Sunday, May 31, 2015

Starlight Run 5k Recap

Yesterday was my first time running the Starlight Run 5k, which is a fast little race that happens directly before the Starlight Parade in downtown Portland during the Rose Festival.  I had never run Starlight before, but signed up because I got a sweet deal on it due to running Shamrock, which is about the ONLY good thing I got out of running Shamrock!  I was telling my ladies group that it was super weird to run an evening race. I'm so used to getting up early and getting races over and done with then going about my day.  Yesterday consisted of kind of twiddling my thumbs and trying to hydrate really well all day, but not too well since I didn't want to feel bloated.  We ate pretty horribly (ice cream for lunch yo!), but at the same time I didn't go over my calories so, win I guess?

My aunt and uncle were kind enough to drive us all down to Portland and spectate with Eric, and we decided to go down early to secure parking and try to grab dinner.  The guys dropped us off to find parking while my aunt and I went to Lincoln High School to get my bib, and everything was pretty easy peasy.  We met back up with the guys and decided to go to Elephant's Delicatessen to grab a bite to eat.  I was really torn on what to get since I was actually pretty hungry, but didn't want to eat too much.  I briefly entertained grabbing a salad out of the cold case, but honestly they all looked like they might have come over on a boat with Vasco da Gama, so I grabbed a roast beef sandwich instead.  It was a normal sized sandwich but I planned to eat only half of it so that I wouldn't be too full.  That lasted about 30 seconds into the meal, because it was one of those deals where I didn't realize how hungry I was until I started eating, and then the second half of the sandwich was in my mouth.  Oh boy.  At least I had a little over an hour to digest before the race right?

After some stellar people watching and chit chat, we made our way back to the high school where the start of the race was.  We made plans for our meet up spot post race, and then I went off to the start line with 20 minutes to spare.  

I have never felt intense heat the way that I did yesterday.  The weather was in the mid 80s and it was very humid all day long, which was starting to concern me, although things did feel somewhat cooled down by the time we got to Portland.  The actual weather was fine by the time the race got going at 7:45, but the asphalt that had been baking in the sun all day was radiating this intense heat that was akin to a baking pan that's been out of a hot oven for a few minutes.  I was starting to feel overheated just standing at the start line.  I was definitely becoming more nervous by the second about this race, specifically because they were pretty stern about there being no walking.  I wasn't too concerned about that mandate until I felt the heat coming up from the road, and then my expression was along the lines of yellow shirt guy down there.

The race was pretty informal but somehow very organized.  It wasn't a timed race, no corrals, and there was no water or on the course or anything like that.  They just honked a bullhorn very promptly at 7:45 and we were off.

It was literally one of the toughest runs I've ever done, while somehow being very fun at the same time.  The intense heat of the asphalt made the experience very punishing, and I was overheated by the time I hit the first mile.  That also happened to be about the time I looked at my Garmin for the first time, and my eyes bugged out of my head when I saw I was running at a 7 and a half minute mile.  And here I was wondering why my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest.  That seems to happen to me at every freaking race, I get caught up in trying to keep up with traffic and go much faster than I should.  I've really got to break myself of that.  I deliberately tried to slow myself down because I knew I was going to pay dearly for it if I didn't, but could only get myself down to about a 9 minute mile.  By that time the roast beef sandwich was catching up with me and I was getting a pretty magnificent stomach cramp, along with feeling faint from the heat.  Soon my mantra became these three statements:

1.  You must finish this race.
2.  Try to slow down and just maintain.
3.  Do NOT barf up that roast beef sandwich in public.

I finally did break down and take a few walk breaks after becoming more overheated and lightheaded by the second, and just figured those involved in the Rose Festival were going to have to get over it.  I saw other people taking walk breaks so I didn't feel as bad about it.

As much as the conditions were a bit punishing, the environment was pretty fun.  The race course was the parade route (hence the whole "get your ass going and don't walk" decree), so thousands of people waiting to watch the parade were lined against the streets.  There was so much cheering and craziness, and while I'm not a huge kid person, there were so many cute little kids lined up with their hands out to high five the runners that it melted my cold black heart a little bit.  They would get so excited when you'd high five them, as though they'd gotten a high five from some kind of Olympic athlete or something.  I literally felt like I was in that one scene in Rocky!  Races are always so much more fun when there is an enthusiastic crowd around!

Around the 2.5 mile mark I was really starting to feel ill due to the heat, and while distance-wise I didn't have much longer, it felt like it was never going to end.  I walked at least 2-3 blocks, and was really struggling because I needed to bring my body temperature down but couldn't.  Some pepaw noticed that I was struggling a bit and patted my shoulder as he passed by and said, "Just start running when you see the cameras again!"  It made me laugh, though I couldn't have cared less about looking less Gollum-ish than normal in my race pics.  There was another guy next to me running with his daughter who I'd estimate to be about 5 or 6 years old.  I'm not sure how I feel about letting little bitty kids run races like that, not because I'm a total jerk, but because I just don't know if it's a great idea to have your kid run for over 3 miles in the heat.  I applaud teaching them to go out and do something healthy, but it just seems a little young.  ANYWAY, the kid did give me a good laugh because her dad was like "We don't have that much farther!  How are you feeling?"  In her small little voice she says, "I'm really ready for this to be over."  I couldn't help it, I started laughing with what little breath I had.  It's like kid, you speak for all of us and especially me.

The finish line was on a downhill, and I could just kiss the person who designed it that way, because I was able to muster up my last bit of energy and fly down the hill and across the finish line.  I finished in 40:45, although my Garmin read that I'd run 3.29 miles, so I'm giving a bit of a side eye to whoever measured the course.  Since we were standing on the fake turf of the high school football field, the temperatures were so much cooler than being on the street, so I was able to start cooling down a bit.

Overheated lobster girl!

