Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bear seems to like lollipops

So for one of our Christmas cookies we are making involves melting hard candy into stained glass window. The only way to get these candies in the right colors was to buy a bag of holiday lollipops. Well J decided he wanted a lollipop, apparently so did Bear:

Friday, December 5, 2008

What makes a Christmas cookie a Christmas cookie?

So J and I have been together 7 years this weekend. The actual date was Dec. 7th, but we met on a Friday so we started to reminisce tonight. One of the things that we brought up about that first night was that I invited J back to my parents and one of the things we had there was Christmas cookies. Once at my house, J was disappointed because he saw that the majority of the cookies in the box were the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss.

I did not know until tonight that he does not consider these cookies. I guess there was a friend of his growing up whose mom made these cookies all the time and thus he does not associate them with Christmas cookies.

So we got into the discussion of what then constitutes a Christmas cookie. He says that any butter cookie cut out or shaped like something Christmasy is a Christmas cookie. He also says that something labor intensive that is only found at Christmas time like my mom's sandbakles are Christmas cookies, but not things like the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss, or his mom's pignoli cookies or rainbow cookies. His argument is that it doesn't matter if they are made at Christmas, or the majority of the time that you see them, it is the Christmas season, they have to be "Christmas Cookies" to be a Christmas cookie - weak argument in my opinion.

So what do you think signifies a cookie as a Christmas cookie? What cookies are there that if you saw them at another time of year would you feel was out of place? Do you think the peanut butter cookie with the Hershey kiss is a Christmas cookie by your definition? Our waitress at the bar tonight couldn't make a clear definition of what she felt a Christmas cookie was, but she did feel that the peanut butter cookie was a Christmas cookie. The chocolate chip cookie and the oatmeal cookie - definitely not! What do you think?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Question: Where do you get a Christmas Tree in the Middle of the City?

Answer: The back patio of one of your local restaurants

I know, it was bizarre to me as well. J and I went to dinner tonight (Basi Italia) since I wasn't in the mood to cook, we hadn't eat out in awhile, and J's mom gave us a gift certificate back in July that we had been saving until Basi was serving their winter menu because we both agree it is much better. As we were about to go in I saw a sign about Christmas trees and smelled a fire burning. I walked toward their back patio, a place that in the summer is great for drinks and makes you feel like you are in your friend's back yard and their were Christmas trees, just like you'd see at the hardware store parking lot. I had just been telling my dad that I wasn't sure where we were going to get our Christmas tree this year and if we were going to cut one down. I stated that I hadn't seen any for sale and didn't even know the alternative to not cutting one down. Then there was the alternative - your one stop shop, dinner and a tree. Needless to say, we didn't buy a tree.

We aren't even sure if we are getting a tree this year. There are only 2 weekends before we go home for Christmas - this weekend in which we buy/decorate the tree and the week after to enjoy the tree. Part of me feels very attached to getting a tree. Since we have been together we only didn't get a tree once (that was the year we got engaged) and it was harder to get into the Christmas spirit. Another year we go it, put lights on it and never decorated it. Another letdown. It would be different if all our Christmas stuff wasn't over in storage and it didn't recall having to go through a process to get it or if we weren't going home for over 2 weeks and we could enjoy it. Part of me wants to save the hassle/money/time etc, but I hate the lack of Christmas. Plus, I love hanging stockings by the fireplace. I even bought special hooks this year. Maybe I will take the time to do Christmas cards instead - or maybe not?


J wore one of his new blazers tonight. He actually wore it out of laziness. He was just wearing jeans and a sweater but thought he should dress up more for dinner. He added a blazer a walla - more dressed up. Actually he looked very cute and dressed up. I was impressed. He looked like a grown up!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hocking Hills revisited

So this weekend J and I returned to the Hocking Hills area of Ohio. This trip, the weather was much colder and we went for the weekend and not just the day. We also left the dog at home. Good idea! We stayed in the MacBeth croft at Glenlaurel. It was a beautiful place to stay with great food and welcoming staff. We would recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic weekend away. It was nice that we were able to get it all there - dinner, breakfast, massages, etc. It was nice not to have to worry about finding dinner or anything like that. Very nice.

Another great part of our weekend, and the primary reason we wanted to go back to Hocking Hills was the Hocking Hills Canopy ToursThey were more fun than we expected. Our guides Ben and Troy were fun. I even temped to go without hands, eyes closed and spinning around. This is all big for me who can sometimes be a bit of a "fraidy" as J likes to call me. Needless to say, we will be making another trip back in the spring when they reopen for next season. Its only an hour from our house, so yet another excuse for anyone who wants to visit us in sunny, funny Ohio! Enjoy for pictures from our fun:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Benefits of TNT

So when I joined Team in Training, I joined because of a person and a cause. I felt it was my way of doing something. I also thought, hey this is the only way I will ever get through a marathon and I'd really like to be able to do it sometime. What I never thought I'd get out of those four months is people. I guess I never went to the info. sessions and heard the stories. I saw pictures on the website, but I figured those were people who went into it together and were celebrating where they were on the other end. I never thought that they might not have been together from the beginning.

I remember my first run, that first Sunday morning at the McConnell Heart Health Center (MHHC), standing near a few people who appeared to be near my age as they talked about how in a few months these practices will take us all day and how they (like me) have no idea how they will be able to run 8 miles, let alone 26.2. They also said they weren't sure if they would run the full or the half (they ran the full). I thought, OK, I've got a lot in common with these people.

