One Beer at a Time

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more in 2014.  I have to figure out my theme and my voice and what I want to say and how I want to say it but for now, I’m just going to tell you about my day.

My friend, Eric, is having a New Year’s Day shindig.  He’s a bit of a craft beer guy, so I decided to check out a local brewery to see if they had any beers worthy of grabbing a growler-ful.  I fired up the old GPS and headed off to Kettering to find the Eudora Brewing Company.

flight

In general, I just like beer, so I’m trying to be more mindful of what I’m drinking and what I like and don’t like.  Fact: I don’t like pale ales or IPAs.  They’re just too hoppy for me.  The bartender was kind enough to give me a taste of the Boomerang IPA – didn’t do a thing to change my mind about IPAs so I didn’t bother including it in my flight.  From the top: Sundowner Blonde Ale, The Bee’s Knees American Pale Ale, Thunderball Stout and their seasonal Chocolate Milk Porter.  I probably preferred the Sundowner and Thunderball out of the five I tasted.  The Bee’s Knees was a smidge hoppy for me and the porter just tasted a little off.  They were out of the Mother-Fuggle Brown Ale, but the bartender seemed to think I would’ve liked it.

As usual, I felt a little lame venturing out on my own.  I had my usual bag of tricks – knitting, e-reader, crossword puzzle –  but for a while I was the only person at the bar, so I watched football and chitchatted with the bartender.  There are several other breweries in the area – Dayton Beer Company, Toxic Brew Company, Yellow Springs Brewery – so maybe I’ll try to hit up one every couple of months and check them out.

 

 

Back in the Game

After three years, I am returning to the land of the employed.  I don’t even know exactly what it is that I’ll be doing, but I know that I’ll be reporting to an office for 40 hours a week and in turn, they will give me money.   Tomorrow I head to my five-hour orientation session; after that I should have a better idea of what’s going on.

Since we decided I couldn’t exactly take my grandmother’s car every day, she very generously decided to help me out with one of my very own!

chloeWhen I was living in Fayetteville, I often drove my friend’s Mazda, so I’m familiar with the zoom-zoom.  She’s zippy and fun and I think once I get used to her quirks, I’m going to love this car.   Honestly, my first choice was a Subaru Forester, but I decided to go with gas mileage over all-wheel drive.  Hopefully, I don’t regret that decision; it’s been a long time since I’ve had to drive regularly in an Ohio winter.  By “long time,” I mean never.  I got my driver’s license three days before I left Ohio for Virginia 20 years ago, so this should be an adventure.  Next stop, my Ohio license!  I can’t believe I have to re-take the written test – UGH!

 

Field Trip

Since watching the end of this Bears-Steelers game is hella nerve-wracking, I figure I’ll piece together words and photos about my day.  I mistakenly thought the Wool Gathering was NEXT weekend; fortunately I became aware of my mistake in time to do something about it.

After loading HRG on a bus to Georgia with her church group, I refilled my coffee and headed east to Yellow Springs.  Even though I was running a little later than I wanted to, I forced myself to take my time, drive back roads, and check out the scenery.  I’m so glad I did, even if I couldn’t capably capture the sights with my handy Nikon.

farmland

moo bwEventually I got to Young’s Jersey Dairy, where the Wool Gathering was taking place.  We got quite a bit of rain Friday night so the field was a little muddy but perfectly navigable.  The cows didn’t mind a bit.

mooThere was a small “petting zoo” tent with some sheep, goats, Angora rabbits, and this sassy fellow.

whazzupQuite possibly my favorite accidental photo of the day.

The other three tents contained various crafty items for sale.  Knitting/crocheting, spinning and weaving were all well represented throughout the Gathering.

gather

strum

spinning

dunno(I have no idea what crafty goodness the guy on the bottom was up to)

I told myself I would only spend money if there was a yarn that spoke to me, that I could afford a sweater quantity of.   Enter Morning Meadow Sundries, based in Galloway, OH.  I picked up some incredibly squishy worsted weight alpaca in Charcoal.

squishUnfortunately, you can’t pet the screen to tell how unbelievably soft this yarn is.  I have to say, I love it a lot.  As of right now, I think I’m going to use it for Thea Colman’s Cape Cod pullover (Ravelry link), although Triona Murphy’s Chandail cardigan (Ravelry link) is also in the running.

So that was my day – the first one with any items of note in a long time.  Tomorrow will not be nearly as thrilling – updating my resume and making a handful of copies in preparation for a job fair being held locally.  Wish me luck!

Just Peachy

peachesWe had some peaches on the verge of going soft so I decided it was time to bake.  After bringing my Google-Fu powers to bear, I came across Tésa’s Best Peach Crisp Recipe Ever recipe.  As I am powerless to resist hyperbole, I knew this was going to be the winner.

crisp ingredients

crisp1

crisp2This is the first crisp recipe I’ve seen where you pack the crumble into the bottom of the baking dish, add the fruit, then top with the remaining crisp.  This particular recipe also called for a syrupy mixture to be added on top of the fruit.  Overall, I enjoyed this crisp, but found it to be a little too sweet for my taste.  If I make it again, I’ll likely dial back on the syrup and maybe bump up the fruit.  I didn’t get a lot of the peachy taste that I was really looking for.

crisp3That doesn’t mean I won’t inhale the rest of this.

