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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unsuccessful in it's success.....

Bridge made these witch finger cookies that she found on Yeah, That Vegan Shit. She brought some over on Sunday. She put eggs in them because she didn't have any egg replacer but we figured no biggie, my sons could eat them. I must say, they looked really, really real. (The picture is from Y,TVS)
I think I might have to throw them out. Neither son will eat them. Not the former Marine (with his Haiti and Iraq tour under his belt) or the younger, karate/firefighting one. They are too 'disgusting', 'gross', 'nasty', 'Dude, I don't care what they taste like, I am not eating one of those fingers!' for these tough guys to eat.
Congratulations, Bridge and LindyLoo. You have done what I thought wasn't possible - grossed out my sons. :-)

Money well spent

We had some lousy, lousy weather over last week and weekend. The view from the back of my house:

Gray, no sunshine, just blah for hours on end. The rain did take a break at one point so I wrapped up Mally's feet, put his boots on and the four of us headed out for a walk and some fresh air. Of course, half way through the walk, the wind and rain started again. It wasn't freezing cold but we did get that damp, chilly to the bones feeling.

Now, I am not happy at what we had to pay for our house - even given that our area housing market is considered to be very reasonable compared to the national market. I think we paid way too much for just about everything - of course, I am a cheap f*ck, so take that into account. One thing I do not regret - even though we did waaaaaaaaaay overpay for it - is the gas fireplace. Why? One picture says it all:
We got home, I towel dried them, fired up the fire place (actually just flipped a switch), dragged the beds over and the dogs spent the afternoon roasting in front of it. When we ordered the fireplace this was the exact image I felt I was paying for - my dogs hanging out in front of it. Oh, where is Angus? Certainly not hanging in front of a fireplace like a wimp because the weather was a little wet and chilly.......LOL

Friday, October 27, 2006

MSNBC Headline

Rumsfeld tells Iraq war critics to ‘back off’
Uh, yeah......I don't think so. Fuck off, Rummy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I wonder sometimes if my belief in God is true and valid or if I am just afraid of a life and a world without a God.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My life with books

I am still working on The Name of the Rose. I broke down and watched the film the other night with the husb (who has finished the book). He said it took liberties with the book (don't they all) but they sure didn't 'pretty up' the actors in it.

So, I have that by my bed, currently being read. I have on my 'to read' pile, the following:
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
The World is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
Moral Minority - Brooke Allen (a study of the role of Christianity in the founding of our country - turns out our founding fathers might not have been all that moral or Christian *giggle*)
The Last Week - Marcus Borg and John Crossan (A Day-by-Day account Of Jesus' final week in Jerusalem) I hope I can get through this book but my track record with books detailing the crucifixion isn't that great - I find them all too sad)
The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot - Bart Ehrman
Middlemarch - George Eliot

I really also must get back to my Modern Library Top 100 list. The way it is going it will take me 10 years to finish them all, with all the Joyce and Faulkner left for the bitter end :-/ I will not let my experience with Under the Volcano and Wide Sargasso Sea deter me from goal of reading them all.

The challenge has been issued

I find myself occasionally in a socially awkward situation. Usually, I just go along, put on a happy face and then vent to long-suffering friends afterwards. I told Jen today on the phone that I am not going to let myself get drawn into this situation again. She laughed. She doesn't not think I have the wherewithal to avoid and/or remove myself from it.

Jen: I bet you $100 you will go along.
Me: You don't have $100.
Jen: I don't. But I will bet you $5.

She is way, way too amusing to me most times :-)

So, here is my declaration. I will not get sucked into this situation. I will find a way to gracefully avoid it without it being awkward, embarassing or hurtful. But I still won't make Jen pay me $5.

Weather woes

I told A that one day I want to live in a location where a sunshine-y, 70 degree day isn't an 'event'. Here, when we get those sorts of days, it is all anyone can talk about. "Wow, what a gorgeous day" "Enjoying the nice day?" "Can't beat this weather" etc. Today, all I want to know is if the rain will ever stop? Ever? Ugh! Cold, dreary, wet....

