Sunday, July 31, 2011

return of the eggplant

Sunday inspires dinner. Homemade, that is. Last week, was super lame. I wasn't feeling it. I had spent a week in Oregon, driving, taking care of my favorite running partner, Pete, and making sure that other peoples' needs were attended too. I was exhausted and over being attentive to other people. I got a massage to try to relax but the masseuse and I had conflicting ideas over what relaxation should be. Gifted, sure, at trigger release therapy, but that was not, at all, what I had in mind when I arranged an 80 minute massage. No, I wanted to be beat up, thoroughly, and hopefully, release some of my stress.
Since the massage lacked, the dinner was a loss. I threw together a nice salad and crostini and mostly went the motions of what a Sunday night dinner should be. Looking back, I know that I was completely transparent in my mood.
Regardless, this week, I am inspired by the eggplant. Perhaps watching several hours of the food network motivated my need to really prepare a meal tonight. I think a sangiovese would be a wonderful accompaniement to the meal. Still on the fence with that one. I think a bottle will be opened and soon. I believe cooking (my cooking) goes much smoother when I am able to drink a glass (or two) of wine.
Tonight, I am roasting eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic. Meanwhile, I will boil penne pasta and wait for the aromas to entice my friends. So far, I have managed to keep them out of the kitchen and my laptop relatively safe on the island. A few months ago, I tried to make dinner with the laptop and a bottle of club soda blew up and spattered all over my beloved laptop. Thankfully, it is functioning and works. Yet, since then, the letter "z" is challenging to type. It sticks or just doesn't want to comply.
Accompanying the meal is a green salad with raspberries. Sometimes it is good to change things up. I like berries on salads especially in the summer.
I believe this will go over well. If not, oh well. Kitchen closed til next Sunday. I have made this dish before and it went over well. This time, I added more garlic and tomatoes to offset the eggplant. It sort of overwhelms the dish. The color of the overall dish is unpretty to look at. Delightful fare to sample though. I look forward to seeing how the small changes will affect the outcome.
Stay cool and enjoy your Sunday~

Thursday, July 28, 2011

wine tasting

I love wine tasting. My first trip, ever, to Napa was inspiring. Clearly, I fell in love with the grapes, people and all of the available wine. Really it is all about the wine. So, when the idea of tasting wine in Oregon came up, of course, I had to make it happen. My friend, Jan, is a beer drinker. Specifically Stella Artois. She only deviates from this beer if there is no alternative. When this occurs she is visibly annoyed. Her idea of ideal world would be available Stella at every bar, restaurant, market. She is a true fan of that product.

So, I was a little surprised when she appeared interested in wine tasting. We began the day at Sweet Cheeks. I found a few pinot noirs that were lovely and considered purchasing one of them. Honestly, I am not a huge pinot fan. I prefer bold reds and knew in the spirit of compromise, pinot noir would be on the menu. Jan likes pinots.

We asked the guy from Sweet Cheeks for suggestions. He mentioned that Pfeiffer was eclectic and fun. Sounded perfect and I wanted to try somewhere that I had not been to before. A few years ago I went wine tasting with Jade. Awesome story and would add on too much to the current one. Anyways, we drove up to the next winery, entered the building and found the clerk busy with three other people. The pricing seemed a little exorbirant. $12 for four reds, one port, and a commemorative glass. $20 for all of their current offerings--red and whites, plus riedel glass. I opted for the red and Jan tried all of them. The guy was preoccupied with the three people and started me on my tasting. He returned to the threesome while Jan waited to begin her tasting. I found it odd since he watched us walk in together and instead of starting her lengthy tasting, he focused on me. Finally, he started her tasting. He alternated between me, them and Jan. The wine was fine but I didn't like the amount of wine we were given. Extremely minute in comparison to Sweet Cheeks and eventually, King Estate.

Of the three wineries, King Estate was the best, by far. The grounds were beautiful. I could have sat there all day taking in the scenery and drinking wine. Stunning.

The wine tasting was lovely, too. Six wines and I found a few that Jan would like, too. I wanted to bring a bottle or two to Mossyrock to enjoy with Jean. Jean is familiar with King Estate and I knew she would enjoy wine from there. I settled on an easy pinot noir for Jan and a syrah for Jean and I. I felt that we would both enjoy the bigger red--we did.

