Monday, November 30

And some pics...

This is the newest addition to my plant family, the Dragon Tree. I have been looking for a plant like that for awhile and I stumbled upon it at Lowe's and snatched it right up.

I wanted to hang these lighted balls from my Japanese Maple outside but the cords were too short and at least with these balls, a logistical nightmere so I decided to do something else with them and make a sort of abstract christmas tree.

This is one of the cats in the nighborhood that uses my backyard as a sanctuary. The other one is just as fat and orange. I hope he enjoys it while it lasts because as soon as a get a dog no more naps in the sun!

One of my orange trees. In a couple more weeks they should be ready to eat. I hope they taste good because I have a lot of them.

The second orange tree I have that is back in the corner wasn't much to look at but it also has a lot of oranges growing on it. Oranges are one of my favorite fruits so I can't wait until they are ready to eat.

I also have a lemon tree that is about ready to have its fruit picked.

It is really fun to have trees that produce fruit and it makes me want to grow more edibles. Basil, tomatoes, squash, rosemary, jalepenos - I just need to find the perfect spot and learn a little more about planting conditions and my spring I should be ready to plant.

My Thanksgiving weekend

I had a great looong weekend that went by entirely too quickly. I spent Thanksgiving with Mike and his family which was quite nice. I have never spent Thanksgiving or any holiday for that matter with a significant others family and it was cool to see a different take on the holiday. Besides the typical Thanksgiving faire they also had some mexican inspired dishes (Mikes mom is Mexican) like salsa, shredded beef and chili. All the food was delicious and everyone was very warm and welcoming, in particular the kids. Mike's nieces and nephews were a lot of fun and they showed me some outstanding pictures of Mike in his awkward stages:)

On Friday we went for a nice hike up in Oakhurst and farted around up there some. Saturday we had a pace run, which Mike was not supposed to do because of his injury so he only did 3 miles. Then we went to Big Lots and snatched up some bargains for Christmas lights and decorating stuff (pics to come). On Sunday Mike was my sherpa as I ran a 10 miler which ended well but was somewhat difficult. This is the furthest I have run since my last marathon over a year ago so it isn't very suprising that I struggled somewhat finding my stride. It is really annoying though that for no appearant reason you feel awkward and jerky. At about mile 6 or 7 I had a rough attack of the colon blows, which temporarily was relieved by a trip to the lovely park bathroom. I finished the run on a very high note though and found my natural stride and had energy to spare but then had a second attack that laid me out for a bit. It appears I am still having trouble with my stomach, which is also frustrating. All I can do is keep trying different foods until I find something I can stomach.

After the run it was Christmas decorating time! Mike put up the exterior lights and it made me feel like quite an adult that I was putting up lights on my first house:) I just used white lights so it is elegantly understated (aka boring). Inside I did some things but we haven't had time to get the Christmas tree yet.

Ok a little more detailed then need be but there you have it, my weekend.

Tuesday, November 24

Mmmm Sweet Potatoes

I have been in love with the sweet potato as of late. They are delicious, versatile and so far I have not been able to screw it up.

My love for this root vegetable started with a fry recipe. The potato is pretty sweet, as the name suggests, so contrasting that with spicy cayenne and chili powders results in a great flavor combination. I also like that although I love the way sweet potatoes taste, I can't eat a lot of them because they tend to fill me up fast.

Lately I have been branching out from the fries and moving on to mashed sweet potatoes. Last night I tried this recipe for Sweet Potatoes 'n' Pears. I tweaked the recipe a bit and instead of using brown sugar and butter, I added some low fat vanilla yogurt, pumpkin pie spice and sprinkled it with some crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. Oh my these were good. The cheese mellowed out the sweetness perfectly. The pears were also a really nice addition.

I haven't tried a sweet potato pie yet, quite possibly the most popular way to eat the potato. Actually I have never had any sweet potato pie but I have a feeling it is pretty high in calories and probably uses a lot of sugar and other high fat ingredients I don't need. If there is a lower fat/cal version though, I will find it:) I think sweet potatoes are so good as they are that it seems unnecessary to add much else anyway.

Nutritionally (according to Wikipedia), the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fibre content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato. A 100g root is reported to contain 108-121 calories and since they are somewhat high in carbs, they are a runners friend. All in all not too shabby.

If anyone has a sweet potato recipe they would like to share please do!

Monday, November 23

The Weekend

What a busy weekend! Saturday morning Mike and I had breakfast with his mom at Mimi's Cafe where we counted the Bump Its that we spotted on waitresses. I think the Bump Its must come with the uniform and they are strongly encouraged to wear them. Some of them look pretty ridiculous and the last time I was ther eI overhead this old man tell one of the waitresses that she looked "so classy!". Too funny. After breakfast we did a little bargain shopping and hit the gym.

