Friday, October 29, 2010

House call

It's a drugstore shelf in my apartment! Some people know how to relieve sickies of their sinus pain and coughs. Today I was the lucky beneficiary of a remedy smorgasbord that included soups, nasal strips, menthol cream, pills, capsules and tablets. The primo-grade kleenex and back rub are not shown. I really dug the chocolate brownie/cookie dough ice cream.

Thank you, Dr. Feelgood!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hot toddy

Home sick today.

Were my Scottish grandma still with us, she'd fix her invalid granddaughter a hot toddy (because she'd want a drive to church later!). In Martha's version of the hot drink, she'd splash rum into a mug and mix in hot water and sugar. Under a spell of inspiration, she might also add lemon juice and sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves. The toddy was a drink for which she was famous in our family. People appreciated her generosity with the shot glass. Martha was a competitive player of cards and bingo; she'd kick your arse in 45's, but she wouldn't let you go without if you were in need, and she'd do all she could to help you heal.

In her absence, I turn to pharmaceutical remedies.

They don't heal me half as fast, Gram.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Korean BBQ, at intervals

Interval training is now over until December. Tonight's workout concluded the fall training, and it was a shorter distance, which I love: 8-10 (550m). The wind was warm and I bet it could have been a perfect evening for running but I could feel a cold coming on. My throat hurt more with every forced exhale, my ears were starting to pain me, and I was feeling cranky. I don't like feeling sick and missing the fun. Plus, the runners who arrived for tonight's workout were of the "gazelle" variety; the fast people whose dust I meekly inhale as I lope along behind them, and so I was last after every sprint. I try to be cool with it, but I'm just not a fan of last place. Second-last is fine with me, but that's as close to last as I like to be. Placing last many times over disagrees with me even further, so after 4 sets I tied up loose ends with goodbyes and explanations and went home to a mug of hot lemon tea and a warm shower. Both improved my mood but I'm still sick.

Stirring the pot: Mussels on the half shell, squid, salmon and shrimp.
With supporting fresh vegetables. Exquisite!

Unlike taking last place, Korean BBQ is exceptionally agreeable. Grilling your own meal in front of you is fun, and whether you're the table cook, the eater or both, you win! (Unless, say, you burn every morsel to a black carbon lump on the bottom of the pan, smoking the other customers out of the resto... but relax, that's not going to happen. You worry too much!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin curry

Last night's sprints: 4-6 x 1000m / 3 min rest. Not bad despite the gusts of wind that caught my breath at the top of the hill. I finished 4 reps and would have gone for a 5th but while standing around and considering that 5th, the cold wind stole my best ambitions and I headed for home. The 1000m route finished with a downhill slope which was kind to my quads. They were aching but stronger after spin class the night before. Maybe there is a sweet spot between recooperation and fatigue.

Considering the earthy deliciousness of pumpkin curry, I've wondered why it isn't available in more restaurants. Pumpkins are cheap and last forever. Now I know the reason: pumpkins are as tough as coconuts! Prepare yourself. 45 minutes' worth of cutting and peeling and yelling creative blue expressions, and then - and only then - are you ready to rock.

Throw some diced pumpkin together with crushed tomatoes, red peppers, bananas, ginger and hot peppers, et voila. Proof that the pumpkin is capable of providing more than pie filling and maniacal Halloween lanterns. And the curry pairs much better with basmati.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Losing my head

I’m trying to put the brakes on drinking coffee at work. I think coffee screws up my sleep rhythms so I’ve been scouting out beverages to replace my standard weekday Grande Bold. Earl Grey tea and hot chocolate are the usual fallbacks, but they're not nearly as seductive as that liquid siren known as the black gold. I went cold turkey for a few months this summer but that would be mercilessly difficult in the cold winter months when the office feels like the inside of a meat locker. I know someone amazing who recently kicked a powerful addiction without losing his head. What the hell is my problem?

Poor Tinkerbell! She was last seen - in one piece - atop a white birthday cake early Saturday evening. Later that night, after the cake (angel food, ironically) had been devoured down to its crumbs by depraved partiers (note the icing scrapings on the plate), the merriment clearly took a downturn and little Tinky was beheaded with a knife. The scenario was a gruesome morning-after discovery. I couldn't guess who butchered her or why. Maybe it was a case of "wrong place, wrong time" for the fairy. On the bright side, without a head, her potential to degrade into a flesh-eating zombie has completely vanished. Is it safer in here, or is it just me?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Identify your pie

The North American Apple Pie can be identified by its flaky, tan-colored crust and sweet, tart, filling. It can be found anywhere food is available, including five-star resorts and fast food joints, but its natural habitat is a warm kitchen oven on a sunny weekend afternoon - say about 4pm. The apple pie is a playful dessert that likes to dress up in cheddar cheese slices, dollops of whipped cream with a breezy cinnamon dusting, or a naughty French maid costume (known as "pie a la mode"). This pie has many predators and, if cornered, will fight back by being delicious. Your best defense is a fork.

Take that mother down.

//R's homemade apple pie//

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rocky roads & silver linings

We shared these peanut butter marshmellow treats after a Japanese dinner. My shrimp tempura donburi, salty and kinda greasy, carved out a deep thirst within that not even water could quench. I squealed when I saw these squares in their shiny foil packet opened on the table.

And that's how the evening kicked off - with a frenzied tango of opposites: salty, gooey, shiny, sweet. From that baseline we descended to a less civilized venue and kicked it up an octave with pitchers of Keith's Red, tequila shots ("shoot, suck, lick"), grubby wine lists and non-stop singing. Solo and in twos, threes, fours - even while sitting in our wooden seats like anxious mothers backstage at toddler beauty pagents - we set that tiny pub stage on fire with our angelic voices and tortured screams, shameless shaking and grinding, until the simple act of browsing the massive song book became too exhausting, at which point we took our bows, vowing, between shielded yawns, to return, bigger, better and louder. And pinker.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Still reminiscing about last week's sprints session.
  • The cool-warm wind.

  • Lots of runners; positive energy flowing.

  • A friend's incredible stories about biking through Mongolia last summer.

  • Joking around in the darkness; hovering like fireflies under the streetlamp.

  • One runner persevering under the weight of her own worries and expectations about her upcoming marathon.

  • Pushed myself and was rewarded with the high!

~ Blueberry coffee cake

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I slept in this morning and missed my running buddies, but my week had been busy and I needed to move sleep to the top of the priority list. My knee felt a little tender from the beginning but it wasn't painful enough to stop so I cut the distance by a measly 2km and stretched and iced it afterwards. I probably should have stopped running to be on the safe side. Shrug.

Gold sun, golden leaves. I set out later in the day, enjoying the sunshine and keeping both open for small, cantankerous dogs, of which there were many. It amazes me how really small dogs, I mean ankle-biters, can be counted on to act more aggressively than larger dogs. One cute little fella listed toward me with snarls that sounded too large for its body. It was hardly difficult for me to escape its falsetto rasps; half a stride and already I was miles from its reach. The small dog probably needs to exhibit some 'tude to avoid being preyed upon, but why would it turn on a runner lost in her music and thoughts? Unless I was unknowingly close to mashing the feral little tyke into the florescent green goose droppings on the path.

It was still warm enough to wear a running skirt but there are so many full blown signs of autumn that there cna't be many days left like this in the season. I'm always sad to see summer leave us but my running clothes have more pockets for holding my music player, gels, etc. As a reason to welcome winter, that might not seem substantial enough but for me it's up there with soup simmering deliciously in a crock pot and skating by the light of the full moon. All gold.

Black bean salad with corn and ginger-lime dressing.