Thursday, January 31, 2013

Raw Taco Salad

Thanks to a recommendation from Marcille, I have discovered a blog filled with yummy vegan recipes! TheSweetLifeOnline is now one of my favorites.


The latest recipe we tried was Raw Taco Salad, using walnuts as the taco "meat". These were SO good! And even after wolfing down a whole plate full, Brad had no idea that it was walnuts :)

Since my doctor has added soy to the current no-no list, the walnuts were a great alternative. We will definitely make this again.

The author asks that her recipes not be reprinted, so here's the link.

Go make this :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No-TV Tuesday: reading and running

First order of business for No-TV Tuesday: finish No. 8!
Eryn snagged the latest Michael Connelly from the Tualatin library, read it in two days and then passed it to me. Linus and I snuggled with my Christmas quilt and finished it off.

I've read every Connelly. I like the characters and the writing. Keep 'em coming, Mr. Connelly!

Sleepy from snuggling over the heater vent, Linus and I then took a short snooze. But then it was time to work out!

After skipping last week's speed session, I knew I had to nail it this week. And I did :)

Training called for 9 x 400. I did a slow warm-up mile, then started on my 400s with a 200-meter recovery between each interval. I finished nine and decided to throw in one more for good measure! Then a little cool down.

5.06 miles in all:

After a quick dinner with Brad, I worked on blogging about my trip to D.C. and the inauguration. Finally.

Then I finished up my No-TV Tuesday by climbing into bed and starting my next novel.


Bonus picture: Phil snoring Sunday between handbell performances :)

The 57th Presidential Inauguration

As soon as the election results were in, Mom and Dad e-mailed our representatives and senators to see if we could get tickets to the inauguration. (The tickets are free but limited and handed out through the congressional offices)

We heard nothing and assumed we wouldn't be going. But just a couple weeks before the big event, an e-mail arrived announcing that we had tickets!! So Dad worked his airline magic and got us booked to DC. On Jan. 19, we were off.

We toured around a bit Sunday and then got up at 4:30 a.m. Monday to ride the Metro into the city.
We got off at Union Station walked up and around the Capitol to the Gold Gate at Third and C streets. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but many, many streets were blocked for security, so it was quite a long walk.

The viewing areas were all color coded with their own security checkpoints. Everything was very well organized.

Gold ticket!
And finally the Gold Gate!
We stood in line for a long time to go through the metal detectors and have our bags searched. The officers were throwing away apples and oranges. Not sure what the security threat was there

We made it inside and staked out a spot to watch the festivities. We could see the platform where all the action was going on, and there was also a jumbo-tron so we could see the closeups. 
Pa thought to bring binoculars. Smart!
The area filled, and the clouds rolled in.
We stood there for many hours, listening the musical performances and waiting for the dignitaries to arrive.
The important people were announced, and the crowd would cheer. Or boo, in the case of Paul Ryan ;)

Finally, we could see the president heading through the Capitol. The crowd went crazy!
The herald trumpets sounded...
And out came the man of the hour:
After some speeches and prayers and other pomp and circumstance, Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in:
Then James Taylor sang us a little tune:
Then it was Obama's turn:
Obama gave his speech, drawing more cheers from the audience.

Then Kelly Clarkson sang a little ditty:
Then the moment many people were waiting for (especially the teens in the crowd)... Beyonce infamously lip syncing the National Anthem:
Lip syncing or not, she sounded amazing!
In all, it was a very positive, celebratory event. There were no protesters, and everyone was fairly well behaved. I'm so glad I was able to be a part of something so very historic and momentous. It's no secret that I'm an Obama supporter, but witnessing the peaceful transfer of power to any president would be amazing.
I've been to D.C. in the winter when it was bone-chilling cold, so I was prepared for the worst. Sunday was sunny and in the mid-50s, but Monday morning was in the low 30s. Cold, but not horrid. At least the predicted snow held off.
On top, I wore two long-sleeved poly-pro under shirts, a turtleneck fleece and my puffy jacket, which has been to the top of several mountains. On the bottom, I wore a pair of thin poly-pro tights under a very thick pair of poly-pro tights - and then my "ranger pants", which are thick polyester and lined with quilting.

