Sunday, June 26, 2011

Angry birds

So I totally saw another runner get dive bombed by a blackbird yesterday.  I didn't have my camera with me, and I couldn't find a picture of an actual bird on runner attack, so you'll have to use your imagination a bit.

It was sort of like this, except the guy I saw was by a lake, not waiting for a subway, wishing he'd sprung for the fried rice rather than the white because, really, it was only $0.57 more.

Or this, except the guy I saw was running, not frantically trying to make a casting call for extras on the Jersey Shore the day his car broke down.

Or like this, except the guy I saw was human, not a bird.  I'm thinking that blackbird is about to get it.

On a totally different note, Madison- liberal, animal hugging, organic loving, CSA eating, Prius driving Madison- is planning euthanize 350 Canada geese that are taking over and pooping on four city parks.

I can totally see how it's going to go down.  Gov. Scott Walker will come on TV to give us the announcement.

"Good people of Wisconsin, it has come to my attention that there are far too many geese in Madison.  Did you know animals only pay for 63% of the cost of their health insurance.  Unacceptable!  I took my pugapoo to the park last week and stepped in goose poop.  Disgusting!  Something must be done!"

"Now I know that you're going to get all up in arms about this.  Just like you always do.  I can never get a freakin' break around here.  But this time I've come up with the perfect solution."

"This resolution gives the Department of Natural Resources the power to euthanize the geese by force feeding them."

"You just grab the head, and cram the food down their throat.  It's waaaaayyyyy easier than spreading around a bunch of poison."

"We will give one free fois gras dinner to every business that commits to relocating to Wisconsin.  It's a win-win for everyone.  I don't know how this plan could not work!"

Ever been attacked by a bird and/or other animal while running or seen someone on the wrong end of a bird beak?  Or- if you are tech savvy vampire who avoids sunlight at all costs- do you play Angry Birds?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Birthday!

To two special men in my life.

To Dad: - May your summer birthday be less hot and sticky than the moment of your birth

To Daniel: - Happy birthday to someone too old to realize they should be embarrassed about still having a CD collection - Sorry I only wished you a happy birthday in person and not on your Facebook Wall

Hope you both have a great birthday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A most auspicious day

Not only was yesterday the summer solstice, luring me to stay up past my bedtime watching Pushing Daisies*, it was the SMPH ice cream Christmas**!  Sure there are football games and basketball games, and all manner of classes and research and distinguished-type speakers on campus, but for the School of Medicine and Public Health, one day stands above them all.  The Day They Bring The Free Ice Cream and We Can Eat As Much As We Want Day.

We'd gotten at least three e-mails reminding us that the big day was about to arrive.  I was thinking about putting together one of those paper advent chains you make when you are a kid so I could tear one off per day and think, "Just a little bit closer to SMPH ice cream Christmas."

Everybody who is anybody was there, including three big time Madison Runner-Bloggers.  That would be: yours truly (I scoop mocha macchiato, 1 scoop chocolate peanut butter), TutuRunner (1 scoop chocolate peanut butter, 1 scoop orange custard chocolate chip), and Running Diva Mom (1 scoop cookie dough, 1 scoop chocolate chip frozen yogurt***).

Not wanting to waste such a lucky day, I decided to use some of our limpy kale to make kale chips.  There was much excitement and surprise that they tasted good!  Kale + salt + garlic + olive oil + Parmesan cheese + oven = tasty.

Daniel proclaimed them the strangest thing he'd ever eaten, but then I reminded him of these.

Which are still- inexplicably- in our cabinet.

What's The Biggest Day of the Year where you work?  Or the strangest thing you've eaten lately?

*Only three episodes left- I simultaneously want to call in sick and knock them out and stretch them out and make them last forever- darn you, writer's strike!
** Not to be confused with Hippie Christmas, that's in a couple months.
*** Actually I don't know what flavor(s) she ate, I just added that for symmetry.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Other mysteries are yet unsolved

How did this

and this

and this

all end up with the same name?

Maybe I'll submit that one to The Straight Dope.  Any mysteries plaguing you this Monday?

I'm also kind of wondering if I'm going to get soaked on my way to the gym, and what's going to happen in the last 6 episodes of Pushing Daisies.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another one of life's mysteries solved

Where do all those socks that get lost in the dryer go?

To my apartment.
Learn to walk- Just do it!
And that was the haul from just one load of laundry.  Guess I should take these guys back downstairs so they can be reunited with their lost relatives.

