Monday, August 31, 2009

Papa Don't Reach

I've started to put together a new playlist for my half marathon, although I'm not sure if I'm going to even use it. For the Boilermaker, I skipped using my ipod, because there was so much going on that I wanted to be able to savor the whole experience. From what I can tell, I can use my ipod for the Rochester Half. It will be a new course for me, in my old stomping grounds, which will be great, so I might not need music. At the same time, I don't want to be stuck for long stretches without anything to motivate me. I have two new songs on my current rotation - Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" (big surprise, but it's a fab running song) and Cake's "Love You Madly." I start sprinting whenever these two come on.

I'm beginning to wonder how my music is influencing the kids. I edit what I play around them (no Beastie Boys), it's mostly classic rock. We have a bunch of "Kid's Bop" cd's, where they butcher songs to make them toddler friendly. L&E love Raffi, which I like, as well as what they call "Bob and Marley." The other day in the car, Guns n Roses "Sweet Child of Mine" came on the radio. The skies were blue, the air was clean, we were all in a great mood, and I just had to turn it up. The two of them bobbed their heads along, until they spied the playground and asked to stop. And then there is the "Immaculate Collection" cd of Madonna's, which I borrowed from my sister in law, and the kids call "Aunt T's music." I skip over some songs but, forgive me, their favorite is "Papa Don't Preach." They don't know what it's about, but I can't stop laughing when Eliza starts singing in her little voice about "Papa not reaching," and "dut dut the baby...."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lamenting on Loss

This weekend has been an emotional one. It was great because I ran 12 miles on Saturday, in preparation for my half marathon, which is coming up fast. It was lousy because Mike and I got into a huge, horrible fight on Friday night. We do not fight often, but when we do, we do it pretty well. It was one of those fights where you've been holding so much in and, of course, at an inopportune time, you let it all go. We slowly worked things out on Saturday night, after hours of not talking and short answers, and by the time we went to church Sunday morning, we were back to normal.

But Sunday morning I logged onto facebook, and found out a classmate of mine, G, had passed away in a freak motorcycle accident. I haven't seen or spoken to this man in over 15 years, but it really shook me to my core. I am from a small town on Long Island where everyone knows everyone else. Whenever I go home for a visit I always run into someone in the deli or grocery store.

What made this so sad is that G was married to another local girl, and they have three children. He was 37. In an odd twist, my brother was at his house yesterday afternoon, working with him on some plumbing issues. My brother knew him through work, my mother knew him because he used to work on her car. My brother said they were just spending an afternoon working on the house, and when my brother left at 5:30, G was leaving to go and get his hair cut. Apparently he was killed when a car accidentally pulled in front of him in a parking lot, and he died a few hours later.

I've been fighting tears all day. Tears for someone I knew as a kid, but not anymore. I think I'm bugging out because this could have been any of us. Going out for an hour, then getting home to enjoy the rest of the weekend. That didn't happen for him, and now his wife is a widow.

I hate sad posts, but I had to do this one. I wish peace to G and his family. And to you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Join me in a new's All About You.

I get really great comments from you guys when I post about running. It really helps to keep me motivated. I run pretty often, but I can very easily be swayed from a run if something comes playing with Luke, feeling tired, or a new episode of the Real Houeswives on Bravo TV.....

Some of the comments are about how you wish you could run, but can't because of an injury, or not having time in your day. Theta Mom has challenged her readers to find one hour per week to take a time out and do something for themselves. I want to challenge you to do something for yourself too, become active. We know how important exercise is for our overall well being, and the great thing is, you can do it alone, or as a family. Go for a walk, bike ride, play Wii, or run!!! This isn't going to be a strict challenge, where you have to do it every day, just when you can, but you have to do something at least once a week.

I really think this could be fun, and it's a great time of year to do it, since school is starting, and we're getting back on schedule. I want us feeling good in time for the holiday season, so this challenge will begin next Friday, September 4, and end Friday October 30.

If you would like to participate, write a comment, or email me ( Let me know what your plan is (run, walk) and the number of times a week you can commit to. Each week you'll have to tell me how you did, and I'll post the results along with your blog link. Seriously, what do you have to lose?
If you look closely in the photo, Luke is pointing at you, asking you what your challenge is......

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" ~ Lao-tsu

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Well something's working

I tried on my skinny jeans the other night. And they fit! Not that I would wear them out of the house yet, but I could button them closed. whoohoo! I'm going to the Kelly Clarkson concert tonight (feeding my inner 14 year old) and I'm happy with my outfit, a favorite top paired with jeans in my "fat" size. They're roomy, which is a million times better than a night of misery in too tight jeans.

