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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Month Blown By

Wow.  April is gone.  How did that happen?  My list of to-do's for April is pretty much left incomplete.  Most of this is due to A) Laziness  B) Lack of cooperating weather.  

Tomorrow is May 1st!  My plan is to work outside in the back yard.  It's pretty ugly.  Mowing is a priority, as is finishing digging out plants that I need to say toodles to, and make room for new stuff.  These are the plants that have overrun everything else, and I am ready for a change.  Right now I have two big holes to fill with top soil and other lovely plants.  More lavender, yes sir!  Looks like the lavender from last year made it through another winter.  My front yard is a wasteland of dead creeping charlie.  I missed some of it the first go round, so the other day I sprayed more death rays at it.  The only problem is that I have to wait another two weeks before I can put down grass seed, so the front yard will continue to look like crap.  And the mole in my yard?  Let's just say if I spot it, only one of us will come out of it alive.  

And that one is someone who doesn't burrow in dirt.  

I've already freaked out with bugs in my house.  A moth the other night, then I saw a creepy crawly on my living room wall yesterday.  Blech.  Getting out the bug spray and working in the basement to keep the ickies out.  I hate bugs.  

I bought some bulbs and seeds the other day--they were on sale, and I kept saying to myself:  "They're much less expensive than plants."  But still, I spent $30!  Let's hope they all bloom well this summer.  

4 O'clocks

So my plan for May is to do the home assignments I neglected in April.  This has been the latest Spring start we've had in a long while.  I remember running outside in March last year in shorts.  I think I've worn shorts to run outside once this  year.  Next week looks warmer!  My 5K is coming up in just a few short weeks, so I will continue to hit the dirt paths to get myself ready for it.  After that, I have just a few short weeks until the Run the Flood Race June 11th.  That one is freaking me out a bit.  I am no where near ready for 7 miles.  It will be a challenge, for sure.  Gotta at least hit what I ran last year (74 minutes) or improve.  

Have you begun your flower planting?  
What are you planting?  
Do you think we'll have a warm summer, or a so-so summer?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crappity Crap Weather!

Be still my beating heart--it's not going to rain today.  It is, however, staying in the 40's for temps.  Really, Mother Nature?  You couldn't throw us a bone, and get it into the 50's?  

Bud is coming over for dinner tonight, and we may or may not drink some wine.  If we do drink some wine, I need to get in a run before dinner.  Why?
Get this here

Of course, the best weather day is Friday.  And Friday, I will be up uber early to watch the royal wedding.  Yep.  I think probably 4 AM.  Then I hope to meet C-Joy and her sister at The Londoner sometime that day to watch more on TV and drink some hard cider.  I will need to run that day, since it will be sunny and in the 60's!  Can I do it on no sleep at all?  

And I've only used my Garmin twice, but I can tell you I love it.  Uploading the info online gives me so much information about my run it's mind boggling.  It is probably one of the best gifts I've ever gotten and I will definitely use it every time I go out for a run. I can also use it indoors, it just doesn't kick in the GPS; it keeps my pace and time.  The countdown to the 5K is on, and quite frankly, I am a bit panicked.  The next few weeks will be full of running running running.  Then a few short weeks later, I have the Run the Flood 7 Miler; instead of working on getting through 3 miles, I have to work on running 7-8 miles instead.

Tomorrow is my last Tai-Chi class.  I have to make time for running, and give Zumba a try--we'll see how I feel bustin' a latin groove in front of a bunch of women who will certainly have more grace than me.  Then, if I learn some good moves, I will dazzle Bud some hot Latin wiggling.  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bad Susie

Oh, my darling Bud.  I found even more candy around the house after I got home tonight.  He didn't forget my chocolate marshmallow eggs.  And he brought me two hanging baskets of pansies for my front porch.  I found them tonight hanging on the porch, waiting desperately for Mother Nature to keep them happy and growing.  That means no more 40 degree days, lady!

Seriously.  I do not deserve this man.  I have to be extra good for an infinite amount of time.  Yes, he got me a Garmin one week, and bags of candy the next.  Doesn't make sense, I know.  But I said in a small, quiet voice "I would like just a small bit of chocolate for Easter" the other night, and he asked "Do you need it?"   and I replied "Are you telling me that after 44 years of getting Easter candy on Easter I'm not going to get  one piece?!!!!"  

