Friday, March 26, 2010

Cutest Cupcake Presentation - Ever!

12 mini-cupcakes packaged in an egg holder. The cupcakes were my first ever from Magnolia Bakery. They were delicious - just about two bites each with almost too much frosting. They were a mix of chocolate cake and vanilla cake all topped with vanilla frosting. The color palette was so cute for spring and each cupcake had a different topping of sprinkles or sugar flowers.
And the best part is Melissa had them delivered post-1/2 marathon so I could eat as many as I wanted and not feel guilty! They were a perfect post-race reward.

Where's Beckham?

That crazy adorable cat is providing me with so much material lately.

In an effort to keep Sadie from going up and down the cat stairs we tucked them under the front entry table.

It took us a few minutes to find him in his new secret spot but of course Beckham decided this was a perfect place for a nap. He nestled himself under the table and in between the cat toy bucket and the recycling bag.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why Is It...

when I buy a lottery ticket I always have expectations of winning?

I know the lottery is tax for people who can't do math - I know the odds of me winning any amount of money let alone the millions of dollars for the big jackpot are ridiculous. Yet every time I buy a ticket and subsequently check the numbers I am disappointed when I haven't won.

And usually the longer I wait to check the numbers the more disappointed I am - because I'm just sure that old ticket is a big winner and I have been silly letting it age on my desk.

"A dollar and a dream" = great marketing!

Where's Beckham?

He's sleeping in the sun - and there is nothing cuter than a sleeping cat!

He was really tired - otherwise he wouldn't have let me shoot this video. Usually he wakes up, hisses, and runs as soon as he sees the camera. I love the twitching - is he dreaming about wrestling with Roxy?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Runner's Log 3.21.10

10 weeks of training...

179 miles.....

All for one step over the finish line, one big triumphant step a 2:53:08 - I didn't get swept and I finished under 3 hours.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Arts and Crafts

I was left to my own devices last weekend as Michael was enjoying the sun and Spring Training baseball in Tampa, FL. (He did get some rain too - one baseball game was cancelled and so was the round of golf. Boo hoo - and don't even get me started on his sun burn!)

I didn't make my usual plans to see a show, instead I had the biggest 'to do' list on the planet. Even as I was making the list I knew it was ridiculous. But I love a good list and I love crossing things off the list.
A friend of mine in San Diego recently had a baby - even before the baby was due I wanted to make her a baby blanket. Well little Colton was born before I was able to get the blanket made, but it was completed over the weekend and mailed yesterday - so he should get it before he is even a month old.
The front is a super soft fleece with embroidered dogs. They have the cutest chocolate lab named Tucker - I bet he is the best dog with the little baby.

The back is flannel with a tiny palm tree print - my homage to San Diego.

And of course the blanket is trimmed in shiny soft satin.

I hope he loves his blanky and yay for one more thing off of the list!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Roxy's New Spot

Yes, she has been caught several times in the kitchen sink! I think she is scavenging for little food bits (because you know she is starving and doesn't get served food 3 times a day) - but she will go in there when it is empty too. Maybe the little drops of water on the porcelain taste so much better than water from the big water bowl?

I even managed to catch her on video - what a silly cat!

Plan B - The Inn at Essex

And finally - some posts on our long weekend in Vermont.

After a 10 hour train ride that left late we arrived at The Inn at Essex. A full service resort that was charming and packed with amenities.

The front desk area had coffee in the morning and warm apple cider at night. There was a cozy library packed with books, puzzles, and games.

Thursday night we were assigned a wheelchair accessible room. This is not our preference so after breakfast Friday morning we asked for a different room. We were easily accommodated and ended up just down the hall in a red room. The sitting area is pictured below.

They also offered complimentary turn down service - but they didn't tell you that at check-in. We read it in the hotel information book and made sure to call for our turn-down every night. Housekeeping turned down the bed, turned the lights to low, set jazz music on the radio, and left Lake Champlain chocolates on the pillows. Who doesn't love turn down service?

The Inn at Essex had a beautiful spa facility. We spent most of Friday afternoon/early evening relaxing in the spa. We both enjoyed a massage and then spent some time in the lounge - we even shared a cheese plate. From there we went to the separate men's/woman's facilities to enjoy the steam room and sauna. The spa was really quiet and we almost had the entire place to ourselves, I can't think of a better way to spend the day.

The grounds at the Inn were pretty much covered in snow (although for Vermont it was hardly any snow), but there were plenty of great architectural features like the gazebo at the intersection of various walkways that we were able to enjoy.

And we're always suckers for a swimming pool. They had a huge indoor pool. It was the nicest indoor pool facility I have ever seen. It was clean, it didn't smell like too much chlorine, it wasn't musty, they had big fluffy towels and lots of pool toys.

And they had an outdoor hot tub! The hot tub looked better at night, with just a few lights and lots of steam rising up from the hot water. It was so cold outside, no matter how long you stayed in the hot tub you never were over heated. The night we went in the hot tub it was about 14 degrees outside - it was really cold going from the indoor pool to the hot tub, getting out was better as you were nice and warm from sitting in the hot tub for so long.

Vermont might not have been Dublin, but it was a great vacation. This was our second trip to Vermont and we know we will go back. Vermont has beautiful scenery, friendly people, maple syrup, and cheese - what else do you need in life?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Runner's Log 3.7.10

Or Hooray for Hollywood!

