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

Saturday, April 28, 2007

food posts

I got off track a little bit with my food pictures and posts for the past month and a half. I just kind of lost heart - not just about food but about lots of other things. Not to worry - I was still eating and mostly taking pictures of what I ate - I just didn't bother to download my photos.

I have done some cooking and lots of eating though. Here is a picture of the dulce sin leche cupcakes (recipe from VCTOTW)that I plan on making for the next vegan dinner:

I scored a dinner at Bridg's one night - jerk seitan with coconut rice and roasted asparagus:

This was some good stuff. She even made the seitan from scratch. I can't remember where she got the recipe from.....maybe a Sarah Kramer book?

And last night, I made vegan pound cake - first read about in Bazu's blog. Pound cake was always one of those few things that I really missed. My mother made it every year around Christmas time to give as gifts. I remember her telling me that her secret was to add the eggs (ewwww, yucko!) individually and beat thoroughly after each one. This cake recipe is as good as I remember pound cake tasting - oh happy day! After 9 years to finally eat pound cake again :-)
I made a double recipe and baked one large loaf and 3 mini loaves. I used lemon extract and got a little creative with some leftover batter. I tossed some poppyseeds in and baked it in muffin tins. This made the richest, densest, delicious lemon poppyseed muffins ever!
So there you have it, a little vegan food love going out into cyberspace :-)

Time to get serious

My weight has gotten a bit out of control the past 2 or so months and I think it is time to nip this in the bud. I had an old Fit Day account that I let go dormant the last two years. I revived it and am going to use it to try to get some control over this area of my life. There is a link to the left. Feel free to check it out and berate me if I start pigging out :-)

My plan is to give myself one 'free' day a week and try to limit the other days to 1200-1500 calories. I figure that way I hopefully won't feel too deprived as I can still go out and eat once a week. This week coming up, Tuesday will be my free day because I am hitting Steve's with some friends to celebrate my freedom from Enron. Yippee!

Wimp or strong?

*glancing upwards*

The words of Peter Maher have mocked me every day since April 9. That marks the last day Cosmo and I ran.

Today marks our first day back. We did approximately 2.5 miles, very,very slowly :-/ But we did it and Cosmo is a very, very happy dog, not as happy as he would have been to run with his 'pack' but he is happy.

The Peter Maher quote serves two purposes for me. First, it is a 'get your butt in gear' motivator. Secondly, Peter Maher was a sub 2:12 marathoner and he speaks of needing to be strong to run. It is a reminder to me that running is tough for everyone. Even if they are fast, even if it looks effortless when they run, even if they are amongst the fastest in the world. It is tough for everyone. It takes mental and physical strength and resolve to get out there and pound that ground. It makes me feel a little better to know that it isn't just tough for me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Letterboxing in FL

While I had a rental car to visit my mom, I decided to try for a few Florida letterboxes. I found two - one at a hotel by Disney and one planted in the Disney community of Celebration. This is a planned community just outside of the Disney compound.
The above is a picture of part of the village, overlooking a manmade lake. This place is manicured to within an inch of its life - it looks like a postcard :-) What I did find amusing was this sign I saw while searching for the letterbox:
Alrighty now.
On the home letterboxing front, there are dozens of new boxes to find this year, courtesy of a local gathering. I have to recarve and replant my Sicilian box, hopefully in a more secure location. I have to plant my runswithdog box and Jen and I have to finally finish and plant our Veg series.

Midweek musings

I have not run in a week.

I had my first ever panic attack, lying in the endodontist office, waiting for a root canal.

I had my second ever panic attack, a week later, in same endodontist office, during my second visit.

Through extreme self-will, I fought back both attacks by breathing deeply, repeating my 'dental mantra', "Be thankful you don't live in the Middle Ages" and by telling myself to grow up and stop being a baby.

Jen enjoyed the details of said panic attacks immensely and was very encouraging. According to her, once you start having them, it is all downhill. Soon I will be having them just from driving by the dentist.

She enjoyed the panic attack discussion so much I didn't even get the usual, 'ok, I gotta get back to work now' comment I usually get when I call her at work.

