Category Archives: Crazy Cat Lady

Threesome

Since my husband has been off doing his new job thing and I’ve been a fake single girl, I’ve learned something about myself in the bedroom. Namely: I’m about as dominant as a tramped-down doormat.

It starts out innocently enough.

I take my side of the bed, and they take the empty one. We engage in a little foreplay: I set up my phone with Pandora and sleep timer; they turn in circles and purr and knead the comforter. After a few minutes, each of us has settled in to his or her space. We’re good to go. (To sleep.)

A couple of hours later, I awaken to find myself stuck.

They tag team me, going for a weak spot: the crook behind the knee. It’s a devious move on their part, as I’m now trapped on my side, pinned down to the mattress, and they can do whatever they please. (Which is…sleeping.)

I squirm for a few moments, trying to get up the nerve to move. But I’m under a spell…their soft furry bellies, rising and falling so gently. Their little sighs. Their twitchy paws. In the end I relent and drift back off, anchored under my furry captors.

This emboldens them, and they become more aggressive.

All of a sudden, the bed becomes unbearably warm. I’m sweating and clammy and I want it to stop. There are too many bodies in this bed. Someone has to go. I just can’t. (Sleep.)

Beaten down by the battle, I concede. When I awaken in the morning with shadows under my eyes, I just tell myself: well, that’s the price you pay for a wild night in a crowded bed.

Yeah, I know I could just boot them out and shut the door. (And sometimes I do.) But the truth is, I kind of love having my cats around as I lay down to sleep. It makes this whole temporary-long-distance thing a whole lot less lonely.

And if that means sacrificing a little sleep, so be it. I can’t help it if I’m a pushover in the bedroom.

An update on Parker

It’s a rainy Tuesday night and I don’t have much else to talk about, so how about the latest dish on my cat’s urinary tract?

Try, please, to contain your excitement.

You can read about the whole ordeal with Parker and his bedazzled bladder here and here. Or allow me to summarize his issues for you, in order of gravity:

*His bladder makes more crystals than a Swarovski factory. The crystals the drift downward and eventually block his urethra. Bad shit, this is. Worst case it leads to death; best case, expensive vet bills.

*He is dehydrated. Seriously, I have never seen this cat drink water. We’ve tried every type of conceivable water-delivery device and he just has no interest. This almost certainly exacerbates the above.

*He is a fat ass. In the grand scheme of things this is a minor concern, but obesity doesn’t do anything beneficial to a cat’s projected lifespan, and given that a dietary overhaul was inevitably going to be part of the solution to the first two problems, it’s something I’ve been mindful of.

So we’ve been working to find a new diet/hydration regimen that keeps Parker crystal free, while being manageable for our other cat, Emmy, as well.

(She’s got some junk in her trunk, but she does rock some fierce supermodel cheekbones.)

According to our vet, we needed to feed Parker a food that would:

*Lower the pH level of his urine, creating an inhospitable environment for those pesky crystals;

*Encourage him to drink more; and

*Contain minimal amounts of certain things that can tend to promote crystal formation in some cats, including seafood/fish, magnesium, and ash.

Our vet’s proposed solution was to feed him a prescription cat food from Hills or Science Diet. Which I did for a while. But because I am one of Those Annoying Hypocritical Pet Owners who shops at the fancy pet store and frets about by-products in their animal’s food while happily chomping on a Quarter Pounder, I wasn’t thrilled about it.

In addition to being ridiculously expensive, it peeved me that this food was full of low-quality ingredients and (TMI kitty warning) made trips to the litter box room-clearing events.

So, on the suggestion of several people (including commenter Crystal – thanks!), I decided to switch him to a more “natural” food that contained a minimal number of ingredients and use a supplement to deal with the pH issue.

This is what we’ve been doing for the last two months, and it seems to be working. The supplement is from Wysong and is designed to promote acidic urine (the same thing the prescription food does). The food is from Weruva; it’s grain-free and fish-free and looks just like canned chicken:

(And I have now posted a picture of cat food on my blog. The show has reached a new low, people.)

Neither the food or the supplement is exactly dirt cheap, but even combined it’s less expensive than the prescription food. I mix in the supplement (which looks and smells like a crumbled chicken boullion cube) and then add a whole bunch of water to the bowl. It’s soup for dinner! And breakfast too!