Oh in one of the most hilarious moments of my racing days, I crossed the finish line and didn't see Eric and the fam, so I went to our meeting spot and they were not there either.  I stood there like a lost child for about 5 minutes until I finally gave up and called my aunt to see where they were.  They were all at a damn bar and didn't see me cross the finish line!  Crazies, but I love them!  We had a good laugh about it, especially when my aunt chirpily informed me that she'd had a Moscow Mule.  It's like, I had lukewarm bottled water and didn't barf in public, so I guess we're all having a good night.  ;)

Afterwards we stayed and watched the parade for a bit, which honestly was the first parade I'd watched in Oregon.  As y'all know I'm a bit of a delicate snowflake when it comes to my anxiety, so crowds are typically not my thing.  We managed to find a spot where it didn't feel so crowded and everyone around us was relatively behaved.  The parade was pretty fun and there were several cool floats and marching bands.  I snapped a few pics, though they aren't the greatest.

Once again just to remind you that we keep Portland weird, the grand marshal was a rolled up piece of dirty airport carpet.  I didn't realize until last night they'd named it...PeeDee.  It's like yeah, I bet there's some pee going on in the fibers of that silly ass thing.

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales.  <3  They were not about the crowds though!

A gaggle of Storm Troopers from the Star Wars Oregon group.  They had super authentic costumes and were a big hit with the crowd!

One of my favorite parts of the parade coupled with "you learn something new every day" was the DeLorean Club of Oregon.  Had no idea there was a club for that in Portland, but it was insanely cool to see 12 or so DeLoreans all together all lit up with their doors open.

Anyways that's about all the news that's fit to print.  Overall I'm glad I did the race and had a good time!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Teen Steam and the Starlight Run

This is literally me right now:

It. Is. So. Hot.  Y'all just saddle up, because you'll be hearing me bitch about this until September.  It's officially that time of year where everyone else is pulling out their halter tops and blasting Katy Perry's "California Gurls" while squealing "Yay for summer!" while I want to cower in an igloo with my Dean Martin Christmas album until the worst of it is over.  I am really not looking forward to the headaches, depression and misery that come with summer.  Even the dog was miserable and inconsolable last night and kept looking at me like I'M the a-hole causing the heat.  It's supposed to get to 89 degrees today and my house is already 75 on the inside because we don't have central air.  We do have a portable AC that somewhat helps, and you can bet your sweet ass I'll be dragging that puppy out today.

All of the heat and humidity made me think of the really awful exercise video that Alyssa Milano made back in the 80's called "Teen Steam".  Does anyone else remember this travesty?  Every time it gets hot I find myself singing this silly ass theme song, though my birthday has not involved a "teen" age in many years.  I put a little clip below to bring back some good 80's memories, and it's really worth watching for roughly 2 minutes.

We've talked about this before but, shit was so weird in the 80s,  and I say that as a kid who grew up halfway in the 80s.  I love how she's trying to be all sexy at the beginning of the video when she's talking and it's like, but you're twelve.  And what's up with the guy randomly coming out of the mirror, and she's all cool and nonchalant about it?  Um if some guy randomly walks through mirrors in my bedroom, they are getting pepper sprayed.  Of course the real treat is the song and its poetic lyrics about how stressful it is to be a teenager.  Bitch please.  Pay bills every month while keeping up a household and holding down a job and then tell me about needing to let out steam.  My fave lyrics are something about "living on the edge" and it's like Alyssa girl, you are about as edgy as a Babybel cheese, but I love ya anyway.

Anyways when it gets hot, I inevitably start singing "Teen steeeeam, gotta let it out."  Every.  Time.

Totally have forgot to mention this (I think?), but I am actually running in a 5k tomorrow!  It's the Starlight Run, and it happens right before the Starlight Parade in downtown Portland.  It's the Rose Festival right now and the Starlight is the last big hoopty lah before the Grand Floral Parade on Sunday.  I have never run in this race and I am slightly nervous because they are pretty strict on the whole "you need to run the whole race because we've got a parade to start, and ain't nobody got time for your walking."  I will be honest, I haven't run since that 5 miler in Lake Oswego, so my heart may or may not explode mid-race.  I can probably tough it out though.

Also to show you how well prepared and on it I am, this was roughly the conversation between my aunt and I the other day.  She and my uncle are going to spectate the race with Eric and then we're going to watch the parade afterwards.

Aunt:  "What time does the race start and when do you think we'll need to be down there?"
Me:  "Um, it's sometime at night, I'll need to pull up the link on my phone to see specifically when."
Aunt:  "Where does it start?"
Me:  "Um, I think it starts near Lincoln High School, but I'm not really sure."
Aunt:  "Do you know what the route is?"
Me:  "I think it's just the parade route.....I probably should look at the site before the race huh?"
Aunt:  "Um, probably so!!!!"

It's amazing I pull anything off.  ;)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hot Kiwi Action

Yep you heard me.  This post is going to be sexy folks, so get ready!

So we have two kiwi vines in our backyard that I have a love/hate relationship with.  They are a monumental pain in my ass in just about every respect, but the plant is beautiful and provides a lot of shade.  Our summers are becoming more punishing every year, so the shade they give us and my poor garden boxes is just about the only reason they haven't been ripped up.

The kiwis came to live with us because they were a replacement baby for my beloved eucalyptus tree that died a few years ago due to a disease.  We went to the garden center to get something to replace the spot where it was in the yard, and I asked Eric if he had a request, and that maybe a fruit tree would be nice.  We saw kiwi vines and were like "huh, that's interesting" and decided to get it, because what's better than buying a complicated plant sight unseen?  We got the thing home and I started reading up on it, and the stupid things come in male and female plants, and you have to have one of each in order to get fruit.  There is no equality in the kiwi world unfortunately.  We had a male, so I had to schlep back to the garden center to find a female vine.

That second trip to the garden center was the first step in a 8 year pain in my ass journey.  This plant is insane and has crazy aggressive vines that you have to train or prune the crap out of to prevent it from taking over.  So there's that.  Kiwis take a very long time to produce fruit, so we waited about 6 years before we even got kiwis, a whole three kiwis that were moderately decent.  Besides needing a male and a female plant, kiwis are notoriously difficult to get to fruit, so hand pollinating them is the best option to get fruit.  Yes, I have to help my kiwi plants diddle, because my life isn't weird enough.

 The male flowers open about a week before the female flowers, so it's a hand wringing situation of saving some male flowers just in case they all die before the female flowers open.  THEN when the female flowers open, it becomes this clown show of me climbing up in the vines and hand pollinating the female flowers all while spitting and cussing every second because spiders and God knows what else are crawling on me.  I am sure my neighbors love me.