I think Mally's corns are lessening. I am not courting trouble by saying they are going away. We shall stick with lessening for the time being. He is still very shaky and weak in his back end. I am trying to get him out every day for his half mile walk - use it or lose it. Could it be the diet change? There is a theory that corns are an autoimmune response and diet would sure affect that, wouldn't it? His pads are definitely softer and the corns are smaller.

Both dogs seem to be self-regulating in the food department. They are starting to eat less than what I was initially giving them. I am lucky in that neither of them seem to be of the gluttony school of dog appetite and aren't driven to eat everything in sight just because it is there.

I think we might have to reschedule our next vegan dinner from lack of interest :-(

I used to be somewhat proficient with chopsticks. It came to my attention while dining in a sushi bar on this last trip that I have lost all chopstick skill :-( I am going to make it a point to eat with them more often at home. Hopefully it will make me eat slow, get filled up sooner and maybe lose some weight.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Wednesday morning looking out my dining window:

Wednesday afternoon from a lounge chair by the pool:
I spent 10 years of my childhood living in south Florida and despising it. However, this time around, leaving snow on the CNY ground in April, I am really liking it.
The weather has been very nice - sunny skies, nice and warm. Today is warm albeit overcast. I can deal with that though.

Thursday, I picked up a rental car and headed out to visit my mother who lives about 40 miles out of Tampa. The cities here, Tampa, Orlando, Lakeland are all very nice, clean and have that stucco tropical vibe. Get 5 minutes outside though and it is like going back 50 years in time, specifically to visit Deliverance. LOL Guys sit in pickup truck parked on the road shoulder with coolers and handwritten cardboard signs advertising 'gator meat'. Scrubby cows behind half down barb wire. I got the sense that the cities and the overwhelming development is the facade and you don't have to go far to see behind it.
And speaking of the facade......since we are staying at a Disney resort (don't look at me - he had to attend a conference here) we decided, what the heck......we would hit up one of the theme parks. We decided on Epcot as it seemed the least offensive to our sensibilites :-) Big mistake. Big, big mistake. Why?
1) we hate crowds
2) we hate cheesy theme park attractions
3) we hate kids (not really hate but frankly we don't want to be bothered dodging and weaving around your little precious while s/he throws a fit in the middle of the walk way) Honestly, there were more people mobile via strollers, motorized scooters and wheelchairs than there were walkers. And frankly, the majority of them figured no matter where they were motoring, they had the right of way.
Oh God, it really was awful....I don't know what we were thinking. We are more Tate Museum, more Santa Maria in Trastevere, more Pantheon and Forum than The Seas with Nemo and Friends (brought to you by Nestle).
Anyways, $60 and 2 hours later, we ditched that place. What a waste. And let's not even get into the problem of eating vegan at a Disney resort. We have been saved by a really great sushi restaurant in one of the hotels.
One thing I will say is this place is clean, squeaky, antiseptic clean and the staff is without exception, wonderfully approachable and helpful.
Oh well, we have had a great time, lying for hours, decadently around the pool and (fake) white sand beach, drinking frozen, frothy, alcoholic concoctions. We are heading home tomorrow (where they have finally had some great weather this weekend - all it took is for us to leave :-)), anxious to get the dogs home from their respective vacation homes. Next trip hopefully will be Montreal in August. I am really looking forward to that.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Sticking to my new reserve - I will not be running today. Forecast calls for a high NEAR 40. Not of 40, not over 40, not even 40! NEAR 40. I will not run outside until it is 50 degrees. I expect the weather gods to eventuall feel guilty about my increased weight and decreased stamina and crumble like stale cookies before my resolve and improve our weather. And then you all will be able to thank me and my principled stance for it :-)

Last night, Bridg and I pulled two greyhounds as a some-what owner surrender. Their owner, an elderly woman, was hospitalized last week and now will be institutionalized in a care situation. She had two greyhounds, a big lanky fawn boy and a little shy black female. For the past week they have been cared for by the woman's elderly brother-in-law and his wife. When it became obvious that the owner was unable to return to her home (I think the diagnosis is dementia), the b-i-l and wife did the right thing. They knew the dogs had a group out there that would take them. In the chaos of the situation and unable to find paperwork pertaining to the dogs, they just didn't know what group or how to contact them. They contacted one group and through the greyhound community grapevine, it was all figured out who had responsibility for these dogs. Yet another reason *hopping on my soapbox* for all groups, not matter what their personal adoption philosophies, to maintain contact and to work with each other SO THAT NO DOGS, EVER, FALL THROUGH ANY CRACKS. *hopping off my soapbox now*

