Enter Summer

6-30-13 LeAnn and BabakHoly fuck it was hot today.  In the morning.  When I got up at 4:30 AM it was 73 degrees in Long Beach.  What the…?

By the time the Pasadena Half Marathon started, it was like 85.  My goal was to run as far as I could at race pace and then walk the rest.  Even before it was stupid hot, the route is pretty hilly.  The route had a long out and back and Rose Bowl, so I got to see everyone I knew running out of the RB — and to a person they had given up any personal goals and were just going for the finish.  Although there is a long, long downhill run between miles 7 and 9 today, I walked part of the downhill (blasphemy, I know) because it so didn’t matter.  My feet were hurting a little and it didn’t matter.  At about mile 8.75 the Pasadena Pacers were handing out cups of cold orange juice.  It sounded good.  But that citric acid on my tongue — yech.   And there was a HUGE hill out of the Rose Bowl — like all of mile 9.  I hiked out at a pretty good clip, but I was DONE.

Babek and I drove to the race and home together.  I had poured so much water on my head, that I had to sit on tee-shirts driving home.  I was completely soaked.

Once home in Long Beach, I took a shower, ate something, and lay down for a nap.  And when I woke up — the weather had broken and it was starting to cool off.  What’s up with that?  What a weird day.

IMG_3667I cooked all afternoon, took dinner to the Wilks/Boyles, checked out the twins, and then had dinner at my mother’s and lark’s.  Kelly has a pretty normal size hand.  Look how big her hand is compared to Addison’s body.  I spend an hour holding a baby while she slept after a snack.  Pretty cool.    And just because I have one:IMG_3668

Yesterday, I ran 4.5 miles with the Sole Runners and went to see the Red 11’s in Pasadena.IMG_0432Training today:  Ran and walked 13.1 miles


Black-Bean Brownies

These “brownies” are based on black beans.  So they are gluten free, high in fiber, and relatively low in sugar.  And they’re pretty good.  Interesting.  (Thank you Marathon Goddess Julie Weiss for the link that brought these to me.)

I’m having an odd year.  Every interesting recipe that comes along on Facebook — I make it.  One of the things that helps is that Sprouts will let you buy a pinch or a pound of a spice.  So you don’t have to pay $5 for something you might never use again.  But the other thing is that I’m just in the mood.

I gave up gluten about 10 days before.  (I’ve done it before.)  It’s not that hard if you concentrate on it.  But you do have to think about every bite.  In the house, not so difficult.  Eating out, much harder.  You have to look at every thing and the ingredients.  However, be that as it maybe, it ‘s doable.  And once undertaken, you can do it.

I work a schedule that allows me every 10th work day off.  Called 9/80, it requires peep to work 9 hours a day for 8 days, 8 hours for 1 day — 80 hours in 9 days.  Because I get to work at home, I give the company extra time for the fabulous convenience.  So even tho’ today was a 9/80 day, I worked about 5 hours.  While I working, my college kid (the kid of a friend home from college for the summer) was cleaning my house.  My house is super squeeky clean.  I wish I could find a local college kid who needed the money and would do an equally fabulous job to over-pay for cleaning when Rachael goes back to college at the end of August.

Later, I went to Allen Arnette today for acupuncture.  He gave me a couple of glute-firing yoga moves.  Something about him just resonates with me.  Driving to the appointment, down Studebaker in Long Beach, there was a person washing Gatorade coolers in their front yard.  There were coolers all over the front yard.  It was about 80 degrees.  What was going on next would need a lot of hydration.

Today I shopped (for black bean brownie ingredients) then went and wandered around and filled a cart with $100 worth of miscellaneous stuff at Target (including a new bathroom trash can — how did I break that?).   I came home, loaded the car for tomorrow, and spent the evening cooking and listening to an audio book.

I only follow 2 bloggers.  My coach and a friend of his (who I think of as someone I know more than a blogger).  And yet, when you’re looking for ANYTHING these days, one of the things google will return is/are blogs on the subject.  I was looking for gluten free brownies today and I was referred to at least 4 beautifully photographed blogs by people doing extensive cooking experimentation and writing about it.  They don’t seem to be making a living doing it (is that even the purpose of a blog?).

Food today:  recorded

Plan for tomorrow:  done

Training today:  acupuncture (and a nap)

I LOVE Summer

IMG_0096[1]Sunset in LA today.  Driving south on the 710 freeway.  So beautiful that I had to take pictures while I drove.

This is a good news/bad news day.  Usually in AUGUST I walked out of the gym (in Pasadena) at 8:30 on Thursday nights are the weather is body temperature and it’s beautiful.  Today it was just like that.  Except it was 7:30.  And only the end of June.

