Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian

Friday, September 29, 2006

Itty bitty rants

Upon checking one of her letterbox series, this is what Jen found. This box was originally in a handsewn camoflauge bag, tied in the upper branches of the tree. Where is the bag? Who the hell just sticks a box in some branches? C'mon people, the buzzwords of this hobby are stealth and secrecy! Some new letterboxer came along and this is how they rehid the box, in plain view from the trail. There is much discussion going on our local boxing list about new boxers flooding the hobby due to magazine articles and publicity. Some, in the community, think it is fine and we should educate these new boxers in the mores and traditions of letterboxing, showing lots of gentleness and patience and tolerance. I say fine and dandy, let's educate them but let's be a little more careful in the first place as to who we discuss letterboxing. As in, 'keep your yap shut and stop talking to reporters!' I heard of letterboxing wom from a friend, not from some magazine filled with half the facts and none of the emphasis on what is important. This friend took me out, showed me the ropes and educated me. Trust me. If I was screwing up, she wouldn't have been nice and gentle about it. It would have been, 'Get your ass back there and rehide that box properly, you idiot! Someone worked very hard and gave us that gift so show some proper respect, dufus!' And I would have scrambled to do so!

Some say that when we plant a box, we need to be prepared to lose it. Yes, I agree. I am prepared to lose my planted boxes to animals, city ground crews, weather, and the occasional industrious non-boxer who might stumble across them. However, I am not prepared to lose my boxes to lazy-ass, can't-be-bothered-to-take-the-time-to-rehide-properly-gonna-let-my two-year-old-rehide-the-box-because-he-is-so-cute-and-we-found-out about-this-hobby-from-Family-Fun-magazine-and-it-is-so-great-and hurry-up-throw-that-box-down-in-that-pile-of-leaves-there-are-more-boxes-waiting-to-be-found letterboxers.

On the big list there was a new boxer who said she was going to sign off because she didn't like the attitude of some of the veteran boxers. She wanted information given to her, without her having to research the archives and other sources because with all her family obligations, her time was limited. This, of course, (rightly in my opinion), riled some people up and she was told that if her time was so limited that maybe the hobby wasn't for her. Well, the flame throwers came out. Those who thought she was being nasty and unwelcoming and some (me included) who thought she was just telling it like it is. Right on! Preach it, sister! :-)
I know boxes go missing. I was notified by a planter that her box went missing when I was the last finder. I was horrified. In my defense, the original hiding place was actually pretty pisspoor. According to the logbook, it had already been found by several non-boxers. I did my best to re-hide it but still.....I have agonized and beat myself up over that box ever since. What could I have done better? It was a wonderful stamp and I feel badly that it isn't around now for others to enjoy. You can't be too possessive about your plants. They are like children you raise and release into the world, hoping you have given them the means to stay safe. Things might happen to them and that is to be expected but that doesn't mean you will sit idly by while they are mistreated and not valued by the people who should value them the most. Ok, 'nuff said :-)

My next little rant is about poop. This new neighborhood.....I don't get it. Are they all too good to scoop their poop? Our old neighborhood, while a very nice, middle class neighborhood, wasn't in the same socio-economic scale as this new one. Very, very seldom in our old neighborhood, would you see poop on the streets. In this new one? Man, it is all over the place! They seem to think that as long as it isn't someone's private property that they can just leave it. It is just nasty, plain and simply nasty! It attracts vermin, insects, people can step in it, it smells. Pick it up, people! Since we don't have our fence yet (they are coming Monday to set the posts yea!) I have to walk all three dogs, at a minimum of 4 times a day. I am picking up a lotta poop! If my dogs poop in an unused building lot....I pick it up. If they poop on the road, I pick it up. If they poop in a public green area, I pick it up. I have probably picked up a hundred pounds of poop in the last three weeks. Show a little class and a little respect for your fellow human beings and PICK UP THE POOP!!!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Those who run.....

....seem to have all the fun.....~Madonna, Hung Up

I am paying the price for my two month sabbatical from running. Before the break, my running was at a low point anyways. I didn't feel motivated, was actually losing a little speed (not a biggie, you say? Well, when you run as slow as I do, losing a little speed means the walkers are right on my tail!) and just not feeling good about it. With the move, kids starting college, etc. I was overwhelmed and hence, the sabbatical.

What did this sabbatical get me? About 5 extra pounds around my middle. My gorgeous running companion, my White Shadow, lost his muscle tone. He went from that ripped muscle, ultra toned and hard body of a track dog (without the ticks, fleas, crappy coat and bare skin - yes, I know! Don't bombard me with emails! Not all race dogs are in this condition *coughcoughjustmostcoughcough*) to the body of a retired racer. Not that it is that big of a deal but I just gotta say, when we were running regularly, he was ripped and he looked kickass. Also, now, his nails are long. I never dremmeled his nails. Running on pavement always kept them down.