Well, I guess he listened to the sheer panic in my voice.  Easter is not what it once was--it's usually a day of work for me, and the only thing that links it to childhood is that candy-peeps, chocolate marshmallow eggs, and some jelly beans.  I asked, and Jesus decided to send Bud to the store to bring me some candy.  Or maybe not.  Jesus may have been busy lately.

So now I've got a bunch o'candy sitting at my house.  I have eaten so much stuff today, I had to turn to a late night pot of coffee to help regulate the havoc all those bites of brownie, quiche, pork roast, salad, mexican casserole, and yes, pink  peeps have done to my system.  I think if I ran a marathon at a record pace this week it still would not burn off nearly all of the eleventy billion calories I stuffed in my face today.  

Tomorrow is another day.  I will be eating salad and lots of green veggies this week to jump start my system.  The candy will be put away until a later date.  If you don't hear from me for a few days, it's cause I can't get out of bed due to the battle of good vs evil that is going on inside my body.

Hope everyone had a lovely day today and are rested up for a new week ahead.
Dare I say the gym will probably be busy tomorrow?  Sweat it off, girl!  

Peep Holiday!

Ah yes.  Peep Day.  Most people know it as Easter.  For me, it's the day I can rip open a box of Peeps, set them out until they harden, then snarf 'em down.  
I got purple this year from Bud.  Only one box.  I'll have to make them last all week.

Which one should I eat first?

We're having a potluck at work today, and it looks like a sugar overload is in the making.  I am experimenting on my fellow co-workers, and making a vegetarian mexican casserole for us to eat for lunch and to keep us all from going into sugar shock.  It's going to be layers of corn tortillas, cheese, and a mixture of diced tomatoes, green chilies, and black beans. And spices! I don't think I have any corn to add to the mix, but if I do, it will be tossed in, too.  Then bake til it looks good, and serve with sour cream.  Too bad avocadoes are over $2.00 for one, otherwise I would make some guacamole to go with it.  I think we're also having fruit pizza, quiche, candy, brownies, and chips and salsa.  It will probably be the farthest thing from a traditional Easter dinner that I have ever had.  But really, as long as it keeps the sugar hyperness to a minimum, who cares?

The sun is shining--of course.  On the day I can't go outside and run!  And rain is coming Monday and Tuesday.  Since May is just around the corner, I can only guess Mother Nature is going to throw open the doors to Spring and bring in an extended period of sunshine and warmer temperatures.  

What are you eating for Easter, besides copious amounts of candy?  
'Cause let's face it--even if we're all adults, we still want our Easter candy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Shrimp

Bud and I had a grilled shrimp appetizer at a restaurant a few weeks ago, and it was so good, I decided we needed to make it at home.  I found this recipe on, and we made them last night, along with garlic roasted broccoli.  

These were so good.  I suppose if you like them with more heat, add more cayenne pepper.  It was just right for us.  Now the next step is to find a good dipping sauce to make.  These will definitely be a repeat for us, and a great dish to make when entertaining friends.  My only problem was that the marinade quickly turned solid (butter went from melted to not) after I tossed the shrimp with it.  I think my shrimp were still a little too cold.  After we put them on the grill, I microwaved the marinade and put in on the shrimp while it was grilling.  As you can see, we had a few flames on the grill, so keep a bottle of water close to help control the flames.

Excellent shrimp!

Here's the recipe:

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon citrus lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter, melted
9 slices bacon
18 prawns
Change Measurements: US | Metric
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
1 Combine butter and spices, add shrimp, stirring to coat the shrimp. Let shrimp marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
2 Slice bacon in half and cook over medium high heat to render out some fat, keeping bacon flexible. Drain the bacon and pat grease out with a paper towel.
3 Wrap each piece of shrimp with a piece of bacon. Slide on to skewers.
4 Grill on a hot grill until shrimp are opaque. Use remainder of marinade when turning the shrimp.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kicking Sallie Mae to the Curb

I'm pretty sure this is how much money Sallie Mae got from me.
Like most Americans, I had to go to college on student loans.  I finally went to college full time at the ripe old age of 23, worked full time and took a full load of classes.  I was tired of taking two classes a semester, and took the plunge--quit my job, moved to Pennsylvania, and lived with my brother and sister-in-law for 4 years while I got my degree.  It was probably the best decision (besides going out on a blind date with Bud) I ever made in my life.  It changed me as a person, and opened up the world to me.  And it confirmed that my brother and sister-in-law are quite possibly some of the best people in the world that I am privileged to know.  And it taught me that I can accomplish something through sheer hard work and will power.

