Friday, December 31, 2010

Running to a New Year!

I actually love the end of the year.  It's a great time to look back and reflect and to look forward and decide what you want to do differently.  

So, I going to use this beautiful New Year's Eve Friday to look back at 5 of my favorite things from this year!

1.  Favorite book - 
I'm amazed that I've been able to read a lot of books lately - but The Help has been my favorite one this year.  What a great story about 4 very different women.  The author set the story's background the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and all the character's lives are dramatically changed because of their place in time.  I've heard it's going to be turned into a movie - I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

2.  Favorite movie - 
No, it's not just a movie for kids!  It was the sweetest little movie ever - and I cried when I saw it in the theater and then I cried when we watched it on DVD.  It really makes you think about when to let go and move on. (I'm tearing up just thinking about it!)

3.  Favorite piece of advice - "Don't run someone else's race."  Got this advice in the book Born to Run.  The author was literally saying to keep pace for yourself - don't get sucked in to keeping up with another runner who is not running your pace - you'll blow it before the race is over!  But really, I think it's great advice for life itself.  Be true to who you are - and run your own "race"!  Don't do something just because someone else is doing it!  Be happy with who you are - keep your own pace!

4.  Favorite t-shirt - Ok, I have to admit that it's my own t-shirt.  

I found this at the race expo for the Two Cities Race.  It really made me laugh - and I figured that when you're in the middle of a long race, you really need something that is going to make you smile!  I wore this to the Big Sur Half in November.  Lot's of people laughed and said how much they liked it!  It made people smile - so it was truly a good buy!

5.  Favorite race - The Big Sur Half Marathon.  It isn't really in Big Sur - it's in Monterey and Pacific Grove.  The race course runs through downtown Monterey and out to the ocean.  
You run about 8 miles oceanside!  Simply the most beautiful scenery you could imagine!  This year runners came from 40 different states and several different countries!  You've got to try it - it's breathtaking - in many ways!

I hope you have many good memories and many favorites to look back on yourself as this year closes out!  I'd love to hear about them! 

May you be blessed in many ways in 2011!   Thanks for stopping by - and have a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Running like the Fonz!

(If you don't know who this guy is...uh, just stop reading here.)  So, I'm ordering my pictures from the last few races I was in, and there it was, staring back at me...I run like the Fonz!  Now, that's not to say I run in a leather jacket, or that I run and say, "Ayyy!" to everyone around me, or that I even say "Sit on it!".  No, no, what I've discovered is that I run with my thumb up!  Do I run like the wind?  No.  Do I run like an Olympian?  No.  I run like the Fonz!


This really hit me in the last week, when I was running on vacation.  Hubby and I went to Monterey and as I was running on one of my favorite trails, people kept nodding at me and giving me a "thumbs up"!  I thought, "Wow, people are really friendly this early in the morning."  Then I noticed my full Fonzie mode.  Turns out it was me that was giving first "Howdy-Doo" with my thumb.  I really need to get a handle on this. 

But then I saw this picture on the internet.  It changed my whole outlook!  I don't run like the Fonz...I run like Julia Roberts!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Running with Vintage Thingies!

I am linking up with the Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingie Thursday today!  

I wanted to share some Fabulously Vintage Christmas ornaments.  These ornaments are over 40 years old - I think that qualifies as vintage.  My parents bought them for my sister and I when we were very young.  My parents still put them on their tree every year.  Actually, my parent's tree is more ornaments than tree!  My dad decorates it and he leaves nothing behind!  

This always reminded me of a delicious upside-down ice cream cone! It was always my favorite when I was little!
She's lost some buttons through the years!
These were bought at Liberty House/Rhodes way back in the early 70s.  If you grew up near the Central Valley in California, then you may remember this department store. It's been out of business for about 25 years. They had a beauty salon in the store and they sold everything, even books!  I bought my first training bra here!  (I don't even know why I'm mentioning that, but it would probably qualify as "vintage" if I still owned it!) 

Thanks for stopping by on Vintage Thingie Thursday.  Be sure to visit the Colorado Lady and see what other fantastic finds are being shared on this Thursday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Running with Craftiness!

