S.o.S. Last Laps?

Well, let’s hope last semester kicked the sense of senioritis out of this household. We are heading into the final semester of this journey. The last “to-do” list is on this white board. The last syllabi are downloaded and digested. Two of my last projects are turned in and the semester doesn’t even start until tomorrow (don’t ask too deep on that one, it was painful getting it done vs being super proactive).

So, if you are hoping for a free place to stay in SWFL then book your tickets soon because we won’t be here for another season!

My parent’s came to visit last weekend. We spent a lovely time at the Naples Botanical Garden. If I lived closer to that green space I would have bought a yearly membership. It is beautifully laid and has perfect nooks for studying in. You in part have to remember that the area is highly landscaped because it has way too much short grass. There is a segment called the River of Grass that lets you walk above and beside what the Everglades looks like. Very pretty and very wet.

(Note to Ryan’s parents: if you are able to visit this year, we should seriously consider giving it a look-see.)

Shortly here we will be heading out to Oregon for our one vacation for the clinical portion of this program. We’ll be visiting friends in Portland and Bend. I was hoping for a couple of job interviews in the time period but no biters yet. They just got a lot of snow that may still be sticking around for our visit. Either way it will be colder than here and apparently we really will need our “puffy” jackets. I don’t see how it can be cold anywhere in the US when it was 81 deg F yesterday but I have been assured by media coverage and photographs that are “not” photoshopped that it is indeed cold and snowy there. Needless to say, I’m very excited! Ryan’s is excited too but he’s bottling it all up and waiting to explode once his feet hit the trails in the mountains.

The end of this semester has a couple of rewards:
1. My brother is getting married!
2. Hopefully I’ll find a job.

And oh-yea,
3. Graduation.

Onwards! Mush, mushy brain, mush!

S.o.S. just throwing this out there

So Ryan and I enjoy going to a local ice-cream establishment that makes all of their deliciousness in house. We’ve gotten to know the owner and his wife in a “I know your face as a semi-regular” sort of way. It had become custom on Ryan’s long training days on Sundays (10+ mile run, 23 mile bike, 3 additional miles running…I’d join in for steps 2 and 3, not 1…) that we’d go there for an afternoon treat. Next door to this ice-cream haven has been an empty restaurant. It has been empty for the 2 years we’ve lived down here and you can see it easily from the local highway. It is pretty amazing.

Figuring that it has been empty this long maybe we could get it for a steal and I could finally open my dream shop, “Yaaaarrrrnnnn Ye Maties.” A combination yarn and book shop. Can’t you see the banner hanging between the masts? Or amazing flags. Given that the building needs some color it could become a fabulously colorful eyesore. Who wants to finance this decision, potential backers just contact me.

In less fictional news, I made a tasty spinach pie recently.

From this recipe: http://www.italianchips.com/spinach-pie. Only I did not make the pie crust which I substituted with some I had some in the freezer. A little homemade tomato sauce would not be a bad addition. And the thing is oh-so-presentation pretty. Minus not making the dough it went together with minimal time in the kitchen.

Sorry for the long absence in posting. I’ve been here, there, and everywhere, plus the holidays, plus an exhausting open-heart rotation, etc etc blah blah blah. The countdown till graduation is at 145 days. I simultaneously get panic attacks and euphoria attacks. Yeah-gack? Ryan is pretty much just euphoric. Hope you and yours are in a place of euphoria as well.

As promised, a little late, Ultra Tri recap

Ryan rocked his first ultra distance triathlon. Why have I come to this conclusion? For many reasons…

but mainly because he ended his race looking like this:

If you can be smiling that well at the end of a race that long (14h43m) then you have done something right.

Also included in why he rocked it are:

1. He finished. 1/3 of the folks who started the race did not finish it.

2. He did not require an IV with fluid resuscitation or ER visit after his race, unlike a fair few other competitors. Translated: his planning and preparation and pacing through the day was really well done. This is Florida after-all and the temperatures still peaked 91 during the day with full on sun.

