MIMM: Hatchday, Pretty Light, Knees, and Insane Decisions

Hey everyone!  How’s your Monday going?

DSCN3124 DSCN3127 DSCN3137 DSCN3143 DSCN3160 DSCN3159Mine’s been pretty…pretty, to say the least.  As a Washingtonian, such flagrant displays of sunshine are something of a rarity, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been taking full advantage of these picture-perfect summer days by frolicking about, soaking up the Vitamin D.

I’ve never really been one of those people who need an extra boost on Mondays to get through the week, even when school/activities are in session–I’ve just never hit the “Monday wall” that I guess so many people run into.  I’ve already confessed my nerdship to you guys–Monday is basically my favorite day of the week!  Not only is it usually pretty light on homework because teachers don’t like to take the time to concoct elaborate assignments over the weekends, school STARTS UP AGAIN and I know it’s going to be the beginning of a (potentially gruelingly) glorious week!

Still, it never hurts to get a little extra boost, even if your biggest worry right now is that the hammock that’s callin’ your name is gonna get lonely.

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The weekend was pretty enjoyable marvelous.  I hosted Citrus’ third hatchday party–I made sad-looking but still (IMO) cute cockatiel cookies and we bopped around outside.  There was a sleepover and we all got very slap-happy.  We were tired in the morning but there were muffins (with both lemon and seeds–perfect for a bird named Citrus!) made by me and a frittata made by Mother Dearest (with potatoes inside–tasted like hashbrowns!!).  I do so love hashbrowns.

Alas, we did not have a circular cookie cutter, so I had to shape the sugar cookie dough (nomnomnom) with a beer-can chicken prop-thing.  (My culinary vocabulary falters when it comes to meat…)

To make the cookies, I used the Savvy Vegetarian cookie dough recipe, this recipe for coconut whip as a frosting (tinted yellow with food coloring), Craisins for eyes, chopped up Watermelon Laffy Taffy for the beaks, and mangled “orange slices” candies for the orange cheek circles.DSCN3042 DSCN3052

This totally didn't happen what are you talking about.  Not straight from the beater, never.

This totally didn’t happen what are you talking about. Not straight from the beater, never.

I wouldn't recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip--it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely.  I used...whatever this brand is.

I wouldn’t recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip–it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely. I used…whatever this brand is.

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Beaks!  Haha

Beaks! Haha

Aaaaand the final result.  Bit homely, but that’s okay! 🙂

Citrus approves.

Citrus approves.

Other marvelous things today…

Can we talk patella bracing for a sec?  I’m in love.  I don’t think that’s hyperbole.  Anything that was enough to lift me out of the forced 8-month running break thanks to these dang knees is virtually a Messiah in my eyes.  (I think it was probably the braces in adjunct with my rest, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic ultrasounds, but hey, whatever works…)  To my surprise, I haven’t lost all of my (nonexistent to begin with) running prowess, and the braces allowed me to attend my first *OFFICIAL* XC practice last Friday!  I hope to attend two more this week!  We’ll see how that goes…alas, my mileage maximum right now is approximately 3.  (Maybe four on the hamster wheel?)  By the end of the summer we’re supposed to be easily running 8…

This brings me to my first INSANE DECISION OF THE DAY!  This one is way less insane than my other one, but it’s still a big thrill for me.  I signed up for another 5k!!  This one’s on August 24th, and, while running in the heat ain’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m beyond stoked!  If I can even get close to my time on my first-and-only 5k, then it will be a huge reassurance for me that, though my knees doth plague me, I can get my kickassery and (somewhat) speed back with enough motivation.  (To any “serious” runners out there reading this:  I know a 5k is not a huge distance.  It’s kind of a menial race.  But, alas, my body is NOT DESIGNED FOR RUNNING WHATSOEVER [sitting and blogging is more my speed, how ’bout you?] and a 5k is a big deal to me!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pancakes 009(Throwback to the morning of my first 5k, waiting in the starting line.  Pay no attention to the ominous disembodied hand on my shoulder; someone else is cropped out.  And notice the fear hiding behind the forced smile–the glazed eyes, the overall absent disposition.  I was convinced I was going to die that day.)

Incidentally, you know what’s harder than running a 5k?

………………………..Biking two hundred and two miles.

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Yeah, it’s insane.  We’ve covered this.  And it will require buying a new bike, and/or some road tires for my current trusty steed mountain bike.  But recently (yesterday-recently), la madre de una de mis amigas (I’m not sure why I phased into Spanish here, but I couldn’t think how to word it in English) participated in the Cascade Bicycle Club/Group Health Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, a one- or two-day event that spans a total of 202-point-something miles.  Which gave me a sudden and intense burst of inspiration.  It’s a recreational ride, not a race, but from my extensive Googling of the thing last night it looks. epic.  And everyone says you need to dream big and set high goals to keep your morale buoyed, right?  So.  I’ve got a year to train.  I post this to the internet so I can’t back down–next year, Daddio and I will be participating in the 2014 Seattle-to-Portland ride.  And we will rock that epic $#*@.

