Saturday, November 30, 2013

Austin, Again

North by Northwest

Week of November 18, 2013:

Monday: Evening run.  26 minutes total, 15 minutes running

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Bike commute to work

Thursday: DIY yoga

Friday: Treadmill run.  33 minutes total, 22 minutes running

Saturday: Off to Austin!

Sunday: Hanging out in Austin

Estimated mileage: 5.2 miles.  Total minutes run/walked: 59.

I’m taking advantage of the holiday weekend to catch up here!  Last weekend, Paul and I were in Austin on a variety of missions.  We visited Agua Dulce Farm again to meet with its proprietor.  We were able to see the greenhouses and the fish tanks, and we got a bit of a tour of the innerworkings of the nutrient cycle between plants and fish.  The goats, unfortunately, were huddled up in their shed, trying to stay warm on a cold morning.  The whole weekend was freakishly cold and wet, which put a damper on things.

After visiting the farm, we met up with Paul’s best friend Tim, Tim’s girlfriend Mary, and another friend, Joel.  We warmed up with big bowls of ramen for lunch at Michi Ramen, which is amaaaazing.  I wanted to take photos at Michi Ramen, but Paul is embarrassed by that sort of behavior, so I kept my camera tucked away.  The cutest thing at Michi Ramen are the signs on the table showing a sad bowl of broth that reads, “Lonely broth?”  You can order a kaedame, or refill of noodles for your lonely broth.  When he finished his noodles, Paul announced, “I declare kaedame!” and we all laughed.  The ramen was so good and warming that we all felt positively euphoric.  We think their homemade chili oil may have psychotropic effects…

After Michi Ramen, Paul and I went back to Tim’s apartment, changed, and headed out to a wedding at North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery for a wedding!  Yes, a wedding at a brewery.  It was awesome.  The wedding ceremony quoted Carl Sagan, we all stayed bundled up in coats because it was chilly inside the wedding tent, and we debated whether the key lime pie was indeed too limey.  (I was on the side of deliciously limey.  I was in the minority, which meant more key lime pie for me!)

The next day was my birthday!  I’m 2^5, or 32 years old.  Paul had asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I had two wishes.  One was a really great breakfast, and the other was a birthday hike in a beautiful place.  Since we were in Austin, we went to Kerbey Lane for breakfast and ate pancakes and eggs.  (Gah, their pancakes are irresistible.  This time we had cinnamon roll pancakes and apple whole wheat pancakes, and we completely stuffed ourselves on them.)  After breakfast, we wanted to go for a hike, but it was cold and rainy—miserable weather for a hike.  So I took a raincheck on my hike, and we went to the movies!  We watched 12 Years a Slave, which broke my heart.  I was on the verge of tears during the whole movie.  It was powerful.  After the movie, we packed up our things, loaded the car, and grabbed a late lunch at a vegetarian food truck, Conscious Cravings.  Like everything we ate in Austin, it was delicious.  Finally, we hit the road back to College Station, the grey dusky light fading to black as our weekend ended.

It was a good one.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Revisiting Old Friends

In Her Favorite Spot

A New Favorite Spot

{Lucy loves a good window spot.}

Week of November 11, 2013:

Monday: Bike commute to work

Tuesday: Evening run.  34 minutes total, 25 minutes running

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Morning walk with Paul and Lulu the dog + Bike commute to work and wine night with friends

Friday: Off

Saturday: Another run!  34 minutes total, 20 minutes running + Bike ride to hippie food store

Sunday:  LONG RUN!  55 minutes total, 40 minutes running

Estimated mileage: 11 miles. Total minutes: 123.