So now I'm trying to figure out how I did it. I have been running regularly, and upping my intake of fruits and veggies. The morning smoothie is now a habit, it's truly refreshing, and I get excited over how many servings of the good stuff I'm getting. I've been throwing chia seeds in the shake too, they're the "new" flax seed, and they help keep you feeling full. I usually just have the shake, and then suddenly, it's lunchtime. Believe me, I'm definitely still indulging in things, which makes me think the weight would come off quicker if I just gave them up. Baby steps.

On a side note, I've been reading a bunch of chick lit lately. But hey, it's summer. I did read "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger, which is what I chose for my book club for September. Great book, I cried at the end, which is rare for me. I've got a few waiting for me at the library, I'm trying to cut back on my Barnes & Noble shopping. I love having a stack of books just waiting for me to dive into. I just don't know which to read first!

This photo is old, but I really like it. I look happy, because I am.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Texas Caviar

It's day 12 of the Smoothie Challenge I'm doing with Jennifer. And I think it's going pretty well. I like the flavor of the Green Superfood vs. the Wheat Grass, and I've been sticking to a breakfast smoothie made of raspberries, watermellon, a banana, peaches, skim milk, and a 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds. I sliced up a watermellon into cubes, then froze them on a cookie sheet. When I add them to the blender it's like watermellon ice cubes. My dad and brother got in on the act during their visit, and my niece tried it as well. The look on her face was classic, she thought it was going to taste like chocolate.

I made a new salsa for the party, and it's really refreshing this time of year. It's basically a bean salsa, which my friend K calls Texas Caviar. It's pretty healthy, other than the sugar, but after it sits overnight, you pour off the dressing before serving. It was a hit, and it's perfect on Tostitos Scoops.

Here is the recipe. I'm still tinkering with my links to my recipes, so I figured it was easier to list it after I write about what I cook.

Texas Caviar

2 cans of black eyed peas, drained
2 cans of white corn, drained (it's even better if you can get fresh corn)
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 med sweet onion, diced

In a bowl, mix together:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
4 tablespoons of Tiger Sauce
Mix in the veggies, marinate overnight. Drain most of the juice before serving.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nothing like a good run to start the week off right

We had another great weekend with the family, Eliza's birthday party was a success. We managed to find a princess birthday cake, complete with a light up Cinderella....what more could a 3 year old ask for.
My sister in law had never seen our wedding video, so I dug it out of the bookshelf, and relived our wedding, which was 10 years ago. We were all laughing away, and then my 9 year old niece said, "wow, you guys were all so thin!" ouch! That comment was a perfect reminder to stay on track this week with my running.
Mike had the day off from work today, so I took advantage, and planned a run around the neighborhood. Then I read Colorado Runner's post about her trail run, which sounded like a great idea, so I changed plans, and drove over to Beaver Lake to run the trails. I didn't really have a distance plan, I decided to just see how I felt as I went along. I did 4.5, then ran to the car to chug some water and eat some m&m's. I still haven't tried Gels for energy, I'm afraid of what they might do to my stomach. My friend Karin suggested the m&m's, and this was the second time I've added them to a run. I felt good, so I headed back out to do a 3 mile loop around the lake. I've been calling my left leg "my leg of many problems" because of my hamstring, arch and bone spur issues. As I started up the first steep hill, my arch started aching. I cut myself some slack, as I did my fair share of eating and drinking wine this weekend, so I walked it. Then I got into my groove, until a yellow jacket flew into my face. I don't know what it is about bees this summer, but I feel like there are more of them than usual. We had a whole colony living above our sliding glass door that Mike had to get rid of, and I really don't like bees. I'm okay with the occasional bug flying into my mouth during a run, but I'm not down with them stinging me as they go in. I managed to swat it away without getting stung, and that bit of adrenaline got me sprinting a bit. Got back into the groove, and saw a few deer as I finished up, which is always cool.

I ended up doing 7.5, and I was happy. I'm icing my foot, and think I'll do a few more runs of this distance this week, and hoping to do 11.5 over the weekend. My half marathon is coming up fast, so gotta get with the program!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm a running gear creature of habit

I did a monster house cleaning today, to prep for our visitors. We're giving my brother our bedroom while he visits with his wife, 9 year old daughter V, and 4 month daughter I. I usually let our bedroom and bath slip a bit on the clean's clean, but not visitor clean, so it needed it.

