May 27, 2009

Like Manna From Up Above

Literally. Like up North.

Arvay is staying with us this week!

Yay! I get up and I have a built in running buddy every morning. How great is that? At night, I have someone who laughs with me at puns, much to E's distress.

As an extra bonus, Arvay brought us local gifts:


-More Moosetard!
-Salmonberry(!) Syrup
-Goat Milk Soap
-Spun Raw Honey (with and without cranberry)
-And, of course, the Chris-moose ornament and the Fresh as a Daisy (Wild Alaska Daisy seed in a fertilizer nugget)

Yeah. Arvay is an awesome friend. We can't wait to go visit!

May 25, 2009

Productivity Despite It All (AKA Happy Memorial Day Weekend!)

Saturday, early AM, I didn't feel like heading out for my run, so I took E's car to be detailed to remove the colors sticking to the silver paint as a result of me oh-so-gracefully backing into not one, but two poles (one red, one yellow). It looks almost as good as new.

Finally, after much procrastination on the running front (including filing everything on my desk, laundry, and some work), I admitted that I didn't really want to run, so E and I fit in a 16.5 mile bike ride on our local trails, which left me quite sore. My plan to substitute an easy bike ride for my run ended up being a much better use of time with E (and a better workout) than I had planned.

Saturday evening, we rolled into Santa Cruz just as the crowds were leaving and enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal at E2 and P's, including 4 of our plant's artichokes.

Sunday morning, E2 and I headed out to do a 10 mile run in the Forest of Nicene Marks. But, of course, our plans were complicated by the crowds from the Santa Cruz Blues Festival. So, eventually, we just parked at the beach and ran into town, into the park, and limited our actual distance in the forest to get in a 10 mile out-and-back. When we finished at noon, we were proud of ourselves -- it was the furthest either of us had run in quite a while, and it included more than a mile of elevation change. I think we'll both survive the half in a couple of weeks despite our general lazy approach to training.

When we finished our run, the sky was still overcast and grey -- it looked like it would be a pea-soup day. But, the weather surprised us and the fog dissolved into a bright blue. All four of us sat in the sun and enjoyed beverages and food on the deck at The Crow's Nest Grill. We must have spent almost 2 hours snacking, drinking, talking, and watching the waves crash on the sand in front of the cliffs while the boats, the volley-ball games, and the beachy folks went by. It was a perfectly Californian day.

The rest of the day was appropriately lazy, with nothing but grocery shopping for the week, cooking dinner, reading, and more laundry.

And today? Well, today, I had big plans -- a 9:30 AM yoga class. I woke at 8:15, dressed, enjoyed some coffee, and set out on the leisurely 1 mile walk to downtown. Unfortunately, at the intersection of the two main streets that define the east end of downtown, I realized that it was 1 mile to the *beginning* of downtown, but that I still had another 0.5 miles 'til the yoga studio. After waiting for an eternity for the walk sign, I sprinted the 0.56 miles but opened the door to an empty lobby with a clock reading 9:33. I listened for a moment and could hear the soothing voice of the instructor leading people through the flow. If I entered, I'd interrupt the class and the wonderful calm she had already established.

So, I walked home.

And, in keeping with the theme of the weekend, I'm now procrastinating on the yoga front. I could plan to go to a different class today, or I could do one of my DVDs. But, I've got some other good stuff on tap for today -- some work I owe some clients, a wine pick up at the wine store, a trip to good will, more laundry, and a pedicure and facial.

So, maybe, maybe if I *really* motivate, I'll fit in a yoga DVD before the trip to the spa. But, the great thing about this morning's mis-hap is that even if I don't, I already fit in 3 miles, including some unplanned speed work.

I hope you also fit in some relaxing (and oddly productive) procrastination on your holiday weekend as well.

May 22, 2009

Looking for something good to do?

Feeling like you don't give enough back to your community?

Feeling like you need something to believe in?

Feeling like you need an everyman hero (especially if he had horrid shin splints from his training and keeps going because of his commitment?)

Then, contribute to my friend Guarav's TNT campaign. Like me, he lost a parent too early. Unlike me, he's got another life on the way that he's excited to support and be a great example for.

To help himself live, grieve, evolve, and you know, just be, he's busting his ass, training for a marathon (!) that will be very hard for him.

If you are looking for a good cause where you can donate (where you can get a tax write-off), I encourage you to support him.

He's 72% to his goal. Let's help him get there!

May 21, 2009

Where can I buy one?

The Pedi-sedate.

May 17, 2009

Better Late than Never

E sent me the adorable story of Shizo Kanakuri, who dropped out of the 1912 summer Olympics marathon only to finish it later. Much later. Like 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, and 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds later.

Also, our garden keeps growing:


All of the summer plants are still alive. Although, if I am honest, I will admit that I fear I may lose Green Giant, and Japanese Black Trifele who are not perfect, and may be sick. But the rest appear to be fine.

