Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

'Tis almost time to bring 2008 to a close. For me, that's a good thing. It's not been a great year for the running segment of my my life, so here's a toast to better things for 2009!

Looks like I'm going to be running in the New Year ... 4:00 PM today at Beetles on 2nd St SW (west of 52) for a beer run of 4-6 miles, hills included and welcomed :-) , followed by liquid libations. All are welcome to join us! I just might even have a brewski. I'm usually a wine or mixed drink kind of gal. A beer usually tastes best to me when the beer is ice cold and the temps outside are about 95 degrees and humid. Not exactly what we're "enjoying" today. I'll see what I feel like when we're done. Then tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM, I'll be joining Don Gabrielson and crew at Soldier's Field at 8:00 AM for an 8+ mile run, followed by the Resolution Run 5K at 10:00 at Running Room. Sounds like lots of photo ops for me!! Weather permitting, I'm going to try to get out on my skis on Friday.

Off-Season Striders will be running at 7:30 at Dunn Bros. on Elton Hills on Saturday. Mileage and course are TBD, but we know it's all really about the socializing, the coffee and the blue corn pancakes afterwards, right???

From RASC/ACNST (All-City Nordic Ski Team): The fundraiser will be on Friday January 23rd at Resurrection Catholic church (1600 11th Ave SE), starting at 5:00 pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. This includes an All You Can Eat buffet from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm, with Chicken Alfredo or Vegetarian Spaghetti with Marinara, Rolls, Caesar or Mediterranean Salad and Beverage, all catered by Victoria's Restaurant. This is a great opportunity to bring your family and meet your friends.We will also have a raffle for several great items - a full nordic skate ski package donated by Tyrol Ski and Sport, a golf outing with cart at Somerby Golf club, donated by Somerby Golf Club, and two Giant Sedona Lifestyle 24 speed bikes, donated by Quality Bike Products, along with several other smaller prizes. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20 and are available at Tyrol Ski & Sport, Rochester Cycling and Fitness, Shoot and Save Sport or from any Rochester Nordic Ski Team Member. The drawing will take place at 7:00 pm and you do not need to be present to win. (FYI: The 23rd is the day before the Winter Carnival 1/2 marathon in St. Paul ... which I plan to run ... would be a great way to carbo-load. Victoria's does a great job with pasta, of course.)

With the new year comes increased usage of the fitness center at the Y each and every year. It quickly drops off to normal levels, which is a shame. It's a great facility, especially now with all the new equipment. It's also a great place to chat and mercilessly tease my friends. ;-) They LOVE it!! Ha.

Speaking of the Y ... when I finished my workout this morning I asked Kirk, one of the personal trainers, if they still did skinfold caliper body-fat tests. They do. He said it would only take 5 minutes or so, so I went ahead and got one. They now do 7 sites (pecs (upper chest), triceps(back of upper arm), midaxilla (under armpit), abdomen, subscapula (below shoulder blade), suprailiac (right over hip bone), quads). (When I worked there and did them, we used 3 sites.) Then he plugs them into a computer program for results, including lean weight, fat weight (17 lbs.) % fat (12.6), population average, overall score, rating. It's free if you're a Y member. Just stop in the fitness center. He said some of the gals are uncomfortable with the measuring ... Kirk is as nice as they come. And it's not done in public view.

Well, I've got to get some stuff done before leaving for Beetles, including making dinner. I'm making some of Eric's favorites (wild rice pilaf and a baked chicken recipe), but he just took of for Decorah for the evening. Oh well ... we'll just have to enjoy it without him.

Quote for the day: "Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to." Isn't that the truth??

My very best wishes for happiness in 2009 for each and every one of you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Polar Bear Fun Run and Lunch photos

Here's a link to the photos:

The slideshow is being uncooperative. ;-)

Happy Monday!

The folks at Ragnar Relay sent the above in the mail. At first I thought it was junk mail (there's something on the back as well) and just about tossed it. Kind of neat!

Are you interested in an `EVE`ning of Happy Beer & Running? Off-Season Striders will have an early beer run this Wednesday, New Year's Eve, at 4pm at Beetles on 2nd St. SW. We'll probably do 4-6 miles to start with (hills are our friends), then eat, drink and be merry!

From Larry Pederson: Our own Steve DeBoer, who is #5 on the listing of those with the longest running streaks, was mentioned on ABC News. Here's the link.

RSVPs for the RTC annual banquet on January 10 are due to David Sletten TODAY.

Packet/jacket pick-up for the Resolution Run on Thursday is today from 12 to 8, Tuesday from 12 to 8 and Wednesday from 12-4 (the store closes at 4). The run starts at 10:00 AM.

As a special offer for all Road Runners Club of America members (BTW: all RTC members are RRCA members), Women’s Running will offer readers a pink Run Girl t-shirt with a 10-issue subscription for only $19.95. RRCA members can go to to sign-up.

