Today’s Calorie Burn–1260!

I love my Garmin Forerunner GPS running watch! Granted, the little alert notifying me after each mile is faint, so I only hear about every third or fourth little “beep”, but other than that I am quite enjoying me new toy. Which I have used exactly twice. Today I went on a long run/walk (about 3/4 running, 1/4 walking)–12.21 miles to be exact–then uploaded the route and data to the Garmin Connect site. Good mileage, slow pace (which is normal). The route is plotted on a map as well. But my favorite piece of data? The number of calories burned! Okay, I don’t know what sort of algorithm Garmin uses and I’m sure it’s pretty crude, but man, I love looking at that number after a long, hard workout! 1260 calories!!! I earned those chocolate-covered marshmallow Peeps I ate to replenish my body’s glycogen!

Slight budding action on the trees!

This long, drawn-out, irritatingly maddening winter may finally be starting to lose its grip here in Indiana. My silver maples are starting to bud and I’ve seen daffodil shoots just start poking out of the ground. After a morning low of 15 degrees (on March 26!), the temperatures climbed into the upper 30s. Okay, not exactly springlike but the winds have shifted to the south, which brings the promise of warmer temperatures tomorrow. Budding trees may indeed be one of my favorite early signs of spring, something to start me thinking about planting my (quite small) garden. This year? Several containers of Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, a variety that I containered last year with good (and delicious) results.

This is the time my thoughts turn to canning. I’m thinking fewer jams and more salsas. Or specifically, more jars of peach salsa. There is nothing quite like opening a jar of summer in the middle of a typically dreary and cold Indiana winter. Two years ago we had a very warm March followed by a very cold April (with a series of frosts and freezes). Unfortunately, the peach (and apple) trees had blossomed. End result? Hoosier orchardists lost about 90% of their crops. I canned about 6 or 7 jars of salsa that year. Much better last year and I canned 15 jars. My goal for 2014 is 30 jars! But not all for me–I like to give them as gifts (and they are typically well received). So, friends, let’s all hope for a good Indiana peach crop this year. Who knows? You may be in line for a gift from moi!

PeachSalsa2013

Peach Salsa August 2013

Happy Spring!

As of 12:57 PM EDT, the sun’s direct rays crossed the equator to signal the start of the astronomical spring (meteorological and climatological spring began March 1). While the local extended forecast is indicating HIGH temperatures in the 30s for part of next week and the landscape is still one of a brown, barren winter (albeit sans snow), the arrival of the Spring Equinox signifies a rebirth. To me, it’s almost like a second New Year and I will take the time to reflect on my new beginnings this weekend. To all of you I send warm spring wishes and a picture of my saucer magnolia tree from a few springs ago. This tree is in full bloom for only a few days, but oh, what glorious days! I am starting to see some bud action on the silver maples, but the magnolia is still hibernating.

Blooming Tree1

On Friendship–A Shoutout to my Tribe!

calvinhobbes_friends1

My tribe is far flung—Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Delaware, Michigan, New York, Italy—but close to my heart at all times. Who is my tribe? Those brilliant, wonderful, interesting, admirable women I’ve been so very grateful to have in my life. My tribe is comprised of women who are more than mere acquaintances—these are women who are Friends with a capital “F”. Tribe, whether I see you often or rarely, I think of you and want you to know how much you enrich my life!

So, a quick shoutout to my tribe!

Thanks, Lauren, for being there and listening and offering your good, solid, needed advice, as well as getting me started with weight training! Thanks for being my (very stylish!) Starbucks buddy and DIY inspiration and health consultant!

Thanks, Lynne, for sharing with me your wonderfully infectious smiles and kind words! It’s nice to know that I can count on you to inspire my teaching. You were the perfect roommate for the Lilly Conference, too!

Thanks, Marga, for opening up to me and allowing me to open up to you. You are such an inspiration and a true Burner! I am so glad we me and I value your friendship. Plus, I’ve learned so much about the health impacts of our conventional food system from you.

Thanks, Heidi, for being the best sister and most fun sous chef ever! I am truly grateful for our shared DNA.

Thanks, Claire, for befriending me when I moved to Iowa and for sharing with me your understanding of the dynamics of life in academia and other topics of conversation. I was pretty green and appreciated the help, especially coming from someone as bright as you. Thanks for inviting me to share holidays (and the fabulous food!) with you and your family!

Thanks, Amy, for your comforting friendship and your wonderful, wonderful letters! Your passion for growing food has certainly triggered my own interest in gardening and in an understanding of food issues. Thanks also for our book talks. I still think fondly of our meetings at Brewed Awakenings!

Thanks, Joan, for your thoughtful, incisive discussions and our conversations, my well read friend. I so admire you for your wide-ranging interests and astute assessment of political issues. And, of course, many thanks for teaching me to kayak!

Thanks, Steph, for all of our fun times and for your bashing me in the head with the (proverbial!) stick (even though I sometimes need several bashings before I get it!) Thanks for your continued support of me—even when I’m not so sure of my own abilities, you insistently tell me my strengths!