Female flower on top (ha!) and male on bottom.
Me risking my life so you can see how I pollinate
My reason for telling you all of this nuttiness is that the stupid female flowers finally started to open up this week, so I've been running out like a madwoman every day when a new one opens so that I can pollinate it.  Which means hopefully I will have fruit in the fall that I can eat, and fruit is healthy.  So there.

Oh and it's also a PSA to not buy kiwi vines.

I failed miserably yesterday on getting my activity in.  No excuses for it, I just got caught up in interview outfit shopping and interview prep and the day just kind of slipped away.  I was too lazy to force myself to do anything last night, so I knew I had to get my butt out there today.  Due to an interview I got a late start and wasn't able to do anything until 2 pm when the weather SUCKED because of the heat.  We had movies due back at the library, so I decided to drop those off then walk around the library park.  The park is beautiful, but it was about 89 degrees when I went out and I hated every second of that.  Honestly it made me dread that my marathon training will start soon, because all of the horrible depression and memories about running in the heat came flying back in my brain.  Ah well.

I took breaks in the shade so that I could take a couple of pictures.  I love the way the trees are mirrored in the pond.  I didn't realize Oregon had bullfrogs but apparently we do, and they were croaking very loudly and making the most bizarre/amusing sounds.  Hearing them brings back so many memories of my childhood and playing by the pond at my parent's house.  The frogs were always making a racket!

Oh and no matter how miserable things get, there are always things in the world that can cheer you up.  Like baby ducks napping in the shade with their mom.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend!  We certainly did, we just did a lot of random stuff and kept the schedule open for whatever fun we felt like at the moment.  We went bowling at a more chill place than that last one, watched a couple of movies, bought some rose bushes for the yard, had a couple of nice meals, did some karaoke, had dinner with my aunt and uncle...all very laid back stuff.

This week the new challenge for our ladies group is doing at least 30 minutes of activity a day, so hopefully I will be successful in that!  Yesterday I squeezed in my activity under the wire with a couple of ballet barre workout videos on Youtube and a walk with Molly around the complex.  It's a good time to remind everyone that you don't have to pay a bunch of money for videos that you may or may not like, because Youtube is a great resource for videos!  The two videos I did kicked my butt, especially the calf exercise one.  This Lisa Maree girl does great videos, and I've posted a couple below for you to check out if you are interested in barre workouts.

The exercises in that calf muscle video look easy, but parts of my leg I didn't know existed were BURNING and my calves are sore today!

Today's activity was nothing spectacular, just a 35 minute walk with Molly!

I wanted to take a second to mention that it's a very special day today because Eric and I are celebrating 8 years of marriage!  I know it sounds cliche, but I am truly happier every single day we are together and couldn't imagine life without him!  It's crazy to think that we've been married for 8 years.  In some ways it feels like yesterday!

Eric and I met through work though we were in different offices.  Apparently my constant questions annoyed him, and his curtness annoyed me.  In typical me fashion, I became determined to make this guy be friendly to me, so I kept making jokes and being the hilariously wonderful person I am whenever I'd email him.  He finally joked back to one of my jokes, and we became friends who talked every day, though only on work email/IM.  I went down to California for a training and we finally met in person.  Fun fact, Eric almost didn't come out with me the first night because he was sick, but I guilted him so badly about being all alone in a strange place that he relented.  I remember being so glad to see a friendly face (I was insanely anxious to be in a strange place with no one I knew), that I threw my arms around him the first time I saw him because I apparently have no boundaries!  We got drinks and talked for forever, and I was amused that he felt the need to give me his cell, home and work numbers.  We had lunch the next day together, then planned to do drinks again that evening.  I was kind of starting to like him, but figured it was a bad idea to get involved with a coworker, because isn't it always a bad idea to get involved with a coworker?

We went out for drinks at this now defunct bar in Burbank called Razberries, which honest to God looked like a crazy bar out of a Tarantino movie.  We were playing the jukebox and talking about something, I don't even know what, when he grabbed my hand and told me that he really liked me.  I admitted I liked him back, there may or may not have been some public kissing involved, and I found myself with a long distance boyfriend.

That was August 2006, we got engaged in December, in January 2007 he moved up here, and by May 2007 we were married in Las Vegas.  By choice we only had 15 people at our wedding, all family, and it was a blast!  (Another fun fact, I didn't meet my in laws until our wedding day.)  Our relationship was definitely at warp speed, but all I can say is, when you know you know.

Wedding Day!  May 2007

It's truly been a wonderful 8 years, and I am blessed with one of the most kind, loving and hilarious spouses a girl could ask for.  There are things I honestly think I couldn't have done without the support of my husband, including and especially running my first marathon.  My life definitely took a turn towards the positive because of him, and I can't wait to see what the next 8 years hold.

May 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pizza Partay!

I haven't had a ton of stuff to post about, hence the gap in posting, but I thought I'd say a quick hi before the holiday weekend!  I just have a little handful of pictures to post because you know, my life is so interesting and all.

I made this bad boy tonight and was super proud of how it turned out.  Making a decent pizza crust has become my white whale over the years, and I thought I had one recipe that was go to, but it only turned out good one time.  The rest of the times it's been a flop, so I have been on the hunt for a new dough recipe.  It pains me to say that this is a Bobby Flay recipe and it turned out perfectly.  The crust was crisp on the outside with a nice chew once you bit into it.  I loathe Bobby Flay, but this is now the second recipe I've made of his that I really liked.  If you are interested, here is the recipe.

I was also wild and wooly and put cheese on the pizza first then sauce, which I'd read leads to a crisper crust.  I was giving this method a bit of a side eye, but low and behold, the pizza came out so nice and crunchy on the bottom.  I topped it with a lightly dressed arugula salad, so yay for hitting one of my veggie servings.  ;)

On Tuesday we went to see Phantom of the Opera.  I'd really wanted to get a new dress but couldn't find anything I liked.  I ended up taking a black dress I already had and putting a skirt over that, and it totally worked!  It was like BAM, brand new outfit.

