Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Turkey Trot

Why I didn't highlight this event earlier I'm not sure, but here it is now.  I'm finally better and my boredom brain cells are working on "what can/should I do next"?  This seemed fit the spot for the moment.  I was thinking about My first official 5K (3.1 miles) run, official event, meaning organized with an official start, timers, and LOTS of other people.  It just happens to have been the Smithfield Turkey Trot, in honor of Thanksgiving.  It was a memorable first run for me.  It had been threatening rain/sleet all morning, but rather than DSC01248waste my $10, and be on the wuss list, means I would go, regardless of the weather.  Luckily for me the rain/snow didn’t begin until just after the run.  Literally it was raining/sleeting for the drive home to shower and get re-ready for work.  So it was a windy, blustery run!  By the time I returned to work it
was snowing pretty heavily.  I left work for an early, slightly long lunch, like at 9:30 am, the race started at 10:00, The actual run took me 33:00 minutes!  While I didn't break any records or anything, I finished, and was not last.  I now have a base to go by and a target for improvement.  Next time, I want to be able to run by MY definition the entire race!
This is the best pic I have, the other one is frightening wind swept hair scary!  
I so wish I could be beautiful at all moments in life. . . especially windy running days!

I was back on the job by 11:30.  quick, short, but yet very exciting!  The thing that amazes me the most is that those that I work with were somewhat amused that I could come back to work right after a race.  They obviously are not into these types of sports, a 5K (3.1 miles), I do more than that as a training session  before  work and on occasion that happens as early as 4:30 am.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not sure what to call this week. . . .

Is it possible to have a busy week and do nothing at the same time?

This has been my journey this past week:

  • I had a birthday - Flori gave me a ride to work and gave me this amazing sticky pecan bun treat for my birthday, it was a good day! 
  • still don't have a vehicle - so far I have walked 31 miles since dropping off the truck for a new head gasket (I know this due to my handy GPS that I take with me everywhere)
  • entered a contest for a Garmin 310xt sport watch, VERY Exciting! of course mine wasn't the lucky number, but I knew that the chances were slim going in . . . and it was still exciting watching. . . . waiting. . .  hoping. . . not much else going on this week. . .  I mean honestly it is a contest, and there were over 2200 entries!  Right now it's out of my price range, but wish lists and contests are free!
  • missed the bus on Tuesday - this was not a good day, I was less than 1/2 block from the bus stop and the bus driver just drove away!
  • started a "facebook" account - - - I'm just not sure what to do with it now that I have it, I like the blog better.
  • managed to get the flu - - - yuk!  It started on Saturday, and I wish I could have stayed home but I was the closing supervisor and didn't have a choice but to be at work.  I stayed in pajamas with alternating bouts of chills and fever topped with achy muscles/joints ala-mode with a glorious sore throat, coupled with nice rounds of intermittent coughing all day.  I went to work on Monday, (yup, I was closing again), but they MADE me go home.  That was a good thing in the end, as I slept most of that day too.  Although Tuesday was better by definition than the previous two days, I went through almost an entire roll of TP, and my nose hurts.  I have no "Puffs-Plus" (my favorite cold tissue)! I don't have the energy to walk to the store and get some, so sandpaper tissue will work fine, but my nose sure is tender! I wonder if Rudolf felt like this?   I have survived on "Airborne" and soup. . 
 . . . even ice-cream or oatmeal had no appeal!
    • was released from Relief Society and became a primary teacher - these flowers are a thank you from my Relief Society President as a farewell from that calling.

    To answer my own question, I've decided that it is very possible to have a busy week and accomplish nothing.  There have been moments this week that I've struggled with "finding the joy" but then realized that for January, it's been unseasonably warm and was grateful for that.  I can't imagine walking to and fro in single digit to sub-zero temperatures, which is more common for where I live.  I also realized that I have burned off close to 3600 calories this past three weeks (again thanks to my GPS monitor) just doing what I had to do, no extra workouts or effort required, AND I now have a completely new appreciation for people who don't have a choice but to use public transportation to get around. Then I also realized how much money I have saved from not frequenting the gas station or grocery store! (Next time I'm getting a bike for around town stuff, it's much faster and more convenient!)  However, it's amazing what you can get by with without going to the store on a regular basis. For all of these things I am grateful, and once again realized that there is joy in the journey.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    ice skating

    I have always enjoyed skating and took it up quite seriously several years ago.   But, when life happens it happens big for me, as it did in 2000.  We were in a car accident that left me with a back injury.  It was completely debilitating for almost 5 years.  It was impossible to even bend over to put shoes on.  One day I decided that the only way to get better was to make it happen.  I found a great Chiropractor who put me on an exercise regime and so thus began my road to recovery by increasing my activity levels very gradually.  I seriously began with 2 lb weights on a chair and would pick them up and stand, this was the first routine: a set of 10 lifts, 3 times a day combined with gentle, very gentle, stretches.  It just got better from there.  

