Central Park in The Snow

I took this as the sun was going down and the snow was starting to fall. It reminds me of Christmas and so much more! You can see more NYC photos here.

January Book Club Read

So, the January book club read. One by Jodi Picoult, who, if you haven't yet read, is DE-PRESS-ING! However, I am always looking to learn something new, and this book taught me a little bit about osteogenisis imperfecta, otherwise known as "brittle bone syndrom". However, one can only handle so much strife, even though it does provide insite into what it may be like having to be a parent in such a difficult situation. I give it an "okay" but not a "great".

As a side note, I finished the Hemingway and am not in a hurry to read another.

Next up: its a toss up --  Skinny Legs and All, Her Fearful Symmetry or Julie and Julia. What do you guys suggest?


December Book Club Read

The Sun Also RisesI am almost done. I should finish tonight. However, I am not quite sure that I like the way he writes. I feel like I should becuase he is "one of the greatest writers of all time". However, although I like what he writes about, I dont like the WAY he writes. Pamplona just isn't as exciting to me when Hemingway is the one telling me about it. We will see if I change my mind in the next 20 pages.

You can find out what else I have read and suggest books for me on goodreads.

Magic in The Air

As Kermit says, there is magic in the air. The magic in New Olreans is a little different than the magic at home, maybe becuase of the lack of cold and snow. However, decorations have been put up and people at work are going out for last minute Christmas dinners before we all fly away to our respective homes. I, for one, can't wait to go home and sit in a warm room with a view of the snow outside, drink coffee, chat with the Mom and Dad and watch...Christmas movies! I have been getting in the holiday spirit by watching clips on youtube. I have included one below for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Viewing Pleasure

I was reading Lucy's blog the other day and I really liked Lucy's idea of checking to see the "most viewed" on Flickr. It seems sort of fun to see what the "invisible people" out there are interested in (or just need to see more clearly, I guess). So here is what I found.

This was the most viewed, with 244 hits:

Tarshier - World's Smallest Primate

This one, which is probably one of MY favorites, was second "most viewed", with 177 hits (maybe because it has the word "naked" in the title?):

Tan Naked Man

The next category is "favorites". People can add your photos as one of their favorites. I personally am not very highly followed, but whoever is following me must be a tad perverted, becuase the most favorite is.... "two asses".

Praia de Barra: Two Asses

So....of all the landscapes, foreign cities and beautiful vistas.... you see what people really like? I think, judging from Lucy's site, that tagging the photos makes all the difference in the world. I guess I need to get on the ball....or the tan naked man.


Thanks for Your Support!!!

To everyone who donated for the Race For the Cure, I want to Thank You! I started off trying to raise 200 dollars and as more and more generous folks added, I upped my goal. My final goal was 800 dollars. 770 was raised.

The event was a success; approximately 10,000 people came out to run or walk. It was very satisfying to be a part of something so generous and righteous. Thanks to all of you for contributing to that. 

Oh The Memories

My October Book Club Read

Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans TableGumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sara Roahen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews >>


Race For The Cure

Hey guys...I am going to run a 5k in "support" of breast cancer. It is on October 25, 2009 at 8:30 a.m. in City Park in New Orleans.

The website for more information is here.

If you can, please donate by going
here. I am trying to raise $200.00, which is a small drop in the bucket of what they need.



Master Cleanse Day Five

DAY 5: The Results

I have a headache from the glass of wine I drank last night. I guess my body isn't quite ready for that yet. I also decided to lay off coffee for a little while to see what happens. I woke up with a headache but other than that, I feel great! I am happy to be at work; I am awake and lively and not even very hungry. Maybe there is something to this thing after all. I will not miss the Salt Water Flush but the rest of it was….Not too bad!

A couple blogs about it that I found when researching...in case you want to know more:



Master Cleanse Day Four

DAY 4:

7:42 am: I have my watered down OJ all ready to go. I am nervous about eating, since too much too soon can cause digestion problems. I think though that with only 3 days of detox, I shouldn’t have too many problems hopefully.

9:57 am: Have had some spicy lemonade and some watered down OJ. I still do not feel hungry but I want to have some real food tomorrow so I have to get my body ready for it. I actually think I could do this for a few more days, but I really don’t feel like going through the weekend without being able to cook something.

2:46 pm: I am so bored. I realize that when I am bored, I eat. So now when I am bored I drink liter after liter of water and watered down OJ and then I run to the bathroom a lot. However, it is not really keeping me from being bored. My stomach is gurgling. I think it has tasted freedom. Or was that just watered down OJ?