I used to be very crafty - the "artsy" kind, not the kind associated with scoundrels.  Rather, I should say, I used to have time to be crafty.  The kids came along and I just haven't devoted the time like I used to.  So nowadays, when I can be crafty very quickly, I jump on it!  So here's my latest crafty Christmas project! 

So simple!  I saw these last year at a friend's house.  You need glass blocks - the kind that are used in bathroom walls/windows, a string of lights (colored or white), and some ribbon!  EASY!!  Last year I had my dad drill holes in actual glass blocks, but this year I found pre-drilled blocks at Lowes!  I found them at the end of October and in just a few weeks they were gone!  Note to self:  go to Lowe's next October and stock up!

Now, here are 2 projects that I did over 12 years ago - "pre-kids"!  I took some painting classes at a local craft store and really enjoyed it, and then did these on my own.  I would love to get back to this - someday soon!

Hope your Christmas season has been crafty for you - and that you are blessed with family and friends during this season of Christ!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Running with My Favorites!

I'm going to celebrate this Friday by sharing one of my new favorite things! 

I love Starbucks, but since I bought a Starbucks espresso machine a couple years ago, I don't frequent Starbucks as much anymore (it saved me a lot of money too).  But...luckily, a friend gave me a Starbucks gift card and I bought myself this delicious little drink called a Caramel Brulee Latte!  Oh, my, goodness!  Does drinking this 3 days in a row make me addicted?  It is so tasty!  It has this amazing "carameliz-y" taste - just like the top of a exquisite creme brulee - you know - one that's been torched!  I think this is a limited time drink - so I need to drink as much as I can before it goes away!

So, what are you drinking lately?

Thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Running with Cool Shoes!

Yes, it's been awhile, but I'm back with Shoesday Tuesday!

Here they are!  I usually only wear these in the winter - not sure why...

 I love them because they remind me of the 1940s.  Don't you think?  I always wear them with fishnet stockings.  I must say...Hubby does appreciate a nice pair of fishnets - but that's a whole other post!

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Running with a Running Book!

I've been able to finish a couple books lately - I really do enjoy reading.  I've been trying to instill that love of reading in my kids.  I remember hearing LaVar Burton (if you have kids, you may remember that he hosted "Reading Rainbow" on PBS stations) talk about one of his fondest memories of his mother, and one of the reasons he loved books so much was because he always saw his mother with a book in her hand.  So far my love of books has rubbed off on Baby Girl.  She loves going to the library and to Barnes and Noble.  That makes me happy.  On the other hand, Baby Boy is a reluctant reader.  He's a good reader, he just needs to find that one author or genre that is going to get him excited about reading.
So, I finished Born to Run recently. What a great book!  It's a true story about a group of runners way down in the copper Canyons of rural Mexico.  They are ultra runners - people who run around 100 miles at a time...just because!  Wow!  But here's the thing - they run either barefoot, or with these little ol' "flip-floppy" sandals.

The author went to Mexico to figure out how this group of runners could run so far, with so little on their feet, and avoid injuries.  What he found was a group of people who ran simply because they loved running.  He also discovered some interesting things about runners and running.

Did you know...
Research studies have shown that there is a direct correlation on the amount of money you spend on running shoes and your chances of sustaining an injury while running?  People who spent more than $90 on a pair of running shoes were 50% more likely to be injured than those that spent less than $90.  (Whew, my last pair was $89 - Nike Pegasus - just under the wire!)  The reasoning is that more expensive shoes have more padding, which masks any pain you may feel from little missteps you make while running.  If you feel the pain, you will change your gait or do whatever you need to do to stop the pain!  Makes sense to me, and it makes sense that these runners in Mexico don't sustain many injuries.

When I was at the Expo at my last race, there was a booth selling these shoes.

They were $100. They are called Vibram Five Fingers. It's supposed to be the next best thing to running barefoot.  They look really interesting and I'd love to try a pair, but I can't justify spending $100 on something that may be really uncomfortable.  (Hmmm, how can I finagle a free pair?)

Then, I saw these on Oprah's Favorite Things Show.

They are Nike Free running shoes.  $85.  Again, just under the wire! 

I just can't see myself running barefoot.  I've got a real problem with dirty feet. 