Now y'all might think this is a picture of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton but you know, it's just us looking fabulous.

The production of Phantom was really great and I cried the way I ALWAYS cry at Phantom even though I've seen it a billion times.  I just feel bad for the dude.  It's like you know, he's got a butterface, but he's also got his little reclusive waterfront property, musical talent and can wear a cape like no one's business.  What more does a girl really need?

So I wouldn't normally post pictures of people who didn't give permission to be on the blog, but I need to celebrate this memaw's general fabulousness.  She and her man were sitting at the table next to us when we were having dinner before Phantom.  First off, that is a red leather jacket and she had on a really dope statement necklace too, so nothing but style points from yours truly.  She ordered a couple glasses of wine and totally bitched out the waiter because her pear salad had no pears on it.  (I glanced over, it indeed had no pears).  The waiter was trying to convince her they were sliced very thin, but Red Leather Memaw wasn't having it, so the waiter brought over a little plate of sliced pears.  I wanted to pump my fist in the air, because sometimes you have to fight for your right to enough pears in life, even when the haters are trying to tell you they're sliced into thin air.  I just loved her Katherine Hepburn put together with a slight punk rock edge ways.  I want to be in the Red Leather Memaw club when I get old.

And of course I'll end with Molly silliness.  I vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpet in several rooms in the house yesterday because I knew it would make Eric happy, despite generally loathing all housework.  I knew it would mean a lot to him, and since sometimes I'm nice, I did it.  Anyway I moved Molly's bed into the kitchen for literally 30 seconds so I could vacuum, and when I was finished I turned around and saw this.

This damn ridiculous dog could win an Oscar for her pitiful little performances.  She followed me all over the house as I was steam cleaning.  It's like, don't most of your species hate vacuums and the like?  Go away!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Healthy Meals with 5 a Day Focus

Say that 3 times fast!  Or 5 times, whatever.

I mentioned yesterday that our ladies group started a new challenge this week, and we're supposed to get 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.  This thankfully is pretty easy for me because I generally get about that much per day, and I genuinely love 98% of fruits and vegetables.  I grew up with a Not The One mother, and she wasn't having it with picky eaters yesterday, today or tomorrow.  There were no separate meals in our household or any of that kind of thing, and the famous saying was "eat it, don't eat it, I don't really care."  As a result I pretty much ate whatever was in front of me without complaint and never really knew that not liking fruits or vegetables was an option.  You just ate them and whatever else you were served.  This has served me pretty well in life because I am pretty adventurous food-wise, I'm not a pain in the ass at parties or restaurants, and I happily eat healthy food.

Anyway, I wanted to pass along a few of the things I've been eating just to show you how easy it is to fit in those veggies and fruits into the day!  And if you take anything away from this, PLEASE make that Sticky Chicken recipe.  The lovely Anna clued me into the recipe and it was definitely a keeper.  It tastes a lot like the orange chicken you get at Chinese places, except without the sodium and feelings of regret.  The spicy green beans were a nice touch too.The links to the chicken and green bean recipes are below.

Day One:

Breakfast:  Scrambled egg wrap with spinach, plus a cup of raspberries (3 servings)
Lunch:  Green salad with feta and one sliced tomato (2 servings)
Dinner:  Sticky Chicken with rice & Spicy Garlic Green Beans:  (1 serving)
Dessert:  Raspberry/blueberry mix with whipped cream and shortbread cookie (1 serving)
Total:  7 servings

Scrambled Egg Wrap w/ Spinach

Sticky Chicken and Spicy Beans (recipe links above)

Day Two:

Breakfast:  Scrambled egg wrap w/ spinach, plus watermelon and feta salad (3 servings)
Lunch:  Sticky chicken and green bean leftovers:  (1 serving)
Snack:  Grapes (1 serving)
Dinner:  TBD, but I know I will have salad (1 serving)
Total:  6 servings

Watermelon and feta salad at breakfast, because I can
All it takes is "a little here, a little there" mentality, and it's pretty easy to get in your veggie/fruit servings!

Oh and the reason my dinner tonight is TBD is because we are going to see Phantom of the Opera!  I am very excited, it's one of my favorite shows of all time.  We are going out to eat and while I did peruse the menu, I'm not entirely sure what I'm getting.  I'm leaning towards soup of the day and salad, unless the soup is some cream bomb, then I will probably just get salad and the most reasonable entree I can find.

Just wanted to end with a couple of randoms.  Last night we watched the original Ocean's 11, which Eric had never seen.  It is pretty much against the law to be married to me and not have seen this movie, simply because I'm a HUGE Rat Pack fan.

*Sigh*  Can you imagine living during the time when people actually dressed nicely like that all the time?  It seems unfair to be living in the "bros in pastel shorts and boat shoes" era.  It was nice to see the movie again, it had certainly been awhile.  I throw a hard side eye to the "modern" remake they did of this, I thought it was pretty terrible.  You just can't surpass Dean and Frank, sorry.

And while I had cool and classy on the screen in front of me, I had this going on to the left of me:

Yes, that is her tongue.  Greyhounds are so elegant and all.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Race Spectating and Cinematic Adventures

What a weekend!  I am actually going to start by telling you about my race spectating experience on Sunday, then we can Tarantino it back and talk about Friday and Saturday.


Sunday was my first time ever spectating a race, and it was SO much fun!  I have been meaning to do it for years, but wanting to support my friend in her first race gave me the push I needed to finally get off my butt and do it!  I got up and had some breakfast/coffee then rolled on out to Portland.  For the record, it was so weird initially to go to a race and not actually run in it!  I stood by the start line trying to find my friend E, and it was funny to look at all the corrals from a spectator perspective and not a runner perspective.  The RnR seemed just about as crowded as the Shamrock, maybe a little less so, although it seemed a bit more organized and with better amenities.