IMG_0094[1]That’s LA ‘way off in the distance (again while I’m driving).  I think downtown looks like the Emerald City from almost anywhere in the basin.  I love LA (cue Randy Newman).  Even with no downtown a fun as San Diego’s Gaslamp District.  Even with no Wrigleyville.  Even with no Georgetown.  And while I love it in the summer (even in the smog and the heat), I REALLY love it in the winter.  I always say, we pay extra for that “no snow” feature.

IMG_0093[1]The super pink clouds tonight were amazing.

So for me, it was a long, cold rainy winter (apologies to Lennon/McCartny).  After a couple of years of mild.  I got out my fuzzy warm tops this winter for the first time in a couple of years.  So, I wonder will it be equally “violent” in the other direction; super hot this summer?

I’m running in the Pasadena Half Marathon on Sunday.  (I’m doing a half at the end of each month this summer, except the month I end with a full, and then I’m doing a half the next weekend.)  Today in Pasadena it was 80 at 8 AM.  I will certainly be running at 8 AM on Sunday.  But you can only do what you can do in the weather you get.  I’d feel more secure if my coach, the weather moderator, knock wood, were going to be around on Sunday, but I think he has to be running, not just physically in the vicinity for the jujube to work.  I’m going to work on a strong race but give the course (lots of hills), a PR was never in my plans.

IMG_0090[1]Finally, before I got swept away with the sunset, I had planned to mention the herbs I’m growing this summer.  Last summer I had a huge garden, this summer I have basil and rosemary.  I put coffee grounds on them at least 2 months ago.  I have no idea what good that does, but it apparently is supposed to do some good.   And, because I do everything that’s on FB this summer, my sister said she got lots more basil leaves by pinching off the flowers.  So I did that today.  We’ll see.

As I read FB, these days, I write down the good quotes.  Today there was a good one that should have been from Jimmy Buffett:  Always be yourself.  Unless you can be a pirate.  Then always be a pirate.

Last thought of the day.  Twitter?  Yvonne Flores joined Twitter and sent me an invite.  So I joined, again.  I totally don’t get it.  I think FB does for me anything Twitter would do.  Whatever.

Food today:  recorded

Plan for tomorrow:  done

Training today:  50 minutes of spinning, including Tabada intervals


The House Opens

6-25-13 Keleigh Aidan AddisonThis picture has nothing to do with what I’m thinking about today, but it’s such a lovely picture, I’m putting it it.

That’s not exactly true.  When Aidan is being especially charming, I often warn his parents that he will, in fact be 15 (implying annoying) some day. However, in this picture, on this day (I think it was yesterday) he could not more fabulous.  Look at that smile.  In this picture, the girls’ heads are the size of an orange.  They are 1/2 the size of my cat!  Someday they will very likely be as tall as their mother — which is a heck of a lot taller than me.

In my facebook world, there are probably 10 kids aged 1 year or younger amongst my FB friends.  At least 4 are aged between 3 months and 8 days.  All this renewal has made me reflect upon my beginnings…the very beginnings.  Fathers (in particular) were so different when I was born.  I hope that my dad was as crazy about me as my male friends seem to be about their current kids.  I doubt it, tho.

When I arrived, the whole birth thing took place somewhere else (literally behind the curtain) and the dad got the news from the nurse or somebody.  Other than the crying thing, dads could choose to absent themselves from kids back then.  (And now, too, certainly, but there’s been such a titanic shift, I don’t know any who do.)

My dad was an elementary school teacher when I was born.  I wonder if he was a little more into his kids than, say, a business man would have been — because he had chosen a profession dealing with kids.  (He changed careers when I was in 4th grade going into computers.)

I’ve talked about it with several people this week.  We all think about the same thing.  It was so different.  Dads were so different…so distant.

The other thing I’ve wondered about Aidan is what will stick with him in his conscious memory about all the activity of his life thus far (which probably now falls into the “before” of the girls).   I don’t remember anything before kindergarten.  (I remember a lot once kindergarten started, tho.)  Aidan is having all these adventures so early in his life — running in races – going to Disneyland – having sisters.  I had siblings, too, and I don’t remember anything about them arriving (and for one of them I was 7).  On the other hand, these arrivals (actually Aidan’s entire life) is so more thoroughly documented through pictures – there will be more to remind him even when he doesn’t remember.

Equally important other thoughts:

Today is the day that the Supreme Court started the (maybe slow) legal process to allow all peep the freedom to marry whomever they choose.  I LOVE watching the conservatives sputter about the imminent end of life as we know it.  (OK, I just love watching conservatives sputter.)  I’d like to find another word for the union — so that peep could “whatever” at city hall.  And if, and only if, they chose, they could also marry in church.  Who the heck needs this process certified in a church?  I have always been a proponent of civil union — but not in the mealy mouthed way that politicians and others used the phrase.  I wanted (and want) the basis of all joinings to be a civil union that can subsequently be celebrated in a church or in a hot tub or by skydiving — if the peep involved wish.