I had an amazing weekend!  It was fun overload, and I regret nothing.  Friday night, Paul and his dance partner Leah had a performance, so I tagged along for moral support.  Afterward, Paul, Leah, Leah’s husband Ryan, Leah’s brother Ryan, Ryan’s partner Lauren, and I went out for some good eats.  (Yes, you read that right: we had two Ryans with us.  There seems to be a natural law such that Leah attracts Ryans into her life.)  First we stopped by The Chocolate Gallery, where we sampled gelato and bought a few treats.  Then we hopped across the street and ate dinner at Caffe Capri, which I think is my new favorite dinner spot in downtown Bryan.  It’s a carbfest for sure with all the pasta and bread, but oh, it is so delicious!  But check this out: one member of our group is dealing with some issues and is on a restricted diet.  I worried about taking her to Caffe Capri, but they had an entrée with salmon and vegetables that was perfect for her.  We had to send it back once because it arrived with cheese on top, but our server was very gracious about helping us.  Best of all, we spent the entire meal laughing, telling stories and jokes.  Paul and I wanted to spend some time with Leah and her husband, so I was really happy that we had the chance to enjoy an evening together.  The six of us had a blast.

On Saturday night, I went to a dinner party hosted by a friend of mine.  The food was amazing, and the company was entertaining.  I got into a heated intellectual argument with a libertarian-leaning man.  It’s funny: I don’t think we have opposing worldviews so much as we share no values, no common ground.  He’s a strict “let capitalism rule” and I think social justice is too important to throw all our fortunes into the marketplace, as though the marketplace is some magical land where all our problems will be solved.  Besides, we’re so far past the point of having a “free” marketplace that I don’t think we’re ever coming back.

ANYWAYS, Saturday night was fun, and even my libertarian companion and I found a few topics that we could discuss without my wanting to yell at him for being a douchebag.  And Sunday, I went out for a long run, huffed and puffed, then rushed back so I could tutor students in the afternoon.  My tutoring sessions went well, and I was happy with the results.

One of my favorite moments of the weekend was a surprise visit I made to Brazos Natural Foods.  I decided to zip down there on my bike to pick up a few ingredients to make brownies, and I found a long-lost friend working the register!  My friend Jeremy moved away from the area several years ago, and I was sad to see him leave.  We always chatted and laughed at BNF, and sometimes I’d see him on campus and we’d wave hello and smile.  We weren’t best friends or anything like that, but seeing him always lifted my spirits.  And he gave me a hug once when I was having a really, really bad day, and that memory has stayed with me.  Jeremy has moved back to Bryan/College Station to be near his family, and I am so happy he’s here again.

Another old friend I visited on Saturday is the country road between where I live and Brazos Natural Foods.  I know it sounds like such a small thing, biking down a road that I love, but it made me happy.  Familiar roads are part of what make a town home for me, and I have missed biking on Rosemary Drive.

Little things make me happy.  So do long runs, even if I huff and puff.  (But no houses were blown down.)

Happy new week, friends!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

One More Recovery Week…

Sunday evening at home…

Want Should Need

Sleepy Cat

Week of November 4, 2013:

Monday: Off?

Tuesday: Bike commute to campus, I believe.

Wednesday: Off (just wanted to cook dinner for date night, but I did sneak in a few push-ups and crunches.  What, don’t you do your strength training right before date night?)

Thursday: Off (but I did walk to wine night!  Does that count?)

Friday: Bike commute to and from work!  Because it finally stopped raining.

Saturday: Bike ride to Target, Freebirds, and HEB

Sunday: Morning hike (~3 miles?) in Lick Creek Park with Paul and Lulu the dog + easy evening run.  45 minutes on my feet (14 min. running and 31 minutes power-walking)

Estimated mileage: 3.5 miles. Total minutes: 45.  (I’m only counting Sunday night’s more intense work-out here.)

Do you ever kick yourself later for not taking photos of something wonderful?  That is how I’m feeling tonight.  Paul and I had the best Sunday morning today.  He’s house-sitting this week, and this morning, we had access to the house waffle iron.  We made Ashley’s Peanut Butter + Banana Waffles and topped them with this warm apple sauté (doubled up for the two of us).  Best breakfast ever!  I wish we’d tripled the apple sauté because they were so delicious and I love them, but that is my only regret.  Full disclosure: we didn’t make the waffle recipe exactly as written.  I subbed an egg for the ground flax seed, and the batter was a bit too thin, so we added some more whole wheat flour to thicken it.  The waffles were a bit “floppy,” to use Paul’s description, and perhaps a bit more fragile than other waffles, but the flavor was great.  We will definitely be making them again…if Santa brings one of us a waffle iron for Christmas.  Or maybe a birthday elf will drop one off for me this month!