Glad that wine tasting was a priority of the trip. Possibly my favorite day or the Oregon adventure. I would love to return to check out other wineries and explore the region more fully for food, too. Also, the trip was fantastic except that I would have preferred more one on one time with my sisters. I miss them mucho! Perhaps another trip 2011?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Tonight, I could either return home to dine with friends, play volleyball or find a pool to enjoy with friends that were in town. Truly, the pool idea enticed me the most. Unfortunately my friend, Jonny, from out of town was under the weather. Hungover, mostly, but unable to get off the couch where he was staying. We talked a few times and although, I would have enjoyed hanging out with him the most, I knew that he was probably out for the evening. I sensed it while having lunch. Most times, he is ADD and somewhat entertaining because of the wild tangents he uses in conversations. Today, he was somber and more interested in his phone than a conversation. He couldn't wait til I left so that he could crash out on his friend's couch.
I spent some time perusing magazines and scanning books that I would like to read. Recently, I read the Hunger Games. Lovely book. I cannot wait to read the next book of the trilogy. Anyways, I was still hopeful (somewhat) that Jonny would be able to go to dinner and get off the couch. I texted to suggest some places and he did not respond. I waited a little longer and than decided to inform him that I wanted to play volleyball but would be able to meet after volleyball. Immediately, he responded telling me to go to volleyball and that I should text him later.
Perfect. At least I now had a plan. I left the bookstore hoping to grab a sandwich or something before volleyball. Hunger dictated this. Driving along, I grab my nalgene bottle only to find that I didn't have it. Searching under the passenger seat, my purse and back seat yielded no result. I turned around and headed back to the bookstore. I know this sounds silly for a nalgene bottle but it has nostalgic value and I had to at least try to find it. I sprinted into the store and retraced my steps--bathroom, teen section to skim over the next installment of the Hunger Games, and fiction before approaching customer service. It went like this--I know this sounds random, but did someone turn in a blue nalgene bottle?
No--did you check the check out area? Perhaps they have it.
I walk up to the purchase area and ask the same question with the same result. However, at this point, I remember that I should check the chair that I sat in while reading magazines. Yep. There was my bottle. Grabbed it and headed to find a sandwich and go to volleyball.
I approach the volleyball park and see nine players. Small group this evening. Grateful to have the opportunity to play another Tuesday, but, for whatever reason, I was distracted. Ben, this guy that is typically a solid player, opted to leave after the first match. The other two players that are fun and joke around with me were absent as well. The chemistry of the people was off and I definitely had little to contribute. My serve was inconsistent and I had few opportunities to spike. Setting and digging out serves flowed. When we broke between matches, I took off. I wasn't feeling it. I suppose I had already decided to do something different this evening. Although a nice surprise, I played flat. There will be other chances to play and I must remember that. Tonight will be forgotten.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Fun filled trip to Oregon. I convinced my friend, Jan, to accompany me. She could use a break from the heat inspite of the fact that she is a native of Phoenix and very accustomed to dealing with the intensity of the sun. Oregon would be a welcome change.
For me, I wanted to check out Oregon in the summer. My previous trips were earlier this year and cold. Definite pants weather which I refused to wear. Summer would be a nice change from my previous travel experience. However, it rained more than I would have liked to see. I should have brought pants.
This is my brother-in-law, Jeremy. Nice mohawk, right? We enjoyed a lovely mexican restaurant near his house. I love the salsa and the margaritas are nice, too. We started the day out near the train station and did some people watching while enjoying some local pints of beer. If ever, in Eugene, Ninkasi Brewery makes a delightful beer. I tried the india pale ale as well as the stout. Had we had more time, Friday, we definitely would have returned to the taproom to drink more beer.
I digress. After Ninkasi, we checked out the Davis and small talked an acquaintance of Jeremy's. The menu, although enticing, did not convince me to stay there. I had mexican fare on the mind.

Jade met us for lunch at the Boulevard. I convinced her that we needed an "adult only meal" and then we didn't partake in beverages. Nice, right? However, the night before was memorable in that department. I found out that Jade is now drinking vodka.

Boulevard was fine. Great service but the food was mediocre. I confused the menus that I had been checking out on-line. There was a place I wanted to check out. My luck, it wasn't open. No way around that. And, I wanted to find a place that Jade had not checked out. In the past, Jade and I have checked out Cafe Zenon, Marche, Steelhead, and Chapala (a mexican fave of hers). Next time, it might be preferable to return to what we know. Maybe, I will even go to Chapala. Personally, I prefer the salsa at the El Jarro Azul. Jeremy likes that place and I have checked it out on a few occasions.

Jan and my niece got along famously. Dogsitting was the focus (somewhat) but we also made time to see my family people that I consider family. Thankful to experience two dinners at Jade's house. The first one Tab grilled bbq chicken and peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. Well, I grilled those. I insisted to Jade (annoyingly, perhaps), but I wanted to make sure that my friend was comfortable and I adore veggies. Moreoever, I thought, maybe, the kids would enjoy the grilled vegetables. Hands down the zucchini won that battle. I think my adventurous niece tried the tomatoes as well. I think the peppers were my favorite. Small steps.

The other dinner was composed of grilled salmon, potatoes and green beans. This time, though, only Emery hung out with the adults. The other kids had other plans which I completely understand. I remember being a teenager, in the summer, and determined to hang out with my friends or babysit. Yes, I was that kid. Always trying to babysit to make money. College would not pay for itself.

