Friday, November 28, 2008

I survivied!!

Yesterday I completed my first 5k.
I didn't die and the fact that actually ran about half of it makes me pretty happy. My goal was to do it in 45 minutes (if you are a runner and are laughing at my goal time, I don't care) and that is what I did it in. The plan was to run the flat and downhills and walk as fast as I could on the uphills. Now I have long legs and I have a pretty long walking stride. My running stride is pretty short, so I figured it would all even up in the end and it did. I have to say though, the last mile was all up hill. It was not fun, but I did it. Of course, I had to make the last couple hundred yards look good so I ran nice and hard (the fact it was downhill helped) Although, I did not realize that right before the finish there was a slight incline and I thought "oh crap, my legs are going to give out with 15 feet to go."
I sucked it up and crossed the finish. Now considering my training was pretty much non existent, I'm very happy with my performance. In two weeks there is another 5k up in Kent and rumor has it the rout is FLAT. I think Holly and I are going to do that one as well. Hopefully, my sore little legs will have recovered by then.

Since Holly and the others I was "running" with actually could run, I was pretty much by myself. I did have Bon Scott to keep me company. We started the race to "Highway to Hell" and finished strong to "If You Want Blood, You've Got It". Both songs seemed so fitting.

Tonight Holly and I are heading up to Seattle for a little Girls' Night Out. We are going to the Triple Door to see the Paperboys. I haven't seem them before, Holly has. She says they put on a good show, but even if they don't we will still have fun :0)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.
In 2 hours I will run my first 5K (or at least try) I checked the time results from last year and I think I have a shot at at least beating the women in the 70's and up division. At least I won't feel guilty about those extra helpings mashed pototoes and gravy, yummy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Pardon my French, but that is the only way to describe how things went today at the Space Derby. For those of you not familiar with Space Derby it is like the cub scout's pinewood car derby, but with rocket ships. Fun, right??

I spent a lot of time making sure that things would run smoothly. Every year it is always a mess trying to get the heats run in a timely fashion. No one knows where they are supposed to be and we spend a lot of time waiting around for someone to realize that they are up. This year, I thought I would help take the guess work out of it and listed all the races and heats including lane assignments.

Now there is an actual method to the madness and we needed to know how many folks would be there so we could plan accordingly. We have a 4 lane track we had 17 rockets. I wasn't worried about the extra rocket, because I knew folks would show up that hadn't RSVP'd. I had 3 extra slots so I figured I was alright. GUESS AGAIN!!
I had 21 rockets. This now meant that all my hard work and planning were out the window. Now, no one would know in advance when they would be racing. I had to announce the heats and folks would actually have to listen. Guess where things fell apart??

I don't know how many times I can say please, oh pretty please, pay attention and be where you need to be. I must say since Joj and I were completely in the weeds Ben was forced to manage his rocket all by himself.Not only that he was were he needed to be when he needed to be there (some adults could have learned a thing or two from him)

Now besides folks not LISTENING, we had a group of dad's (I don't think any kids touched their rockets the whole day) who felt compelled to get that extra edge by winding the rubber band engine an extra 5 times. Guess what happens when you get past 120 winds?? The rubber band BREAKS!! You would think the first 2 times this happened they would learn, but NO!!! I swear every time rocket 5 was supposed to race, the rubber band would break and we had to sit and wait. We finally decided to move other racers into 5's slot and that created another huge mess when it came to the scoring.
And speaking of scoring, Joj and I had about 6 inches between us and the wall and we had to repeatedly ask the adults to not stand behind us who were making sure we were scoring correctly. Ironically, everyone trying to "help" us resulted in a scoring mistake. Of course the Dad who this effected was not happy. He put on a good face, but he was not happy. Neither were all his buddies who corned me post event wanting to see the results sheet and get a briefing on what kind of math was used to calculate the final standings. I felt so bad, we did the best we could. Of course, the dad in question was tied for 1st. So now at the next Pack meeting I get to go before everyone and say that we messed up and so and so was actually tied for first and give his kid a fist place medal. No good deed...

So you are probably what life lesson was learned today? Well, I'll tell ya. There is a REASON folks ask you to RSVP. By letting someone know you are actually coming to the event it allows those in charge to plan for you and make sure you get what you need. If you do not RSVP I can not be held responsible for the crazy lady at rocket check in.

Thanks for letting me vent. The good news is that was the last event I'm involved with for other people. Now I get to focus on my own fun stuff like not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year (all I have to do is make some pies)and our annual Christmas party. There is still a lot to do, but at least it is for ME and that makes it a lot more fun :0)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If I can just make it through Sunday...