Here's a recipe my friend Emelda just sent me. I haven't tried it yet, but she says it's very good. I like the combination of chocolate and dried cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Crinkles

Cream: ½ C. butter (she said she likes the texture better when using shortening instead)
1 2/3 C. sugar

Add: 2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 squares melted chocolate

Stir in: 2 1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/3 C. milk
½ C. nuts
1+ C. dried cherries, chopped

Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Then shape into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased pan or parchment paper. Bake at 350, 15+ minutes. You want them soft. I baked mine about 17 minutes and then let them cool on the cookie sheet to firm up. Makes about 4 dozen

Quote for the day: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." --Mae West

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Polar Bear 2008

We had a good turnout for the Polar Bear fun run and lunch today. The temps were pleasant, but the surfaces were slippery so the route was changed from bike path to city streets. I'd guess there were 35-40 for lunch.

(The slide show isn't working correctly for me. Click on View All Photos if it's not working for you either.)

The Calico Bean recipe was requested. Here you go:

1 28 oz. can Bush's Baked Beans
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can baby butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb. hamburger (I use more like 1/2 lb.)
1 medium onion

1/4 c. vinegar
1 c. ketchup
1 1/2 c. brown sugar (I think this makes it too sweet. I use 1 c. or less)
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

Fry hamburger with onion. Cut and fry bacon. Rinse kidney and butter beans. Heat sauce ingredients in sauce pan until warm. Mix everything together. Pour over beans. Bake at 300 for 2 hrs. in oven or on low in crock pot for 4-8 hours.

Myself, I ran 15.46 (or something close ... GPS is charging) this morning. The sidewalks were icy. The bike paths were icy. So I ran on the roads, from my home in SW Rochester almost up to Century H.S. via Wilshire Dr NE (what a hill!), to Elton Hills to the RAC to County 22 then home. LOTS OF HILLS.

Thought for the day: "It isn't the load that weighs us down--it's the way we carry it."

Have a good one.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas, redux

Well, I didn't get a 'Merry Christmas' post done, so ... Merry day-after Christmas to you!

First things first: Tomorrow, Saturday, is the Polar Bear Fun Run (5K and 10K or whatever distance you choose to run ... or not run!) and free lunch at the Rochester Family Y. Running will commence at 11:00 AM and lunch will be ready whenever you get back. Please join us!! I'll be unloading my Christmas cookies. Got to get them out of here!

Registration for Med-City Med-City marathon or half marathon is $30 through 12/31. Save $20!!

20% off regular priced apparel at Running Room December 26 - January 4. Resolution Run 5K registration is available online only until tomorrow, 12/27.

Wednesday morning, I ran 10.00 miles. I think it was still morning when I left, but barely. I kept postponing breakfast until after I ran, but kept finding things to do first. Items of somewhat dubious interest during the run: The Holmes family was on their way out of town to visit Leah's mom and saw me coming on 2nd St SW and waited to say hi. Such a nice family. I quickly popped into Tyrol Ski & Sports shortly after that. Hadn't been in there this season. There's always lots of fun stuff to look at in there. Saw a beautiful red boiled wool coat with a black and white Icelandic design on it. Loved it until I looked at the price. $218. On average, their prices are very reasonable. Have a look! They have more than just ski stuff. A few miles later on the highway 52 frontage road, a silver Honda Accord pulls up next to me. Looks just like my car. The passenger windows comes down. I hear, "Hey, fast girl!" OK. Go ahead ... make my day, whoever you are! It's Eric! (My son.) Such a good kid. Short story long, I finally had my morning oatmeal at about 1:00 PM. :-)

Matt and I made lefse on Wednesday and I'm happy to report that it was very successful! I'd tried it a couple of times a long time ago and had lots of trouble with it being so sticky, and subsequently very frustrating. I received a new recipe which worked perfectly. :-)

Overall, my "homemade" Christmas went well. The high points: the boys opening their copies of my life story. They were so happy to get them and read them on the spot, not that it's an engrossing story or anything. But it made it worth the effort.

They also liked their recipe books from me. Eric said it kind of freaked him out ... thinking that he's going to be out of school, ready to be on his own in a couple of months. I guess come to think of it, it kind of freaks me out too.

Matt made scarves for everyone. I was very impressed. They're kind of braided/woven. He made up the method himself he said. You can see them in the photos above. I told Eric what I most wanted for Christmas was to go for a run with him before he leaves for Europe (again!). We've never run together. He said he would, and even printed out a certificate for me to redeem for a run of up to 8 miles. You can bet that I'm going to redeem every one of those 8 miles!

Christmas dinner was turkey with all the trimmings. And cookies, of course. My brother and his family came over.

I'll run in the morning by myself before the Polar Bear. Mileage? Undecided. Whatever my legs, and my brain, feel like I guess.

Matt is going for a ride-along with my brother tomorrow night (Saturday 7 PM to 5 AM, Matt's normal out-and-about hours anyway!). My brother is a Dodge County sheriff's deputy. Last time Matt did this, a 15-year old girl rolled her dad's brand new pickup (she walked away, literally ... another no-no) after her boyfriend argued with them.

Quote for the day: "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." --Phyllis Diller

Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

I know I am! But there's always time for a quick post. So here goes ...

I made it to the Y on Monday morning to check out the new equipment. Looks like a totally different place. They have new Freemotion strength training equipment so it's going to take some time to learn and get used to that. I did try the lat machine. The thing I noticed right away is that each side acts independently, unlike with Cybex where one side can compensate for the other. But I think that's an improvement as far as strength training goes.

