Monthly Archives: February 2011

Birthday weekend of splendiferousness (now with photos!)

So – I may have mentioned that it was my birthday. Once – perhaps twice. Certainly not with the alarming regularity with which it came up last year.  🙂

I took (or rather had the architect take) photos at my actual birthday drinks event on Friday night, but neglected to download them from the camera. Perhaps because I had just found my camera cord & downloaded three months worth of pics last Thursday and was completely wiped out.

The one thing I did not do in my happy four-day weekend is exercise. At all. Not even once. (Well, except yesterday, so I guess once.)

BUT – I do have pics of all my awesome presents!

The weekend (for me) started Wednesday night. French 75? Yes please, bartender! (Bartender = me. I am remarkably accommodating to myself.)



Thursday morning, I was ready for the SNOWPOCALYPSE OF DOOM! I was hoping that maybe we’d be a little snowed in, just enough that the architect wouldn’t go into work, but enough that I could still make it downtown for my birthday lunch.

Alas, as snowpocalypses go, it was not very snowpocalypsy:


Yes, that is blue sky for the snowpocalypse. And in case you think maybe we have feet of snow impeding our paths:


Yeah….not so much.

BUT – at least I got to go to Rogue & have my free birthday beer! (And get my birthday shirt.)

I was not expecting my free beer to be so very large….


Somehow, though, I managed to get through.

After recovering from lunch, I managed to be lazy for several hours, and then, the gifts started arriving!

IMAG0189 IMAG0205

Yay! La Creuset baking dishes from my sister in law (and family) and a set of fun mixing bowls from my sister!

I also received a Borders gift card and spent it immediately on this:


Oh yeah – there will be fancy cakes in my future! Thanks, Mom & Dad!

After awhile, the architect got home, and I got to open my gift from him. I was shocked (SHOCKED) to find this in the package:

Yay! Nook!

We went out to my favorite local bar for soup, sandwiches & beer!

Friday, I had ANOTHER day off. So awesome! I spent the morning being lazy (again!), and then went to my volunteer gig. After returning home, I made a cake (lemon, with raspberry filling & lemon glaze frosting – yum) and then prettied myself up for my happy hour.

Although the happy hour pictures are not available, I do have pics of some of the awesome gifties I got!

Cake decorating kit AND a deluxe cherry pitter! Woo! Candy! (And a Starbucks card) GIN and brandy - yum! POPE CANDLE!

Isn’t the pope candle awesome? Aren’t you jealous?

I had such a great time for my birthday. Thanks for the gifts, the beers, and the nachos!


Saturday morning, I got up, had some cake for breakfast, and went to a rain garden workshop at the Expo Center, and then to the Home & Garden show with a friend from the internets.

It was interesting, and I immediately signed up for a naturescape class & a site planning 101 class.  My yard & garden are going to be AWESOME!

I did nothing the rest of the day.

Sunday, I slept in ’til almost 10 (all that lazing had worn me out). Then, I made the architect go have brunch with me. Then (ready for this shock?): I lazed.

Finally, I got on the bike trainer at about 5 last night & did a brisk 10 miles. (I needed something to burn off all the cake & beer…)

Such a great birthday weekend, and I’m still feeling pretty good about it all, even if I did have to go back to work today!  I wish every weekend was a four-day weekend! (Who am I kidding, if it wasn’t for my fondness for that paycheck, I’d wish every weekend was a 7 day weekend.)

Now – if only I can make it through the next three weeks before my week-long vacation, timed conveniently to coincide with my spring break!

(I’m thinking it’ll be some kind of crazy spring break weekend! Woo!)

Gazelles Gone Wild


Birthday Snopocalypse 2011! Specter of Doom!

Fortunately, I had already taken the day off, so I didn’t have to venture out into this mess:


So far, I have celebrated by sleeping in & trying to convince the architect that our snowpocalypse last night meant he couldn’t go into work today.

Amy & Brad


Unfortunately he looked outside & decided that he probably should go to work & get paid (so he can buy me presents & other pretty things).



I am now up to the special birthday cup of coffee, then will do the “homework of annoyingness” and later will have the symbolic “lunch with good friend(s)” and then later, the “run of snow and quiet” and later the “dinner and drinks with one’s significant other.”

I love my birthday.


Book Review Wednesday: Born to Run

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never SeenBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really, really liked this book. It did, however, make me want to chuck my running shoes & buy a pair of Vibrams (or, as I usually refer to them, the creepy shoes).

The story of the Tarahumara runners was fascinating; add to that all the sciency (it is too a word) information about running (I especially liked the evolutionary biology bits) and the information about injury prevent & diet, and I was hooked.

I’m fairly certain that my enjoyment of this book hinged on me a) being a runner and b) being a trail runner; I would love to know if a non-runner would find it equally as fascinating.

I had planned on doing an ultra-marathon at some point in my life, and now want to work on my running technique and maybe do one this year (although not Leadville…I’m not that crazy).

The writing was pretty good, although since I don’t follow the ultra scene, there were too many names & people to keep track of, and I would’ve liked a cast of characters. The story was very straightforward, but was interspersed with all the “other” information, but I didn’t find any of that distracting at all. That kind of organization can be hit or miss, but in this case it was very well done.

View all my reviews

Shoesday! for runners

It has been almost a year since I’ve purchased a new pair of running shoes. Last March, I did a 14 mile run (I was marathon training) and damaged my foot. I’d been getting nasty blood blisters on the last couple runs, and was convinced it was my socks.