Central Park - 9 miles in 2 hours. Awesome. 4.5 mph pace - good enough to keep me from being swept.

It is an amazingly beautiful day here today. Bright blue skies and in the low 50's. I was very warm running, I could have been in a short sleeve shirt and been very comfortable. I was thinking how just two weeks ago the park was covered in snow and there were more people there sledding than running/walking/biking. Today I think most of NYC was out in the park exercising.

Sighted: a racoon! It was big and cruising through the bushes just west of the Delacorte Theatre. Quite a few people spotted it and several were taking photos. It was cute and so surprising to see out during the day.

I basically did 1 and 1/2 loops around the park - I wanted to do all 9 miles in the park and I decided to skip the Reservoir as I wasn't sure if it would be runnable. Because it is 1 mile to and from the park I actually did 11 miles today. I was pretty slow walking to and from the park, I'm counting those as official miles but it's nice to know I did almost the full half marathon distance of 13.1 miles.

Two weeks before the race. I really need to focus on my training, getting plenty of sleep, and eating well the next two weeks.

As my reward for a successful run today I am watching the Oscar's all afternoon. I plan to make real popcorn - the kind you pop in a pot on the stove with oil, butter, and salt! And I have lobster mac 'n cheese for dinner (leftover from dinner at Fish last night - so delicious I can hardly stand it. A thick white cheese sauce dotted with black pepper for a touch of heat that perfectly offsets the creaminess of the sauce and filled with chuncks of sweet lobster meat). I can't think of a better way to spend the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Blogus Interuptus

You may have noticed the daily posts of early February have slowed down considerably.

Here are the top reasons that have lead to the decline:

1) Olympic Fever - seriously I could not get enough of the Winter Olympics. They had me hooked with the Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations all the way through to the giant inflatable beavers at the 'Made in Canada' march during the Closing Ceremony. And how awesome is Curling? Curling was on quite a bit during the day and it while it was fun trying to figure out the point system and strategy the real entertainment came from the announcers. They had 3 Canadian Curlers and Fred Roggin doing color commentary. It was nothing less than awesome. A bientot Winter Olympics!

2) Immediate cessation of project acclimatization - between the Olympics (I kept staying up for the late night coverage) and my real dislike for waking up early the 7am rise and shine has moved to a more acceptable 8am. And for those of you who think I am slacking off - don't worry, I'm at the office by 8:01am. Work doesn't suffer, just the blog.

3) Medical emergencies - our sweet kitty Sadie had a stroke last Monday night. She had us very scared and she was in the ICU at Animal Medical Center until Saturday evening. At that point she was discharged but with a plan for some intensive home care. She is proving to be quite a fighter and she has been making incredible progress at home. She still wants to be living large as a Fat Cat in NYC and we are doing all we can to support her efforts.

The good news is I have several blogs about Vermont brewing. I plan to work them in and get you all caught up soon .

Runner's Log 3.2.10

Hills and valleys....

Sunday training was a 10K race - 6.2 miles, or a little more than one lap around Central Park.

It was 38 degrees and cloudy, a little cooler than my last run through the park and no sun. I was cold but that motivated me to get moving.

My uber-stretch goal was to run the lap in an hour, for me this would be an unheard of 6 mph pace, or 10 minutes a mile. My realistic stretch goal was 5 mph or 12 minutes a mile and the acceptable goal was to be done in 1 hour and 20 minutes to be on non-sweep pace.

I loaded the iPod with some new music. I made sure I knew which song was at the hour mark and which song was at 1 hour 20 minutes. I headed north on Park Dr. and I was doing OK on the slight uphill grade. (On my shorter runs I started setting the treadmill at an incline to get in some hill practice.) I kept setting short term goals - run to that stop light, I would hit the stop light and still feel OK so then I would run to the turn, or the ice skating rink and then it was the Great Hill. I made it at least half way up the hill before I had to take a break and walk. Much better than my first attempt on the hill. I hit my hour mark and knew I had around a mile and a half left to run. I finished the park loop (6.03) miles in just under 77 minutes (1 hour 17 minutes, 12.76 minutes per mile or about 4.7 mph). This is well under non-sweep pace - awesome!

Monday is strength training and stretch day, gotta give those leg muscles a break after a long run on Sunday. I passed the time in the gym being tortured by The Bachelor. How could he pick Vienna? I would like to say I won't watch that show again, but come on - I know I will so let's just move along.

Today the training schedule lists a 5 mile run. My plan was to run to the park (1 mile) do two laps around the Reservoir (just over 3 miles) and then run back home (1 mile).

I made it to the park but the path around the Reservoir was in horrible condition - it was either covered with slushy icy snow, mud, or puddles of water. I ended up going south on Park Drive to some point past 72nd (just over 1 mile), from there I turned around and went back up to 90th (about 1 mile), exited the park and down to 79th on 5th Ave (1/2 mile), across 79th to York Ave (1 mile) and then home (1/2 mile). I managed to get in my 5 miles but it took me longer than the 6 miles on Sunday. Bummer! I just didn't have the legs and having my route plan disrupted didn't help either.

On the positive side I learned that eating a handful of Reese's Pieces about an hour before a run doesn't give you the same amount of energy as Coach's Oats, GU gummies, or a protein shake. I'm glad I proved out this valuable research before race day.