Anyway, when I finished college at 27, I had a degree, a job in a bookstore paying $7.00 an hour, and $15,000 in loans.  I know that doesn't sound like much, but in 1994 it was a lot of money.  For a few years, I was too broke to pay anything but interest on it.  For the past few years, I have made a huge effort to pay it down.

Today, I finally paid it off.  I kicked Sallie Mae to the curb, threw her out of my house, and I am waiting for it to sink in.  I am now debt free except for my mortgage.  I now have the opportunity to pay off my house (this will take a few years), add to my retirement fund, and save save save.  I do owe a lot of this to Bud, who is great with money and has encouraged me all along to keep the "eye on the prize" and hammer away at this debt.  Yes, I could have paid it off a long time ago, if I had had the discipline and drive.  But I didn't.  I wasted a lot of money on stuff that I don't even care about.  When I calculate the many years of payments I made, I realized I could have had thousands of dollars to use elsewhere.  Maybe bought a bigger house that didn't need so much work, give more money to charity, and not have the feeling of always trying to play catch up with bills.  

So my lesson is learned.  Yep, another lesson I learned in my 40's--besides the fact that I like a good shot of whiskey.   Cash really is king.  Coming from a family of 8 kids, and having to do without so much growing up, I do have to fight impulses to buy things now because I didn't have much before.  The difference, I have learned, is that I don't need everything I want, and my stress level is lowered considerably not worrying about unnecessary bills.  I earn enough now to make my way through life on my own; with a bit of discipline and listening to Dave Ramsey's podcasts, I can keep on the path to even more financial freedom.  

Seriously--there is nothing quite like it.  Toodles, Sallie Mae! You stayed too long and you stunk up my house.

 When I was little, all of my baby dolls were named Sally. I loved that name (it was the 70's, people).   Now I find I just don't like that name so much anymore. I prefer College: Paid in Full.  I think I have finally earned my Bachelors Degree from Trenton State College.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bud's Surprise

Bud and I finally got to see each other Saturday night after a week of just talking on the phone in between work shifts, tai chi, and Bud working with electricians on one of his many projects.

He walked in my front door, and I swear, it was like a romance novel come to life--icky for anyone else, but wonderful for me!   Big big hugs, smooches, and Bud tossing off his baseball cap and throwing it across the room.  I must admit I put my face into his shoulder and just smelled him for awhile.

Anyway, we had a wonderful Saturday night with beer, crockpot boneless beef ribs, salad, and garlic bread.  I can't remember what we watched on TV.  We both fell asleep on the couch and I was so happy!  Simple things, folks.

Sunday he called me at work and told me that I had "distracted" him so much that he forgot to give me a present he brought over.  He told me when I went home to open the bag and see what it was.  I was very surprised, but I figured it would be something very practical--like a kitchen utensil, or a tool.

I got home, opened the bag, and this is what I pulled out:

Garmin 110

Can I just say I burst into tears?  Yep.  I did.  I called Bud, and said "Why did you do that?!"  He said:

"Because I love you."

Boo hoo some more!  I told him I didn't realize how much I wanted one until I was actually holding it in my hands.  I still haven't opened the package, 'cause today is laundry and dish day at my house until I go to work tonight.  I need to take some time to read directions and make sure I'm using it the correct way.

I have three days off in a row this week, so I am watching the weather carefully to see when I can go out and test out my Garmin.  I will have to think of what to name it.  Bud giving me this Garmin makes me that much more determined to make him proud of my running this year.  It tells me he believes in me and what I want to do this year, the year of my final big run in November.

I'll post some pictures later this week in my first run with the Garmin.  In the meantime, I'm going to get some work  done at home so I can clear the decks for working out, reading, and possibly punishing myself by cleaning up my basement.  Oh, I so don't want to.  But it must be done.  It's a year of de-trashing.  I think last year was my year of doing nothing and accumulating a bunch of junk.  This year I want to clean it all up and feel lighter both mentally and physically.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Got Nuthin'

It's been a few days since I posted, and I am posting today just to say I have nothing to say--I know that's hard to believe :)

What's been going on, you ask?  Nothing.  After Tuesday, I've been working and had some odd shifts, so again it has been almost a week since I've seen Bud.  We finally get to spend Saturday night together, and plan on relaxing and catching up on our movie/TV viewing. Until one or both of us fall asleep.  That is the only thing I know of for sure.

