Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Clydesdale and Athena Divisions

So I'm new to all this marathon racing stuff. I just started running really about a year ago with my husband. We were trying to get some cardio workouts in and get back into shape, after spending the last couple decades raising three kids. It was finally time for us, since the kids were all grown up.

Anyway, we started out walking a block then running a block. When we finally made it all the way to Starbucks, yes, that was the goal, we nearly jumped up and down. We probably would have too, if we hadn't been so tired from the run.

Now I'm training for my very first marathon or 26.2 miles at fifty!

It's a serious challenge and I've been working to build up my endurance but I had no idea there were so many divisions for racing. I sort of knew about an age bracket classification but I had no idea your weight could place you in a certain category too. Well, it can and it does.

Did you know there is a Clydesdale (198 lbs) and Athena (150 lbs) division in the Pacific Crest marathon? They will even be doing an official weigh-in at Packet Pickup (now, I'm not sure I'd want to weigh-in in front of all those other runners--who are usually way thinner and more athletic-looking than me).

But the cool thing is that the Clydesdale/Athena divisions will be recognized in the TRI NorthWest Long Course Championship as well. My point, is this is an incentive to get out there are run even if you don't have the "correct" body type to do it because believe me, I don't have a runner's build. In fact, last year when I was late to the half-marathon race, because they'd moved the start line, I asked some of the people standing around, "Where's the starting line?"

"The walkers are over there," one woman said.

I would have laughed, if I wasn't insulted, "No," I told her, "I'm running."

She looked at me like I had to be out of my mind but pointed me in the right direction.

Luckily for me, because I finished that 13.1 mile run with NO problems.

Now, I'm working really hard to get my weight down so I can run the marathon without having to stop. I've read that every extra pound we carry creates 15 pounds of pressure on our joints. So every 10 pounds I lose reduces 150 pressure and at my age, I'm seriously concerned about my joints and knees.

I'm going to read more and do more research - because this helps motivate me to want to lose weight before the race but it's not easy. So, any good tips you might have would be much appreciated.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Movie Review Monday - Underworld the Awakening

Okay, so I'm a huge fanpire. But this is a story based on an age old theme and I'm not talking about Vampires or even werewolves. What I'm talking about is forbidden love. This is a true Romeo and Juliet story and what could be more apropos than a vampire falling in love with a lycan? This theme seems to be used over and over again, like with a red gnome falling in love with a blue gnome - as in Gnomeo and Juliet.

But the thing I like about Underworld is that Selene is the quintessential tough girl. She is both feminine and fatale. She is beautiful but also a death dealer. There is something alluring to me about a woman not being the victim in the vampire show. For once the woman is the one dealing the death but usually for a good cause, like saving her lover or her child.

The one thing I didn't like so much about this show in the series is that the story wasn't developed as much as it could have been. It was a lot more of the fight scenes than the story. I think there could have been more talk about the father and son Lycan duo who became the "enemy" in this episode. Like, why did the mother leave them, when, what happened to her? I was left curious about that portion of the show and walked away without any answers.

But I did like how the next movie was set up with Michael being ready to jump on the scene. I actually thought he would be the one who came to the girls' rescue in this story but nope it was the women themselves - which was fun. The mother and daughter duo were pretty tough.

All-in-all I'd rate this as a "C" movie. If you're a fanpire, and have been following the series, it's worth seeing. Kate Beckinsale is beautiful and the costumes she wears are devilishly enticing but, if you haven't been pulled in by the other shows in the series, maybe best not to see this one.

If you do see it, let me know what you think. I'd love to hear another perspective.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Have a Green Valentine's Day

Instead of being part of the consumption era by sending cards that will be thrown into the trash the very next day, think of doing something different this year.

Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate your love and protect the planet at the same time.

1) Give your loved one a membership in the Nature Conservancy
2) Read a poem that expresses your love
3) Write a love letter

Or...even better send a Valentine-A-Gram and support Loaves and Fishes

Feed senior citizens and give a gift to your loved one too. This is a program sponsored by Loaves and Fishes.

But whatever you do, I hope you have a great one . . . you know it's only a little more than two weeks away...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sharing the Love

I have a couple of old swimsuits that I don't wear any more. I don't want to just throw them out so I'm thinking "how can I repurpose at least a portion of these things?"