It is always a rude awakening how quickly fitness and endurance goes. I started running with the beginners group two weeks ago. Usually I would ride my bike but due to my sabbatical I decided I would run with them and use that to get me back up to speed (I use that term only metaphorically, speed belongs in no sentence that concerns me and running). Anyways, running with them has been going good.

So, Cos and I went out for a little run this morning. It was our first time running in the new neighborhood. Absolutely gorgeous day - in the low 60's, sunshine, blue sky. He was so happy to be out, he was literally skipping ahead of me and turning his head back periodically to look at me. I could almost hear him saying, 'woohoo, woohoo!' He has been getting just walks lately which are also known as smelling strolls for the dogs. He needed a little refresher course in the difference between a run and a walk, but he remembered quickly :-)

It was a short run, very slow. One thing I do know is that while my running ability seems to leave me very fast when I take a break, it does come back fairly quick. It is a short learning curve, but very steep and painful.:-) Hopefully, the two cycle classes I am teaching every week will help also.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Babka Bonanza!

"You can't beat a babka" - Elaine Benes

Months ago, I saw a recipe posted on Shmooedfood, for vegan chocolate babka. Man, I thought I couldn't get any luckier! I have never had babka, didn't even really know what it was but I was very familiar with the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine have to settle for the cinnamon babka because the chocolate babka was sold out. I bookmarked the babka recipe and finally got around to making it Friday. Of course, I had to double the recipe and I ended up with a lotta babka :-)
B and J came over and we had broccoli and tofu calzones (which I think were also pretty darn good) and I sent them home with some babka (I really just like saying babka!)

Babka dough:

This was a very rich and dense dough. My little babkas:

I don't think mini loafs are the traditional babka form but it is what Jennifer suggested in the recipe so it is what I used.
Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm....babkas! Lots of gooey chocolate and streusal toppings....

This recipe is definitely a repeat. I don't think I will be making it every week because it is kind of complicated. And I really don't need to be eating babka every week - I need to lose weight, not babka it on :-)

House Picture

I don't want to bore anyone with all the new house crap - but I am going to post one picture. It is the total sum of my kitchen decoration and I think it is sufficient and says it all :-)

Clean Sweep

I hate to clean. Just, absolutely hate it. However, I like a clean and orderly house :-) There are too many other things I prefer to do, than to clean, books to read, dog walks, visiting friends, etc.

For some reason, I thought that keeping the new house clean would be easy. I don't know why, I just thought it would be clean. Maybe because it was clean when we moved in - I just thought it would be easy to keep it that way. Well, it gets just as dirty just as quickly as my old house.

I swept the whole house on Wednesday. And then, I swept it all Friday morning. This is the dirt that accumulated on my floors in less than 48 hours:

I put the ruler there so the size would be evident. It is an 8" hair ball!!! In two days!!! I tried to get Angus to sit by it as a size gauge but he wouldn't go near it. I think he was afraid of it :-) If you look closely, you can see that the pile of hair is all light colored. I believe this is the culprit and responsible for the majority of this mess:

Don't believe that innocent face. Even he knows he is guilty and is embarassed:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm Back Baby!!!

Almost two weeks have passed, we are all moved in the new house and today the cable finally, FINALLY got hooked up. I am back in business!

Here's a quick catchup and I do mean quick.....there are two weeks worth of blog writing out there I have to read and comment on :-)

House is great. I thought it would be a weird transition as we lived in our former house 9 years. I thought I would drive there automatically, wonder where I was when I woke up, etc. None of that has happened. The new house is very comfortable, very 'us'. We feel at home here which is nice. The dogs even settled down quickly and adapted to the new space and routine. The kitchen is an absolute dream to cook in, especially compared to my old one. After living out of a cooler for 3 weeks, it is so nice to be cooking. I even bought a new cookbook to celebrate. It is that old tried and true favorite of vegan bloggers everywhere.....Vegan with a Vengeance. I already made the chipolte corn chowder (excellent, by the way!) and the pumpkin muffins. I had made those before from Isa's website, and they are the best.

I am as sick as a dog, well actually sicker, since none of the three dogs currently cohabitating with me are sick. I have bridgetfluenza. Yep, I got Bridget's cold and I think I have it worse than she did *sniff* *pout* *feeling sorry for myself*

I am after Jen hard and nagging her....I want to get our veg series planted soon. The stamps are great and I don't want them sitting around for the next year!

I have started running again. It ain't pretty but I am moving the larda$$.

We have a new selection for our bookclub reading, chosen by my co-habitator (not one of the dogs, silly!). We are reading 'The Name of the Rose'. Should be very interesting :-)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jen's gone...........

Vegan! Woohoo! Read all about here (be prepared for some disgusting descriptions). I am so proud of her and Bridget both for making the changes they have recently.

I know I said I wasn't going to be able to write, but the cable company is taking their time turning off my service, so I just had to get Jen's news out there.........

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I am going to be incommunicado

Here is the new blog entry Jen has been itching for........We are closing on the new house tomorrow, so we will be moving tomorrow and Friday. Our internet service will be turned off sometime today so I am going to be cyber-less :-(

Hopefully, I will be back soon with pictures of the pups getting used to their new place. I look forward to reading what everyone's been up to while I was gone.

