Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Year Three

Dear Wyatt,

Remember that time we got married three years ago? That was awesome.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ode to Summer

Summer I just want you to know,
It's about time!
Perhaps now you'll convince the sun to show?

All right, I'm just going to quit my attempt to rhyme and cut straight to the point. Look here summer, I understand that technically up until this point it was "spring". But tomorrow the calendar says "June 21st" on it. That means it's summer solstice. Which means you have to be here whether you like it or not. It has been cold, rainy, and frankly I'm sick of it. Even my web-footed Oregonian husband has been complaining about your late (but technically on-time up to today) arrival. So get out there and give it your 100%! I promise you I will make it worth your while. Have I ever let you down?

Your biggest fan,

PS - Have you ever read the short story "All Summer in a Day"? I have been feeling like perhaps you were trying to act out the scene in this story. I would be an emotional wreck if you did decide to ever do this to me. So don't.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Run a Marathon: Check.

Well, I can officially cross running a marathon off my list! Yipee! I think it has always been on my list but I think I had planned on tackling it later in life. However, this past January I received an invitation from my friend Jen to run the Newport Marathon with her. So I bumped the goal up to number one and now I can officially say I'm a "marathoner". Or can I? Do I have to run two marathons to be qualified for that title? I won't bore you with all the details (since my blog seems to have a reoccurring theme of food, running, and summer...). I'm just going to touch on the highlights of the event.

First, we had AMAZING weather! Considering Oregon has had one of the wettest springs on record and that it has rained nearly ever day the past month - it truly was a miracle that we woke to clear blue skies yesterday morning. And a double miracle that we had sunshine for a race that took place on the Oregon Coast. It's times like this that I KNOW the Lord loves me!

I can draw several analogies between running a marathon and life...but I'll spare you. I will say that I have a true understanding of the power of the mind. In January I was uncertain that I would be able to tackle 26.2 miles. However, the more I trained and the longer distances I ran, I was able to convince myself my goal wasn't too lofty...and was actually obtainable. I spent the whole week last week reminding myself that I was going to do great...and check me out, I did!

I've also come to realize the strength of human companionship. Jen and I ran nearly every long run together during our training. Over time I became more and more dependent on her company during our runs. I was amazed at how difficult it was to tackle the long runs alone when we couldn't run together during training. I can honestly say that I would not have done as well as I did running the marathon yesterday if Jen was not by my side. She truly made the marathon fun (I don't think they're supposed to be as fun as I had) and kept me distracted from the miles we were conquering. I really felt like the race was done in a blink of an eye. Wyatt teased me and said that he felt like he was interrupting us whenever he met-up with us along the course.

Which brings me to another important point. Wyatt is awesome! I love that man! I know he could probably list a thousand things he'd rather be doing on a sunny Saturday then spend his time following Jen and me along our marathon playing the role of official J&B photographer, official J&B pit crew, and official J&B cheer leading squad. But he did it anyway because that's the way he rolls... And roll he did. He skated (on his longboard) 10-miles in order to snap some pictures of us! Now that is dedication!

Lastly I want to say how amazed I am at how GREAT I feel. Sure my legs feel sore but I would say aside from that I don't feel like I ran 26.2 miles yesterday. And that is how I felt the entire time during the race - great. I honestly felt like I could keep going the entire time, I never hit a wall and I never felt like I needed to stop. Several people at church commented that they would probably be at home in bed if they had just run a marathon. I'm not saying this to brag. I just think that goes to show what practice, practice, practice can do! I've spent the last six months dedicating my time to running (more so than I usually would). I spent all last week preparing myself for the race - went to bed early, loaded up on carbohydrates, drank plenty of water, mentally prepared myself, etc. I even prayed and told the Lord that I had done everything I possibly could to prepare myself for this event and I asked him to make up the difference. And I know He did! I think that I feel as great as I do because I worked hard to achieve this goal. I think when you put hard work into anything you will encounter great results.

My goal was to finish the race in 4-hours and 20-minutes. We came in just shy of that at 4-hours and 19-minutes (and 21-seconds). That comes out to a 10-minute mile pace. I am happy with those results! It was a good pace where I never feel like I was overextending myself. Part of me wonders if we could've gone a tad bit faster. But then I think we probably wouldn't have been able to chat the entire time...and that would've been boring running in silence. I guess that is what marathon number two is for...running faster to shave off some time.

