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Saturday, June 30, 2012

No 4th of July Race for Me

I will not be spending my early morning on the 4th of July running through the streets of Cedar Rapids.  Part of me is unhappy--I feel like a quitter!  And the other part of me (the sensible part--it's a very small part of me) realizes that I would be very unhappy and in pain trying to run.  I have been patiently waiting for my pulled muscle to heal, and it is taking its sweet time.  Then on top of that, I slipped in the tub last night and yanked my leg down to catch myself.  Yep.  This resulted in more pain.  That was the final straw for me in my decision to not run Wednesday.

If I was training for a big race, I would be beyond upset. Luckily, I am not in training for anything but the weekly "How Much Hummus Can A Human Being Eat?" Contest I have at my house every week.   As it is, I am disappointed that I can't run the race--and because I hurt myself doing something really stupid--and not even running when I did it!  Isn't that usually how these things happen?

So I'm going to get the bike out on Tuesday (next day off) and start biking the trails around Cedar Rapids.  Luckily, I have many choices of bike trails, so I won't get bored easily.  And I will go to the gym to do other weight-related activities that don't include my leg!  

What are your plans for the 4th?  I plan on making this delicious dessert/side dish because I've been dreaming about it for a week.  That means the only solution is to make it and eat some of it:

Strawberry pretzel dessert
It's a good thing this makes a big pan, cause I usually will eat half of the pan.  It's seriously addictive.  And perfect for a hot summer day.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flower Memories...

Today and tomorrow we are going to experience super hot weather.  This means that all the watering in the world will probably not save my flowers.  The sun will just be too hot and cook them.  I went outside this morning and took photos of my lovelies, cause they're probably not going to look like this in a couple days.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Running Update And Other Stuff You Should Care About

Actually, there's nothing here that you should care about, I just thought that title would grab your attention.

Two attempted nights at home with Bud have failed--he's had last minute things pop up, which meant not coming over til much later than planned.  Keeping a stiff upper lip (with a bit of a quiver) that soon we will actually have a night together that involves a lovely meal and spending some quality time together.  He still hasn't even tried my two ice cream concoctions!  (which means I can't eat them, cause I would eat it all and he'd have none to try).  I am being very patient, but the Bananas Foster ice cream is calling my name.  It's ridiculously good. I have put my cookbook away so I'm not tempted to try something else this week.  Well, maybe Saturday...

Running has been pretty crappy this summer and I am so disappointed I can't dwell on it or I'll cry.  My plan of having a carefree summer of running when I want, building my strength on hills, and enjoying it have crashed and burned.  I pulled a muscle over a week ago, and it still hurts.  So much that I tried running yesterday morning before work, and I ended up walking most of the time.  I'm giving myself until Saturday, when I have a day off and I'm going to attempt to get in a 5 mile run. I am now officially panicking over the 4th of July 8K race that is less than 2 weeks away. I will run that race, but not like I had hoped.  My friend Michael has already run the route, and he tells me to just run it for practice.  I reminded him again that I don't feel comfortable running in that particular part of town by myself!  I have read another account of a woman runner being murdered while out on a run.  I know chances are small, but I would rather not take the risk and put myself in a situation like that.  Cedar Rapids is not a giant metropolis, but bad people are everywhere, and it can and does happen here.  If I were a man, I would confidently run at night, or run by myself in otherwise *ahem* questionable parts of town.  Instead, I will wait til race day, when thousands of other racers can accompany me on the route. I will keep plugging along, and remind myself that it is okay to have a time where running just isn't the bright shinning experience I am aiming for every day.  

Creatively, I am a dead space.  Like a black hole of non-creativity.  I feel like I lost my bearings in May and have yet to get my shit together.  Thinking that week's staycation is required pretty soon.  Very lucky to have 4 weeks of vacation a year.  I've burned two, with another week in September already planned.  Since I'm not going anywhere else this year, I may have to take this time off soon--for my well being and the sake of my house!  Do you ever just want to close off the world and be quiet for awhile?  I'm approaching that pretty rapidly.  

