Then and Now: February

Maybe because we had an extra day this year, February was a little long for me. It went by fast but it was a weird month motivation-wise, emotion-wise and mentally in general I guess. This is strange, because I had a month filled with family, friends and good food as well as adequate exercise. However, for some reason, I am feeling a little strange this month. Hopefully March will bring a change in seasons and attitude!

Here is my February recap, the Who, the What and the Where, where I compare what I was doing one year ago to what I am up to now.


Mr Lovely, 
A Vietnamese Butcher and 
a thousand people, chickens and items on motorcycles.

K and A and A, 
The parentals and
the Broski.
(as well as many other friends and family who are not pictured).

Squid on sticks, 
Dragonfruit and
Pho for breakfast. 

Frjtz fries,
Turkish sampler,
Beet salad and
an apple crepe.

Miles Run
2011 = 0 / 2012 =111
Lucky number 111! This is good, because I would like to keep up a base of at least 100 miles a month, since I may sign up for a marathon at some point this year and I want be halfway ready at any time!
2011 = 0 / 2012 = 3
Thank goodness for virtual races! They are a fun and inexpensive way to supplement your normal racing schedule!
Bay Breeze Half Marathon (Race #2 of 12 in 2012)
Run For Sherry Virtual Race

Books Read
2011 = 3 / 2012 = 5

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford: This book was about a Chinese boy growing up in Seattle during WWII. He has a Japanese friend, and when she gets sent to the concentration camps, he is devastated. Not only that, but he has to deal with his father's hatred of the Japanese.
TishaRobert Specht: This is a true story about a young teacher in the 1920s who gets sent to a small town in Alaska to teach. She learns quickly that the divide between the whites and Indians is deep, but somehow manages to not bend to the white men's prejudices. Her struggle is moving and her courage is inspiring.

You can see the other books HERE.

Vietnam and 

San Francisco, 

What I see by looking back is that I am spending way more time with family and friends this year, which is great. I have also traveled this February, but only within the State, whereas last year I traveled much further. But no matter what year it is, the food is always good!

Do you like squid? Are you loving this February more or less than last February?


Beer Week

The week before last was beer week in The City and I actually just missed it (in case you were wondering, February is still strong beer month. There is still time!)  However, lucky for me, my brother likes to brew up beers of many colors. So I went to visit him last week and together with my broski, we bottled some brewski.

I have never bottled beer before so to me, it was fascinating and fun. Another fun fact is that the beer we were bottling was my favorite kind, Stout. So let's begin shall we? But first, a warning.

Maybe you can't read it. Maybe I had too much beer before taking that picture. But it says: "Drinking may cause memory loss, or worse, memory loss".

Also, the broski schooled me on the rules for bottling. {#1 Rule} When bottling, one must have a beer. One does not drink the beer one is bottling. However, one cannot bottle without a beer in one's hand. {#2 Rule} There is no number two rule.

Before getting started, we went to the beer store. I don't think that is what the actual name of it is, but to me, it is The Beer Store. They had hops, barley, bottles and much, much more. I could have looked around in there for a long time. But broski was in a hurry, so we got our bottles and caps and got out.

Three of many different types of bottles.
Barley and stuff. Isn't it fun!? It's like Whole Foods for beer lovers.
Then we went home, poured ourselves a beer and got started. To bottle, first you move the beer from the keg to a handy 5 gallon bucket. Or two. Before the beer transfer begins, you have to add a little bit of sugar water to the bottom of the bucket in order to get the carbonation process going. Notice the broski hiding behind the bottles? He's shy. Also, note the plastic cup of beer next to the buckets? See? I told you it was a rule.

Bottles at the ready, you siphon the beer into them one by one. I did this, and I managed to get a lot of beer on the floor in the process. After I filled up the bottles, broski put the caps on. To put the caps on, you get to use a cap thingy. That is the actual name of the device: the cap thingy. Go ahead, ask a brewer if you don't believe me.

After being capped with the cap thingy, the bottles were done! We labeled them and now they are ready for drinking.

This growler is mine!
Have you ever made your own beer or bottled beer? What is your favorite kind of beer? Have you ever seen or used the cap thingy before?


Hills for Lill

When R at Livin the Fit Life, who is a fellow runner and 12 in 2012 member, let us know of her plans to run a virtual half marathon in honor of her 95 year old grandmother, I was automatically in! I had my Bay Breeze Half last weekend that I had already run in her honor, but last weekend I thought maybe I would just run another 13.1 and use that one instead.

I am currently living in Oakland, and am finding new running routes each day. You may think that Oakland is like this all the time:
But it's not. There are a lot of nice places in Oakland. And by nice, I mean hilly. According to Garmin, the total elevation gain was about 4275 ft. See the hill right around the 40 minute mark? It went on forever. Well, 10 or 20 minutes, but they seemed like forever.

I went uphill for a really long time and finally found the park I was looking for. I asked some bikers if they knew of a path that was fairly flat and then directed me to the Sunset trail. Either I was not on the Sunset trail or those guys mislead me because the next mile or so was variable. It did "flatten" out after a little while and I had a nice couple of fast, easy miles before deciding that I had no idea where I was and so I turned back. I did not go the same way; I decided to take a different trail, which went pretty much straight down (see above around 1 hour and 15 minutes).