Much moreso than for running, my body (and quads) like biking.  While the farthest ride I’ve ever taken to date was just 40 miles with lots of hills, and I died afterwards–I’ve got a year.  Best get on this.

Ahh.  The inevitable foot selfie.  (For some reason I just tried to spell “foot” as “fut”…)  Daddio and I went on a short (10 mile?) ride today, and I plan to get some running on the hamster wheel done as well.  Fitness, here I come!

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And arrachgha, yes, I need to do a poemography post today, since I’ve skipped out on that for, what, three weeks?!  Problem is, I only have one line to work with… #poetictrialsandtribulations

“Rather than people who shine–

I like people who glow

is the line, but I’m not sure how to weave that into a poem.  Would it be all right if poemography was extended to flash fiction?  I know I made the rules, but you guys can change them.  I’ll luv ya forever 😉

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August 2012 Recap

HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!!  A glorious new month, full of potential rain …let’s strive to make it memorable.  It being the first of September and all, I figured it was time for a little recap of the highlights of the past month in the life of The Girl in the Orange.  August was, incidentally, my first month of blogging!

So, let’s see, last month I officially started running, learned how to make my own almond milk, dived into this blog, wrote a good 30,000 words in my novel plus a couple thousand awful ones, had the most fun I’ve had at a party since I’ve moved here, ate too much hummus and too many cookies, received a good-quality fountain pen (SO EXCITING!   and so nerdy…), wrote letters to my faraway friends that I’ve been unintentionally procrastinating for half a year, ate some delicious food, and laughed a lot.  At myself, mostly, but no matter.  Oh, and, yeah…

I GOT MY HAIR CHOPPED OFF.

Still so tickled by that!  But you, on the other hand, are probably bored of it… moving on.

One Month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…photography:

Unintentionally zoomed in dog photography.  Ah, the loyal canine.  They’ll take care of expression without you even having to say “Cheese!”

Although, if you do, I promise you their whole face will light up.  In the case of my dogs, cheese does help with the whole photoshoot process (as a bribe, not a command).

Weird dewy zucchini flowers with inexplicable intrigue.

Blackberry cobbler breakfast attempt.  The breakfast itself was nothing to get excited about, but the photo?  Swoon-worthy.  If you habitually swoon over that kind of thing.

My favorite outcome of Project: Present Peach Parfaits Perfectly.  I love how the fancy-schmancy DSLR camera lets me focus on the parfait while diffusing the book in the background..!  It still adds an air of mystery to the photo.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Oh She Glows.  You guys probably think I’m an OSG stalker by now–I think I’ve referenced at least three of her recipes in the past month.  This is because I am, in fact, an Oh She Glows stalker.

*Blushes* Hi, Angela.

If you’ll believe it, that oatmeal was made with this carrot…

…which we just, you know, grew ourselves.  Can I get a woo-woo?!  This would have never been possible in Wyoming..

*sniff sniff* They grow up so fast.  This is a big deal for me, you guys.  My very own carrot.  Look at how handsome he is.

Pasta salad mother dearest threw together one night.  Arugula (bleck–one of the few veggies I cannot tolerate!) extra-virgin olive oil, penne noodles, grape tomatoes, and various cheeses.  Okay, so technically I took this picture in July, but it’s still one of my favorite food photos that I’ve ever shot.  And I didn’t do a monthly recap in July.

..food:

This tofu-less “neat” loaf from the cookbook Let Them Eat Vegan!, which Susan Voisin posted on her blog.  Oh my gosh, this was delicious, satisfying, flavorful…just overall yummy.  And I didn’t need to run to the store to buy anything!  Score two for the “neat” loaf.  I recommend that you make it.  Plus, when you’re mixing all of the seasonings together, they are so gorgeous in their eclectic disarray that you smile quietly to yourself and snap a picture:

That would be rolled oats, tahini, nutritional yeast, fresh thyme leaves, soy sauce, blackstrap molasses, oregano, fresh basil, flaxseed, and ketchup.  Isn’t it just…cool-lookin’?

You know what’s really sad?  I don’t think I even knew what half of this stuff was before I went vegetarian.  But this delightful conglomeration was deliciously savory.

This Iron Woman Gingerbread Smoothie from…uh, well, hehe, Oh She Glows, is delicious and a perfect “transition” smoothie into our cozy fall months.  Please, no one say I have to give up drinking smoothies once October hits!  I’ve made this smoothie three times this month and loved every sip.  The blackstrap molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg combine to make a cold smoothie that somehow warms you up inside…it just feels so snuggly and Fally autumnal.  Plus, what vegetarian girl doesn’t appreciate being able to drink a delicious 30%+ of her daily iron requirement through a straw??

Also, lots and lots of green smoothies made with farmer’s market kale.  They are actually quite tasty, plus you feel so virtuous after drinking one you just want to go run a marathon.

Yeah…I bet you can figure out for yourself why this picture didn’t go into the “Photography Highlights” section.  Do not judge a book by its cover.  Or a smoothie by its apparent sliminess.