7:42 pm: I was going to wait until tomorrow to eat real food, but I am hungry. The OJ jumpstarted my…something. So I have a salad and some hummous and…a glass of wine. Satisfaction attained.


Master Cleanse Day Three

DAY 3:

11:03 am: I am doing well today. I am not hungry at all and have no ill effects (except that I am freezing – everyone else is in shirtsleeves and I am wearing 2 sweaters). I almost ate something this morning because I was a little stressed out. Normally when I am stressed, I exercise, eat or drink…and I can’t do any of those…so I almost caved. But then I had a few sips of the spicy lemonade and got to work and all was well.

11:14 am: I just walked by the smell of turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. It smells good, but oddly enough, doesn’t really tempt me to want to eat it. My tummy didn’t rumble and my mouth didn’t water. It just smelled pleasant.

1:31 pm: I am still not hungry. And I don’t have a headache. It’s great! I do have some rumblings in my stomach. I have decided to start incorporating stuff back into diet tomorrow. You are supposed to wean your way back on to food with broth and watered down juice and stuff. I really can’t wait to chew something.

7:15 pm: Went grocery shopping for tomorrow’s food. I am tempted to eat some of it now. I am starving. I want Mexican food.

9:15 pm: I feel great. I am not hungry anymore and don’t have a headache. However, I am very, very tired. I go to sleep around 9:30.


Master Cleanse Day Two

DAY 2:

6:14 am: I wake up before my alarm. I am not sure why. I am not hungry at all. Last night I had to do the
salt water flush (SWF) in order to cleanse myself of any impurities. It was horrible! It tastes like drinking the sea. And who likes that? What follows is not much better, but I will not get into that. I had a hard time going to sleep due to a horrible headache. I had read a couple of other blogs and many people report sore muscles, but I have not experienced that. I had a marvelous breakfast consisting of spicy lemonade and…nothing.

7:05 am: The elevator at work is broken. I take the stairs. 15 floors later, I am soooo tired… I have NO energy at all. I am starting to get a small headache again. It could be due to not having coffee; I do drink at least a cup every day. Or it could just be because I have not eaten.

8:23 am: I am cold, which is weird because usually I get cold after lunch. Maybe I drank too much spicy lemonade.

11:10 am: I am waiting for lunch time so I can…stop watching the clock. It is such a habit to be able to look forward to 11:30 or so. I think I will go home and take a half hour nap. That is almost as satisfying as food. I am not hungry at all but still want to eat just because. Maybe it is just boredom? Also, I must have jinxed myself when I talked about the sore muscles because now my back and neck muscles are really sore. Does that mean all the toxins are rising to the surface? Or am I just falling apart due to lack of food?

2:08 pm: Went home and took a nap. While asleep, I dreamed about a rap song. When I got back in my car, that song was playing on the radio. I am confused. Did that really happen?

4:57 pm: My back hurts. I think I am going to go home and have a Top Chef Marathon and eat until I burst. Minus the eating part. One good thing is after today, I will be halfway done. I cannot imagine doing this for 10 days.

7:00 pm: Watched Top Chef and it doesn’t even make me hungry. Weird.

10:00 pm: Went to bed with a splitting headache.


Cayanne, I Can

After eating way too much over the last few weeks with the excuse of "being on vacation" and always saying I will "exercise more when I get back", I have decided to try to purge my system for a few days. To do this, I am using the Master Cleanse method. This method uses a combination of water, lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. You make up this mix and drink it and lots of water for as many days as you want to cleanse. It is supposed to get rid of any toxins in your body and make you feel great. Most people do it for 10 days; some do it for as little as one; I am doing it for 4. The reason for this is that I have a concert to go to on Saturday and there is no way I am not eating/drinking that day! I am a little worried, as the hardest part supposedly is getting back INTO food (oh and the toilet issues, but for that you can read the Master Cleanse website)

So, today is day one. Here we go.

1 o’clock pm: So far, so good. I have not eaten all day, although I have had about 6 bottles of water and peed about 300 times. I am not too hungry, although I do miss putting food into my mouth. I went home for “lunch” (ie to watch Jeopardy) and walked by the Whole Hog BBQ place thinking, “Wow, I could eat a WHOLE hog!” Then while watching Jeopardy, there were two categories relating to food! Then as I was driving back, I couldn’t help but noticing billboards for McDonalds, people in the park eating sandwiches and the smell of tacos in the office as I walked back in. So, like I said, I am not very hungry, but I WANT FOOD! I have already started to try to think of things to do when I get off, in place of shopping, cooking and eating (it takes a lot of time!)

