Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Big Race!!

The training: 
This week, quite inadvertently, Otto and I signed up for a 5k running race. It was a fund raiser for the Seattle Animal Shelter and a dog friendly event. So, even though Otto and I are getting a little long in the tooth. And even though neither of us has run more than a short sprint after a squirrel (Otto) or a slow 400m in a workout (me) in who knows how long, we had a long talk and decided we were up for the challenge. (Actually I made an executive decision, as usual, but I like to pretend democracy.)

And it was fun! Actually, it was crazy, but fun too.  Every dog under the sun was there......


Big dogs!


Small dogs!

Dogs wearing goofy things


And a ridiculous number of Seahawk gear wearing dogs!


Otto was quite the athlete. He ate well yesterday, rested his legs, hydrated, went to bed early. Then was up with the birds to get his race on!

Comeoncomeon!! We're gonna miss the race!
Got his race uniform on. 
I think this is where the pre race jitters started to set in.
Now I haven't run an official 5k in about 6 years. And my last one was pretty fast (somewhere in the 22 or 23 minutes range, for me that's fast)! But, Otto is 11(ish) and I haven't run him in, uhm, maybe years. So I was thinking this one would need to be pretty slow.

The race: 
Fun! Running a 5k slowly is kind of awesome and pain free. Well, it is physically pain free, mentally it was a bit of a challenge. I had to turn off every competitive bone in my body. When we stopped to poop and pee I had to breath deeply as large numbers of people and dogs swooped by. When the weak, infirm or otherwise annoying were in front of us, we has to suck it up and sit on their tails. (That group would include a rather large woman, a 5 year old, and a very annoying overly tan speed walker.) At one point I passed (they weren't running at the time) a man who was trying to inspire his son by saying, when I race, I usually find someone in front of me who looks less fit than I am and try to pass them. A few minutes later when they zoomed by us, I said 'I hope I wasn't your target'.

The breakdown: (what good is a race without an in depth blow by blow that none of your audience cares about)
The internet is telling me that Otto is around 72 in people years. And let me tell you, for an old guy he was awesome! The first mile he kept a nice steady pace (w/ only one poop and one pee break). Then, just after mile 1 a dog passed us and I don't know if Otto just decided to be competitive or thought he knew the dog or what, but he burst into a 'sprint'. We were probably going a good 2 miles per hour faster than we had been. I was all for it. Unfortunately, after about a quarter mile of that we hit a hill and both of us decided that sprinting right before a hill might not have been our best game plan.

The top of the hill coincided with the end of mile two. We stopped for some water (in a big kids swimming pool) and at that point I think Otto decided we'd run plenty far enough. This was a damn shame because the last mile was .5 miles down hill then .5 miles to the finish - a perfect recipe for fast! I kept trying to be encouraging 'good job', 'we're almost done' 'you're doing so good' 'just a little further'. But it didn't matter. I heard one father tell his small girl child, you have a cramp? Pretend you're Lebron and keep going. So I tried it on Otto, but although it seemed to work for the father, Otto merely decided it was time to pee. Even with only .1 kilometers to go, there was no speeding up (whose child is he??).

Results:
We finished in 30 something (ie less than 31 minutes). Otto was a true rock star. Maybe he even won his age division??

Robyn, Yumi, me and a bunch of tired dogs who have no time for posing!

Nap time?

Current status.
Next year we're thinking if we eliminate the poop break we can break 30 easy!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Day Miracle

In honor of mother's day, I thought I'd blog about baby birds.

My regular and attentive readers will remember a few short weeks ago when I was all a twitter about some robin's eggs next to my porch.

4-20-14

Well, after that discovery I began to torture the poor mom bird on a daily basis, as I had to check in on the status of her eggs. She really didn't have much of a defense mechanism. I would peer into the tree and she would run (uhm, fly) for the hills, leaving her little eggs on their own, completely defenseless. But it's mother's day, far be it for me to criticize the robin mother who was probably holding down two jobs to make ends meet all the while providing warmth for her poor little eggs.

Anyhow, it wasn't long, before those little eggs turned into three teeny birds. And here is the amazing part!  It was even less time before the teeny tiny naked birds, turned into large flying birds!!!

5-2-14

5-6-14
 (Hard to see in the 5/6 picture, but they are sprouting tufts of feathers)

5-8-14(ish)

5-10-14

5-11-14
A couple hours after I took that last photo, I went and checked on them and caused quite a commotion. I think they must have just started flying because I saw one juvenile bird that startled and headed for a tree and a bunch of adults, who for the very first time actually wanted to attack rather than running away when I appeared!