Spending time with family was extremely pleasant. My only regret is that I didn't take nearly enough photos of the trip. Somehow, Easton eluded me the entire vacay. Next time, I will make sure to capture some photos of him.
Nevertheless, very thankful for the opportunity to go to Oregon, see friends, family and check out new restaurants. Pete was a wonderful companion too. We spoiled him. Two walks, each day, and we spent some time in Mossyrock, Washington, at a friend's cabin. Jean lives near a lake and has a golden retriever. For the first time, I think, Pete spent two solid days with another dog and was able to get along quite well.

Off for a run or a cocktail. Undecided. All that is certain is that I will comment more on my trip later. Cheers!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

seeing old friends

Love this photo and wish that I had managed to capture a few more with my friend, Jean. She is a gem. So thankful that she agreed to meet me while I was in the Pacific Northwest. She lives in Seattle and I doubted that I would be able to drive up there, comfortably, with Pete. Pete is Michaela's dog and I agreed to dog sit for her while she vacationed in Hawaii. How could I say no to Michaela since Pete has been a great running partner, for me, this past year? And, Oregon, is supposedly to die for in the summer. Earlier this year, I visited and was horrified by the lack of sun and moist weather. My sisters kept telling me--you should come out in is soooooooooooo beautiful.

Agree. However, several of the days were overcast, rainy and required a jacket or two. Not completely sold on the idea of Oregon. Seriously, every drive day was sunny and gorgeous. We would reach our destination to wake up to rain, rain and more rain.

I knew that I would go to Oregon and I convinced my friend, Jan, to go with me. Jan needed to meet Jean--I thought and so I called Jean and arranged to stay at her cabin in Mossyrock, WA.

I have a lot to catch up on and document. I wanted to share this first since I am extremely thankful for Jean and our friendship. I met her when I was 19. We each, foolishly, had chosen to learn spanish at 8:30, five days a week. I remember, several times, dragging myself out of bed to run to that particular class. One day she suggested meeting for a beer and that was that. We have been friends since. Lots of wine inspired weekends, hikes and mispronounciation of spanish. We spent two months in Guadalajara, Mexico, continuining our education. I think at the end of two months, I finally was dreaming in spanish and understanding the language. I flew back to Kansas and that grasp of the language departed. Thankfully, our friendship continued. Once every few years we manage to meet up and reconnect. Another successful trip completed. More on this later.

Friday, July 15, 2011

upcoming trip and thoughts

Packing. Sorting. Deciding what to take and what to leave. Dogsitting in Oregon. I cannot wait! Spending time with my sisters and having another opportunity to spend with my niece and nephews. Brilliant.

The weather should be perfect. Earlier this year, I visited and foolishly did not bring appropriate attire. No. I am stubborn and felt that my typical lifestyle of wearing shorts yearround could sustain in Oregon. Not so much. Thankfully, I had one pair of running pants that enabled me some comfort. Grateful that I had training to worry about and brought the pants along to ensure me running.

I lamented the weather, though, frequently. I missed the sun and weather of Denver. My sisters kept telling me--come back in the summer and check out how pleasant the weather is then. Seriously, the summer is beautiful and worth the crap weather now. You will see...

That is true. Tomorrow, I will see. I plan on bringing a jacket to contend with the weather at night. I think Jade said the weather drops to 50ish at night. Fond memories of jacket type weather.

I had to bring two pairs of running shoes to decrease the miles on my current pair of kicks. My other pair is my old pair of Saucony's that are functioning as my everyday shoes. I am a light traveler and so I do not plan on checking a bag or bringing unnecessary items. My friend, Jan, is completely different. She is checking a bag and bringing a lot of stuff. I believe it eases her level of discomfort and so I am all for it. I want her to be comfortable while visiting Oregon. To each his own or so the saying goes. Me, I do not like to have to cart things around. I like to be able to check in, go thru security, and relax at the gate. I can carry my bag and my purse and not experience difficulty. Tasks easily accomplished. I want to say that this is how I have always traveled. It seems manageable, efficient and convenient.

I do plan on running while in Oregon, seeing my family and venturing off to my friend, Jean's, cabin. This will be a perfect getaway. I will find a way to distract myself with wine and beer, too. There is so much to explore and really, not enough time. I wish I had more time to see Jade and the kids. Perhaps I will return in the fall.

