Monthly Archives: December 2009

Are the holidays over yet?

This time of the year is always a whirlwind in my hometown of Tacoma, WA.

Between multiple Christmases, seeing friends from high school who are in town, trying to get my last minute shopping done, and plan for a ski trip, I feel like I’ve been going nonstop since my plane touched down at SeaTac Airport on Tuesday night!  It’s been good, though.  And the weather has been wonderful – sunny blue skies and not a drop of rain!  This is a cause for much gloating to the hubs, who always rags on the weather in Washington state.

Anyway… we’re off to see this much-hyped Avatar movie (I’m skeptical) but I wanted to catch up here a bit first!

Today’s EAT: Well, we all know that with Christmas comes much eating!  Shrimp, prime rib, roasted turkey and desserts galore – you name it, I’ve eaten it over the last few days.  We’ve also made time to hit a few of my favorite restaurants in town.

Today’s DRINK: I find it kind of amusing that, now that the “kids” in the family (me and my many cousins) are all adults, Christmas has become a boozy holiday.  And tomorrow, we’re headed to Whistler to meet up with a bunch of HBSers, so…yeah.  I’m going to need a detox after this is all over.

Today’s RUN: I’ve managed to run three days out of five – not too bad!  I absolutely love running when I’m home – nothing like some good hills to put me in my place!  And Point Defiance has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world for trail running.  Seriously – I snapped this earlier this week while parking for my run:

Just gorgeous.  And I still know those trails like the back of my hand from my high school running days!

Lobster and truffles

Ooh la la, aren’t we having a decadent day here?

Mais oui, says Mr. Lobster:

One thing I miss dearly about Boston is the lobstah.  When we lived there, we lived two blocks from a little lobster shack called Alive and Kickin’.  There, a friendly man with an almost-unintelligable Bahstun accent would sell you a live crustacean for like $6/lb.  Of course, you had to murder the beast in your kitchen and dismember its cooked body in order to enjoy the succulent meat….but if you didn’t mind that, you c0uld get lobster for the price of a decent chicken breast in Boston!

Now, in NYC, we live a couple of blocks from The Lobster Place.  While it’s no Alive and Kickin’, they do have whole lobsters for a great price.  And they come fully cooked – a bonus for me, as honestly I am not really in to dropping whole live creatures in to boiling water.  (Revoke my aspiring-foodie card if you must.)

Anyway, tonight the hubs and I paid a visit to The Lobster Place – and to Murray’s a couple of doors down, for a good crusty baguette and some soft cheese – and had a fancy little feast in our apartment. 

2 lb cooked lobster: $22

Baguette: $2

Salad mix: $4

Brie: $6

Butter: well, we always have butter in the fridge, but maybe we used $1 worth?

Cheap chardonnay: $7

Awesome in-apartment-feast total: $42

And then….there was dessert.  The other day, I finally got around to making the Oreo Truffles that I’ve had my eye on for a while.  And I have to say….holy crap.  For a recipe that only has three ingredients and took about 30 minutes of active prep to make, these came out amazing.

I am now totally intrigued by the whole truffle-making concept.  If I can mix cream cheese and oreos and dip them in chocolate, what other ingredients would be good candidates for a chocolate bath?  I might just have to do some experimentation… :)

Today’s EAT: Pretty much as described above….we also had leftover Joe’s Pizza for lunch (I know…what a healthy day, right?)

Today’s DRINK:  One of my standard white wines…mock me if you will, but Lindemann’s Chardonnay is consistently cheap and drinkable.

 

Today’s RUN: No running, but I did go to a 90-minute yoga class at the gym.

I have really fallen behind on my goal of going to at least one or two yoga/pilates classes a week.  I am absolutely terrible about stretching after I run, and I guess I reason that going to a couple of flexibility-oriented classes a week should somewhat make up for it.  When I was good about going earlier this fall, I did actually notice an improvement in my flexibility.

But lately?  I haven’t been in like a month.  So today was pretty humbling. 

I guess that’s one good thing about the winter and less running outside….it gives me no excuse not to focus on the other things that I need to work on, like strength and flexibility!