4 o’clock, normal snack time: NOW I am getting hungry. I have drunk another liter of water and a half a liter of spicy lemonade (which I actually like the taste of). I have gone pee about 5 times since 1 o’clock. I keep thinking about opening my desk drawer and eating a handful of nuts. Who would know? I kind of have a headache. My teeth feel fuzzy. I had planned on starting back up at the gym this week, but am going to postpone it because I wont have any food to give me energy. When I get off work I am going to do laundry, download pictures, take a bath, read, remake the beds and clean the bathroom and I will probably STILL have spare time.

4:12: Argh. The lady in the cubicle next to me just heated up rice and chicken and it smells delicious! I am starting to plan my meal for Saturday.


I (Still) Love New York

New York City: I never tire of it; it never gets old. There is something new around every bend, a new sight to see, a new neighborhood to explore, a new thing to do. Each time I go there, I do less cheesy touristy things and more everyday things -- my favorite thing to do is to just wander around aimlessly, finding something new and cool with each step forward. As a treat, we stayed at the Parker Le Meridien, which I can highly recommend to anyone who has 300 dollars a night to spend (or a butt load of points -- thanks to the four letter F word, that I will not mention here). It was awesome! And it is right in the middle of midtown, about 3 blocks from Central Park, which is one of my favorite places in Manhattan.
The view in the picture to the left is from out of the hallway window. I love the old rusty bay windows. Something about them just made me want to take a photo. This photo was taken with my phone AND through a dirty window, so its not the best photo ever, but I liked the idea of it.

The picture in the right is a Jewish deli that we went to (had seen it on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show:the Disappearing New York episode). It is called Russ and Daughters and its on Houston St and it's great! Note the "homemade pickled herring" sign. We had bagels with lox and cream cheese. We also had an egg cream, which Jim Dedes, who grew up in NYC, always raved about. It was so-so. It tasted like a melted fudgesicle with soda water mixed into it. It didn't have any ice. It was weird. I still prefer a nice iced mocha myself.

We also went to Chinatown, Wall St, The NYSE, Ground Zero, Brooklyn Bridge, The Museum of National History and more general wandering..... Like I said, there is never a shortage of things to do! We tend to eat a lot and WHILE eating, decide where we are going to go next to eat. It is fun, but bad for the bulge! And I dont know if walking around the museum counts as "exercise"!!!


Family Talent

My cousin Jon is a writer and was on NPR's Morning Edition regarding his new book. Listen to the story here. What talent!!! Good job Jon!

Red Dress Run

A few pics...I lost my camera yesterday BEFORE I got a chance to download...so all of these are from my, or my friend's phones....Sad but true... Enjoy!


Five Star Stay!

The Waldorf Astoria opened a new hotel in New Orleans this month. The Roosevelt Hotel, "Originally one of the South’s first grand hotels” underwent a $145 million restoration, which “has returned The Roosevelt to its place as the premier luxury hotel in New Orleans".

I didn’t really know the history of this hotel, so I decided to do a little research. Apparently, the hotel was built by Louis Grunewald, a German immigrant, and it opened as The Grunewald in 1893. In 1908, 400 rooms were added, and in 1923 it changed to the Roosevelt in honor of former president
Theodore Roosevelt. It was the Roosevelt for 40 years before it was acquired by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in 1965. It remained The Fairmont until 2005, when it was damaged by the storm. And today, the Roosevelt returns. It just re-opened July 1st and as it is (re)new, they are having marvelous summer deals. And, thankfully for me, it is a Hilton partner, which means not only do I get to enjoy a beautiful hotel, but I get points for staying there! Double score. So I decided to go and check it out.

It’s very nice, all done up in gilt and brocade with wide hallways and high ceilings. The staff is nice but not snooty; the rooms are tastefully done and the towels are the softest I have ever used. There are a few kinks that they need to work out as a new hotel – there were still tags on some of the furnishings; the refrigerator still had it’s EnergyStar sticker on it; There is only one trash can and it was not in the bathroom. But the soap leaves you smelling like lemon all day long and the sheets make you want to skip work and sleep all day.