Thanks, Nellie, for teaching me so much about friendship! I have learned so much from you and your support means the world to me. Thanks for our cooking adventures (remember when I’d pretend to have my own cooking show, including turning to an imaginary camera). I feel so comfortable sharing joys and sorrows with you and your nonjudgmental ear.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone, but it’s not intentional (and it will hit me some night at 3:00 AM and then I’ll get up and rectify the situation!)

Friends, good friends, are riches.

Edited–I did say that I’d forget someone and I was right! So, thanks, Deb, for being there for me for so many years and for looking me up on Facebook and reconnecting. Thank you for being my friend and not judging me way back when I was so overweight–that really means so much to me, as it was very difficult to be a teenager and that fat.

Thanks, Barb, for all of our conversations–funny and deep–and for the ability to inspire me. You’ve gone through tragedy and yet you are so forward looking! And I LOVE hearing about your classes at the college!

Doping for the Glacially Paced Athlete

Time to channel my inner Lance Armstrong! Yes, I engage in “doping” when I run! No, vials of blood aren’t drawn and replaced, I don’t have doctors on my payroll, and no urine test is going to catch me ingesting anything illegal. So what is my choice of substance? Caffeine!

Let’s start with the fact that I am a very slow (but enthusiastic!) runner (or combination run-walker these days). And I need a little help to run longer distances, like when I do a ten-mile weekend run. And let’s continue with fact number two—I drink only decaffeinated coffee (yes, I know that brands me a philistine among the java cognoscenti) A few years ago, I decided to drink an energy drink before my weekly endurance workout (usually running, although sometimes it’s the rowing machine or the stationary bike). Endurance workout, as defined by me these days, is a cardio workout lasting at least 90 minutes (but preferably 120 or more). I’d read (in the New York Times, I think) about runners using caffeine as a performance booster. These runners were considerably more elite than me. But, I thought, surely if this helps runners of that caliber, it can also help those of us that are running “duffers”. My dilemma was this: I did not want to become re-addicted to caffeine. Nine years ago, I slowly tapered off my prodigious coffee drinking precisely so that I would not be beholden to caffeine. Could I do this? Could I have “just one”?

I decided to take the plunge. I drank an energy drink before running. About fifteen minutes later I could feel the caffeine coursing through my veins. It worked! I ran and ran and it took longer for me to reach my exhaustion limit. Warily, I waited for a caffeine withdrawal headache the next day, but it never materialized. I’ve been caffeine-doping ever since. I’m convinced it works so well for me because I AM a decaf drinker—I don’t think it would work as well for a regular coffee drinker. I do, however, eat chocolate (1 square of dark chocolate daily).

So, I run my annual Mini-Marathon (the nation’s largest half-marathon) in May. I’ve got my doping regimen ready—no decaf or chocolate for two weeks prior to the race (even decaf has residual caffeine, though in very small amounts). An energy drink about 20 minutes or so into the race (obviously, one of the non-carbonated varieties!), along with caffeinated Clif energy gels for mid-race. My goal? To finish, preferably with a better time than last year’s personal worst!

Energy Drinks

Is Amazon the devil? Part One: Showrooming

Most of us like saving money or getting bargains. We look for the lowest prices on the consumer goods we buy, probably so we can buy more stuff. What that means is that many people engage in the practice of “showrooming”—investigating an item in a traditional store, but actually purchasing it from an online retailer, typically Amazon. This may be behavior that is commonly engaged in, but is it ethical?

I say no. The standalone store is paying for the lights, the electricity, the wages, only to have the masses try out the (fill in the blank with the consumer good of your choice) in the store and go home to order it on Amazon. Sure, it may APPEAR to be cheaper, but what about the hidden costs? That store (actually its owners) is employing local people, who in turn tend to spend their wages locally, a boon for the community. It is paying taxes to the local authorities, enabling sidewalks to be maintained, streetlights to be kept on, and potholes to be filled. Will Amazon come plow your local roads after a winter storm? I didn’t think so.

I’m not saying you should never purchase anything from Amazon. But do the right thing and order it sight-unseen-in-person. Stay out of the stores if you only intend to examine an item before making an online purchase elsewhere. You may think you are saving money, but you are costing your community. And ultimately, when there are no more bricks-and-mortar stores, you will wind up costing yourself, because your stuff isn’t going to be cheap any longer if Amazon is the only game in town.

Addicted! To Shower Water!!!

I like to think of myself as a good mother to my daughter Bella. I make sure she’s fed, I make sure she has a clean litter box, I make sure she has plenty of water. But despite my good care, my little girl has developed an addiction to the water remaining in my tub post-shower.

It started a couple of years ago, but just occasionally. Now and then she’d clamor into the tub after I stepped out to dry myself off. She’d be content to lick up some of the remaining water and then she’d scamper out. And this was not a common occurrence. But within the past year, she’s done this more frequently. Okay, fine. Drink the shower water, though I can’t understand why it would taste better than the stuff in your bowl.

But recently it’s become an addiction. She now meows for me to follow her into my main bathroom, where I have to turn on the water briefly so that there are small puddles of water on the tub floor. This can sometimes occur a couple of times a day!

Oh, Bella–what’s a fur-mommy to do?ShowerWaters