Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25




Read some writing advice recently to "write what you want to read" and I thought, "surely not". Because how would you absorb the winding path that is the things I want to read?

Then again, here's what I have been reading and checking out lately. It's not the stack of library books I returned at the eleventh hour, I can tell you that. Although Harry Potter and The Cursed Child was a trip in the best possible way and worth the fine!

Instead, the links I linger on seem to be focused on running. Mostly because I've been running more. For the first time in a long time, I ran over the winter. Like, outside. This sounds crazy, even during a mild winter like we had this year. And it wasn't much - just Saturdays and some weight/yoga/crossfit classes on Tuesdays, part of a Fleet Feet Davenport Winter Warriors training program I joined with friends. I missed some thanks to a fabulous sinus infection and various, but I did run while we were in Florida for a week.

Spring returned and with it, the 5K races. The first one was on St. Patrick's Day weekend. I'd been running 3 miles most Saturdays and thought nothing of it. I waved my friends on - "see you at the end!" - and while I knew I'd been running a bit faster, I didn't expect to finish the race much differently than any other year. That is to say, slowly.

But then, I finished. And got my ticket. Where it said I had a 11.23 min. split. And I thought, "holy shit." Because about a year ago, I was rocking a 13.5 minute mile pretty hardcore. And that was on a good day.

So, here we are. I'm running with people now, which is a totally new experience. I even do drills and crossfit-y stuff from time to time. I also have new aches and pains - the bonus of any healthy stunt. And a new stretching regimen, courtesy of my sister and niece.

It's neat.

Running links:

SaraKurth.com: Sara, a certified running pro person, writes a blog and enewsletter which comes along every now and then with some good advice, and excellent links to send you to new places in the internets. The enewsletter called Huffing and Puffin. And there's a picture of a puffin. Love.

AskLaurenFleshman.com: Lauren's a retired pro runner person who has some informative stuff on her blog about running, naturally, but life in general.






Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The magic in every day


Hi there.





Today I'm finding, per Carol, the magic in every day.

Today I had fabulous customer service from the local AAA - couldn't be fixed, but they gave it the college try. Maybe even the graduate try. In the 32-degree cold.

River City Tire called when my car didn't show up right away - wanted to know if everything was okay. Called back to make sure they had it right about the problem.

Duluth Trading Co. was willing to send me a second order - for free - when the post office lost my order. Order was found - no worries, they said. Just send the second one back. Trust. 

Went to Crossfit tonight and was not super happy about it. Kept hearing Phil say, come on, team! Part of a team? At Crossfit? Yep. Caring. 

What does this show? It's people who matter. People who care. As Maria of Northern Star fame said so long ago, you've got to take care of your people. I think if we keep taking care of our people, we'll be okay.

We are one of many on a planet of billions in a galaxy of amazement and stars. We aren't going anywhere. We're here for the long haul.

Go forth, folks, and care for your peeps.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Risotto over the fire... in print (!)

Hi there.




Today's blog is not on this blog. It's over here, on the Radish website. There's also a lovely print copy of the Radish at a Quad-Cities magazine rack near you.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

November books


The remainder of 2016 proved to be tough, but we got through it. In December, we ended up in Costa Rica. More on that later. :) But before all that, there were books.

All the books.



Naturally, there's another pile for December, and some for early January when I was dealing with post-trip bronchitis/sinus infection/the plague. But that might be too much for one go. Let's start with November first, shall we? 

House of Hawthorne, by Erika Robuck: If you liked anything you had to read in high school - Little Women, The Scarlet Letter, Walden, etc. - you'll be intrigued by this book. It centers on the relationship of Nathaniel Hawthorne of Scarlet Letter fame and his wife, artist Sophia Peabody, who were good buddies with the Alcotts, Emersons, Thoreau and others. Less on drama, the plot observes the couple in their daily life, their challenges and successes, and their view of how to live. Lots of tidbits in here. One can almost see the dusty desks, fireplace and surrounding plant life that both inspired and ebbed away. Excellent read.

The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom: We start with Lavinia, an Irish orphan who can't remember much of her terrifying journey that led her to being a slave at a Southern plantation, and from there the cast of characters is plentiful and varied. Troubles are many at this house, and sometimes just when you see a potential escape, the victims and survivors seem to go the opposite direction. Lavinia's path is where many twists occur, from moving to the kitchen to learning from the white family, to a nearly destructive end. Not, however, the one you think. Educational, and worth reading to the end, particularly the note from the author.

Deadlocked, by Charlaine Harris: Picked this up for a quarter at the library book sale. Eh. It was the usual - vampires, love issues, Sookie has to clean up another mess for someone. A good little brain candy break. If you liked the True Blood series, all these are worth a read.

It Didn't Start with You, by Mark Wolynn: Whoa. This book basically states that if you're having some kind of trauma or sickness, you might take a gander into your family history and see who else had some issues at the same age or time. Super interesting concept, and it got me curious enough to dig out the ancestry pages. For instance, one example was a guy who always felt cold at a certain time at night, and was horribly depressed. Turns out his uncle had died freezing to death. Had to take it back before I was entirely done, but I think this might be a book to buy. 

Belgravia, by Julian Fellowes: Do you miss Downton Abbey? Feel like you lost a friend? Then Belgravia is here to help you through this terrible time. Another family, another mass of drama polished with the thin veneer of Victorian manners and society. Of course, it's excellent. And the ending is almost as fabulous as Mary and Matthew in the snow. Almost. Go to, darling, and don't forget the sherry. 

Star Wars Aftermath, Life Debt, by Chuck Wendig: Up in the top shelf of my childhood bedroom are a stack of Star Wars books that my sisters owned and I never read. Fast-forward to today, and the nerdist in me is strong, especially with the most recent movies. However, I have never read the books. This was an attempt to right that wrong, but sadly, I didn't get through hardly any of it before it was due. More research to come, there is. 

The Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen: This is a slow starter, and you begin to wonder if this chick will ever get off her ass, and then she does, and watch out! It takes place during the war, which brings a unique perspective to the plot - imagine learning about the atrocities of WWII from the newspaper? I'd never thought about how that must have been. There's your typical rogues as well as very good people, and the interaction of decisions in between. Really quite liked the ending, and I re-read it almost as soon as I finished.

Day Shift and Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris: Ugh, I kind of hate myself, but these are the continuation of brain candy I promised back in October. It's a series, I found, and the correct order to read them in is Midnight Crossroad, Day Shift and Night Shift, and of course it's going to be a TV show. Is the plot genius? No. Is the writing beyond all things? Nope. But it's an easy read and kind of fun and interesting and hey, there's a witch, a very verbose cat, a vampire, a mind-reader, angels and werewolves. You know, the kind of tight-knit neighborhood everyone dreams of. Enjoy! (No, I don't know when the next one is coming out. Yes, I checked. *facepalm)

The Outlander Kitchen, by Theresa Carle-Sanders and Diana Gabaldon: Surely I've mentioned the Outlander series here? The one that takes over your life and steals the hours away, page after 700 pages? Well, this is the cookbook to take those dreams into the reality of your kitchen, albeit without the time travel and the hot Scottish guys or whatever floats your boat. And, there's a recipe index online. I made the apple pie, I think? And something else. All excellent. Although, I'd buy this one. Better to get apple pie filling on your own book rather than trying to clean the library's copy. Not that I have any experience with such things.

As I say, I have more for December - might be that I'll combine that with January. We'll just call it winter books. I still have some January and plenty of winter left, by my watch. So, we shall see. Oh, and Costa Rica. Right! I will get on that. So, there you have, plenty to read and more on the way. See you then!