A few more interesting facts: A suite on the 12th floor of The Roosevelt was (corrupt?) Governor
Huey P. Long’s residence when he was in Louisiana. When the hotel was The Grunewald, it was home to The Cave, which is considered by some to be the first nightclub in the United States. The Fairmont was known for the Sazerac Bar and the Sazerac Room for the finest dining. So yesterday, we went to find out if it lived up to its fame.

Sazerac is a cocktail made from whisky, bitters and absinthe. It is purported to be the first cocktail in the United States (a lot of firsts here today!) We had to have one, since we were in the Sazerac Room. It tasted to me like slightly licorice-tasting whisky. Not too bad though. See below (taken from Wikipedia)

ServedStraight up; without ice
Standard garnish
Lemon peel
Standard drinkware

Old fashioned glass
Commonly used ingredients
1 1/2 ounces
Sazerac Rye whiskey
Three dashes
Peychaud's Bitters
One sugar cube or
simple syrup
1/4 ounce
One old fashioned glass is packed with ice. In a second old fashioned glass, a sugar cube and 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters are muddled. The Rye Whiskey is then added to the sugar/Bitters mixture. The ice is emptied from the first old fashioned glass and the Absinthe is poured into the glass and swirled to coat the sides of the glass. Any excess Absinthe is discarded. The Rye-Sugar-Bitters mixture is then poured into the Absinthe coated glass and the glass is garnished with a lemon peel.
Originally, the Sazerac was made and served in an
egg cup called a coquetier.

Next was dinner – we came for the
Foie Gras and it did not disappoint. My second favorite was the surf and turf, which was cooked to perfection and flavored just enough. Dessert was bread pudding, which had fresh fruit and a little bit of vanilla ice cream. All in all, it was a wonderful dinner. The waiter was nice, not in your face, but there when you needed him. There was a live “band” (one man) which was pleasant and not too loud.

So, overall, the Roosevelt has it all – class, charm, history, nice sheets and great dessert to boot!
Five stars really does mean five stars!


Kill The Wabbit

I went on an unofficial rabbit hunt, in order to stop the beasts from eating all the vegetables in the garden. With a 22, I shot a poor little rabbit. Then I skinned him from head to tail (it was easier than I thought it would be to take off the fur) and then....we ate him! Delicious! However, skinned rabbit smells like death; I don't really like it that much. But once cooked, all smells of death abate. Anyway, this is a photo of me and the poor headless, skinless bunny.
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Go Car Go

Last weekend we had an Ice Cream Social for about 60 pre-war vehicles. Among them were many Packards, Cadillacs and Lincolns as well as one each of Nash, Franklin, Stutz, Bentley, Rolls and maybe one Chrysler. The oldest car there was from the early 20s and the youngest in the 40s. The folks in these cars, The Classic Car Club of America, did a tour around California and Nevada called the “Far Out West CARavan”, starting in Sacramento, going on back roads through places such as Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain and Reno, and ending back in Sacramento 8 days later. You can read about it in the Feather River Bulletin. You can find more photos HERE.

Too High To Get Over

Climbing Mt Shasta is something that not everyone wants to do. Sometimes I wonder why people, myself included, subject themselves to such pain and misery. I usually wonder this as I am trudging up an almost 90 degree hill, wheezing from the lack of oxygen, and tired from climbing since before dawn. 
We started the first day in good spirits. At 6,900 ft, it is easy to be in good spirits! We hiked until Horse Camp, which is about 2 or 2.5 miles and is the last source of water (fresh from Shasta Mountain springs…delicious!). After Horse Camp, all you can do is melt snow for water. So, we filled up on water, said goodbye to Buffy, Sierra and Levi, who had hiked up with us to that point, and headed up the hill. 