The bbq sauce that I made yesterday is a tiny bit too tomato-y.  But had good depth and body.  It’s pretty thick.  tomorrow I’m going to use it in another project.

The glute in my right butt is not firing.  Mike keeps putting me in positions to get it to fire and it doesn’t.  The whole left side of my body is compensating.  He’s going to work on finding exercises to bring it back to the attention of the brain, so that responsibility for movement can be re-routed to it again.

Food today:  recorded

Plan for tomorrow:  done

Training Today:  lifted weights with Mike, got a massage (fell asleep on the table for awhile)

Into the Woods

IMG_0312In the summer I run through El Dorado Park at least one evening a week.  There’s a three mile loop and a 6 mile loop and occasionally, I’ll stretch it into 9 miles.  This is the view.  All shades of green.  I love it.  I ran tonight with Heather, Colbie, and Hiroko — and the dogs Murphy and Riley.  Actually they all (including the dogs) ran ‘way ahead of me…I wasn’t too fast tonight…and they are all faster than me, anyway.  But we all met at the end for a little while.

This morning early I got up at 5 AM to run with my Coach.  Then I went into the office for awhile.  Then I came home and worked a couple more hours.  And took a nap.  (Getting up super early means there’s a nap in my day.)  And then I went over to El Dorado for a group run.

Later I drove to Long Beach State to inspect the track and then to Sprouts to buy ingredients for homemade, healthy bbq sauce (that’s the official name of the stuff).  I made it essentially from scratch.  It’s delicious.  Because Sprouts will sell you as little of a bulk spice as you wish to purchase, I find I am putting all the odd-ball ingredients of recipes into the food — because I don’t have to buy a $5 jar of spice (that I might not use again).  So I’m trying lots more things.IMG_0316

Food today:  Recorded

Plan for tomorrow:  done

Today’s Training:  3.2 miles around the Rose Bowl at race pace (with a potty break), 3.2 miles around El Dorado

Wastin’ Away in Margaritaville

IMG_0085[1]This nice picture of Jimmy Buffett was on Facebook today.  It’s the only picture I saved today.

Long before there was almost anything else, I was a Jimmy Buffett fan.  One day I found a tape in a discount bin for $1 and recognized a song on it (I’m sure it was “Come Monday”), so I bought it.  Eventually, the only medium I did not purchase his music in/on was vinyl.  I purchased the entire catalog on tape, on CD, in mp3 format.  (And tape covers about 5 different formats.)

I went to my first Jimmy Buffett concert at the old Santa Monica Civic.  It was like an old high school auditorium.  There were folding chairs on a wooden floor.  And you had to shuffle your feet to move around because the floor was literally awash in empty Southern Comfort bottles; we were ankle deep in empty bottles.  I paid $7.50 for the ticket, and I still have it.  For years and years I went to one concert a year, looking for the announcement in the Calendar Section of the LA Times.  Buying a ticket from all the “official” venues, including the box office of the theater.   I’ve seen him at every venue in Southern California, from the Santa Barbara Bowl to the Chula Vista (used to be Verizon) outdoor venue.  I like Irvine the best.

One year — in a complete life-altering moment — my date crapped out on me.  And I had tickets to Buffett.  And nobody to go with.  And I wanted to go.  So I went to the Anaheim Convention Center alone.  The people around me were so nice.  “Wow, you must really be a fan.”  Well, yes I was.  It was a really surprizingly pleasant experience — and think of the money I could save not buying 2 tickets.  I have never hesitated to go to anything alone since.  (That’s probably a good/bad thing.  It never occurs to me to ask anyone to go with me to anything.)

Another year it dawned on me — this was when he was playing several nights at the same venue — that I could go twice in one year.  Major light bulb moment.  I could go see him in Irvine and at the Hollywood Bowl.  Or sometimes on back-to-back nights at the same venue.  It was an unbelievable amount of money (probably $60 per ticket at a time when that was A LOT of money to me).  But, my husband at the time told me, “the Buffett concert is the one time each year you are truly happy”.  (Well, that was probably true with him in the picture.)  So I always went at least once.   And twice if I could swing it.  (It never occurred to me back then that I might go every night.)

I had a job, for awhile, in which I traveled 100%.  And I figured out I could do triangle trips and loop through a city in which Buffett had a concert, spend Saturday night, and the comany would pay for it.  I’ve seen him all over the country. In every city except LA, if I tell the parking staff that I’m there alone and that I came from LA for this concert, they let me park someplace close, well lit, and safe.  (If I said that at home they’d just look at me.)  In variably the person I’m sitting next to says “does he know you’re here?”  No he doesn’t.  There are probably 1,000 people just like me at any show — maybe more.