Must conclude this so that I can try to sleep. Early flight. Night~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

recap of today

Earlier I wrote about how much I heart dancing. Well, today's latin fusion class sucked. With ten minutes remaining, I left. I couldn't help it. The instructor's sense of rhythm was off the entire class. The class was full and I was surrounded by people who had no inherent sense of beat. I couldn't take it any longer.
I sat in the sauna. Tried to. The first five minutes were blissful--just me. Then, four women descended on me. Three of them seemed to understand space issues. The last one to arrive sat right in front of me. Who does that? There was plenty of room to sit elsewhere. I felt confined and ultimately, annoyed. I waited, hoping this woman would either relocate or leave to no avail. Finally, I called it quits, showered, and returned home. Considered the irony of the day. Typically, I love dance and the prospect of the sauna completely held my attention when it came to whether or not I would go to the gym or not. I forgot to mention that my bike tire was flat. Instead of cycling (like I had planned on), I drove.
I made an avocado, tomato, toasted cheese sandwich. Delightful.
Brief siesta and then the prospect of volleyball. Complete day and so looking forward to this particular activity. Last week's match got canceled due to the dust storm. Tonight, I just wanted to have a nice game.
I arrive. Notice that the overhead lights are out and that there are seven players. Seriously. Another setback to my day. First the flat tire, than the lousy class and now this. Still, I walk over and we contemplate the situation. Does anyone know of a nearby place we can play? After a few minutes of discussion, we head out. The first court was nearby but the sand factor lacked. Too much like concrete. Not to mention the drum circle that was going on. Then, someone thought of another place. I had no idea where the second court was. I followed the car pool. We arrive and the court is available, lit and short. I loved it. I felt like a giant. I could adequately block and spike. I knew it. Plus, tonight, for the first time, the teams felt balanced. We played six matches where in two of them, I was able to block a spike on highly competent players. I felt awesome.
Afterwards, I joined them for a celebratory beer. It was the perfect conclusion to a challenging day. Started out challenging and concluded in a positive fashion. I served consistent ace serves, spiked, blocked and fielded the ball well. Finally. Loved volleyball.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

reminiscing the dance factor

I just wanna dance.....lately, that is. Seriously. I love it. I wish I liked going to clubs. I don't. Paying a cover to get in, weak drinks (at best...definitely not wine), and lots of sweaty people. Last summer while visiting Shar in the Bahamas, we had one night of dinner and then one more drink. One more drink at a dance club turned into us out til 4 am, dreading the scuba dive we had set up the following day. Looking back, I don't regret the decision to dance the night away. Pure bliss. I think I spent more money on water than the weak drinks that they seemed to be pouring.
My last night of dancing happened in Rocky Point on my last visit. I convinced my friend, Jonny, that we should go out with some of his guys. They could take us to the local bars and we found ourselves in some nondescript bar that had a dj. I told him if she played Juanes he would have to dance with me. Of course the dj was familiar with Juanes and so we danced. It was great and I only wish they would have had more music from the States. I can't believe I admitted that. In the past when I have traveled to other countries they play tons of music from here. I always want to hear the local music. That night, I wanted variety and more dance music. More selection. I was in the mood to dance.
Anyways, grateful that I will have another opportunity to attend the booty shakin latin fusion class. No joke. The instructor loves to shake it. I had to chuckle, watching some of the reactions of the older ladies. I can sense/see their discomfort and the instructor just kept going. Yet another break out-shake out. Helps the core, too, right?
I thought about going for a run this morning. Key word--thought. I went last night and so I am not beating myself up too much. I met up with a group and had psyched myself up to deal with the heat. It was a cool temperature of 100 at 7 pm. I had hydrated all day to aid in the cooling factor. I didn't think about the humidity though. The run was brief and I looked like I had went for at least 10 miles due to the amount of sweat I was sporting. Super humid and yuck. Still this run helped me adapt to the heat. Next time it will be easier and I will go farther. Slow, steady, and committed to it.
Combine that run with the multiple spin classes of the last week and you can see how my quads might be beat up. They are. They could use a break from the constant abuse or I should invest in another massage. Always an option, but unlikely, this week. I have other priorities--volleyball, spin (tomorrow) and then I have a friend in town. Meaning we will bike around instead of driving. I can count on that fact for sure.
Today, though, the focus is on dance. It will be great. A nice change from the typical run or cycle class. In some respects, I wish I had went to Mexico. The swim factor would come into play. Although, I think the water is like bath water at this point. Plus, super humid. Not as inviting as visiting in April or May.
Dance first and then the prospect of volleyball. Last week that activity got canceled when an immense dust storm blew over the city. Hoping there isn't a repeat of that tonight.
Great way to start the day---dancing. Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