From this point on, it was snow the whole way. No trail, just straight up the mountain in the snow.
After hiking about 6 hours, we reached Lake Helen, which was where we were going to stay the night. Lake Helen sits at about 10,400 ft and is pretty much the only flat spot on the mountain, which is probably why it is a good place to stop. We set up camp and started making dinner. Shortly after eating, we went to bed. 
We got up at 3 am to start the climb to the summit. Randy and Matt surged ahead, while Dad and I kept up the rear. I thought the day before was hard, but this climb REALLY WAS straight up! Wearing crampons and using our ice axes, we crept up the mountain, rest step by rest step, finally reaching the top about 6 hours later. Once we reached the summit (14,179 ft), we knew why we did this. From the top you can see Mt. Lassen, Oregon and much of the Cascade Range. The 360 view is amazing. The day was sunny and mostly clear and the mountains around us were beautiful. We also saw some sort of fighter plane that whooshed RIGHT past us as we were standing atop the mountain. It can’t get much better than this!
We were tired, hungry and burnt (sooooo burnt!) but now we still had to climb down. Luckily, you can climb part of the way down and the other half you can glissade, which is like riding a big slide down the mountain. You just sit in the snow and cruise down on your butt. It is cold and wet, but we got down to Lake Helen in about 2 hours. You cant beat that!! 
At Lake Helen, we packed up the tent, took half hour naps and tried to stay out of the sun, which was burning us up from the top and the bottom. From Lake Helen back to Horse Camp took a couple of hours; we didn’t get to glissade as much as we wanted, but we did hit a couple of slides, and so it made going down a little quicker. We got back to Bunny Flats (6,900 ft) and the car around 5, starved, burned, tired and sore, but glad we made it.
See Photos HERE.

There's a Cornshop On The Corner

(Written June 9) I am leaving Iowa, and in my wake, I am leaving miles and miles of 6 inch stalks of corn. It is nice to finally see some greenery in Iowa; the landscape has been mostly brown and white for the last 6 months. The tiny little shoots are finally dotting the landscape and creating a feeling of Spring in the air.
I learned a few things about corn while in Iowa, some of it, ironically from a book that I just happened to read while I was here, called Omnivore’s Dilemma, and much of it from the farmers and locals themselves. For instance, did you know that pretty much all of Iowa’s corn is not eaten in it’s natural form by humans? By this I mean that most of the corn grown in Iowa is considered “type-2” corn, and is used for animal feed and processed foods, such as corn meal and corn syrup. Oh and of course don’t forget about Ethanol.
There is very little “sweet corn” (edible corn) that is grown in the state. Also, I don’t know if I was the only one that thought this, but I was under the impression that when the corn was harvested, the combine took it off as a whole cob. However, that is not the case. The combine strips the cobs off the stalk and then the kernels off the cob and distributes this into a trailer that drives along side it. The cobs, stalks and leaves get put on the ground and later get rolled into bales or put in a corn crib where they dry out and are either fed to cattle or put back on the fields later for fertilizer of sorts.
Speaking of fertilizer, the farmers in Iowa used to keep a few animals around in order to fertilize their crops (which were also a lot smaller back in the day). Until after World War II, when scientists were trying to figure out what to do with some of the left over agents of chemical warfare. Enter the man made fertilizer that we know today. After that was figured out, the farmers nearly stopped using animal manure all together. Until recently, when huge pig farms cropped up in the Iowa landscape. These farms each hold about 2,500 pigs each and are quite plentiful. I don’t know the exact facts, but there something like 2 or 3 times the amount of pigs to people in Iowa. There are about 3 million people in Iowa, so do the math. Anyway, some farmers get the pig manure and use it on their fields.
Anyway, I digress. While I was in Iowa, my main job was doing damage assessments for Drainage Districts. A drainage district is a district made up of 2 or more farmers who share drainage pipe or ditches. The farmers in Iowa used to use clay pipe which has holes in it in order to get water into it; they would run it a couple feet underneath their fields so that when there was excessive water, it would drain down through the ground, into the pipe and then get carried to a ditch and eventually into the river. At least two farmers have to share the pipe for it to become a “district”, otherwise it is considered privately owned. So I spent a lot of time while in Iowa looking at fields, ditches and pipes. Actually I learned a lot while I was there and the people of the mid-west were quite friendly and usually eager to answer all my annoying questions about corn and drainage.


Shasta hike

We went to the top! Avalanche gulch and Misery Hill were the worst!!!
But we made it! PS they just changed the elevation to 14,179.



Here is a pic of our recent trip to NYC. We had a great time... Went to see In The Heights, (Mr L hated it, I LOVED it!), went to a Yankees Game (the Yankees won, unfortunately... but it was very fun! The new stadium is COOL!) and went to Central Park for a nice walk. This picture is us and our friends, the Berreaux, whose wedding we went to in October. We met with them for some Vietnamese food and good conversation...They are expeciting a baby in September!! (Seth doesnt waste any time!) We had a great trip; it was too short as always... I "heart" NYC!!

Central Park

From our recent trip to NYC.


