Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A duathlon and Herman the sturgeon

My holiday off started with my long run of the week. Luckily, it was an "easy recovery week," so it was only 5 miles :) (9 this next weekend - yikes!)

I didn't feel especially strong (I attribute much of that for it being morning and because I did stadiums with a weighted pack on Saturday), but I got it done - run 15 minutes and walk 1 minute until I reached 5 miles. Total time was 52:28 - a 10:29-minute average.
Notice the creeper in the window behind me???
Then we loaded up the bikes and drove to the Gorge for an easy ride on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The trail is sections of the old highway that have been restored and set aside for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

We went off I-84 at exit 40 - the Bonneville Dam. We mistakenly turned north instead of south but decided to see where it led... to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery!
We had no idea this popular tourist attraction was tucked there next to the freeway, just downriver from the dam.

We planned to spend the day exploring, so we parked and took the (free!) self-guided tour.
Lots of rainbow trout in the ponds out front:
We learned about the facility, which opened in 1909, about the life cycle of fish, and about egg harvesting. It's actually really interesting.

Then we checked out the sturgeon viewing center, where Herman lives. The 70-year-old fish is more than 10 feet long and weighs about 450 pounds! And he likes to ham it up for the crowd, cruising past the window and posing for pictures:
We walked around the gorgeous park-like grounds and checked out the gift shop. If you haven't been there, you definitely should go and take a picnic :)

We left our car there, jumped on our bikes and headed east on the paved (though very mossy) path, stopping along the way to read placards and learn about the area, history and features. But we were stopped in our tracks when we came around the corner and saw a tall staircase!

There are grooves on the side to place your bike tires and carefully lower your vehicle:
It was a bit tricky but worked great - and gave us a good laugh :)

We also laughed at the "flat" route. While it was advertised as only 65 feet of elevation gain, that must have been the difference between the start and the finish - not the cumulative measurement. There were lots of rolling hills, and riding on the moss sorta felt like riding on carpet... sluggish. I don't think I would have cared so much if I hadn't ran before the trip.

We came out at the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks and did a little more exploring before turning around.
On the return trip we followed a small sign at the Eagle Creek exit that said "overlook."

We discovered Eagle Creek Lookout Group Campground, built in the 1930s by the CCCs so people could motor up the old highway and stop to watch the Bonneville Dam construction from the bluff.
It was a beautiful park with a shelter, bathrooms and a nice view of the Columbia River.
We returned to exit 40 and continued west for about 1 mile to the Moffett Creek Bridge, a 205-foot-long arch span built in 1915. Upon completion, it was the longest three-hinged arch bridge in the U.S.

That was the end of the trail section, so we turned around and peddled back to the car... our expedition complete.

On the way back, we rewarded ourselves with burritos from Qdoba (cashing in a Memorial Day weekend buy-one-get-one coupon!). At home, I ate my grilled-veggie burrito with lettuce and baby spinach from my driveway garden - my first harvest of the season!!!!!!!!!

Then the doorbell rang. Our new mattress had arrived - yippee!
A Sealy Posterpedic Firm Euro Top from Mattress World to replace the saggy one we bought when we got married 13 years ago.

The only problem is that it's HUGE! At about 6 inches taller than the old one, I literally have to CLIMB up onto it. Poor Linus can't make it in one leap. We might have to build steps :) Oh... and our sheets don't really fit. But we slept well last night!

It was a great holiday! I hope yours was equally exciting and adventurous :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mariners vs Yankees!

Mom bought Dad a Mariners ticket package for his birthday, and Eryn and I were invited to join them for Sunday's game against the Yankees!

The train was booked, so we left town at 8 a.m. and drove up I-5. Traffic was clear, and we arrived nice and early. After finding easy street parking (free!!) and getting kicked out of a Goodwill Outlet and a Grocery Outlet for having backpacks, we entered Safeco Field and wandered around.

I found my seat and enjoyed the yummy, yummy, yummy salad I had packed at home:
Then Eryn found me and dumped her veggie dog on her leg. Ketchup stain - oops!
Then Mom wandered up and dumped one of her fish sticks on the ground. She picked it up and ate it! Ew.
Go Mariners!
Seattle won the first two games of the series, so we weren't expecting a win Sunday.

