Friday, December 30, 2011

We Love All the People and We Love to Rock the House

Here is the mall, taken from the bowels of some annoying teen clothing store where they played a song that sampled the Clash's "Revolution Rock". Wow.

Well, kids it looks like we're reaching the end of another year. This year was so great, I can only be excited about next year.

Our plans for New Year's Eve look like this: We will try to go for a bike ride during the day, since it's supposed to be 50 degrees again. Then hit the Dublin Underground for Irish New year at 6. We'll head home by 7 and have a few people over to play board games and eat fun snacks - including fondue. I'll let you know if we actually stay awake for the American New Year at midnight.

May next year be even better than this year for all y'all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's the Smiling on the Package, It's the Faces in the Sand

Here is some Christmas Eve graffiti I saw when I was running.

Christmas weekend was good. On Friday we ate shrimp scampi pasta and watched the movie The Family Stone.

On Saturday, I got up and went running. The girls and I scurried around getting ready to go to Ottumwa. We got to see my sister's family - which was the main reason we go down there. Her kids were fun and all hopped up about the holiday.

We headed home a little later than I wanted, but made it home before 10. The Guy got home from his mom's house about 2 seconds before us, so we all talked about our separate celebrations and then went to bed.

The Guy and I woke up on Christmas day and waited for the girls to get up...And waited, and waited...Finally, we had French toast for breakfast. The Guy was feeling like he was catching a cold, so he took a little nap. While he was asleep, the girls finally got up and went through their stockings. They seemed quite happy with what they found in there.

The Guy woke up and the girls gave us their gifts. Stinky painted us a picture to hang in the living room, and Coadster bought us books on the history of Prohibition, a book about the perfect bike and a biography of Kurt Vonnegut. She knows us well.

The Guy's mom stopped over after she got out of church, and we all went out for sushi lunch together. It was very nice, and we stuffed ourselves. I tried to run a couple hours later, but my belly still wouldn't let me. Instead, I opted to lie around and read my book Swamplandia! It is pretty bizarre and wonderful.

Later in the evening, my friend G. called to tell me stories of her evening out at the bar on Christmas Eve. About halfway through, I asked her if she just didn't want to come over and have dinner with us. it wasn't anything special, just grilled cheese and tomato or chicken noodle soup, but she ate with us anyway.

We had a great talk and laughed a ton before we lost G. to the bar again. We finished the night by watching the movie, Heathers. Both the girls had a great time making fun of all the 80'sness about it. By the end of the holiday weekend, I felt like we had covered all the bases.

Friday, December 23, 2011

But have a Cup of Cheer

This is what I get for coming to work today. An eyeful of this. Eek!

So, I have a few hours left before my long holiday weekend. I just want to wish you all a safe and fun holiday, whatever you celebrate, and if you don't celebrate, I hope you enjoy your lack of celebration as well.

The girls and I will be heading to Ottumwa on Christmas Eve for a few hours and The Guy will go to his mom's to make oyster stew and watch It's a Wonderful Life with her. On Christmas day, I hope we can get my girls and The Guy's mom all together for sushi for lunch - just like how my Irish ancestors spent the holiday.

Soooo, yeah....RAWK!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Begginning to Not Look a Lot Like Christmas

Here is an icy, snowy creek.

So, yeah. I hear there's some kind of big holiday coming up here...Oh yeah. Christmas. It just doesn't feel like it to me this year. I think a lot of it is that there isn't any snow. Last year about this time, we got a good, old fashioned snow storm and it suddenly got all seasonal.

This year, we haven't seen any of that. The nice thing, is that it's pretty warm for this time of year and there isn't ice all over the streets and sidewalks, so I've been able to run and bike outside for the most part.

I have most of my shopping done and plans for Christmas Eve and so I suppose Christmas will be here, whether it seems like it outside or not.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Laughing and a Running. Hey, hey.

Another snapped derailleur from the mud.

This weekend was so great. You'd think I'd get tired of all of these wonderful weekends, but I'm so busy appreciating them, that it hasn't happened yet.

A carnival ride Wintering at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

On Friday night, The Guy took me out for Thai food and then we went home and watched Christmas in Connecticut. We both love those cheesy old movies, but like I said to the guy, the characters all seem like they're totally drunk during the entire move.

Archie wearing my wool gator.

On Saturday, we did a bunch of things around the house. Nothing all that very exciting, but nice to have done. We rode out to the Fairgrounds around 11:30 to ride bikes in the mud and to take them over the fly-over thing and I wanted to get better and faster at trudging up a muddy hill with my bike too.