There are also LOTS of elliptical machines and treadmills now. And 2 NuSteps as well. They're a recumbant machine where you use your arms to get your heart rate up. Good for those rehabbing leg injuries or those who are mobility impaired.

Brian Erwin was at the Y (with his son Josh). I asked him if he wanted to be in my blog. He said sure. I said say something profound. His answer? "Don't go to a barn dance with a hole in the floor." Oh Brian, you're so funny ...

You have until the 27th to register for the Resolution Run 5K on January 1. Proceeds go to the Strong Kids campaign at the Y. It's a fun way to start the year.

For those that know the Gjertsen's (Espen and Ann-Kristin, they live in Norway), they got a 10-week old puppy!

I tried a new cookie recipe this evening. Matt and his girlfriend Sarah said it's a keeper.

It's a Land O'Lakes recipe.

Soft Almond Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt


1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk

Heat oven to 350. Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add ricotta cheese, egg and 1 tsp. almond extract; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating well after each addition.

Drop dough by rounded teasponfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes; remove to cooling racks.

Combine powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp. almond extract and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl; mix well. Spoon 1/2 tsp. glaze over each cooled cookie; decorate with sprinkles as desired. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes 3 dozen.

Matt and I make lefse tomorrow. Hopefully, it's a positive experience. : )

Thought for the day: Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
To a friend, your heart.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just a quickie

A very full day for me, and not much to post on. But there's always a little something to say. : )

Off-Season Striders will run Sunday at 7:30 AM at Panera South. Route TBD. Depends on the weather. The way this week is going, I'd say there's a 50/50 chance of 6" of snow on any given day. : )

You are all encouraged to run on Saturday as well. I'll just keep reminding you ... 5K or 10K routes at 11:00 AM at the Y. If you want more mileage, start earlier. The RTC will be providing lunch (sloppy joes, BBQ beef or pork sandwiches, calico beans, chips, veggies, dessert) for FREE afterwards. You are welcome to bring friends and family. Hope to see you there!

For local groomed cross county ski trail conditions, see the Rochester Active Sports Club site. I think I'm going to get my skis out on Friday. Hoping the boys will want to join me.

Found this website in a magazine: Lots of shoes, clothing for pretty decent prices.

Thought for the day: If you could be described in one word, what would it be?

Well, I must sign off for now. Ha det! (Norwegian ... kind of like "see 'ya")

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow, snow and more snow

I really enjoy the snow ... but enough is enough, for this week anyway! The plow still hasn't gone down our street. It's 7:56 PM.

There were 20 or 21 of us this morning at Dunn Bros. Only 2 of us had festive headwear on. I had a Santa hat and Mike had antlers, which he shed before running. Oh well, there is only one real Santa anyway, right?? The snow started about 3 miles into the run if I remember correctly, and never quit. I ran with Sharon Mulvagh for the first half, Roger Heil and Dean Ferber for the second half. There were a couple inches by the time we got back to Dunn Bros. Some of us had 9 miles in, some up to 13. I was of the 9.05 mile variety. I really should pay more attention when the route is being explained ... I'm usually gabbing. I wanted to get in more than that, but also wanted to stay and socialize. Socializing won out. At least temporarily.

I was dressed just right today and didn't feel chilled sitting inside, so I went back out by myself for 6.21 more miles. It was GREAT. I really do enjoy running in the snow. It wasn't terribly windy and the footing wasn't bad. I could think all the pleasant thoughts I wanted to, and just kept running and running and running.

Next week there will be no Off-Season Striders run. We will instead gather for the Polar Bear fun run & lunch at the Y at 11:00 AM. Feel free to start as early as you like to get in the mileage you want. It would be great if you'd join us afterward for lunch. It's FREE!! And leftover race T-shirts will be given away. Bring your family and friends.

My niece Kaleigh and nephew Andrew had fun playing in the snow today. I think they're awfully cute.

Matt and I made a date to make lefse. Christmas Eve. Should be an interesting adventure. It hasn't worked out very well for me in the past. But I'm willing to give it another go, as we enjoy lefse.

Well, it's a slow news day. So I believe that's it for this post. Have fun digging out from all the snow. Stay warm.

Quote for the day: "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." --William Penn

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

Another beautiful snowfall this morning, but it prevented me from going to the Y to see the all the new equipment in the fitness center. I haven't been there since Tuesday morning. I heard on the evening news that we're going to get another 5-7" tomorrow. Very snowy December thus far.

There will be cookies for tomorrow's Off-Season Striders run tomorrow at 7:30 AM at Dunn Bros. / Elton Hills. Dark chocolate M&Ms (my favorite flavor) and chocolate chips.

You can either consume them there or bring them home. Remember to wear your festive holiday attire! (Santa hats, jingle bells, antlers, ...)

RTC final Grand Prix results have been posted. If you placed first, second or third in your age group, you will be receiving a gift card from Running Room. They will be presented at the banquet on January 10. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who participated in the grand prix events.

Here are a couple of photos from the Jingle Bell 5K held last weekend in Northfield. Chris O'Brien and Joker (thank you Chris for the photos) ...

and Deb Thomford.

From fellow foodie Mike Schmitt: Everything you could possibly want to know about butter (my personal favorite? Land O'Lakes -- it's on sale at Target for $2.50/lb. through tomorrow :-) and Rules for a cookie exchange. As always, I appreciate the links.