Then they ran. I was no where near their league. I found myself closer in speed to the fat old men or the little old ladies or the walkers for that matter. By the time I got back to the MHHC those people who in the beginning of the morning I thought I might have something in common with had already gotten in their cars and headed home. When was I supposed to bond with them?

Honestly, I have no idea when I did. Kevin and I started to talk at a golf outing. We had breakfast together another time with Brittini and J. We met up at a bar during an OSU game. We talked before practice. But I can't really tell you that there was anything significant or any one time that made it so these people are ones that I care about and treasure.

All I know was that sitting there, drinking a beer or two on Tuesday night with Brittini, Lynn and Kevin (those same people that I stood near that first day at MHHC)...I realized that TNT gives you more than the confidence to finish a marathon. It gives you what you put into it. It gave me people who I care about, people who I think about, people who I pray for, people who I can call and have a beer with, cry with, or hang out with.

I wouldn't have finished a marathon without Team in Training, heck I probably wouldn't have even started one, but I also wouldn't have some special people in my life that mean more to me than the 26.2 miles that I ran.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween - or lack thereof

I love Halloween. We've had some great parties (now is normally when I would insert some pictures, but my computer is still in limbo) and I love to see all the creative costumes of kids and adults. This year though was such a letdown. Halloween was on a Friday. You'd expect we would have done something. Instead I ran a 5k (finished in 30:17 - very proud of myself) and we had burgers at a very crowded bar. No trick-or-treaters. No candy. No costumes. No pictures. No parties. Nothing. We saw some costumes while walking around in the hood and I've looked through plenty of Facebook albums, but its just not the same.

Maybe next year we will have a reason to dress up...maybe!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back in the sadle...

So I am running my first post marathon race tomorrow night. I hadn't signed up for it but I asked a few TNT running friends if they were interested and since they agreed I will be running the Fright Nite 5k in Gahanna tomorrow night. It will be good for me to keep up my running. I would like to do it in under 35 min. I think I can increase my speed knowing that I am only running 3 miles. I know, kinda sick that I am saying only 3 miles.

J is on the phone right now with a friend talking about our plans for tomorrow and how I will be running a 5K and then we will be going out. After my first 5K I thought I needed a big carb loading breakfast and that I'd just completed the race to end all races. Here I am about to do another one and thinking to myself - this is nothing. I will barely break a sweat. It will be fun to reminisce with Brian, Kevin and Nikki about our first 5K together. I had no idea who Kevin was, Nikki flew past us, Brian couldn't run more than 2 miles and I had to go back and walk him in after I finished. In the end Brian beat both Nikki and myself in the marathon. Its amazing how far we've all come as runners.

My mom even pulled the I told you so with me tonight. I told her that I ran yesterday and that I would run in a race tomorrow and the first thing she said was "I knew it. I knew you weren't done with running." I never said I was going to be done with running. It was just marathons that I feel that I am done with. I can't imagine running another one of those. But after a baby, I may have new goals for myself. I keep thinking triathlon.... That is post baby though (knock on wood).
Tomorrow we have a department meeting. Our first since I've been there. I have become the go to person to help people with many things. I even designed what I think will be the LOGO for the new cafe that opens next month. Me - designing a logo for an actual establishment? You've got to be kidding me! It only took like 5 minutes. No big deal. I will send pictures when It gets made and actually used :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting back into things

So I ran on the treadmill (it was too cold to run outside) for the first time since the marathon. I actually used an incline (which I never did while training). It was only a 1, but at least it was something and I kept my pace at a 5.5 (which is a 10:54 mile). I only ran for 3.2 miles (to ensure that I could do a 5K if I wanted since that is what started this whole crazy running idea). It felt good. I am still amazed at myself that I am that person who runs on a treadmill for a workout. I just have to get back into something. I am thinking about doing a 5K on Friday night. I'd really like J to do it with me, and we could just walk it. We could bring the dog, it would be a fun, different thing to do on Halloween. I just don't want to loose this stamina and ability to run 3 miles without feeling like it was torture. I have come so far since March and I'd like to keep it up.

BTW - is anyone else shocked that its Nov. on Saturday?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Looking for some time off

So since the marathon, all I've wanted is some time to relax. Obviously, a week and a half later I am still looking for that time. After my family left on Monday, we had 2 days to turn the house around and guests returned on Thursday. We had people in town for an awesome weekend (another post later) until I dropped them off at the airport at 5AM yesterday. Then last night I had to run to Target, then to a fundraiser and home around 8. Tonight I just want to do nothing at home. Make a simple, yummy dinner, and just hang out. I guess we will watch baseball since the game was delayed from last night, but at least I can relax. Now just trying to get out of a fundraiser I am supposed to go to tomorrow.

BTW - still no laptop (you get what you pay for in terms of service) so that is why there are still no photos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Post Marathon News

So I finished! My actual chip time was 5:43 (very proud of myself for my first marathon). I was hoping for 5:30, but in all actuality, based on my half marathon and 20 mile results, that was right on target. I was doing great (under a 12:00 pace) for the first 13 miles, but it was just a long hard road up past campus and I lost a lot of time in the second half. All of my body parts are intact. No need to go to an orthopedist or a chiropractor (I think). So those are things I can be proud of.

