2017, The Universe, Yoga I Can Stand

Hello and Happy New Year!  It’s 2017!  Can you believe it?  When I was a kid I used to calculate how old I would be in THE FUTURE…Well, I don’t think I ever went past the year 2000.  And here I am, in 2017.  No hover car, no personal robot, no trips to Mars….But it’s close, right?  I have the mars curiosity rover on instagram and that just blows me away!!  Pictures of Mars, the red planet, on my phone?  Way cool!

Ok enough of my ramblings….here’s the photo of Mae you’ve all been waiting for, waiting in the snow for snowballs.

I have a couple of things to share with you….remember the Altras?  The shoe to end all mountain running shoes?  Well sadly, I ended up returning them after about 3 months.  They were perfect, great shoe, scrambling around the mountain, running , hiking.  they kept me comfy and dry through October, the wettest October on record in Seattle.  They were warm and great into November.  And then, one day, my feet were WET!  They were leaking at the seams and also had really broken down after only about 100 miles of use. No cushion, dead shoes.   I spoke to a rep at Altra and he confirmed that because they are new shoes/boots for them they didn’t really know what to expect.  The “neoshell” is not actually neoprene but a gortex like material.  Anyway, they went back….I couldn’t justify the $160 retail price (I paid $140 thru Road Runner Sports and they have an excellent return policy).  I got a really ugly pair of Asics that are doing the job well enough for half the price.
Ok, The Universe….so I don’t mean this in a Carl Sagan way, though I LOVE Mr. Sagan.  I am talking about all that Karmic stuff, you know, things working out in the end?  squaring up the score. settling accounts…. My daughter was complaining about how she didn’t get a discount on her rent after a friend said she referred her AND a manager called and told her she would get $300 off rent….a different manager told her NO.  Because the friend didn’t fill out the referall form correctly.  What??  As my daughter was telling me the story, the Boston Irish in me came out and I wanted to call said manager and tell her what a *#@! she is, but then….and this is pretty amazing for me….but then I thought “no, the UNIVERSE can handle this”.  You know why?  Because the Universe can dole out some really nasty shit!  What can I do?  Swear into the phone?  Use my wit and language to come up with some mean, but to the point, derogatory insults?  sure…But the Universe….the Universe takes care of revenge and getting even in a BIG way. I have seen this first hand .  I have seen some terrible things happen to people that have not been very nice to me.  Really awful, life changing things.  And that’s sad.  So, I am letting go of anger (yeah right, at least this month ok?) letting go of righting wrongs.  I’m not using my life energy on that pursuit.  I’m gonna just let Good ol’ buddy Universe do it’s stuff.  I will stand up for my rights, take matters into my own hands when it’s logical.  Ask me how this is going in a few months though!
Yoga.  So I have always tried to do yoga and have literally hated it!  Hated the often false, mumbo jumbo breathing crap (all that breathing!) and the little outfits and mats and the stupidly presented calm.  Plus, physically it kills me!  And I am no slump when it comes to athletics.   But….I have this friend.  He is a really awesome person, the 70 side of 60.  I met him in grad school more than 25 years ago and, well, he’s one of my favorite people on the planet.  He’s an antsy one.  Always on the move, he runs, works out with weights, swims and DOES YOGA.  So, if your friend, a friend whom you love and trust, tells you something is good?  That’s right,  You gotta check it out.  I managed to find YOGA I CAN STAND!!  Yoga, I will admit, I actually LOVE!  It’s Yoga With Adriene, and I am 10 days into the 30 day yoga challenge.  She’s real!!  She’s like “yo, dude, we are gonna DO YOGA”.  Well, maybe not quite like that, but the presentation fits me, fits what I look for in any fitness instruction, honest, straight forward, no nonsense guidance.  Fabulous personality,Yoga with Adriene works for me.  If you are thinking of adding yoga to your life, check out her youtube channel .  There are a lot of sessions to choose from and they are short and so do-able!
Happy 2017!  Hope the year is filled with all good things for you!  We will be out playing in the snow, enjoying this beautiful mountain day~ ciao!

 

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Coffee Lover, Part Two

Back in 2007, I gave up drinking coffee.  My daughter, 12 at the time and brutally honest, kept complaining that I had coffee breath. She would scream at me to open a window every time we got in the truck.   My cold turkey quit had more to do with a Starbucks visit though.  I went in , ordered a tall Americano and took a big gulp as I got back behind the wheel.  I felt something foreign in my mouth that jabbed at my throat as I swallowed. In a panic I tried to spit the coffee back in the cup thru that little drinking hole and ended up instead, spewing coffee all over myself, all over the dashboard.  It was pretty disgusting and a great big mess!  So, I quit.  The culprit was a  bristle from the brushes they use to clean the machines….nasty?  Yup.

I gave up coffee for about three months.  I don’t remember many side effects, just a few headaches from the caffeine withdrawal.  This time?  This time?  oh man!  I felt so miserable.  Here’s a list: Body aches, stiffness, moodiness, irritability, IRRITABILITY, inability to focus, sleeplessness, (yes, ridiculous) and of course the headaches.  This time the headaches were minor, but at the height of  symptoms I felt like I was getting the flu.  I was so out of it that at one point I was trying to unlock my car by pointing my phone at it.  I looked up symptoms on line and of course all of the above were listed.  Interestingly, caffeine withdrawal now has it’s own diagnosis code in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Seriously.  At least that’s that the internet tells me.  I could see how you could go to a doctor with the symptoms because really, I felt pretty awful.

It’s been about three weeks. No cold turkey this time.  This time I had to  wean and cajole, talk myself through it, sit on the couch and stare into space. But I am over most of the symptoms and feel a bit normal (that’s a stretch for me always).   Here’s why I decided to give it up:

1) Nutritionally, coffee was messing me up. 

My normal routine would be to get up have coffee and a banana and go for a run.  Bananas started to bother me, made my mouth itch ,upset my stomach.  I tried to find a substitute but nothing else feels right.  So coffee took over.  One cup became two, more coffee at 10 when my daughter got up, then of course more or a big mocha/latte/flavored thing for that afternoon slump. and hey, it’s the Pacific Northwest, so why not have MORE?  We do love our coffee here….In fact we survive the rain with coffee, it’s a KEY ingredient in NW life!  But all this coffee was not helping me nutritionally. My stomach was not enjoying the ride either.  Food seemed to pass though my system on a coffee flume, few nutrients staying behind to fuel me.

2) I never sleep well.

     I tell people i have’t had a good night’s sleep since the 80’s and I mean it. With age and stress and hormones (?) it’s gotten worse.  Caffeine is a known sleep enemy so, why not eliminate it?  it’s good to eliminate enemies right?

3) I am sick of bladder irritation and having to pee on runs. Or actually just         peeing while running.

     Have you ever peed your pants running?  Some of us have worse experiences I know.  Even famous runners! But it is a problem that can be made worse with coffee, a known bladder enemy too. And of course age and hormones (dang).   I’ve had it happen more than once and it’s not very comfortable!!  It has to end.

4) The coffee habit was taking up too much of my budget.

     It’s simple math.  A monthly massage may be a better way to spend?

I will give you an update soon.  I am already sleeping a bit better.  I wake during the night but can fall back to sleep and last week, twice, I spent over 11 hrs in bed!  I’m hoping eventually to reach an agreement with caffeine, moderate amounts, good coffee, good friends.

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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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