (I still am, actually), I was just touched at Jeanne's thoughtfulness with her selections.

Something for HRH (which didn't leave her side for a week and even made the trek to school for Friday Show and Tell).

Her name is Samantha.
Although for about 48 hours she was called "Pony Grap."
That's a "g" there.  In case you did a double take.
Something for TH - with an accompanying rude joke about smoking meat (I wouldn't have it any other way).

And some goodies for all of us to share.  OK, just TH and me to share.

"SOUP. There it is."
Hilarious, Jeanne.  I actually cried I was laughing so hard.
I can't wait to make this!!!!!

Because broken syrup IS unacceptable.
Got this one past you, USPS.

Who you calling fat and juicy?
Good news: we love bloody Marys.
Bad news: I used all the vodka to make my extracts.

Also in the package: one bandana (soon to be Zooey's new party clothes) and some farro, which I cannot wait to put into a soup.  Maybe some hot cereal for those mornings after a run now that the weather is (finally) cooling off.

Jeanne, you rock; thank you for all the great goods - we all appreciate them!  All of these wonderful women rock, and in this week when only a horrible hurricane can stop (some of) the hateful campaigning, it warms my heart that we can do something nice for someone else for the fun of it - because we can.
(And speaking of "because we can," click here to watch the video reveal of how much was raised at the Bake Sale for Beka over two days - I laughed, I cried, and I drooled over the cookies I didn't win, but I love that so many people are so generous for great causes - thanks to all those good people who bid; congratulations to all the winners!)

  • Now, I sent a gift package to Mads.
  • Mads sent her box to Kirsten.
  • Kirsten sent her gift along to Megan.
  • Megan (who must be exhausted after that two day auction!) shuttled her goods off to Kat.
  • Kat, to make the circle complete, sent her bundle down to Jeanne

Now, we have had SO much fun, we're continuing this.  Hopefully you've been inspired to grab a bunch of wonderful items and ship them off to a friend across the country - just for fun!  Go ahead - practice some random acts of OKMH!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bake Sale for Beka

The Internet is a crazy thing.  Not only can you find a corgi version of "Call Me Maybe" (Corgi Rae Jepsen?), but you can also meet the most amazing and wonderful people.
Megan is one of those amazing and wonderful people I've met thanks to The Internet.  She is funny and sharp as a tack.  She is a devoted lover of labra-dork retrievers.  She has a recipe for coconut curd that makes me weak at the knees.  But more most importantly, she has worked tirelessly to put together a bake sale to benefit her best friend, Beka.

Beka has Crohns disease.
You can click on the link there to get more information about what Crohns is, but here is what you really need to know: a chronic condition, Crohns currently has no cure.  Medications can help - some people can be in remission for years, but other people go through much more regular cycles of flare-ups.  It's not a fake disease, and it can have a huge impact on a person's personal and professional life.
But Beka, whom I've also gotten to know via that crazy Internet, doesn't appear to be letting something like Crohns affect her humor, vivacity, or really anything else.
Which is exactly how I would hope to deal with anything like Crohns, cancer, etc.  The less she allows it to boss her around, the less it will be the "one thing" that defines her.

What Beka IS doing is planning her first half marathon after realizing, during training for a 5K, that running seemed to quell some of the symptoms.  Her efforts in this will benefit the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America, specifically the Foundation's Camp Oasis, a camp for children diagnoses with Crohns and Colitis.  Camp Oasis allows these kids to be, well, KIDS, despite their conditions, which many times, other children don't understand.

Y'all know I am definitely on board with my sisters who run for their causes.  Beka and I have kind of bonded over the whole Crohns-colon cancer thing, finding 12-year-old humor in two diseases that are in all actuality NOT funny.

Good thing this bake sale is ANYTHING but funny.  It's simply full of Awesome.

Don't believe me?  Check it out - bid on the goods and goodies from 25 food bloggers (including yours truly) as well as some wonderfully generous companies to help Beka meet her goal for the CCFA and make a huge difference for the kids!  You can bid until 8PM Pacific Daylight Time tonight on some amazing treats - just by clicking here.

Just keep your grubby mitts off the double dark chocolate merlot cookies.  Those babies are MINE.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seen On My Run - The Blog Post

Most runners who are on The Twitters know about the #seenonmyrun hashtag.  Lots of gorgeous sunrise, sunset, and water snaps.  Tons of "WTH" snaps.
I, of course, favor the latter but also relish the former.
Today I slept in a touch longer than I usually do on Fridays before heading out with Zooey.  It was nice to get an extra few minutes of sleep.
Apparently, that fifteen or so minutes (plus the extra minutes it took me to get out the door; it was a "move slower" kind of morning) makes a big difference in the interesting things that you'll get to see on a run along an Arizona canal.
Seen today:

  1. Lightning storm up in the clouds (thanks for the awesome show, Mother Nature!)
  2. Two tiny kittens (spooked by The Hound of the Doofervilles)
  3. Dude wearing FULL ON winter workout gear - long pants (obviously lined) and winter jacket with fleece collar (probably fleece-lined, too) -- yes, it was in the 60s when I ran, which is practically a cold snap here, but I still think people in Arizona are weird when it comes to weather "anomalies" like getting below 70° in the first half of October.  You should see what happens when there is the rare foggy morning.  But I digress.
  4. A "pack" (or whatever it's called) of six cats - black or black and white.  I've seen them before, but not in these numbers.  I'm planning to contact the local TNR folks to see if they can help
  5. A calf nursing from her momma
  6. Another cat, pooping unabashedly
  7. A black lab that I like to call Zooey's boyfriend; whenever he's in his yard, he gets up on the table to look over the fence - not aggressively - he's totally curious.  We always say hi.
  8. A gray cat who, in its attempt to get away from Zooey, jumped up onto said lab's fence.  Not his best morning, I'm sure.
  9. anas coitus - the poor hen was held UNDER WATER by her neck while the drake did his thing.  Fortunately for the hen's lungs, doing his "thing" lasted about three seconds.  Talk about a two-pump chump.  I guess that romance is dead, at least in the duck world.
  10. I really only add this to get a nice, round number, as it's not truly "interesting" by any stretch of the imagination - what seemed like a bazillion dump trucks, as the road that takes me to and from the canal is being repaved this week, meaning uneven pavement and lots of dust.  And police officers, in front of whom, apparently, Zooey likes to make an ass of herself.

We don't see a lot of wildlife on our weekly runs, unless you count that family of (probably) feral cats and the mallards who live along the canals.  Hopefully when we start trail running again we will also not see a lot of wildlife, at least of the poisonous/dangerous variety, although I will be happy to see a bunny or two cross our path.
I apologize for not having pics of any of the above events, but until I can get a fancy schmancy Garmin, the iPhone is going to be strapped to my arm, which makes it difficult to take pictures.  However, a few weeks ago I was compelled to take a few breaks to get a few snaps.  How I managed to not drop it while Zooey was pulling on me is basically a miracle.

What's the most interesting thing you've ever seen on a run?

Our favorite calf was quite interested in Zooey one morning.

Momma didn't care for Zooey barking at her baby.
(if you look carefully, she can see baby behind her;
she stepped in front of the calf when Zooey barked)

Not a snap of the telephone pole;
that's a vulture up there.
There had been two, but SOMEONE'S barking made one fly off.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

To Sleep, Perchance to Clench My Teeth?

I have been insanely busy of late.  Work has gotten me tied in fits, and between that, running, trying to keep the house from turning into the world's largest ball of dog fur, and keeping up with all of HRH's activities (right now she is in soccer and swim), I basically have been reduced to maintaining my online social life in tact thanks only to the PowPhone.
So there's LOTS that I have to say, but we'll try to parse that out over the course of the next few weeks.  Most of it is only interesting to me, although you know I'll try to spin it into absolute hilarity as I am wont to do.
For tonight, we have an update on sleep.
Don't get too excited there.
Ah, yes, sleep.  I've finally been getting some quality sleep, thanks to the Emperor.  For the most part, I wake up feeling like I have truly gotten the restful sleep that my body needs.
I say "for the most part" because even the Emperor can't keep HRH and Zooey from getting me up for various potty or bad dream emergencies.
In our next house, The Husband's side of the bed is going to be closer to the door.
I've felt stronger as a runner, too.  Not faster, but stronger.  My recovery time has improved a great deal, and this last weekend, on our ten-miler (which was a bit too much for my poor Zooey-girl, we discovered), I could have gone longer - I felt great.
But, like the Force, using a CPAP mask for my sleep apnea has its dark side.

"He that sleeps feels not the toothache."
Cymbeline, William Shakespeare

I have to laugh at my boy Will there.  For someone who coined about half the words we use in the English language (OK, so not half of the words, but a lot of them, including eyeball - there's your fun fact for today), he was way off here.
My mask only covers my nose and has two adjustable straps on either side of it; the straps should be adjusted so that the constant positive air pressure goes in my nose and doesn't "leak" out (it's also really noisy if that were to happen).  Since I sleep on my side, I have been fussing with the straps ever since I got the darn thing to achieve that perfect "tight but not too tight" setting.
Well, I thought I had it.
And then the sore jaw and headaches started.
Yeah.  Fun, that.
I have diagnosed the issue to be a result of the mask; I have been tightening it to the point that it's pushing on my upper jaw, just enough to make it sore.  If you have ever clenched your teeth (either at night or due to stress), you know that this can cause horrible headaches as well.  
So I have a sore jaw.  Sore teeth.  More frequent headaches.  Makes me tired just thinking about it (you see what I did there?).
OK, so I am loving the sleep I get.  I've even been able to sleep in on those rare occasions when HRH overnights at my mother-in-law's, and actually SLEEPING when I sleep in feels almost sinful, it's such a great feeling.  Now I just have to find a better balance of properly secured mask that won't make my head want to explode the next time I do.
But as I work toward that balance, a bit of a sore jaw is, right now, totally worth it when I am getting a full night's sleep almost every night.  The Emperor can stay, but he's not taking over the Galactic Senate any time soon.