Another other goal of mine that were met was that I beat Heidi at Life in Pink (I did not post a link to her blog b/c I don't really want her to know that was one of my goals). I read her blog and usually enjoy it, but one time when relating some info. to her about running in Connecticut she was snotty with me about my advice so it became a secret goal of mine to beat her and I did by ten minutes so that was a little inner battle that I won. I never posted that goal, in case I didn't beat her-no one would know I had failed, but I had told a few friends.

As for running another marathon - no, I don't think I am doing another one. Its not that fun to have your body ache in those ways. I am glad to say I've done it and I will miss the schedule and the camaraderie that comes with the training group, but I really think I am just done. I would like to run 5Ks and such and maybe work to improve those times, but I will let that be a spring/summer thing. Its just to cold and it gets dark to early to continue this schedule and training. I will consider a sprint distance triathlon though. Now I just need to get in a pool and start swimming again.

On another note about the weekend, the night before the event I went to a Team in Training pasta party that helped to put things into perspective. Life isn't about things, its better to give than receive and its so important to share what you have with others. My family surprised me by coming to the event. They all put up a fight in different ways to make the weekend special for us as a family and to ensure that they were there for me. It made such a difference and I am so thankful for every mile that my mom and sister were there screaming their heads off for me. Their voices gave me the extra strength to get me to the finish.

Again, thank you to all those that supported me. I love you all! Pictures will follow in a few days - FYI my laptop is in the process of being fixed so I that is why my posts are infrequent.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tomorrow I Run

Tomorrow is the actual marathon. All my training is over. Tomorrow my body just takes over and does what it is supposed to do. Last night I put the names of those I am celebrating and remembering on my jersey. I celebrate - DANA MAZZARELLA, TYLER ALFRIEND and TALAT BUKARI that they are fighting to win everyday and that their win continues each day. I have more that I am remembering though. I will run in honor of their fight and their stuggle and most of all their memory to me and those that love and miss them each day - CATHY GREY, TOM KERLEY, JON WARDRIP, LOLA, AARON & LYNN GIOACCINNI.

While I am running I will be reminded that this isn't hard - fighting cancer - thats hard!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One week away

I can't believe that one week from today I will have (should have) completed my first marathon. Thats only seven days away. So one of the more important things to a runner, the thing that they have no control over is the weather. According to, Sunday's weather here is Columbus is supposed to be:

NE 7 mph
Max. Humidity:
7:47 AM ET

I can live with that! I will be starting to run before sunrise - the race starts at 7:30 AM.

Now I just need to get to bed early this week, drink lots of water and be sure not to hurt myself!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh, how I love to see those signs

Not one, but two different gas stations that I have driven by in the last 24 hours have gas prices at $2.99/gallon. Do you realize how happy this makes me? I am not totally sure why as I don't have to buy gas all that often and J's company pays for his gas. Its just that $4.00/gallon hurt and $2.99 feels better. I'll try to take a picture of it for you in NY because I am sure you don't believe it.


BTW - I got my TNT jersey last night for the big race. I ca't believe its almost a week away! Let me know if you want me to add a heros name onto the back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Birthday To YOU!

I just want to wish a very happy birthday to my husband. I love you hun!

Things you only see on a college campus and the weird thing about Yoga

Things you only see on a college campus: While running through the OSU campus yesterday (the first time since the students came back) I got to see some people do things that you only see on campus...a group of guys all running together, with their backpacks, clearing pledging a fraternity, with their token foreign exchange student in the back of the pack...and a group of people have leap frog races up the sidewalk while someone video tapes the fun. It makes me smile while I run.

The weird thing about Yoga: Downward dog is a resting pose - WTF. There is nothing relaxing or resting in that pose. It is hard work! More about Yoga later...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Its Been Awhile

So I'd like to say that I have a good reason for not posting in over a week. I could come up with a few:

  • work got busy
  • in-laws came to town
  • had to clean house (see excuse above)
  • running 20 & 14 mile weekends and 8 mile weekdays
  • volunteering with JL
  • starting Yoga class
  • new season of TV

But really I was just lazy. I kind of forgot. While I run I come up with some great posts. They just don't usually translate into much once I am back at home. I am in a weird state right now though. I am trying to figure out what to do with myself fitness-wise once the marathon is over (only 11 days!). I even found myself looking up beginner sprint distance triathlon training programs this morning. It would be a good thing to do in the winter - an excuse to join the gym even. The training plan called for 5 days a week. I don't know if I am that dedicated. If we had a stationary bike, then I could do the run/cycle portion at home in front of the TV and only have to go to the gym for the swim part. That could work for me this winter. Now I have to see if there are any sprint triathlons in the area? Any at home so my family can actually see me race for once? Are triathlons as forgiving to slowpokes like myself as marathons are? hmmmm

This is why I haven't written in awhile. Thoughts just come out and are a messy flood. Too many questions, not enough time to sort out all the answers. What I need is just some time off to recoup, and then I will sign up for my next race.....:)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Keep Telling You I Need to Move Home

The result of my blogthings quiz asking what state I should live in:

You Should Live in Connecticut

If you don't want to live in Connecticut, you might also consider:

New York

North Carolina




Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Autumn Test - The Results Were Pretty Acurate

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find hard work to be the most comforting thing in the world. You like the feeling of accomplishing something.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.