melancholy Sunday

Difficult day--yesterday, emotionally, that is. My step mom has cancer and it is getting worse. Six years ago, she battled breast cancer and went into remission. A year ago, she went in for a check up and discovered that cancer had returned to her body in her liver, a spot on the lungs and femur. Chemo has helped but it isn't getting any easier. I won't go into specifics of her case only to say that it is hard and I feel awful for my dad. It is heart breaking and so hard to hear him try to suppress his tears. Especially with me, it feels. Of course, I lost Brian and my dad knows that. He knows how much I cried and questioned why it happened and begged for one more day. Now, he is a similar situation where they want more time but at what cost? Is the chemo killing my step mom or bringing her some relief? It sucks. The entire situation. There is no answer. Either situation--immediate death or lingering is brutal. The only thing that is the same for both, is that it knocks the life out of the survivors. Your life stops as you question why it happened and how you will continue without your person. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.
I offered to fly back if they need me. I don't know what that means for them though. Resignation that it isn't going to get better? I don't know. I know that my dad talked to my other sisters to let them know what is going on. From here, I talked to Michaela and Jade. Actually, Jade called me to suggest a group trip back to dad and Dori. I believe we should spread out the visits and be there for them when they need us. Of course, I want to see my sisters but this isn't the time. I don't want to create more work for dad. It really truly sucks.
I don't know what to do or what is right. I think the only thing we can do is listen and really listen to what he is saying. I just don't want either of them to hurt. There is still hope and I want them to hold onto that. Make a decision for them.
In a way, I wish I could escape for awhile. Be alone. Find tranquility and peace. There is Mexico near and I know my friend has today off. The beach invites. As enticing as that always sounds to me, I know that I must stay. I need to be able to fly back to the midwest when my dad calls.
I told Jan this over wine. Typical of me to want to hang out in a wine bar, reminisce about life and consider my options. Afterwards, we returned and I made dinner for all of us. Being Sunday, it felt right to stick to the routine. A little comfort to rely on something normal even if my life is changing. We had boboli pizza. One pepperoni and the other--my take on a margarita. Instead of traditional white, I created a chimichurri base and topped it with fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic and cheese, of course. It went over well. I think. And, I don't care if it didn't. I liked it. I made it and that is what counts.
Today, I will smile, complete tasks and run this evening. I can only live in the present and not project what I think I will be doing tomorrow or next week. I can only focus on my joy today. Mexico will continue to be there and I know my room is available whenever I want to venture down.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

saturday--started out productive

Made it thru spin class #4 of the week. The instructor, although kind/sweet, is not very inspiring. About ten minutes into the class, mentally, I had checked out of it. The following fifty minutes dragged on and on and on. I daydreamed about the other instructor and how motivating Chris is. He rocks it out--loud music, sings along to it (sometimes) and encourages us to GO! Go! Go! The hour disappears quickly and I leave feeling confident that I had a suitable work-out.
Yesterday my effort was minimal. I felt good that I went but know that I should have exerted more in that class. I got by. Afterwards, a spicy mexican meal sounded delightful. I considered walking back to the casa (5 miles one way). This was before I knew both of my friends would be accompanying me to lunch. When I knew they were both in, I knew I had a secure ride each direction. Tasty fare and spicy. Exactly what I needed.
I cleaned the refrigerator out and did some other tasks that I had been putting off. Pure procrastination. In the last few weeks, I have written a few cards and sent out birthday cards. Still, I had some items that needed to be packaged and sent. Two of my cousins (sisters) have had babies a few months ago. Jessi had a girl and her sister, Theresa, had her second son. I have seen a few photos of the kids together and it is so sweet. It makes me jealous and sad at the same time for my own sisters. Up til now, only Jade has kids. They are sweet, delightful, challenging and gorgeous. Of course, I am biased. I can admit it. Who isn't when it comes to their own family?
Regardless, there are no cousins for Jade's kids to bond with. Until now. Little Jasmin is pregnant and due in November. Exciting times for her and us, for sure. Still, even her child will not have the same opportunity as Jessi and Theresa's kids since Jasmin is in Kansas and Jade lives in Oregon. The pictures of the cousins are adorable.
I read some. I had a book that seemed intriguing but became predictable and ended up being entirely too hokey. Mental reminder. Never reading another book by that author. The premise seemed interesting--a man cuts ties with his family to pursue the love of his life. For 15 years they are happy, broke, but able to sustain their livelihood. They have two kids and make an honest life in North Carolina. The story begins where the man must return to Virginia to ask his family for money. His wife is sick and they need the cash. In exchange for the money, he will have to do something for his family--take in his nephew for the summer to save face for his family. His nephew believes that he was abandoned by this man and so there is potential friction there. Not to mention his own wife's reaction or the dynamics that are created within his own family from this decision. I forgot to mention that the man is a twin and that it was his twin's son. Gets more complicated from here and turns into this lame cesspool of fiction. Enough on that.
So, my day began productive--spin class, cleaning out the fridge, writing letters, reading and concluded by watching a movie. Half watching Wall Street since I fell asleep and then Silence of the Lambs came on. This movie captivates still. We caught it near the beginning of the film. Watching it, I remembered when it was released. My friend, Jennifer Ogden, and I snuck into the movie theater to watch it. We were 13 or 14 and I remember looking around and seeing that we were the only kids in the theater. Obviously for a reason. The movie is intense and chilling. To me, still, during parts of it. I texted Jennifer last night about the film. Her response--man, that was ages ago.
How true. Ahhh, fond memories of youth. freedom. possibility. We traded a few more texts and I think I will see her later in the year. Fall, probably. Or, perhaps, I will find myself in the Westport area. I haven't been back to see my dad in awhile and with my sister having a baby--yep, a visit to Kansas is formulating. If not late this year, than, early next year. I will need photos of my niece or nephew.
Yes, productive and then not so productive. Gotta love Saturdays. Today, I woke up with the intention to go for an early run. Hoping that I would find find a way to skip it. I didn't and I feel better for it. Even if it was only a few miles. I did it and now I feel great.
As it is Sunday, I need to begin considering the food factor. I like having this as part of my weekly routine--the Sunday night meal.
Happy Sunday~hope it is joyful....