I find it amazing. I don't know if they were born on 5-2, but I know on 5-2 they were tiny and feather free. By 5-11 they were ready to leave the nest!  How can that happen so quickly?  I am assuming they flew off and are now happily living a little robin life. I looked all around and found no little birds on the ground, so I am assuming all was well.

Nice job, robin mother. I will never again doubt your parenting prowess!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just likeToll House.
This blog is dedicated my oldest (oops, wrong term) longest (?) friend Jen, with whom I made about a zillion batches of cookies.

For much of my life, chocolate chip cookies were my very favorite things. As a kid I made endless batches of Toll House cookies. I knew the recipe by heart. I knew exactly how to make them the best -
  1. margarine not butter (too crispy with butter), 
  2. the margarine needed to soft but could not be melted (you were totally screwed if you hadn't though ahead and taken margarine out of the fridge ahead of time), 
  3. the batter needed to be stirred and not mixed in a blender. 
I ate such an huge quantity of cookie dough as a child it's amazing I wasn't huge, or diabetic, or something equally terrible. Shoot, it's amazing I didn't get salmonella with all the raw eggs consumed. I did occasionally eat the cookies, but it was really the dough I loved. 

As an adult, I learned that making cookies was a bad idea. I would still eat lots of dough and as good as it was it always made me feel extra ill (duh). I'm sure I felt extra ill as I child too, but somehow as an adult I was a tiny bit smarter. (Smarter in that I could decide to not make them, not smarter in that I could limit my consumption if I did make them.) This didn't stop my love of these cookies (and really these are the only type of cookies one should eat). Instead of making them, I would buy them. Not packaged grocery store chocolate chip cookies (yuck). They had to be perfect. Crunchy chocolate chip cookies are waste. Certain companies had (have) great ones, and probably got way too much of my money.

When I went paleo, I stopped most sugar except for some dark chocolate. And with that change, my love affair seems to have dwindled. Now, when I have the very occasional (once a year or so) cookie, they are much too sweet and I don't really enjoy them. 

Today, I have a couple parties to attend and since it's hard to split a salad, I decided to make some cookies to bring along. Let me tell you, the paleo version is an entirely different animal. The cookies I made today just had eggs, almond butter, chocolate, vanilla, sugar, salt and baking soda. Super easy and completely margarine free (can't even imagine margarine these days). The dough was less tempting. But the cookies are still extra delicious. (And extra pricey.......

Almond butter (do you have any idea how expensive almond butter is right at the moment? Well let me tell you the cheapest kind was $15 for a small jar!)
Coconut sugar (this stuff is like $6 per pound and really sugar is sugar is sugar, but whatever when in Rome....)
Theo's 85% cacao organic chocolate (okay, this was on sale and would be worth every penny no matter the price).)

Even in their new (healthy??) version, they took me on a walk down memory lane. I feel like running down Howe street and giving some to Jen. And maybe saving some for my mom for mother's day (I'm sure those were a present for a year or two (or three). 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Vacation, All I ever wanted.

Tonight marks the end of my birthday vacation week. The end of nine glorious days of sleeping, socializing, and basically doing a lot of nothing!  I had house plans. I had to do lists. But not much of that got done. Somehow I was way too busy. Allow me to give you some quick, day by day highlights. Apologies, in advance for the pictures, which seem to revolve primarily around the animals. When I was around people I was too distracted to take pictures.

Day 1.
Okay, day 1 I actually worked like a dog. I had some people over to celebrate so I spent the day cooking and cleaning. I made the most INSANEly delicious 'paleo' fudge with almond butter and coconut oil. Then it was onto the balls and sauces.  The party was a huge success! I drank most of a beer and got 'drunk', the company was great and I only broke one of my presents before I opened it!

Before

During
After
Day 2.
Day 2 was my birthday and it was actually pretty quiet most of the day (as I recovered from my 'most of a' beer). In the evening I met up with two great friends for a little spa time. We spent several hours steaming and soaking and freezing and chatting and steaming again. All that was followed by a sugar scrub. Then dinner. Then the most brilliant nights sleep ever. (Sorry, no naked lady photos).

Days 3-4
I headed up to the cabin with three of my favorite beings - Otto and Daisy and my mom. There was some hiking, thrift storing, cooking, reading and sunning going on.  Daisy rocked the trip much better than her first time (Daisy Adventure).