He is forced to drink the liquid to get to the food.  The smart-ass has figured out how to flick the water out of the bowl with his tongue to get rid of it more quickly, but he has to consume at least some of it.  (Emmy gets the same thing but without the supplement mixed in.)

Knock on wood: it’s worked well so far. We’ve been having his urine tested every few weeks and he’s come back clean every time. (And bonus – he’s down almost a pound! To nineteen!) If the crystals come back, of course, I’ll get over my first world problems and just feed him the prescription food, even though it contains rotten pork toenails or whatever.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as holier-than-thou; that’s really not my intention. I just don’t like paying an arm and a leg for cat food that contains crappy ingredients. And I really don’t like dealing with stinky poop. Searching on the web and asking around over the last few months, I was surprised at how many people had been in the same situation – having a cat with urinary issues requiring a special diet yet wanting to feed a high-quality food – so I thought I’d share our experience (so far).

In any case, it’s an evolving process. For example, Emmy is a kibble nibbler and getting her to eat on a schedule and eat wet food exclusively has been a long and failed process, so I’m looking for ways that we can re-introduce a limited amount of dry food into their collective diet and keep everyone happy.

Anyway, that is my Parker update.

Today was a long day at work and I am patting myself on the back for making a real dinner (sort of) instead of copping out and eating snacky stuff:

Baked panko-crusted chicken tenders and frozen sweet potato fries. And I tried to be responsible and eat a salad…

…but then I ate an irresponsible amount of goat cheese. Oh well, I tried.

Off to bed, as I’ve got a kitties to snuggle and a track workout planned for tomorrow morning. Night!

Things that happened while I was not blogging

This Christmas, I was a slacker from the start. It was a solid 48 hours after I landed in Washington State that I even tried to connect my computer to the internet.

Eventually, I thought: I should probably do a blog. But when it became clear that the WiFi at my mom’s house wasn’t going to play nice with my laptop…well, it seemed like a great reason to take a little time off.

But I was thinking about you guys. I really was! If I had blogged during my little Christmas vacation, here’s what I would have blogged about. In title-plus-three sentences-format.

Friday, December 23: Fit ALL OF THE THINGS Into The Suitcase

I successfully finished my shopping. My suitcase was 54 pounds. Thanks, Continental, for letting that one slide.

Saturday, December 24: A Christmas (Eve) Miracle

The miracle is that blue sky. In Tacoma…in December! Too bad it disappeared with the sunset that afternoon (at, like, 3:30….Jesus H, PNW latitude!) and never reappeared, replaced by the gloomy perpetual drizzle that I remember so fondly from my childhood winters.

Sunday, December 25: Jubelale!

Family, food, and of course beer! Winter Warmers are irresistible, and boasting a 97 BeerAdvocate rating, Deschutes Brewery’s Jubilale is a fine representation of the style. Enjoyed one, then two, then…uh…. (Pilfered from the family fridge, 6.7% ABV)

Monday, December 26: Jubel…ail

Alternately titled: How to spend the day after Christmas loafing on the couch with a itty bitty kitty (literally…my mom’s cat is like four pounds) on your lap, watching way too many episodes of Property Virgins, which is a show you don’t even really like because it’s always in freaking Toronto, but you’re feeling too fetid to fetch the remote. And then rally and head to another Christmas celebration with even more boozing. Tis the season!

Tuesday, December 27: Mem-reeeeeeez

The day, chronologically:  (1) a run on my favorite high school trails; (2) a trip to the mall where I used to hang out as a dorky middle schooler; (3) happy hour with my dad at a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the sound; (4) a bottle of wine in my mom’s rec room while digging through a box of old childhood crap. That last one yielded some hilarious treasures which I’m excited to share with you very soon. And the wine – Darby’s Viognier Blend, from Washington’s Columbia Valley – was excellent.

Wednesday, December 28: Mad Gluttony

Lunch: sushi at Kikasu in Seattle, which included the the best Albacore and Red Snapper I’ve ever laid lips on. Dinner: a little bit of the South in the PNW, as I made a big batch of Rosemary Gorgonzola Grits (pictured) to go with our grilled ribeye steaks. Boarded an eastbound red-eye flight with distended bellies.