The aforementioned Carrot Cake Oatmeal was pretty insane, too.

…things that made me smile:

1st encounter:  I was waiting in line for the self-checkout at the library when little bro pointed out to me that the regular checkouts were open.  He wanted to know why we weren’t using one of them, so I confessed, “Because I’m scared of librarians.”   I must have said it a little too loudly, because then a tall man walked in front of us (I can only assume he was a librarian) and arranged his face into the most bizarre expression ever, complete with fingers in his ears and his tongue sticking out.  I was a little shocked at first, but on the bike ride back home I mulled over it and realized it actually made my day.  Thank you, crazy scary librarian guy!

2nd encounter: On our mountain biking trip in the forest, as I have already mentioned, some more experienced biker saved us from the ‘Lost Valley’ course that we were dying on and directed us to the more user-friendly courses.  I don’t think my excitement toward future mountain biking trips would exist had I thought that all the courses were like that.  Thank you, kind mountain cyclist man!

Ah, August.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Mountain Biking

Sadly, I do not have a Wordless Wednesday post for you guys today.  This is partly because I am really not doing anything much of interest that doesn’t involve fruit preservation and the like, and you guys have already had your fill of that, I’m sure.  It’s also partly because I’ve been feeling kind of…blaaah lately.  Not all the time–in the mornings when I’m running I feel awesome.  But after that the day just drags on and on and I don’t really feel like I’m getting anything accomplished…blah.  I’m the kind of person who needs structure in her life, and when that isn’t provided for me by a rigorous wake-eat-school-run-homework-eat-cockatiel QT-sleep schedule, I tend to get kind of frayed at the edges.  Part of me looks forward to September 5, when all things scholarly will be officially starting up again, and part of me is still reveling in the profound lack of homework we are all experiencing right now.

You guys have probably figured out by now that when my posts aren’t “Wordless”, they tend to be kind of verbose! 😉

Onto the topic of this post.  Last weekend we loaded up the family’s bikes and headed down to a local forest with lots of trail rides.  I have to admit I was pretty psyched by the prospect–in fact, that was going to be this week’s Wordless Wednesday post.  I got out my camera and took pictures of pumping up the tires, my water bottle, the bike rack, the lifetime supply of granola bars we brought, my breakfast…you know, the essentials. 😉  I soon realized, however, that it would not be feasible to try to take pictures while we were on the ride.  I was too busy gripping the handlebars for dear life.

I wanted to blog about my first time mountain biking because it was such a terrifying unique experience and I like to keep tabs on all the new activities I’m trying out.  I think I would like to go again this weekend…but at the same time, I felt like I was going to die while I was doing it.  Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if we didn’t accidentally start out on the “Lost Valley” course or whatever it was and actually tried the beginner route first, but it was still highly…exhilerating, to say the least.

I have a new kind of respect for mountain bikers now.  Before we got to the forest I was picturing mountain biking as being just like road biking, except on a mountain bike and with pretty scenery.

Hooo boy was I wrong.  We pulled up to the campground and I soon realized we were looking at biking along something that looked like this…

Hills all the way.  Giant stumps in the middle of the path.  Your front tire only just barely narrow enough to ride along the path in the first place.  MUD.  Gah, it was scary.

Little bro crashed twice.  I was pretty far ahead of him, so it was both painful and sadistically amusing to listen to his wails, increasing in intensity as he teetered ever closer to whatever he was going to crash into.  He finally felt like he was getting compensated for his “suffering a lot of pain” when I took a picture of his knee “injury” to post on here…

 

Because this blog is so famous.  Obviously.

To give him credit, the picture doesn’t really do it justice.  He did take a bad spill and cut it open, along with some bruising.  But nothing too serious.  Heck, my knee would have looked worse than that if I hadn’t walked my bike 7/8 of the course.  I’m not a wimp.  I just feared for my life.

When we finally realized we were on the wrong course (actually, it wasn’t a realization so much as an older, wiser, experienced man taking pity on us, pulling over and suggesting kindly that we backtrack and try the beginner trail.  To our incredulous, “Weren’t we on that one already?”. I believe in the goodness of people again!) and made it back to the campground, Dad and I took off sans-bro-and-mom to take a spin on the beginner trail.  I appreciated this one heartily.  Lots of uphill, which I liked because I had to work at it and I felt secure.  But coming back on the downhill scared the crap out of me.  I love thrill rides and the like because I know there’s no danger of me actually dying…mountain biking doesn’t have that same secure feeling for me, especially when squeezing my handbrake as hard as I can and still hurtling over the dirt at mach speed.

I think we’re giving it another go soon though.  I’m a bit nervous but I like a challenge. 😉  I’ll let you guys know how it works out!  In the meantime, I must do something productive with my summer…does blogging count? 😉

Are there any experienced mountain bikers out there who could volunteer some tips about getting over the “I’m dying, I’m dying, and now there’s a root in my path and it’s going to send me flying over the handlebars” phobia?