Had lunch with friends at Panera today. Here's my haul. Mary's beautiful cherry pie.

and Jeanne's cinnamon twists and cookies.

With everything I've baked and cookies from all the neighbors, there are thousands of calories sitting around this house!

Pat Brown ...sent me a story and photos about the Rocket City marathon for the next RTC newsletter ... unsolicited! Such submissions are most welcome. You will make your faithful editor soooooo happy by doing likewise. Hint, hint.

Eric's become quite the reader since going to Spain, saying he now prefers that to TV (I'm all for that!). He read Twilight on the plane from Madrid (544 pages ... impressive) on Wednesday, then started in on some of my novels reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (one of my faves) yesterday and started Empire Falls today. He also wants to go out to lunch with me. I'm liking this ...

Thought for the day:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

He's Home!!

I'm rather tired today (that's an understatement, actually) so I'm not sure what words or thoughts are going to roll off these fingertips today. Enter at your own risk. : )

It got to be a rather long day yesterday for both of us, much more so for Eric, but at long last, he's home! I couldn't be happier.

I hadn't seen or talked to him since I dropped him off at the airport September 9, where he was headed for Valencia, Spain by way of Madrid. Thank goodness for email! So ... yesterday. Eric was originally due in at 6 pm. After work, I headed up to the Mall of America to spend time there before heading to the airport. I quickly discovered I wasn't in the mood to shop, so the afternoon started dragging. I just wasn't in the mood for all the noise (live music, piped in music in the mall, piped in music in every store, theme park noise, ...), all the people. I think I'd rather have been in a big old quiet barn somewhere rather than a big mall, truth be told. Sounds weird, I know ... Segue here: I'm from Chicago, but am definitely not a big city girl. I'd much rather be on the open road, or on a beautiful wooded trail, running with friends than at a cocktail party dressed to the nines ANY DAY. : ) Back to yesterday. Eric called from Chicago at some point in the afternoon saying that the flight from Madrid had been delayed and he'd now be arriving in the cities about 9:30. So I now had even more time to kill. Spent quite a bit of it in Barnes & Noble, which was relatively quiet. More about that to close this post. About 8:00, I'd had enough of the mall and decided to head for the airport and hang out there instead. His new flight was now delayed. I was really beginning to wonder whether we were ever going to get home. (Not really, but you know what I mean.) The plane finally landed about 10:15 and Eric came walking up to the luggage claim area about 10:30. When I spotted him I literally ran over to him and threw my arms around him and told him how glad I was to see him, grinning from ear to ear. Definitely the most PDA in the vicinity, but I didn't much care. More importantly, Eric didn't seem to care either. I noticed a bench full of females smiling at us, so I guess it was OK after all. : ) We left the airport just before 11:00. I'm normally in bed by this time, so my eyelids were really heavy and I knew I'd have a hard time staying awake on the drive home. I told poor Eric, who'd been up for 24 hours as they'd flown with the sun, that we had to talk all the way home if I was to stay awake. We did. We talked about Spain all the way home. The funniest thing he mentioned were the females' hairstyles. He said they pretty much all looked like 'Jedi knights'. There's more to the explanation, but it made me LOL. Got home about 12:15 AM. Finally. Home. The net: Eric had a wonderful time. He has learned to appreciate art (Picasso in particular), started not only speaking fluently but thinking in Spanish, had a really great family to live with, and made many new friends among the other students studying there.

From a press release: The finalists are all set for the 4th Annual Rochester Area Sports Banquet to be held on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium with the guest speaker this year being Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch! The Rochester Amateur Sports Commission will once again be the host of the banquet where the top 2008 athletes/teams in six categories have been selected from 10 different sports. ... Organization of the year finalists are Ice Hawks, Rochester Youth Soccer, Rochester Royals Baseball, Rochester Figure Skating Club and Rochester Track Club. ...

Tomorrow the Rochester Family Y will unveil the fitness center filled with brand new cardio and strength training equipment. If the winter storm warning we've been issued allows, I hope to make it down there to try it out.

Today, some friends got together to bake cookies all day. In past years we'd bring the dough for a couple of types of cookies and bake them at a friend's house (she's got a double oven) and then divide them all up to bring home. As I had to work in the morning, and wanted to prepare all Eric's favorites for supper tonight, I just couldn't make it. It's always a fun day, though. Here's the recipe for Eric's favorite salad.

4 Tbsp. frozen raspberry/apple juice concentrate (do not reconstitute)
2 Tbsp. canola or light tasting olive oil
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Combine all ingredients. Shake or stir well.

1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 c. cooked chicken, bite-sized pieces
1 c. raspberries
1 c. sugar snap peas cut in half diagonally
1/4 c. pecans, toasted
1/4 c. red onion, sliced thin
Combine all ingredients. Toss with dressing. Serve immediately.

Substitutions (when berries are not in season):
Substitute dried cherries for fresh raspberries. Substitute a cherry/apple flavored juice concentrate.