It turned out that the mud was too much for my derailleur and it snapped again. The Guy rode his bike home and drove back to pick me up. The Guy also put a new derailleur on for me. There's really nothing better than a handy man, is there?

Heading to Augusta's.

In the afternoon, we went to swim laps with our friend JH. It was the first time since I trained for the triathlon in September that I had done any swimming at all. I was surprised at how strong I still felt. Of course, seeing myself in a swim suit in December in Iowa wasn't much fun, but it was good motivation for me to get busy with my Winter training, at least.

In the evening, we stopped at the Dublin to see our favorite bartender, S. His hot wife was there and a few other friends, so we had a nice talk with everyone until we realized it was time to eat and we headed to Mickey's. The Guy was good and he had black bean soup and a salad, but I had cheese fries. Apparently, cheese fries can make me forget all about Winter training.

The best Bloody Mary I've ever had. Merry Christmas to me.

On Sunday, we got up and got more stuff done on the house. We taped and primed the spare bedroom. Now, all we have to do is paint.

We took off for Oxford, Ia. on our bikes. It was a 50 mile ride, and the longest we've ridden in months. the weather was amazing. Almost 50 degrees in December. Crazy. We had a great ride and I still felt pretty strong on the bike. I hope I can keep all this up over the Winter.

We got to Oxford in time for brunch. Mimosa's and Bloody Mary's were on sale and one of their entrees was poached eggs over crab cakes, covered in hollandaise sauce. Yes, you read that right...Oh, and did I mention that the Bloody Mary's had a slice of the best bacon I've ever had in them too? I don't eat much meat, but if I'm going to, I choose perfectly cooked bacon, dipped in Bloody Mary. Yum.

This the amazing brunch we had.

We rode home and made it, right before it got dark. We had just enough time to get the spare bedroom back together before Coadster and her boyfriend came home. We all watched Good Morning Vietnam together. I hadn't seen it since it was out in theaters in the 80's. I was surprised at how well it held up. Both Coadster and her boyfriend were laughing out loud at some of it.

Sooooo, good food, fun older movies, great work-outs, a couple of drinks, awesome friends, several laughs and time with the family. My recipe for a perfect weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pushing the Barriers, Planting the Seeds

Cara sucia.

So, cyclocross season is officially over for me this year. The Guy is going to race in nationals in Wisconsin in January, but I'm done until next Fall.

According to the national rankings, I was 185th out of 346 in the 45+ master's women's category. Although, the woman in 117th place in the standings was 71 years old. (How awesome is she?)

It's not like I came anywhere near the front of the pack at any point, but I started the season being dead-ass last in my first couple of races and did better and better as it progressed. I think the hardest part, was not to give up after my first couple of last places.

After Jingle Cross, a woman in her early twenties called me an inspiration. I laughed and joked that I was inspiring, because if someone as old as me can do this, anyone could. She stopped me and said, "No. You're inspirational because you always look like you're having so much fun and you are so supportive of the other women riders." Having someone say that to me, felt better than actually winning a race.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's You and Me and All Other People

The Guy competing in the State Cyclocross Championships.

I figure I should probably try to post on here at least once a week....

Last weekend was ridiculously social. My friend E. came over for dinner on Friday night. We had a great talk and I love it that my girlfriends can come over and feel free to have a completely open conversation and not feel the least bit self-conscious around The Guy.

She left around 9:30, so we watched a Nurse Jackie episode instead of Armacord, before we went to bed.

This man goes to every cyclocross race in Des Moines and tries to give people a can of Hamms while they're racing.

Saturday we woke up early. I dropped Stinky off on campus, so she could take her ACT's before we headed to Des Moines.

Sometimes people take a break from their races to drink...Even for Hamms.

I didn't race, because I wussed-out. It was cold and the race was longer than I'd ever done and the only few people who rode were super good, die-hard types and I didn't want to end my season being last. So, yeah. I know it was lame, but I chose not to. The Guy chose to and got 3rd in his category, even though he had to stop for mechanical problems.

The Guy finishing his last cyclocross race in the state of Iowa for the year.

After the race, The Guy and I went back to El Baitshop for lunch and a beer or two, before we drove back to Iowa City.

Some of our friends on the garage trainer ride party. What we do for fun in the Winter in Iowa.

In the evening, The Guy and I went to our friend J's house for a little wine drinking. Our friend's Ted and Katie were also there. We had a great talk, but I drank WAY more wine than I wanted. I have to be so careful and count my drinks, because I can't keep up with the big kids. But J. kept filling my glass when I wasn't looking and so I got a little messy (er).