The Pros and Cons of a Running Partner

So I have been running three times a week for 4 months now and so days I run by myself and some days I run along side some one else. For me, my personal preference is to run as part of a group but alone. Here are the pros and cons of this relationship for me:

  • Someone to talk to
  • Someone to pace yourself with
  • Someone to complain about "why are you running, how much running sucks and how damn hot it is" (sorry for the language, but those are the things we say)
  • A great way to learn about someone (for some reason you share a lot intimate info while running)
  • A feeling of safety (you don't worry about that noise in the woods or the creepy guy walking the other direction when someone else is with you)


  • You feel obligated to keep pace (no matter what your strength, pain, comfort level is that day, you feel obligated to keep up)
  • You feel obligated to slow down (our partner needs to walk, stop for water, use the port-a-potty, etc you feel like you should wait for them

Now although the pros far outweigh the cons, the two cons are so big. For example, last weekend (and I know it was really hot) I ran with a partner. Some who I've run with before and always enjoy running with. Well, last week neither of us were motivated to run, so we both walked more than we should and finished 18 miles in 4 hours (today I did 16 in 3:17 - much more realistic). Today though, he decided to run solo (fine with me). He started out way faster than I feel comfortable with (I usually start out very slow as to sustain my energy) an of course by mile 12 or 13 he was walking. He finished at least 15-20 min after me (I had already completed my stretches).

But there were many times today that if someone had said to me, lets walk I would have. Instead I ran all 16 miles without stopping for water, the bathroom, the water stops (I bring it with me) or the need to walk. I sure had a desire, but I knew that I could make it all 16 miles and that it was all in my head to get over the mental hurdle and run the whole thing. In the end, I am very glad that I did and proud of yet another run under my belt! Next Sunday is the long 20 mile race - the peak of my training schedule. I'll have to admit, I am a bit scared and nervous for next week. Lets just hope for cool temps and cloudy skies!

Friday, September 19, 2008


There have been many great things that have returned or will return in the past/future 24 hours. My power returned, my good mood returned, Bear's energy (not always such a good thing) returned, my husband will return home from his business trip in less and 45 min and my bff will again make a trip from CT, via Cleveland to spend just a few short hours with me.

This time we will not just be having lunch, going to target and watching the boys play video games. We will be heading up to the OSU v. Troy football game. This is not really a return though, since neither J or I have ever actually been to an OSU football game in the year we've lived here in CBUS.

I hope that there will be a return of a clean house, a day where I can sleep in and cool weather all also in my near future - some things in life I have more control of than others.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Enough Already

So today was the day that I got fed up. I am tired of doing this alone. I am tired of hauling my stuff back and forth and being in someone's way. I am tired of walking around in the morning with a flashlight, picking out my clothes, feeding the dog, finding shoes. I am tired of buying my coffee and my breakfast. I am tired of not being able to just relax about it. I just want to come home, sit on the couch and not do anything but watch tv or play on the computer or put a DVD in. I am just plain sick of this power outage.

I am sure my frustration is also because for the third week in a row, J is on a business trip. He was absolutely miserable while he was home for the past three weeks, because he didn't want to leave and I used all my will power to keep him happy and amused. Thus he drained a lot of the energy from me. Now that he is away he is having a great time, fully scheduled and not able to talk except for the few minutes before dinner, or while getting dressed or while I am tired to say goodnight. That leaves me to do everything from taking care of the dog, to cleaning the house to rescheduling my life. Today I just broke down about it. I cried. I got it out! I could never make it as a single mom, even to just my dog. I give credit out there to all those who do it. I just am not that tough.

And I just found out that I will not have power until Saturday! UGH!! I hate AEP Ohio! They originally tell me Wed. by 8 pm, now its sometime on Saturday! I have most certainly had enough already.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Still Without Power

So there is still no power at my house - 48 hours after the storm blew through. I should not complain as there are 400,000+ other central Ohioans also without power. I am also very grateful that I have an incredibly generous network of friends here in Ohio that have offered use of their freezers, bed, showers, laundry machines, etc for me to share. I couldn't be more thankful of this extended family that I have formed here in the last year. It is during times like this that you learn who these people are and how special they are in your lives.

Tonight I will be sleeping at home but eating some things from the freezer and cooking at a friend's house. Hopefully tomorrow I will be fully functioning back in my own home. My husband though will not be happy with the fact that my house is still a mess - sorry no lights to see what I am cleaning and no power to work the vacuum!

Monday, September 15, 2008

So much to blog about - so little power

This blog was previously titled - Ohio Fall = Horrible humidity

So let me wrap up a few things. We have no power. M phone (at my house doesn't work), my Internet is obviously down and J is of course AWAY! I also have a new found day off because my office has no power either and thus I get to spend the morning here at Panera, drinking loads of coffee, charging my phone and my laptop and checking my email till my heart's content. All this extra makes for a very happy me!

A very unhappy me this weekend was the me that ran 18 miles on Saturday. The humidity was so gross and the temperature so hot that I was miserable. I wasn't able to run as I had hoped to. I had to walk more than I wanted to and my time (all four hours of it) was more than I wanted it to be. Saturday was far from ideal running conditions. To make matters worse, I tried to run in at 6:30 but had to wait until 8 because of the thunderstorms.