I have three canines here who are antsy with inactivity (even though two of them got a long, urban walk yesterday while I was scouting for a letterbox location). How antsy? If I breathe deeply, they all hop up thinking something (anything!) is going to happen. So I turned the fire on, brought out the blankets and the knuckle bones and now they are happily toasting and gnawing away. That should keep them occupied for a little while :-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Follow Up

In case anyone had their interest piqued from my earlier blog entry, you can read Sue's race report from Saturday here. It is guaranteed to give you chills.

Congratulations, Sue. I am so glad you had a great race. You can't beat that feeling, can you? :-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oh, a gagging afterthought!

While at Dewey, Jen made us pierogies a couple of times. They were really good so I decided to get some myself. I bought the store brand roasted garlic pierogies and over the course of three days, stuffed myself in carb oblivion on them. Yummy!

Then as I was putting the box in the recycling bin, I glanced at the ingredients. GAG me with a spoon! Did I not check them in the store? Did I just buy these assuming they were vegan and not read the ingredients? What the heck? I know the ones Jen bought were vegan. But these had whey and EGG in them! Way at the bottom of the ingredient list but it was still in there. Yuck! Nasty! I worry that I have now hopped on the pierogie starch bandwagon only to be shoved off by non-vegan ingredients :-(

A new fav

The husb and I headed out Friday night to try a new restaurant downtown. He has gotten take out lunch there before and just raved about it so I had to try it. It is Lao Village in Clinton Square (208 West Genesee Street, Syracuse).

Let me just! I mean DAY-UM!!! This place was awesome. It is now added to my top favorite lists. I am going to try to convince everyone to head there after the next bookclub meeting.

It is a very small place, only 5 tables, with an industrial/Thai decor, if you can imagine that. The tables were all this stainless steel, mirrored material. There was corrugated steel on the walls with the typical elephant/Thai artwork. It was very cool.

When we walked in, we were handed two bottles of cold water and told to take any table. Turns out LV doesn't sell any beverages, just supplies bottled water with your dinner - fine by me! We started out with appetizers, each of us ordering summer rolls (the non-fried rice rolls) and an order of curry puffs to split. The curry puffs were like samosas, absolutely awesome. The summer rolls were almost identical to the Vietnamese spring rolls except they were three times the diameter. These were some big mothers! Also absolutely delish.

My entree was Kha Noom Jeen, rice vermicelli noodles with tofu khan, kaffir leaves and bamboo shoots in a panang curry sauce topped with fresh lettuce, bean sprouts and mint leaves. The waiter asked me what strength I wanted the heat and I told him I wanted to be sweating and waving my hands but not crying :-) It came perfectly seasoned. This was a wonderful dish.

The husb ordered Massaman Tofu (sliced tofu, potato chunks, ginger, pineapple simmered in massaman curry paste with coconut milk topped with scallions and served with Thai basil and steamed rice). He loved it, I thought it was a little sweet for my tastes but that being said, I could have still chowed down the whole dish.

(I am not a food critic or have a photographic memory - the above descriptions come from the take out menu I grabbed :-)))

Our costs-
Summer rolls - $1.75 ea
Curry puffs - 2 for $1.75
Massaman tofu - $6.95
Kha Noom Jeen - $6.50
3 bottles of water - n/a

Yeah, you are reading that right! $18.70 for dinner for two with 3 appetizers! Less than $20! And we were stuffed! Our service was good, the food was fresh and just made. What a bargain! Because we weren't charged for the water, the husb rounded up to an even $30 with the tip and we left feeling like we got the bargain of the week.