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Poor planning or perhaps I wanted it to happen this way....

Lately, I have been attending spin class, religiously, and running, too. In fact, last Saturday, I managed to do both. First, Tom and I went running, took a mini break and headed out to my first spin class in two years. In all, it was my second attempt at this particular form of exercise. My first time happened while I was utilizing my complimentary pass to an athletic club in downtown Denver. The club, itself, offered several amenities and provided much happiness for me and my friend, Sara Jo. I had her included on my pass so that she, too, could check out the facility. Typically, we would run on the treadmills and use the sauna. I loved that aspect of the gym. The treadmill was just an excuse to find peace in that realm of the gym. One day, we decided to check out one of their spin classes. Intense. I remember walking down three flights of stairs to get to the locker room. My legs burned. That day the sauna was awesome, most excellent and I had difficulty leaving.
So, I was a little uncertain of how I would feel about attending a spin class. Did I want my legs to burn like that? Not really. Still, I committed to going and I figured--what did I really have to lose? I might have some discomfort after the class. I should go and check it out.
We did a light run and then went to the gym. The class filled up with a mix of ages and equal amounts of men and women. Tentative, I watched people arrive, wipe down the equipment and prepare for the class.
The instructor arrived. Turned on the music and we were off. Decent tempo and I survived. I felt confident that I would be able to complete other spin classes. It wasn't entirely easy, but I made it through and was able to walk afterwards. Definitely not the same aftermath of the initial class.
Since last Saturday, I have went to two other classes with a different instructor. Chris rocks. Great music selection and energetic. I like his classes. I wish he were teaching the spin class today.
Anyways, I woke up this morning with the intention of running and following the activity with a spin class. I knew coffee would factor in somewhere and possibly toast with eggs. I seem to be on an incredible egg kick lately. Regardless, I wake up and notice that my sports bras are all soiled. I thought I had a blue one to use today. No such luck. I realize this at 6:30 am. No time to find a solution and go running.
I break the news to my friend and he seems relieved. His response--we will go tomorrow, right?
I concur and, there is still the 9:15 spin class that I can attend. I gather my clothes and start a load of laundry.
I think back on it and believe, that, maybe, I did want it to work out this way. Perhaps running did not hold my interest this morning. Cross training works.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Massage. Finally scheduled one. Needed it.
I contemplated the pro's and con's of going. It's been a few months and I enjoy body maintenance. I have been attending yoga, regularly, but skipped this week's class in order to check out a spin class. I could use some recentering and detox. I wanted to get worked over. Since I began running, my quads are tight. I could get a massage, daily, and benefit from it. Seriously. My tendons are tight. That is what sort of tipped the scales. And, I told myself that I would go to the gym later. No spin class, but the treadmill could be utilized. The 1/2 is not going to run itself. I must do the work.
I arrived at the studio and had my doubts. Not that it wasn't clean or professional, just, for whatever reason, I felt that my massage would be sub par. It was. The therapist was a female and when she asked me what I was looking for today, I was honest. I told her that I was a little hungover, wanting to relax, that my legs were always tight (from training--running in general) and that if she found an area of concern to work on it. I thought I was clear on my wants.
Apparently, I wasn't. All she heard was legs and relax. She started with legs which I didn't like and worked a little. Pressure was decent but she could have done more.
Finishing up, she moved onward to my back and I found that she was working mostly with one hand only. I was frustrated. I didn't want a swedish massage. I wanted more pressure and her to work out some of the kinks in my legs and my back.
I flipped over and she continued. Leisurely massage.
I contemplated how I could end it and get my money back but knew that wasn't an option. I was committed to the massage. I tried to make the most of it and it seemed to take forever. Normally, massages go too quickly. I don't know. Somehow, time stopped and that 55 minutes felt like two hours.
I will return to the studio and inquire about their available therapists. My last therapist was a guy and I really liked his pressure and technique. He was a runner and so he understood some of my leg issues. I suppose I am hoping to find a sub for him.
I have been spoiled. I love receiving bodywork and have met some incredible therapists along the way. Today, this woman was not skilled or gifted in this craft. I remember thinking about that while on her table. I wish that I could get a massage from Bryn or Melody today. They both rock and have awesome pressure.
Next time, I will find out my therapist options and make a decision. I will also be more clear as to what my needs are. I did make it to the gym and cycled. Cross training embraced and seems to be suiting me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