…and that brings us to today, which can pretty much be summed up thusly:

It was a good Christmas and a nice trip home to Washington, but I missed my CHUBBY KITTEH SNUGGLES.

I hope y’all had good holidays too! Til tomorrow…

Goodbye, fall brews

I picked up a six-pack Pyramid’s fall seasonal the other day, only to notice that it was “best enjoyed by November 6, 2011.” I guess I’ll take that as a sign. It’s time to move on from nutty browns and Oktoberfests and welcome the delightful time of year when beer pours black and opaque. Ah, winter seasonals!

But since I am behind on posting these anyway, here are a couple of parting shots at autumn beers.

Comment-er Daniel has accused me of an anti-Sierra Nevada bias, based on this post, which was linked to this post, I suppose. And although it’s true that I find the perfumy-ness of their ubiquitous Pale Ale a little overbearing, I have nothing against Sierra Nevada! In fact, I kind of loved this Tumbler Brown Ale, in spite of not being a huge fan of the style in general.

It was the fact that it had a nice, full-bodied, almost creamy texture that won me over. None of that thin watery garbage. Nope – it was sort of like the cream soda version of a brown ale. With just a hint of maple syrup – nothing sticky or overly saccharine, but a touch of sweetness that I really enjoyed. Mellow and easy to drink at 5.5% ABV.

Bottom line: Yes! Enjoyed it very much. (Received in a beer swap from a friend.)

And then there was the allegedly past-its-prime Pyramid, which was perfectly fine, actually.

Pyramid is one of those labels that I tend to buy for nostalgic reasons. It’s a Pacific Northwest brewery and it reminds me of my youth. (Er…that time when I was barely 21, of course.)

But that said, I think their Juggernaut, a red amber ale, is actually pretty decent. Maybe I’m a little biased toward this brewery and also toward red ales, but I enjoyed that it struck a balance between hoppy and mellow, and had a nice quenching carbonation that left me satisfied as I sipped it post-race on Sunday afternoon. 5.6% ABV.

Bottom line: You haven’t missed out on the next big thing if you missed this one, but nonetheless, I liked it. (Purchased at Harris Teeter, $8/6)

Whilst drinking the occasional beer, I’ve been cruising through my last week of MEGA MILES before I start my CIM taper. Tonight, I tackled 4 X 1K at 5K pace.

They were supposed to be 1200′s, but the track was locked up, so we took to the streets and circled around a hilly road loop that was supposedly 1K. So maybe it was a little off? Eh, who cares. It was a good hard workout that made me huff, puff, curse, sweat, spit, etc. All of that good stuff.

Also: for everyone who has inquired about and/or imparted well wishes to my poor kitty and his unfortunately crystal-crusted urinary tract, I’m happy to say that Parker is doing just fine now. Aside from the fact that he’s sporting a majorly dorky shaved leg, a reminder of his recent stint with the IV.

He is currently eating a prescription food from the vet’s office that is supposed to break down the crystals. Following a 14-day tenure on this particular food, we will need to switch him over to a “maintenance” food to prevent the crystals.

And here is where I get all yuppy and annoying. The whole situation irks me because it’s not like I was giving him cheapo Friskies or something, before all of this happened. Both of our cats have always eaten a high-quality diet consisting primarily of grain-free wet food (Wellness brand) made from real meat, with a little dry food (same brand) to supplement.

But now? In order to get a food that prevents crystals? Apparently my options are Purina, Hills or Science Diet. These are all notoriously crappy foods, in spite of their high price tags. The very first ingredient in the Hills prescription food that I’m currently feeding to Parker is “pork by-product.” Followed by rice and corn (filler and filler). Roll your eyes at me if you want to, because I know they’re just pets…but that’s gross, and I don’t want to feed my cats that garbage. Not if I can help it, anyway.

Of course, I’ll do whatever I need to do to keep his urinary tract healthy. And if that means feeding both of our cats a nonstop diet of kitty CRAP ‘N SPAM for the rest of their kitty lives, then of course, that is what I’ll do. But I find it hard to believe that of all of the wonderful high-quality pet food companies out there, no one else has come up with a good food designed to prevent urinary crystals.