A winter race and a PR

Okay, that post title is slightly disingenuous:

(1) It’s not technically winter yet.  Although it sure feels like it – the temp at the start line of my morning race was a chilly 20 degrees.  And a massive nor’easter is coming through this afternoon, with more than a foot of snow expected in the city.  I know it’s only December 19 but this is winter.

(2) Yes – I got a PR!  This is this first time in many years I’ve gotten a PR.  5+ years probably. Wow.

The catch is that I could have walked the race and techincally gotten a PR, as it’s a distance I’d never raced before.  Doh!

Oh well.  I’ll take what I can get!

Race report:  I ran the NYRR Ted Corbitt 15k this morning.  As I mentioned, it was freezing cold at 7:30 AM in Central Park.  I can’t complain about the weather too much though, as it was calm and precipitation-free.

Upon arriving at the park, I was floored by how many people were there.  Thousands of people.  This was the first non-marathon-related NYRR race I have done and I have to admit, I’m a little intimidated and worried about my race plans for next spring and summer.  If this many people show up for a 15k on a cold morning in December, how many will be at a 5k on a pleasant day in April?

This worries me primarily because of crowding.  Overall the NYRR does a fantastic job of handling things, but I guess crowding at the start is inevitable.  It really messed with the first couple of miles of my race though…my first mile was about 3 minutes slower than it would have been without the crowds.  I think part of my problem today was due to how NYRR seeds people into start corrals though: apparently they use the per-minute mile pace from your last race.  So I was seeded in at my marathon (26 miles) pace for a 9 mile race – i.e., considerably slower!  I’m hoping that the next race I’ll be farther up in the pack and won’t have to deal with tripping over slower runners for the first couple of miles.

Anyway.  As I have mentioned before, I *despise* being hot when I run.  After mile one the gloves came off and went in the trash.  After mile two, the fleece headband was twisted around my wrist and my sleeves were rolled up.  I swear, I would have been a happy camper running in shorts and a t-shirt after getting warmed up a little! 

Once I got past the crowd and warmed up a little, at about mile 3, I fell in to a nice pace – a little challenging, but not too hard – and really enjoyed the rest of the race!

Overall my time was 1:15:11 – 70/519 in my age group, 215/1750 women overall, 8:05 pace.  (Haha – gone are the days of winning shit for racing.  I miss you sometimes, Ohio!)  I’m a little frustrated that my time would have been a little faster if not for all of the crowding those first couple of miles, but oh well.  I got out and had a good, hard workout on a cold day, and that’s a win!

And you know what?  It’s a PR.  Who cares if it’s my only time for the distance.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that and it feels nice. :)

Today’s EAT: Not sure what’s on tap for tonight – um, delivery maybe?  It’s supposed to snow like mad here tonight and staying in sounds perfect.  I’ve already gotten one treat from the delivery man today – a Joe’s Pizza pie, my post race lunch treat.

Today’s DRINK: Maybe a nice bottle of red wine tonight?  That seems like it goes well with being snowed in!

Today’s RUN: See long-winded race report above. :)

Jailbreak!

I spent most of my morning lying on the nasty, dirty floor of our local Petco, trying to coerce a skittery kitty out from under a shelf.  Seriously.

Since we moved to NYC, I’ve been volunteering once or twice a week at a local cat rescue.  (Plug – if you’re in the city and looking for a kitty, it’s the best place to go!)  My “job” is definitely grunt work – along with a handful of other volunteers I feed cats, clean their cages, and if things aren’t too crazy, work on socializing them a bit.  There are about 40-50 cats in our adoption center, which is inside of a busy Petco.

From my first day doing this, I’ve been secretly petrified of one thing: a cat getting out.  Scratches?  Part of the job.  Bites?  Unpleasant, but I’ll take it.  An escapee?  Holy crap, mortifying.  I’ve had my share of instances where a bold kitten with big dreams has launched itself onto my shoulder in a heroic bid for freedom, but fortunately, all of my charges have ultimately remained in their cages.

Anyway, today, one of my co-volunteers did it.  Her cat got out.  Yikes.