And, since we planted 34 total varieties, I think we'll be okay.

In other news, the theory that artichoke plants from seeds do not produce until the second or third year is crazy. Check it out:


That artichoke plant? It's a single plant. It's 4 feet tall. It's given us 2 huge artichokes, 2 smaller ones, 1 more huge and is incubating 3-7 medium sized chokes.

Plus, those huge 4-foot tall grass-looking things to the left? That's garlic. Garlic we planted back in October.

And, as if the freakish huge garlic wasn't enough, the onions have started to send up "flower stalks" or "seed stalks" which is ordinarily something that happens after 2 years, but for me, no. We've got 4 foot tall seed stalks on onions that haven't even been harvested after 1 year:


So, yeah. That's the garden.

Also, given the increasing size of the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, garlic, eggplants, etc. We discontinued the CSA. E gave a cheer when I announced the last delivery. I'm not sure if that's a good thing...

May 14, 2009

The Gender Gap?

This study caught my attention because it resonates with me:

Many Women Lawyers with Kids do as well as men.

I am often frustrated when studies on women's earnings do not control for the fact that women are more likely than men to step out of the work force for family obligations, be they children, parental, or other.

If you control for actions related to time off, at least in the legal field, it looks like it is an even playing field.

One with many faults, flags, fouls, overtimes, and rough games, no doubt. But even play-time prestige appears to be available.

It would appear, that at least in some subsets of the world, women have completely leveled the playing field. So, how do we explain the lower percentage of women in partnership?

That's the interesting question...

I have my theories, but I'd be interested in yours...

May 13, 2009

Post-Vacation Food

First, I'd like to point out that according to Mark Bittman, the Netherlands is the only country in the world in which animals are represented in Parliament.

Moving on.

As a good vacation should, our recent trip increased my mass. Since I give myself ample room to move about within a 10 lb range, this is generally not an issue. But, this trip, what with the departure with a body near the top of the range, the multiple multiple-course meals, the Johnny Cakes, the fruity, sugary drinks with umbrellas... well, yeah, I came home decidedly OUTSIDE of my 10 lb range.

Conveniently, this is not the first time I've faced this demon, and I know what to do. Emergency healthy living, batman! Run AND yoga every day. Super-healthy meals at all times until back in the range, and even then, fairly healthy until in the bottom half of the range. Yeah... we've got some ground to cover.

So, in the interests of eating super-healthy (and making use of what was in the garden), I made the following. I was shocked at how delicious, filling, and just in general, how great they were. Perhaps the overages of life cause us to enjoy our vacations more, and the overages of vacation cause us to enjoy our lives more. Or something. Anyway -- in case you are looking for some healthy food:

Mustard garbonzo soup

-1 lb mustard leaves, washed, stemmed and chopped into bite-size strips
-1 onion, diced (if from an overzealous garden, feel free to chop the green portion too)
-3 T EVOO (because, despite my previous abhorrence, I use this abbreviation now.)
-2 cans (16 oz.) chicken broth
-juice of 1.5 lemons (or 2, if you are me, but you are most likely not, and you don't want it with as much lemon as I do)
-1 can garbonzo beans
-black pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil and sautee onions 'til almost clear.
2. Add chicken broth and drained garbonzo beans, bring to a boil for 10 minutes to soften the garbonzo beans.
3. Add mustard leaves, wait one minute, add lemon juice (and watch in shock as all the red color from the mustard leaves goes into the broth, leaving pure green leaves and a purple broth!)
4. After 2 minutes of simmering, remove from heat and add black pepper. Allow to cool.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy.

So, of course, like all meals, this one may result in leftovers. If you are us, and your mustard plant should have been harvested 2 months earlier, it will be enough leftovers for an entire 2nd dinner for 2.

Only, you probably don't want it again. After it's been sitting in the fridge for 2 days. And the remaining garbonzo beans are now purple.

Never fear, the couscous savior is here (I swear, this may be my new go-to method to deal with soup leftovers):

Mustard garbonzo tomato cous-cous

-3-4 cups leftover Mustard garbonzo soup
-1 can stewed tomatoes
-1.25 (or so) C couscous
-red pepper flakes, or red pepper powder, or black pepper to taste

1. Bring soup and stewed tomatoes to a boil
2. Add couscous, stir until boiling, and turn off heat
3. Leave for 5 minutes
4. Return and fluff the couscous, allowing the steam to continue boiling off for another 5 minutes
5. Serve, garnished with pepper flakes, powder, etc. to your taste! Delicious!

May 12, 2009


According to Meyers-Briggs, I'm either an INTJ or an ENTJ, I've come back with both.

One of Penelope's posts pointed me to 43things, which hosts a different sort of personality test (43 questions you answer yes or no), where I was labeled a Money Managing Organized Extrovert.

None of those are the words I would choose to describe myself if I was limited to just four. But what do I know?

May 11, 2009

That's fair

I'm great at falling asleep on planes. Anywhere, really. I get into the time zone of the places we visit fairly easily.