At least…not that I’ve been able to find.

(If anyone has any suggestions or experience here, please feel free to share!)

Change of plans

It’s 10 PM on Saturday night.

According to the plan, the clock should have been striking Vodka ‘O Clock right about now. The hubs and I had booked a quick getaway down to Atlanta for a couple of nights, leaving straight for the airport after I finished work.

And by this time we would have been happily installed in our friends’ loft apartment, catching up and partying up. Also known as: pretending we are back in college.

But…

My poor little guy.

Earlier this week, Parker’s issues flared up again in a big way. His urinary tract blocked completely this time – a very dangerous condition that required him to spend two days in the kitty hospital with a kitty catheter shoved up his furry little kitty penis.

(Doesn’t he look thrilled about that?)

He is home now and doing better, but is on 24-hour pee watch. Short of forking over hundreds of dollars a day to board him at the vet hospital (which I would have felt terrible about doing anyway), there was really no way we could leave him to go out of town. So we scrapped the trip. A huge bummer, but part of being a responsible pet parent.

And instead of vodka tonight, it’s water. Because tomorrow, as it turns out, I’ll be crossing a finish line at mile 26.2:

Yeah. I have cancelled my scheduled hangover in favor of running the final 9.4 hilly miles of the City of Oaks Marathon.

(Although if I were still in college, I probably would have tried to do both!)

Since I already did a long run this weekend, I’m planning on using it as a marathon-pace workout. Wish me luck!

ME ME ME part eleventy; or, a ten things meme

Okay, I kind of love being tagged with these random Blog Awards. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s lovely to know that someone is actually reading this drivel.

Also, hello, easy blog post.

So, thanks, Lisa over at Cow Spots & Tales for saving you all from…that.

This award seems to have evolved as a hybrid of two awards.

But the bottom line is that I’m supposed to tell you ten things about me. I can do that!

1. Every day, I must Q-Tip my ears.

Must. I don’t care that the Q-Tip package says not to put it in your ear canal. IT FEELS SO GOOD.

And they have to be real Q-Tips, not the generic store-brand cotton swabs. The tips of the generic ones get all puffy and loose and threaten to dislodge themselves in my ear canal. (Which is probably why you’re not supposed to put them in your ear canal…)

2. I have lived in every major region of this fine country.

Except for Texas, which I do consider to be its own region. And in which I have absolutely no desire to live. Sorry, Texas. North Carolina is as far south as I go.

In many senses “home” will always be Washington state, where I was born and raised – but I feel fortunate to be able to associate that word with so many places and experiences.

3. I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life.

I really don’t. Any ideas?

4. I’m totally a cat person. And totally not ashamed of it.

You probably know this if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. I heart kittehs.

The art of food-dish stalking at its finest.

Because although dogs seem fun, as far as I can tell, their activities consist mostly of chewing on your personal belongings, urinating and/or threatening to urinate on your floor, barking, and whining. What a colossal pain.

I’m not ruling out the possibility of owning a dog someday, and in fact, I think it would be nice to have a canine running partner. But the part where you have to get up early in the morning so that someone else can go to the bathroom? Bitch, please. (Pun intended.) I don’t even get out of bed in the early morning for my own peeing needs. I consider it, then roll over and go back to sleep.

Also, my cats will never annoy everyone else in the apartment building by yapping all damn day, nor will they shit all over public spaces, inadvertently causing innocent strangers to step in their excrement with their brand new running shoes. (Guess what happened to me yesterday?)

Cats FTW.

5. Requisite random fact item consisting of things I will not eat:

Canned mushrooms, deviled eggs, sea urchin, banana peppers, olives, raw tomatoes, creamed spinach, black licorice, sauerkraut, blood sausage, Cinnamon Raisin bagels. And anything pickled.

Agree? Disagree?

6. Requisite random fact item consisting of things I have eaten (mostly abroad) that sound horrible but actually weren’t that bad:

Cow brains (best tacos I have EVER eaten), pigeon, goat, kangaroo, shark, snake, alligator, frog legs, fried crickets (they taste like potato chips), Durian fruit (smells much worse than it tastes).

Okay, that’s enough about food.