Tomorrow I'm going to lunch with a couple of very good friends. We do this every year right before Christmas. My friend Mary always makes each of us a pie. They're fabulous. She used to make the pies for the cafe at The Mouse and Marketplace. The Saxman boys' favorite is cherry, so that's what we get. They'll be happy campers tomorrow afternoon. : )

Back to Barnes & Noble to close out this post. While sitting there, I read a good portion of a little book called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff. It's worth reading. I just might go pick it up. Wrote down this quote from Stephen Levine: "If you had an hour to live and could make only one phone call, who would you call, what would you say, and why are you waiting?".

Go make that call.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Almost home

Nice day. The weather is better than yesterday (it's all relative at this time of year), we're getting a nice gentle snowfall, Matt just baked some spritz cookies,

I'm sitting here listening to Jack Johnson ("In Between Dreams") on my iPod, blogging away, ... Life is good. Indeed.

My son Eric comes home from Europe tomorrow. I sooooo can't wait to see him! I got an email from him this morning. He was in the Pyrenees after having spent a few days in Paris (I can only hope this nice midwestern boy was behaving himself in Paris on a Saturday night!), then will make his way back to Barcelona and then to Minneapolis. I'm very much looking forward to spending my afternoon in the cities.

One mystery vehicle from Sunday's run has been identified: the chartreuse jeep belongs to Kirk Thomas, a personal trainer at the Y. Still have to identify the driver of the silver CR-V. ;-)

Talked to Ironwoman Wendy Nevala at the Y. She had a great time at Ironman AZ. She'll do another sometime, but not right away. Her husband Bill signed up for next year's Ironman AZ. Word has it that Judy Weller will be competing in Ironman Louisville. You guys are awesome.

I brought home Stairmaster #5 from the Y this morning. They're replacing all the equipment in the fitness center tomorrow and sold what they had. It will now reside at my home for the remainder of its useful life. ;-) A nice option when the weather is unfavorable. Still have to get my socialization fix at the Y, however.

Here's a Fetzer 2009 shirt idea. It'd be a baseball type shirt (3/4 length sleeves, not short sleeves as shown). Colors could easily change. In the background would be the names of pre-registered runners (I think I'll have him change the outline of the names from square to something a little softer). Let me know what you think, yeah or nay.

Off-Season Striders will run from Dunn Bros. on Elton Hills at 7:30 AM on Saturday. The route will be 10-12 miles (and as always, you're welcome to make it longer or shorter). It will be the annual holiday run. Dress in your finest holiday gear (think Santa hats, red/green clothing, etc.) if you so desire.

You have until Dec. 29 to RSVP for the RTC Annual Banquet . The banquet is January 10 at Willow Creek Golf Course clubhouse. RTC member Dr. Ed Creagan will be our speaker, and the annual awards will be presented.

From Rochester Active Sports Club:

The inaugural hike of hiking group was on December 6th and despite the weather was deemed a great success. The group is planning on going hiking on New Year's Day. Again, this would be a local hike somewhere nearby. If you are interested in working off some of the holiday calories, contact Kelly Classic or Norm Meeks.

Got a comment on the last post from a Steve from St. Paul, a photographer/triathlete, and another reader I don't know. I really like getting comments and it's certainly fun to see who's reading. So ... comment away! But be nice, of course. I read the following on a holiday greeting card: "He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He know if you've been bad or good" Inside: "Frankly, I'm a little creeped out ...". Funny. :-)

Thought for the day: "Learn to say kind things--nobody ever resents them." How true.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

And then ... into the deep freeze

At 11:00 this morning, the temperature was 40 degrees. Despite having run yesterday, there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to run at that temp and on ice-free surfaces (mostly). So out the door I went. Debated wearing shorts, but decided on pants. (There were 2 people out in shorts). There was still a fairly strong south wind, but it was very pleasant. Headed down to Running Room first to pick up a check. Mark Holland walked in, so we ran together for a bit up toward Silver Lake. He's still rahabing a knee, but was going to have in 9 miles by the time he got home. I went around the lake twice and by then the gloves and headband were off and my jacket unzipped. I met and greeted James Funk on the second loop. I headed back home the same way I'd started out. I met James again near the Civic Center and ran with him for maybe half a mile. I asked him how he was. One word answer. "Grumpy". OK ... I can play this game. So I said I was "Sleepy", "Dopey" and "Bashful". (7 dwarfs if you haven't caught on. Those were the only ones I could think of. :-) On 6th St SW, a couple in a chartreuse green jeep honked and waved furiously. I waved back ... but didn't recognize the car and didn't get a good look at the occupants. If you're reading this, please identify yourselves! Same for the silver Honda CR-V. :-) By the time I got home, it was definitely a lot cooler and the winds had really picked up. The thermometer said 28 degrees. (It's now 4 degrees.) 13.16 miles for today. That was enough.

The journey to a pillow

A couple of years ago, I made myself a jacket.

I started with several pieces of brushed cotton pastel plaid fabrics. I cut them into various sized squares and rectangles and sewed them all back together. Then I layered that piece on top of a loosely woven muslin and that was on top of a printed fabric (which became the lining). Quilted the whole piece using monofilament thread (clear, like very thin fishing line) and then washed it so it would crinkle up as the muslin shrinks more than the other fabrics.