I'm thinking Valentine's Day is just around the corner...so, I'm making plans to cut the swimsuit up and use some of the lycra-like fabric to make cards.

I'll work on this project this weekend. But...if you have any better ideas. Let me know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Not to Wear

Like most things in life, there's a trick to running and it doesn't have anything to do with athleticism or even stamina. No kidding.

It has everything to do with preparation. And, I'm not talking about the training, which, believe me, is important.

And, maybe at 50 I'm a little old and a little too fat to be training for my very first marathon. But, like I always tell my kids when I'm quoting George Eliot the English novelist (1819 - 1880), "It's never too late to become what you might have been", I'm taking the Nike motto to heart. I'm "just do(ing) it". And it's a serious challenge.

So, telling someone What Not to Wear is easy, at least when it comes to running.

What Not to Wear:

1) Combat boots;
2) High heels;
3) Soccer cleats;
4) An evening gown (who even has these...maybe movie stars);
5) Heavy clothes;
6) or even jeans

(See, EZ-smeazy)

But explaining what someone should wear is something else entirely.

Of course anyone starting a new exercise program should just wear what's comfortable. Because starting is the hardest part of the workout.

But, how do you know what's comfortable unless someone gives you a little guidance. And, that someone should be someone who's been doing the sport for a while.

Anyway, when I first started running, I wore whatever I had. There's no need to run out and buy new gear until you've been doing it for a while. But, equipment can make a difference or, at least, it can make the sport easier.

But, I'm not trying to talk people into wasting a lot of money. If you're working out and you're happy with what you've got, then great...no need to read on. But, if you're like me and you're trying to work up to a marathon, you might want to listen because running that 26.2 mile challenge is a good excuse to gear-up and, believe me, I need all the help I can get.

So, here are a few tips that I use and I'm hoping this might help you too.

Here's what I wear when I go for a run.

First, like most women, I have to wear some support (and this is serious)

Then I wear a tank top that breathes (it's a special material that wicks away sweat. It's called Climalite) because who wants to be sticky and sweaty and cold when they run? Not me.

Next I wear ear warmers. Not a hat. A hat is too hot for me. But, when I start out I'm cold so ear warmers are just enough.

Of course I have to wear running pants

These ones are my favorite because they have a little pocket where I can stash my house key and a debit card. These are important, especially if I'm going for a long run.

And one of the most important things for me is my running shoes. Being as old as I am and as heavy as I am, I need a lot of support so I don't wear out my joints or damage my knees.

And of course it's winter right now so I have to wear gloves. These are special running gloves that let the air flow through but keep my hands warm and toasty too

And, the reason I did this post, is I read another friend's post (JenontheEdge) and she said she wears wool socks when she runs. I know this sounds like foo-foo overkill, but I wear special running socks. When my sister first told me about them I thought it was silly but now that I've worn them, I swear by them. They are compression socks that won't slip or slide so no more blisters.

And just in case you can't tell which is which, they're labeled for ease of dressing (honestly - I'm really not that stupid, but I think it's funny) ;)

And, I almost never run without micoach.

It has a heartrate monitor so you never go too high into the danger zone

And, it has a stride sensor which I clip on my tanktop

I wear headphones so micoach can tell me how far I've run, what pace I'm running at, how many calories I've burnt and the time I've been running. This is the best accessory for any runner in training I can recommend.

Next I wear a lightweight running jacket and my sunglasses then I'm set - well as soon as I leash up Sasha. Then the two of us are on our way

I hope this helps all you wannabe runners out there. Happy trails to you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Coverup

These are some handy coverups.

Or fingerless gloves that are great for gals and guys.

My MIL made these ones and I've been telling her she should create an Etsy...

Whadaya think?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Movie Review Monday - WAR HORSE

War Horse is an emotional, tear-jerking drama. Of course, with a name like War Horse, you don't expect a comedy. But for an animal lover it is a hard show to watch.

My daughter and I used to have our own horses (a paint and a quarter horse) so this was more difficult than I expected because Joey looked a lot like our paint. But, I tried to remind myself that a lot of this story would be absolutely impossible.

If he had been a quarter horse, maybe... this War Horse might have been able to pull a plow through rocky terrain but a thoroughbred...? I doubt it. They're built for speed not strength.

