Monday Things

Finally, it feels like spring to me and I got out for the first trail run of the year!  Thought I would share a few things…..Monday things, to get the week going….

For lazy evening watching Dallas craft beer night: Stone, Enjoy by 04.20.14 IPA.  Good stuff.

I bought new socks in Portland last week.  I have to say these Icebreaker merino socks?  Are way smarter than the other merino socks I usually wear.  Love the fit!  Like nothing on my feet.  Great spring color.  I also got a pair in orange (men’s).  They may well move to the head of the smarty pants socks class.

In LOVE with these trail shoes….The Brooks PUREGRIT.. Damn fine running shoe.  The trails I run are sandy to hardpack without a lot of rocks. The tread is grippy as hell!  Minimal feel but not super thin.  Seriously, I LOVE them.

Tomorrow is APRIL.  Happy Spring.  Get outside!

Running Streak Challenge

It’s been an off winter season.  Our “home” mountain didn’t open until January.  It was long after holiday break, long after the anticipation of getting up there, laying out gloves, finding pairs of socks, waxing boards, tweaking the bindings.  That should be me in the picture, taking some runs.  But it isn’t. Truth, I didn’t get out much.  My husband tried to make me feel better by saying recently, “think of the wear and tear you spared your body!”  It’s a good point, sort of, but I know I gotta stay on it, get out there, be ready. Especially as I age, I’ve found that it’s important to stay on top of my fitness game.  I can’t rest on my laurels because my laurels have a tendency to watch a lot of sports, drink beer and eat burgers.   My laurels have a theme song, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.  They are fond of cheese and chocolate in all their forms.  I know if I want to snowboard, surf, run, hike and be out there, those lazy laurels might hold me back.

A few years ago Runner’s World presented a challenge: Run at least a mile everyday between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I managed 21 days in a row, which was fairly awesome for me.  Now that it’s spring and the mountain roads are clear and dry, I feel the need to refresh my commitment to fitness. So I can be ready.  I can stay on it.  I can get out there.  The challenge of a streak seems to be just the nudge I need to get me going. Will you join me?  Do you already run every day?   Put your shoes on and get out there.  “Ran when parked” doesn’t work for us humans!  Get going. Be ready!

Are The Stars Out Tonight?


Sometimes my day is all about that list of chores and tasks.  I often feel like a contestant on that old game show “Beat the Clock”.  I never do seem to win!  Yesterday I skipped my morning run and by the time 8 pm rolled around I really just wanted to sit on the couch, drink a beer and watch basketball.  But I put on my shoes and headed out the door.  I was rewarded by a brilliant sky full of stars!  It was beautiful!  And there was still time for beer and hoops.  Happy weekend!  Put on your shoes and get out the door!

(star photo harpers.org)

Everyone Knows It’s Windy

Remember that song?  I am pretty sure that they were just mispronouncing “Wendy”, but it is a darn catchy tune.

When I am not in the mountains, I am in a valley.  I mean that literally (though it does make me a bit sad); I am in a valley.  Two things stand out to me there.  It’s very windy, and when it’s not windy, there can be bad stagnant air.  It makes exercising outdoors rather challenging.  It can be really cold! Mostly it’s just uncomfortable and annoying.  Typically I will get up early and walk the dog.  It can be a beautiful spring day. But by the time I finish my morning chores and step back out to run, there’s a 40 mph gust waiting to greet me.  I can never get it through my head!  I go back inside and add a few more layers….maybe I am just being hopeful, choosing to ignore the hurdle mother nature has thrown at me?  Apparently everyone knows it’s windy, except me. What are your weather hurdles?  Can you run in rain and snow or do you head inside to a cozy treadmill?  Does the wind drive you crazy? Do YOU know Windy?   Happy running~

Signs of Spring

On the mountain:    Dirty Snow  (and sometimes perfect blue sky days like below)

Off the mountain:   Green grass, daffodils, blooming heathers, people in shorts, magnolia blossoms, cherry trees in bloom, fat robins, nesting sparrows, pussy willows, spring training (I am so excited about Robinson Cano being a Mariner!)  and MARCH MADNESS.

It’s true, I am a big fan of college basketball.  I can sit and watch it ALL day. I love the squeak of sneakers on the court, the sound of the buzzer, coaches throwing their hands in the air, lay-ups, dunks, D, fouls, foul shots, 3 pointers….okay just ALL of it!  And this year my favorite team (graduate, class of ’86) the Providence College Friars, are on the BUBBLE!  Do you know how incredibly exciting that is?  Well, okay maybe it isn’t exciting to very many people, but to me it’s just mind blowingly awesome and makes March Madness all the more magnificent!