Ben: Can I stay home, my tooth hurts.
Me: No
Sam: Can I miss school today? Everyone else gets to miss school.
Me: No
Ben and Sam: Whhhhhhyyyyyyy?
Me: Because I'm working today
Ben: You need to quit your job.
I subbed three days in a row this week and while I really enjoyed it (all three days were in Kindergarten) it kind of took a toll on my family. We are not used to the early rush that is requried of getting out the door an hour earlier than normal. I have forgotten the stamina it takes to be on my feet all day having the non stop chorus of "Mrs. Y., Mrs. Y., Mrs. Y." following me wherever I go. On Wednesday, I was in bed by 7:00. Needless to say, Joj and the kids have had noodles and sandwhiches for dinner this week and the house looks like a bomb went off. Yikes.

Now I suppose I should spend today playing catch up, but I can't. I agreed to organize the Space Derby for out pack. Why I said yes, I'm still unsure, but today will now be spent running down to the boy scout store, grocery store and a couple of other random places to get everything I need. I know I should have done it earlier in the week, but I didn't and now I'm really paying for it. On the upside I think it will be okay. I made a list and I have worked the event before, so I know what needs to be done. Hopefully, we will have folks to help run the event. It always seems to come down to the volunteers (or lack there of)

One of the biggest drags about having to run a bunch of errands today is that I will miss some really good football games. Michigan and Ohio Sate are already playing and the Cougs and Huskies play at noon. I always love to watch the Apple Cup and I'm really hoping the Cougs win. Football has been dismal at best for both teams this year so I would be nice to have a good Apple Cup and by good I mean a total masacre.

The last thing that has been eating up my time these days was the book The Pillars of the Earth. I finally finished it and I must say for a book that started out so strongly it just kind of petered out in the end. 1000 pages only to close the book and go "eh". I hate that. I want a book that I don't want to end. I like my books to have some kind of twist on the last page that I didn't see coming. I can not read books like Danielle Steele. You read the first page and you know how the book will end. Plus the syrupy sweet storylines are too hard to stomach. I like my book messy. I'm also finding that I like books that have a little bit of historical aspects to them. I read Gap Creek and I liked that. It was so interesting to read about how folks lived back then. That was what I did like about Pillars, the way the author described daily life and all the hardships. Bottom line the books was a strong okay minus the ending. Oh well, now I need a new book to read.

Well, I probably should get off the computer and get my errands run. I cannot even believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday. We still don't know where we are eating, but I don't think it will be here. My contribution to the dinner will be the pies and the cranberry sauce. Easy Peasy. That morning I'm running a 5k and I'm probably going to die. My training has been rather sparse, but I plan to run the downhills and walk really fast on the uphills. I actaully walk faster than I run, so I figure it all comes out in the wash. Should be fun though and I won't feel guilty about that second helping of mashed potatoes.
Happy Saturday Everyone and GO COUGS!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bake Sale

Today I will spend behind the counter of a bake sale. The co-op which I no longer have kids in wrangled me to help with the bake sale that is part of the holiday bazaar they are having today. I like bake sales. I'm always so curious to see what people bring. Last year, Holly and I were basically it when it came to the bake sale. I think I make 6 dozen beautiful cupcakes, plus 10 dozen cookies. I like to bake, but it was a bit much. This year I only made 4 pies. I was going to make some devils food cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, but didn't. I figured the co-op has other bakers and I didn't have to do everything. Debra if you are reading, it is okay to say NO. In fact, it feels pretty good every now and then.
I'm hoping that we have a good turn out. Last year was our first year and while our customer turn out was a lot less than we had hoped, we still made a thousand dollars which was great considering we had four weeks from idea to execution. This year we have had a lot of publicity and our vendors are more "artsy". Should be a good day, not to mention the sun is shining and at this time of year that is always a good sign.
Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In a time before internet...

I know I haven't blogged in a while, but I have been reading an actual book. I'm reading Pillars of the Earth. Yes, I know it was an Oprah book and I know it has been around for ever, but I just got it and it is really good.
I was recently told that it wouldn't hurt me to read a book every now and then, ouch, so I decided I would.
While on my trip to Phoenix I read Choke and it was okay. I did very much like the end. It will be a movie soon and I'm not really sure how they will pull it off, but I'm curious to see how they try. While visiting Jenny P, her hubby Steve was reading Pillars of the Earth and said it was really good. I had heard Matt and Holly also sing its praises, so I decided to get it. It is a big book, about 1000 pages so I have set a goal for myself to read 100 pages a day. So far so good. I must say my TV viewing is almost nil and my surfing has also been cut way down. Although, I must say, I am battling a slight addiction to Mob Wars on Facebook. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad, at least I'm not dealing cyber meth like some of my friends. I think I better get back to my book.
Happy Thursday :0)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Mess with Ray