7. I’m afraid of the ball.

Any ball. It doesn’t matter. If it’s headed toward me, I’m diving in the opposite direction. I will never be a trendy kickball/flag-football hipster.

But on the plus side, this probably why I am sitting here writing this quasi-running blog today. Because the only reason I went out for the cross-country team as a freshman in high school was because all of the other sports involved flying balls. And I’ve been running ever since!

8. I love Chardonnay.

This summer, I went to the annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA. Even though I don’t blog exclusively about wine…it was a great time and there was OMG SO MUCH WINE. It was fantastic.

But being around people who are much more thoughtful/picky about wine than I am, I definitely got the sense that Chard is the new Merlot. Unfashionable. Too obvious. For amateurs.

Well, you know what? I love the stuff. I love it buttery and I love it oaky. I love it served young and fermented in steel barrels, and I love it a little older and earthier. I daresay it’s favorite type of wine. Even if that makes me unfashionable.

Be right back, pouring another glass….

9. I’d a million times rather have money to travel and do fun stuff than have a big fancy house and fancy car.

Renting is underrated. That is all.

10. Guess what? I’m running the CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL MARATHON in Sacramento on December 3!

Good thing I’ll be able to put last weekend’s 20-miler to good use!  I’m thrilled, and this race actually works out perfectly with my schedule. I’m beyond excited to see one of my best friends and former teammates, Newt (um…not her real name…and I’m sure she’s glad that her college nickname has stuck with her) who lives in the area. And hopefully run a strong race on a fast course.

(Also, we were planning to head westward for a wedding the following weekend anyway, so there are plane ticket synergies there, too.)

So. Still bummed about missing Greece, but now throwing myself in to training for CIM. Seven weeks to go!

I think I’m supposed to pass this meme-award-thingy on to some other people. I’ll go ahead and tag a handful of blogs that are perennial favorites…feel free to meme if you want to (and I know that some of you love a good meme…)

Cheaper Than Therapy

Angry Runner

The Cookie Battle

Stylish, Stealthy & Healthy

Loteria Chicana

Leftovers 4 Lunch

Meals for Miles Blog

The Rundown

110 Pounds and Counting

Braise the Roof

I know memes are fun, but perhaps these ones are done. So I won’t be offended if y’all pass, but just know that I tagged your ass.

(Oh yeah, I love to rhyme. How did that not make it in to my random facts?)

Until tomorrow, when we discuss serious topics like world financial markets….

Just kidding.

Sometimes, it’s just food

Tuesday night. Taco night. Yeah…the lack of excitement in the air was palpable.

Not because there’s anything wrong with tacos. In fact, these ones were pretty good, as healthy dinner fare goes.  But: no, it’s not a herb-encrusted rack of lamb or a delicately seared plate of scallops or an indulgent plate of fried whatever.

It’s…well, it’s just dinner.

And it takes 20 minutes to prepare and it’s relatively good for us and it doesn’t require a separate trip to the grocery store or cost an arm and a leg in ingredients.

Over the weekend, I was asked why I don’t blog my dinners/recipes as often as I used to. So I thought about that.

I don’t consider myself a master in the kitchen by any means – unless the skill in question is burning things under the broiler (why, broiler, why do you turn on me so quickly? There goes the last bagel….)

But I do hope that, over the nearly two years (!) that I’ve been depositing daily words on these here internets, I might have improved a bit. And with that, I think, comes a certain raising of the standards. To be able to say: oh, it’s just a bowl of pasta and it was just good instead of exceptional? Well, let’s skip that one, then.

And I don’t think this is a bad thing. I read a lot of blogs and nothing makes my eyes roll back in their sockets quite like: OMG you guys, it’s the best grilled cheese sandwich everrrrrrr! Make this now! Bread and cheese and butter! In a pan! Have you made this yet? It’s life changing! Now click through that link and pay me!

Um. I have a pretty high tolerance for hyperbole, but…it’s a damn sandwich.

And tonight for dinner, we ate damn tacos.

They were damn decent tacos, so if you want the “recipe” of sorts, it is here: Sweet Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos [<--not a link that pays me anything, just a site that a friend of mine developed that I prefer for housing and organizing my recipes, rather than cluttering them in the text here]

But I guess that is why I don’t blog as many so-called recipes as I used to. Because if I’m very lucky, my kitchen spews forth one or two excellent food products a month. And those are the ones I want to share. Everything else?