I have managed to read a few more books, and I'm up to 40 for the year.  Flat out amazed that I've read them all, and there are still so many waiting for me!  But the season of sitting outside in the warmth is rapidly  approaching, so it will be a different reading situation.  Instead of drinking hot tea and sitting rolled up in a blanket, I'll be sitting outside either on my front porch, or on my back patio, sipping iced tea, and enjoying the flowers while I sweat and read.  I think I'll try to make some sangria again--and maybe some limoncello?  Have you ever had a Moscow Mule?  It is my favorite summer time drink.  I just need to find some copper mugs!  

Of course today, it's so windy we have a wind advisory until tonight, and the temperatures are in the low 30's with the wind, and rain is coming.  It seems like earlier this week with the sun and temps in the 60's never happened.  It's definitely an interesting Spring so far.  I have already looked at seeds and bulbs and made myself walk away.  A chance of frost exists in Eastern Iowa until May 10th, and then I will go nuts planting flowers and bulbs and dragging out the summer furniture.  

Well, I've got to get ready for work.  I have a few books sitting on my desk that I have been waiting to buy all week, so that's my treat for this week.  A yummy lunch of red potatoes and asparagus in a Dijon vinaigrette is packed up and ready to go.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Things...

Chocolate cake that I couldn't eat Saturday, but could mow down now!

Daffodils in my back yard--the first blooms of Spring!

New running shoes that feel great!

All leads to a happy me--even with bed head :)
That's Fritz my truck in the back.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Me N' Bud on the Road--Almost Shits and Mostly Giggles

Shortly after my last post on Friday, I changed into my running clothes and drove to my favorite park to get in a run before meeting C-Joy for lunch.  

It was a bit chilly, but I kept going anyway, and I got the dreaded gut cramps every so often during my 3 mile run.  I finished, and walked up to my truck to stretch and figured I would drive to Bud's shop to see him and ahem--use his bathroom.

I didn't even stretch, cause the gut cramps suddenly became unbearable, and I broke out into an even bigger sweat and felt really sick to my stomach.  I got in my truck and lay in the passenger seat with a towel to my face, thinking " I'm gonna puke and crap my pants in my truck."  It was horrible!  I couldn't even move.  I was oh so near my sister's house (just around the corner!), but no one was home, and I don't have a key.  I was frantically trying to think of where the nearest bathroom was and if I could make it there or try and drive home (which is about 15 minutes away).  Driving very slowly, and still feeling like I was going to pull over any second, I made it to a Casey's gas station and then couldn't get out of my truck.  I lay in my truck for a few minutes, trying to gauge if I could get inside to the bathroom without having an accident in front of the customers standing at the Blimpie's inside getting subs for lunch.  

I made it inside, and thank God it was unoccupied.  I stayed in there awhile, and took care of some business.  I managed to get back into my truck and drive home, just in time to have another cramp episode.  Meanwhile, I am quietly freaking out at this.  It seemed like a huge overreaction to running just a few miles.  Then I thought about what I ate, and realized the pasta with ham I had made the night before, and ate again for breakfast, probably had some bad ham.  It tasted okay, but apparently wasn't!  

I did make it to lunch with C-Joy, and went home and kept having bad gut cramps all night.  Only a heating pad made me feel better.  I was upset that it would ruin my weekend with Bud, but he was calm, and said I would feel better.  He was more anxious that I keep taking my meds for the crud, but I didn't have the heart to tell him I couldn't eat anything all night and didn't take the meds.  

Saturday morning, I was up super early-5 AM- to finish packing and see if I would have more fun episodes on the throne.  Luckily, I did not.  Bud arrived, and I gave him the whole scoop.  Now, I can tell you, I seem to have crossed the line recently about sharing stuff with Bud that a lady shouldn't share.  I just stopped being so "anal"  ( I am laughing out loud right now!!!  Anal!!  Ha Ha!) about it and now I am much more relaxed about telling him stuff.  

So we went to Rochester, and after getting Bud checked into the convention, I wandered around downtown Rochester, looking at the shops, stopping at the Barnes and Noble that was created from a theater  (really cool!), and finally eating a slice of thin pizza for lunch.  I met up with Bud for the afternoon auction, then we checked into our hotel room, changed clothes, and went to the evening banquet.  