Who knew there was so much dumb sock humor out there?  I think this is the first image search I've done where a random girl in a bikini didn't show up on the first page.

We share a washer and dryer with a few other apartments in our building, and occasionally someone will miss something and it will end up with another person's clothes.  I think three socks is my record, though.  Hopefully three pairs of my underwear isn't someone else's.

Got any good "fun with apartment life" stories you want to share?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New addition to my weight training page

Hey ya!  I've just updated my weight training page with the new plan I'm starting today.  Get ready to Get Huge!

Graaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!  Yes!  A new max!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why yes you can

1. Make classy "grown up" nachos in a cake pan in then oven (idea courtesy of, Eat, drink, AND run).

I was sort of afraid that they'd turn into chip cinders coated with cheese dust, but no.  They turned out pleasantly crunchy and melty, and made a mean taco salad*.

No more microwave nachos at our house!

2. Make a giant chocolate chip cookie in the crock pot.

I actually tried doing this once before, but I rushed the cooking process (the recipe calls for 3 hours in the crockpot plus cooling time), and ended up with a chocolate chip cinder block with a molten lava core.  We ate the lava and tossed the outside.  This was the time I learned that it is advisable to only include the amount of chocolate chips called for in the recipe rather than the whole bag even if there's "not that many more".

I wanted to try it once more on a weekend when I had the time to let it cook all the way through.  Sadly, this didn't turn out to be quite a winner either.  The best thing that could be said for this guy was that it was a giant chocolate chip cookie.  Buuuuutttttt... it was kind of dry and not really very sweet.  It was more like a "healthified" chocolate chip muffin.  This might have been my fault because I left it on the "keep warm" setting for a little while while we were out rather than taking it out immediately after it was cooked.  I put a slice in a bowl, topped it with milk, and mashed it up, which was pretty good, but meh, I don't think I'd try this again.  It's not like it saves a lot of time.  I really only did it for the novelty factor.
Ever made anything "non traditional" in the crockpot that turned out surprisingly well?  We actually made yogurt using ours a couple times.  It takes all night, but it makes a ton of  tasty yogurt.

*If it has lettuce, it counts as a salad, right?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dumb Internet Friday

See that green stuff on the left?  That is watercress.  It's primary qualities are

1. It is a green vegetable so it is probably good for you.
2. It tastes like nothing except the sauce you put on it.
3. It gets stuck in your teeth really bad.

Pretty unremarkable as far as vegetables go, right?  No.  Watercress not only has it's own domain name, you can be friends with it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.  I plan to blame all future conspiracies I come up with on the powerful Watercress Board.

Is this proof that the whole social media thing has gone too far?  Do you feel a little less cool being on Twitter now that a vegetable has joined?  Adding "Delete Facebook page" to your list of weekend activities?  Got any actually fun plans for the weekend?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sand Cake

Check out my non-chocolate version of dirt cake.

It's crushed up Trader Joe's brand golden Oreos on the bottom, covered with vanilla pudding, and topped with TJ's sea animal crackers and gummy sharks, lobsters, and octopi.  You could pin it on your "Things to Make for My Future Child's 5th Birthday" board.  

BTW- if you haven't wasted any time on Pinterest, I think most of you would enjoy it.  You have to sell them your Facebook or Twitter soul, but then you can browse and "pin" pictures interesting ideas/recipes/books/knit kumquat baby hats that are already saved on the site or that you find on different websites and blogs.  I haven't pinned much yet, but I hear once you start, you'll be so busy pinning things that you won't have time to actually do any of the things you'd pinned that you'd like to do.  Pretty sure that's a metaphor for life. 

It is 65 degrees and breezy, and I'm going to go run.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That's all there is. There is no more. Until November.

Here lies the remains of the giant snow pile after one 90 degree day.  In the winter- and I'm sad I didn't take a picture of this and couldn't find one when I searched- the snow pile is so big that dump trucks can drive up it to drop off a load.

Now it's but a memory.  I'm not sure if there's actually even any snow left there or if that's all the dirt and debris that was mixed in with the snow.  Only a second 90-degree day will tell...