Later I went over to hang out with Annie and her two beautiful daughters. Reagan was asleep when I came over but when she woke up she was a little energetic spitfire.

It is so fun to see what her new thing is everytime I visit. This time it was belly buttons (she wants to see yours) and dancing. Well I say dancing but really it is just jerking her hips from side to side which is great because I can totally do that with her and I look like I am just following her lead and no one knows I really can't dance and this is probably as good as it gets for me. Anyway those children are a joy and I love being their honorary aunt.

Sunday we woke up early to tackle our first long run of training, an 8 miler. Unfortunately Mike did not have a good experience. He almost immediately felt a pain on the outside of his knee and it slowed him way down. I felt really good, I seem to run well in cold weather so I went ahead and finished the 8 miler. Mike was able to do about 6 before he had to stop, which is good considering the pain he was in from the very start.

I looked up his symptoms and I am quite sure that he is suffering from a very common running ailment, Iliotibial Band Syndrome. ITB is inflammation of the thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg. The function of the band is to help coordinate with the thigh muscles to stabilize the knee. Mike's is inflammed which causes him pain when he flexes his knee. We started training this week so his milage was increased from maybe around 10-15 miles to 26. Fortunately it won't end his running career and he needs to cut back on his mileage and there are specfic stretches and strengthening activities that can help prevent it from recurring. He was bummed but when it comes to distance running these things happen and he will bounce back.

After the run we worked in the yard raking leaves and mowing the lawn and did some housework. Since I had been gone the past two weekend things really piled up around the house and it was a lot of work to catch up on. We didn't finish everything we needed to but I didn't want to put it off until next weekend because next weekend I want to get to Christmas decorating and putting up lights for the first time ever on my new house. I can't wait!

Friday, November 20

I forgot to post this one yesterday, but if you have ever wondered what a trees vagina looks like, here you go:

Thursday, November 19

And The Pics....

Shaver Lake early morning:

View from the trail:

Snowy trail:

Huntington Lake:

Me (if you can find me) and the tree (note the spooky fog):

Views of the basin behind the cabin:

Is it Thursday already??

Well I have had a busy week so far and havent had time nor have I been able to post an update.

This weekend Mike and I went to Shaver and stayed in the cabin and had a great time. The worst pasrt about the cabin is coming home *sigh* I wish I could live up there. It was very cold but beautiful. We woke up early Saturday morning (I wish I had the pictures we took right now, will post later)and drove up to Huntington Lake to hike up to Kaiser Peak. The closer we got though the more snow was on the ground. About 3 inches had fallen last week so it was still quite undisturbed and pristine. We even saw a bald eagle on the coastline at Shaver! We started the hike and got a bit off track because trails are hard to see in the snow, however with Mike's trusty GPS we got back on track and started up the mountain. Most of the way the snow wasn't too bad and there were some amazing views. The day was so clear, you could see for miles.

About a third of the way up though the snow started getting a little too deep and we had to turn around and go back. I can't wait to do this hike in the summer and get all the way to the top. We will probably make it an overnight backpacking trip and go up the back way and do the loop, yay! I have never gone backpacking and I am super excited to do a lot of that next summer.

When we came back to Shaver low clouds rolled in and put a heavy fog around everything. It was really cold but reminded me of the north west in the big trees. We drove up to McKinley Grove to see the huge seqouia trees and there was no one there but us. It looked a little creepy in the dense fog with these huge trees. I had forgotten just how big they are and the fact that they are 2,000 years old blows my mind.

Sunday we hiked around the cabin and just relaxed then reluctantly went home.

Monday I had jury duty and I got in a jury pool for a 11 week trial. Yeah, ridiculous. I don't mind serving but I cant not do my job for 11 weeks and there is no one here who has the time to do it for me. I also cant do my job at nights and weekends because subs and architects aren't open to be able to get things done. I got sat in the jury box, pleaded my case and was dismissed from that case, but I have to call Friday and might have to go back next week.

Tuesday my hard drive crashed on my cmputer at work and I just got it back today. Strangely, I am much more productive when I have no internet access but it has been frustrating to move my office to another area and use my moms printer for things. It is back and running now though so woo hoo!

Marathon training started this week too. So far we have logged in 12 miles this week and will have 28 by the end of the week. It appears I am going to have to tweak the weight lifting portion of working out because we are at the gym for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I am not sure how long we will be able to do that, chia seeds or not! I dont want to lose muscle though and neither does Mike but it is gonna have to happen. On the upside we will lean out and be very cardiovascularly fit!