Still Life of my Desk

Courtesy of Kathy, Lea, Sara, Grant, Dad and Mr L. See if you can
find yours!!!



I finally put a few photos on the flickr site from the last couple of months...

Please enjoy!! www.flickr.com/photos/kyriaw


Good Times!!

Went to good ol' Wrigley Field this weekend!!


We went to the Cubs game this weekend...it was a great game, it went into extra innings and the Cubs ended up winning at the end...It was fun to see Wrigley Field and the weather couldn't have been better. And...the Yankees got beat 22 - 4!!! I was going to wear my Giants hat, but ended up trying to keep the locals cool, so instead got a cubs hat. Here is "proof" we made it (obviously we didnt buy the photo though!)



We took a few days off a couple of weeks ago and went to Oregon...Portland, to be exact. It was 4 days of go, go, go...not much of a "relaxing" vacation, but very fun!!
The first few days we rented a car and pretty much covered the whole of north-western Oregon (and some of WA as well!!) The first day we went to the Columbia River Gorge and did some hiking. It was a little muddy, as it had just snowed the weekend before and had not totally thawed, but MAN was it nice to get outside, walk into the mountains and trees and to take a deep breath of fresh mountain air.
The next day we did a super-duper tour of Washington and Oregon... We started at Mt. St Helens, which was covered by fog, but was still a beautiful drive through the snowy mountains. I found my dream piece of land -- a plot up on the mountain overlooking the lake...only problem is that you could get a little eruption! Then we drove south and went through Warm Springs and Sisters, which are cute little mountain towns.
The next day, I re-introduced Mr L to the wonderful West Coast...we drove to the coast, went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which was pretty cool...Then to the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, which has been stranded on the beach of Fort Stevens since 1906. We went house shopping in Cannon Beach (where the movie The Goonies was shot!!), just becuase it is so fun to dream of living in one of those beautiful homes on the beach...then we went to Tillamook, where there is a cheese factory. We ate free cheese and got out of there becuase it was packed (rainy Saturday, what did we expect).
We spent the next day exploring Portland, which is a very walker friendly town and has lots of fun places to eat and fun neighborhoods to explore. Tristan's recommendation of the Tin Shed for breakfast was probably our favorite place of all.

Now it is back to the old grindstone...and the flat plains of Iowa.


No Range at All

We went to the driving range today. I kind of suck but it's good fun.
The indoor range (it's still a bit cold and windy) is fun but you can
only hit it so far. Luckily I don't have to worry about that!!


Butt Grab at 6 MPH

And you wonder why I put up with him?? Sometimes I do too!!! There is at least one good thing about him however -- he has good timing!

And We Raaaan…We Ran So Far Away….

…As the Flock of Seagulls say. Except we did not, “run all night and day”. We only ran for two hours, 8 minutes and 18 seconds and two hours, 9 minutes and 19 seconds…which is long enough!

It was a beautiful day in New Bedford, MA….The temperature was perfect – about 50 degrees, with a bit of a breeze – great for running! We were ready; Mr L had 6 packs of “Goo” (like a squeeze power bar), I had peed about 4 times (I am always worried about having to go during the race)…

We set the pace right at the beginning with our first mile – about 9:40, which was all we were hoping for, somewhere below a 10 minute mile. After that it was all downhill…and then uphill…and then downhill….and finally flat. We pretty much maintained a 9:40ish mile the whole way.

We got to the end about 2 hours later. After a surprise hill at the 12th mile (those bastards) and a wave from Mrs. Bee at the end of the 12th (in her St Pat’s day green, which matched all the race crew), we sprinted the last .1 mile, just in time to make it just under a 10 minute mile!! Whew!

We had a marvelous lunch with Grandma Sue of typical New England fare (as well as a couple glasses of wine – woo hoo!!) then headed home for some family time (and dinner – go carb loading!) at the farm before heading to the airport to go home.

All in all, a successful weekend! Oh, I forgot to mention – I milked a goat. In doing so, I learned that it is easier to milk small tits than to milk big tits. Hurrah for small tits!!


30 is Not So Bad After All!!!

Last night I decided to do a "test run" - to run outside in the cold to see if I was going to do okay in Mass. If you don't already know, it snowed over a foot in the Boston and surrounding areas last weekend and the weather now is in the 20s...and I have less than two weeks until the race!! So...I decided to run outside last night. It was 30 degrees in Des Moines (with a windchill -- feels like -30! No, just kidding, it was in the teens with the windchill). My plan: Run 10 miles. I mapped out a route, I got off work early enough so it would be light outside. I went to my hotel and put on my test outfit: gloves, hat, pants, sweater and long socks.