The food was amazing, but my tummy was still a bit odd after not eating much for so long.  It didn't take alot for me to feel really full.  The dessert was a chocolate cake that was so ungodly delicious that I almost cried after trying a bite.  And a bite was all I had, cause I was too full and I had visions of a very unromantic night at the hotel if I continued to eat it.  It sadly sat on the plate until I finally got  one of the staff to take it away.  Boo hoo.  I was the only one at my table that didn't eat it.  How's that for crazy?!  Bud also said I was probably the only woman in a room of 800 people that had never used a bow or shot a gun.  That felt pretty weird, I will say.  I think that will change sometime in the next year.  The woman sitting next to me was a lovely blonde lady; french manicure, dressed very beautifully.  She hunted with a bow and a gun and impressed Bud. She'd only been using a bow and arrow for 4 years and already had an impressive list of hunts. If I hadn't seen the pictures I wouldn't have believed it.  And dammit, she even looked good in camo.  

We had some great thunderstorms in Rochester, and I was so happy and content to be laying next to my sweetie ( who fell asleep like a rock), listening to thunder and lightning, and knowing I didn't have to get up early the next day.  Bud told me he didn't care that I wasn't a he-man hunting woman like the ladies at the banquet.  He knows I'll certainly give it a whirl if only to learn some new skills and be prepared for the possible upcoming zombie apocalypse.  Or really, any apocalypse that may happen.  He just needs to teach me how to build a shelter out of pine needles and berries and I'll be all set.

We spent Sunday driving around Rochester, stopping at a few stores, and eating lunch before heading home.  We were both tired, and I'm pretty sure Bud is sleeping by now.  I bought a new pair of running shoes and was very impressed with the man who helped me at Sports Authority.  He was a competitive runner, told me what shoes would work for me, and gave me more information in 15 minutes than I have ever had from any one else in a shoe/running store.  I'm back in Asics again, and fingers crossed that Tuesday will be sunny and warmish so I can test them out.  We all know I'm not and will never be a competitive runner, but I want to run my best in shoes that keep my feet feeling good!

A shoe report will be coming up soon.  

So that's my weekend.  Bud and I had some great laughs, and lots of lovely moments together this weekend.  Now I have to wait until Wednesday to see him again, thanks to my schedule.  

And froggy voice is gone!  Amen to the antibiotics.  And I don't know what the heck I did to the color of the print, so just enjoy the change.  :0

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday: An Opportunity To Do Something, But I Won't

Clouds will hang around for much of today though a partly sunny sky will likely develop later on with highs into the upper 50s and lower 60s.  The main forecast focus is the weather this weekend, with two rounds of storms likely.  The first round of storms will be around on Saturday evening and overnight, and severe weather is possible.  The second round will be quite strong, with an enhanced risk of severe weather in eastern Iowa Sunday afternoon and evening.  Highs this weekend will be warm and muggy, into the 70s and 80s.  (Updated: 6:25 AM 4/8/11)

This is our forecast for the weekend.  It's April, and that means nasty thunderstorms, tornado watches, and random days of warm and muggy weather surrounded by freakishly cold nights.  I'm hoping Bud and I will miss driving through the bad weather on Sunday.  While I trust Bud's driving completely (he's ridiculously competent), I still get a wee bit freaked when we're driving in say, a blizzard or a horrible storm.  I am happy happy to be spending the weekend with Bud.  I haven't seen him since Sunday, so there will be plenty of mushy-ness on my part.  He, sweet man that he is, asked if I am going to hold his hand in the truck.  Heck yes!  It's the simple things, like holding hands, that I love the most. I know once we arrive at the convention, he will be lost to me for a few hours in all that he-man hunting talk.  Girlfriend?  What girlfriend?  

 I will also have plenty of reading material with me for those moments when I am tired of looking at hunting stuff (this will take about 5 minutes).  I will just find a chair, plop down, and read. Nope, no whining from me!  Any chance I get to read I will happily do so. And lucky for me, I can read anywhere.  No noise will distract me from the story in front of me.  I can tune everything out.  

I have today off.  That means last night I planned out my day to actually do many important Sue things, like clean the house, go to the bank, make lists, and read.  

The Friday morning-don't have to work-Sue is a different creature from the Thursday night Sue.  She's a bit lazy.  It's more of a make a pot of coffee and putz around for hours kinda Sue that inhabits my house today.  My day and night stretches out in front of me with nary a responsible "have to do it today" thing in sight.  The only thing I have to do is go to the bank.  I'm thinking the $2.00 in my wallet won't see me through the weekend.  