Once I got the easy cleaning done, I tackled my closet and chest of drawers. I was trying to make some order of my clothes, and maybe toss old clothing if I could. I have a pile of tshirts from various races, which I will never toss. Then I went through my running shorts and and bras and socks and shoes. I even unearthed a brace I wore to bed when I had plantar faciitis, it's a blue padded thing that kept my foot at a 90 degree angle while I slept. I actually wore it on a flight to Ireland because I wanted to keep my rehab up, even on vacation.

I looked at all my gear on the floor, and surprise, it was all the same. I go to Dick's or Sports Authority a few times a year to see what's new for running. I try a bunch of things on, prance around in front of the mirror, use a coupon for my purchases if I have one, then head home. But looking at my running clothes, it was all the same sitting there on my bedroom floor. Three pairs of black Nike stretch running shorts, four pairs of Asics, white tees for the summer, long sleeve tees for the fall, and yes, black Nike stretch pants for fall runs. I don't know why I bother looking at articles about new shoes or gear, because like it or not, I guess I've found what works.

My dad (see my health and fitness inspiration post) is due to arrive tomorrow. I'm wondering if I can get him out for a quick run around the neighborhood.....we shall see....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where did this little girl come from?

Eliza turns three this weekend. We're celebrating with a family party, my Dad is making the trip up from Maryland, and my brother and his family is coming from LI. Eliza requested a princess cake, and we'll have another for Mike and my father in law, as they have August birthdays as well. I'm excited, it will be nice to have lots of people from both sides of the family in attendence.

Growing up, I always felt that someday I would have a daughter. So I was thrown for a loop when Luke was born, I remember holding him right after giving birth and thinking "what do I do with a boy?" When Eliza was born, I held her and thought "what do I do with a girl?"

Luke was an easy baby, probably to make up for the 31 hours of labor he put me through. He slept through the night at three months, just in time for me to go back to work. Eliza on the other hand took only 3 1/2 hours to be born. The delivery room nurse called her feisty, as Eliza slapped her hand away from the bassinet. Eliza was colicky for the first three months of her life (I'm surprised my sister had kids after suffering through Eliza's first Thanksgiving), and didn't sleep through the night until she was seven months old.

The other day Eliza came into the room and I took a good look at her, and I couldn't get over how she's not a baby anymore. We're officially done with diapers, and she loves her Littlest Pet Shop and Disney Princesses, although she prefers Luke's Star Wars toys and Cars. She's still got a crabby streak, but she readily doles out smooches, and is a funny little girl. The other day she saw some kids lounging in front of the library and she said "Look Mom, they're doing yoga."

These are two of many favorite photos of my girl, five day old Eliza in her first denim skirt, and one from a few weeks ago, wearing Grandma's lipstick. I'm a lucky Mama.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Image of My Bod

I feel like I'm repeating myself, but it's been several days since my last run. I got sidelined by a few different things. I felt like I was getting a cold, then I lost my voice for a few days, which I'm attributing to the central air. We turned it on for the first time last week, and from what I'm hearing, we keep it pretty cold (69 degrees). Then I started a new pack of birth control pills, which for some reason the mail order drug company switched to generic. I felt so crappy, the other night in bed I realized I felt like I was pregnant, which I'm definitely not. Even though "they" say there is no difference between generic and name brand, I beg to differ. Regardless of all these excuses, I haven't run and that's bad.

It's finally been really hot, and tonight it's raining. Before it starting coming down, Mike brought my freshly laundered tshirts in from the deck, where I like to dry them, and hung them up in the kitchen to continue drying. I was looking up at them while doing the dishes (the place to find me if you're looking for me) and I realized that the shirts looked like they belong to a thin person. Then I thought of how I live by my Mom's rule of "if something fits well, buy three, but in a different color." It's hard to get a true image of what your body looks like, just by looking in the mirror, or how something feels when you put it on. I beat myself up every day about what I eat and how I look in certain things. For once it was nice to see my clothes from a different angle, and be happy with what I saw.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Let me see if I can fit you in

I have this annoying habit of trying to fit too many things into one day. I do it whenever we go down to LI. I see what my friends are up to, then see if we can squeeze in a playdate, or ice cream or a 15 minute visit as we're driving to the store. Or I plan a visit to my Aunt's or Sister's house on our drive home, because they are on the way to the thruway. I was guilty of it today. We planned on going to the pool this morning, start painting the dining room this afternoon (even though it's absolutely beautiful outside) then go to our neighborhood's Founders Day Picnic at five. I already told three friends that we would be at the picnic, and told Mike we were going. But last night on facebook, I found out my friend from college is in town, she's from Jersey and I haven't seen her in 15 years! She wanted to come over tonight, so I figured I could tell her to come at seven. But then I realized I would be spending the whole picnic worrying about getting home in time for her visit. So I went against my "pack as much in as possible" instinct, and asked what she's doing tomorrow morning instead. I think I get this from my Dad, he's always trying to fit visits in with all 6 of us over one 24 hour time period, and we all live in different places. I guess it's not a bad thing, I just want to get as much out of my time as possible. But it should be quality visits, not a quantity of visits, so I think I handled today the right way.