3. Throughout the entire event (per his report) and every time that I saw him, he had an upbeat attitude. He always had a ready smile. This held true even when in the middle of the marathon portion of the event he said as he was speed-walking past me, “I don’t know if I can run anymore.” (Which ended up not being true but you know, with 14 miles left on the run that was a big statement.)

4. His swim was absolutely awesome and in that portion of the event his training really paid off. He finished the 2.4 mile swim in 1h15m, and he had plenty of energy for the rest of the day. That is a fairly decent time even for folks who do this event regularly.

5. Many a person will acknowledge that the Clermont course is one of the tougher ultra-distances you can do. (Go big or go home, Mr. Ryan?) The course is hilly through out the bike and has multiple hills on the run. Despite being held in October, it is consistently hot. (So much so this year that for the second time in their 30 year history of hosting the event the water couldn’t cool down enough to be wet suit legal. Thank goodness he didn’t buy a wetsuit for an event he couldn’t wear it in!)

One of the great surprises for him before the race was the adorable video posted to Facebook of his niece and nephews cheering him on from Kentucky. Dang if his face didn’t have the biggest grin on it.

So onto the fun part…pictures. I met an extremely nice woman with an awesome camera. We had a similar cheering philosophy which is simple: cheer for everyone because that is a long race and every competitor deserves a cheering section. She took a lot of shots (of which she made sure to catch us in them together) and she emailed me a portion of them. A cd is “in the mail” but I think this is a good sampling of the day.

Ryan exiting the swim. If you look towards the horizon on the right you can see partly how far out the swim went into the lake.

I did the sprint race which only took me 1h27m. (Ie my distances were way shorter!)

The woman with the camera, her husband (who has completed 22 ultra distance triathlons) and their very friendly dog…

The trialthon community at this event was very friendly, very supportive and that made the whole day very nice. I don’t know that we are “addicted” just yet, but we are surely catching a low-grade fever.

We are not not(?) freaking out…

Ah, the looming event makes its presence known in our house like an elephant peeking toes out from the closet.

At this point, all the training that could be done really is done. It is time for tapering and not freaking out. Ryan’s bike is all tuned up and meal plans for the days just ahead of the event are completed. A conspicuous lack of vegetable the night before is in order. (However much that makes me cringe.)

Something even more cringe-worthy? The return of the snowbird drivers. We are in full defensive mode and peace/love/harmony-mantra-repetitions-while-driving. I don’t know how we could have forgotten how much the driving culture changes seasonally. And, Ryan just admitted the other day that I’m going to have to be the one to hide the car keys from him when the time comes (that’s going to be fun). So it is hard to get mad at the people going 10 mph down the state-highway; or, people who make a u-turn in front of your on-coming traffic, coming to a full stop across nearly all three lanes; or, the absolute chaos that now reigns in the isles of the grocery store on a Saturday all-day. This area could not exist as it does without the fluctuations and it is probably a good reminder about controlling ones emotions.

Tangent about driving aside, I’ll try to take lots of pictures the day of the event and even bring the “real” camera.

love to y’all!

5/7th or 71.4%

Yup, another semester down. Yee-haw! And although there are 2 more to go which continue to give the feeling of looking down a long tunnel, I can happily say that when I look at the folks who are a semester ahead of me I see hope and happiness. This is in comparison to the poor folks I met my very first week of school who were in their by-week between finishing clinical and graduation, and who looked like death slightly warmed over, we all still have a little pep to our step.

Rumor has it that this coming semester is the “easiest” because we still only have one test to study for each month and our paperwork load is lightest. I’m going to try and take a chunk out of that work load today. Fingers crossed I don’t let myself get distracted.

Speaking of being distracted, a little flash back to 2006 is in order. Posts are more fun with photos, right? Here is where we were in October so many years ago:

Indian Creek

Indian Creek, UT. Heading on up to climbing.