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Not Doing a Long Run

People who don't do a long workout on the weekend don't really know what it's like.  They make guilt-inducing statements like, "You should try to get out more often on the weekends," and don't understand why I'd say that it was hard for me to get going early on Saturday mornings.  People who don't do long runs just get up, maybe exercise a bit, eat breakfast, and they are ready to go.  I'd have to get up, drink coffee and wake up, run for a few hours, come home, shower, try to eat something, and then I'm ready to go.  It's hard to do all that before 9am.  Plus when I was done I was tired.  I wanted to take a nap in the sunshine, not go shovel dirt around in a garden, walk around in the heat, canoe up a river, or haul my lazy self around town on a bike.

In short, doing a long run was my weekend.  It- and it's after effects- controlled everything.  And in some ways I miss that because now that I'm not doing them a huge chunk of my "normal life" is missing.  The first time I truly was ready to start my Saturday at 9am, I just sat on the couch, paralyzed as to how to handle the huge amount of time that lay before me.  Should I clean?  Run errands?  Practice the piano?  So many options and so much energy with which to do them.  But on the other hand, doing long runs is a point of honor.  On Monday you can swap stories with your runner friends about how far you went or how hot (or cold!) it was or if you hit your goal paces.  Not doing that feels kind of lazy and lame.

But I'm trying to embrace the positive aspects of short running.  Yesterday, Daniel and I biked a bit of Ride the Drive.  It was going on through downtown, and since it was fairly cool out, we decided to bike to church (which is downtown) rather than try to drive, and then we biked over to Tex Tubb's on the East Side for lunch.  I Google-maped it after the fact, and it was about a 12 mile round trip.

Red bikes go faster.
This would never never never have happened after a 15-miler.  At least not without a lot of grumbling.  But I'm glad it did.  It was fun.  It was different.  I got to see the city in a way that I wouldn't normally.  Only once a year can you cruise down the Wash' mostly car-free.  I'm sure I'll go back to doing long runs again sometime, but for now I'm trying to embrace the laziness new opportunities that present themselves.

Ever had to make a big change to your schedule that you were unsure about only to discover unexpected benefits?  Want to share any tips for balancing long runs and the rest of your life on the weekend?  Think I'm just making excuses for being a slacker?  Think doing long runs is only for crazy people?  


Sunday, June 5, 2011

So this is why I live in Madison...

  • Friday afternoon at the Union Terrace

  • Lovely veggie sushi dinner at Takara on State St.

  • The Dane County Farmer's Market.  How many places can you register as a member of the Socialist Party while enjoying handfuls of hot, spicy cheese bread right out of the bag?

  • Tasty Italian soup with kale and chard from our CSA box (Thanks, A, for the recipe)

  • Saving room for Chocolate Shoppe ice cream

In the winter, it's hard for me to remember why anyone would ever want to live in the Midwest.  After a day like yesterday, I can forget that not so long ago, I considered this a warm and pleasant day.

What do you love about where you live?  What makes it worth sticking it out through the unpleasant times?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just to prove

That I'm not a total degenerate (every day) when it comes to preparing healthy food, I give you last night's dinner:

Broiled asparagus and spicy catfish topped with honey-lime coleslaw (riffing off of this Cooking Light recipe). Plus strawberry rhubarb pie, which is not pictured because it turned into strawberry rhubarb soup with pie crust garnish, but it was still really good.

So far we are two for two on good on our use of the CSA veggies (rhubarb + asparagus).  We still have some kale, some chard, two root things that *might* be ginger, some spring mix, and a bunch of arugula(?) to go.  Any tips for tasty ways to prepare the kale, chard and arugula?  I've seen arugula on top pizza before, but we have about 10 pizza toppings worth of it.

Even though it's only a four day week, I'm already ready for the weekend.  Not so much to take a break from work but to sleep a little later.  Just a little because I know that it's best to keep one's sleep schedule as stable as possible, but getting up that extra hour earlier coming off of vacation has been brutal!  Plus it's one thing to go to bed at 8pm in January when it's already been dark for 4 hours and quite another to try to sleep at 8pm now when it's light out and kids are out and neighbors are opening squeaky doors over and over and over again.

After work today, I'm going to a retirement party for a co-worker, but other than that I have no concrete plans for the weekend so far.  Maybe a trip to the farmer's market is in order?  How about you?  Got anything fun going on?  

Okay, gotta get it together to go to the gym while I'm still not running late.  First time this week, yay!

Oh!  And last, but certainly not least, a huge congratulations to Dr. J!!!!  Can't wait to see you and A in August and crash at your freshly painted new place sometime.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Very early yesterday morning I wrote a post about the nine things I feel make up an ideal day for me in terms of making me feel my best, inside and out.  "I can totally do this today," I thought.  I'd even managed to drag myself out of bed not *much* later than I'd wanted.  Because the day's virtual summer retreat topic was about eating healthfully and mindfully, I was going to do a What I ate Wednesday post today, and you were going to see how healthful and mindful I could be.  By lunch time it was all out the window.

