Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Charitable Holiday Season

I was thumbing through the local Round Up magazine at home the other day. Round Up is a local "magazine" full of ads for local businesses and events coming up in the community. It is like the Penny Saver without the classifieds. I live in a small community of 16,000 people so many of the ads are for mom and pop shops. They even have a little contest to find a sheep in one of the ads and you can win two passes to the local mini golf place. And since I figured no one actually enters, I mailing in my entry tomorrow. I'm winning those passes. And I will beat my husband at mini golf.....again. :) I digress.....something I noticed in the Round Up was an ad to purchase Christmas wreaths for just $7 to place on the gravestones at the Veterans Cemetary which is on the outskirts of my town. Our friend Jonathan's dad is buried there as well as my brother in law's fiancee's dad. I drive past it a lot and recall driving past during Christmas and seeing the sea of wreaths. It is quite beautiful. It might be a small token but I believe in honoring veterans that have served our country. Another charitable opportunity I came across was emailed to me at work. The vocational programs offered in our area have students who need clothes to go on job interviews. Currently, my husband has 7 or 8 suits sitting in our closet that he no longer needs since he no longer works in the financial world. Wouldn't it be great to give even 2 or 3 of these away so students can present themselves in a professional way for interviews? I look around my house and think about my life and ponder how blessed I am to be able to purchase new clothes on a whim, buy a song from itunes, go to a movie theater and spend $40 on tickets, popcorn and candy and a variety of other "treats" I can give myself. But there are families that have such a struggle to put a hot dinner on the table each night. I think this year, instead of spending mucho dinero on people who already have so much, I want to spread the love and adopt a family who doesn't have much. I want to put joy on the faces of children who actually loathe Christmas because their parents don't have the money to buy them what they want. I urge you this year be charitable towards those that need it the most, if you are in a position to do so.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

-Pardon me, the end of October, but I'm anxiously awaiting November so I can have a Thursday off of work and a five day weekend to rest, relax and wash away worries. And make an apple pie for Thanksgiving! -I was decked out in my Giants gear last night. Sweatshirt and beanie the entire game. I think my fan garb helped them pull out a huge Game 1 victory. But this is a must win 4 games series so no reason to take the day off the attend the victory parade. -The weather is turning away from summer and into a cold fall which I love. Today should be 70 degrees which is still too warm for me. Rain is in the forecast for the weekend and I look forward to an afternoon nap on Sunday before trick or treaters arrive. I do hope the rain holds off for them. We have 70 candy bars in our kitchen that I refuse to keep. -SISTER TIME TONIGHT! I rarely get to see my sister anymore so I'm beyond excited to go to her house tonight for some Halloween baking, Giant's watching and Au Bob'ing. :) I just made that up. Au Bob'ing. hahahahahahahahaha. -I made a decision last night to rid my life of some time sucking activities. Not blogging. Not facebook. Not twitter. That is silly. Those things generally make me happy. I need to cut out some things that tend to make me feel down and out and like I don't belong. We all go through those moments where we think "is this the right place for me?" "am I spending my time in a productive way?" My answer is perhaps no and no. So I'm making a change. Go me. -Does anyone else love Parenthood as much as me? I wish it was on a bit earlier because I can't stay up until 11 watching a tv show. Shout out to our DVR. I hope everyone has a wonderfully frightening Halloween. Be safe, don't drink and drive, don't steal candy from little kids and say please and thank you. Spread joy. But not almond joy because those are gross.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Deconstructed Apple Pie

I'm a picky eater. When it comes to try new foods, I'm the first one to say "no thanks." I have this completely irrational fear that if I eat something new I'll be horribly allergic and start choking and quite possibly die. Because of this fear, I didn't start eating salsa until about 5 years ago (the horror!). While other people were chowing down on Chipotle, I was still eating at Baja Fresh (gross!). I even passed on apple pie! Looking back, I realize what a horrible decision that was. Green apples: yes. Crust: yes. Butter: yes. So when Heather posted this recipe, I sprung into action right away. Delicious. Like she said in her blog post, it was a bit like a dessert but still completely yummy. I started to think how good those soft, hot apples were so I went ahead and cooked up an apple for dessert last night. Yes, I had fruit for dessert which is my #1 pet peeve. FRUIT IS NOT DESSERT. I was wrong.

But when your fruit looks like this, it is indeed dessert.

1 tbsp butter, melted over medium heat. 1/3 cup of brown sugar mixed in with the melted butter. Add a peeled and sliced apple and mix around in the sauce for about 5-7 minutes until they are at desired tenderness. Turn the heat down a bit and the sauce will thicken up a bit. I placed the apples in a bowl and poured the sauce on top of them. Dessert people. Warm dessert perfect for a fall evening.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hawaii: First (and last) Snorkeling