Then, finally, I had the fabric out of which I'd make the jacket (the easy part!). I had a lot of leftover fabric when I was done, but really liked it so kept all the leftovers and made ...

a vest for my friend Jeanne. I still had leftovers. I kept them. They're just too cool (and too much work) to throw away. Waste not, want not, as they say.

Recently a friend was diagnosed with cancer. In the spirit of my homemade Christmas this year, I wanted to make her something. I decided it would be a pillow, and I decided to use up these fabrics. I finished it yesterday, just in time for her to start chemo this week. I brought it to her today and she really liked it and said she was going to bring it to all her chemo appointments. It made me very happy.

The RTC is now officially a member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Check it out Thanks to Mike Schmitt for taking care of this.

I was asked for my microwave Caramel Corn recipe last night. Might as well post it. It's easy and faster than the oven-baked version.

Microwave Caramel Corn
3 quarts popped corn (I use microwave popcorn--about a bag and a half)
Nuts (optional)
1/2 c. butter (one stick)
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Put popped corn in a large grocery bag. Melt butter; add syrup and sugar. Cook on HIGH for 2 min.; stir. Cook 3 min., stirring 3 times. Take out and add vanilla and soda. Pour over popcorn in bag. Fold top over twice. Shake. Cook on HIGH for 1 min. Shake. Cook another minute. Shake. Cook on HIGH 30 sec. Shake and pour onto waxed paper to cool.

Thought for the day: "Be cheerful! Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most inportant."

Stay warm.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, what a beautiful morning!

Did we ever luck out with the weather today. Wonderful running weather for mid-December. It was 34 degrees at about 6:00 AM and those temps are supposed to hold until sometime tomorrow, when they'll take a nose dive. So enjoy for today. We had a good turnout for the test run for the Lace-Up half in February. I believe John has the course pretty well nailed. My GPS read 13.12.

Also spotted out running: Shaun Stevens and Hiro Kita; walking: Dick and Jan Westerlund. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood. I always greet everyone I meet or pass with "Morning!" and today everyone returned my greeting! That always makes me happy.

New at Running Room: Yak Trax.

Rochester results for the Tecumseh Trail Marathon (Bloomington, IN 12/6): Rob Mitchell (6th place 3:28:39), Mark Carey (7th place 3:28:43), Chris Koch (10th place 3:32:49). Rob had this outstanding finish even after spraining his ankle at mile 7. Way to represent Rochester, guys! (pictured below, Chris and Rob at Treadman; Mark Carey)

From Jessica Schmitt: Premiering tomorrow, 12/14 on Discovery Health at 7 pm, Marathon Love. "A tragic accident had them saying their last goodbyes. Twenty years later, they're crossing the finish line together. Experience an inspiring story of a love without limits and the strength of the human spirit." Trailer Looks to be a tear jerker.

From Mike Schmitt: TCM will be the women's national marathon championship for 2009; TC10 will be the men's national 10-mile championship race. Read more

Well, my sewing machine is calling me today. I better answer the call.

Thought for the day: "People are like stained glass windows; they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within." --Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Go shine your light. :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008


Matt (youngest son) is home for the holidays as of today. Yeah! He'll be home until 1/11 except for a few trips back to school for band activities. From the amount of stuff he brought home, you'd think he was home for the summer. :-) Eric comes home on Wednesday, after spending the next 4 days in Paris. I can't wait to see him.

Last night was the RTC board potluck at Laura Lenz and Todd Rowekamp's home. Lots of food and fun. A good time was had by all. After a glass of wine, I even donned a hot pink supermodel wig (to be worn at the Polar Plunge). :-) I omitted that photo from the slideshow ...

Mike Schmitt brought pea soup last evening. It was delicious. I also like split pea soup, but this has a fresher, brighter flavor. Easy, quick and delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Mike.

Fresh Pea Soup
4 servings – 2/3 cup

2 cups vegetable stock
3 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Olive oil
4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese

1) Warm the stock over medium to low heat in a saucepan. Add the peas; cook until tender
2) Transfer peas and stock to a blender, and process until smooth, adding the balsamic vinegar toward the end.
3) Pour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and pour a little bit of olive oil on top. (I used ½ t per serving.) Grate or sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over.

Here's the recipe for the bars that taste just like Snickers from yesterday's post.

Tomorrow evening ... a Christmas party which will be replete with runners. Should be FUN!!

Extended hours this weekend at Running Room for your shopping pleasure: Saturday 9:30 to 8:00 and Sunday 8:30 to 8:00. Also, women's Saucony is 15% off and Nike timewear is 20% off
through Sunday.

From Mike Schmitt: Ford Ironman World Championship will be showcased on NBC this Saturday, Dec. 13, from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. ET.

Off-Season Striders: 7:30 AM Saturday at Running Room to preview the Lace-Up half marathon course. Temps are supposed to rise into the mid-20's overnight. Good running weather.

Thought for the day: "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than in two years trying to get other people interested in you." --Dale Carnegie


Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm Cookied Out ...

Yes, you may find that hard to believe, but I believe I've reached the saturation point in the cookie baking process and the baking extravaganza has come to an end. And I haven't eaten a one. And I don't want to see another cookie today ...

First, I made these little chocolate cups with peppermint filling. Putsy, but cute.

When I got done, about half the filling was still left over. So I made another batch of the cups so I could use up the filling as I didn't want to waste it.