I am looking forward to lunch with C-Joy, DH, and Turtle.  It's been at least three weeks since I've had a hard cider on a Friday, and I surely do miss it :)  I may have to have that shot of Jamesons with it, too.  Yum.  I have discovered I am a gal that likes a shot of whiskey.  See, you still find out stuff about yourself in your 40's--important stuff.  

Are you ready for the royal wedding?  We have a ridiculous amount of books and stuff at our store.  Case in point:  

Just in case you're bored and have already knitted your family.  I plan on being up super early to watch the wedding!  Where I will be, I have no idea yet--plans are still up in the air.  

Off to do nothing.  At least for a few hours, anyway.  Then I may be forced to actually move out of the house!  Hoping to run outside today; right now it's pretty gloomy and chilly and I feel completely fine laying on the couch, drinking coffee, and reading a book.  

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Are You Feeling Today?

The one thing about being a fairly healthy person is that when you do get sick, your partner freaks out a bit.  Bud has been very sweet--he calls me every morning to see if I am feeling better, and calls me at night to see how I'm doing. I am taking an antibiotic, and I am hoping I will wake up with no stuffy head very soon.  Bud is well on his way to recovering, and it's taking me waaay longer.  I still have a nasal voice.  I have forgotten what I sound like without it.

Yesterday I worked outside for a bit raking the front yard and seeing what is coming up.  I have a lot of tulips in my front flower garden, but I am afraid they won't be blooming--lots of leaves, nothing that looks like it might be a tulip.  I think it's time to dig them up and make plans for new bulbs this fall.  I walked around to the back, and wandered around my flower garden.  I have a lot of work to do there, but I'm going to wait just a few weeks more before I start uncovering the perennials.  I still think we'll have some cold nights. Then I came inside and took a nap before changing and going out for a very short run in the warm weather.   Today it's going to be another warm day, so I'm hitting the trail again after work.  I'm starting to remember those long ago days when I would go run most days of the week.  It feels good to get out there, even though I am struggling to get my breathing down and make some progress.

Bud and I are going away again this weekend to Minnesota for another hunting convention.  I will have time to walk around and shop at some stores while Bud spends time there before we change for dinner and hit the evening auction. I'm hoping by this weekend I am back to normal and we can spend a romantic weekend together, instead of me hacking up snot and coughing while Bud tries to be lovey.  It doesn't stop him, though!  I guess he likes me a little bit.

  A weekend away gives me a bit of a break from being home and gets me in plan mode for the next week.  Let's hope the weather has finally taken a turn to the warm side, and I can keep plugging away at the yard.  I am ignoring the garage as long as possible, but it is getting down right dangerous for me to try and move around in it without having rakes, shovels, and buckets crashing down on me.  I can see the headlines now:  "Local Woman Trapped in Garage For 10 Days; Survives on Rainwater And Grass Seed".  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells

This is a woman who's latest cookbook has filled me with inspiration for some great salads as the warm weather months approach.

Salad as a Meal  is more than just a cookbook about salads. Patricia defines salads as light meals that may or may not incorporate what we think of as salad:  lettuce and a few veggies drenched in dressing.  Her salads include breads, soups, and appetizers.  Something light to share for dinner with a glass of wine or iced tea.

Some of her recipes are pretty extravagant for the average cook, but the beauty of them is that if you're looking to entertain, or just wow your family, she's got some great recipes to do just that.  Looking for a vegetarian salad?  Try a Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Parsley, and Spring Onions.

Looking for something to pair with a salad?  Patricia has some amazing soups--Chilled Pea, Mint, and Buttermilk Soup.  This one I will certainly try, along with a Chilled Yogurt, Herb, and Jalapeno Soup.  They sound so lovely, and I can imagine myself sitting on my patio, under my umbrella, enjoying a chilled soup and a Cobb Salad on a sunny summer day.  I plan on introducing Bud to these recipes during the summer.

Patricia leans heavily on French influences for her recipes, and that's just fine with me.  She uses fresh from the garden or the farmer's market vegetables, herbs, and breads, and also includes recipes for homemade dressings, which I prefer over the bottled stuff.   Creamy Lemon-Chive dressing, or a Buttermilk-Lemon Zest Dressing are just calling out to me!