So...July needs to be a better month for me.  Ticking off that "to-do" list, setting my house (inner and outer) in order, and taking a moment to breathe.  Running for the joy of it, and that feeling of accomplishment after every run.  Clearing out unnecessary "stuff" and hitting restart.  I can do this.  And with an ice cream maker, and dreams of sorbet floating in my head, I will have delicious treats for Bud every week.  I am pretty positive he will just love me to death for giving him dessert every night he's here.  Yep.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Fun With Booze

This  is what happens when I'm a single girl for a week:

Ice Cream Maker

Get it here!
I am not a huge ice cream fan, but I love sorbet.  Slushed has so many yummy recipes, I just couldn't resist it.  Sorbets, gelatos, frozen pops, and ice cream--it's all covered in this book.  My first effort is a basil blueberry sorbet.  I will be finishing it today so I can surprise Bud with it tonight.  Next up:  Bananas Foster ice cream.  Looks pretty simple to make and I am always ready to dig into this sweet treat.  As a matter of fact, I can become easily obsessed with Bananas Foster and will make it late at night when I'm craving that banana caramel flavor.  Not good for the waistline, but the taste buds sing out in happiness.  

What's your food find of the summer?  What are you craving?  Besides a good sorbet, I am eating kalamata olives like a crazy person, and I've discovered the joy of barley salads.  Oh--and hummus.  I love hummus, and now I must always have a container in the fridge.  Maybe sometime before summer's over I'll actually make my own.  I can't get enough of it!  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Week As A Single Girl

I am officially an old lady at 45.  I am disgusted that's what I've discovered, but I think it's true.  While my darling Bud has been busy busy at work all week, and planning on going out of town by himself on Saturday, I have been boyfriend free since Sunday night.  Yes, almost a whole week without my better half.  

And this is what I have done:

Bar hopping every night, shopping for shoes and purses, and sipping Cosmos.


I have been reading books, planting my bargain priced perennials, and falling asleep by 8 PM.  And running a few days this week, although I pulled a groin muscle pushing a table around at work on Sunday, so my leg hurts and I've taken a few days off from running.  I'm such a dinkus.

And now it's damn hot outside.  We went from a lovely 75 degrees to 89 today.  I'm contemplating going out for a short run when it gets closer to dusk.  We'll see if the fantastically good beer I'm drinking (Orange Blossom Creme Ale) will put me to sleep before 6 pm for a short nap.  But I really really do want to go for a run.  If only to feel sweaty and like I did something today.

I was looking at a rag mag yesterday and saw a lovely picture of a 50 year old Gina Gershon in a black bikini looking smokin' hot.  I felt slightly ill.  I don't know why I think a 50 year old should be in a mumu.  What the heck is wrong with my thinking?  If I could wear a black string bikini at 50 and not send everyone screaming into shark infested waters, I think I probably would.  So why do I think I never will?  Hell.  

Bud fondly recalls the yellow bikini I wore many years ago, when our relationship was fresh and new, and he had a thinner girlfriend.  He was heartbroken when I told him I tossed that bikini years ago.  I had no idea the impact I made on his brain when I wore that, and it makes me kinda sad that I never knew just how much he liked it.  I know we should all be strong women, and only work towards a great bod and health for ourselves.  But really, it's much more fun when your man gets all freaked out (in a nice way) cause you're looking good.  After all, if there's no one to admire and appreciate it besides myself, what the heck is the point?  

So yes.  I have started over on my 50 crunches a day regimen, started taking my vitamins again (this is really really hard to remember), and striving to eat fresh fruits and veg every day.  My 8 K is in a few weeks, and I'm a bit panicked.  But--I have done this before, I will get through it, and as long as no pictures are taken of me actually doing the 8K, I will be alright.  

As for a bikini:  well, it would be wonderful to be able to wear one again without being embarrassed by the body in it.  And who knows--if Bud marries me, I may have a goal to work towards:  a bikini honeymoon.  Otherwise, if no marriage and we just end up living in sin, well, that will be a one piece sitting in a jacuzzi at a Days Inn somewhere in the Midwest.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Flowers and Wine: An Excellent Combo

The frenzy of flower buying takes place in May, then by the middle of June it's pretty much completely done--displays are gone, and temporary garden shops have packed up for the year. 

This is my golden opportunity to get cheap perennials.  

I did that today and restrained myself in a remarkable show of will power.  

Now I can fill in the huge bare spot in the front of my garden that I forgot to buy flowers for last month.  Three huge pots of perennials, one geranium to replace one that didn't survive, and two pots of deep red hollyhocks.  My trip to New Mexico once again reminded me how much I love to see hollyhocks.  They grow very very well in that climate (along with roses and lavender).  I do have a few in my garden from last year, but pesky critters usually eat them before they can bloom.  Either the critters have moved onto different territory, or my hollyhocks have a shield of protection around them, cause they have bloomed this year!  A lovely pink color.  It's not huge, but I'm happy with it.  