Once I was flying to a meeting in New Jersey, and the plane didn’t take off from Atlanta.  I had to spend the night in a hotel.  The next day, having missed the meeting, I traveled on.  I later learned that Jimmy Buffett was playing in Atlanta that night.  I had no where to go, I was already in Atlanta.  Rats.  That’s the event that made me put his entire schedule into my Outlook calendar. I use that info to my benefit probably once a year.   Last year I was at a conference in Denver and scheduled to fly home on Thursday.  But Buffett was playing in Indianapolis that Thursday.  So I had to find a map and see where in the hell Indiana is compared to Denver.  And in the end, I flew east, went to the show, and then flew west at the crack of dawn on Friday.

Another life lesson learned through Jimmy Buffett concerts is that life is too short to buy crappy seats.  I always have bought the best seats I could afford.  (And I do that for every event I attend.)  Ebay, and later Stub Hub, have made buying good seats all that much easier.  Except in Las Vegas (where the cost is prohibitive), I rarely sit father back than the 10th row.  I really like to be in the first 3-5.  I’ve been in the front row twice; I got the set list from one of those shows.

His fans do a “convention” in Key West the first week of November every year.  It’s called the Meeting of the Minds and Buffett generally does not show up.  About 3500 Parrotheads from all over the country show up — as do Coral Reefer band members and other musicians from the genre — for three days of drinking and music.  I’ve been a couple of times.  It’s not that interesting to me — California in November can be just as nice as Key West.  And even on the 20th anniversary of the event, when it was very likely that Buffett would appear (and he did), I didn’t want the hassle of schlepping down to Key West, which is out of the way, to say the least.

In describing myself (in thinking about myself), I think of myself first as a parrothead.

And why do I listen to his music?  I don’t drink all that much.  I don’t sail.  I don’t fly planes.  It’s because his music makes me happy.

Food Today:  recorded

Plan for Tomorrow:  done

Training Today:  lifted weights, ran peninsula 3.3 miles, appt with Lisa Fills

A Sunday Without Plans

IMG_0072[1]Here’s the dirigible from last night, floating down for a landing today.  The kids in the neighborhood were jumping around as the thing flew over.  It’s advertising a new/coming movie.

IMG_0071[1] I went to a place today that is a converted warehouse, in the extended port of LA landscape, that has been converted into a shared space for craft persons.  It has all sorts of products — soaps, purses, jewelry, food — all made by small businesses that are somewhat local.  Of all the stuff that I saw (jewelry, specially) there was only one outrageously overpriced shop.  It’s called Crafty, it’s at the end of the 110 freeway, beyond Ports ‘o’ Call.  The signage is good to take you there.  It’s free.  And it’s open 11-6 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  If you live within 30 minutes, it would be a fun thing to do.  I met Kate McKena there, we walked around and she spoke to people, then we went to lunch.  A really nice, nothing planned day.

When lunch was over, I went to Sprouts and bought all the bits and pieces I was missing for the recipes I completed tonight.  (Did you know you can buy herbs and spices by the pinch at Sprouts?  It lets me try odd recipes without spending a fortune on spices I’ve never used before (and probably won’t use again).

Then, in the early evening I went and sat with the tiniest beings I’ve ever been with.  (OK, humming birds are smaller.)  Tiny preemie babies smaller than my cat.  Really.  Heads the size of an orange.  When they’re much older and running around like crazy, I’m going to remind them that I held them when their head was smaller than an orange.  And Kelly took picture of me — I look deranged, my smile is so big.  (Hummm?)  Interesting to know the babies inside of her, so to speak, and then to meet them outside of her.

Then I cooked while tracking a friend approaching the finish line of the IRONMAN in Idaho.  I have a friend who was making his third attempt to finish the damn thing.  (Twice before he has major bike failures when metal parts failed.)  It was VERY inspiring to see him finish.  Big shout out to PaiWai Wei!  This is the second time that I’ve watched the ending of an IRONMAN…it makes me want to go and clap for the finishers.  (It also makes me want to think about doing one.  Sometime in the far distant future…like my next reincarnation.)

IMG_0076[1]So  The cuke/onion/pepper in a jar thing turned out to be too sweet.  Isn’t that odd.  (It wouldn’t have been if I had READ the recipe before making it.  I picked it because it looked good in jars, and I have jars.)  The sauce is 2 cups of sugar and a cup of vinegar, which you boil into a syrup.  It’s OK…and maybe it will be better in a couple of days.

IMG_0078[1]The potato was the big hit of the night…I’ve tried it before and it didn’t brown up.  So this time I peeled the top 1/2 of one and left one unpeeled.  In the picture, the peeled potato got brown edges.  Worth repeating.

IMG_0083[1] The green stuff in the jar is avocado dressing.  (Only Californians should even consider this.)  It’s pretty good.

Food Today:  Recorded

Training Today: Rest