Next on my to-do list is trying to find an Indian grocer that someone told me about (couldn't remember the name or location!) that they said has the most delicious samosas around. Yeah, I know they aren't that hard to make but phooey, I can't be bothered :-)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Life minutiae

I did a weight training class on Wednesday and I really thought by now my quads would have recovered. :-) My friend, Jen P. teaches it at the local Y. I got out of the habit of taking it over the summer because, well, life got in the way. I only take the class if she promises me that there will be NO walking lunges. I hate them. With a passion. You would think that with the cycling and running, I would be able to toss them without thinking. Well, no. For some reason, walking lunges just absolutely shred my quads. There is no way I could do them and also cycle and run. So, we did no walking lunges but about 80 squats and 40 stationary lunges with a bench. Jen can be really evil. They put me on the class schedule for two cycle classes on the days in between the weight classes. I hope Jen P. comes to them *evil grin* I also really hope I can run tomorrow.....

Yesterday, Jen headed to Utica to visit her poor Grammy in the hospital. We met up and spent a few hours letterboxing before her visit. We hit a few really nice boxes in the Oriskany area. B was having her bronchoscopy that same day. We discussed not going but thought why? I mean, I felt like I should stay home and just wait for a call saying everything went ok but I didn't know why I should. I mean, it was a simple, routine procedure - yes, I know it *wasn't* routine when it is happening to you, but more that it is something doctors do a lot and have very, very, few complications. It was scheduled for noon. I called her husb about 3 and he said everything was fine. I told him to tell her I wouldn't bother her that night but would talk to the next day. On my way home from the PAR meeting (very interesting meeting about living harmoniously with coyotes), I get a call from her at 9:30. 9 f'in 30!!!!!! Yeah, the simple, routine, no complications procedure was anything but!!!! It all turned out ok but the guilt is eating away at me. You know, if I had sat home waiting to hear the news like I thought I should, nothing would have happened (and yes, the whole world does revolve around me LOL). Anyways, to assuage my guilt, I got up early this morning, made her pumpkin muffins, and took her to the hospital for a follow up xray. No way was I letting her drive herself and have a lung collapse on the way!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

For Sue

(Sue is from the summer Y running group. She is running her second 5k race this weekend with her sister)


Good luck this weekend. I know you are going to do your best. When you stand at the starting line, leave behind all expectations. The expectations that others have for you, the expectations you have for yourself, your time, your running effort. This is *your* race. You have trained for it. You alone will run it. However it turns out....if your time isn't what you expect, if you have to walk, if it is a PR, whatever.....however it turns is your experience and no one can take that away from you. Whatever the outcome, this race is a success for you. You have worked very hard for it. Enjoy it.
~Those who run seem to have all the fun~ Madonna

This morning's run

Saturday's run with the group was great. It was 9 minutes run, 3 minutes walk. It felt good and easy (yeah, I know, it should be for me after 3 years of running but I never take a good feeling run for granted.......). I ran the same Monday evening with Sue and Melissa. Thank goodness they were with me because my feet felt like they were encased in cement!

This morning, Cos and I went out. I was able to get him to poop first! Always a decent run when I don't have to carry a poop bag :-) As soon as we started out, the ipod wouldn't turn on. It was completely out of power. My mind is *not* my greatest ally in running. I like to run to podcasts or music to keep me from having to listen to the little voice in my head (some of you runners will know what I mean!) Well, I had no choice and we continued on. I had a little rough spot when I spent about 5 minutes obsessing about my weight and how if I could just drop a few I wouldn't be such a larda$$ plodding around and I could spare the pounding on my feet. But I perserved through that little minefield and my next thoughts were pondering if there was any way to take a full minute off my mile pace without really training all that hard and not feeling like vomiting when I do it. No? Yeah, I didn't think so :-/

At any rate (honestly, at a very slow pace...) Cos and I finished what I set out to. I was breathing pretty heavily at the end, he wasn't even panting.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random Dewey photos

Here are a few more:

Dewey Signs

One of my favorite Dewey traditions are the welcoming signs that the stores and motels put on their marquees. I'm a dork, I know, but I just like them. Here are some of the ones we saw this year:

Gorgeous Day

It started out with a pretty heavy frost but warmed up to the mid 60's with clear, sunshiny skies. I opened up the kitchen door and just let the dogs come and go as they wish. Cos and Ang, ran around, hung outside a while and then came in and out as the mood struck them. Mal just hung around outside. Aside from the obvious benefits of having a fenced yard with three dogs, my greatest joy comes that it allows Mal to just hang in the yard. He loves to lay in the grass and watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood.