It’s just food.

It’s not bad but it’s not anything special. And frankly, if you are going to look at this site for recipes, I’d rather take a chance on you being wowed by something unique and risky than being underwhelmed by a common sandwich.

Anyway. So that’s that.

A few people have also asked how EL GATO GORDO is doing after his bladder infection flare-up.  He is doing great and we are back to our old antics!

Which mostly involve him begging for food and me forcing him to do the cabbage patch.

Also, randomly, I’d like to note that there is currently a pirate ship parked outside of my place of employment:

It is there for a very good cause…however, I can’t seem to stop myself from daydreaming about ways to use the functional water cannons (!) to harass the alfresco diners at the restaurant next door.

Any ideas?

After all, it’s just food….

The Dinner Dance: A Drama In Four Acts

To say that our cat, Parker, is food driven is an understatement – a trait clearly evidenced by his scale-tipping weight and swaying belly.

His vigil typically begins around 4 PM and lasts until the very second that slop of canned cat food finally lands in front of him, roughly five hours later. Every afternoon is like Christmas Eve for him, as he awaits the singlemost important event of his day: dinner.

To the untrained ear, it may just sound like a bunch of nonstop noise, a chorus of innocent kitten mews and threatening guttaral grunts all jumbled up together.

But Parker’s Dinner Dance, as well call it, has four distinct stages.

Stage One: Optimism.

We know that dinner is coming.  We just don’t know when.  Therefore, the best thing to do is just to sit in front of our dish and inquire constantly about its status.  

Stage Two: Doubt.

Something must be wrong.  Clearly there has been a mistake of some sort.  Is dinner, in fact, coming?  Let’s up the volume of the whining and see if that fixes things.

Stage Three: Despair.

LOOK AT THIS. SKIN AND BONES. We might die of hunger right here on this floor, right in front of this empty food dish while this STUPID HUMAN passes by the food cupboard like a MILLION TIMES.  This is intentional abuse. Someone call the ASPCA.

Stage Four: Revenge.

You’ll pay for your malice, human.

Of course, the moment Lord Fatass gets his food, everything is forgotten.  But it’s quite a show he puts on.  Oscar-worthy, really.

I often complain about his Dinner Dance because he is constantly underfoot when I’m trying to do chores and make dinner and stuff.  But the other day, I noticed it was remarkably quiet in the kitchen as night fell.  Something was wrong.

The fat cat was sleeping quietly on the sofa.  At 8 PM.  Something was very wrong.

He picked at his dinner that night.  However, it was the straining to pee the next morning that prompted a drop-everything trip to the vet.  As it turned out, our poor Parker had a raging bladder infection as well as some crystals in his urine. He was basically pissing out tiny shards of glass, which I’m sure was incredibly painful for him.  But fortunately, he didn’t have a blockage.  In male cats, a blocked urinary tract can become deadly in a matter of hours.

Why am I sharing this?  I don’t really know…other than as a quasi-PSA, I guess. Until our kitty started having these issues, I didn’t realize how potentially serious peeing problems are in cats, especially the boys.  A male cat who is straining to urinate or urinating very frequently should be taken to the vet (the emergency vet, if necessary) immediately.

So dealing with that has been a major consumer of my time over the last few days.  When cats have a urinary infection or another issue that makes doing their business painful, they usually start going outside of their litter box, as they associate the box with the pain.  (And as gross as this sounds, it’s actually kind of a blessing, because it gets your attention and alerts you to the fact that something is wrong.)

Anyway.  I need to make a Costco run to replenish my supply of Nature’s Miracle and paper towels, but I’m happy to say that our big guy appears to be on the mend.

I had the day off of work on Friday, and thought about cooking a fancy dinner. But with all that had been going on, it was just easier to throw together some [only slightly exotic] sandwiches.

I love a good Banh Mi!  This standard Vietnamese sandwich, consisting (traditionally) of pate and pickled vegetables on a fresh baguette, seems to have become standard fusiony food-truck fare in the last few years.  But I don’t care.  The combination of warm meat + cool tangy veggies + fresh herbs all wrapped up in crusty bread is pretty unbeatable.