These dogs are so sweet and so well-cared for. Turns out the male is a former foster of mine, Derek from 2000. B and I went back and forth a little about who would keep them overnight and for a day until the group could get them. We eventually decided both would stay at her house although, I kind of wanted my old foster back with me, just because, well, you know, once he WAS mine. After seeing him for 15 minutes at B's house, I think we made the right decision for him to stay at her house. I started to recall just why I considered him the Foster From Hell and had to take a break from fostering after having him. Not that he is a bad dog (if there is such a thing and I don't believe there is) but he probably is ADD :-) His muzzle is completely white now. Maybe B can post a current picture of him for comparison.
Let's see.....what else? Oh, we have expanded our menu to include rabbit this week and just as quickly we have taken rabbit off of the menu. Seems as though my two killing machines who have never met a bunny they didn't want to chase down, grab and shake to death, suddenly now have the mantra, 'mustn't eat the nice bunnies' running through their heads.
I was able to locate and purchase 44 lbs of cleaned, skinned rabbits and neither of them will eat them. We tried for two days. Mally ate probably a quarter pound each day - probably just enough to stave off starvation. Cosmo wouldn't do more than just sniff. Even when I sprinkled them with fake, soy parm cheese. Even when I quickly seared them. Nope. Not gonna eat the bunnies. Now, I know I can force the issue. My two boys are the biggest wimps around and I could make them eat the bunnies. If it was Angus, well, that would be another story. If he didn't want to eat the bunnies, nothing I could do would make him and just for good measure, I would probably wake up one morning to find him gnawing on my leg. He would be thinking, "I am not gonna eat what I don't want to and this will show her what I will be eating if she doesn't shape up and give me what I want to eat!" Of course, it is all a moot point, because we all know Angus would have been chowing into that bunny. Anyways, I am not going to force them because they aren't fussy eaters and if they don't want to eat it, well then fine. So.....anyone in the market for 40 lbs of frozen rabbit? :-) Next up on our menu for trying will be beef hearts. I got to tell y'all that this raw feeding is an exercise in willpower for me. The bunnies almost put me over the edge.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I am done

Cosmo and I ran with B Saturday at the park. We did 3 miles in 33:12 (or right around there). We did have a poop break so I think it is pretty easy to say we were in the high 10 m/m. Pretty good. The bad news is it just about killed me to do that. I was very uncomfortable the whole time. It was very, very cold with a stiff breeze. At one point, I looked over and B was actually running with her head down and tucked to the side, trying to avoid the wind.

There has been enough on the news about the weather, lately. This was a miserable Easter, weather-wise. This is what the weather is forecasted for the next week:
The numbers are the high/low temps and the percent of precipitation.

TueApr 10
Few Snow Showers

WedApr 11
Mostly Cloudy

ThuApr 12
Rain / Snow

FriApr 13
Partly Cloudy / Wind

SatApr 14
Few Showers

SunApr 15

We are going to Florida next week for a few days. I am not a Florida fan - I lived there for 10 years as a kid and never really felt the need to go back. Until now. I am looking forward to going. I am going to sit out in the sunshine (properly sunscreened and shielded). I will do my best to sweat my ass off!

I am also done running in the cold. I will be more than happy to run in 9 degree weather in February but not in freaking April! I am done running until the daily highs are 50 or above. I apologize to my running mates but enough is enough! I am at my wit's ends.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Stamp retiring

With spring coming along - I know it is hard to believe since it was below freezing this morning and we have some snow on the ground - I was going through my letterboxing stuff last night,
getting prepared for hitting the trails in a few weeks. I am retiring Angus's signature stamp. I was thinking of planting the stamp permanently but I decided against that. I couldn't bear the chance of losing it. So it will be placed, along with his ashes, his sweater, his collar in his memorial box. I will also include all the cards and the printed internet/email thoughts we received, too.