My nose, my nose!!!!

Mother of..........I am making a dish from the Complete Vegan, Baked Rice with Black Beans, Corn, Tomatoes and Epazote*. One of the husb's favorite dishes is Spanish Rice and this just looks like a fancier version of it. It calls for 3 chilies, minced. I have never had a problem before but I must have touched my nose because I think it is disintegrating off my face as I type. I looked in the mirror, expecting to see red, swollen, open, weeping wounds and of course, my nose looked normal. But it doesn't feel normal! It is running so badly, I feel like a crack addict in need of a fix! I keep washing my hands but I am afraid to touch the dogs. And some how, they know this because they are all up in my business like there's no tomorrow. 'Pet me, love me, let me lick your hands.....'

*I guess epazote is some herb very important in Meso-American cuisine but I couldn't find any (in Central New York - go figure!) so I just left it out. Hope it doesn't affect the dish :-)

New Letterbox!

Before leaving Delaware, Jen and I planted the Greyhounds Reach the Beach letterbox along the Rehoboth boardwalk. I think we hid it pretty well, but it is such a high traffic area, I hope the box remains safe. Next year will tell! Here is the clue and you can see the handmade logbook for this box here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I want a 'do-over'!

When my turn came around to chose for our book club, I chose 'Year of Wonders', a highly regarded, well-reviewed, NYT Notable Book, etc. It stunk. Peee-U.

When I was considering what book to chose, another, called Arthur and George by the British author, Julian Barnes, was on my shortlist. Why, oh, why didn't I chose it? I am reading it now and it is wonderful, so far.

My Big Fat Wedding Weekend

Two, count 'em! Two weddings to go to this weekend. We are not 'wedding people' so two in one weekend was testing my social skills. :-) And to top it off, both were along the lines of social obligations of the husb - my acquaintance with the participants if superficial at best.

The first wedding, Saturday, was a very small affair with the ceremony and reception held in a lake-side restaurant. This was a family affair, less than 30 people invited. Why us? I have no idea. We should not be on anyone's 30 or less invitation list! It is a lot of pressure being on a 30 or less list.

This was a wonderful wedding, simple and heartfelt. The groom was very nervous before the ceremony, the couple wrote their own vows which brought tears to many. The husb and I were given the music job (ala Seinfeld). The groom had all the music on an ipod plugged into the sound system. We were instructed to turn the music down when the bride reached the front and then when the ceremony was over, to skip to the next song and turn it up. When we turned the music down, there was a soft feedback that could be heard over the speakers. I asked the husb if I should unplug it. He said go for it. As soon as I did, there was a huge sound of loud, very loud feedback, ladies in the audience gasped and people started laughing out of nervousness. I quickly plugged it back it with shaking hands. I almost burst into tears, I was so horrified. My only consolation was that it didn't happen while they were saying their vows. Of course, no one thought anything of it afterwards.

The wedding today was almost the complete opposite of yesterday's. It was a splashy, spare no expense affair. There was an open bar so the liquor was flowing and the dance floor was full. It was held in Geneva on Seneca Lake and while it was chilly, the sun did shine a little and it was gorgeous on the lake.

Both couples made attempts to meet our dietary needs, today more successful than yesterday. Our experience has been that most restaurants, unless they are large ones with formally educated chefs, tend to struggle coming up with vegan alternatives. Yesteday, we were served plain angel hair pasta topped with sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms. Yes, I am vegan but onions, peppers and mushrooms are my least favorite veggies so that dish will not be going on my list as a top meal.

Today, the venue was a larger, formal banquet hall type place and they came up with a bruschetta topped, grilled portobella mushroom on a bed of orzo with green beans. This was a much more successful dish however.....note the portabello. Bleech......just can't bring myself to eat fungus.