Brave cat. 

Otto was brave during the day but took to the closet at night. 

This is 50% off on tuesdays!

Relaxin' in the car.

Cat ear, knee and steering wheel.
Day 5
Oh No, half way through!  I returned from the cabin around 3ish. Headed to the gym for a work out that nearly did me in because ITWAS80DEGREES!!!!! Yes, during much of my vacation week it was over 70 and sunny!  Workout was followed by dinner with a friend.

Day 6. 
No rest for the weary. Physical therapy appointment (where I almost graduated from physical therapy!), an awesome workout that involved carrying large weights up and down the street (repeatedly through a food truck line), lunch with people from my gym, AND drinks with a friend.  And 86 DEGREES!!!

Day 7
What did I do this day? Oh, yes, this was the last day of sun so it was lots of yard work (okay I lied a bit about doing nothing), then a trip to the gym and home to relax. And I met these guys.


Baby birds! (see previous blog for them in a future life.)
Day 8
Trip to the gym. Lots of slacking and some watching True Blood. Followed by a delicious dinner with a friend I haven't seen in way too long. 

Daisy helps me watch tv. 

And finally, Day 9. 
House work, farmer's market, cooking, hanging with a friend, BBQing the best pork chops ever and rain.

OMG. How does one go back? It's been 9 days of amazing and relaxing and warm and happiness.  Happy birthday me!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Half full?

Sometimes, despite my very best efforts, that glass just forces itself to be half full.

There was a lot of bitching and moaning this morning. I was out in the yard and, okay, don't get me wrong. I love spring. April is my favorite month. And Seattle foliage is so insanely beautiful right now there aren't even words to describe it or pictures that fully capture it. But, it's also a ton of work, especially with the combination of 70 degree days followed by rain followed by 70 degree days. It is the invasive species version of heaven.

Let's make a list of the current nonsense I'm thinking about:

  1. The 110 foot long laurel hedge that I can't really do justice to and keeps creeping higher and higher. (Project Hedge)
  2. Weeds, an infinity number of weeds
  3. And because they deserve their own line, there are even more dandelions than infinity and their roots are so damn long you'll never kill them.
  4. Grass that is so happy you can SEE it growing (I kid you not)
  5. Blackberry bushes not so slowly inching their way into my garden
  6. Ivy doing it's best to race the blackberries to take over the flowers.
  7. Rodents digging trenches in my yard, plant roots AND eating my tulip bulbs
As I was toiling away, dreaming of the day I would own a condo or be rich enough (or less cheap) and hire someone, when suddenly I realized I was hearing a flutter every time I was by my rhododendron and I thought......nest.....?




Right in the middle you can just barely see the mom on her nest!)
How awesome is that!  Between that and all this......






(This tree I've been trying to capture in a photo for weeks, but it's so much better in person!)




How could anyone be grouchy?? Well, except for Otto, he's looking a little grouchy. (I may have decided he wanted me to nap next to him and that might not have been true)


Monday, April 7, 2014

I did not ride my bike into this hole.


But I've certainly been thinking about it. Each and every day as I barrel down this hill on my bike at 6.15 in the morning, I get to this spot and suddenly remember to avoid this ever growing hole. This hole which would be exactly in the path I would ride my bike if I was just not quite awake one morning.  And each and every morning I think, man, it would suck to ride my bike into that hole with that slowly sinking cone.

For the two months or so the hole has been growing......

This afternoon this happened!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tulips! (Wait, what...?)

Last fall, for the very first time in my life, I planted tulip bulbs. I was very excited at the idea of forgetting about them all winter and then without any work from me, getting beautiful flowers.

Here is the picture I posted on instagram at the time labeled 'spring tulips'!



Fast forward 6 months of patiently waiting.


What? Exact same spot (and no, those leaves in the middle are not tulips!). The question is where the @&$$(#*@ are my tulips!  


Here is the other spot I planted them!!  Not ONE tulip!

I even tried digging up where i planted them to see if maybe I planted them upside down and THE BULBS AREN'T EVEN THERE!  What? A rat?  A neighbor?  I am sure that somewhere there is a guilty tulip  thief who dug up my very valuable tulips bulbs in the dead of night. 

And speaking of tulips in the dead of night.


This is what everyone else's tulips look like right now.

But not to leave this blog on a downer note. Here is what Seattle looks like these days - take that midwesterners.





And to those of you non midwesterners, enjoy your tulips and be nice to me when I walk by your house drooling!