Born to Run really made me rethink my reluctance to run a full marathon.  Really, 26.2 doesn't seem that far when you are reading about 100 mile races!

There was this great female runner in the book who was a "surfer chick" that was a really wild ultra runner.  She ran anywhere, anytime, just because she loved it!  She wasn't worried about what she ran in, or what she looked like - she just loved running!  She inspired me so I started running without my hair in a pony tail (I know, pretty wild, huh).  But I'm not giving up my Nike dri-fit tanks with the built-in sports bra!

The funny thing about this book was that it was recommended to me from a non-runner!  That's how interesting it is.  You don't have to be a runner to enjoy the story.

So, here's a question...has anyone out there tried running barefoot?  How did it go?

Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Running...and running...crazily!

I love races.  It's the crowd - so many people, (wanting a goody bag), with 1 destination in mind - the finish line!  I actually love trying to beat my times, and in this, my 2nd year of running, I have been beating my times - it's just the energy of so many runners!

In the last 6 weeks, I've run 5 races!  I think I stretched myself too thin.  But I have been so excited about running!   Here are highlights of some of the races!

Susan G. Komen - I ran the 5k with Baby Boy and the 1 miler with Baby Girl.  I'm so proud of both of them for running!  Baby Boy could leave me in the dust, but he doesn't realize it yet!  I can keep up with a 12 year old, but when I start running with a 16 year old - he will finish before I even start sweating!

Baby Girl's Girl Scout troop volunteered to cheer on the runners and to hand out medals!  The girls got to meet a local (retired) NFL player - Lorenzo Neal.  He last played for the Chargers.  The girls were very excited! 

Baby Boy and I did a relay for the local Half Marathon.  5.5 miles for him, 7.6 for me.  We didn't run together since it was a relay, and Baby Boy was not happy about that.  But he ran really well - 8:48 minute miles and I was so full of pride watching him at the end of he leg!  He loved it!  We both got great running shirts, a beautiful medal, and a finisher's sweatshirt!  Talk about great swag!!  He was so proud of the medal.  He ran cross country for his middle school, and never got even a ribbon for his finishes, so this medal was very special to him.

Together we ran the half marathon in 2 hours!  So proud of him!  I love running with Baby Boy!  

Thanks for visiting today!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Running with Thanks!

Thanksgiving...a day for giving thanks...especially for smoke alarms!  No,'s not as bad as you may be thinking.  It's actually an annual tradition!  Ok, what the heck am I talking about?  Well, it all begins with Alton Brown!  I love Alton Brown and just about everything that he does.  He has this fabulous Roasted Turkey recipe that we have tried the last 3 years - all with the same results - delicious moist turkey, and an annual test of our smoke alarm!

It all starts with a great brine - you soak your turkey overnight.  Then, you dry it off, stuff it with aromatics, lube it up with oil, and stick it in the oven at a toasty 500 degrees for 30 minutes to get a fantastic browning on the old bird!  This is where the fun begins!  See, our oven works great up to about 450 degrees, but when the temps reach 500, the oven can't seem to control all the smoke coming off the turkey.  We've tried everything - fans, open windows, oven vent on high...everything.  So now, we just stand someone near the smoke alarm to fan away the smoke and turn it off.  We accept it as the price of a delicious turkey!

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of family, friends, and many blessings!  Oh, I think I hear the smoke alarm - dinner's ready!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Running and Catching Up!

I've got lots to catch up on, and since I'm on vacation, it seems like a great time to do just that! 

So, let's begin...I went to my high school reunion recently, not long ago, in early Fall - let's leave it at that.  Glad I went, but will most likely never go back again. 

I guess my expectations were a little high, I had a little scenario running through my head that I'd connect with someone that I just had a passing friendship with in high school, and maybe find a running partner or someone with whom I had more in common with since 25 years had passed - uh, nope!  

I did reacquaint myself with a gal that I thought was just so together in high school.  She always dressed so amazingly well, and carried herself with such poise.  We started talking, and she's as "normal" as anyone.  Has the same children, job, family issues as me and she was so "down to earth".  I'm so glad we got to talk that evening.