After our waffles, Paul and I took Lulu the dog out for a walk in Lick Creek Park.  It was cool this morning, and it felt really nice, even in my short sleeves.  Lulu enjoyed some leashless time in the park, though she was too shy to meet most of the other dogs and humans in the park that day.  Still, she seemed to have a great time exploring and sniffing.  Such a sweet dog she is!

You can see from my log above that I took it easy again this week.  It rained almost every day last week, and I took advantage of that time to cook and work on other projects, including going out to see my friends at wine night.  I have missed wine night!  It’s a Thursday tradition for us, and I’ve been more or less on hiatus this year, between all the traveling and training for the marathon.  It was so fun to see my female friends and catch up on their lives.  On top of that, I learned that Paul and I will be in Austin during my birthday weekend, so we’re going to take full advantage of that, with a Kerbey Lane breakfast and a hike in some lovely Austin location.  I’m excited.  It’s all I really want for my birthday: a tasty breakfast and a hike.  I thought we were going to be at home in College Station that day, but my friends are getting married in Austin on November 23rd, so in Austin we shall be on the 24th.

This week, I want to get back into a running groove.  I had some great bike rides last week, and now I feel ready to recombine my running and biking.  Last week Raquelita had asked everybody what their health-related goals for the month are, and I think mine is to log 40 miles of running/power-walking.  It’s a good goal to get me back in the running game after a nearly three-week hiatus!

Have a wonderful week, speedy friends!  Enjoy November!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Turtles and Dancing (but not together)

Turtles at Wolf Pen Creek 

Week of October 28, 2013:

Monday: 20 min. of evening yoga

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Evening walk around my neighborhood (slow and untimed)

Thursday: Off (but I did walk about 3.5 miles today for work and for fun) 

Friday: Bike commute to and from work!  First time in a very, very long time.

Saturday: Short walk around Rice University’s campus

Sunday: Biked to and from a wedding shower for friends.

(Skipping the mileage calculations since I took it so easy this week.)

Whew, finally some time to blog!  Now that the marathon is history, I’ve been back on the bike, to commute to work and to get around town.  My new friends Dana and Jason are getting married in a few weeks, and our friend Tonya threw them a wonderful wedding shower.  I rode my bike across town to the party.  As I was riding, I thought, Man, I am not in good bike-riding shape these days.  This is hard!  And on the way back, I realized why: the ride to the party was all uphill, so the ride back is downhill.  Which means I really feel like I’m flying on the way back!  Those turtles above were spotted on the way over to the wedding shower, and of course I cannot resist a turtle photo op.  You know me.

As you can see from my activity log above, I’ve been taking it easy since the marathon.  But more than that, I’ve just been BUSY.  I’m back on the job market, which is time-consuming.  But there’s been fun busy-ness too, like spectating at a ballroom dance competition at Rice University in Houston.  Paul and his dance partner Leah competed last Saturday, and I tagged along for moral support.  They took home a slew of ribbons, including two first-place awards!  Even better than that is how amazing they look on the dance floor.  They’re tall and attractive, and they look very natural and comfortable when they dance together.  They make it look easy, and I can assure you it is not easy.  Paul and I had our first dance lesson together a few weeks ago, and there is a lot to think about and practice when it comes to ballroom.  Paul was, I think, disappointed that despite the hours and hours he spends dancing, he found himself a non-dancing girlfriend.  What can I say?  I run, I bike, I bake birthday cakes.  But dancing?  It’s not on my list of current hobbies.

But we’re working on it.  Paul introduced me to the waltz and foxtrot (I think…).  While observing the Latin round, I thought, Hey, the rumba looks pretty straightforward!  So during one of his breaks, Paul walked me through the rumba, and Leah jumped in with some advice.  And the other night, Paul tried to samba with me, but I fear that trying to samba with a follow (traditionally, the female is the follow, while the male is the lead) who doesn’t know how to samba just looks like you are holding her hostage while you gyrate around the room.  In other words: not pretty.

But you know what is pretty?  Paul and Leah in their dancing outfits!  Look how beautiful they look together!  The gorgeous sunlight we had that day helped, too. 

Paul and Leah at Rice Competition

Happy weekend, friends!