I never could find E, so afterwards I went to stake out a good spectating spot, and found a pretty primo one where I could see the runners coming and was close to the finish line, but not so close that I would be assaulted by the speakers blaring that awful "Bang Bang" song, "Blurred Lines", and what I think is the Harlem Shake song on a loop.  It's whatever has those lyrics "to the left, to the left, to the left" that make me want to walk to the left, to the left, to the left over a cliff.  *shudder*  Seriously, I needed to cleanse myself with some Metallica after hearing that crap.  Anyway I got a good spot, though it was touch and go for a bit because some dude in a devil costume and a cowbell got in front of me and blocked my view  with his damn devil cape, even though there was a ton of space around us.  Y'all know I have personal space issues as well as sensory issues because I'm a special snowflake.  Crazy bastard was ringing that cowbell more enthusiastically than a medieval "bring out your dead" character.  Just as I was thinking, "I'm about to shove that cowbell somewhere where it shall ring no more," he packed up and moved somewhere else.  There was peace in all the land after that.

This was the sign I made, and it's a variation of another sign I saw online that said "Run like Kanye is going to give your medal to Beyonce"

It was a huge hit!  I had so many runners smile and laugh at it, which made me feel good.  I've been that person who really needed a laugh mid-race, and it truly helps when things are tough, so it felt good to give some of that back.  Several people took pictures of me with my sign, including one of the runners who stopped mid-race!

Also while I was waiting, I noticed that some Rose Festival people brought out the stupid ass roll of airport carpet that is the f'ing GRAND MARSHAL in the Rose Festival parade.  Only in Portland would they choose a dirty piece of carpet with googly eyes to be a grand marshal, sigh.  Anyway I was bored, so I took a picture with it.

Do I even need to make a mustache ride joke?  Aren't we pretty much all thinking it?  Yes?  Okay then.

There was a thing where you could track runners during the race, so I set up a tracker for E.  It picked up her 5k mark, but stopped giving alerts after that and I totally freaked out.  She has been dealing with a lot of injuries, so I was afraid that she'd had to quit or something, although she did text me at the 7 mile mark so I knew she'd made it that far.  Her husband found me and we chatted for a bit, and he confirmed that while the tracker wasn't working for him either, he'd gotten a text from her at the 10 mile mark.  I was definitely relieved, and figured it couldn't be much longer.

I finally saw my friend E coming towards me, and I probably looked like a crazy person because I started jumping up and down and squealing after standing quietly for 3 hours!  She ran up and hugged me, we had a little moment, then I started running next to her to make sure she was okay.  After confirming that she was over it all but physically okay, I peeled off so that I could go with her husband, BIL and two kids over to the family reunion area.  She got over there pretty quickly and we were able to share a longer hug and moment.  I am honestly so proud of her, she did training HER way on her terms, and she was able to make it through.  She also has two young kids and still was diligent about squeezing in her training, so talk about no excuses!  As I always say anyone can do these races, you just have to pick a training plan/system that works for you and do it!

We apparently have similar styles because she also doesn't like running with people, and the mental struggle was the worst part for her.  She says she won't ever do a half again, but I think all of us runners know how that goes.  ;)

I am so glad that I got to share part of her special day with her and support her!  I am also happy to have supported my fellow runners, and everyone should honestly spectate a race at least once.  It's a lot of fun and encouraging people will give you the warm fuzzies.  As a runner I can tell you, it really means the world for people to take time out of their day to try to cheer us on or make us laugh, especially us slow pokes in the back.


Okay, now for Tarantino moment and going back in time...first of all on Friday, I finally did it and finally hit what I've been wanting to hit for months.  I am in the 100 Club!

Today I was up to 199.8, but I am still in the doorway of the 100 Club at least.  ;)  It has been weird to see a 1 as the first number on the scale instead of a 2.  I've been in the 200s for at least the last 10 years, so it's a total mind trip.  I am not very far away from my high school weight at all, and then my goal weight isn't that far from that!  I'm thinking that 140-145 will be a good maintaining point for me.  I'm already wearing a size 12 at this weight (I was wearing an 18 mere months ago...crazy), and I don't have any big desire to be like a size 4 or anything.  I'm fairly tall and I don't want to look gaunt.  We'll see what happens.

I met Eric at the theater to see Ex Machina, and holy crap I LOVED it!!  I'm usually not a huge scifi person, but this movie was pretty amazing.  It was so methodical, brainy and creepy.  It's my definition of what a horror movie should be (not these crazy torture porn things they do nowadays), because it's completely messes with you on a psychological level.  I can't say too much more because it will spoil the plot, but I highly recommend it.  We were both saying that it is Oscar worthy due to the acting and the original script, but more than likely wouldn't be considered.


Saturday we decided to go see a totally polar opposite movie, Mad Max:  Fury Road.  I liked it but Jesus, you pretty much never get a break the entire movie.  Constant car chases and stuff blowing up, that type of thing.  I know it's the anarchist future but I could have stood for a few more quiet conversation scenes.  It's a spectacle for sure compared to the very quiet Ex Machina!  And actually I have to say, our two movie experiences were kind of Halle Bopp comet meets a unicorn.  No one brought in a screaming baby or toddler, no one texted during either movie, and not a single person whispered or talked through the movies.  (Although someone could have dropped an atomic bomb behind me in Mad Max, and I still wouldn't have heard it).  I'm usually geared up to passively aggressively stare and make snatchy comments when I go to the theater, but everyone was on their best behavior.  It's sad that I have to remark upon that but...

Oh and of course we selfied pre-movie and were trying to do our best serious Mad Max character faces.  You know, because I have SO much in common with Charlize Theron!

Afterwards we went bowling at this fancy place across the street, and unfortunately it was pretty lame.  We rarely do bowling, but played several times when we went back East.  We had so much fun that we said we need to try to do it more around here since it's generally a cheap, fun activity.  This fun center isn't like your old school bowling ally, and I honestly kind of hated it.  It probably didn't help that I'd sat through this crazy loud movie that was overstimulating, then walked into an overstimulating place with lots of lights and loudness.  We picked this package where basically you have an hour to get in as many games as you can, and you do it in this VIP area.  Apparently in the VIP area they only do cosmic bowling, which I'd never done before.

Hated it.  I thought cosmic bowling was more of a black light, glowy type thing, but this was just straight up bowling in the dark.  I couldn't see the ball or my lane, and since I am old and have horrible eyesight this was not a good thing for anyone involved.  Ever since I got my Lasik it pretty much destroyed my night vision, so all lights look like starbursts and I basically can't see.  The lanes had these weird running lights next to them, so I was pretty much bowling blind.  That coupled with the bad service and the overwhelming loudness of the place irritated us both, so I think from now on we're sticking with old school bowling places!

