Monday, April 19

My lack of posting lately has made me to decide to take an indefinite hiatus from posting. Since my mom retired and I took on some of her responsibilities, I have very limited time to be online at work and I still don't want internet service at home. I don't want to get sucked into the world of the internets (like I most likely would)and waste time online when I could be out doing other things. My life couldn't be better though, I am finally in a place where I am living my life exactly the way I have always wanted to, healthy, positive and happy.

I wish everyone the best! Keep on keeping on:)

Monday, March 29

I Have a Garden!

This weekend, my parents came over to help Mike and I with planting our first garden and do some work around the yard. It was a beautiful spring day and it was great to be able to spend it outside.

In the garden we planted snow peas, green beans and two varities of tomaotes. It is small but we didn't want to try to take on too much our first attempt at gardening. We also used 4 bags of steer manure so hopefully our little shit eater Nika will not see it as her own personal buffet. In about 30-45 days we should have come fresh veggies to eat and I am very excited about that.

While my dad and Mike tended to the garden, my mom and I planted some grasses and ground cover and mowed and edged the lawns. I am very fortunate that my parents love to to do yard work so they do not mind coming over and helping, and we will also learn a lot in the process. I think this weekend I am going to plant some annual flowers in the front yard and transplant some of the grasses and in the backyard plant lavender and salvia then I will take some pictures to post.

I love being outside and working in the yard because honestly it doesn't feel like work, yet I feel accomplished and exhausted at the end of the day and it is always a good day if you go to bed feeling like that.

Tuesday, March 23

LA Marathon Recap

Well, it didn't go exactly as planned. I was feeling great in every training runs, I had absolutely no issues while training and I even had my stomach problems under control, yet for some unknown reason, that was not the case during the race.

It started out great but right about the half way point I was already feeling my body starting to breakdown. My foot hurt, my knee was hurting and my hips were sore. None of these issues were too terrible so I hoped that they would just stay at that level of pain but they didn't. My hips and knee were not too bad but my foot was killing me. It was the same foot where I have a sore big toe but it wasn't the toe that hurt, it was under the foot, towards the outside of the foot. It kind of felt like the bone was breaking or splitting, which it obviously was not but that is the best way to explain the pain. The course was pretty hilly so it might have been the terrain that got me, but I was not doing well.

Then at about mile 16, the old familiar stomach cramps returned with a vengeance. I had to stop to use the porta potty 3 times, twice for emergency stomach evacuations. There are always lines at the porta potty's too so that probably took 20-30 minutes away from our time. Mike was great the entire time. He felt fantastic and had no problems, even though he had a problem every run when we were training (go figure). He was also very supportive and kept me from going completely over to the dark side but kept me positive.

At mile 24 my stomach issues magically went away and we ran a pretty fast and strong final 2.2 miles. At that point I was so close that I just ignored the foot pain and kept pushing. The crowds are great at that point too, everyone cheering for you, it really lifts your spirits. I crossed the line feeling pretty darn good and surprisingly I wasn't bothered by my lackluster performance. These things happen and I know I prepared for this race as best I could. Maybe it was the hills or maybe I just had an off day. I don't feel the 4 months of training were wasted though because those were 4 months that I had a blast running with Mike. I had a blast running the marathon too - for most of the way at least. Most importantly Mike had a great time. He ran the whole way with a grin on his face and loved every second of it. He never thought he could do it and he never thought he would attempt it and now he has so his mind is open to a whole new realm of possibilities. I am very proud of him.

We plan on running the half marathon in Fresno in the fall and another full marathon on Arizona in January.

My foot is still hurting but as soon as it feels better I can't wait to lace up my running shoes and get back out there soon!

Friday, March 19

LA Marathon

Marathon weekend is here! Sunday at approximately 7:20 AM Mike and I will be heading from Dodger Stadium, along with 25,000 other runners, on our way to the Santa Monica Pier. This will be my 4th marathon and I have never felt more healthy or ready. I have also hopefully learned my lesson and will not be going out too fast so I might actually enjoy the last 6 miles instead of stumbling across the finish line in pain (they key word there is might).

The weather forecast for Sunday calls for a high of 78 degrees and partly cloudy conditions. Slightly on the warm side but since it won't reach 78 until after we are done and it will be partly cloudy, the conditions are quite favorable. The course is brand spanking new and will go through Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Culver City on its way to the Santa Monica Pier. Here is a course map if you are interested. This is the second time I have run the LA Marathon and it was also my favorite so I hope Sunday lives up to my expectations. It is really amazing to have a huge city like that close off roads so we can all come running through, and the spectators and volunteers are always fantastic. I am just excited to take it all in.

Mike and I started training on November 16th and since that time we have run a total of 596 miles (and yes I kinda want to run 4 more miles to make that an even 600, but I won't, grrr). We have also gotten a lot closer during the process and seen each other at our best and at our worst, and we still love each other so that is a good sign:) When we started, the furthest Mike had run was 3 miles and now he is about to run 26.2. It really is amazing what you can do when you put in the time and effort and I am very very proud of him.