Okay, so this is a really long blog post but it is hilarious so please read it. View from our hotel of the area where we went snorkeling. I don't have a view from the beach because I didn't bring my camera that day but this is the general area in the early evening. Kahaluu Beach Park When we were in Maui for our honeymoon, we signed up for an all day snorkeling excursion. You went out on a boat, snorkeled, ate lunch and played around in the ocean. We scheduled this for our last full day in Maui. The night before, we went on a romantic sunset cruise. Well, the romance died early because my husband got sea sick and spent most of the time sitting on the edge of the boat throwing up his pupu's. Meanwhile, I sat and listened to this horribly annoying man talk to the captain about how to sail a boat and insist that his (also) seasick wife and son eat some pretzels in order to feel better....and to stay away from "that guy" (my husband) because he looked awful. Needless to say, we didn't go snorkeling the next day because we were worried that Chris would get sea sick and be miserable out at sea for 7 hours. We didn't call in time to cancel so we got no refund which was majorly disappointing. Ok, back to 2010..... We walked from our hotel to Kahaluu Beach Park. The hotel is right next door to the small beach which means we didn't have to fight for parking. We rented our snorkel equipment from a place in town for $8 a day. Kinda steep but we didn't shop around so whatever. We found our spot on the beach and waded out into the water. This spot is ideal for snorkeling because there are no waves and its pretty shallow. There is a lot of corral on the ocean floor which made me a bit nervous but I just had to watch where I was going so I wouldn't scrape the bejesus out of my arms and legs. We secured our goggles, flippers and snorkel thingy (technical term, folks) and set off. This is how it went from there: "COOL FISH!" "This is AWESOME" "LOOK AT THAT BLUE ONE" "WOW THAT ONE IS RAINBOW" "GLURG I JUST SUCKED IN SALT WATER" "Awww that is a tiny fish" "SEA URCHIN, WHAT?" "SEA TURTLE!!!" "GLURG I JUST SUCKED IN MORE WATER x 5" "I'm tired and going back to shore." Back to shore to rest. Saw a lady with her bikini top OFF, breasts exposed. Nice. Rest. Rest. The sun is hot. Damn the sun is hot. Husband goes back out. I stay behind because my stomach was hurting from all the salt water I inhaled. Bored and realizing I paid $8 for the stuff, I go back out. Goggles on. Check. Flippers on. Check. Snorkel in mouth. Check. Face down. Breath. BreatheOMG I'M CHOKING ON WATER. Let's try this again. Face down. Breath. BreathOMG I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE. One more time. Same result. WTF. I find Chris and start freaking out (I'm dramatic) that I can no longer snorkel. Every second breath I take results in a mouthful of water. He says I am being dramatic (WHAT?) and I hand him my snorkel so he can see for himself. Face down. Breath. BreathMOUTH FULL OF WATER. My snorkel is straight up janky yo. He realizes that the part that goes straight into the water is brokey broke and that I just need to cup my hand tightly over it. Ok, I can do that. Goggles back on, snorkel in mouth, hand over broken part and breath. breath. Woohooo! I'm flying high people. "OMG Look at that cool fish!" "Oh wow, it is so colorful down here." I started singing a song in my head I was so happy: "I love the ocean, I love the water, I love these fishies, they are so cute. La la la la la la la la, snorkeling is the best, even though my snorkel is broken and janky and my stomach hurts from all the salt water. Lalalalalalalalala. Hey....what the F......" "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GET ME THE FLIP OUT OF THIS GOSH FORSAKEN OCEAN. I HATE THE OCEAN. I HATE THE FISH. I HATE EVERYTHING." Umm yeah. That damn thing above (not my picture obviously) was sticking out of some corral 5 nautical feet away and chomping its mouth AT ME. It wanted to eat me guys. I'm super cereal. It was evil looking. I kicked away from the area, popped out of the water, found Chris and screamed "I'm GOING BACK TO THE SHORE RIGHT NOW." And then I kicked and swam so fast that I could have won the swim portion of the Ironman. I got back to the beach, threw my snorkel stuff down and said peace out to snorkeling. Minutes later, my husband comes back to the beach, shaking his head. "I'm done" he said. I asked what happened.... "I stepped on a fish. I thought it was a rock but no, it was a fish and I stepped on it and it went flying out from under my foot and I'm done." "Well, I saw this scary sea creature from the 9th gate of hell and it wanted to eat me so I'm done too. Forever."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hawaii: Sunsets

3 I love how the sun looks like it is getting eaten up by the clouds in these pictures Just a tiny bit left

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Like Forrest....again

I started running in 2004 and stayed pretty consistent with it until 2009. I completed several 5K's, one 10K, 4 Bay to Breakers and 3 Half Marathons in that time. After my half marathon in March 2009, I stopped running. I wanted a break and never quite jumped back on the bandwagon. Running gets easier when you are lugging around 221.5 pounds and since I'm officially below 200 pounds (198 to be exact, exciting right!!?) I thought this would be a good time to hit the streets again. When we got back from Hawaii, we took a jog around the neighborhood which turned out to be tougher than I had hoped. It is 1.3 miles around the block and I could barely run a half mile without feeling like my legs were going to explode. I was determined for running to get easier though. On Friday morning, I woke up and did a 5 mile run/walk. I walked .5 mile, ran 1 mile, walked .5 mile, ran 1.5 miles and walked .5 mile, ran 1 mile. On Saturday morning, I ran 2 miles in 22:12 minutes. On Sunday morning, I ran 2.69 miles in 30:41. On Monday morning, I ran 3.10 miles in 33:57. This morning, I signed up for a local race on November 20. Instead of chosing the 5K, I picked the 10K. 6.2 miles. I figured that I might as well push myself a bit more and train for the longer race over the next 4.5 weeks. If I can go from not running to running 3 miles in a week, I think I can prep myself for a 6. 2 mile race in 4 weeks.