Last night was the Ray Lamontagne concert and it was great. My favorite parts were when it was just him and his guitar on stage. If you don't own a copy of his first album "Trouble" you MUST go and get it. It is one of those perfect albums. It is so hauntingly beautiful, that you may want to keep a box of kleenex handy. It makes you wonder what kind of life he has lived to be able to write in such a painfully honest way. Bottom line: brilliant!!
So for months, the tickets to this show has hung on our fridge and I've been counting down the days. It was at the Opera House in Seattle, not a huge venue, and it was sold out. Now Seattle is kind of a funny place. We tend to be very laid back and "live and let live", however, this does not apply to concerts attended by mostly middle aged white folk. I would say that 99.9% were middle class Seattlelites who had just come from trendy Thai restaurants and were looking to a mellow evening of indie folk rock or as they say in Seattle "Adult Alternative". There was no mosh pit, there was no cloud of smoke hanging in the air and the choruses of "I'm so wasted" were pretty much non-existent, except for the group in front of us.
Ray is know for being extremely shy on stage and rarely talks to the crowd. You might get a "thank you" if you are lucky. So the guy in front of us thought it would be a good ideas to start yelling "SPEAK!" at the top of his lungs. This happened a few times until some guy in the back of the balcony yelled for him to shut up and let Ray do his job. He was silenced for about 5 minutes.
Now the group in front of us consisted of two couples and it was clear who was the designated driver. The other three seemed to be confused as to where they were. They were acting like they were front row at at Motley Crue show, yes it was not pretty. When the people in front and in back and next to them asked them to quiet down, they felt the need to unleash f-bombs galore. Lovely.
I really felt bad for the women in front of them. One of them was almost in tears. I just don't understand how people can be so self absorbed and disrespectful of others. I had waited all night for Ray to play the song "Burn", my fav d'jour. It was just him and his guitar and all I could hear were these yahoos in front of us cat calling. The song was still amazing, but I must say the high-fiving did tend to take away from the beauty of the song.
Other than that, the show was great and I highly recommend if you ever get a chance to see him, you should.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Night with Ray

If Neil Young and Van Morrison had a love child, it would be Ray Lamontagne.
We are going to see him tonight and I can not wait.
It is going to be amazing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I wish this was me today.

Yesterday was very busy. I began baking cookies around 3:30 am and I guess that was too early for my poor little brain, because I ended up burning two batches. Okay, they weren't totally black, but they were darker than I like them so they didn't make the cut for going to school. Of course, that meant that I had to make more cookies. If I don't see cookies for a long time, I'm really okay with that. When all was said and done, I had cranked out 10 dozen cookies. Thank god, Joj was also up and was willing to run to the store for me. I had to pick up some bagels and fruit.

I think this might be my last year as Hospitality Chair. Just like last year, folks were totally late bringing their stuff or didn't bring what they were asked. We had no cream for the coffee and I'm amazed that folks didn't complain (at least to me). We had around 200 parents come through and we had enough food. I find it interesting that all the homemade stuff is the first to go. When I headed back up to school to clean, I was trying to figure out what to do with 2 flats of Costco muffins. However, I was pleasantly surprised that someone had cleaned up the tables and taken the muffins and all the other left over treats. I guess one of the teachers had her class clean the foyer and as a reward they cleaned out the treats as well. Hey, works for me.

Last night, Joj had his buddies over and I made meatloaf and gravy, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and rolls. It was really yummy and so hit the spot. I guess that is why they call it comfort food. The best part is that there was some left over and we can have meatloaf sandwiches for lunch today. I plan on taking it really easy today. As far as I know, the only thing on my agenda is dinner with my folks. Yesterday was my little brother's 30th birthday. I think is more weird that Tommy is 30 than the fact that I'm quickly approaching 40.

Anyway, I plan on taking it easy and watching a little football. Football in WA these days is not looking good (on any level) The only upside to that is that the Apple Cup will be more of a bloodbath than usual. For those of you who aren't local, the Apple Cup is the annual contest between the U of Washington and Washington State and around here the rivalry makes Michigan and Ohio State look like BBF's. With both teams having some "challenges" this year, no one is bowl bound, so all bragging rights ride on this game. This year it is in Pullman (home of WSU) which should bode well for the Cougs. If we are lucky it will snow (another plus).

I hope everyone's Saturday is a relaxing one. I need to enjoy today, because tomorrow is back to busy, busy, busy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Night Owl

It is 2:55 and I can't sleep.