The good thing about all these hills was the view. I had a view of the entire bay and San Francisco, including the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate. It was priceless and well worth the effort.

I took a photo for Grandma Lill and kept going down the hill.

Since I turned around too early, this is how I ended up not running 13 miles. Instead, I ended up with about 10.5. I have this hangup about after I turn around, I don't want to just run around in circles to add miles. I don't know why. But once I turned around, I was like a horse to the stables. So I ended up finishing with about a 10 minute/mile average. But, since I didn't complete my distance, I will just use my Bay Breeze for Grandma Lill's 95th!

I leave you with this. Wessssiiide!


Do you prefer out and backs or loops? Do you like running or walking in new places or do you stick with the same route? Have you ever been to Oakland?


Feb Photo Fun

I am still working on the February Photo Challenge.  I have some posts in the works about other activities from this week, so until I get my butt in gear (and my mind!) you will be entertained with #febphotoaday only!

Day 16: Something New
I recently swapped books with fellow blogger Suz. I was so excited that my box arrived! 
Hurray for new books! This also falls within the guidelines of my 12 in 2012 book challenge.

Day 17: Time
I spent most of this day driving to the Bay Area to see friends and run the Bay Breeze

Day 18: Drinks
Post race wind down beverage

Day 19: Something I Hate to Do

Day 20: Handwriting
My planner.

 Day 21: A Fave Photo of Myself
Bottling beer with the broski. 
This one is a Stout. My favorite!

Day 22: Where I Work

Day 23: My Shoes
Same shoes, different closet.

Day 24: Inside My Bathroom Cabinet
Actually, this is my roommate's cabinet. She likes to have fresh smelling armpits.
My cabinet is a toiletry bag.

Day 25: Green
Running in Oakland yesterday.
You can't quite see it, but that glow in the distance is San Francisco. 
It was a gorgeous day!

In a few minutes I am heading to San Francisco for an Oscar party with friends. I have no idea what movies are nominated, but it will be fun to see everyone anyway! Also, my friends are on a fast; no dairy, booze, sugar, sodium, bread or caffeine (as well as a long list of other things), so it should be an interesting (and grumpy?) party!  What do you think? Should I bring a huge bottle of wine and a cheese platter?

How was your week? Did you do anything fun this weekend? Are you going to any Oscar parties?


Bay Breeze Race Recap

Race #2 of the 2012 Running Challenge went well overall. The Bay Breeze Half Marathon, held in San Leandro, was also a Brazen race, just like race #1. If you recall, I really liked the last one (Race #1 recap HERE), so much so that I signed up for another. They are pretty cheap, compared to other races, and a lot of them are on dirt or gravel trails or paths rather than asphalt. (photo credit)

So, I know you are all wondering: how did it go!? The race was scheduled for 8 o'clock, which was not as nice as the 9 o'clock start that the last one had. A friend of mine went with me and getting her and the baby out the door and to Peet's as well as driving the 40 minutes to the start, was difficult.  We made it, but I would have rather started a little later. 

The weather started off windy, as the course was right near the water. As always, I was confused about what to wear, and not in the girly sense. We went to pick up the packet and it was a madhouse. Even though the lines were marked with letters for last names, people were everywhere and it was not well organized. It was such a difference from the last one! Last time I just walked right up and got my bib with no problems. Also the shirt line (separate from the bib line) was a mess as well, so I decided to get it after the race. 

The race went well; after the first mile the crowd was thinned out enough that I didn't have to worry about passing people, or them passing me. Most of the course was right on the water and was a nice, flat, out and back. The only thing I could say I didn't like was that the gravel in certain areas was big pieces of gravel and my feet started to be a little sore by the end. You can kind of see it in the below photo.

photo taken by race volunteer
Once I finished, I went to the t-shirt line, which was still pretty unorganized and they only gave us shirts, no other goodies. So that was a little disappointing. I always like the little samples you get afterward and I need a new pair of running shoes, so one of those Sports Authority coupons would have come in handy. However, I was not too sad, since I knew there would be Its-Its to make me forget. I went toward the food and coffee area and was wondering what all the people were in line for, until I realized...that was the food line! There must have been 200 people in line! Next time, get the darn 5k people out of the way by the time the half marathon people come in! I couldn't even get a water!

I decided that I could just go and buy myself a $2 Its-It and my friend and I left to find one. So, I wish the packet pickup, swag and after party had been a bit more organized. Other than that, the course was great. And I finished. The End.

Photo taken by my friend K's and her iPhone
Just kidding. I got a new PR, and I am very proud to say that my average time per mile was under 8 minutes! My final official chip time was 1:42:40 or 7:50/mile. So I got under the 1:45 mark and the 8 minute mile mark. This is exciting because when I was in High School, my fastest mile was about a 7:55. So I beat my High School self! Woo hoo. Take that. I guess the course was flat and fast, just like they said. No wonder it's called the Bay Breeze! (funny fact: the slowest mile was mile 1 at just over 8 minutes; the fastest mile was mile 13 at 7:37. I guess I wanted to get it over with!)