I carved the stamp from a drawing that Jen did. It is one of my very favorite images. It captures his joie de vivre so perfectly. Angus loved being out in the woods, hiking. He never met a trail he didn't want to head down on. He was a game little fellow, ready for anything - a little one mile jaunt or a 9 miler. It is definitely going to be lonelier for both Cosmo and I out on the trails this year.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Run Update

My plan was to run the Fort to Fort 5k race this weekend. I didn't get my application in on time. I haven't been running as much as I had planned so I know that any good result is out of the question, or frankly, would be way, way too painful and probably injury provoking.

Saturday, at the park, I ran with Bridge, forcing myself to keep pace with her. It was an easy pace for her and Momo but I was working my ass off. About a quarter mile left, I got a sharp pain in my left knee. My feet have always been what has bothered me, - my weak point. I have to say, whenever anything else bothers me, I feel slightly betrayed. Yeah, my feet can hurt but nothing else better. Walking made the pain recede but as soon as I started running again, it started up. I had walk the last quarter mile. Later that day at home, while walking up the dog's ramp, the pain returned, very sharp and the husb had to actually help me get in the house.

Monday, I ran the hills with Shannon, Sue and Sherri and voila! No pain! Pretty cool and I was happy. Although I wasn't running with Momo. I fed him too late for him to be able to make the 6 pm run. He was not a happy camper. Well, my employment is done April 30. I am not going back to work right away but will take some time. Being available to feed Cosmo earlier will help him make our evening runs.

It is also snowing today. Has been, on and off all day. Some even sticking to the ground. So, application not in on time, not been running enough, hinky knee and now snow. All reasons enough for me to blow off this weekend's 5k. I will run Saturday morning with the group, though :-)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Book Thief

We had our book discussion on Sunday. I was very happy with the book and enjoyed it. I don't know as I would make it a point to search other books by this author though. I think he writes mainly for a young adult audience. The book dealt with a young girl living with a foster family in Germany during WWII. I found it pretty interesting in that I knew people who lived in Germany in that time period and also a couple of men who fought with the German army and were POWs in Canada. I enjoyed reading a book that used common German people as characters.

I just reread that paragraph and frankly, it sounds like the book reports I used to do in 2nd grade! LOL "I really liked this book because it was interesting and fun......." Anyways, our next book is Time Line by Michael Crichton. This is our science fiction selection. I have already started to read it. I read it many years ago and loved it. I adore time travel books :-)

The carnage

On the raw feeding front, things are going pretty well. Both dogs converted over, cold turkey, very well. I read stories on the various groups about the conversion process and what to expect. While dogs get acclimatized to eating bones, they will hack up undigested pieces. Also, runny stools can be common. We have been just fine on the poop front here - I am amazed though at the little amount of poop there is. I used to joke that my boys ate 4 cups of food a day and pooped out 7 cups. Now the amount of waste compared to the volume they are eating is amazing. They are really utilizing the majority of the food they are eating. Water drinking has also declined. I used to fill their dish every day when it got low. Now I just dump out what is in there and fill it with fresh water every night.

Mal took to the raw meat like a champ. No sniffing, no lollygagging, he just laid down and laid into his meat and bones right from day one like he had been waiting his whole life for these meals. He did hack up a very small amount, about a tablespoon, of small, bony bits, the first two nights. There has been nothing since then.

Cosmo loves the meat and bones but was a bit more tentative than Mally. Cosmo is a kind of clueless kind of dog. He was very interested but puzzled by the meals. He works hard but he is a much slower eater than Mally. The first time he stood holding a chicken quarter by the skin for about 3 minutes, just bemused, trying to figure out what to do. Mal will down two chicken quarters in the time that Cosmo finishes half of his first one. He only hacked up the tablespoon of bony bits once and had loose poop once.

Both boys are very well behaved. I take blankets out and spread them out for them to eat on. They know just who's spot is who's and they stay right on them eating.

I will say that this is all disgusting and grosses me out immensely. I am considering buying beef hearts, pork feet, tails and necks and whole rabbits to add variety to their diets.