Friday, November 13

My Bench!

Jon (one of the employees here at MWC)installed the bench he made for my back patio yesterday and I LOVE it:

He was given free creative freedom to make the bench however he wanted to and I although this was not at all what I was thinking, I think he did a fantastic job. It is a lot larger and more ornate than I expected but I think it is beautiful and I am very pleased.

And now I just have to rake all the damn leaves.

Thursday, November 12

A Day Late But....

In honor of Veteran's Day, here are some clips of dogs welcoming home their soldier owners and children being reuinted with their soldier parents. And yes, I was totally a mushy, crying mess at my desk watching these.

You will want to watch this one with sound:

Aren't dogs great?

And these REALLY got me, especially the first one:

It really reminds you what soldiers and their families (and dogs too!)sacrifice when they are deployed. I for one am thankful that there are people out there who are wiling to do that because I can't imagine how hard that would be.

Now I must wipe the smeared mascara off my face.

Fall Colors

I snapped a picture of this beautiful tree in my yard before it lost all of its leaves. It is quite nice to see this out of my living room window.

Wednesday, November 11

Who Wants a Wii for Christmas?

I am thinking of selling my Wii. I don't use it very often and I could use the extra money. I have the console, the balance board for Wii Fit, 4 remotes, 1 nunchuck, 1 guitar and around 5-6 games. If you know anyone who might be interested let me know or have them send me an email. I probably spent around 600 dollars for all of it (that is a conservative estimate) but I obviously don't expect to get that much for it. All offers will be considered though! I could put it on Craigslist but I really don't want to deal with meeting with strangers so I would prefer to sell it through friends or friends of friends. It would be a really great Christmas gift!


This has kinda been a bad week for food. Monday Mike picked up a chocolate milk at a convenience store to drink after our workout (chocolate milk is better recovery drink than gatorade FYI and it tastes sooo much better too)and when I opened it I thought it smelled a little sour. I took a drink though and although it didn't taste horrendous, it tasted a bit off. I asked Mike what he thought and he just sort of shrugged and thought it was fine. So I took another drink and it definitely tatsed weird to me so I searched for an expiration date. It has expired 5 days ago. Mike took it back and the guy at the register said "old is gold". Nice try.

That night we had couscous for dinner and it was delicious. As we were cleaning up the kitchen something in the couscous box caught my eye. It was a bug shell. The couscous didn't come in anything but the box (no plastic bag in the box or anything) so I can't say I was that suprised with such easy access that a bug might find its way in there. I shook the box a little and saw two LIVE bugs crawling around. I threw the box away and told myself that we just had a little extra protein for the day.

And just today I drank an Antioxidant Daily Shot that I got in my particpant bag from the Trail of Two Cities (yeah I still got the bag even though I didn't run it. I paid for that stuff!)which is basically natural fruit juice to get a boost of antioxidants and although it tasted fine, the best by date was 29/09/2009:

(Note: that picture makes it look HUGE but is only about 5 inches tall and 3.38 fl. oz)
So far my stomach seems fine but good grief, I need to start checking my food before I eat it!

Tuesday, November 10

Getting Ready for a Marathon - What's been on my mind lately...

I missed the Trail of Two Cities half marathon that I signed up for on Sunday due to a scheduling conflict and although I had the opportunity to run the distance later in the day, I decided not to. I hadn't put in the proper training and I frankly didn't feel like running 13.1 miles. Although I annoyed myself by saying I would do something and then not following through, I will make up for it by running the LA marathon in March.

For the past few weeks I have been mentally perparing myself to gear up for 4 months of training. I have picked a training schedule, typed it into an excel document, tabulated the amount of miles run per week, total mileage for the entire training period (567) and figured out the mile splits (9:09 minutes per mile). For the first time since I started running I have someone to train and run with me which I am quite excited about. It will be nice to have someone to moan and groan with, someone who understands what I am going through and the amount of work you put your body through and someone to help keep motivation high when I just want to sleep in on a Sunday morning instead of getting my butt out in the freezing cold to run a 15 miler.

I feel that I am the most healthy and knowledgable than during training periods in the past. I am consistently eating properly, consistently getting enough sleep, not drinking and basically engaging in a boring yet very satisfying lifestyle:)I am still doing pretty well with sticking with clean eating and we are cooking at home just about every night, which has been fantastic and has kept me healthy (last night we made portabello, eggplant and red pepper sandwiches with whole wheat couscous that was delicious!). I have also made just about every mistake a runner could possibly make in the past so I hopefully have learned my lessons and have that all out of my system. Going out too fast? Done it. Not getting enough sleep? Done it. Not getting enough iron? Done it. Not training long enough? Done it. Not eating the best foods for runners and paying for it with trips to the porta potty? Done that too. Frequently. Ugh.