How to watch the Ironman World Championship Part 3

We drove slowly back down Ali'i Dr and parked in the same public parking lot as before. We just hoped that when we were ready to leave (original plan: Midnight) we would be able to get out. That was nearly 13 hours in the future so we didn't worry about it too long. It was just about 11:00 a.m.
The Kailua pier was pretty quiet at this point. Everyone was out on the bike and we were just waiting for the leaders to arrive back in town.
We found a great spot to stand right outside of the King K hotel and close to the ABC store so we could run in and cool off if needed. Man, it was HOT. We slathered on some sunscreen and gulped down water and could not imagine how it must feel to exert yourselves for 112 miles on a bike and then run a marathon. HOT.
The leader came in on the bike....
And just under 2 minutes later, was out for the run....
We moved up Palani to get a view of bikers and runners.
As I was uploading these pictures, I was looking up their bib numbers to check out their names. I noticed that this guy didn't finish the race. Actually, he didn't even record a split for mile 5 on the run. Kinda sad.
The female leader going into the run.
We moved up to the hill where we stood to watch the bikers leave town and found a shady spot that felt amazing but I was super hungry at this point. We had lunch at Wendy's (wonderful a/c and frosty's!) right on Palani and noticed some movement on the street outside. RUNNERS! I grabbed my camera and headed outside.
Faris Al-Sultan. He won the race in 2005.
Two time winner (including 2009) Craig Alexander.
The Hot Corner was really earning its name now. Bikers coming in, runners coming out and to the right and eventually back up Kuakini and running up Palani, also known as Pay and Save Hill. On their way back to the finish line, they will run down Pay and Save Hill towards Ali'i Dr and the finish line. Like I said, you can park yourself on the hot corner and see lots of Ironman action.
We headed back down to Ali'i Dr to get our spot at the finish line. It would be another hour or so before the winners came in but the finish line fills up fast and I wanted front row seats. As we walked down Kuakini, we had front row seats to the same leaders running on their way up to Pay and Save Hill.
You can see a man in the background running out. Lots of action in both directions!
Julie still leading the womens race
I need to take a moment and give huge props to my husband. He isn't such a huge fan of the heat and we were right in the middle of incredible, humid heat. He stuck through it like a champ.
We got some shave ice which helped cool us down for about 20 seconds and waited for the winner to run past us. It was quite a race. We watched on the screen at the finish line as the two mens leaders ran side by side for about 1 mile before Chris McCormack pulled ahead and became a two time Ironman winner!
We watched a few more top men run past us before heading down Ali'i Drive to find a shady spot to cheer on more triathletes who were both starting their run and ending their race.
Motorcycles mean something important
Julie lost her lead and the women's winner was Mirinda Carfrae from Austrailia.
Julie finished third. Not bad for someone who had NEVER even run a marathon before.
The most incredible athlete that we saw at the Ironman was this gentleman:
A triple amputee. TRIPLE. And the best part was that he finished the race and we saw him cross the finish line. Wow. What a great moment.
We put our stuff away and headed back to the finish line to eat dinner then grabbed a seat on the bleachers and clapped and cheered for every single person that crossed the finish line. We were in the bleachers until about 9:45 p.m. and we were tired. Sure, I wanted to stay down there until midnight and that meant just two more hours but two hours seemed like days and I just couldn't put that together in my head. Chris said "can we go" and I said "sure thing."
We walked back down Ali'i Dr. At this point, the runners were starting to thin out. It was dark and the corner of Ali'i and Hualalai Road was nearly empty. Not quite the bustling corner it was just 3 hours before. We stopped outside of the parking lot and encouraged a few runners coming down the hill. It put me in a rather somber mood thinking about all of those people who were still out on the course. All of those people who had 2 hours to finish and might not make it. There is a cutoff of midnight at the Ironman and somewhere on the course, someone was being stopped, even at 10 p.m.
We got in our car and drove away. We stopped at a red light at Kuakini and looked left and saw a runner in the distance. Almost an Ironman. Earlier that day, I saw a person holding a sign that said "Suck it Up and Finish. This is your dream." It makes me teary just typing it.
I highly encourage you to go to Hawaii and watch the Ironman. See it live and in person. Clap and cheer for every person who passes by you. Stay at the finish line until midnight even if that means taking a nap on the seawall or the sidewalk for a couple of hours. See the joy in each persons face as they step one foot across the finish line. The Ironman is incredible. Wait, incredible isn't a big enough word for it. Just go see it and then you'll understand.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patch 2010

Our Pumpkins. One for me, one for Chris and the white one is for Kitty. She got a white one because she is an animal. Orange pumpkins are for humans.
Me and my super hot husband :)
Chris loves corn and was hungry so this seemed like a logical decision. We left the patch and had breakfast at Denny's.
Fun times!