This Week

This week is a new challenge for my ladies group, and this one will be a piece of cake for me because the challenge is to get in 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day!  I basically do that anyway so I am all about it.  I did well with the 100 oz water challenge until the weekend and then kind of bombed.  I honestly didn't want to have to pee 700 times during the movies, and then didn't catch up at night because I didn't want to wake up 700 times to pee!  Ah well.  The challenge did illustrate that I skimp on my water a lot, so I'm going to try my best for 8 glasses (64 oz) a day.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rock N' Roll Portland

Hey everyone quick note...I will be spectating tomorrow at the Rock N' Roll half marathon in Portland.  One of my friends is running her first half marathon, and I want to be there to support her.  I have never spectated a race before, so I am pretty excited!

I am so proud of my friend (not posting her name for privacy's sake).  She emailed me a few months ago asking me if she should do this, and after some email discussions she signed up!  She has kept the fact that she's running it a secret, and despite fighting some injuries has been persistent in her training.  On top of all of that, has lost about 30 pounds!  Definitely a great thing that she's doing, and I'm excited to be able to support her.

If any of you Portlanders happen to be running that race, let me know either in the comments section or on my Facebook page.  I will be near the finish line on SW 1st between Columbia and Jefferson, so be on the lookout!  Or if you just want to spectate, you can keep me company!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gonna Bake That Chicken...

Since cooking is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to share something I did to Tuesday/today since I know sometimes it's hard to come up with ideas for easy meals you can make in bulk.

Part of my meal plan this week was to utilize one of the whole chickens I had out in the freezer and use it to make chicken salad for lunches and a pan of chicken enchiladas for dinners.  I love oven roasted chicken but for the purposes of the things I was making, I decided to do it the lazy easy way and just "bake" the chicken in the crockpot.  You just set the bird in there, salt and pepper her and let the magic of the crockpot take over.  (For inquiring minds, the magic was 7 hours on low).  The chicken cooks in its own fat/juices so it doesn't dry out, and falls off the bone for easily shredded chicken that you can use in soup, chicken and dumplings, tamales, name it.  I think theoretically you can freeze the meat, but I feel like that would dry it out pretty quickly.  It's kind of a two day deal, one day to cook/shred the chicken, another day to use it to make whatever you're making.  Well unless you are ambitious and do it all in one day.  Since I did this on a weekday, I was not ambitious.

Here lies Henny Penny.  She was a good bird.

For some reason making this chicken made me think of this clip from Golden Girls, even though I didn't stuff the chicken:

I love this clip, but I just want to scream "cross contamination, cross contamination!!!" over and over because they are handling raw chicken and touching a million other things in the kitchen.  Gives me the heebie jeebies.  Also I freaking love Blanche.  She wears heels whether she's headed to The Rusty Anchor or stuffing a chicken at 3 am.  (Seriously, why in God's name were they doing this at 3 am??)

From that one chicken I got 6 servings of cherry chicken salad (2 cups chicken breast, 1/3 cup dried cherries, 8 TB mayo and lemon juice/garlic powder/pepper to taste) for sandwiches, and I'll get about 6 servings for the pan of enchiladas I'm making.  No special recipe for the enchiladas, just a big can of green enchilada sauce, 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, green onions, shredded chicken and corn tortillas.  I just layer my ingredients lasagna style, because I just CAN'T with rolling up the tortillas.  No seriously, I can't, the tortillas break every time!

12 meals from one chicken?  Not bad my friends!

And this has nothing to do at all with chicken or cooking (you're about to get whiplash from the subject change), but as some of you know I have a HUGE lady crush on Misty Copeland.  She is absolutely gorgeous and I am enthralled with her dancing.  I'm not sure if you caught her interview on 60 Minutes the other night, but apparently on one of the nights she danced she had SIX stress fractures in one leg, yet danced one of her best performances.  She's incredible.  Anyway, I totally stalk her Instagram and this picture came up:

Isn't that just stunning?  I wish I had even a tenth of that athletic ability and grace.  I have toyed with taking the adult ballet workshops that Oregon Ballet puts on, but I am probably the least coordinated and graceful person you will ever meet, so I don't know if it's the best idea for me.  I tend to walk diagonal, trip over my own feet and run into door frames type klutzy.  Which, my slanted walking just made me think of one of my fave movies of all time, The Birdcage, and this clip.  This is pretty much my level of balance and grace some days:

RIP Robin Williams.  :(

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cooking Light, Challenges and Being Waterlogged

Yeah, here comes that whole "sorry for not posting, been busy, blah blah" statement I always make.   The truth of it is that I have been in a long term rut/funk for like 2-3 months.  Definitely have been stressed about the job thing, that's like 90% of it, the rest of it has been other random stuff that's too minuscule to even mention really.

My weight hasn't been affected at all, I am mostly still on the health path, though sometimes I meander off the path when cake or beer is involved.  I haven't gained, but I'm not really losing either, so the opportunity to be at goal by the end of summer or mid-fall is slipping away.  I'm not even in the 100 Club yet, which is so irritating but of course my own doing.  And I fully admit, I have bailed on my yoga challenge.  It's so strange to me, I used to be very passionate about yoga, and I still fully believe in it and love the benefits, but I was not passionate about this Ultimate Yogi DVD set.  In fact, I loathed it and dreaded doing it.  And it's not the same kind of dread I have before runs, but I know deep down I'll feel good during and after.  It was just dread, and I don't do dread anymore, so I stopped.

Thankfully my Lovely Ladies fitness group is all in the same kind of funk, so Tiina from One Crazy Penguin proposed a challenge to the rest of us that will last for a few weeks.  Each week there is a different challenge, This week we have to lose a half pound and drink 100 oz of water a day.  Naturally I am measuring my water in a beer glass, because...well I'm me.

I will say, it's the first time I've felt enthusiasm towards health goals for a bit.  It's fun to work towards these goals with my ladies, especially THIS group because I kind of love them.  I'm not competitive in the least, it just feels nice to have company and not feel alone.  The anticipation for the challenge and then actually drinking a bladder exploding 112 ounces of water yesterday made me get back into other habits that I know work because...