But, what I do suffer from is middle-of-the-night insomnia when I am stressed. Or, apparently, when I'm fully rested and the time zone we left says it is time to wake up.

So, today, I started my return to the real world by waking up at 3:30 AM. You know, 6:30 EST, because that's when we had to get up for the last two days to travel back home.

Fun times.

On the other hand, I'd have insomnia for a week and it would still be worth it. After all, Anguilla was rimmed with empty beaches like this:


And, bonus, we got to watch the planes land (and E stood in the jetwash for some take-offs) at Princess Juliana Airport.


The picture above is actually a fairly small plane but it shows the whole scene the best. We also saw an A340, which was impressive and made R and I laugh hysterically for some reason, but we were unable to see the 747 scheduled for later in the day. I guess we'll have to go back...

May 8, 2009

Island Snippits

Yesterday, or maybe the day before or the day before that (I can't quite keep the vacation days straight, you know?) we all tentatively thought about going for a swim in the ocean and C went first. After diving beneath a turquoise wave, he turned and said, with true appreciation

Oh, wow! It's really nice.Come on in, it's not even that warm.

Yeah. C is from Miami. His comment made E & me laugh all afternoon. Not even that warm! Imagine if he tried that tactic in Northern California.

In other news, Johnny Cakes are amazing side dishes, if a bit heavy (but no problem for us to put 'em away on the side of our delicious lunch today given the pace of eating we've been keeping and the pseudo work-out I managed to fit in this lazy morning before wading into the ocean).

If you wonder what these wonderful fried balls of goodness called Johnny Cakes are, look no further:

They are offered as a substitute for french fries on the side of hamburgers, etc. If you hesitate, you are likely to find yourself with both, which is what happened to us today. We did not complain.

As for food, we haven't had a bad meal this whole trip. When/if I get the time I'll post a more comprehensive review of all of our belly-filling experiences, but suffice it to say that if you are looking for a caribbean vacation where you focus on relaxation, gorgeous views, food, beaches, relaxation, and little else (no bustle, no drama, no crowds, no shopping, no spa, very little night-life), the island of Anguilla is something to consider.

It's low season and it feels as if we have this beautiful island to ourselves -- on multiple occasions, we've been the only folks at a well-known restaurant or beach and have enjoyed all of the beauty and wonder completely on our own.

Tomorrow, we head out. We hope to snap some great photos of planes landing at Saint Princess Juliana Airport. In case we fail, you should really look up some photos. The landing/take-off over the beach and into the mountains is quite impressive. Here's to hoping we get some good action shots tomorrow.

May 4, 2009


I completely cleared my todo list by Thursday night for the first time in over a year. I could feel my blood cooling even as we went through the airport and took the red-eye across the country (not exactly a blood pressure lowering set of circumstances). Over the next few days, my work-related frustrations slowly ebbed further and further away as E and I cavorted our way from social event to social event for E's sister's wedding.

The bridesmaid's lunch was lovely and I got to know more of the family and friends. The rehearsal dinner was magnificent (complete with 41st floor views of the city and the parents of the bridal party taking part in the peron cava fun -- imagine a group of parents passing something like this filled with cava around to one another as the younger folks in the crowd sang and cheered in Spanish, Portuguese, and gobbedly-cook).

The wedding day brunch was delicious and fun. The wedding day details were as well-organized and drama-free as one can reasonably expect and the wedding ceremony was perfectly executed.

And the reception -- ahhh... the reception was a glorious thing. How wonderful it is to be a guest at a wedding where you know so many people, where you have family to visit with, and friends to catch up with. And yet, you don't have any other obligations other than to have fun. Simply eat, dance, drink, be merry, and smile.

Oh, and convince a neighbor to fed-ex us our passports.

Because now? Now (thanks to the awesome neighbor), we are on an island vacation.

Last night we negotiated the comical teensy-tiny airport, the ferry, the multiple sets of customs and immigration, and all of it just made us laugh.

After drinks and appetizers on the beach watching a sunset, an evening of harrowing left-lane driving and traffic circles, we shared a delicious meal at a local restaurant (mmmm... crusted crayfish tails in a lemon butter cream sauce served on a bed of mashed local root vegetables... delicious!).

This morning, I slept in. I did the first 3rd of the Ashtanga primary series on the balcony. I may or may not go back out and do some more, but for the moment, I'm serene. The breeze gently comes over the balcony, through the screen doors, and out the side and front door screens while the waves shush their way beneath the villa's stilts on two sides.

And me? I'm almost stupid with calm on this wicker couch -- gently picking out each letter as I alternate typing and staring out at the white sands of Shoal Beach and considering my next move.

Now that I have a little perspective I can appreciate that the same job that oh-so-recently had me stressed out makes it financially possible for us to be here. And I am happy. Relaxed and happy.

Lawyerly advice? Don't wait so long between true leave-it-all-behind vacations, if you can.