Let me tell you: a frightened cat on a mission to make itself obscure can travel at unthinkable speeds.  This little kitty made a beeline for the deepest, heaviest, most unmovable shelf in the vicinity and hunkered down underneath it, in the very back corner.  And I, along with my team, spent most of our morning employing everything from food, treats and catnip to the sharp end of a broom handle trying to get her out.  She would not budge.  You would not believe how heavy a tiny cat can be when it doesn’t want to move.

We never did get her out.  I feel terrible, but damn…that cat was not gonna budge.  I don’t know what they’ll do to try to get her back….and as a bottom-of-the-totem pole “feeder and cleaner” it’s not really my problem, but I still feel bad.

Let me tell you though…the floor of a high-traffic pet store is a nasty-ass place.  I could not WAIT to get in the shower when I finally got home!

Today’s EAT: Dinner from my very favorite Thai place, Morakote Siam.  Pad see ew with roasted duck = HEAVEN.  I actually consider us lucky that we got delivery tonight….most of the time the place doesn’t answer their phone and we end up with lesser Thai food.

Today’s DRINK: Um….we are going through this care package wine WAY too quickly!  We’re down three bottles already.  Tonight we broke open the EB Foote “Northwest Duet,” which is a Cab/Merlot blend.  Mmm…a nice glass of rich red wine on a cold day is fantastic!

Today’s RUN: I have to admit something.  I don’t think I can say that I hate the treadmill anymore.

I used to be very anti-treadmill.  Would run outside no matter the weather.  No way, no how, never would I go on a treadmill.

I don’t know if it’s my older age, or just the convenience, or what but….I don’t hate the treadmill lately.  In fact, I’ve even had a few great workouts!  Like today: I did some light speedwork, 8X800 meters at just under 7:00 pace with a minute recovery (walking) in between.  The whole thing (including warm up and cool down) was over in about 45 minutes and actually kind of fun. 

Sigh.  I am officially becoming a gym rat.

Infestation….?

There are tiny flies in my bathroom.  I am not sure what to make of this.

Honestly, I feel pretty lucky to have thus far avoided (crossing fingers!) cockroaches and bedbugs, given the “epidemics” you hear on the news here in NYC.  (I guess that is one of the advantages, aside from buff quads, of living on the sixth floor.  I don’t think your average roach is willing to climb that high.)

Anyway.  EWWWW, right?

I’m not sure if it’s from the mini christmas tree, or the bowl of clementines I have out and about to add holiday decor.  But something is attracting flies.  Ugh.  Tomorrow the bathroom will get a full vinegar cleanout and the clementines will go and we’ll hopefully figure out what the source is.

Today’s EAT: Tonight was the hubs’ office holiday party, which offered some appetizers but not quite enough for ravenous soul like me to call “dinner.”  So we stopped at Joe’s on the way home.  Mmmmm….OMG still the best pizza I’ve ever had….

Today’s DRINK: Had a couple of pints of Guinness at the party.  I like Guinness, especially in a  setting where I’m trying to limit my expense/intake.  I thoroughly enjoy each sip, and hence it’s cost effective.

Today’s RUN: I did mostly weights at the gym.  Well, weights followed by a 20-minute elliptical session that served as a warm up. 

I don’t like my workouts to be too structured, so I’ve come up with a plan that works well for me lately: I call it the “10 things” workout. 

So, today was upper body.  I had to do 10 things that worked my upper body – could be whatever I felt like doing.  I chose: (1) bench press, (2) lat pull down, (3) shoulder press, (4) lateral pull, (5) bicep curl, (6) low row, (7) assisted chin-up, (8) assisted dip, (9) fly and (10) push-up ladder.  The idea being that if there’s something that I really don’t feel like doing, I can sub something else.  It’s worked for me the last couple of weeks; hopefully it keeps me motivated to do strength training through the winter!

Shopping Fail

Ugh.  I do this every. Single. Year.