Of course, I believe animals are very smart. And, I wasn't at all surprised that Joey would remember Colin. That seemed very real to me. But, talk about being born under a dark cloud...this seemed like a horrific example of tragedy after tragedy.

All-in-all, I would definitely recommend this show. At it's core, it's a story about a boy and his first love (it could have been a dog - but in this case it was a horse). And, I love that he wasn't a cowboy. This relationship was built on more than driving cattle. It was a bond that started from birth.

Some of the cinematography reminded me of Gone With the Wind. It was epic.

I really enjoyed War Horse and I hope you do too. If you see it, let me know what you think, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Blast

Jacques Cousteau...a blast from the past. I didn't even realize he was a forgotten icon.

I was telling my kids that their father was listening to a lecture by Alexandra Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter.

"Who is Jacques Cousteau?" They asked.

"You don't know who Jacques Cousteau is...was?" I was shocked.

"No," they shrugged.

I guess that's what a public school education gets you.

No...I just couldn't believe it. I'd grown up with Jacques Cousteau and Lloyd Bridges and Sea Hunt and The Under Water World of Jacques Cousteau. But...that was years ago.

Still, "Don't you know who invented the S.c.u.b.a. gear?" (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus)

Captain Cousteau was a pioneer in protecting the planet and preserving the oceans.

"If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect."
Jacques Yves Cousteau

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Late . . .

I didn't finish a couple projects in time for regular holiday gift giving but I finally finished them.

This first one is a short scarf I made for my daughter. It only took one skein of yarn. Then I bought a cute wooden button so she could clip it around her neck to keep out the cold breeze.

Then I made another scarf for someone special. I'm hoping to get it to her tomorrow night.

I'm thinking better late than never. Or. . . better warm than freezing :)

How 'bout you - any projects you're still working on...?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Word for Wednesday

WORD: Mompetition

What does it mean?

Do you know?

Take a guess, then scroll down to see the answer



Here's the answer, according to the Urban Dictionary:

The one-up rivalry that moms play making their child seem better, smarter, and/ or more advanced than yours. May involve two or more moms and any number of children, even full-grown.

She engaged me in mompetition insisting her son walked at 6 months and implying my son was slow for his age.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Not everything in life turns out. It's like fiction...and writing.

I was trying to make a bracelet out of my old Starbucks cards. I thought they were plastic. . . right? So, I could shrink them into perfect bracelet charms (do any of you remember shrinky-dinks?)

Well, I tried.

I took my cards and laid them out on wax paper

I punched a hole out so I could string them on a braclet
Then I baked them at 350.

Unfortunately, it didn't work.

But, just because that idea was a complete and utter failure doesn't mean I won't try another project.

It's kind of like writing. Just because one story is rejected doesn't mean I'll give up on writing. Why would one failure have to reflect on another?

I'm not going to give up. I'll keep trying to put my words into stories and my ideas into crafts.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I know it's MLK weekend but there was another celebration going on here in town too. It was DAVS DAG

DAVS Dag is a Danish cultural celebration here in Portland. It's a time when Danes get together and speak in their native tongue and eat their customary foods--which means a lot of open-faced sandwiches and Schnaps...and beer and REAL Danish pastry - not the American abomination called "a Danish". A true Danish pastry is very similar to French pastries, they are light and flaky and oh so yummy.

Schnapps is a traditional drink that Danes drink. They celebrate by raising their little glasses and saying "SKOL", which is similar to when we call out "Cheers!"

"Schnaps" is a strong distilled alcoholic beverage. The English word schnapps comes from the German word "Schnaps". It can mean any strong alcoholic drink but usually refers to those containing at least 64 proof.

And, let me tell you, it may be served cold in a brick of ice, but it definitely warms you as it travels down your throat.

DAVS means Danish Ancestry Vintage Society. And DAG is translated to Day so it was the Danish Ancestry Vintage Society Day.

And no Danish celebration would be complete without food and lots of it.

Here are a few photos from our Saturday celebration.

This was my plate of food (not quite on my Weight Watchers meal plan but . . . I'll just have to run)
Here was my husband's plate:

Here is the Krangle (pronounced Clang-ah) I had as my dessert. It is an almond paste (marzipan) pastry

We toasted the Queen--Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, the New Year, and sang songs . . . of course in Danish.

All-in-all it was a delicious way to spend a day.