Yeah, I'm happy I ran a marathon. It was a wonderful experience! And I must say, I've truly enjoyed gorging myself with food and knowing that it is okay because I burned x-thousand calories running. The perks of running...
(PS - I just want to announce that all though I did run 26.2 miles yesterday Jen was the star of the show! She encountered a foot injury (among other life-challenging events) in April which kept her off her feet for two weeks. When she finally could start running again she had to grit her teeth to get through the painful runs. Running with her yesterday I would have NEVER guessed she had any foot issues! She is a tough cookie!)

PPS - I made two delectable treats this weekend for our Young Women Cake Auction (the fund raiser for Girls Camp). I made a Neapolitan Cake and Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint Cream. Both from my fav food blog - Smitten Kitchen. I thought the cake was delish but Wyatt gave me a hard time because it didn't meet the traditional definition of "cake". However, the souffle cupcakes were fantastic. As I've mentioned before on my blog...I'm not into cake. And these tasty treats didn't share the same consistency of cake. They weren't made with flour so they were dense and CHOCOLATLY. YUM!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

International Epicurean

It's been brought to my attention this past week that the past 27-3/4 years of my life have been void of something(s) wonderful. Thanks to our friends and neighbors, two new world cuisines have successfully been integrated into my repertoire of gastronomy.

It all started several years ago when I was living in Chicago. A group of us decided to be "adventurous" and went out for Indian food. To say the least, I was not impressed. And for the several years following the Indian-food-outing, it has been beyond my comprehension that people actually enjoyed the stuff. So when our friends Craig and Becky moved into the ward and raved about Indian food (Craig served a good part of his mission in Sri Lanka) I decided that perhaps I should give Indian cuisine another chance. It actually got to the point that I was asking them when they were going next so Wyatt and I could tag along. So last week when C&B requested our help to move their newly purchased couch, they treated us to dinner at their favorite Indian restaurant - Chennai Masala. And now for the past week I can't stop craving Chicken Vindaloo - YUM! I really think it made all the difference having "experienced palates" with us to recommend what to order. (As a side note, as soon as we walked in the restaurant my mind was flooded with memories of my childhood friend Anisha Malholtra. Her house always had a distinct smell and it took me years to realize it was the curry.)

Oh and if you've never ordered Indian food before, let me give you a tip. When the server gives you your side options...he is not asking if you would like "rice or non", as in "non-rice". He is asking you if you would like "rice or naan" - Indian bread. Just remember this tip and you will save yourself the humiliation that comes with your hosts and server laughing at you... I laughed at myself too. It was pretty funny!

Next up. We had a knock on our door at 9pm Tuesday night. It was our (awesome!) neighbor Lem. Lem and his roommate Mben (sp?) are from the Gold Coast of Africa (I don't remember which country). Knowing this I have said on more than one occasion that I would like to try African food. (I am not that rude - I always make this comment after he suggests having us over for dinner.) Ask and I receive... Lem brought us some African food to eat! Similar to many international dishes, it consisted of rice and some kind of meaty sauce, like a curry. Had I been the one to answer the door, as opposed to Wyatt, I would be able to offer you more details about the dish...for instance, its name. Surprisingly it reminded me of the time I had African food when I was in the fourth grade for our African lab. At the time I thought perhaps the food tasted like peanut butter to try and coax the ten-year-olds into trying the dish. But it's true! Lem's dish had a trace of peanut butter...chased by a spicy punch! It was incredible!

My eyes have been opened my bloggy readers! My poor, poor taste buds have been in captivity for all these years. What was I thinking for snubbing Indian food for so long?! And why did I think I could wait until I visited Africa before I ate the food?! I am a firm believer in eating like the locals when I'm visiting a new place...but perhaps I should get to know potential locals here? And then manipulate them into sharing their food with me. I agree, it's a good plan. :)

PS - I've been told that when Chinese people greet each other, it can be translated into "have you eaten?" I like the Chinese...always thinking about food.