(Side note:  do you ever get the sense that all artists in the 80's just pulled the ideas for music videos out of their ass?  "Okay so random, too brightly lit tunnel and Dobermans?  Check.  Lead singer who looks like David Bowie Lite?  Check.  Let's do this!")

Yesterday I sat down and clipped coupons (saved $22 on my grocery bill bitches!), made a meal plan, went shopping and tracked all my meals in MFP.  These are things that I know work and make me feel 100% better mentally and physically, but I've been too lazy and feeling the sads to do them.  It feels good to have healthy food in the house, and there are literally no snack or dessert options other than healthier stuff (ie berries, peanut butter, popcorn, etc)  MFP was actually yelling at me last night because I didn't eat enough calories, which it's like oh HONEY, I think after last week we can call it even.  I am actually running into the same issue today, I have all my food tracked, and even with two snacks I'll be at 1000 calories, which is way too few.  Oh darn, guess I will have to sneak in a couple more things.  ;)

One thing that has helped lately is subscribing to Cooking Light magazine, and if you guys have never checked it out, you really should.  The only reason I got it is because our airline miles were going to expire for some reason, and they gave us the option of converting them into magazine subscriptions.  The list to choose from wasn't very exciting, lots of magazines that I like to put in the Snoots Magoots category:  Wine Spectator, Afar, etc.  Cooking Light was one of the options and I subscribed very halfheartedly.  Usually those types of magazines have recipes that are lame and just don't appeal to me, but I have actually been really pleasantly surprised.  The recipes are simple but creative, and as someone who cooks pretty regularly, I can tell they have been tested  pretty extensively.  Sometimes you get these recipes where it's like, did a single soul actually make this recipe, because the measurements/cooking times don't work AT ALL.  Anyway, every recipe I've tried from it has been a home run, and I've been gradually tearing out certain ones to keep in the rotation.  Last night I made a nice steak salad with these broiled Parmesan cheese tomatoes, and it was a pretty great dinner.  Lunch today is a bulgur wheat and blueberry salad, and tonight I am testing a tomato and leek pie for dinner.

Nothing more to say, so I wanted to leave off with a nice picture I took last week of me and Molly on one of our walks.  For once she doesn't look miserable to have her picture taken, and I was surprised by how thin my face looked in it.  A win all around!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

By The Numbers

I don't have anything super exciting to post today, but did want to post some stats that made me very happy and grateful this morning.

So my buckling down, earnest attempt at being a better person and living a healthier life for me began on October 13th of last year.  That's when all of this serious exercise/tracking stuff began, and I really felt that for in the first time in my life that I "got it".  For the most part I've been faithful about tracking my weight and measurements in a little notebook every week, although it's been awhile since I have done measurements.  Since the Ultimate Yogi stuff should help me tone up and lose some inches, I wanted fresh measurements so that I could compare them down the road.  I took measurements this morning and then started flipping through my notebook, and as I flipped I realized that I've come a long way.

How long you ask?  Since October 13th, 2014, I have lost 25.4 pounds, which is pretty awesome but I already knew since I record my weight weekly.  But here is the kicker, I did all the math on how many inches I've lost, and I have lost 24.5 inches total from the parts that I regularly measure.  (waist, hips, bust, upper arms, upper thighs).  I couldn't get over it, it's like, I've lost over two feet of ME.  To me it's almost more impressive than the weight and does more for my self esteem.

It's been a long road and there have been days this year that I've been pretty down, but this really boosted my spirits this morning.  That is all!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Looking Out My Back Door

Hola and hope everyone had a great weekend!  This weekend was unusually calm and quiet for us, and frankly quite wonderful.  We were both still getting over our colds and also burned out from running all over America, so to sit and pretty much do nothing was just what the doctor ordered.  The weather here was just gorgeous this weekend and we took advantage .

So I've bitched about my neighborhood before because everyone is crunched together and it's really loud.  We've also had a parade of nightmare neighbors at the house next to us, so we have not been able to enjoy our yard for about 3-4 solid years, no exaggeration.  Every year I bust my butt planting flowers and doing all this nice stuff to my yard then think to myself, "Why?  It's not like I can you know, sit out there."  But this year will hopefully be different since we had an epic throwdown on the landlord that owns the house next to us, and the nightmare of all nightmare neighbors will be moving out in a week.  It has been blissfully silent for the past week, so we did the unthinkable all weekend and...sat out in our yard.  For hours.

I literally forgot how nice it was to just sit outside, read and listen to music.  I kicked my shoes off, propped my feet up on a planter and went to town on the newspaper.  I watched the hummingbirds visit the flowers I planted.  Bees buzzed around my feet.  My honky legs got way too much sun.  Even the dog came outside and sunned herself.  And bonus, our local jazz station was live streaming some of the Jazz Fest from New Orleans!  It's like I can't even remember the last time we were able to sit out and take advantage of our yard like this, which is kind of sad but at least we're getting to do it now.

I am going strong-ish on my Ultimate Yogi challenge.  I'm adding the "ish" because as I mentioned before it is very hard for me to get past hating the flows, so there are times that I do a few of the flow sequences, then focus on holding another pose that I like.  I figure it's better to do that than to quit altogether.  Several of you mentioned that I may get past my intense disdain, but I sadly fear that I probably will not.  I've been practicing since my 20s and it's still something I can't get past.  I can somewhat deal with the sequences when they are done at a slower pace, but I absolutely cannot stand when an instructor goes through a rapid fire flow sequence that you cannot keep up with.  For me it defeats the purpose of yoga, because it does the exact opposite of calming my mind.  There is a point on the Cardio DVD for UY that I honestly just wanted to blow my brains out because of how fast it is.  The Travis guy has a very nasal, surfer-dude type voice, so I was additionally insane by the end of it because his voice is so weird.