The Yankees took an early lead, and the innings really began to drag. So what do you do when you're bored at a ballgame? You watch for this guy to leave his seat so you can snap a picture. For some reason, this really made us crack up (we are very mature!):
Then you take a million self portraits:
Rally hats - a last-ditch effort:
It didn't work :(
Seagulls hover overhead throughout the game, just waiting for the fans to leave behind yummies. As soon as the crowds disperse, the gulls swoop in and take over. It's quite the sight!
OK - a couple group shots with the Gorillapod ... then it's time to go home:
Good times :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A run and a shower

You know all those wild storms yesterday afternoon? That's when I was out running!

The showers turned off and on several times during my 31 minutes in the elements. One brief downpour was crazy-huge! I just laughed and wondered what all the neighbors were thinking about me as I ran past.
In Summerfield, a nearby retirement community, I saw a woman sitting in her living room all bundled up in a blanket, reading a book and watching the rain - like it was the middle of winter!

After last week's 8-miler, this is an easy week. I ran 15 minutes, walked 1 minute and ran another 15 minutes.
I went 3.22 miles in 31:14 minutes - a 9:42-minute average.

(FYI - That "50:48" pace on my Garmin was actually my "current pace" while taking that picture.)

What a fun run and shower all in one! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Best part of my job

With graduation just two weeks away, CE2 is starting to look really empty.

Five more seniors finished this week - hooray!

Congrats and best wishes to Chris:
Bryan: Carleigh: Hilda:
And Matt:

More to come very soon!!!! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drizzly morning run

Despite the lovely weather and only needing to put in 20 minutes, I just wasn't feeling the run Tuesday night. Instead, I read, ate Chipotle and watched a movie.

So I dragged my butt out the door before work Wednesday for a 2.1-mile run.
There was no amazing sunrise like on my last morning run. Just gray skies and drizzle.
I'm not very good at morning exercise - my body doesn't like to move before it's awake. So I started slow (also uphill, unfortunately). After 10 minutes, I turned around and sped it up (downhill, fortunately!). Negative splits, Baby! 9:52 in the first 10 minutes and 9:32 in the second 10.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Muffin Wednesday: Fudgey Nut

For this week's Muffin Wednesday: Fudgey Nut Muffins from "the book."
Hmm. This one's a mystery.

I think the recipe is actually misprinted. But the students still LOVED them.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease or line your muffin tin.

1 c flour
1 1/3 sugar
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 c milk (I had soy)
3 T butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c walnuts

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

2. Make a well in the center and add milk, butter, egg, vanilla and melted chocolate. Stir just until moist and blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

As always, I doubled this recipe. I used soy milk and margarine.

The first thing I noticed was that there was more sugar than flour. And as much milk as flour.

And it didn't say to combine the wet ingredients before adding them to a well in the dry ingredients. (I try to follow the directions on a new recipe, assuming there's a good reason for each (strange) instruction) When I tried to "stir just until moist and blended," it didn't come together at all. I ended up using a whisk, and it was very runny - more so than even a cake batter.
I got nervous and rechecked the recipe, thinking that I had screwed it up (I do that. frequently.) But I hadn't! Hmm.

They didn't rise at all:
And despite spraying the cups, they stuck horribly (this is even after loosening with a knife):
They were ugly but smelled "dank," according to Peter (that's a good thing).
They tasted good - sweet, dark and rich. The students went nuts over them, hovering over me for seconds.

Iggy ate five, though he thought he might barf a little after ;) Chris said they rivaled the amazing chocolate chip cookies that I had made Monday.

So there you have it.

They are really ugly, but tasty. If you have a teenager to impress, go for it. If you want to analyze the recipe and see what went wrong, go for it (and let me know what you decide!). But if you're looking for something beautiful to take to a tea party, skip this one.


PS - I ate so much chocolate that I might barf a little, too. Urp ;)

No-TV Tuesday: No. 12

No-TV Tuesday:

Quick trip to Bi-Mart to see Doug, my favorite pharmacist.

Groceries from WinCo, including ingredients for
Muffin Wednesday!

While waiting for Brad to come home, I curled up on the couch and finished No. 12:
I really like these Harry Bosch mysteries! LAPD homicide detective taking on the world :)

Dinner was burritos from Chipotle - a fund raiser for Supa Fresh Farm. According to the Web site:

We are the Supa Fresh Youth Farmers! 74 Teens, slowly but surely building an urban farm on Tigard Tualatin School District land. Launched in May 2010, we hope to continue training underserved teens in workforce skills, entrepreneurship, organic sustainable agriculture, nutrition and life skills.

I was going to take burrito pics, but I got too excited and scarfed down my food before I remembered. (I do that a lot!)

Then we popped in Street Kings, which had come from NetFlix.
It was so bad that I put in my earplugs, rolled over and went to sleep in the middle. Yawn.