So, I got new socks.

It didn’t help.

So, I got new shoes.

That didn’t really help, either.

So, I went to a podiatrist, and, well, you know the rest of that story…(and if you don’t, just look at all the Damian posts).

Those new shoes I got last March are still with me. In fact, they only have about 100 miles on them. (I’ve only run 100 miles in the last 11 months. That makes me sad.) However, they do have lots of untracked miles, too. All the walking I did in an effort to stay in some kind of shape before the surgery. All the walking I did to try to get back into some kind of shape after the surgery. Not to mention that they are my go-to every day shoes right now. And, up until a couple of weeks ago, they were pretty much the only shoes I wore. Ever. (Oooh – and for six weeks, I only wore the right shoes..crazy!)

So – I think it’s pretty obvious that I need a new pair of running shoes. Right? You’re with me on this, aren’t you?

And, since I’m getting a new pair of running shoes, I should probably look at my trail runners. They tend to accumulate less miles, but they’re close to 300 right now. And that’s getting close to retirement, isn’t it?

Since my foot is still a wee bit swollen, and I was told to expect that to last until about 6 months post surgery (i.e. April 5), I’m planning on holding out until April 3. (Shoe shopping spree! Woo! Who’s with me?)

That, however, has never kept me from looking.

So – shoes I’m considering.  First – running shoes. Then trail shoes. Then creepy shoes.

Running Shoes – Neutral

Brooks Defyance 14

I love my current pair of Brooks Defyance – and the new ones are kicky AND orange!

Saucony Progrid Jazz 14

My previous shoe love was reserved for my Saucony pro-grid rides, although Runner’s World makes a solid case for the Progrid Jazz.

Running Shoes – Stability

I don’t personally need any more stability in my life…er, I mean feet, but here are  couple, just in case you do: I can’t decide if I like the yellow (more visibility) or if it’s just a tad too much.

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 16

Mizuno Wave Inspire 7

Trail Running  Shoes

I am not going to lie. I love my trail runners, and will probably get a similar pair. New Balance no longer makes the 790s, but I’m hopeful that I can find something that will work for me. According to a verified professional source random website I found, these are some of the best shoes this year!

These are all gorgeous, and I kind of want them all….

New Balance 915

These New Balance shoes are probably closest to my beloved New Balance 790s…plus – GREEN!  Love it.

Montrail Badrock

I love the brightness of these, although they seem to have a lot more going on in the sole than I like.

Brooks Cascadia 6

I do love my current pair of Brooks, and I love green, and could totally be convinced to give up my New Balance shoes for these. LOVE!

Creepy Shoes

So, I recently read “Born to Run” (come back tomorrow to read my review!), and am now a little obsessed with the whole barefoot running thing. This is weird. I scoffed. I mocked. When the two people I know with the VFF shoes would wear them in front of me, I cringed, then mocked, then scoffed, then called them creepy. (Sorry Emily & Mr. Pi!)

But now…I kind of want some. I’ve even been wearing my creepy socks as practice for creepy shoes.

So – what’s out there in the world of minimalist running shoes? Lots, apparently. This bandwagon I’m trying to jump on has apparently been around a while. I am relying on the same authoritative random website as for the trail running shoes.

Women's Barefoot Pace Glove

These are not creepy at all! Which is nice!  I love the non-creepy aspect of these shoes, and they still look fairly minimal. Also, red!

New Balance Minimus Line

This line isn’t even out yet! Crazy!  But, I do like the New Balance trail runners I have, and might be convinced to at least try the NB Minimus trail shoes.

Saucony ProGrid Peregrine

I think these are pretty, although there are not as minimal looking as some of the others. Pretty counts for something, though, right?

And finally – the classics:

Vibram Five Finger Sprint

These are the creepy shoes. And they are, right? But does the toe thing make them better? Or just weirder?

Once I go get fitted for my own personal minimalist shoes, I’ll let you know if I show some toe or not…

What do you run in?

Urban Homesteading –

That phrase means different things to different people. To me, it means that I live in the city, and do my best to live life simply, sustainably, organically, and happily.

I don’t have a lot of land, but a lot of what I have is given over to my gardens. You know it’s true. You’ve seen the pictures, right?


In addition to growing my food (and my flowers! I do love the pretty colors!), I do other interesting things with it…

Beer Brewing Canning

I have rain barrels, try to grow as much as we can, and to eat only real foods – preferably our own, but if not, from local sources when possible.

homemade bread, homemade cheese, homegrown tomatoes, roses from my garden & local wine

I have chicken dreams (and, secretly, goat dreams, too). We make our own bread and cheese (sometimes) and beer (very recently) and overall, try live a simple, homegrown life in our urban environment.

So – I would call myself an urban homesteader.

Apparently, the descriptive phrase Urban Homestead has been trademarked. Which is a wee bit ridiculous. This phrase has been around for ages (apparently, and I have no source to cite here, it was first used in the 1880s). And since the patent office decided that this was okay, a bunch of Facebook pages have been taken down, since LOTS of people use this phrase.

I, along with a few other bloggers, are posting today to take back urban homesteading and to talk a bit about what that phrase means to each of us.

UPDATED TO ADD: If you want to see a comprehensive list of everyone taking part in today’s Urban Homesteading Day of ActionTM (ha! Just kidding!) go here for the updated list. Also, I am on that list, and now I feel all fancy!