Saturday evening was entertaining but not surprising in that the OSU Buckeyes got clobbered by the USC Trojans. Only true die-hard Buckeye fans did not except this to come. Those without Buckeye blinders on knew that we were going to lose and lose big.

I just look forward to this coming weekend when Marci comes back to visit and this time we get to go into the shoe and see an actual game inside the stadium. She is the only one of the three of us who won't be wearing an OSU shirt, but she said she will search around this week for some scarlet and grey to wear. I BTW picked up a Pryor jersey this weekend and will be excited to support the future of the Buckeyes.

So, for the rest of the day, I will be sitting at home, enjoying my book and maybe picking up some extra D cell batteries for the other flashlight in my house. Hopefully AEP will repair the wire that is hanging down across our street and I won't have to throw out the contents of my refrigerator. Cross your fingers with me!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

You gotta love an ice bath

So first off, I apologize that I haven't updated all week. I started a new job and don't know what to write about. I don't want to write about all the funny personalities at work and thus I really had nothing to blog about, especially since J was away and I didn't cook.

So today I ran 16 miles. Yes, I ran all 16 miles, including the footbridge that I hate. I made a brief stop around mile 12 to refill my water, but in all, I ran for just over 3 hours and covered 16 miles of ground. Only 10 more to complete the marathon. Good thing its over a month away. Next week I run 18 miles - ugh! The ease of my running was aided by the beautiful, cool morning with little sun, and even a bit of rain. The last four miles were aided by the thoughts of an ice bath.

I came home (after breakfast) filled the tub and dumped in the ice from our ice maker and then J brought home a bag of ice from the grocery store. It was painfully cold, but oh so nice. It kept me pain free, until about now, when I am starting the feel the pain after sitting for awhile and then getting up to climb the stairs.

On a more personal note, the laundry is happily running in the next room, the recycling has been taken to the park, dinner is complete and ready to eat whenever we want and I can happily enjoy my beer and my sports on TV - too bad Time Warner Central Ohio is not showing Bret Farve in his new uniform and the rest of the Jets. I can just watch it online.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My GRAS comes to an end...

So Labor day always ends my ...gras. It's a family thing. J definitely tried to make up for forgetting my birthday last year. Friday nigh we had my favorite dinner - steak, baked potato, and creamed spinach (although I made the spinach) and of course - birthday cake! Which J made by himself! Very impressed. His first time since we've been together. I was very proud of him.

Saturday I ran 8 miles and then we drank with our neighbors and went to Little Bar with them. Where I saw some running friends and had fun. We then went to Bodega with other friends and home to nap. J left to "walk the dog" but I found him asleep on the couch when I got home 15 minutes later, dog not walked. We stayed in the rest of the night - a good call.

Sunday we had a great brunch at Sage and then did some shopping for our dinner at Weilands. Dinner was cheese and wine at Schiller Park for a play in the park. We saw Cyrano and J said, "I am surprised by how many people are here. I thought it would be us and like 7 other people." Clearly he didn't think other people liked culture or that the plays in the park have been going on for 27 years and thus it must be well attended. He also commented on how the average age of the audience was close to our age and not our parents and that led to the comment - "We must be getting old." You man are old, me I am still in my 20's! Young and youthful.

Finally, today we went to the annual Greek Fest - very uneventful and disappointing. I'm glad we didn't pay to get in. Then we relaxed at home while I read my book, sat n the sun while I could still take the heat and then went to a simple dinner at The Rossi. Now we are getting ready to watch 21, Tivo the Prison Break primere and get to bed around 11. It is my first day at my new job tomorrow and I need to be up at 6:30 to walk the dog.

All in all, a nice last weekend of summer!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

So here I am - 29. Its going to be my last year in my 20s and I hope to accomplish a lot this year. I am working on many of those things but here are just a few. Kind of like a New Years resolution, because after all it is a new year of ME. I know I am a bit obsessed with me right now, but today is the only day I get to be. Birthdays are always a day to be selfish and self absorbed. Its the fun of it! OK, so back to my list of things I hope to accomplish this year before I turn the dreaded 30 - I know oh so old (J/K)!
  • Run a marathon - I am well on my way with my training and am scheduled in just over a month, but its still a goal
  • Continue some sort of regular running schedule after the marathon is over. I have never been this dedicated to exercising in my entire life. I have worked out now 3 days a week for 4-5 months and am proud of myself for it. I just don't want to loose my good habits when I don't have a schedule or a reason. Maybe I'll train for another one - haha!
  • Enjoy change - I am starting a new job on Tuesday and its a totally new thing. I am working as a grants coordinator and it is a bit frightening to me. I have no experience, no knowledge and I am afraid of failure. Its a change and I just want to embrace it and enjoy it.
  • Go to an OSU football game - this might be crossed off this weekend (cross your fingers)
  • Get pregnant - I know this is easier said than done and its more in the fate of biology than anything, but I will cross my fingers and hope that by this time next year my belly is bigger and not because I am not training for a marathon.
  • Decluter - We have so much junk and I want to get rid of some of it, I am just so lazy about this task. I would love to be more on top of it.
  • Travel to someplace new - we are going to CA for a wedding but I also want to go someplace else. It doesn't have to be exotic, just someplace I've never been before. Like this year it was Nashville. Next year hopefully - Texas....