I also got to see an old friend that I had known since 7th grade.  She was always so stressed and upset about something in the 6 years we went to school together.  She had a really strict (on the verge of abusive) mom and I swear, I thought she would either run away and end up living on the streets, or do herself some harm.  But, she was doing really well with her life.  Had 3 boys, working on her Master's Degree, and happy with her life.  That made the night worthwhile.

And I have to be honest, I was hoping that the gals would all be fat and the men bald...I was right on the 2nd one.  The girls I went to school with had really taken care of themselves, but the guys - wow, there were so many bald heads there I couldn't believe it!  It made me wonder...when do men get to the point that they just say, "I don't have enough to keep growing, I'm just going to shave it all off!"  Bald looks good on some people, say, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, but not so much on the class of 1985!

And, lastly, the "stupid and loud" girls that I went to high school with, uh...still stupid and loud!  The only difference seemed to be that now they could legally purchase their alcohol!  Sorry, being 43 and acting like you're 23 just doesn't work anymore!

Finally, at the end of the night I got a voice mail from Baby Girl, with her breathy 10 year old voice, saying, "Mommy, when are you coming home?"  I know right then that while high school was a nice place to visit, there was only one place that mattered to me now - home with my family.  The biggest "Ah-hah" of the night - I really like who I am and where I am in my life right now!  And it just took 3 hours of the past to help me realize that!

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Running...Away from a Book!

Sorry, David...I just couldn't do it!  I couldn't finish it!  I did something that I've rarely done in the past!  I had to close your book and walk away! 

You had me laughing till I cried, and nearly peed my pants in Me Talk Pretty One Day!  

 I can't tell you how many times I had to call someone while I was reading that book and quote from your stories!  I drove around with your book in my car and read it to anyone who asked for a ride - it was their ticket for transportation!

Your stories in Holidays on Ice will never allow me to look at Santa's helpers in the same way ever again!  I even drove all the way to Carmel to hear you speak.  I got your autograph in my copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames and I didn't take your photograph - just like your sign asked.  My friend had you sign her "Bucket" - we loved you!

 But Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk...I just couldn't read it!  You're hysterically funny - but all those weird human traits and foibles displayed in animals - it was just sad and depressing.  Animals deserve better than to be portrayed as vain and shallow.  Yes, I see how strange that is for me to enjoy and laugh at humans portrayed in this way, but animals...I can't read that.

I'm looking forward to your next book - and I realize that not everyone will like everything an author writes, but, I just had to tell you...sorry.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Running to Halloween!

I do enjoy Halloween!  But, it's not the candy, or the's the costumes!  I'm a little competitive, just a little.  A few years ago I worked at a school that actually had a Halloween Parade for students and teachers.  ( I say this with sarcasm, because my current school doesn't allow this time-honored tradition - too many tests, not enough time for fun!)  I worked with a "gentleman" who always came up with great, original Halloween costumes.  I got it in my mind that I could beat him in the Costume Contest.  (Silly me!) 

So one year, I bought vampire teeth, (and the denture adhesive it takes to keep them in) and fake hair and skin glue so I could have a realistic moustache and beard.  Listen to that again - I actually glued hair to my skin!  Did I win...NO!  He showed up with actual computer chips hot-glued to his face and he was some kind of Techno-Devil!  He won!  

The next year, I got all Martha Stewart and dressed up as a mummy!  Now, I didn't just tear some bedsheets.  I took Martha's ideas and tea-dyed cheesecloth, made a brown gooey paste for my face to keep the cloths adhered.  I looked fantastic!  And guess what?  I won!  He was absent that day.  It was a bittersweet victory - but a victory all the same!

So, now I have to live through my kids.  Baby Boy always comes up with interesting ideas for costumes.  This Boy is not a "store-bought" costume kind of kid.  In fact, we've never bought a costume for him.  Here's a list of costumes we've created:
1.  Rainbow Ghost
4.  Dirt Devil Vacuum
5.  Road Construction Sign
6.  "Male" Box
7.  Magical Mystery Box

Baby Boy won the school costume contest for 6 out of those 7 costumes.  I was thrilled!  (It's so sad-that feeling of validation a parent feels when they their child wins something!)