And can I say the photos in this cookbook are just simply stunning?  Yep.  But you don't have to find your passport or pack your bags to enjoy these recipes.   I am excited to try some of these recipes and experiment with my own salad ideas.  I may have to have C-Joy be my guinea pig.  Somehow, I don't think she'll mind sitting outside on a lovely summer's day eating anything from this cookbook--even if I make it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

5K in 6 Weeks--Eeek!

I realized this weekend that the Marion Arts Festival 5K is rapidly approaching, and I need to get my ass in gear!

This cold thingy that I have is keeping me  a few clicks down from my normal speed.  I did go out and attempt to run yesterday, 'cause it was 80 degrees outside yesterday!  It was humid!  I had to go outside after work and give it a try. I ended up sweaty, with a massive headache, and only managed a few miles with some walk breaks.  But I was happy for the brief glimpse into the future of warmer weather.

Today it's 40 outside, very windy, and very overcast.  I went to the gym and biked for a few miles and got on  the weight machines for the first time in months.  It felt really good to work my legs.  I also decided that I would do lunges every time I go to the gym, since they are so good for whipping legs into shape.  I did 50 (25 each leg), and can I say my legs were burning at the end?  It felt so great to start working out those muscles again.  I have missed it.  I have to bring my folder home from the gym and re-do my workouts so they are legible and easy to fill in as I do them.  I guess my exercise high was a bit late hitting me, but looking back on my gym time today, I am filled with a sense of satisfaction and excitement about preparing for the 5K in May.  Since I hit bottom last Fall, I can only go up.  And with a renewed focus on building strength, muscle, and endurance, I can only improve.  

Do you have weird food cravings after working out?  Today mine was broccoli.  Roasted broccoli, with pasta, greek olives, lemon juice and some parmesan cheese.  It is so yummy.  

Tomorrow is my day off, and I'm hoping the weather will be a bit more cooperative so I can start to work in the yard a bit. This will be after I go to the gym, of course :)   I see lots of little green things popping up, but no daffodils just yet.  I think where I have them in my yard they are more exposed and take a bit longer to bloom.  Oh, I can't wait to see my flowers blooming!  I have to keep giving myself the "don't spend too much on flowers" talk every day.  When the shops actually have flowers out, I will be struggling to keep my money in my wallet.  Look away, Sue, look away from the pretty flowers...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Few Things

Um, I made Bud sick.  He was a good man, and went to the doctor immediately and got some antibiotics and should feel better soon.  I assured him last week that there was no way I would get him sick, and made a promise that if I did, I would be his "love ***" (I was a bit more earthy than that) for life.  

Crap.  He now delights in reminding me of that promise, and says he is going to hold me to it.  He's already making plans for when we are both feeling better.  Well, I guess things will be exciting for the next 30 years.  Trust me--he will not ever forget I made that promise.  Ever. We'll be in our 80's and he will remind me.

This week I found out Jeff Galloway, running expert, is coming to our store for a discussion and book signing on May 6th!  I am so excited to meet him and hear him talk about the run-walk method he uses to complete marathons and teach so many others to do it, usually with PR's.  I have been tasked to spread the word in town, and I hope we have a fantastic crowd.  I told Bud he has to come and listen to Jeff.  Bud is a believer in running without any walking no matter what.  I hope listening to Jeff will help him understand this other method, too.

It's another new month for reading.  So many great books are coming out in May, my head is spinning.  I have some advanced reading copies to read this month, since the books are coming out in May and I need to get some reviews posted.  I can't wait til May, when I can sit out on my front porch and read.  It's such a great feeling.  Last year I didn't do it too much, so I am definitely going to sit out there more this summer.

One last thing--I am planning a trip to Savannah, GA in November with two of my sisters.  I am so excited I don't know how I will make it through the next 7 months!  Let's just say it's been a dream of mine  since my teen years to go to Savannah, and I am so happy I get to go with Pam and Patti.  We haven't been on a vacation together since the late 70's when we were kids.  We've got our tickets, hotel room, and trolley tour all booked for now.  There will be more on that later.  

Must get ready for work today.   It figures, today it will be sunny and 54 while I work all day, and on my day off it's gonna rain and be cool.  Pooh.   I guess that means no excuse not to go to the gym :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Time For Some Of These

I felt like flowers today...

I can hear the birds chirping in the morning...that means warmer weather, sitting on the porch, planting flowers, and just standing outside in the warm sun are coming soon.