And in other unrelated news, Ryan we all know is a research machine. His bike has been just a little “off” of late with a rhythmic thumping sound and a hitch feeling. He worked it over the best he could and could not find the source. So after putting in 80 miles yesterday he dropped it by the shop where we bought it and gave it to their mechanic to give it his work over. The gentleman who has been a bike mechanic for over 15 years was able to fix it. (I know some of us cannot handle suspense, so I’ll give that ending up-front.)

We did have our concerns though when at one point he told us he had changed out the ball bearings, the chain, realigned the derailer and still the issue was present. We continued to have concerns when we saw a little mechanic pow-wow going on around the bike with a lot of brow furrowing. And our concerns we made a little giddy when we chatted with the other shop employees and they all commented about how Oscar was getting a little frustrated and they had never seen him like that before. None of these are good signs. It is not normal for a bike mechanic to need 3+ hours to fix a simple bike problem. (Or so I’m told.) But as has already been revealed, the hitch was corrected. Turns out that inside the crank (for non-bike folks, this is the long part that connects the petals to the bike) it was either manufactured just a little too big or a bolt got a little loose and over time the wiggling created a gap, so that with every pedal the gap got a little bigger until there was wiggle room which created the rhythmic thump and hitch. None of the bike people had seen that problem before…so, new knowledge! Woop.

And the bike is in tip-top shape for his race.

Happy October y’all! Hope you get to enjoy Fall!

Sun exposure

We spend a fair amount of time outside and given that cloudy days occur way less frequently than sunny days we bought ourselves sun-sleeves for our biking adventures. I’ve noticed that we are in the distinct minority down here. I’d estimate that only 1% of road cyclists wear them around here. However, we’d rather wear the sleeves than more sunscreen which has a couple of negatives–1. chemicals!, 2. makes you feel greasy, and 3. requires reapplication.

Ryan recently replaced his sleeves. Guess which one is the old one and which is new. Assuming Pearl Izumi hasn’t changed their product that much in the last year you can see that the old sleeve is definitely sun-bleached and stretched.

There is something to be said for the protective layer a nice tan can do for you but at the same time Ryan and I are more likely to burn and we have a slight tan despite precautions otherwise. I don’t think every mole/freckle is skin cancer anymore but knowing the statistics, better to be safe(r) than sorry.

In the good news department you can feel a slight shift in the weather. Yesterday on our ride I had a distinct feeling that Fall is starting to meander its way south (the feeling of which was gone by the afternoon but hey, a gal will take the hours she can get). It was slightly less humid, the temps were in the mid 70s, and for whatever reason everything seemed happier. I wonder if even the bugs and the flowers and the trees and armadillos are cheerful for the change?

In the food department I have part of tonight’s dinner cooking away in the oven and it smells amazing…the short anwswer, meatballs.

The longer answer: mix 12 oz beef (85%/15%), 2 tablespoons walnut-parsley pesto, 1 egg, and 1/3-ish cup finely diced red onion. Bake at 400 degF for 20 minutes.

I used this walnut-parsley pesto recipe and remained pretty faithful to the parameters although it was a bit too thick so I did add a little more olive oil.

Fingers crossed they taste as awesome as they smell. I’m going to add them to this recipe for Zoodles and Meatballs.

Hope you and yours are well.

a little of this…and that

It is well accepted that recipes are merely suggestions on how to cook something. Often times recipes call for specific ingredients that when you were at the grocery you were sure you didn’t need to buy it because you knew the pantry was stocked but once you open the pantry door the recipe gremlins have snaffled off with your goods. True story, on repeat…Thus, it is a good practice to be flexible and substitute the heck out of some ingredients. In other incidences those same gremlins have merely skimmed off the top of inventory, leaving you a little short…

All of this to say that I’ve put myself into a pickle. You know that I make granola. It is a nearly every other week occurrence and they generally turn out about the same….well, this last batch is particularly tasty and we have little idea why. I know that I had to make do with some things and I may not have gotten the same amount of other things while I put in extra of one thing and what not…do I write down portions? Mark my cooking time? Nope. All I have now is guesswork to try and get back to this tasty turn of events.