How 'bout you, any celebrations for you?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King Day

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by volunteering in your community.

This holiday celebration is meant to mark the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King is famous for speaking out against violence and calming people in a time of riotous rebellion. He became the spokesperson for nonviolent activism during a time filled with anger, riots and violence and helped bring peace in an aggressive time.

The call for a federal holiday in King's honor began after his assassination in 1968. It was Ronald Regan who signed the law making the celebration a holiday in 1983. It was first observed on January 20, 1986.

If you believe in his philosophy and want to have an impact, in MLK’s honor, try volunteering in your community. Here are a few options to volunteer in Portland:

• On Monday, Jan. 16, volunteers will converge on Earl Boyles Elementary School, 10822 S.E. Bush St., to clean, weed and remove plants in the courtyard. For more information, call 503-200-3355.

• The Clark Center, 1437 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., is looking for volunteers to help make a meal for residents on Monday, from 4:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at its 90-bed transitional housing shelter for men. For details, call 503-200-3355.

• On Monday, Jan. 16, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., volunteers will plant 160 trees along the I-205 Multi-Use Path near the Parkrose/Sumner Transit Center, 9481 N.E. Sandy. Details: AndyM@FriendsofTrees.org or JennyB@FriendsofTrees.org.

• Volunteers will gather at 10 a.m. Friday at The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages, 3625 N. Mississippi Ave. to kickoff the Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service.

• Celebrate the birth, life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. with a reading from his works, jazz gospel music and more. 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. Augustana Lutheran Church, 2710 N.E. 14th Ave.; free

Friday, January 13, 2012

Picture This

One of my best cyber gfriends, Jen On the Edge, posted a holiday challenge to take some photos of ourselves and post them on our blogs. Now, if you look around you'll see I have no problem with posting pictures of . . .pretty much anything from food, to clothing to even shoes and I never feel shy about being behind a camera. But...for some reason I hardly took any photos this holiday season with me in them.

However, my son's gfriend did a painting of me and my hubby (which I love) because it looks way better than I do. So I have no problem sharing it

But while I was browsing for a photo, I found this one that we took with some friends who were in town for the holidays and I love it because it's so many of my college buds that I always have to smile when I see it.

Run for FUN

Okay it might not sound like fun to you. But . . . I've been running to work this week and I'm really enjoying it. . .well, parts of it. The truth is it's very hard to get out of my warm cozy bed when I've been cuddled up to my hubby to brave the freezing cold breezes and the plummeting temperatures of Portland's wintery weather with nothing more than my running gear.

But, once I get going. . .

I'm in a different world. This must be what it means to "get in the zone". I can run and run and the world seems to become a better place... for a few minutes. Running clears my head and helps me get energized for work.

I'm sitting most of the day in a comfortable temperature controlled office environment so challenging myself to meet the environment head-on is invigorating.

Now, I've got to admit that I live on a mountain...a small one inside the city limits. But, when I run to work, I'm running downhill most of the way...they are a few inclines (and those are challenging) but most of the run is on a downward slope. So that's easier than what some people would have to face. Plus, it's only about 4 and 1/2 miles from my front door to my office. Another, not so bad fact.

I've only been running to work this week but I feel good about doing it. Not only is it healthier for me, I save money on gas, and I'm helping Protect the Planet by living Green.

And, if you're not ready to run, you might want to try biking to work, at least then you can coast on the downhill slopes :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shrimp Skewers

I was having a friend over for lunch and wanted to make something yummy but healthy at the same time. This is what I came up with:

Shrimp kabobs with soup and salad.

It was a healthy option.

How 'bout you, any ideas for healthy and yummy meals?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Word for Wednesday

Word for Wednesday
I was reading Scientific American the other day - yeah, I know, it sounds so surprising but I read that magazine. It makes science easy and that's the way I like it.

Anyway, like I said, I was reading and came across a word I was accustomed to but not familiar with. I've heard it all my life - but usually in another form. With this abbreviated version of what I was used to, I had to look up the meaning.

So, now it's time to show how smart you are - or aren't ;)

Guess what the word means in the comments section. No googling - that's cheating.

Word for Wednesday: Agonist

Do you know?

Now, after you've put your guess in the comments section - if you want to play, scroll down to find the answer...