Also, we are painfully just short of our $1,000 fundraising goal for ARF. Currently, with online donations and checks we are at $960. I know that money is tight for everyone right now but if you can find even just 5 bucks to donate, you will be helping a very deserving organization and a lot of homeless dogs. 5 bucks would buy a bag of food so don't think it doesn't matter because it does. Here is the link to the online secure donation site. Of course you can also adopt a pet and give a dog a loving home as well, here is a link to their adoptables. I debated on whether to post a picture of one of their dogs in hopes of tugging on some heart strings but decided against it. But then I found a picture of Cinny and changed my mind because she had the perfect sad face for the job. Won't you help Cinny have a better life??
Donate or adopt today! (I am a little stinker aren't I)

Thursday, March 18

I haven't done any frivolous shopping in awhile and while continuing my very long term search for a close toed nude pump with a rounded toe that wasn't over 100 bucks, I found these shoes that made me swoon:
I love me a red shoe and although I have 3 pairs already, 1 is falling apart, 1 is very high and not wonderful to wear for longer periods of time and 1 is casual so I obviously need this show for my collection. And they are suede and have an adorable little ruffle!

I am just a little bit happier now:)

Wednesday, March 17

House Stuff

This weekend Mike and I did some work on the house that I am quite pleased with.

First, we painted the guest bedroom Sparkling Lake or Blue. I think the hue turned out nice, however we still need to do another coat and put the room back together. Here is the before and after:

The arrangement of the room will pretty much stay the same but I have some artwotk and accessories to put up as well that aren't there yet. I like the color though, it keeps the room bright and sunny.

Then we headed outside for some bush trimming which resulted in the removal of 3 bushes and two more got a serengeti trim. In front of the master bedroom there were 5 bushes, all of which were different. I always hated those bushes and it makes everything look cluttered and unkept. I prefer a more minimal, clean and lower profile landscape so even though Mike started by just trimming them, I decided that 2 of them had to go as well as one under the kitchen window.

The biggest benefit of getting rid of them was that low and behold you can see the beautiful brick that they were hiding! I love this brick too because the bricks themselves are longer and thinner than your average brick, so I love being able to expose them. They need a little pressure washing and sealing but already it is a big improvement.

I also coined the term "serengeti trim". In my mind, I pictured the trees from the serengeti and I wanted the bushes to look more like that rather than your typical round or square bush/hedge:
I think Mike did a pretty darn good job considering my obscure request:

Before he took the two bushed out, all 5 bushed were crammed in that space, overlapping and of various sizes and they looked terrible. I am very pleased now. This spring we are hoping to take out all of the landscape in the front yard besides the tree and grass and start over. Until then though, this will do just nicely.

Nika has been FurMinated

Labs are fantastic dogs in a lot of ways, however they are terrible shedders and Nika is no exception. If we go one week without sweeping the floors, we could make a replica dog with the fur we sweep up.

Looking into the problem I discovered a product called The FurMinator, great name, right? It is just a grooming tool but it has finer teeth and is made of metal and the premise is the more fur your remove during brushing, the less your pet will shed on you or in your house. Simple concept but I was really impressed with this:
So, I went to Petco to get one and we spent an HOUR brushing Nika on Monday night. We had to take turns because we got so tired of doing it but the fur just kept coming off until the yard looked like this:

Perhaps if we had piled all the hair together it would have more closely resembled the first pic but we had a hell of a time trying to keep her still for that long so if she moved, we followed and thus the fur went everywhere. I also believe we could have gotten more off of her, but after an hour, we were over it.

Her coat was very shiny and silky when we were done though:
She is also shedding less in the house and on us, which is REALLY good. I would reccomend this product if you have a problem shedder like we do. It works on cats too!

Monday, March 15

Chickpeas and Cauliflower

I recently have become a fan of Indian food - I know, I am a bit of a late bloomer. I never really liked it before but the older I get it seems the more I seem to broaden my horizons in terms of my palate. I have eaten it at restaurants but I have never tried to make any at home, until this weekend.

My sister and I share recipes and recipe ideas all of the time which is a lot of fun, particularly since we have such similar taste now so I have to give her credit for this idea. You need a a jar of a wet curry sauce(I found one at Trader Joe's but you should be able to find them at any grocery store) that was the base for this dish. I started with roasting chickpeas and cauliflower:

Chickpeas & Cauliflower
(1) can chickpeas, drained and patted with a paper towel to get rid of most of the excess moisture
(1) head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
to taste:
olive oil
minced garlic
kosher salt
ground black pepper
lemon juice
red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 325. Toss all ingredients into a bowl and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, take out and stir and place back into the oven for 5-10 minutes, checking for the browning of the cauliflower. Once the cauliflower has some browned edges, take it out.

I think roasted Chickpeas and Cauliflower would be great by itself, but for the dish I started sauteing the chicken when I put the C&C back into the oven for 5-10 more minutes. Once the chicken was browned I added the curry sauce and then the C&C when it was done. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and put it on top of basmati rice and/or naan bread. There was definite heat that made me nose run (probably pretty mild for most people though, I am a bit of a wimp)but the flavors along with the heat made this one of the best dishes we have made. I think I said "Oh my god, this is so good" a half a dozen times.

Thanks Kristen and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!