    I have since recovered from that brief episode of pain and inactivity and have taken up many different activities in an attempt to be strong and healthy allowing me to be active and much much happier and more satisfied with life in general.

    last week I talked about how I am somewhat "carless" this past little bit, so Flat Stanley and I have been going all kinds of places by bus and by walking.  including the grocery store, church, or visiting.  It was either that or go nowhere at all!  On my day off we decided to go ice-skating.  Flat Stanley is very excited and ready to go!

     This is my collection of ice-skates!  all different sizes and qualities.  Stored away, just in case someone is over and needs to borrow a pair, mostly just because I hang on to too much stuff, and a little for sentimental value.  the pair with dark pink socks and the teal socks were actually the daughters skates when she too was beginning to learn how to skate.

    This is my favorite pair, the ones I use whenever I go skating

    In the summer this is a park and community baseball field. It is just a short distance from my house.  In the winter, they turn it into a giant ice skating rink.  It's a little lumpy, but it is frozen and a very interesting experience to skate outside under the clouds and in the fresh open air.  When I first started skating I remember complaining that I couldn't skate because the ice was "too chewed up" from the hockey players that practiced right before the public ice time.  Then I began coming here in the winter.  If you can skate on the park rink, you will be able to skate anywhere!

    They make the ice rink by packing down the snow by driving on it with their trucks, then they get out the fire hoses and spray, spray, spray until it layers up enough to make a flat sheet of slippery ice.  Of course it has to be cold enough to turn it into ice.  Once it starts to melt, they can't start over.  So the community uses it and appreciates it as long as we can.  It takes about two weeks after the snow has been packed down to make the ice rink.  Because I'm here fairly early in the day I started out with the ice to myself.  Kind of fun, and good, when a skater is as rusty and wobbly as I am for my first skate in a very long time.

    It's been a couple of years since I've had skates on and too many since I've skated seriously.  While I was a bit hesitant to actually get on the ice, it slowly started coming back.  I remembered how to go backwards, change directions from front to back, spins were a little off which made me kind of dizzy, well, let's clarify, A LOT DIZZY.  I didn't get brave enough to try a 3-turn, or anything else fancy, that will have to wait. 

    Oh how I love the feeling of floating on the ice, there is no place on earth to get that floating, flying feeling. . . .  exhilarating, amazing, you feel like you are floating on air!  Even when you are slow.  I was thinking that I should come and do this more often and get my skills back. . .  good memories.

    Thanks to my GPS device, the one I use for cycling, and to Google earth, you can easily see our loopdy-doops around and around the rink, over, across, back and forth and around again.  Only Google earth took their picture in the summer, this is actually white with winter snow right now, as it shows in the actual pictures I took.   It is exactly .1 miles around the rink, Flat Stanley and I  skated 4.8 miles today, burning a whopping 385 k-cals.  Like I said, I was a little uncertain getting going and while it was better by the time we left an hour later,  I was still slow and rusty, and to be honest, most of those calories were probably used up on the walk to and from the park, the skating distance is accurate though.

    At night they light up the ice-rink and lots of people come skate. 
    My apologies for such blurry pictures, I'm not sure if my camera was fogging up because of the cold, or if I was just cold and couldn't hold the camera steady.

    Everyone has a good time, just playing on the ice

     What a great date night activity!  Someone once said that the most romantic place for a date is on the beach.  (let me clarify something here, no it's not me in the picture!) While that may be true,  the open outside crisp clean air of winter on an ice-rink might be a close runner-up.  If I ever have the opportunity to do either, or even both, for a comparison, I'll be sure to let you know my personal opinion.  For now, this couple seems to be completely absorbed in their activity.

    This is inside the warming hut.  they keep a fire going in the coal stove, that resembles a train, so skaters can go in and warm themselves up and have a treat or cocoa if they bring some.  It is very common for youth groups to come here for a fun activity idea in the winter.

    This is the fire hose that they use to spray the rink at night.

    Unfortunately the weather warmed up the day after these pictures were taken and because I am  currently without a car I was unable to get some awesome pictures of them brushing and spraying the rink at night.  (it's just too far to walk at night, and the buses don't run that late)  Watch for next year, and I'll get this process on the blog.