So I decided to just honestly recount my day yesterday- the good, the bad, the usual and the unusual.  Some may find this boring, but I actually kind of like reading about the mundane parts of other people's lives so here goes.

My Day 6/1/2011:

4:20am - Push snooze button without actually gaining consciousness
4:30am - Push snooze button and think, "Not yet."
4:40am - Drag self out of bed.  Start coffee maker.  Put in contacts, etc.
4:50am - Drink coffee, do e-mail, write blog post.

6:00am - Frantically finish blog post.  Get stuff together to leave for the gym/work.
6:10am - Ride bike to gym.
6:25am - Lift weights
7:20am - Shower at gym
7:22am - Dress.  Realize that- because I'm not at my normal gym (it's closed in the am when classes are out)- I don't have a hair brush.  Try to comb hair with hands.
7:30am - Ride bike to work
7:45am - Starving, inhale oatmeal + PB + applesauce + protein powder concoction while doing work e-mail

Yes, I stir it.
8:00am - Realize project that I need to finish STAT is going to take longer than I thought.  Go get Diet Mt. Dew from fridge.  Frantically work on project.
11:30am - Finish project.  Talk to boss about project.  Have nice conversation with boss about the weather.
11:45am - Report results of project to coworkers.  Everyone is happy.  Breathe sigh of relief.
12:15pm - Go eat lunch with coworkers at Pasqual's at Hilldale.  Do not take picture of veggie quesadilla (no olives, please) or two liters of Diet Coke I drank because I don't want to have to explain why I was doing it, and because I was so hungry I couldn't get it into my stomach fast enough.  Enjoy relaxing lunch catching up with everyone.
1:30pm - Back to work.  Finish putting together a dataset for a collaborator.  Feel guilty because I still haven't finished a dataset for someone who works with that collaborator who made the request months(!) ago.  I just need one more variable!
3:00pm - Start on analyses for presentation boss will give next Wednesday.
4:30pm - Feel brain dead.  Decide I will go home soon because I have errands to run in the evening and need to do laundry.  Wrap things up at work.  Figure leaving 15 min early is okay because I was at work from 8:00-5:15 yesterday with only 15 minute lunch break.
4:45pm - Ride bike home.
5:00pm - Get mail, start laundry.  Flip through catalog.  Lay on couch.  Drink Diet Sunkist.
5:20pm - Play piano.
5:30pm - Daniel comes home.  Talk about day.  Discuss plans for necessary errands.
5:50pm - Flip laundry.  Leave home.
6:00pm - Pick up 1st CSA box.  Discover there is rhubarb in box.  Discuss possibilities for pie.

6:15pm - Go to target.  Spend forever picking up pie ingredients, cereal (it's too hot for oatmeal anymore), and soda for co-worker's retirement potluck Friday.
6:45pm - Decide I am too hungry to make dinner when I get home.  Stop at Panera and order turkey artichoke panini and salad.  Snap picture while Daniel is in the bathroom.  Save apple for later.  Devour remainder.

7:30pm - Arrive at home.  Get laundry.  Fold laundry.  Put away Target stuff.  Research strawberry rhubarb pie options.
7:45pm - Chop strawberries to help Daniel make pie.  Refuse to taste rhubarb because I'm still full from dinner and hate tasting things.  Assemble pie.

8:30pm - Brush teeth.  Remember I wanted to show Daniel something on the internet.  Grouch at Daniel because I'd told him at dinner I wanted to show him something funny on the internet and if he was going to look at cats all night I would just have to show him tomorrow because I was tired.
8:31pm - Look at cute picture of baby sloth.  Mood improves slightly.