Ahhhh, it's Saturday, when life is a bit easier because Mike is home. I'm looking forward to a little happy hour at the picinc, although it will be beer. I'd rather have some vino. Above is a photo of my favorite chard, Tunnel of Elms. It's a california white, and very inexpensive, but very tasty. I was thinking of giving up my nightly wine while I do my smoothie challenge, but then I thought harder about it. hmmmmmm, maybe not.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Up for a Challenge?

Today I had a bunch of errands to run. I've been fighting a summer cold, but managed to get a four mile run in, two days after my 11 miler. So this morning was a catch up day, I got my lip waxed, and we headed to the grocery store. I was feeling "thin" today, had my favorite denim skirt on, and my hair was behaving. We started cruising the frozen food section, and a few stock boys looked my way. Then I caught them looking again. I start feeling very cougar-ish, and thinking "hmmm, I must still got it!" We get in the car, and I look in the rear view mirror and see....a bright pink upper lip. No, florescent pink, really really pink. Those boys didn't think I was a MILF, they were probably thinking "why does that mother have a red mustache?"

My friend Jennifer and I were talking more about smoothies and Amazing Grass. She's been looking for a new breakfast, to better fuel her days running after her twin girls. We decided to do a challenge, to have smoothies made with AG for breakfast for the next 30 days. We want to see if all the hype is true, if it gives us boundless energy and glowing skin. I'm hoping it will give me some sustained energy for my new longer training runs. Wanna join us? It doesn't have to be smoothies, it can be anything. Exercise more? Take a break from sugar? Find time to read more? We're starting on Friday morning, so let me know, and I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Quiche Recipe

I'm trying to figure out how to list the foods that I write about, along with a link to it's recipe. In the meantime, I'll start of with my quiche recipe.....

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Quiche pan (mine is 9 inches in diameter, and 2 inches deep)
Pastry (to make life easy, I use the Pillsbury refridgerated pie crusts)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light cream
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

whisk all the above together in a bowl, you should have some bubbles on top of the mixture.

The good stuff - whichever you choose, be sure to sautee the veggies first in a bit of olive oil and salt, to get the excess water out, before putting them into the pastry lined pan. Otherwise you get a messy quiche.

1. 1/2 cup onion, 1 cup broccoli florets, and 6 oz cheddar
2. 1 pound of spinach (it shrinks quite a bit when you sautee it), onion and 6 oz mozzarella
3. 8 oz of sliced baby portobella mushroom, onion and 6 oz swiss
4. add your favorite protein, like chopped cooked bacon or cooked baby shrimp.

Pour the egg mix over the veggies and cheese, bake for 15 minutes at 425. After that, lower the temperature to 300, and cook another 40 minutes. Make sure it's golden brown on the top, and not wiggling, before you take it out of the oven. Try to wait 10 minutes to slice, and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quiche Me He Said

With all the grilling we've been doing, I was in the mood for something different for dinner the other night, so I made a quiche. It was baby portabella mushroom, vidalia onion and swiss. Mike loves my quiche, although it's a bit fattening. Little does he know that about a year ago I altered my recipe, and started substituting Light Cream for Heavy Cream. I just whisk it a bit longer, and it still comes out light and fluffy. I think my quiche pan has had it though, some of the egg mixture leaked out while cooking, but I baked it on a foil lined cookie sheet so the mess was contained.

Oh, there were a couple of times this weekend when the topic of chocolate bacon came up! First, Mama Such told me she made a batch of bacon brownies, and her kids ate them up. Then this weekend at a friend's BBQ, my friend B told me they sell chocolate covered bacon in a store in Rochester. I'm going to have to look into that one!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Green Monster Invasion

I had a fab running weekend. Saturday morning I did 3 miles around the neighborhood, then this afternoon I ran 11 miles! I was psyched. I had to run on the treadmill, since I wasn't in the mood to run in the rain. I popped In Her Shoes into the DVD player, and I was off.

I've been reading on different blogs about Green Monsters. Have you heard of them? They're smoothies made with Amazing Meal Wheat Grass powder. There are websites dedicated to this stuff, it's a mix of protein and nutrients, which are supposed to give you crazy energy. I ordered some for myself, but after reading more about it, I thought it would be perfect for D while she goes through her chemo treatment. So I emailed the company, and the founder emailed me back, telling me which two powders would be best for her, as he had two friends go through chemo, and they used the powder.