1) A person engaged in a contest, conflict, struggle, etc., especially the protagonist in a literary work.
2. A person who is torn by inner conflict.
3. Physiology . a contracting muscle whose action is opposed by another muscle. Compare antagonist ( def. 3 ) .
4. Pharmacology . a chemical substance capable of activating a receptor to induce a full or partial pharmacological response. Compare antagonist.

ANTAGONIST is a blocking substance - sort of like in a book. The antagonist creates the conflict by blocking the action or reaction.

So, did you learn something? Or were you a brainiac and already knew all of this? :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shark Tank Candidate...

My husband is always inventing gadgets and gizmos galore. He should be a candidate for the Shark Tank.

So, I shouldn't have been surprised when we had to take down the Christmas lights and he said, "I've got an idea!" He didn't want to have to pull out the ladder and keep moving it over every time he needed to reach another light. So, he put together another new contraption to take the lights down from the ground. That made me feel a lot better than seeing him up on the tip-top of a tall ladder. And he had those lights down in the flash of an eyelash.

Here's how he did it.

He taped together a tree trimming tool with some conduit piping then he taped on a bracket and bent it so it could easily lift off the lights.

He didn't have to move the ladder, he just stepped over to get the next bit of lights down.

So, what do you think-is this a good Shark Tank idea?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bag of Bones - the Book

I just finished Stephen King's 529 pages known as Bag of Bones. "A Haunted Love Story".

Of course SK is the King, at least in my mind, when it comes to horror, writing and leaving memories in my mind of the stories I've read.

My all time favorite book is Salem's Lot, which I read as a kid and it's the reason I became a fanpire.

But this book "Bag of Bones", started out slow, in my opinion. It could be that I was just too busy over the holidays to get sucked into the story but, like I said, it took me quite a while to get into it. But once I was hooked, I had to find out the story behind the story.

It was fun to get to know Mr. Noonan who was, like a lot of characters in SK's books, a writer. And I especially loved the refrigerator people. But the best part of all was the ending. It became a real page-turner that kept me up late into the night reading the fast-paced climax. And I loved how it didn't come out all wine and roses.

Now, I've just got to see the movie and compare the two.

Friday, January 6, 2012

POP - or Progress on the Project

I was hoping to have the project done for the holidays but nope it's not. Of course I knew I was having unrealistic expectations but that's me. I'm always thinking we can get all sorts of things done in a day when it isn't really humanly possible. If only I wasn't human ;)

Anyway here are a few photos of the progress we've been making (now remember, we've had a lot of holidays, family and friends to work into the equation) plus, we've been battling colds this season so...there are my excuses for not making more headway.

Anyway, we did get one new window in - we still have the French doors, and another two windows to get hung.

And, we've put up new supports all around the room. I guess the old ones that have been in the house since 1890 or 122 years just weren't good enough, or that's what I keep asking my husband. "Are you sure we need to add more support?" His answer is always, "Yes." And, how can I argue that more might not be (like Martha would say) a good thing?

Anyway, I know it doesn't look like much progress but you have to remember this is a DIY project that we work into the weekends and evenings after work - so slow and steady is the theme. Now, I'm readjusting my time frame to completion. I'm hoping by Easter. . . we'll see.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A real Turkey

Okay, so if you read my blog, you'll know that I made a Crown Roast for Christmas. And although it had a very pretty presentation my kids and husband said, "I'd prefer turkey or ham for the next holiday." I guess we all are traditionalists. Anyway, for New Year's Day I wanted to make another holiday feast so turkey was the choice and here it is.

I really DO like my skin a little burnt. I enjoy the crunch. Maybe because Mom was always cooking for at least twelve people and she usually burnt as least one thing - so, it's the kind of home cooking I'm accustomed to. But whatever the reason, I like a little char so this was intentional.

I add a little sugar and butter to get that effect at the last minute. I pour a cup of the melted mixture over the top of the bird. I also use Dr. Pepper or Coke, if I have it on hand. It's quick and easy and gives me the effect I'm going for - a little overcooked skin while the bird stays tender and juicy on the inside.

Plus, we started the meal with King Crab legs and butter. Not quite on my diet plan but a person has to celebrate. Right?

Anyway, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend and I wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Custom Vans

My son's girlfriend was painting a pair of shoes for a present. Here are a few photos of her working on them. Here's her art site: http://tasukisflame.deviantart.com/