I am still kind of bummed about the Its-Its though. Did you know they've been a "San Francisco experience" since 1928?  

My next 12 in 2012 race will be the Bidwell Classic on March 3rd.

Don't forget to stop by Jill's for Fitness Friday! Also, if you are following this site using GFC, don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to this blog manually so you can keep seeing me in your Reader! You can also do it using the "subscribe" button on the left sidebar.

Have you ever had an Its-Its? Do you like ice cream sandwiches? What was your fastest mile in high school?


Wine and Love (4)

I have not done one of these in a while! In case you forgot, or you haven't done this before, here is the scoop. You list what things this week are making you reach for the wine and what things you are loving! Easy, right? You can go over to Nora's site for a linkup!

Things that are making me reach for the wine this week:

- People who walk three abreast on the bike trail and don't even consider moving when you try to pass by them, turning sideways and trying to be as skinny as possible.

- Drivers who drive 55 in the fast lane. In their Prius. So they can get optimal gas mileage for their car. I am all for you getting good gas mileage, but do it in the right hand lane please.

- The unknown. The fear caused by it. This may actually warrant a martini. Or a shot of whiskey.

- Pet hair. I went to visit my brother and now I look like a walking lint brush advertisement.

- That BMW driver on the freeway. Why is it that they are always jerks? 

Things that I am loving this week:

- Visiting my brother and his girlfriend. We had a great time hanging out, cooking, eating and catching up on Kitchen Nightmares.

- Spending quality time with K & A. Every time I go and see them, that little girl is bigger and bigger! I feel like time is flying by when I see her!

- Running in a new place each day! I like to map out different runs depending on where I am staying, so I ran in 4 different places this week! It keeps it from getting boring, even if it does take a bit more time to plan.

- Going grocery shopping. Yes, I love it. It makes me happy to buy food, prepare dishes and eat them! When I am having a bad day, cooking is my stress release.

- Being in the Bay Area. Near my friends and family and Trader Joes.

- Spring. Or whatever this is. It was 70 degrees today.

Overall, this has been a great week! I have more plans to see friends this weekend so it's shaping up to be another great week again!

How was your week? What made you want a glass of wine? What do you love about your week?


Snack Time!

Every chance we get, we take a trip to the city for a food bonanza. We love to go to all our favorite restaurants and order a couple items at each one. We all share the couple items, which allows us to go to three or four different places in one trip. We love it because it gives us the chance to eat several different things in one go. We decided this time to try a new place each time we go.

You can see our previous SnackaPaloozas HERE. This time we started in my favorite San Francisco neighborhood, The Mission, which is where I used to live. It was originally the Latino area of the city, but has recently become more of a mish mosh of cultures. 

The first stop was Balompie, where we ordered three types of pupusas
A pupusa is like a really thick tortilla with filling inside.
My favorite: bean and cheese! Yum.
If you have never had a pupusa, I suggest you get one immediately. They are great. 

Next, we took a walk down Sycamore Street, where they allow street artists to do their thing, which results in some really fun stuff.

Then we went to Frjtz, a Belgian place with many beers, crepes, waffles and fries. 
I was disappointed because they changed their fries from skinny ones to steak fries. 
But the crepes are delicious! 
And the bathroom mirror was amusing. 

We try to get a little exercise between restaurants; this way we can eat more.
So we walked to the Bi-Rite Creamery.
There is usually a really long line, so we said that if the line was short, we would check it out. 
The line was short, so we got an ice cream.
Toasted Coconut.

No trip to the Mission would be complete without a walk to Dolores Park, where you have an excellent view of downtown and the Mission Dolores

Last but not least, A La Turca, one of our favorites, which has some of the best hummus ever, as well as super great Pides, which is a cheese, meat and bread pocket.

We totally stuffed ourselves with great food! Afterward, we could barely move. So it was a success! 

Have you ever had a pupusa? Do you prefer skinny or fat fries? What is your favorite ice cream flavor?


Shoes and Taxes

Welcome folks...to another edition of what I did last week: in pictures. The #febphotoaday is still going on and I have so far not missed a day! Hurray! To see what it's all about, you can head over to Fat Mumslim's page and check it out. 

Day 11: Makes me Happy
Nordstrom.com -- Via Spiga page

Day 12: Inside my Closet
Flats: Anne Klein
Flip Flops: Reef
Boots: MIA

Day 13: Blue
Camelback Nalgene -- it goes with me everywhere

Day 14: Heart
I saw this on my run the other day. 
Perfect timing. 

Day 15: Phone
Stickers for planner.
Notice the "birthday" ones are all gone (the empty row).
(Notice the hair appt ones are all still there.)

Besides the Feb Photo, this week was spend doing responsible, boring things. Like...


Going to the DMV

Cursing at my computer, as it decided to shut down and then the Microsoft Office Suite loses half the things I worked on over the last week. 
You can see my face in the screen.
It doesn't look happy.

It snowed this week. 
But it melted off pretty fast. 
The running trail. 

A shady section of the trail. 

How was your week? Do you try to cram all the boring, responsible things into one day or do you space them out throughout the week/month?