The food was excellent.

Sunday started our VERY slowly for me. The Guy was amazing and took care of everything before our party. I slept a lot. I finally got up, took some Advil and a shower and was ready to cook. I made some soups and some corn bread and guac to go with the black bean chili. A friend of mine supplied Christmas cookies and fruit dipped in caramel, to counteract all my healthy. Gawd love her.

We had a crappy beer tasting (I abstained). PBR was the loser, followed by Schlitz and then Rolling Rock was the winner.

The garage trainer riding party ended around 7'ish, after some love was given to Archie. The Guy and I finished up the night and our weekend, with a viewing of Raising Arizona. I hadn't seen it in forever, and I was so glad I did. Perfect.

Friday, December 09, 2011

My Beacon's Been Moved Under Moon and Star

Here is me holding a dead sunflower upside down. Nice.

The weekend is here already and I'm excited. We'll see what happens, but right now I'm planning on racing in the state championships in cyclocross in Altoona. I am giving myself an out, in case it's rdiculously cold or they got a ton more snow than we did. But I'm going with the intention of racing.

Tonight, I'm going with my easy stand-by dinner - shrimp fajitas with beans and guac and salsa. We're having a friend come over for dinner, and we might actually try to watch a Fellini film - Armacord.

I'm also hoping to finish my book, Bel Canto and start Swamplandia! this weekend. Stop back in for next week's post, where we see what actually gets done over the weekend...

Monday, December 05, 2011

And Clouds are Shrouding Us In Moments Unforgettable

Yeah. It's been a while, but I guess I'll just write about last weekend.

On Friday evening, we went to The Guy's employee Christmas party at the press box above Kinnick Stadium. It was really nice. They had an open bar for most of it and served excellent poached salmon and potato cakes and salad.

I got to meet a lot of the people The Guy talks about and now can put a face to the names when he tells me work stories. I also got to meet the physical therapist who helped The Guy recover from his accident. I told her she was a miracle worker, but she said it was all due to The Guy working so hard.

The Guy's boss and her husband went to the same high school I did, and her husband is friends with my brother-in-law's brother. I guess as they were leaving, The Guy's boss' husband turned to her and said, "Hey, you know who she is? She's the runner girl we used to always see when we lived on the the East side of town." I suppose there are worse things to be known for...

Heidi is quite happily sitting in her box.

On Saturday, I woke up feeling kind of wonky and icky. I wasn't sick, just, you know, a little funky and out of sorts. I got some stuff done around the house and did some sitting around. I'm sure the gloomy, rainy weather didn't help my mood at all. I did warn the guy not to take anything personally if I was a bit cranky.

In the afternoon, we got a little break from the rain, but it was still slick out. We decided to go for a bike ride. Because moving is about the best thing I can do for myself when I am at all wonky. Of course, it can also be dangerous. Like, say, when I'm riding my bike in the slippery grass and turn onto a slipperier wet, wood bridge and crash my bike. Nice!

The quarter round The Guy cut for the spare bedroom.

I felt better emotionally after our bike ride, which is what I was hoping for. So, we decided to have a drink at the Dublin, since our favorite bartender S. was working. I showed him my new sore on my shin, from the accident and he said it looked like an exclamation point. I had to agree. My injury seemed way more important with such strong punctuation. After our drink, The Guy and I went to Graze, where we had a lovely dinner and talked about training for next Spring. We went home and watched Super 8 after dinner. It got a little schmaltzy at the end, but the kids in the movie were about the same age we were in 1979, so that part was really fun.

Some hummus and beet salad with blue cheese dressing and walnuts.

Part of our talk about training, had to do with our eating habits. We both love food and I will never be one of those people who starves myself in order to get in shape. So, instead, I try to make good healthy food. This weekend I cooked up sweet potatoes, beets, tofu, made hummus and cut up a bunch of veggies. I figure, the easier it is to eat good food, the more I will eat it instead of getting into Stinky's chips or poptarts or whatever. So far, it's worked pretty well. When I got hungry, I just threw some sweet potatoes in the microwave or dipped carrots and zucchini in the hummus and it was all very nice.

Getting ready to head back out on the bikes.

Sunday was a much better day. The Guy cut all the quarter round for the spare bedroom while I cooked up a storm. Then in the afternoon, we went on a bike ride. It was cold outside and there were tons of deer out there (since it's now shotgun deer hunting season here) but it was so nice to ride our bikes to Solon and back (about 30 miles). We stopped at the Solon Station for one quick beer before we rode back. Our feet were freezing by the time we got home, but we were both really, really happy.