8:45pm - Get ready for bed.  Lay down and start reading article in The Atlantic.  Decide baking pie smells really good but don't want to stay up for pie to finish cooking, cool, etc. so get up and eat a couple Trader Joe's dark chocolate PB cups.
8:50pm - Brush teeth again.  Lay down and read.  Curse downstairs neighbors who keep opening their squeaky screen door and slamming their regular door.
9:30pm - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The bad (because it's always more obvious, isn't it?):

  • Too much soda (yeesh!).  That's abnormal for a day.  Usually I have one, maybe two cans.
  • Too much food.  How can I still be so hungry when I work out so much less than I used to?
  • Not enough preparing my own food.  Only used delightful organic CSA vegetables to make pie.  Two fast food meals in one day = bad if not on vacation.
  • Too much snooze button in am. 
  • Stayed up too late in pm (which meant I didn't get up until 4:50 this am)
  • Too lazy after work so I didn't get in time on the piano before Daniel got home.
  • Didn't spend any time in devotion or prayer so I was more grouchy than usual when I was hungry and/or tired.
  • Did not brush hair- other than with hands - all day.
The good:
  • Did a blog post.
  • Completed a project ASAP to everyone's satisfaction.
  • Did not grouch at co-workers while stressed (I think).
  • Had nice lunch with co-workers.  We do not go out very often.
  • Kept focused during the afternoon when I actually wanted to Zzzzzzzzzz.
  • Got errands and laundry completed.  Finally invited neighbor out to dinner (forgot to mention that one above!).  
  • Helped make first rhubarb pie.
Arhg!  Now I'm running late again.  And I'm hungry, but I have to run and shower before I can eat breakfast (but good news, I have cereal now).  

And that's me.  In Real Life.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What works

I'm participating in Sarah's summer virtual retreat (If you're not, think about it), and the theme of this week is inside/out - what practices/habits can you cultivate to feel your best.  Having come back from vacation and then spent a busy day at work yesterday, I was thinking about the best of both worlds.  Vacation is a combination of novel and relaxing.  I usually get more sleep than usual, but I tend to eat a lot more and exercise a lot less.  Work is not alway so exciting and there are nights when I stay up waaaayyy too late for my early wake up, but I tend to eat healthier, be more active, and keep up with other activities I enjoy like playing the piano.  So if I could merge all the best of vacation with all the best of regular life, what would I end up with?  Here are the 9 things I consider essential components of an ideal day in the life of Chelsea.

1. Daily exercise - I get very crabby, very quickly when I sit around all day.  I'm like that pet that you thought you could leave in its cage while you were at work.  When you come home, I will chew your shoes, destroy two houseplants, and then use my tiny claws to cling to your head until you let me out for a walk.  As a side note, I've found that not just running but switching things up and doing yoga and lifting weights several times a week makes me look and feel my best.

2. Daily devotion - While I don't feel physically uncomfortable if I don't spend time praying and reading God's word, I feel... disconnected.  Starting my day with gratitude, learning from individuals who show good (and bad!) character through adversity and having an outlet to share my worries helps me focus on what is truly important in life.

3. Daily fruit and vegetables - To me a meal is not complete unless it contains at least one serving of produce.

Sorry, Ragu, you do not count.
 4. Daily music - Yes, 7 million Chinese 5-year-olds are better than me at the piano, but only 3 million are better than me at the first 20 measures of "I heard it Through the Grapevine".  Whether it's an hour or simply 10 minutes before I have to run out the door, I'm happier when I make music part of my day.

5. Daily desert - But not as much as what is still hiding in a sack under your kid's bed leftover from Easter (and last Halloween if you're lucky).
And not for breakfast.  Ummm, can I trade the candy
corn for some strawberry jam?
6. Daily novelty - Sometimes my life is busy and exciting.  Sometimes I feel like day after day is the same and I have nothing at all interesting to say.  Even if all I do is go to the sensory deprivation gym and sit at my desk at work and make Excel tables all day, I want to keep my eyes open for something new/interesting/novel.  It's that or use drugs.

7. Daily caffeine - This is where the drugs come in.  Now stop giving me a condescending look and pass me a Diet Mt. Dew.
I love you, too.
8. Daily (enough) sleep - On vacation, I could easily do 8-9 hours.  I think if I could sleep as much as I wanted every night, my body would naturally fluctuate between 7 and 9 hours.  In real life, I think never going below 6 and sticking some 9s in on the weekend to balance things out is pretty good.

9. Daily unstructured family time - I'm the kind of person who likes to schedule everything, but it never feels right to interrupt a good conversation (or Futurama episode) because it's "time" to read 1.5 pages of April's The Atlantic before I zonk out for the night.  I feel better when I get everything done before the evening so I can just relax and enjoy Daniel's company without feeling like I "should" be getting other things done.

So how about you?  Are you participating in the virtual retreat?  What do you consider essential components to your life?  

I'm about to go work on number 1 right now.

PS - Good news!  The fan is staying.