Next up, these bars (more like candy) that taste just like a Snickers bar.

Four layers (chocolate, nougat, caramel, chocolate). Really good recipe that I've made for years.

Followed by my friend Kathryn's Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti recipe. The pistachios were whole and when I tried to cut them after the first baking, most of them just crumbled.

I'll have to see what I did wrong. Hers turn out wonderfully. I was going to dip half of each one in white chocolate but I'm not inclined to do that at this point. Enough is enough. BTW: Kathryn is the attorney I work for at Rochester Business Law Center .

Then ... Peanut Blossoms. I have a recipe I usually use but decided to look around a bit and maybe try a different one. I tried the one on the Land O'Lakes website which uses butter (of course!) instead of shortening and they turned out ...

perfect. ;-)

I made these the other day ... Peanut Sitting Pretties.

The recipe is in the Running Room December eMagazine .

This evening is the RTC board's annual potluck supper at Laura Lenz's home. I do believe wine is being served as I've been asked to bring glasses. I think a glass of wine sounds wonderful right now. I'm bringing dessert. Guess what I'm bringing?Yes, ... cookies. The hot pink super model wigs for the Polar Plunge will be delivered as well.

Get this, a first for me: Apparently, I heated up some dinner in the microwave last night and forgot to eat it as it was still in the microwave this morning. I remember eating a salad and a piece of bread with jam on it, but must have forgotten to eat the rest of my meal. I think I'm losing my marbles ... I can't even remember what was distracting me. No wonder I'm hungry in the evening.

Yesterday I had lunch along with 8 friends who are moms of kids who went to my sons' grade school, Central Lutheran . We've been getting together every year at this time for 11 years we figured out yesterday.

We have a great time. Every time. Sometimes there are tears to be shed (illness, death in the family, loss of a spouse) but this was a good year. We just laughed and laughed. Peggy, who moved to Scottsdale, even came back specifically this week so she could attend. It took us a whole 3 hours to finish talking. (BTW ... I told them their photo was going in my blog. From the left, counterclockwise are Kay, Georgia, Shirley, Peggy, Jeanne.) I already look forward to next year.

There are still spots available for the Resolution Run on January 1. The race benefits the Y Strong Kids campaign and includes a black and red running jacket. Start the new year off on the right foot! (Left is just fine, too. :-) Online registration only.

I heard from Steven from Mpls. (via a blog comment) and just read in Runner's World this morning that screw shoes are a whole lot cheaper than Icebugs. That they are! (I did get mine on clearance at Gear West, but they still were a bit more than $1.20 :-) I'd heard of this before, but for some reason pictured the head of the screw in the sole of the shoe instead of the other way around. Good thing there are pictures! I might give this a try with an old pair of shoes and see how they compare. Stay tuned.

Just a reminder that the weekend long run will be at Running Room on Saturday at 7:30 am and we'll be running the Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer half marathon route (February 15 event). You can shorten it as you like. We'll go across Broadway to Brothers Bar & Grill afterwards.

Quote for the day: "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." --Eleanor Roosevelt

Until next time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Shoes

I don't much feel like doing my typical post today. I've been listening to Y105 (all Christmas music) quite a bit. There's one song they play that always tugs at my heartstrings for various reasons and I'd been waiting to post the lyrics. Today feels like the right day. It's called Christmas Shoes.

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
Trying to buy that last gift or two
I'm really in the Christmas mood
Standing right in front of me
Was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing around like little boys do
And in his hands he held
A pair of shoes.

And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say.

Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry Sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus, tonight.

They counted pennies for what seem like years
And cashier says son there's not enough here
He searches is pockets franticly
And he turned and he looked at me
And he said Momma made Christmas good at our house
Most years she just did without
Tell me Sir
What am I gonna do?
Some how I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes.

So I layed the money down
I just had to help him out
And I'll never forget
The look on his face
When he said Momma's gonna look so great.

Sir I wanna buy these shoes, for my Momma please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry Sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful,
If Momma meets Jesus tonight.

I knew I caught a glimpse of heaven's love as he thanked me and ran out.
I know that God had sent that little boy to remind me
What Christmas is all about.

Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry Sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus tonight
I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus tonight.

Play it

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Running in a Winter Wonderland

It certainly does look and feel like winter out there today! My day started by not being able to get out of the neighborhood while trying to go to the Y. Got stuck on the first corner as the plow hadn't been by yet and we had about 6" of new snow. So I decided to break out the Icebugs for the first time this season and head out for a run. It was still precipitating when I left about 5:30. I headed out on my 7 1/4 mile route. Going north was painful ... literally. My eyes were hurting. These little pellets of snow were being blown directly into my face by the strong north winds. Ouch. It was great having traction and not having to worry about ice as it was still dark. Down by TJ Maxx I actually saw another runner coming toward me! As I got closer, I recognized the stride. It was ... Deb Dilling! We greeted each other but didn't stop to talk. (BTW: The bike path was already plowed between 2nd St SW and Fox Valley Drive for those who run far SW). When I got back to Fox Valley Drive on the west side I decided to keep going around the hill and back around to Folwell Drive. Talked with Mike Holmes for a couple minutes (he was snowblowing the driveway). Got home and had 10.02 miles on the GPS. Enjoyable run (other than the snow pellets in my eyes!). Lionel Cheng is missing out on all the fun ... he's temporarily running his miles back home in Singapore while there for a visit.