What was nice was that, in both instances, the couples were thoughtful enough to request accomodation and both places tried their best.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I have no shame

I didn't mean to do this but I mosey-ed on over to Jen's photo site and was checking out the Dewey pics (AGAIN! I have only looked at them about a dozen times today!) and I am going to scarf some of them to go on here. I am just too lazy to download the ones I took and frankly, they probably won't be as good. I just don't have that 'ar-teees-teek' talent she has. I don't think she will gripe at me for stealing them even though I am sure it violates some 'ar-teees-teek' code of honor or something. And if she does have a problem, I know I can buy her off with an offer of cookies or muffins......

My boys on the beach. I could just look at them all day.....I love them.

Mal, rocking his 'I know something is out' look. Really though, he is a very smart dog. Something was out there and it scared the shit out of us. Keeping with my lazy ass mood here, you can read what Jen wrote about our enounter with what I am calling the Cape Henlopen Chubacabra here. Really, though, trust me. It was even scarier than she makes it seem.

Enough is enough!

I am making a pledge that I will update my blog links in the next week (by Oct. 19). Goshdurnit, I spend hours reading the stuff out there, I should at least make it all public so everyone can know what good taste I have.

Couple of food notes:
I made the coconut cupcakes from VwaV a couple of weeks ago. Didn't really care for them unfortunately. They turned out the way they were supposed to and everybody else liked them. I think I just prefer a lighter cake (these were pretty dense) and I prefer my super duper secret family icing recipe. I am not giving up though because I love cupcakes. I am just gonna have to score me that new cupcake book.

Tonight I made the chickpea and broccoli casserole, also from VwaV. According to the writeup, it is pure comfort food, not very spicy. I found that all to be true. It was received very favorably in this house. I need to find a way to spice it up though.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back from Dewey

We got back from Dewey Monday night about 7-ish. The weather stunk for the whole weekend and only cleared up for Sunday - which was gorgeous. The vending tents were taken down and there was no official vending site. By Sunday the vendors scrambled and some of them were vending out of their rooms and on the street. Just a very very sad situation.

On the plus side, since I don't care to buy all that much (my dogs have as many collars and coats as they need) I thought the high gusty winds made the beach very dramatic and spectacular to walk on. You can see some pictures that Jen posted here:

We letterboxed in Rehoboth, Dewey and Lewes, scoring a series of boxes that had been planted for the Delaware games gathering that happened that weekend. Great stamps and locations so we had lots of fun with those. We also boxed on the way down and the return trip.

On the negative side, after four years of doing it, I don't think I am cut out for sharing a house with 13 other people and their dogs. It only took 4 years to figure this out - I never said I was a quick study :-/ I like to think I am fairly social and am a considerate housemate. I don't think the other co-tenants would have much to complain about me. I didn't leave my dogs unsupervised, I didn't eat anyone else's food, I didn't keep anyone awake with loud behavior, I didn't violate anyone's personal space, I didn't mess with anyone else's dog (yes, all those things and more were done). I paid attention to my dogs. I watched them for signs of stress or discomfort. When I saw it, or thought that spaces were getting too crowded, my dogs were put in our room. So what I would like to know is am I a complete misanthrope? Will I always find something to complain about? Am I too critical of other's behavior? No one else (besides Jen who had to put up a Quiet Hours sign on our floor after people started congregating for coffee and chatting outside of our bedroom at 7 the first morning) had any real complaints that I heard. They all seemed more tolerant and accepting and having a great time drinking with each other.

I don't think I am a hardcore paranoid dog owner. I mean, I am careful with my dogs but I don't cosset them or are overly cautious with them. Compared, though, to some others whose demeanors could best be classified as casual or lacksadasical, I am a virtual dog Nazi. It is amazing how little awareness people exhibit of their dogs when they get into social situations. Sorry, but I think if you have that many dogs cohabitating, you better be watching them closely. This is pretty much all I am going to say on the subject except that I am going to try to score a rental so that a few of us uptight dog owners can enjoy our weekend in peace :-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Greyhounds Reach the Beach Letterbox

Here are the pictures of the previous mentioned book. Be forewarned! One of the pictures includes the stamp image so don't look if you want to search and be surprised.