While I can tell that I will dread that particular DVD, the other ones have been pretty good.  I actually really liked the Strength DVD since it focuses a lot more on holding positions and using your body weight to strengthen yourself, which is ultimately what I need.  I've felt really sore since I started doing the challenge, so I know that it's doing its job.  I was excited to look at the schedule today and see that today is Yin day, so at least I know that will be calming and feel really awesome.  I realized I was a dummy and didn't take measurements when I started the DVDs, so I will have to do that tomorrow!  Hopefully tomorrow is a good weigh in day!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May - The Ultimate Yogi

Whew!  Back to our regularly scheduled postings!

Here's the deal, and I'm going to be honest with you.  April and all of its goals went in the toilet, and I guess I really should have planned my goals out more appropriately in regards to our vacation.  With our vacation it was nearly impossible to get in steps and all of that due to poor weather.  So that was out of the door.  Let's not even talk about eating or tracking my food.  That didn't happen.  And while I'm happy to report that I ended the month on a loss and am at 201.2 pounds, I didn't reach my 100 Club goal either.  So yeah, poor planning on my part.

I really need a change.  Steps are good, they are important, but I'm finding that it's not an effective enough carrot to dangle for myself anymore.  As a result, I took my Jawbone off the other day and haven't really looked back.  I feel like I am not getting actual fitness like I was back from Oct-December.  I am dropping weight, but certainly not like I was, and I don't feel like my body is toned the way it was.  I just feel squishy in my tummy and thighs, and it ain't a good look.  I want to be lean and have muscle, and want to be stronger.  With all of that said, this is going to be my challenge for the next few months.

So I've mentioned Ultimate Yogi on here now and again, mainly the Yin Yoga disc that I am passionately in love with.  But really Ultimate Yogi is a program that you are supposed to do every day for 108 days.  I have owned this DVD set for 3 years or so and have never attempted to do the program or really check out many of the other discs.  The funny thing with me and yoga is that I love it, but there are certain things I hate.  I absolutely hate flows/sun salutations.  Hate them.  I would much rather hold positions, work on flexibility or focus on balance and have a more quiet, gentle, meditative experience.  One of my favorite teachers had a class that was basically her walking us through positions, and it was all very methodical and gradual.  Then there is Yin, which I adore because you basically hold certain yoga positions for 3-5 minutes at a time.  It's pretty much the greatest thing ever for someone like me who is prone to injuries, and it's also a great mental challenge to sit quietly in one position.  But with flows it's like you're rushed, your hair is all in your face, your bra is getting all catywompus, it's just a mess.  I feel like I can't catch my breath for a second.  A lot of the reason that I didn't go through this whole program is that it's all about the flows.  Yuck.

But I decided to suck it up and attempt to do this program.  For one, I need to start getting some discipline about me.  With the way this year is flying by, my marathon will be here before you know it.  I need to start sticking to a schedule/time table of sorts.  When the schedule for this is up, I will pretty much be going right into my marathon training.  So there's that.  The other thing is that I want to be lean, strong and flexible by then.  Weight training seems to not be the thing for me since I have gotten hurt repeatedly trying to do that.  I literally do not have time for injuries anymore.  Yoga always sets me straight and has never hurt me, plus I always build some fantastic muscle when I consistently do yoga.  I know some people roll their eyes at this, but yoga is a lifesaver for runners and recovering from injury.

I did the Cross Training disc yesterday (ie Day 1) and did pretty well.  So many positions are easier now that I'm thinner!  I still hate the flows but am trying to be more open minded about them.  There were points where I did my own thing with other poses that I held when Travis was directing people at light speed through a bunch of flows.  I am pretty sore today, which is good!  It's been a long time since I've felt that soreness where you realized you did something that will change your body for the better.

I don't expect to be perfect in this and I'm sure that I will miss days here and there, but for right now I'm pretty excited about this change and can't wait to see what the results are!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Vacation Part 3 - Niagara Falls/Buffalo

Last Thursday Eric was awesome enough to drive me up to Buffalo so that I could see Niagara Falls for the first time.  I wanted to split our Niagara Falls trip into a separate post since I didn't want to overload you guys with pictures, even though I kind of already have.  ;)

OMG you guys, if you have never seen the falls, you should make it a priority before you kick the bucket.  It is unbelievably beautiful there and I feel so fortunate to have experienced it.  It was FREEZING (as in your bones feel like they will shatter) and the wind was insane, but it was worth every moment.  Due to the weather barely anyone was there, which was actually a bonus!  We were only able to go on the American side because I don't have a passport, but it was gorgeous regardless.  Being near something that powerful was a complete rush, it made me feel incredibly small and it was glorious.  The pictures I took won't do it justice, mostly because it's hard to take a great picture when you are shivering.

I can see Canada from my house...

Smiling through the icy pain

The river was a beautiful blue green, which didn't totally come across in the pictures due to the cloudy day.  And as you can see it was so cold that there were huge chunks of ice at the bottom of the falls.

Afterwards we went to meet one of Eric's longtime friends at a bar called Founding Fathers in Buffalo.  Lee was one of the last friends of Eric's whom I had not met, so it was nice to finally meet him in person!  I am a really lucky woman, I can honestly say that I like every single one of my husband's friends and Lee was no exception.  We all had a great time chatting and eating.  If you are ever in Buffalo I highly recommend Founding Fathers.  The food was fantastic, I had a bowl of Italian Wedding soup that was SO good and warming after our freezing trip to Niagara!  Have you ever had this soup?  I had not and it was insanely yummy.  I didn't realize how pro tiny meatballs in broth I was until I had this soup.  I only got a cup of it plus a pastrami on rye, but kind of wished I'd just gotten a big ass bowl of the soup instead.

There was great art and memorabilia in Founding Fathers, including this really cool stained glass piece.  I wish I'd taken more pictures inside, but didn't want to be one of "those" people, especially since we were socializing with his friend!

This was actually the first time I was in Buffalo proper, and I really want to go back.  The architecture on some of the buildings was really gorgeous, but I am nerdy and like that type of stuff.  Eric pointed out the Buffalo City Hall and said they modeled the top of the building in Ghostbusters after it.  Pretty interesting stuff.  We also drove past Ralph Wilson stadium (Go Bills!), which was pretty neat.  Someday we'll have to go back to a game there!

That is just about it on the trip front, so thank you for enduring my many pictures, and I will be back to posting about health stuff now!  May definitely will be a new month filled with different challenges for me!