Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long, 2011!

 This year has been one of ups and a few downs.

I know that sounds a wee bit cliche, but it's totally true. Let's start with the ups, simply because there are more things about this year that were great.

In January, I made it my goal to become serious about running. Running has been the bane of my existence since I was born. It's not that I was out of shape or incredibly overweight, though. I grew up on the back of a horse, which is a workout on its own, but it didn't afford me the time or motivation to run. In high school, I ran something like 20 minute miles. Can you even call that running?
(in the gray, I look like this all the time while running) 

So, I signed up for a bunch of races after completing a 5k in October 2010. Every single one of those races proved to me that I COULD run, after all. I ran a total of 9 races (one of those a pure fundraising effort, but it counts!). 9! My longest distance is a 10k, my fastest mile was the first mile of Pints to Pasta, my fastest race was the Hot Buttered Run. Each race had their own awesome attributes and I plan to run a couple of them (if not all!) again this year.
 A fellow runner at the Run Like Hell. Yeah, he beat me wearing that suit!

So, in 2012, I will be running my first half marathon on May 20th. I am excited and scared and worried. If you came from my background, you would be feeling all those feelings too.

In 2011, Jeff and I also made our return to Europe, approximately a billion years before I thought it would happen again. And it was glorious, my friends. In Belgium alone we tried 20 different beers. In three days. I don't think we even tried to keep count in Germany, but it was also fantastically full of beer. We met some fantastic people, ate delicious food and had such a wonderful time, I can't wait to go back.
(multiply this photo by a million, you have our beer tour)

And, in 2012, we're planning on going back! We'll be starting in Norway and working our way through Scotland, London and Ireland. My sweet friend Nicole wants to be in London on her birthday, so we will happen to be in Europe on our wedding anniversary. What an excellent way to spend it, in my opinion.

As for the bad, well, they're not that bad. We struggled with money more times that I like to admit, but so does everyone. I got laid off (AGAIN) but then I found another job, working in a vet rehab clinic, surrounded by beautiful animals and great people. I struggled with my weight, but it's my own doing as I drink beer like it's water and can't lay off the cookies.

Let's make 2012 a great one, shall we?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

30 Days Of Books, Days 5-8

So, remember when I attempted to start the 30 Days of Books Meme in an attempt to post every day? Yeah. Here's days 5-8.

Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Jane Eyre, I just love the Brontes.

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
 The Green Mile. Every time I read it, I cry!

Day 07 – Most underrated book
 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Sure, it starts slow but then WHAM! It hits you with its thrilling plot and amazing characters.

Day 08 – Most overrated book
Do I even have to say Twilight?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

30 Days of Books, 4 Days Late.

I decided to fill out this book meme that's been floating around, seen here. As an English major and granddaughter to rabid book collector, books hold a special place in my heart. I will start with Days 1-4.

Day 01 – The best book you read last year

This might sound ridiculous, but Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. I carried it with me through Europe and read it on the trains and I just loved her writing style. Sometimes the "pray" bit of it annoyed me, but that's because I am rude.

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Oh jeez, probably Stephen King's The Stand. I get sucked in every. single. time.

Day 03 – Your favourite series
Can I say A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) if I'm not finished with it? I'm not a huge reader of serials. I loved the Wheel of Time when I was younger, but I don't know if that counts as favorite.

Day 04 – Favourite book of your favourite series.
Book two of the series above - A Clash of Kings. I had a tough time getting into the first book but the second one had me obsessed. 

The Past Few Weeks, Condensed

Thanksvegan came and went. Exactly two pictures were taken. Here is one.
My seitan roast looks like a slug.
I had a nasty cold (as you can tell above!) and many friends swooped in, took over cooking and saved the night, even if it was a little chaotic. There were many bottles of wine and beer consumed and lots of warm company. I was pretty out of it for most of the night, but I had a lovely time. I even teared up while thanking everyone for coming out.

The menu:
Seitan roulade with basic stuffing
Boatloads of non-lumpy gravy
Harvest stuffed mushrooms
Quinoa salad with sweet potatoes, kale and dried cranberries
Maple roasted brussel sprouts with toasted hazelnuts
Super amazingly delicious mashed potatoes
Fat Free Vegan's green bean casserole
New Farm Mac (requested by SEVERAL guests!)
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Potstickers with dipping sauce
Boston cream (cake) pie
Pumpkin cheezecake with caramel and chocolate sauce
Pumpkin pie with Biscoff crust
Pumpkin walnut muffins

We were not hurting for lack of food! I ate leftovers all of this past week.

The day after Thanksvegan, I ran my fastest 5k ever (which is not really that fast, but hey, whatever). As you can see in the first two pictures, I still look AWFUL from that damn cold. I felt better by the end, though.

Finally, a slice of pizza I enjoyed while Christmas shopping today. At Oasis Cafe on Hawthorne, you can build your own vegan slices. This had mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and Daiya.

Back to writing papers (it's finals week!) and zoning out.