What’s YOUR favorite sign of spring?  Are you a fan of any sports team?

Oh, gotta run….the Big East Championship game is on.  GO FRIARS!

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Mary Alice’s Irish Soda Bread

Well, I am just a home cook.  And my food photography skills are WEAK.  But I am celebrating my Irish heritage  (a  quarter Irish on my mom’s mom’s side of the family)   and wanted to share this Irish Soda Bread recipe with you.  I lost the original , written recipe  years ago.  I tried others but they never seemed “right”.  I got the original from a woman who was a family friend, and someone whom I always considered to be VERY Irish!    She was a lovely woman,  and had those fabulous Irish eyes, smiling always.  My sister mentioned that the original recipe had a shot of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey in it….I’m not sure about that!  Maybe next time I will add the whiskey….

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a large round oven safe bowl .   (I’ve always used a casserole dish)

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder (yes, I did say powder)**  yikes!  Edited 2/25/15 as it said tablespoons..oh my!

about 1/4 cup sugar, plus  some to sprinkle on top

2 tablespoons caraway seeds

1 cup raisins

About 1 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons butter (half a stick), melted

Mix the dry ingredients well.   Stir in the caraway seeds and raisins.  Add the buttermilk and the melted butter and stir until all ingredients are moist.  You may need to add a splash more milk.  (It should be moist but  not sloppy)  Turn into the buttered dish and cut an “x” on top.  Sprinkle with a bit of sugar.  Cook for  approximately 45 mins but check it at 40 mins.  Top should be just  golden and a knife inserted should come  out clean   (if it’s clean to start with?)   I let it cool slightly and then empty it out onto a plate.  Have a chunk  (or a slice)  plain or with butter.   Enjoy!  And let me know what you think!

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As I walk through, this wicked world….

I have been listening to Elvis Costello today.  Actually JUST one song.  And I have to say that there’s nothing funny about peace, love and understanding.  Yet, they can all be quite elusive. The tiny frustrations of every day life that build up, world events that are terrible and confusing , distance between you and your loved ones, both  physical and emotional, everything seems to work against us finding peace, love and understanding.   I like to think that maybe they are easier to find in the mountains.  Carving turns in deep powder under a blue sky is peace.  It’s the FLOW that Mihaly Csikzentmihaly speaks about in his book.  Running down a mountain trail through the springtime mud, jumping over puddles and laughing like a ten year old…feels like love!  To be in the mountains, seems to bring an understanding of our place in the world, seems to put everything in perspective.  If nothing else, it sure makes for some fabulous days, light in the darkness of insanity?   Image

number one.

Why should my first post be about peanut M & M’s?  Well, because peanut M & M’s rock . The colors are bright, the coating is crunchy, there’s a peanut inside, and the peanut is covered with chocolate. When I was a kid (okay, a teenager) I used to like to dump the entire bag out on my bed and then sort them by color.  I would eat them starting with the least in a group.  Only 2 red?  Those went first….  My favorite color was orange.  In fact , it still is.  And I guess that’s my whole point …I STILL dump out the whole bag and look at the colors. Sometimes I group them into pairs, yellow and green, orange and blue, brown and yellow….I sort them, eat the wonky peanut first (in case it tastes really bad)  let them melt in my mouth a bit, or just chew them up.   But I’m no longer a teenager.  No, I’m 51 and there’s been a whole lot of bags of peanut M& M’s between then and now.  Yet, I’m essentially the same me that I was then,  I’m the me who had horses and the me who played tennis and the me who lived on a beach. I’m the daughter me, the sister me.  I’m the me who was a college student, the me who loved mountain biking.  I’m the the me who was the climber, the me who is a mom, the wife me.  And, I’m the mountain me.  Image

Digging it

So if you have ever thought about moving to the mountains you probably thought about endless days of fresh powder,  gorgeous views,  numerous runs down untracked faces, a chairlift all to yourself, and maybe, excitedly, you thought about riding all day while other people are….at work.    Well sure,  those things DO happen.  But powder in the NW? Some.  The views are terrific,  if it’s not foggy, snowing, raining or all three.  Numerous runs….yeah, ok.  Untracked….well…once in awhile.  Get up early, the lift can be yours.  Riding not working?  Yup.  But here’s the thing. You might not be working because the highway is closed….that fresh POW you wanted?  Well it’s “Cascade concrete” and you’ve had a foot a day for a week….you are so tired from the 3 hours you spent  snowblowing your driveway every day that all you want to do is go inside and drink a beer.  But you are behind on work because you couldn’t get to the office, because the highway was closed.  Oh, and the gas company left a note….your propane tank is buried, dig it out please?  Image