Christmas is, like, next week and I haven’t even STARTED shopping yet.  Zero, nada, nothing.  I even sat down tonight and thought to myself, “Hey, I should get the hubs over here and let’s sit down and order a bunch of stuff for people.”  But, nah.  I’m opting for goofing around on the net and watching MNF instead.

Sigh…maybe tomorrow night.  Or maybe it’ll be like every other year and I’ll find myself running around like a maniac on December 23.

Today’s EAT: Had a delicious lunch – the ham and fig sandwich at Local might be my very favorite sandwich in the city!  Dinner was nothing special, just a plain little stir-fry with beef and snow peas.  Trying to be a little bit healthy after yesterday’s bacon-and-chocolate orgy!

Today’s DRINK: Sigh.  In an effort to drop a few pounds before the holidays, the hubs has instituted a tyrannical regime suggested policy which consists of no booze on weeknights.  I’m trying to be supportive, but damn, I sure do like a glass of wine while I’m cooking. 

Oh well.  It probably wouldn’t kill me to lay off the vino and maybe shed the couple of pounds I’ve put on since the marathon.  So right now I’m sipping on some decaf Sweet and Spicy Tea, which actually has also taken the place of dessert.  Double healthy – booyah.

Today’s RUN: Today was relatively warm and dry outside – yay!  I ran outdoors for the first time in several days.  It was a great run – I did my normal 5-mile Hudson River route and came in just over 40 minutes, which is on the quick side for me!

Bakin’ and bacon

Nasty, rainy Sunday.  What to do?  Bake, cook and eat of course!

Today’s EAT: Oh, where to start.  I had planned to make both these Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies and some Oreo Truffles.   As it turned out, I lacked wax paper, which nixed the truffles.  So I just made the cherry cookies.

They came out okay!  A little dry maybe, which I blame on my wonky oven and its completely whimsical temperature dial.  Seriously, I don’t think the knob has anything to do with what temp it actually is in there.  Anyway, they ended up cooking longer than they should have.  Still pretty darn tasty though!  And I’m hoping to make the truffles tomorrow.

Then, dinner.  I saw this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta on tastespotting, which is a website you should never ever visit while hungry.  This recipe combined several of my favorite things (butternut squash, bacon) and even purported to be mac-and-cheese-like, which sealed the deal for me.

Not gonna lie, any dish that starts out like this has pretty much already won me over:

Hellooooooo, bacon.

The end result was absolutely delish and complety not healthy at all.  I don’t claim to be a healthy cook, but this dish was a little rich even for me!  I think next time (and there will definitely be a next time!) I’ll serve a smaller portion of pasta along with a big salad as a side, to cut the richness of the pasta.

And now I sit on the couch in a bacon coma.  So bad, but sooooo good.

Today’s DRINK:  Mark West 2008 Pinot Noir.  This is one of my favorite inexpensive bottles of wine!  It’s like 7 bucks at Trader Joe’s and very mild, perfect for pairing with a bold-flavored dinner like the one I made tonight.

Today’s RUN:  Meh.  Excercise is overrated. :)  At least that is how I feel today!

Christmas is in the air

…and at the bar, too.   Cookies and milk?   Nah, Santa prefers tequila shots!

Seriously, my neighborhood cracks me up.  We live on a block that’s full of bars.  Today, apparently, was some sort of Santa Pub Crawl.  Hundreds of people in Santa suits flooding the street and the bars.  Awesome.  I only wish I had known about this in advance so I could have participated!

Since we’re in the holiday spirit, I must show off my itty bitty Christmas tree:

14 bucks at Trader Joe’s and it stands a mere 1.5″ tall!  Don’t mock the cheesy bows and garland – I got them at CVS.  I had pretty much assumed that there was no way in hell we’d have a tree this year, since our apartment is about sixteen square feet.  So all of our Christmas decorations?  They’re in a storage unit in Long Island City. :(  Oh well!  I am very much enjoying the one real ornament, which was a gift this year from one of the awesome girls on the fitness/running board on which I hang out.   It says: All I want for Christmas is a New PR.  Don’t I ever!