    The rink is one wet sloppy mess right now, and with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30's the rink was very short lived this year.  Some years it survives until mid-February, then there are some that they don't even get it going at all.

     It's amazing what you miss while driving from place to place in a car. 
    I wish this picture was a little better, but I use what I have.   
    This is a river that goes through my town, and these two branches hanging down have been collecting water vapor and now are two suspended icy umbrellas from the tree just inches above the water. The second branch is just hanging there, it's not part of the actual tree, it just got caught on the main tree.
     This frozen little stream still has water running under it.

    The sun peeked it's head out for just a minute and let us experience the fresh white snow bathed in sunlight. . . isn't it beautiful?  This is where the frozen little stream going to the river started from.
    Well I'm home now, it's been a great experience walking from here to there.

    . . . . .Thanks for joining me today!

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Garlic Zoom - we call it a tractor

    This week has been an excitedly boring week.  The Genius has my van, yes the "Big Ugly Van" in Idaho.  He started school again and has moved out of the basement and up to the great North.  His truck needs a new head gasket and so is in the mechanics shop being repaired, we hope for the last time.  Now, to make a long story short, we didn't think it would take longer than two or three days to get it back, but it appears that it will be closer to two weeks or longer!

    So I have been using our local bus system, otherwise known as public transportation and  
    a lot 
    of walking. Not only is it inconvenient, but it is time consuming and makes it difficult to do much of anything except getting to work and then coming home, okay even getting to work is inconvenient and time consuming.  But with all the walking, I am hoping it helps me to get comfy in my pants again!  (they're still fitting snug from the holidays)   there truly is a positive to almost every situation, sometimes you need to get a little creative to find it, but it's usually always there.  So, because not much else is happening, for my blog this week I had this brilliant idea, to begin a "these are some of my favorite kitchen gadgets" section on the blog.  You may have noticed a new tab appear last week, in preparation for an event just as this. 

    so here we go. . .

    My first and newest favorite gadget to share with you. . . .
    the Garlic Zoom, or as we call it at our house. . . the Garlic Tractor!

    Each year for Christmas we all get a new gadget and this was the gadget for 2010

    the first thing you will need to do after purchasing your garlic zoom is take off the super long piece of tape that goes all the way around the body, and remove your little instruction booklet.

    Mine is the small version, they have a larger version available as well, so pick the one that best serves your personal volume of garlic preparation needs.
    well not really a booklet, but it is miniature instructions anyway.

    open the hatch on the top of your zoom

    or the whole body opens for cleaning and removing chopped garlic

    User beware!  these little blades are sharp and they will draw blood.  One of the nifty things about this little gadget is that you can completely disassemble it for cleaning, and it's dishwasher safe.

    I have found and been disappointed that it's not sealed and water leaks inside the body making it impossible to clean or dry and after several washes it becomes cloudy.
    Reassemble by simply putting the blades in place
    close and click the hatch in place
    open up the top, place your peeled garlic inside
    click closed and . . . . . . . .
    ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM away

    it's kind of like playing with cars on the floor with the little kids, it was fun.  the more you zoom, the more finely chopped your cloves of garlic become.  This is better in many cases than a garlic press that minces/mashes your garlic, because oft times you only want it finely chopped.

    I found that if you "zoom" on a dish towel it zooms a little better than the slick surface of the counter-top or cutting board. 

    this is the clove of garlic after 3 zooms
    I had to kind of tap my zoom on the counter to get the garlic back down into the tractor blades, I because I used such a small amount, however, if you get too much in the zoom, it clogs up in the blade, it requires a happy medium.

    seven zooms gives you this, simply place it in the dish you are preparing, usually a skillet with other yummy ingredients and continue on your way.  No messy clean up, super-duper easy to use, non-garlic fingers and it's fun!

    This is just one clove of garlic, since I only cook for me now I didn't need a whole lot for what I was doing.  For fun I tried a little tomato, and I would not recommend it, it just sort of mashed it, in fact I didn't even bother taking a photograph of the tomato, it more or less resembled seedy tomato juice.  

     However, it did a terrific job with the fresh ginger, you could try olives but it would probably only do one or two at a time so wouldn't be time efficient at all, but it could be fun for the kids. 