Maybe I should put a granola spreadsheet to the fridge to mark what I’ve done each time I do it and then Ryan can grade the events afterwards. Scientific-process-zen-cooking?

S.o.S.

We know quite a few folks in the affected areas of flooding in CO. Thankfully they are all doing well and only have minimal damage. This flood event though brings to mind the old adage of “be prepared”. I think that although hurricane season is almost behind us, maybe I should revisit the emergency box to see how well it is stocked.

If you are not too squeamish, the Denver Post has compiled a lot of pictures of affected areas. By squeamish I mean to tell the moms and SILs, that yes, we still plan on moving to this general area if I can find work, so…don’t look if it is going to unnerve you.

We have been chugging along around here. We went to WI last weekend for a wedding of friends. Can I tell you how nice it was to being in cool temperatures. We apparently brought a little rain and humidity northward but it was still very friendly.

We started the festivities Milli-wacky style supper clubbing a fish fry with a bunch of folks from the climbing gym.

The next morning we haunted our old neighborhood for a brunch with friends from our George Williams College days and may I say that the Saturday Farmer’s Market has exploded…

Between the wedding and the reception we went to the local brewery, Silver Creek. To enter you have to have a little faith that the sign leading you down what appears to be a parking lot for deliveries to the hardware store will eventually lead you to this entrance…

We realized that our wedding present unintentionally matched our wedding attire. (And yes, when Ryan presented two shirt options, I chose the one to compliment my dress. They had a professional photographer that I’m hoping captured a couple of nice people shots because I was horribly remiss in the photo-taking department.)

Ryan treated me to a gift from my old favorite coffee haunt that has a new name. The coffee and food is still as great as ever.

Overall a great trip. Too short. Very fun. Talking climbing with a bunch of climbing folks though does ramp up the wanderlust.

To which I’m happy to say that the second semester of clinicals is almost over! Just took my last test of the semester. Only have one small group project left. So last night I decided to attempt my hand at a scrub cap and came up with this.

Not too shabby for a first attempt based off of cap I already have. we’ll see how well it washes but I’m awfully fond of this fabric that was used for a baby blanket in the past. Just hoping it sends the right message….and does not convey that my brain is asleep.

5 years +/-

So, many of you who are also friends with me on the FB know that Ryan and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary as a married couple and we have found that each year keeps getting better. I recognize the incredible amount of luck that came together to make that happen. But I also recognize the incredible amount of work we both contribute to continue to make it true.

To many, the idea of “work” is almost a dirty word. To many, there is the idea that a relationship is built out of musical numbers, one overcome obstacle, and perfectly worded dialogue. Work is not a dirty word, it is an affirmation of commitment. Lest I paint to rosy a picture, we are no Disney household 24/7 whistling like happy little dwarves as we slug through some less pleasant chores. But the end goal is way more rewarding than a pushing off some skivvy.

Shockingly we watch a movie that had a moment that resonated with us very well. So for those that are not on the FB, I’ll quote it again here:

“Kenneth: To go it alone, or to go with a partner. When you choose a partner you have to have compromises and sacrifices, but it’s the price you pay. Do I want to follow my every whim and desire as I make my way through time and space? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, do I need someone when I’m doubting myself and I’m insecure, and *my* heart’s failing me? Do I need someone who, when the heat gets hot, has my back.

Darius: So, do you?

Kenneth: I do.”

I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to share this adventure with ole-RA. In appreciation of that we are heading up to the triathlon course this weekend to see what “dem’thar hills” actually ride like. Maybe swim a bit in the lake and run around. RA wants to verify that the hotel we have booked for the race weekend isn’t a complete dive. (My planner…so detailed oreinted.) Hopefully I’ll grab some pictures for you.

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