Today’s EAT: Dinner tonight at Cafe Cortadito in the East Village with some HBS folks, followed by…

Today’s DRINK: at Nurse Bettie in the LES.  Can’t wait to see everyone!

Today’s RUN:  Well, I bagged by weekend race plans.  I’m officially a wussy.  It’s just too cold.  Maybe next weekend…there’s a 15k….

I did make it to the gym today for a little time on the elliptical and a great upper-body lifting workout though!

Oh, to be a cat

An exciting thing arrived in my apartment today.  My mom sent a care package of wine to me and the hubs (thanks, mom!!) and guess what it came in: A BOX.

OMG OMG OMG….it’s a BOX!

Seriously.  There is no better cat toy in the WORLD than an empty box.  You could spend hundreds of dollars buying every cat toy out there and you know what?  They’d still go for the box.

Emmy cannot see a box and not go inside.  Impossible!

Which of course meant that Parker had to go in the box.  And Emmy went crazy trying to get him to come out of there.

And this is pretty much how we spent our afternoon.  So thanks again for the wine, mom!  And for completely exhausting my cats.  Both are completely passed out right now and we will hopefully snooze right through the 6 AM Kitty Alarm Clock tomorrow morning!

(Yes, I hear those of you who have actual human children scoffing at me.  This is why I have feline children.  I cherish my sleep.)

Today’s EAT: Delivery Chinese from Grand Sichuan.  The hubs insists that we order something “authentic” off of the menu when we order Chinese.  So we tried some double braised beef thingy but….yeah, the orange chicken was better.  Chinese delivery is what it is.  The “bad” stuff is always the best.  :)

Today’s DRINK: Enjoying a bottle of the care package wine – which is definitely a step up from our normal fare.  Uh, several steps, perhaps. :)  EB Foote Shiraz and it is quite enjoyable:

Today’s RUN: I was cranking on a couple of things for work today and didn’t get out to run or gym it.  But, since I haven’t written in a while, let me recount my running triumphs of the last few days.

….echo, echo…..

…..pin drop…..

….crickets chirping…..

Ok, I’ve been pretty damn lazy the last few days.  I have a 4-mile race this weekend so maybe that will get me back in to gear!  Or maybe December is just a lazy month.

I’m a Local!

Or am starting to feel like one, anyway.  

And it’s kind of a fun feeling.  I admit, I get a little rush of pride when some random tourist stops me on the street – picks me, out of all of the people walking around! – to ask where Bleecker street is or which way to the 1 train.  I feel kinda proud of myself when I can actually answer, too.  My neighborhood is not the most easily understood place in the city.

I kind of wonder what will end up happening next year; if we will stay in NYC or end up somewhere else.  I never thought I’d say this, but I would actually be OK with staying here for a few more years.  Not, like, forever….but for a couple more years?  Sure.  I like it here.  A lot more than I thought I would.

Today’s EAT: Going to Malatesta for dinner, which has been on my list of places to try.  Excited.  I love trying new restaurants!

Today’s DRINK: After dinner, headed to a monthly meet-up thingy with the some of the hubs’ b-school classmates.  We’re going to Cowgirl Hall of Fame, which looks just deliciously kitschy and fun.  I’m wearing my pink Frye boots for the occasion. :)

Today’s RUN: Well, I’ll start by saying that my run yesterday (which I never blogged) was a disaster.  Ugh.  I went out for five miles and made it maybe four, generously.  I made a mistake which I often make when the season is changing: I dressed totally inappropriately.  Looked outside and saw rain and wind and thought “December – cold” and put on tights and a long sleeved tee.  Well, it was actually in the 50s.  If there is one thing that I hate while running, it is being too hot.  I was miserable.  Ugh!  In addition to that, I just felt off: my legs were all heavy, my lunch was staging a rebellion in my tummy, my head was itchy.  Writing that one off to a bad day!

Thankfully, today’s workout was better!  I needed to do weights, and was too lazy to try to run AND go to the gym, so I just did a short run on the treadmill, 3 miles, 22:55.  Tried to keep the pace a little brisk to compensate for the short distance.  And then I did my weight workout (upper body – back, shoulders mostly) and it was great!