I guess this is my contribution to the trend: Dirty South Banh Mi.

BBQ pork (Eastern Carolina style with lots of vinegar!) gets smothered in veggies soaked in apple cider vinegar and topped with crispy shallots (onions would work too).  Jalapenos give it a little kick. Sweet corn would be awesome on there, too.

And so my tired butt, weary from multiple trips to the vet, spent the night planted on the couch, scarfing this sandwich down.  And sipping a bottle of Chardonnay:

Nestled several thousand feet above sea level, Chile’s sleepy Aconcagua Valley is one of the highest-elevation wine regions in the world.  It’s not particularly well-known, and what press it does get seems to be for churning out reliable yet inexpensive reds, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon.

So this In Situ 2010 Chardonnay was kind of a surprise.   Perhaps reflecting the region in which its grapes were grown, this was a simple but very enjoyable wine.  Light notes of lemon and a little butter.  A touch of acid, but in pleasant way.  Perfectly drinkable and a great value wine!

Bottom line: Get it!  (Purchased at Fresh Market, $12.)

Off to bed I go.  It’s a wild Saturday night around here, with an early long run on tap tomorrow morning.  Good night!

The wineceros welcomes you

Just wanted to say hello to any new readers who are popping in after the Wine Bloggers’ Conference!  I promise: I’m just as entertaining and insightful on this here blog as I am at 3:30 AM in the corner of that hotel ballroom with an empty bottle of Viongier in hand.

Which is to say…uh, nevermind.

Anyway.  I’m Shelby and I blog about all sorts of crap around here.  Welcome!

As the blog title implies, I spout off about running quite a bit.  I’ve been a runner since I was thirteen and competed in cross-country and track in both high school and college and have finished several marathons.  Although I’m pretty much a mid-packer these days, running is a big part of my life.  Right now, I’m training halfheartedly for the Athens (Greece) Marathon in November, which I plan to run as a fun vacation race!

I’m also a huge fan of food, which goes well with being a runner, I guess.  I’m not a chef by any means, but I sometimes share my more successful kitchen creations.  And I try to keep most of the cooking on the healthier side, but I have a major soft spot for bacon and potato chips.

And obviously, I like to imbibe, so you’ll see wine and beer reviews here too. Very casual, though.  I really have no idea what I am doing when it comes to reviewing, but I know what I like and don’t like.  And the internet makes everyone an expert, right?

Also, I like to draw stupid pictures in MSPAINT.

I spend an embarrassing amount of time doing this, actually.

My two cats make frequent appearances on the blog.  They’re Emmy:

And Parker:

They are wholly useless members of this household.  I keep telling them to get jobs or something, as their fancy-ass catfood doesn’t buy itself.  But they just blink at me and go back to sleep.

So that’s pretty much what happens around here!  Feel free to jump in and comment.  There’s a pretty solid crew of runners/foodies/general snarkers hanging around the comments section and I’d love to have a few more winos in the mix.

Anyway.  If you’re not a wino, you’re probably sick about hearing about my weekend in Charlottesville, so I’ll shut up about it.  I considered blogging more extensively on the various wines tasted or topics discussed, but at the end of the day, I didn’t go to WBC to come back and dump a load of unqualified reviews on you.  I went to WBC to learn a little more about tasting wine, to meet new people, and of course to drink all weekend.  Check, check and check!

Clearly, I did not go to Charlottesville to run.  Here’s how the week shook out, workout-wise:

M – ~7 miles easy (hot, humid, 1:01, ~8:42 pace)
Tu – Core class + 5 miles easy (treadmill @ 1%, 43: 15, 8:39 pace)
W – [AM] HEAT workout (~3 miles total); [PM] easy run (treadmill @ 1%, 42:15, 8:34 pace)
Th – 4 miles easy (treadmill @ 1%, 31:20, 7:50 pace)
F – 3 miles fartlek (treadmill @ 1%-3%, 23:55, 7:58 pace)
Sa – OFF
Su – OFF

Total: 27 miles

It totally is.  And not very many miles.  It was hot last week.  Ugh.  But still…

Yup.