Ok, that's enough goals for now...reasonable, not totally measurable, but I will give myself time to plan, do, and reflect - oh teaching has taught me so much about goal setting. Now back to that teaching thing. Today is the last day for awhile - so sad!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The smell of fresh baked bread

I'm not talking about the smell of dad's honey wheat of mom's pumpkin and chocolate chip. I am talking about the Wonder bread factory. We only live a few blocks from it and a few times a month when the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell the bread baking. Its always late in the afternoon and the smell is divine. For some reason, today the smell was especially lovely. It made me want to go buy some Nutella and break open a jar of peanut butter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Training Update

We are now exactly 2 months away from the big marathon. Training is going great and better than ever. I am able to run for over two hours without stopping and surprising myself. I would not still be training (I would have given up long ago) if I was not doing this for a cause and because so many of you have supported me. For that I thank you. You keep me motivated and going strong. I am not going to qualify for the Boston marathon with my speed but I will cross the finish line, before they tell me to clear the course.

Here is how I am doing. I completed a 10 mile race a few weeks ago in just over 2 hours. This qualified me as second in my category - I am an Athena if you are familiar with the running world. I am running a half marathon this Sunday and then on Sept. 28th, I will run my longest distance before the actual marathon - a 20 mile race.

I practice 3 days a week, short runs (6 miles now and 8 miles closer to the marathon) on Tuesday and Thursday nights and a long run on either Saturday or Sunday. Columbus is a great place to train for a first time marathon b/c there are great places to run and a lot of training runs available to race.

Let me not forget though, why I am doing this and why I chose Team in Training. Please continue to read on about the stories of those close to me. For they are the real reason I am running this marathon!

For more information, please see my fundraising page

Monday, August 18, 2008

Whip it Up - Week #7: Smoky Shrimp and Parmsean-Polenta Cakes

So normally when I get Cooking Light, I always find a few recipes I want to try. This month wasn't such a hot month for recipes. A lot of the magazine had Asian dishes that require a sauce or sauces that I don't use all that frequently. I would buy them if I knew for sure I would like the recipe and make it again, but I don't always like to take that kind of risk. Also, J doesn't LOVE Asian food, unless its sushi, so I am especially hesitant to try something new on him.

So in this month's issue (The Sept. '08 issue) I found Smoky Shrimp and Parmesan-Polenta Cakes. There is no link to the recipe b/c apparently they don't post new recipes in the year they were printed - hmm...interesting. After looking over the ingredients I realized I actually had everything (don't ask about why we had a tube of polenta. Just know it involves J and grocery shopping - enough said.) Also it seemed like things we like - shrimp, polenta, fresh we were good to go. J and I had each done over a half hour on the Wii fit and we were hungry.

So here is the recipe (good thing its not long b/c I have to type it all in myself - ugh!)


1 T olive oil
1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/4 C dry white wine
1 T chopped fresh chives
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 t Spanish smoked paprika (we just used regular paprika)
1 17-oz. tube polenta, cut into 8 (1/2 inch) slices
cooking spray
8 teaspoons marinara sauce
8 teaspoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Here's what you do:
  1. Preheat broiler
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan; saute 3 minutes or until done, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in wine, chives, juice, and paprika, tossing to coat. Keep warm.
  3. Place polenta slices on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each slice with 1 teaspoon sauce and 1 teaspoon cheese; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Place 2 polenta slices on each of 4 plates, top each serving evenly with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Question time:
Was the recipe easy to follow? It was only 3 steps. How hard could it be? Well, I almost messed up the shrimp and white wine step. At first I thought I had to add the wine, chives and paprika to the pan, but then I read on and realized I should just add it to the removed shrimp. Ok, problem solved.

Did the dish taste good? As J said, it wasn't memorable. I think that pouring the wine and paprika sauce that was leftover onto the shrimp and polenta was overkill. I also could have done without the marinara sauce (although without either it might have been dry).

Would you ever make it again? I may try it again just to try to improve upon it, but with so many good recipes and so many new ones to try, why waste the time.

Try it and let me know how it turns out.....

The Omnivore's One Hundred - as seen at Columbus Foodie

So I saw this at Columbus Foodie and couldn’t help myself. I love stuff like this. This was created by Andrew at Very Good Taste actually looked interesting.
Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

* J put a star next to things he has tried because he likes things like this.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison *
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros *
4. Steak tartare *
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding *
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush *
11. Calamari *
12. Pho *
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart *
16. Epoisses - ? Maybe
17. Black truffle *
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - ? Maybe
19. Steamed pork buns *
20. Pistachio ice cream *
21. Heirloom tomatoes *
22. Fresh wild berries *
23. Foie gras *
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper
27. Dulce de leche *
28. Oysters
29. Baklava *
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas *
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut *
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar *
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O *
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail *
41. Curried goat *
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk (I had it when it was made into cheese - does that count)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more *
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala *
48. Eel *
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone *
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal *
56. Spaetzle *
57. Dirty gin martini *
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (we just call them gravy fries - so yes)*
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores *
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake *
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain *
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho *
72. Caviar and blini *
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie *
78. Snail *
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini *
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict *
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef *
86. Hare *
87. Goulash *
88. Flowers *
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam *
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish *
95. Mole poblano *
96. Bagel and lox *
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee *
100. Snake

J and I have tried a lot of things on the list. Another trip to Asia and we could knock them all off practically. What about you?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I ran 14 miles today!