    There you have it, The Garlic Zoom (Tractor) 

    In my opinion, the Garlic Zoom is a fun gadget!  However, it is very specific to what it can chop.  Due to its size, garlic, and fresh ginger are going to be it's main functions, and doesn't do large volumes at that.  It's a great gadget for children as they help in the kitchen or if someone is shaky with a knife, once the blade is in place, which is simple and easy to do, it's very safe and doesn't need a lot of pressure to get it to chop.  

    One major drawback to the Garlic Zoom is cleaning.  It's not water tight, and after a few washes the clear plastic becomes cloudy as it is impossible to get in to clean and/or dry it thoroughly.  It is also very limited in the quantity that it is able to handle.

    At the end of the meal, I think I prefer using a knife and saving the extra clean up time with this little device.  If keeping the strong garlic odor off your fingers is a primary concern as it is to me. . . use disposable food service gloves.

    If you decide to get yourself a Garlic Tractor, leave a comment and let us know what fun things you tried, whether they worked or whether it didn't do so swell. . . I love hearing from you

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    It's a new year - - - 2011

    Hello everyone, so, I ran into a new problem today as I was preparing my blog.  I have used up all my free storage space for pictures and had to purchase more!  My options were to 

    A.  abandon my blog :-(  
    B.  Purchase more space

    so here we are with more space.  The genius says that I have enough space now to last me a VERY long time.  so now, back to blogging. . . .  it's so easy to see that life really is an adventure, it never stands still, and is not very predictable at all.

    These funny things are my Christmas socks. . . 
    This purchase began with an odd phone call while I 
    was at work.  "Mom, do you like moose or bears"  Well, I determined that it quite possibly would depend on first: the fuzzy cuddly factor, but after that, the cute factor would definitely determine the final decision.  it's obvious that the moose won the cute factor in this case!

    The daughter was telling us that she heard about a survey or something that determined that one of the worst gifts for Christmas was socks. . . imagine that!  I love getting new socks, cute, or simply boring white ones, new socks are the best!

    The genius got these cool little bowls and a wok, and treated us with this oriental noodle dish.  fabulous are about all I can say.  One day I will feature his sushi here.   sooooo good!  Almost as good as this pecan brittle that Jamie brought. . . .  words just don't describe this stuff. . . .

    This is the most fabulous pecan brittle I have ever had, I'm not sure exactly where the cousins found it, but I would take it again any day!  Jamie, you are welcome to stay here WHENEVER you want, all I need for payment, is more of this stuff!  It's embarrassing to admit that I ate almost the entire box single handed :-(    Which means with all of the other junk I consumed over the holidays my pants aren't quite fitting like they were in November!  Good thing it's January, and I am back in business.  I have a full schedule planned for this coming year.  So the training is back into full swing.  It's official, My December hiatus is now, painfully, officially over.

    isn't this little guy cute!  The daughter's hubby gave him to me for Christmas.  I debated quite a long while whether or not to just keep him out year round, but finally decided to put him in cold storage for the winter.  (cold storage is in the garage and when the temperatures plummet to anything below zero, I think that qualifies as "cold" storage)  How exciting it will be every year when I get him out along with all the other Christmas decor, it will be just as much fun as when I opened him up on Christmas day!

    For New Year's Eve we traditionally have Nachos for dinner, while we play games and set off fireworks as we usher in the new year.  This year didn't work out quite that way.  My cousins from Denver came over for a visit and we were planning to recreate Thanksgiving Dinner, which was a fine and wonderful idea.  However on the determined Wednesday, I was sick, meaning I couldn't even be horizontal.  I sat in a chair folded over for most of the day.  So we postponed dinner to Friday, which was New Year's Eve.  We just rearranged the house and set up for a festive meal in our exclusive dining room, known throughout the rest of the year as the Living Room.

    I taught the genius how to shape rolls, he did an excellent job!  And yes they were perfectly soft and delicious!  Dinner is off to a great start.

    Fresh beans and carrots, they were cooked to perfection

    Potatoes for mashed potatoes.  

    You will need to use your picture perfect imagination here.  Unfortunately there isn't a picture of  "tom turkey" Jamie did a splendid job of getting it done just right. . .  
    tender, juicy and fully cooked! YUMMY

    The most important part of any holiday meal, okay, any meal anytime of the year. . . family & friends!
    oh, isn't it festive here in our "exclusive" dining room.

    Hi guys, I'm so happy you were able to join us for dinner!


    I was exhausted and went to bed. . .  does that mean I'm getting old???  
    so sad that tonight it didn't matter!  It was lights out for me. . . .

    We ate our Nacho's and played games on New Years Day, it was perfectly wonderful.  A great way to begin a new year of adventures. . . .