THIS Friday

Heya!  Happy Friday afternoon!  I have to work this weekend so it feels a little more like Sunday afternoon to me.  But I had the day off today and managed to be a complete waste of space, so I can’t complain too much.

Here’s a sampling of the random garbage orbiting my brain today:

1) THIS tomato…which might be edible soon!  (Maybe?)

Whoa.  I’m still blown away that an actual fruit has managed to grow and ripen under my care.  And this guy is one of four!  (The others are smaller and still green.)  I wish it were a little bit bigger (it’s tennis-ball sized; the guy at the nursery said they’d be softball-sized) but given the hot weather we’ve had, I have to say I’m pleased with the state of the Balcony Terra Cotta Farm Empire.

For reals: nothing has perished yet!  Nothing! I’m nine for nine on the life toll and everything is thriving.  My two hot pepper plants are even starting to grow baby peppers – although their leaves are looking a little jaundiced this week.  The rosemary plant has quickly grown in to a rosemary bush.

Oh, and remember my neighbor?  The one with the kick-ass plants that I was super jealous of when I first got this cracked-out idea about building a container garden?

Heheh.  Better luck next year, Mr. Fancyplants.

2) THIS article…from GrubStreet: “Sloshed: Maybe We Should Be Judging Wines by Their Labels”

Hilarious.  And a very important body of research.  Thank you, Matthew Latkiewicz.  (And shout out to Halah for the heads up on that one!)

3) THIS lazy cat...who is, in this case, symbolic.

In spite of the hellishly hot weather, I haven’t once awoken in the morning hours to go out and run.

In spite of the fact that I’ve had to run in the afternoon/evening, I’ve somehow made it happen.  Every day this week but one.

It’s a whole different ballgame when you only have to plod around for 30-40 minutes and you don’t give a hoot about your pace.

At some point, of course, I’m going to have to start getting up so I can get some longer stuff in, but for now?  It’s really comforting to know that I *can* go out there and plod around when the heat index is in the triple digits.  That, although it may be uncomfortable, it won’t kill me.

And as the picture indicates, this heat wave has clearly taken its toll on the felines.  In spite of the fact that they live their entire lives in a comfortable 72-degree air-conditioned bubble, all they do is lay around like a couple of drama queens.  The scene  above has greeted me every single morning this week.  So hot.  Cannot function before 10 AM.  Moar food plz. What a life.

4) THIS book…which was really good.

Bad Dog (A Love Story) by Martin Kihn

I took this to the beach with me, expecting a ripped-off Marley And Me to tear through on a lounge chair while sipping a daquiri.

Instead, I found a well-written and occasionally dark memoir on addiction and recovery.  With a background plot (light and funny) about training a boisterous and naughty Bernese Mountain Dog.  I enjoyed it far more than I expected to.

And the are also some fascinating portraits (caricatures?) of the dog-obedience-training world in there, too.  Clearly, I’m more of a cat person (dear neighbors, please stop your dogs from peeing in the elevator) but I found it fascinating.

I wish I could send this copy along to one of you, but then the Wake County Public Library would hunt me down.  It’s definitely worth a check-out though!

5) THIS beer…which is currently being used as a bribe for me to clean my apartment when I’m done with this post.

Uh…I’ll let you know how that works out.

I picked up this Bison Brewing Organic Honey Basil beer earlier this week.  And then I saw it on Daily Beer Review this morning and got even more excited about it!

And…it’s delicious.  For me, this is a perfect drinking beer.  DBR Rob says that he wishes it were a little less sweet, but I think the level of honey is just right. The basil flavor is definitely noticeable but not overpowering.  It would be like if you took a Pale Ale, mellowed it out a bit, and added a little sweetness and herb-ness.  At 6.0% ABV, this beer will let you know it’s there, but it won’t knock you on your ass.

Bottom Line: Get it.  At $9 for a four-pack (at Whole Foods), it’s not the cheapest beer in the world, but for the unique flavor alone it’s worth the cash.

Alright, off to do that cleaning (riiiiiight) and then on to the workin’ weekend. But since it’s not here yet, I have a little movie date tonight with the hubs.  We’re going to see X-MEN or whatever that movie is.  I’ve seen the previews with the little lady that turns blue.  I hope it’s good.  And that I can stay awake.

What are you up to this weekend?