I am excited about pounding the pavement again and being able to once again call myself a runner. Since I have done this before I do not have any hesitations or doubts or unknowns to contend with. I am just excited to get started again. I have taken enough time off to completley forget how painful the last one was so that means I am ready for the next race:) Kinda like how giving birth works, or so I hear. I will have to ask my sister about that later.

Official training starts November 17th!

The Weekend

This weekend I was in Austin for my sisters second baby shower. Even though I saw her two weeks ago when she was here for her Cali baby shower (she gets two of everything living out of state)I swear she has already gotten bigger.

They decided to name their daughter Harper Paisley Lucas and I think it's a great name. Some people have told my sister that she is going to be a musician based on her name but seeing as there is no musical ability on our side of the family or Chris's that I know of, we will have to see about that. I personally hope she is an athlete but however she turns out she is already starting out with a nice shoe collection:
These are to match her daddy's vans:

And of course, since she lives in Texas, a girl needs a pair of these:

The shower was really nice and we spent all day Friday shopping for stuff for Harper's room and that all came together nicely too. My sister is due in the middle of January and I cannot wait to be an aunt! The next time I see my sister she will be a mom, which is a bit strange, but she is going to be a wonderful mother. And since I am her only Aunt, I am so going to be her favorite;)

It was a good weekend but it is nice to be home. This weekend Mike and I are getting away up to Shaver and getting a hike or two in before it gets too snowy and cold. We might hike up to Devils Bathtub or if the road is closed up there already we will do Kasier Peak. I haven't done Kaiser Peak yet but I did Devil's Bathtub when I was about 14 or so and it was a really beautiful hike. Either way, I will be happy to be up and out of Fresno and into some nature.

Monday, November 2

And Now, A Dramatic Reading Of "Poker Face" By Christopher Walken

Because I find Christopher Walken strangely fascinating and I do not like Lady Gaga's music. Or her name. Or her inabaility to wear pants.

100's Workout

Yesterday I tried a new workout that I have been eyeing for awhile called the 100's workout. This is a total body workout that has 9 exercises (lifting exercises)that you are to perform for 100 repetitions aiming to only stop once at 70 reps for 30 seconds before finishing the final 30. Some of the exercises were easier than others but the one thing they had in a common, a long sustained and intense muscle burn. At the end of the workout there will have been a total of 900 reps completed.

I have sort of become Mikes personal trainer so he did all of this with me, bless his heart:) Actually he has been working out with me the past month and I am really impressed with the amount of muscle growth he has already achieved. It has also been really great to share my passion with someone who get's why I love it so much and shares the same passion with me. He is wiling to do and try anything so I feel like I have a partner in crime:)

But I digress, back to the 100's workout! The following is the exercises we performed:

Leg Press
Leg Curl
Upright Row
Dumbbell Press
Overhead Press
Cable Curl
Rope Pressdown
Cable Crunches

Of course you don't perform these exercises at the same weight you normally would if you were doing 12 reps, but you drop the weight approximately in half, sometimes more. The toughest ones for me were the Leg Press, the Overhead Press and the calf raises.

It wasn't exactly what I expected however. I was expecting that the weights would start to feel heavy as the reps increased, even though they were considerably lighter than what I would normally lift. I assumed fatigue would set in and cause them to feel heavy. That wasn't the case at all. The weights never felt heavy, always light, but at about 25 reps or so your muscles start to burn and until you are done with 100, the burning does not go away but intensifies. I felt this was just as much a mental challenge as it was a physical challenge. As soon as that burn settles in you really want to stop, it hurts! But you can physically lift the weight still, it is pushing past the pain and continuing that is the hard part. It is good practice for running a marathon really because although it is a different type of pain, you still have to embrace the pain as part of the process in order to finish.

It is such an exhilirating feeling to take on a challenge that you may have doubts you can accomplish, work your ass off and do it. This is true with any atheletic endevour or anything else in life you ar passionate about. The more you challenge yourself and the conception you have of your abilities, the more interesting life can be.

This was a tough workout but I loved it. I will probably incorporate this every once in awhile to spice things up a bit. The more I push myself, the more I want to push myself further. I am starting to get pumped up for the marathon! God I sound like such a peppy annoying jock. Oh well, I am who I am:)