My motto is:  Give me a cardboard box and a glue gun and I can create anything!  Actually I have a secret weapon.  My Dad!  My dad is the handiest man I know.  He can build anything as long as he has a plan.  So, every year around Halloween I tell him our weird ideas and he cuts, saws, and assembles whatever we need.  He doesn't ask any questions either, which came in very handy one year.  That particular year, I worked for a boss who I truly believed had a "stick up his butt".  So, for my costume I asked my dad to make me a stick that I could attach with a belt.  He did.  I never showed him the photos from that costume...

Sadly (or luckily for me) Baby Boy is in 7th grade this year and they don't dress up at school.  I've got to be honest - after 6 straight years of winning - I'm tired of creating these costumes and living up to my high expectations!  I know it's wrong, but I love it that the the parents at school talk for years about my kid's costumes!

So, my only Halloween costume this year is for Baby Girl.  This Girl is a store-bought costume kind of girl, but when she saw her brother winning every year she wondered why her costumes weren't winning.  I gave it to her honestly - "It's because you won't let me make your costume!"  She heard me, and wanted to win much more than she wanted her independence (what kind of girl have I raised?) so when I started making her costumes, she started winning! 

Here's what she has been lately:
1.  a Motorcycle Rider
2.  Fisherman in a Boat
3.  Roller Coaster Rider

This year we worked on a Snake Charmer on a Flying Carpet costume.  We were lucky again this year and she was a Costume Contest winner at school!  

So, what are you over-achieving, time-stretched moms (just like me) making this year?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Running in San Francisco!

13.1 miles - all uphill!  No, not really, although it felt like it most of the time!  The Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco was just a fantastic experience!  So, to recap, here are 13 fabulous things about this memorable run!

1.  23,000 people - mostly women, and with one goal in mind - make it to the finish line!  We all gathered at the starting line around Union Square at 6:00 in the morning - it looked like that scene from Polar Express when all the elves are gathered waiting for Santa!  It was a "Sea of Runners!"  The energy was absolutely explosive!

 2.  People came from everywhere!  We met groups from Canada, Japan, and Alaska!  We were invited to join the Fairbanks 1/2 Marathon next year - it just seems a tad bit cool for me!

3.  Organized - like a well oiled machine!  Great Big KUDOS to the people that make this event happen.  It is just mind-boggling how smoothly everything ran especially with 23,000 people participating!

4.  The hills!  The first hill came at mile 6 - a 300 foot gradual climb!  I was so proud of myself for not walking up this hill.  And, I would have run faster if there hadn't been so many people in my way - really, I would have...

5.  The scenery!  Wow!  I could begin seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the background around mile 4, and it kept getting closer! 

6.  The entertainment!  We were inspired by the sounds of a Gospel Choir once we made it to the Piers!
7.  The spectators!  Really - how can you not be inspired by men dressed in pink spandex?  They cheered us on and made this mile so much cheerier!

8.  Inspiring Runners!  Many of the runners were running for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Team in Training.  Many of them were cancer survivors.  One gal had the words "I kicked Cancer's ass!"  Running Buddy yelled, "Congratulations!" to her - Running Buddy is such a motivator!

9.  The weather!  Mother Nature was looking down on us as it only started raining as we finished the race!

10.  The goodies!  After we made it through the finish line we were given a bag and they filled it with oranges, bananas, power bars, bagels, raisins, chocolate milk, water, and Gatorade!  What a haul!

11.  Niketown!  It's not just a store - it's a town!  And on the outside wall, all the participants names were written on a huge poster!  Really cool!

12.  Mile 12!  The chocolate mile!  As we entered this last mile of the race, they were giving out Ghirardelli chocolate squares.  Delicious!

13.  The downhill!  What a reward for going uphill!  I swear I ran for 6 straight minutes downhill - I was running so fast - it was exhilarating! Thank God I didn't trip and find myself face down on the Great Highway!

If you have any way to make it to San Francisco next October, you have to sign up for this race!  The lottery begins in March!  You will love it!

Oh, by the time was 2:20.  I'm extremely proud of that time since it was 2 minutes faster than my last half marathon.  Plus that time was with San Francisco hills, and stops for pictures! 

Thanks for stopping by today!  Keep Running!
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