Oh, and before I forget......Jen.....tag, you are it!!! 5 favorite foods, Missy!
"create a list of top picks for things you've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die."

This message is for SUE!

Sorry to use my blog for this but I am out of ideas :-) Sue! I don't have your correct email address....the one I am using keeps bouncing. If you go to:, you can send me your correct email address through the 'contact me' link at the bottom.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Separation Date 10/5

(With apologies to Jen, because I know she is isn't interested in my political posts, but I think she will be able to tolerate this one because of the Eric pictures and the Pete Seeger

Eric called yesterday. He has submitted his terminal leave papers. If they are accepted, his separation date will be October 5... after four long years and many sleepless nights. As KleoPatra put it best... Semper Fi Goodbye!!! He has seen an awful lot in the last four years and I hoped learned from it all.......the desperate poverty in Haiti and his 7 months in Iraq....

So my boy is out and all in one heart bleeds for those still caught up in the mess over there, carrying out ill-planned objectives for unjustified reasons and those trying to recover from their injuries and all the families left behind trying to get by, day by day, without their loved ones......... When I think of what is going on over there, it reminds me of the Thomas Jefferson quote, "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever." I know he was talking about slavery but I think it can also apply to our country's recent misguided policies.
All of our pictures are packed away, but I came across this one of Eric with his cousin Kimber, up at my parent's house
And here are some from his Iraq deployment:

I could put a gazillion more up, because I just love looking at him. Instead though, because I have the nerve to disagree with our current administration's foreign policy and that makes me (according to our illustrious Sec of Def, Rummy) a nazi/fascist appeaser, without a clear understanding of history, that believes America is the root of the world's problems and we should negotiate peace with terrorists, here are a couple of videos. Bruce Springsteen's version of Pete Seeger's Bring Them Home, June 6, 2006 in San Francisco, CA.

And just because he rocks it, here is a video of Pete Seeger, doing his original:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I've been tagged!

Candi, from A Vegan Photo Journal has tagged me with the following:

"create a list of top picks for things
you've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die."

It has been pretty interesting reading everyone's ideas and their reasons for choosing their specific foods. Check out some of their entries:
There are lots more people out there tagged and you can follow the path from blog to blog. All I can say is there are a lot of great cooks out there, blogging and taking pictures of their food. Wow! It is like a continual education reading their thoughts on the food they cook and eat.
Anyways, my five things that everyone should eat at least once before they die.....
1) Dark leafy greens! This should make my husband happy since he is obsessed with them, right Bridge? His goal is to eat at least one serving per day. Anyways, the darker, the better! They are nature's powerhouse of nutrients. You can't go wrong with these babies....arugula, kale, collards, swiss's all good!
2)Flax seed - another nutritional champ. We use it ground in baked goods (as an egg substitute) and smoothies and use the oil for salad dressings.
3) Brown rice and Braggs - it is my standby - have nothing to eat in the house - gotta have some comfort food - open the cupboard door and there it is. Open a can of pinto or great northern beans and throw them in there and I am in carb heaven :-)
4)A meal, any meal from the Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco. Zucchini Napoleons, Chipotle Grilled Portobello & Zucchini Tamale, Indian Spiced Pink Bean Ragu, Mocha Crème Brulee, Terrine Of Avocado & Lemon Ice Cream.....'Nuff said. If you ever get to San Francisco...go there and eat!
5) Pine nuts - Love them, love them, love them! In pesto, in salads, even in baked goods.....yummy!
Thanks for tagging me, Candi. This was a lot of fun. Now I have to think about who to tag. I think I need to time this just right - I would probably like to tag Jen but if she is cranky, she won't do it LOL. Ah, who am I kidding? Even if she is in a good mood, chances are she wouldn't do it :-) Well, I am off to try some wheatgrass and purple potatoes.....

Friday, September 01, 2006

Farm Sanctuary Walk For Farm Animals - 9/30

On September 30, I am planning on heading for Watkins Glen on a day trip with a bunch of friends for my yearly pilgrimage (I missed last year :-/) to Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary is one of my all-time favorite organizations - it is so successful in its mission and outreach. The story of how the organization started is just so scrappy, full of that 'can do' and 'son-of-a-gun-I-don't-like-what-is-going-on-and-I'm-gonna-do-something-about-it attitude.

By a wonderful coincidence, meesh from The Eph Word is going be participating in Farm Sanctuary's Walk For Farm Animals in Los Angeles the very same day! I feel some cosmic connection here :-) She has a sponsorship page here. If you can spare a few bucks, throw them her way as a pledge - it is for a great cause and a great way for our little cyber veg community to support each other. Do without your takeout coffee for a week or two. Bring lunch for a week instead of eating out. Get that latest book you have been dying to read from the library instead of buying it. I am giving up my habit for the month of September for my pledge. Not gonna order.....can't order.....stay away from