I attended the Mayor's Medal of Honor lunch today. My husband got the Mayor's Medal for Service in Education for his volunteer work in the public schools. RTC's K.C. Reed got the Mayor's Medal for City Service for his contributions to the RTC, Polar Plunge, Scouts and Law Enforcement Torch Run. Congratulations!

After shoveling out the driveway, I decided to hit the cookie baking in a BIG way.

Two different cut-out cookie recipes--one has a little sour cream, the other, a little cream cheese. I believe there are roughly 140 or so snowflakes in that photo. And I piped designs on every last one of them. I do believe I'll be decorating snowflakes in my sleep tonight. This is a good start on all of the cookies that I owe people. I have the rest of the week off work so it's going to be a cookie baking extravaganza in my kitchen for the next few days. :-)

Last night was our Cooking Light get together at Barb Braun's (appetizers and desserts).

My friends Jay and Joan have a wood-fired bread oven in their backyard, and our cooking group has been fortunate enough to be able to enjoy bread or pizza at their house once a year for the last few years. As a small token of our appreciation, we invite them to our December meal. Well, Jay brought his fabulous sourdough baguettes, still warm from the outdoor oven with a crackly crust, over to Barb's last night. To DIE for.

Give me freshly baked bread and some (real) butter and I'm one happy camper. I decided to eat an extra piece of bread and forego dessert. I'm hungry ... can you tell??

OK. Let's move off the foodie stuff and on to some running stuff before I find myself in the kitchen ...

Off-Season Striders will be doing a test run of the Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer Half Marathon course on Saturday morning. Meet at Running Room at 7:30. There are lots of ways to shorten the route. Afterwards, we'll go over to Brother's for coffee and whatever. Here's the route:

News on the WinterFest Trifecta (Stair Climb, Polar Plunge, and Lace-Up): You can now participate in either the 5K or the Half Marathon to be eligible for special recognition and/or prizes.

SkirtSports has 12 items on sale for $12 each. I have one of their running skirts and really like it. Doesn't ride up ...

Guess that's it.

Quote for the day: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." --Helen Keller

Talk at you later!

Monday, December 8, 2008

There's Something in the Air

And it's snow! Quite a lot of it, too, apparently . Up to 10" and strong winds by the time all is said and done sometime tomorrow. I do believe we'll have a white Christmas this year. Well, with any kind of luck I'll be housebound and baking cookies tomorrow. :-) (I owe many different people a total of 14 dozen as of this writing.)

I may have to get out my Icebug shoes and go for a little run in the snow in the morning. Icebugs have carbide studs in the soles and work great, especially on really hard ice. Just don't wear them in the house. :-)

I went for a 7.27 mile run yesterday morning early (5:45 AM) ... the usual, down Fox Valley Drive SW to county 22, north to 2nd St SW, around the base of the hill and back up Fox Valley Dr. It was -5 at the airport, but we had about 1 degree here. It was very nice. There was virtually no wind. It was dark, quiet and peaceful. I had a very good run.

Christmas at Luther yesterday was wonderful. The roads weren't, but the concert was.

Some years I like their selection of music better than others and this was one where I really liked it. They also added a handbell choir. Someone donated a set of bells to the school. During one song, the handbells started being played one by one by members of the different choirs scattered all over the auditorium until they were all being played along with the vocals. So the bell sounds were coming from all over. Hard to explain I guess, but it was pretty neat. We weren't supposed to use cameras during the concert so the photo is of just the orchestra getting set up--and it's blurry at that.

My son Eric has been at the concert with my friend and I for the last 3 years, but as he's in Europe he wasn't there with us yesterday. I really miss him and can't wait for the boys to be home. Here's a photo of the boys from last December rolling Kringla for me.

They did a super job. I'll be hitting them up for help again this year.

This evening it's our holiday get-together at Barb Braun's for our Cooking Light group. We don't have assigned courses and a sit down dinner as we usually do, but bring appetizers, desserts and wine instead. I thought about bringing a dessert, but there's only so much of that stuff you can eat, so I decided to bake some (yeast) bread instead. It's a recipe I've not tried, but it should be kind of sweet as it contains dried cherries, chocolate chips and toasted pecans. It's not from Cooking Light, but it does contain whole wheat flour. No sugar or fat in the dough. Turned out kind of flat.

Lots of markdowns on shoes at Running Room . And the 20% off coupon in the eMagazine is good all month.

You have until 12/29 to RSVP for the RTC Annual Banquet to be held Saturday, January 10. RSVPs may be sent to David Sletten .

Regarding the Polar Plunge Polar Plunge : I've been assured by K.C. Reed that the following will not be happening on February 14.

My neighbor just brought over a tray of cookies. The onslaught of cookies from the neighbors has officially begun! So has the snow. :-)

Well, it's now 3:23 PM and I do believe I forgot to eat lunch. At this point, I might as well skip it. Don't need the calories anyway. I did eat half a piece of lefse at some point during the afternoon. :-)

Thought for the day: "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift."

Enjoy your today.