recap of sunday meal

I thought I would update my Sunday night dinner as it seems to be a theme for me as of late. Since Sunday was sort of a holiday, my friends and I had differing plans. They were going to spend time with family and work friends and I had a shin dig to attend with friends from my past. Carrie would be in town and they were celebrating her birthday along with another guy that I did not know. I told my friends to enjoy the night and headed out.
One quick stop. A margarita sounded delicious and so I pre-cocktailed to be in party frame of mind. Hit the spot. I drove over to my friend's house and was in awe of what they had done. Misters, a kid's pool and adult's pool, numerous tents, a porta potty, built dance floor and hundreds of disco lights. Very cool and definitely the place to be. I recognized a few people and decided to mingle in order to meet others. The party was hosted by two roommates. Kirsten's family lives here and so they were available to help with some of the duties. Stocking the table, making sure everyone knew where the ice was and they were making bags of popcorn. Like I said, this party was well-planned and managed.
I stayed for a few hours, people watching and reminiscing with old friends. It was a holiday weekend and I had no intention of overstaying my limit. As such, I missed the food aspect and opted to make something when I returned home. I had leftover penne pasta with ovenroasted tomatoes and garlic that I knew I could doctor up. I have been on an egg kick. Not kidding. All weekend our breakfast was toast and over easy eggs. Heavenly. And, I found some article in a magazine promoting more uses for eggs. Traditional huevos rancheros, omelettes, egg salad sandwiches, egg in a hole, and a few others. The one that really caught my interest was the over easy egg over pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil and chiles.
That had been on my mind ever since I saw it. I knew that would be my dinner. My only fear was that my roommates would want some of it, too. There was only one egg which would not work for the three of us.
I returned and tried to be quiet. I didn't know if they were asleep or not. After being run over by their dogs, I knew that they had not yet returned. They have two Akitas that I adore. Both had been inside for 5+ hours and needed to be let out.
After settling the dogs, I went to work. For once, I managed to make an excellent over easy egg and the meal was delightful. I think in the future, I would add some additional heat to it to contrast the egg. That night, though, it really did make me happy and I was grateful that no one had tossed the pasta out yet.
Yesterday, I attempted the egg in a hole with similar results. Pure morning bliss. I made some adjustments. The recipe recommended smoked salmon. I didn't have any and so I substituted roasted tomatoes and leftover asparagus which added nicely to the overall dish and appearance. Great color and a nice way to begin the day.
This egg kick is nice and it is helping me be more creative. Love it.
Tonight, I am making stuffed peppers with chickpeas and cous cous. We shall see how that works out. First, though, there is this spin class that I must contend with. I figure it is a nice way to cross train for the upcoming half. That is my mantra for the motivating part of my day. Great cross train activity to produce positive results for the half. Looking forward to seeing friends and accomplishing another fun t-shirt.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

holy sandstorm!

The night started off beautifully. It's Tuesday. Volleyball with friends. I stopped by my favorite viewing spot and captured a few shots. I looked around and noticed some clouds that were looming. I continued to focus on the sunset. I headed up towards the bathrooms and this guy stopped me and suggested that I find shelter. His exact words were--see the onslaught of sand? Well, we should be hit in two minutes. Go to your car or seek shelter.

I snapped a few photos of the clouds. I wasted a few minutes and could not believe how quickly the weather changed. No more sunset. I was engulfed in darkness and the prospect of sand. Taking photos and not too concerned with my shelter. The guy drives buy me and says--you okay? You have somewhere to avoid this?

I told him thank you and got in my car. I called my friend to see how long these things normally take. I wanted to stay near volleyball if there was an opportunity to play.

She didn't answer and so I started to drive back west. On the radio it mentioned not driving unless you had too and if you couldn't see; well, then, pull over and don't drive.

I am stubborn and continue to drive. Thankfully, there were not that many people driving. Challenging, sure, since my car was coated with sand/dust/dirt. As I headed west I found rain. Grateful for the rain, thunder and lightning. Beautiful night. Only would have been better had I been able to play volleyball before the storm.

Nevertheless I did enjoy the photos. I hope you do too.

Feel like a Pepper.....