In some of the photos I've seen, the smoothies really are green (but I think it is a more intense color if you put spinach in your smoothie). I made two, one with my usual smoothie ingredients, one turned bright pink (from the raspberries?) The other was a pea green. They were pretty good. I like smoothies in the a.m., you can get a bunch of servings of fruit in one shot.

I have yet to find out if D has tried them. She had her first five hour long session of chemo last Monday. She's been really tired, but she made it to her part time job on Friday. Which I thought was great.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm running....around.

I haven't run in a week. yikes! I logged a couple of short runs, and one seven mile run before our trip to LI, but since that, nada. I was hoping to get a run in at my Mom's, but that never happened.

Yesterday I had planned a long run in the afternoon on the treadmill, I stretched, got my gear out, got Luke settled, and then I got on facebook. Then blogger. Then email. You see where I'm going here. I just didn't feel like doing it. Then I looked at the clock, realized Eliza would be up soon, so I took a long shower instead.

When I'm in what I call my running groove, I will run every other day, sometimes every day. I get to the point where I'm thinking of my next run, before I even finish a run. But when I fall out of the habit, I really fall out. I still think of going for a run, I plan it, but then it doesn't happen.

This summer has been really busy, weekends, as well as during the week. I've been letting the kids stay up waaaay too late, they are usually tucked in by 8, and this week bedtime has been more like 9:30, and, forgive me kids, ten! No more excuses, I need to get in gear if I'm going to be running the Rochester Half Marathon in September.

We're going to Rochester tomorrow for a BBQ, and I was thinking of driving the course, but I probably won't. I lived there for 5 years, the city is pretty flat, so I don't think I have any crazy inclines to worry about. I've got a long run planned for Sunday, after which I hope to relax under a tree.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Riptide didn't get me, the homesickness did.

We're back from a busy weekend visiting my family. We always jam so much in, but it's always a great time. We started off with my aunt's annual family bbq, basically Christmas in August. We got to see all the babies that have been born this summer, and see how everyone else has grown after a year. If you read my post last month about the sundress I was hoping to wear....I skipped it, it was still a bit tight. I opted for comfort in a skirt and top, which still looked cute.

We wanted to fit as much beach time into the weekend as possible, but Sunday it rained, so we compensated with a matinee of Ice Age 3 and frozen custard from Rita's. After which, I gave myself carte blanche to eat all my favorites for the rest of the visit. Which got a bit scary. The weather cleared, so my brother had a bbq, and I chowed on my sis in laws cooking, which is kick ass. Fresh tomato salad, roasted butternut squash, lemon pepper chicken, fresh bread, you get the idea. But hold on, it gets worse. They live near a Chipotle, which we do not have. We stopped on the way home and got burritos, in case we got hungry later. Which we did, after more wine and Scrabble.

Monday was beautiful, so we made it to the beach. It was the first time L&E saw the Atlantic, and of course, there were riptide warnings. It was sooooo great just to stand there and breathe the air, it's been way too long. We played in the water, Mike got nervous about the undertow, but after a bit, he relaxed and enjoyed it. My sister and I decided to swim by ourselves, so we plowed through and got past the break line, and it was great. Something about salt water and the water's energy is so invigorating. I was happpy until an Adonis like lifeguard appeared next to me, saying to be careful because I was right next to a riptide. Don't have to tell me twice, so I headed to shore. You could actually see the riptide from the beach, it churned around and looked darker than the rest of the water. I was happy to sit on the towel and eat my favorite Long Island deli lunch, chicken cutlet on a roll with lettuce, tomato, and real mayo.

Tuesday we had to head home, but not before stopping at my Great Aunt Betti's apartment in Queens. She's 89 and a total trip. We couldn't leave without her giving us a pint of ice cream, four ice cream drumsticks and four beers. I tried to tell her it would melt in the four hour car ride, but you can't argue with Aunt Betti.

I was already feeling melancholy as we said goodbye, and felt worse when Luke said he didn't want to go, and even worse when we drove by our old apartment in an effort to avoid traffic. Ugh. That's the one thing that sucks about a visit home, I see all our old stomping grounds, and I start to second guess our decisions. I know our move upstate was the right one, but I woke up this morning incredibly homesick. I know it will pass after a few days, and I'll remind myself of my favorite "when I'm down" song, by the Grateful Dead....."oh the first days are the hardest days, don't you worry anymore..."