I really like this style of book, it is easy to put together and looks sharp and sturdy. The instructions come from Catbead's site.

Thanks to all....

for their encouraging words about running. Cos and I did run Monday with a person from the beginner class. We also just got back from our run this morning. I am glad I did it but it wasn't fun. We passed a long-haired blonde, size 4 blonde. I thought to myself, 'Yeah, if I was that tiny, I would be walking to!' Well, eat my words, because about 2 minutes later, she blew by me, probably doing a 7 and a half minute mile pace. So I started feeling sorry for myself for having to haul my larda$$ at my snail's pace and then just then, just as I needed it, the song on the ipod goes to one of my fav running songs, Hung Up by Madonna with the aforementioned lyric, 'those who run.....' I feel inspired and I pick up my plodding pace and then realize that I had forgotten what the rest of the lyrics say which is, 'Time goes by so slowly....' Over and over again. She repeats that line about 100 times. I wanted to curl up in a fetal position by the side of the road, time was going by very slowly...... But anyways, we dug deep, finished and of course, now that it is over, I feel great and am glad I ran.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Goin' Back to Dewey

Goin' back to Dewey
To Dewey, to Dewey,
I'm goin' back to Dewey,
Naaah, I don't think so.......

Shout out to LL.

Okay, this has been running through my head for the past few days. Jen and I are heading down to Dewey with three hounds in her mud colored, bumper sticker covered van. Now if only I could find a young LL Cool J lookalike with a jag convertible to tool around with............

Blog Sl*t

I mention to Bridget that I am going to be making a log book for the letterbox I hope to plant this weekend in Dewey Beach, Delaware. First thing she says, practically before the words are out of my mouth, 'Make sure you take pictures and blog them.' Have we become blog sluts? LOL

Monday, October 02, 2006

More FS pictures

I have titled these next two pictures, 'Wendy and Bridget, In Service to the Pigs':

Andrew doing his part to further the cause of pig happiness:

Bridget with some chickens:

More FS pictures

The goats, which are one of my favorites :-) In the pen where we were allowed, they had pygmy goats, two of which were amputees. That isn't enough, though, to supress the typical goat feistiness. I think we all were head butted at least once. Andrew escaped some serious male specific injury. The brown, sable goat, with an amputated front leg got him really hard on the upper thigh :-)

Farm Sanctuary

First of all, let me just say, it was one of those cold, cold fall days that we get in NY. It shouldn't have been that cold. I mean it wasn't like it was 30 degrees. But it just seem to cut right through us. But we perseveered and had a wonderful day. Judy did us the honors of driving and chaufeured us with panache and care :-)
Bridget and Judy and Wendy and Andrew waiting for the tour to start:

It always seems as though on every one of my visits to FS, there are some animals, that for some reason, we can't see. This time it was my favorites, the cows. I just love going in with them, they are soooooo huge and their noses and tongues are to die for. They were in the upper fields. We also couldn't get near the turkeys because they were just quarantined because some illness was starting to go through the herd. We did see the rabbits, goats, chickens (FS did a huge rescue from a Tyson chicken factory farm in the aftermath of Katrina) and the pigs.

What really struck home for me on this visit, was just how much we, as a society, has manipulated the breeding and the genetics of these animals. We now have farm livestock that if they were allowed to live out a normal life, would be unable to because of what has been done to them in the name of factory farming.

I think the pigs were the overall favorites. Wendy seemed to establish quite a bond with one of them (make sure you have your sound up):

Some Katrina chickens:

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Birthday!

The spawn of Satan, Angus MacGyver turns 9 today :-) This blog entry is dedicated to my little maniac. He is a tough little guy that has never met another dog he didn't want to play with and bully in equal amounts. He has never met a person he didn't want to lick and then bite. He has never met a trail that he wasn't game to hike. He has never met a stuffy he didn't want to eviscerate!