I went to a latin fusion aroebics class this morning. The gym offers a few classes that interest me--spin, boot camp circuit and the latin class. Described as a calorie burner that focuses on samba and other styles of latin dance. I figured--why not? What did I have to lose?
I arrive ten minutes early and watch as the class fills up with a mix of women--young, old, asian, mexican, black and white. A true melting pot of people which was pretty great, I thought. I stood in the back to be near my water bottle and keys. The instructor arrives and she is hyper. We begin with a Shakira song and follow her lead. That songs ends and the next one is hip hop. I am enjoying her moves and forget how foolish I probably look. As the class continues, I realize that the instructor really likes to shake her booty. I am all for it inspite of how I must look. I sort of understand the beauty of Zumba. If you truly forget about how foolish you look, it must be a great workout.
For an hour, we dance with breaks between songs. I enjoyed the dance aspect, but could sense that others would have preferred a little more instruction. I would have kept going, too. Some of the breaks were too long and really broke the burn of the class. The instructor did not have a head set which would have made the class easier to follow. The girl to my right told me, a few times--wow, you are getting it.
My response--I like to dance.
It reminded me of being a Pepper in high school. I was on the drill team for two years and watched my sister perform for two years as well. Of course, I wanted to be a Pepper after watching Michaela. I would sit, after school, and watch them practice for upcoming games. She was my ride, after all. I had to sit and watch or pretend to do homework. Mostly, I watched. I learned the routines and enjoyed teaching them (a few times) when it was my turn to be on the squad.
Today definitely reminded me of that. Listening to the music and finding the beat. I think I will return to try out a different instructor. I was fine until she started in on the some of the latin dances. Only because she didn't really instruct. She just danced. I think a little direction would have made it more enjoyable.
Decent workout and mostly fun. Sometimes, exactly what you need. Plus, it's Tuesday which means I have volleyball to night. Yea~

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lazy Saturday

Skipped the 5:30 am run with the one running group. Truly, it had been an option but for whatever reason, I knew that I would miss the initial Saturday. It didn't feel right. I mentioned maybe going with Tom and insisted that it would have to be before 8 am. Otherwise, running would not be part of my Saturday routine.
He agreed and suggested attending his spin class. I pondered that option before committing to skipping the earlier run. The group would run a different area that I was accustomed too. Still it was insane early and I didn't feel like it.
At 6 am, there was a knock on my door. I could smell coffee (I was immediately awake) and stretching. I walked outside to sense the temperature factor and it wasn't too bad yet. About 6:45, we headed out. I knew it would be an easy pace without hills as we had a spin class to contend with, too. We ran about 30 minutes and it was nice. Too easy and I was regretting my decision to skip the group run. I need to be running more miles, preparing, for the upcoming half. Choosing to run 3 miles on the designated long run day was not going to cut it. Next week, I will run with the group.
Anyways, we returned and Tom made us toast and eggs. There were a few hours between the run and spin class. I was all for the food factor and trying to decide if I really wanted to go to the class or find a way to back out. Still, I had committed to going and knew that that was the right thing to do.
Off we went to the gym. Checked in and headed to the spin class. I looked around and it was a mix of ages. Definitely dominated by males and most of the people were already warming up by cycling. I adjusted the seat and wiped off the equipment before fully settling in. Uncertain of how the next hour of my life was going to go. Of course, Tom was supportive and encouraging. On the way over to the gym, he explained the equipment and what to expect. He told me that this particular instructor was pleasant, had okay music and he preferred a few of the other instructors. The girl was adequate but not super challenging.
We arrive ten minutes early and waited. I joined in on the cycling factor. Circle. Slow. Cycle. Stop. Wait.
Is the instructor joining us? Yes. Soon. She sub'd for some other class.
Hold tight. Cycle. Check clock. Cycle. Relax. Cycle. Wait....
Instructor arrives. Thankfully. Cycle. Wait. Breathe.
Pump it up~or not. Too loud....perhaps, I am unused to it being this loud--according to the instructor. She adjusts the music and we are off. An hour of intense cycling. Not that bad in all honesty. Afterwards, I could walk and without too much difficulty. My only other experience with spin class made me hurt. I suppose the three flights of stairs to the locker room added to it. My legs took a beating that day.
Now, I have a two week guest pass and I feel I will return to spin class. I will check out other instructors to gage their music and intensity.
We found another coffee shop after the class. Stocked up on veggies at the market and headed home. My friend was cleaning out the pantry. For the most part it was organized just overrun with product. She went through and sorted out all of the past due items and cleaned the shelves. This took the entire day. I read, made more to-do lists (I seem to do this on a daily basis) and waited. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do that night. Eventually, Jan knocked on my door and said--I know where we can go and use a pool.
That decided everything. We packed a cooler of ice, beer, limes and headed to her neighbor's house. Glorious. Resembled bath water--a little--but still what a nice way to cool off and combat the heat. A pool definitely makes a difference. Perfect way to spend a Saturday.
Today, I will meet up with friends and bbq with them. Lovely holidays~