Monday, March 25, 2013

Family comes first

Growing up, I was taught that family comes first. So when crisis hit this week, we all dropped everything and pitched in to help. Because that's what we do!
Grandpa in 2010 at his 90th birthday party
Very short version: Grandpa (Dad's dad) fell overnight last weekend, hit his head and nearly bled to death before eventually getting help. The decision was made by "the family" that it was time for Grandpa to move from his independent-living arrangement at Friendsview to an apartment inside the main building where more help is available.

It was a crazy, stressful, exhausting week getting Grandpa healthy, making decisions, convincing a nearly 93-year-old man to change his mind, sitting in on important meetings, moving furniture, loading the trailer, sorting the garage, boxing up the kitchen, caring for the cat, etc., etc., etc.

I spent several part days and just one full day at work last week, thankful for lots of sick time and very understanding and supportive coworkers.

Most days, I left the house first thing in the morning and returned home far past my bedtime. There was little sleep, messed-up eating and a completely neglected house.

Fortunately, the main crisis has passed and the rest of Dad's family is arriving later this week to help get the house sorted and moved. We have two weeks.

Because it's now my spring break, I finally tackled today the laundry, dishes and other nasty parts of my house that were put on the back burner for a week.

I am so thankful that I was taught what is really important in life! My family is an amazing team that really pulls together when it counts! :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beauty - 3/20/13

I've seen so much beauty this week!

  • The second-floor nurse who called for help and then stayed on the phone with Grandpa until medics arrived.
  • Nurse Barbara who made him feel safe and loved in his temporary home.
  • The sarcastic maintenance guy how made us laugh when we needed it.
  • Family members who said the right things at the right times.
  • My bell-choir friends and their poop jokes.
  • Frank, who is simply amazing.
  • Grandpa, who made a hard decision because it was the best thing, not because it's what he wanted.
  • Coworkers who are so understanding.
  • My own courage to lead the discussion and help persuade.
  • Blinds that lower from the top.

Seriously, I could go on and on and on. There has been so much beauty and answer to prayers during these few days of high stress. Grandpa is safe! Halleluiah!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Shamrock Run - PR!

I've always wanted to do Portland's Shamrock Run, but the timing never worked. This year my calendar was free and I signed up early before it sold out and my weekend got booked. 

We signed up for the 15K (9.3 miles), and Eryn and Dad signed up for the 8K (4.97 miles). Dad ended up dropping down to the 5K and Mom scored Tyler's unused bib and did the 5K walk.

Each race started at a different time - ours was first at 7:40 a.m. We were up early for race prep and getting all dolled up in our St. Patrick's Day finest:
My marathon training called for just 8 miles this weekend. Since the race was longer than 8 and VERY hilly, I decided to just run for fun and not try to race it. It was very important to not have to recover from this weekend - it was supposed to be an easy day. Plus, I've never run a 15K, so it would be a PR regardless of my speed! 
Through some random events, we ended up carpooling with Luann. She was running solo, and since I wasn't racing, we decided to run together. (Brad was racing, so he was on his own)
I'm used to running and racing alone and felt some nervousness about going with a friend. But it worked out great, and I'm really glad we did it! (Let's do it again!!)

The weather was a big question mark. It was supposed to be cold and cloudy with intermittent rain. It was chilly at the start but perfect once we got going. It ended up being sunny, calm and dry.
I loved my outfit! The skirt wore perfectly (the red one I wore at Christmas immediately rode up and felt more like a saggy tube top!). I took off my gloves right away and then pulled down my sleeves when I warmed up. Plus, I looked amazing! ;)
With such a huge crowd, they used wave starts to get everyone going with less crowding. There was still lots of weaving (throughout most of the race, actually), but much less than if we all started together. After many minutes, we were finally on our way:
We saw the first bagpipers just after the starting line. I love bagpipes!
Mom's race started 2 hours after ours so she had time to stalk us on the race course:
The course went out Naito before turning and heading south through the Pearl and then up Broadway. Up is the key word. Then we went up, up, up Terwilliger. We climbed from mile 2 - mile 6 before we headed downhill and back to Barbur and Naito. But those last 3 downhill miles were nice! (course map and elevation profile)

I felt great until the big hill leveled off a bit and then started up again. I thought we were at the top and realized that I was pushing too hard to keep climbing. It was very difficult to pull back, but I forced myself to walk a bit and get my lungs, heart and legs under control. If I was racing I would have pushed through, but blowing out my legs was not an option this time.

Luann needed a potty break so we stopped at the top of the hill. I grabbed water and took in the view while she was waiting in a long line for the porta-potties:
Lucky for me, the Kells pipers were playing right there. I listened happily during the break, which ended up being 8 minutes! (that's an eternity in race time!)
It was all downhill from there, and Luann and I cruised to the finish line. We grabbed our finishers' medals and found Brad for picture time:
Eryn - all done with her 8K:
Mom came by for a quick pic before heading to her 5K walk:
Because of the timing and shear number of people, I didn't get to see my tutu-clad Dad. But Mom took this picture so it would be remembered forever!
What a guy! :)

I kept my Garmin running the whole race, including our potty stop at the top of the hill. So including my wandering around in the Chart House parking lot and our 8-minute pit stop, we did 9.51 miles in 1:41, a 10:42 average:
According to the official results, calculated on 9.3 miles and not my parking lot wandering, we did a 10:56 average. That was just what I needed, a slow, easy run.