I still have to get that damn mulch.  A bit pricey right now, so I will wait and eagerly check prices as I drive around town.  Having a pick up truck makes it easy to just stop and buy this stuff and toss it in the back.  But then I have to drag it out of the truck, haul it to the garden, and spread it around.  Bud likes to remind me on occasion that I "wanted all these gardens and flowers" so I guess that means he thinks I should skip and sing when I'm working on them.  

Hell no.  I will bitch til the sun goes down!  It's hard work, dang it.  And I just can't afford a gardener--not just yet.  A bookstore salary doesn't stretch quite that far. A Powerball winning ticket, however, would allow that.  And such a big flower garden that I could buy a golf cart and drive it around.  THEN I would be skipping and singing.

Potted herbs are doing nicely.  Using lots of basil!  Always wish I had more.  

My thrilling Tuesday includes sanding and sealing my front porch.  Oh, the joy of that.  Today I've planned tomorrow--in my usual delusional way:  Up super early to run hills, then home for breakfast and a quick planting of my flowers.  Then start on the porch.  This is the super woman mentality that attacks me before I remember just who the heck I am!  A pooped out 45 year old who forgets to take vitamins on a daily basis.  

Reality:  I'll get up and run, but I will come home tired and want to read all day. Maybe wash the dishes.  Read until I guilt myself into working on the front porch.  Then take a break and read some more.  Take a nap.  Wait until an hour before Bud comes over to get cleaned up and figure out what to have for supper.  

Wine Alert!  I have been looking and tasting all over the place trying to find a good white wine to sip this summer.  I think I found it:  Refresh Turning Leaf Crisp White.  A little bit fizzy, just enough sweet but not much and darn tasty ice cold.  And it's reasonably priced around $8.  I will be buying a few more bottles and keeping one in the fridge.  And--a twist top.  Get out your wine glasses!  I found it at my local grocery store, so it should be pretty easy to find.  

I will post some photos of my garden.  Just too lazy right now.  And I have to cut down a butt load of daisies that look bad.  Guess I'll just add that to  tomorrow's super woman to-do list :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hello, June! Please Be Quiet

Well.  May was so chock full of things on my calendar, I am still feeling the twirl.  Add in denying myself chocolate, booze, and pasta for most of it, and you could say it was a challenge to my sanity.  My mood was, well, at times a bit punchy.

But then I went to New Mexico to visit my brother and sis-in-law, and I drank copious amounts of booze, ate lots of green chile sauce on eggs, and walked around in the blazing sun (no humidity!  Woohoo!!).  All in the company of my beloved Bud.  Spending 5 whole days and nights together is a rarity in this relationship, but I cherished every moment.  I think I'll keep him.  And we made a great impression on two shop ladies in Santa Fe, who oohed and ahhed over our wonderful love story--all cause Bud bought me a purse.  I think we gave them a good story for the rest of their work day.  Suckers for love!  But they didn't give Bud a discount on that purse.  

But now I'm back.  Grad parties are over, travel is done, and now I'm left to spend huge amounts of money on pictures and mulch.  And pebbles.  And a roof.  I tried closing my eyes, sticking  my fingers in my ears, and humming the theme to Spongebob, but it didn't work.  I still have to do these things.  Dammit.  I did experience a moment of giddiness buying a smelly summer candle and an Off! Patio and Deck lamp.  Now, just to find a summer plastic table cloth for outside.  Stupid Walmart only had rectangular sizes.  Yes, I went there.  

So June, my friend.  Lots of reading, of course.  I'm up to 64 books read this year, which is pretty good considering the weeks here and there where I've struggled to get through one book and stay awake.  If anyone knows of a stay awake pill that doesn't give you jitters, but makes you feel refreshed on only 2 hours of sleep, let me know.  I promise I will order boxes of it.  Sanding and resealing the front porch.  Painting the front steps.  Tossing down all that mulch. Finding sad looking perennials on clearance and planting them for next year.  Trying not to kill my hanging flower baskets on the front porch. I'm amazed they've lasted this long.  

Running.  Yep. I have less than 1 month to prepare for an 8k on July 4th.  I can tell already it's gonna hurt.  Hurt bad.  I'm torn between running 3 times a week--a long run, speed work, and a shorter run--or just running all the time, whenever I can, hyperventilating over the race, and freaking out.  The later is my usual mode of operation.  We shall see.

What's up for your June?  I intend to do lots of grilling, drinking cold white wine, and lighting up my citronella candles.  Oh--and clean out my fridge, cause Bud says "It's just disgusting."  Whatever.