Yes, you read that right, 14! Make it even cooler was I ran it in 2:38 (I know that's what the Olympic men finished their entire marathon last night ) but it was great for me. I think I might be able to run the half marathon in 2:30 next weekend. That would be a great goal and a great accomplishment for me.

So to describe the run, it wasn't horrible. It was long and I did sweat - A LOT, but it seemed manageable. Could I have done another 12.2 - not yet, but I'm working on it. I got to the end before some others who always finish before me (they stopped at the water stops) and that made me really proud.

Running is boring to watch though. I tried to watch the Olympic marathon last night and I just couldn't do it. I feel bad that I am making J follow me around to cheer me on in October. He is going to be so bored!


Funny side note - this morning when I got up, J sat up and I told him to go back to sleep. He looked at the clock and said, no, its OK, I have to get up soon. He thought it was Monday morning not Sunday. I love when he does cute, funny things like that. Its probably b/c we had such a nice relaxing day at home yesterday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Baby's Sick

So last night J and I experienced just a small taste of what its like to have a sick baby. Bear is very sick. He has this horrible cough, that we are treating as kennel cough. It causes him to cough really hard.

Well last night this coughing woke him up - A LOT. To make it even worse, the coughing would occasionally cause him to need to hack stuff up. Well, he knows that our bed isn't the place to do this so he kept jumping down off the bed and then back on to try to fall asleep again. This up and down and loud hacking caused J and I to wake up - OFTEN. I know this is nothing compared to a sick human baby, but that's why we have Bear, he's getting us ready.

Hopefully the antibiotics and hydrocodone (BKA - vicodin) will help him get over this pain soon enough...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whip it Up - Week #6: Pioneer Woman's Crispy Yogurt Chicken

So I love the cooking, pictures and recipes that the Pioneer Woman makes. Her food always makes me drool. So today I had no plan for dinner and the recipe for Crispy Yogurt Chicken looked good and I was up to finally try one of her recipes. I think driving by all the farms this weekend in KY and TN made me think of her and her life and how I can't believe she left the life of a city for the life of a farm...but that's another post.

So I didn't take pictures of my process in making this because Ree just did and her pics are way better than any I could ever put on this site (at least now) and I will let you go see her pics there. If you did not see this recipe originally or you haven't ever gone over to the Pioneer Woman, I strongly suggest you do - its so much fun to see how someone lives such a totally different life.

So here is her recipe - I edited out some of her comments but left some of them in. I added in some of my own, those are in blue.


Chicken (I used legs, but any piece of chicken will do), Plain, Unflavored Yogurt, Garlic, Parsley, Lemon Juice, Salt, Butter, and Panko Bread Crumbs.

  • Begin by throwing 2 cups of plain yogurt into a mixing bowl.
  • Now peel a couple of cloves of garlic. And mince them very finely.
  • Now throw the garlic in with the yogurt. Now grab some parsley. It gives a nice, fresh flavor to the chicken.
  • Chop the parsley finely. Then throw it into the yogurt. Give the mixture a little stir.
  • Now cut a lemon in half. Then squeeze in the juice, stirring well to combine. My lemon was very juicy - we'll see if that effects the taste at all
  • Now go thoroughly rinse the chicken, and salt it well.
  • Pour some Panko breadcrumbs into a second bowl. I start with about 2 cups.
  • Salt the breadcrumbs just to give them a little more flavor.
  • Now, in final preparation for our landing, go ahead and butter a baking dish. First, place the chicken, one at a time, into the yogurt mixture. Turn it over to thoroughly coat. Then roll in the Panko breadcrumbs. They’ll adhere really well—just make sure to coat all the areas of the chicken thoroughly.
  • Repeat until all the chicken is breaded and place in the buttered baking dish.
  • Then, place a slice of butter over the large part of the chicken. This is a very important step, as the Panko breadcrumbs tend to get pretty dry without the moisture of the butter. (I used butter spray to cut down on the calories).
  • Now cover in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, removing foil for the last 15 minutes to allow it to get nice and golden. I actually had to bake mine for almost 1 hour 15 minutes this time, so be prepared to keep going until it’s nice and golden and sizzling. You’ll want the breading on the underside of the chicken not to be soft and mushy, so pay attention to it.
  • Serve it with a big, green salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing. I did not make the dressing. I just served it with a salad with Gorgonzola, dried cranberries, red onions, and candied rosemary walnuts from the Green Grocer at North Market - I love these things!

Question time:

Was the recipe easy to follow? Because the Pioneer Woman does such a great job taking pictures and breaking down the recipe visually, yes it was totally easy to follow. I didn't include her pictures and if you decide to make it, go to her site and follow her directions.

Did the dish taste good? It was OK, a bit soggy even though I cooked it for well over an hour. I think I used too much yogurt.

Would you ever make it again? Probably not, but I'm glad I tried it. I have it for leftovers tomorrow if I want to eat it again.