I started off. The first mile was HORRIBLE!!! I knew I was never going to survive the cold of the race!! My lungs were on fire, my cheeks were numb, my feet hurt...I was running through snow and frozen grass. I decided that maybe I would only run 3 miles (the shortest loop I could do without just turningn around and giving up). I missed the treadmill for once.

At mile two, the wind was lesser (or I had gotten used to it?) and the sun started to set, leaving me with a nice view of the sunset. I hit a "hill" in the sidewalk -- great training for the race! It was getting better... By mile three, I decided to do another loop. It wasn't so bad afterall.

So, after my original thought that I was going to die, I decided that it may not be TOOOO bad after all. I hope!!! Pray for sun, that's all I can say!


Where Are My Pants?

I guess I have to drag out my long underwear for the race!!

I sure hope it doesnt snow...

Luckily in Iowa this week it is supposed to be up to the 30s and maybe 40s...so I will probably try to brave a practice run outside. Maybe.

Dinner Will Drag Me Down

Some foods NOT to eat before you go running:

1. Taco Salad
2. Anything with HERBS (ie. herb cream cheese)
3. Anything with SPICES (ie. Mexican food)
4. Anything with any flavor at all!!

All this I have learned from experience. Yet, somehow I keep forgetting. I go to lunch and it is sooooo good...and then I go running 5 hours later and I regret having a nice burrito for lunch. So, on the day of the race, I shall eat...something very plain!!!

So, Lucy and Gma are going to be there to cheer us on. Now we really can't flake, I guess.


Gonna Run Baby Run!!

I think the Kings of Leon said it great when they said, “Gonna run baby run like a stream down the mountainside…with the wind at my back, I wont ever even bat an eye.” There is more to the song, but I like that line, because when I am running, and I am feeling like not running, it makes me run just a little bit faster.

Maybe you have guessed what I am getting at; I am running again. Still not love-love-loving it, but somehow there is a peace to it once you hit a certain pace that is…pretty nice. And of course when you are done, it is great. And I don’t mean great because it’s over, but great because it does give you a certain high feeling which is nice. A long run and a glass of wine and I am toast!

All the experts say the best way to make sure you keep up with your training is to sign up for a race. That means you have to train, because if you don’t train you will either run really badly at the race, or skip the race all together. So, on top of that they tell you to sign up for a race and tell a bunch of people. So that way you will hopefully NOT skip the race OR do badly because now people are going to watch you and ask you about it later and you will want to save yourself the embarrassment.

Having said that, I feel the need to inform everyone that I signed up for a race. I signed Mr. Lovely up too, so now he can’t flake out either. He actually is the one that suggested it – the
New Bedford (his home town) half marathon. He has wanted to run a half marathon for a while now and what better than one in his very own home town! So he finally convinced me to do it as well, although I have not been running for the last year and now I am in Iowa, where it is negative many frosty toes wind chill factor degrees outside!

Running in Louisiana was interesting – it was usually very hot, sometimes kind of chilly and once in a while (winter time mostly) perfect. There are running trails everywhere and when Mira and I needed a long run, we just ran from the office; it was about 10 miles to our hotel from there. Here in Iowa, in the middle of winter, there are not many choices. Apparently, from what I can see, they DO have a lot of running trails, but right now they are not really accessible. I did try to run outside one time – it was probably about 20 degrees outside. I ran for about 4 minutes, and then walked the rest of the 2 mile loop. I have not gone back there again. I have been running on the treadmill, which is a drag. It is already hard enough to run for an hour straight but on the treadmill all you have to stare at for an hour is the wall. Needless to say, I have been staring at the wall a lot.

Ironically enough, I am a little worried about the weather in Massachusetts; it will be cold. Perhaps I should go outside and run after all. Do a little “weather” training instead of strength training…

So, will my treadmill training pay off? I don’t know, but yesterday I ran 8 miles, so now I know that I can run 13 – once you get going, it gets easier and easier. So, I may not finish fast, but I will finish! Will I freeze before reaching the finish? Maybe I will, but if I do make it to the end, I expect a nice glass of wine waiting for me!