Today is "Special Guest Day" at school and as chair of the hospitality committee, I'm in charge of setting up all the goodies. I have folks bringing stuff and I hope it is enough. I really hate to delegate. Last year, everyone was late bringing their stuff. I felt like an idiot standing at the table that was only half full. We get about 200 parents or more coming through, so we need a decent amount of food.

I was supposed to bake yesterday, but I didn't. I spent the day in Seattle bumming around with a friend and by the time I came home, I was pretty tired. The thought of dirtying up my kitchen was not appealing at all. But now I can tell the stress of not having enough goodies is keeping me awake, so I might as well get up and get busy.
I think I will make some Gingersnaps, PB thumbprints and some Chocolate w/ White Chocolate chip.
Happy Friday Everyone :0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

He had a dream...

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Yes we can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

GTC for WSU Laura

Here is the recipe for General Tso Chicken or "GTC" as well call it. This could not be simpler and you probably have most ingreds already. The recipe below is for "4", but like I mentioned in my last post, you might want to make more than you think you will need. Saturday I cooked 14 chicken breasts and made one and half batches of sauce which was not quite enough. Next time for that much chicken I would double the sauce.
I like this dish because it is very easy and has a really pretty presentation. Makes folks think you slaved all day. My only words of advice are to plan ahead for the cooking of the chicken, it does take a while. You don't want to crowd the oil, which will drop the temp and then make the chicken take longer to cook. Other than that it is easy, peasy.

***Make sauce and refrigerate until needed:***
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Water
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Ginger
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup White Vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 can Chicken Broth
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into chunks
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Cornstarch
2 cups sliced Green Onions
dried hot peppers they can be found in the Mexican isle


Put everything into a quart jar with a lid and shake it up, then put in the fridge. Just shake it up again when you are ready to use it.


Mix chicken, soy sauce, and hot peppers. Stir in egg. Add cornstarch, and mix until chicken pieces are coated. Deep fry 7 or 8 chicken pieces at a time in a 350 degree oil until chicken pieces are crispy. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all chicken chunks are fried.

Place a small amount of oil (1 Tbsp.) in wok or large pan (I use my dutch oven) Add onions, peppers and stir fry about 30 seconds. Stir sauce mixture, and then add to pan. Cook until thick. If it gets too thick, add water to right consistency. Add chicken to sauce and cook until all is hot and bubbly. Serve with fried or steamed rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's like Deja-vu all over again

What an insane weekend.
As you know last weekend was the surprise party for Joj with all his HS buddies. Well there was one buddy that I tried to track down and could not find. I tried everything, but no dice. Well, Joji comes home and says that the guy I was looking for called him totally out of the blue. He was hoping to hook up with some of the old crew. Weird. So needless to say, we had everyone that was still in town over to our house for reunion 2.0.

I love having folks over. I was even more thrilled that my pantry contained the fixings for some yummy baked artichoke dip. The guys loved it too apparently, they licked the plate clean. Later that night we had some friends over for a little General Tso Chicken. There were 8 of us and I ended up cooking 14 chicken breasts. Boy that was a lot of frying, but so worth it. Again, a super simple recipe that has the "wow" factor. I made two batches of sauce, "hot" and "not so hot". I think the "not so hot" could have used a little more heat, but that was just me. I didn't want it too hot because I wanted the kids to be able to eat it. Anyhow, the night was a blast. Erik and Joji grew up together so the evening was filled with more back in the day stories. I just love hearing those and the fact that I know most of the characters in the stories makes them even funnier.

This upcoming week, seems like it should be a little more mellow. I have some testing on the schedule as well as another subbing job. The "IK" I subbed for last week called to see if I would sub again. I was very flattered. That must mean I did a good job. Her class was really sweet and it is only for a half day, so I jumped all over it. I am liking subbing and could see doing more of it down the road. I think the key is to find a couple teachers and really get to know their classes. It make the job sooo much easier.

Last but not least, a very long over due shout out to WSU Laura for giving me the BBF award. She is a great kindred spirit and I love reading about her life and find it fascinating how much it mirrors mine.
So I would like to shoot this award back to her as well as A girl named Timi and Debra over at September Acres. Both Timi and Debra are daily reads for me and I always appreciate when they stop by and say hi.
Well, it is almost 6 o'clock and I must get some laundry going. I just woke up from a nap I didn't mean to take. I was just lying down trying to settle my stomach and then I woke up a few hours later. This doesn't bode well for getting to sleep early tonight. At least Sunday is a decent TV night to fold laundry to, even though Mad Men is over for the season. I'm soooo bummed. I LOVED that show. I must say the finale was great. Of course now I can't wait for season 3. I hope it gets picked up.
Well, I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday evening. I'm off to do laundry :0)