It was the 35th annual race, and they capped it at 35,000 runners. Holy crap, that's a lot of people! So fun to see all the green.
Brad did really well, finishing in 1:13, a 7:50 average. But the hilly course took a toll on our feet! Thank goodness for ice and ice baths :)
Then it was off to lunch at Native Foods Cafe. YUM!

Monday, March 18, 2013

No. 17

The werewolf-love book was pretty awesome, but Love at the Laudromat by Rona S. Zable is a close second!

When I saw this one in the THS Valentine's display I had to read it. I knew it was going to be awesome. I was not disappointed :)

Cute story about a teen girl whose mom buys a laundromat. She's embarrassed. She meets a boy. They fall in love. Then they break up. Will they get back together?? And there's a twist at the end!!

The front cover says: Reading level 5, Interest level age 12 and up. Perfect for me ;)

I have noticed a strange trend. This is at least the fourth book I've read recently where the teenage girl falls for a college guy several years older. And they get together and it all works out (oops - did I just give it away?!). Yikes. I don't think a 16 year old and 20 year old belong together.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

No. 16

As with movie rentals, I prefer to just dig in to a book without really knowing what it's about. I don't read the back cover, and I certainly never skip to the end. I just open and start reading.

I grabbed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from the THS Valentine's display because the cover looked really cool - and the inside type is blue like the cover. It looked a bit mysterious. And I definitely didn't notice the wolf on the front.

After a short time, I realized this book is about werewolves. More specifically, a teenage girl in love with a wolf. That wolf is also in love with her! 


Not my usual read, but the story was sorta captivating, so I decided to keep reading. By the end, I couldn't put it down. I finished the last page and now can't wait to go to work Monday and check out the next one in the series!

Sometimes my blind picking turns out good. Here's to broadening my horizons :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beauty - 3/15/13

Bottle-return machines all to myself:
Lunch (outside!) with my sweetie:
Surprise free cookies:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An evening alone

This week has been really busy - packed with fun times with friends, long to-do lists and late nights.

Brad's gone this evening helping teach a Mazamas climbing class, so I had some alone time to chill. I started with some reading and then a post-work nap, followed by a simple dinner, a few chores and then a relaxing run on the treadmill.
I opened both garage doors a bit and breathed in the fresh, warm air. I have a huge daphne in the back yard, and it smells like spring!

I did 3.25 miles in a little over 30 minutes.

Now I'm going to get cleaned up and curl up with some Thursday-night sitcoms :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Beauty - 3/13/13

Having the honor of helping two great young women complete their credits.
Congrats to Caitlyn and Jessica!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

No-TV Tuesday: treadmills and tutus

Started off my No-TV Tuesday with a lovely little run in the garage. It was hot, so the door was open... Harrison Ford's Frantic was in the VCR. Hello, 1988!
I did 3.1 miles - not too fast.
After dinner we were on to the main event: buying tutus for Sunday's Shamrock Run. Eryn, Dad and I shopped around, settling on skirts at Hot Topic in the mall.
Dad will do just about anything his girls ask him to do :)
Umm... WHAT??!!??
I think Dad was a bit traumatized by Spencer's and Hot Topic :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beauty - 3/12/13

I have a good dad:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Hair or money?


I heard an interesting question posed yesterday on the radio:

If you were offered the choice between $10,000 or a magic button that gave you perfect hair every day for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

A caller (female) opted for the hair. Then the DJ upped the offer to $50,000. Without hesitation, she stuck with her original choice.

I would choose the money, not because I'm greedy, but because I don't place tons of value on physical appearance - and I could do good with that cash!

What would YOU choose?


Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend beauty

Hand crafted for me:
Men playing:
Ferns on the roof:
Mated pair:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Marathon training: Week 15

One of my favorite parts of attending retreats at Twin Rocks is the chance to run on the Charlotte Mountain trails around camp.
During Saturday's long free time, I read some, took a snooze and then laced up for a heart-pounding, leg-burning, sweat-inducing run up and down (and up and down) the mountain.

The weather was amazing - warm, sunny, clear, calm.
It was a great, refreshing workout with views up and down the coast.

Cooling down in the sun:
I did 3.0 miles at a 16:28 average - because I walked some of the super steeps:
And with that...
200+ miles already for 2013!!!!! :)

Week 15 training recap:
Sunday: hilly hike
Monday: spin class
Tuesday: AM yoga, 2.05 miles
Wednesday: AM yoga, 2.05 miles
Thursday: 16.0 miles
Friday: 2.05 miles
Saturday: 3.0 miles - trails
Week 15 Total: 25.15 miles


Crunchy brownies

Monday's beauty came in the form of brownies... the best brownies I have ever tasted. Seriously.
Trena baked these treats for our handbell rehearsal - in honor of Laura's birthday. (Thank you, Laura, for having a birthday so we could all eat brownies!!!!) Trena gave me the recipe to share with all of you.

Go make these. Now. I'm not joking.

Crunchy Brownies

Bake one box of brownie mix following directions on box.  Use a 9 x 13 pan.

While the brownies are still hot, spread one jar of Marshmallow Creme over top or a 1/2 bag marshmallows.  Spread across top when softened.

When brownies are cool, place 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 to 60 seconds until softened.  Stir until smooth.

Add 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies to the peanut butter and chocolate - stir until coated.

Spoon the mixture over the marshmallow and spread to cover. 


Trena said she used the Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix for her base. It was amazing! I think the dark chocolate really put it over the top, making it one of the best desserts I've ever eaten.

Enjoy this simple and delicious treat :)