Homeward Bound

Tonight I get on a plane and go...home...yay! I am very excited to see the family and some long lost friends, get some work done and eat some real Mexican food! First stop will be Sacramento, which is just a jumping off point and a convenient place to buy groceries and to stock up on...well, anything really. Then a bit of a drive home to see my mom...yay! Dinner plans for Saturday night include Sara, Grant and Jay, games and pork loin, cooked by Mr. Lovely.

After putting Mr. Lovely to work, Mom and I will lay around and read and eat bon-bons... hehe... No, I want to show him around the local area etc... Then we will go to San Francisco, which I am very excited about as well, as I have not been there in...seems like years! When I was home last time I did not get a chance to go to the city -- I want to eat and eat and eat!!

Anyway, cant wait to see everyone!! California here I come!


January Ends

January....almost over! Happy Birthday to Mr. L, Karen M and Brandon D!!! I miss you all!

This month has been pretty interesting -- I have been living in a place with snow, which I have not done in about 12 years. It has been fun having it around, although sometimes one gets tired of the semi trucks who drive 70 mph in the middle of a snowstorm and then you pass them a couple miles later jackknived on the side of the road...and tired of trying to figure out things to do inside!! But, we have balanced this with a few snow days at work -- yes, SNOW DAYS!!!

Also, there has been a little bit of traveling in order to get away for the weekend -- I went to Mass, which was not really much warmer, but I got to spend time with Mr L's family (sorry, grandma!). We also went to Boston and took a very small road trip to Vermont, which was beautiful. The houses with their gables and dormers (I am learning about these...) really are postcard perfect, especially with snow on them, which there was.

Mr L and I also met in Memphis last weekend and had a great day exploring the city. Unfortunately, Mr L got sick on the second day and so we did not get a chance to go to Graceland and see Elvis. Ah, well, next time, I suppose.

This weekend is the Superbowl, which I suppose I may watch, but am not really very interested in... However, Dad is back! Hurray for the return of Dad!! So we will probably hang out inside somewhere...and why not a loud sports bar, right? (or my couch perhaps...)

Goodbye January...and now we are one more step closer to spring....


A Test: My Desk

This is to test my skills at photo taking and email blogging. Here is
a photo of my wall paraphanalia. It is hot in Iowa today -- 30 degrees!!


Signs: We Love 'Em!!

I am FINALLY starting to go through some of my pictures from South America/all of 2008!! As I was sorting them out, I noticed I had a lot of photos of signs. So, I compiled them. I have about 160 photos of various street, caution, elevation, food signs...and more! A couple of my favorites are shown above. Another couple dozen can be found here.


Bad Santa!

I have been MUY MAL at blogging lately....the only thing around here to talk about is the cold, which by the way, a quick update of -- today the high was minus 5. Yeah with a windchill of -38. Sweet!!

Anyway, I was just looking at Sara's blog and saw her marvelous pictures of Penelope (pronounce Peen-a-lope) and I just have to include a link for those becuase they are so fun! Click here to see our wonderful snow-woman. Of course all credit and copyrights go to Sara and Grant. Hear, hear!

Other than that, I am trying to keep warm, eating way too much and...training for a half marathon -- which I am scared about because I am doing it on the treadmill, which I hate. My big run so far is 4 miles, but I am supposed to be up to about 6 already...ug. Mr. Lovely and I are training together/apart, but he says he doesnt want to run with me at the half marathon because I will cramp his style.

My friend Lea has joined me in Iowa; it is good to have an old time buddy back in town. We are very creatively trying to figure out fun things to do when you can't stay outside for more than 10 minutes without getting frostbite. Needless to say, we have seen many movies, played indoor glow in the dark mini golf, gone bowling, played cards, had girl's nights and...eaten a lot (but I am pretending to run it off!)

Don't forget to check out Penelope! She is hottttt!


Slippin' and A-Slidin'

Steering into the skid is something that when you are driving and skidding, your instincts rebel against. You go around a corner and you start to skid. You want to turn your wheel the opposite way to correct it. Wrong!

This morning when I got up there were 6 new inches of snow on the ground. The roads were half plowed; they had probably been done around 4 or 5 o’clock, but it was now 6 o’clock. I have a Pontiac G6. The ironic thing is this: For work we are only allowed to rent a compact car. Many people I work with are from Florida, Texas etc…places that never get snow. So, you have a bunch of novice snow drivers driving around in compact cars in 6 inches of snow.

So I drove to work…slipping and sliding the whole way here… but I got lots of practice at steering into the skid!