Nashville, TN

So for our summer vacation we took a trip down to Nashville, TN for a long weekend. We aren't huge country fans - frankly J hates country but we went anyway. We ate a ton of great food and experienced some of the things you just had to see in Nashville. We also got to drive through Kentucky - a first for me. There is no need to go back - its pretty boring! Here is a recap of our trip in photos:J loved these motorcycles...the cruisersThe corn at the gas station we stopped atDinner Thursday night at Watermark. That's the Nashville skyline in the background.Our first big Nashville landmark, the Ryman AuditoriumWe didn't sing on stage, but J did play a littleWe stopped for drinks and listened to some music. Too bad J doesn't like or know any country music.A few humorous shots from around the bar...The Wildhorse Saloon was closed for a private partyDinner on Saturday at LimeAmos Lee in concert - my third time and I still love the guyThe porch of the Belle Meade plantationJ just likes the rocking chairOur visit to the Opryland Hotel...the Disneyland of TennesseeThis is one of those living statue ladies except instead of being gold or silver, she is dressed like vines and has extended limbs. She was very cool - remember this is inside the hotel - think the mall area of Cesar's Palace in Vegas.This is the waterfall and we are at the bar that rotates within the atrium at the Opryland hotel.Then I convinced J that we really needed to take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry. A Nashville tradition. Don't ask who any other these people are. I didn't know any of them, except the girl at the end. You should all recognize her."Giddyup - Rawhide"Your American Idol winner - Carrie Underwood. J hoped she would sing the Heart song she sang in American Idol, but much to our dismay she only sang songs from her albums - none of which we knew. She was so real though. During commercials she shook hands with fans and signed autographs. One fan even gave her a poster and she joked that she didn't have pockets so she didn't have a pen and someone lent one to her. She even posed for a few pictures for people in the front rows as she walked offstage at the end.

At that ended Saturday night. Sunday was an awesome brunch at Margot's and then the 6 hour drive home. Now I just enjoy my last few days as an unemployed person, because I got a job....oh yea - just not as a teacher - so sad :(

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Whip it up: Week 5 - Fried Green Tomatoes

So I have quite a few tomatoes that have been green on the vine for a few weeks. My worry about these ripening, is that they will all ripen at the same time and J doesn't really like tomatoes so I was thinking of new ways to use these lovely orbs. We're about to travel to Tennessee so I thought we could try these to get us in the mood. I found a recipe over at the Whistlestop Cafe site, not that I've ever been, but I think I will need to go back and explore soon.
Fried Green Tomatoes

3-4 green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
vegetable oil

Mix together flour, cornmeal, salt & pepper. Add enough milk to create a thick batter. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet. Batter each tomato slice, and wipe off excess. Carefully place in hot oil, browning on both sides. (may or may not need turning, depending on the amount of oil) To cool, drain in a colander to keep tomatoes from becoming soggy. Salt to taste.

Question time:

Was the recipe easy to follow?
The recipe was easy, although I don't like the vagueness of the amount of milk.

Did the dish taste good?
Well....The tomatoes were very sweet and J thought the batter tasted good, but I did not do a great job of making these and I think I was doomed from the start. There was no planning in the preparation of this recipe. We only had whole wheat flour, I didn't use milk, I used a combination of fat free half and half and water (the only milk like product I had in the house...) so I was doomed from the beginning.

Would you ever make it again?
I want to try to do it again, but do it right this time. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard. Maybe I'd try a recipe that calls for an egg dip, really not sure. But its a great use of green tomatoes. I'd love to try it with a fried egg on top???? hmmmmm ;-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rainy Days....Gotta Love 'Em

So as much as I dreaded my alarm this morning at ten to six, I pressed snooze a few to many times and dragged myself out to run by 6:30. I had a nice 6 mile run planned and it was a cooler than normal morning here in the capital city. It was cooler than normal, because last night it rained - HARD! Lightning that lit up our bedroom and thunder that shook the house - J of course slept through it all.

After my run that I happily finished in 70 minutes (and I ran it all happily), I took Bear to the park for our 2 mile morning walk, and now I am happily sitting on the couch, drinking my coffee and playing on the Internet. I might even break out some of the scrap booking things later this morning. I have nothing else to do.

Laundry is done, sheets are new (as of Saturday), floor was mopped on Thursday (although I could vacuum again), I could clean the bathrooms before our trip, but hey, why have all our fun now. I should save some for later. And what makes me happiest of all, is I don't have to make dinner! Maxwell's parents have invited us over for steak and corn (boy Ohio corn is awesome!) as a thank you for babysitting him last week. YEA - happy me!

BTW - the bedroom disaster is not quite over, the new rail split on J yesterday when he went to put on his sneakers. Not happy! It will take 3-4 weeks before the new part (luckily under warranty) will arrive. UGH!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Ohio State Fair

So the Ohio State Fair was everything is was supposed to be.
Pig races....

Butter sculptures....
Cows...And awards given to prize cows...The Budweiser Clydesdales and other animals....
Fun rides like the barrels of fun...and the monkey rides. J's favorite!The Batcopter - we didn't ride it but we saw it flying...The giant Ferris wheel and the views from above...
And of course the food - this was the bulk candy shop (we didn't get any)Ice cream from the dairy house - J got a chocolate shakeand I got a mint chocolate cone - this was a small
J got Lemonade and I got unsweetened iced teaThese were our lunch of loaded ribbon fries - cheese, ranch dressing and bacon bits - awesome but I will never do it again!Our deep fried snickers barJ really liked this, but we only got one to share (good idea)
J wanted to buy a Hot Dog from the Fort National Bank of Hot Dogs, but we didn't - they even had a ACM - Automatic Condiment Machine

In the end we enjoyed the Skyglider
and our experience at the Ohio State Fair! a once and ONLY experience!