Topped it off with my thickest hat, a fleece scarf, two pair of glove liners under my mittens, handwarmers, a body warmer in my pocket and hiking socks and Columbia Sportswear light hikers.
I was dressed perfectly. I would not have been more comfortable if I was in my living room. :)

So getting into the Mall was very well organized. But getting out was a complete madhouse.

With so much blocked off, we were all herded the same direction, away from the Mall and toward the subway. The route we took was SO packed, but we were moving. THEN... we suddenly stopped, with cross traffic causing complete gridlock.

We stood packed like sardines for maybe 20 minutes, not moving at all. I thought we might not ever get out. I would have liked to take pictures of this, but I couldn't move enough to get my camera from my pocket!

Eventually, it broke loose, and we were on our way. I'm thankful that I don't have a fear of crowds. Seriously.

This was the biggest problem with the day. Previous estimates put the expected crowd at 800,000, but reportedly, about 1 million people showed up. I guess the infrastructure just wasn't up to the task.

Kari, Kayla and Pa went a different way than us and apparently were stuck in gridlock for a couple hours!

Mom, Dad and I finally got out of the crush and just kept walking, wanting to avoid the subway at all costs.

Vendors were everywhere, including this guy cooking pretzels on a makeshift charcoal BBQ on a grocery cart! Mom had to buy one.
The sun came out as we neared the Lincoln Memorial:
After lots more walking, grabbing lunch, buying souvenirs and soaking up the city, we caught the subway back to Shady Grove. It was a long day, and we were exhausted - but happy.

We all fell into bed, our inauguration adventure at an end.

Tuesday, it was 17 degrees outside as I prepared to head home. Man, were we ever thankful that cold snap didn't arrive early. Even my ranger pants would have been no match for that.

Wow. What a trip! :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

D.C., here we come!

I know this is way late... been catching up on life :)

Picked up the fam (Mom, Dad and Pa) at 4:15 a.m. Feb. 19 for the frosty drive to PDX. Our flight was oversold, so we took a bump and each collected $200 vouchers!!
Scary taxi ride from Dulles to our hotel in Rockville, MD:
The driver missed a turn and backed up. YIKES!
Dad took a separate flight into Philly and drove down to meet us.

Watched some HGTV while squeezing in a quick workout Sunday morning:
Our hotel was near Shady Grove, the last stop on the Metro line. So we left the car at the park and ride and caught the Red Line into the city.

It was Pa's first trip to D.C., and he wanted to see the transportation exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. So while my family soaked up history, I walked around the Mall and geeked out on all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

TV stuff was everywhere.

CNN was broadcasting live from the Mall:
With Anderson Cooper! Boy, was he a crowd favorite!
Look at the funny little police lookouts:
Sat truck central!
There were plastic tiles placed over the grass along the Mall:
Another press area:
Horses on patrol:
I walked back to the CNN area at noon to watch Obama be sworn in:
The White House:
Washington Monument, still fenced off after the earthquake in 2011:
The Capitol all dressed up and ready for Monday's ceremony:
Next up: Rep. Bonamici's office to pick up our inauguration tickets.
The representative (center, wearing the gold/black jacket) was holding a reception for constituents:
The dome in the Cannon Building:
We met up with Aunt Kari and Cousin Kayla at Bonamici's office and walked across the street to the Capitol:
As the sun was setting and the temp was dropping, we continued our walking tour of the Mall.
We ended up on the inauguration parade route behind the White House. The viewing area set up for Obama:
Love Mom's hair :)
A peek at the White House:
While on the hunt for dinner, we spotted three very fancy motor coaches. I mentioned to Mom that they might be tour buses (there were lots of famous people in town for the weekend's events). We rounded the corner and saw them parking by this:
And then Lynyrd Skynyrd got out of the buses and walked across the street!!

Kayla, a bunch of kids on the street corner and I ran down the block to try and get pictures:
One band member posed with one of the kids:
Those kids were SO excited! Can  you see it??
The band was headed inside to play at one of the inaugural balls:
Sweet Home Alabama!!

After all that excitement, we ate dinner at Harriet's Family Restaurant. Funky but really good :)
That was a long day! We hopped back on Metro and rode back to the burbs for a very short night of sleep before the big day :)