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Sunday Was NOT My Day of Rest

I decided I had to begin my anti-zombie training today, despite the rec center being closed, so I took to the streets.  I forgot exactly how much more slowly I move when I have to propel my own mass across the ground.  It was slow going, but I did it!

zom1I wish I’d headed out earlier than 11:30ish – it was hella humid by the time I hit the road – but I did it and that’s what matters.  Tomorrow will be another elliptical day.  I wish the rec center had Body Pump; it really was the only time I habitually got any sort of strength training.  I know I need to start hitting the weight machines again, but my goal is to hit the gym for five days in the next week and then add weights the following week.  We’ll see.  Right now, I’m just trying to develop the habit of working out.

I’ve also been experimenting with smoothies.  I know I have to eat before I work out and since I’ve been working out in the morning, that limits my options.  So far, I’ve tried banana-peanut butter, strawberry-banana, and today’s try was strawberry-peach.

smoothie3So far, the peanut butter-banana is my favorite, but the other two fruit-yogurt smoothies were tasty, too.  The only change I would make is perhaps adding fewer strawberries; their flavor was a little overpowering in both of the fruity selections.  I’ve contemplated adding protein powder, but for now I’ll stick with fruit and yogurt.

When I got back from my “run,” I watched the shitshow of a race in Kentucky – *sigh* still got a top 10 finish, maintained points lead (silver lining) – then went to go do my usual round of minimal gardening.  Good thing I did…

squashLet there be squash!

My little beauties are all about nine inches long, with the two on the left weighing in at over a pound and the one on the right coming in at about nine ounces.

So, anyone have any squash recipes?

 

 

 

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Not All C25Ks Are Created Equal

About once a year, I get a burr in my butt about running.  A lot of my friends run, anything from short-ish trail runs to ridiculous ultra-marathons.  I, on the other hand, have never been a runner.  One hundred or so extra pounds, bad knees, bad back, big boobs – none of these are factors which make pounding the pavement particularly easy.

I’m mostly an elliptical gal at the gym – easier on the joints and the boobages – but thought adding in the occasional hyperventilating on the treadmill to change things up.  With my friends Christina & Allyson both training for/running their first 5Ks this year and me needing to do SOMETHING, I decided it was time to dig out the ol’ Couch to 5K running program and get going.

My problem is, the “official” Cool Running’s C25K training program seems to believe that I’m either launching from a far more fit starting point or else thinks I lead a FAR more active sofa lifestyle than I actually do.  Week 1, Day 1 calls for a “brisk five-minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.”  My crawling off the couch then running for a minute straight after a 5 minute warm-up walk is SO not going to happen, not when I’m sucking wind after that initial five-minute mosey.

Holly – BFF and hostess of the Sheepish podcast – discovered an alternate training program: Zombies, Run!  She personally needed more of a narrative than a voice in her ear saying “Walk….run….walk again” and I needed a more gradual approach.  The first week of the Zombie 5K training program is:

zombies

 

I know for those of you that actually run real distances, this is comical.  When you tip the scales at 250+ and the most running you do is that mini-sprint to duck under the garage door before it closes or to get to the phone before it goes to voice mail, this is a much more appropriate starting pace.  By no stretch of the imagination is this meant to be a condemnation of the official program; I’m simply stating that – for me personally – it’s too fast out of the gate.

The rec center is closed tomorrow, so the zombies will have to wait until Monday.

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My Kind of Town

As I mentioned before, Chicago is my first love.  At the end of the day, I firmly believe that either the City of Broad Shoulders or DC will be my forever home, but for now, I’m back in the Buckeye State.  But last week, I got to spend four days tromping around a city I love, acting like a tourist and visiting old friends.  I wish I could’ve stayed longer, done more, taken more photos, but alas – time got away from me, as usual.

Thursday was the only day I really played solo.  I went to the The Skydeck at the Sears Willis Tower, enjoyed the view, and watched people take pictures of their feet:

downOf course, I can’t judge…

toes

After that, I just walked.  I saw art…

flamingo

Calder’s “Flamingo”

…and boats on the South Branch of the Chicago River.

dearbornI met up with my friend Dave and then we walked some more!

pb1 cropDave literally dragged me across street, gasping “Oooh!  You’ve GOTTA see Puppet Bike!!!”  I was not disappointed.  So cute!

fountain

Kids frolicking in Crown Fountain, Millennium Park

We moseyed along the lake shore and skirted Navy Pier.  We grabbed a drink in The Globe Pub and dinner at Smoque.  As much as I love the tourist-y stuff, I enjoyed getting out of the loop and exploring a bit more of the city.

Friday, I flew solo.  I managed to hang in there during a three-hour rain delay, spending WAY too much time and money at Murphy’s Bleachers, but in the end, I got to go to my first game at Wrigley.  SO worth the wait.

delay

First Pitch!

First Pitch!

Go Cubs Go

Go Cubs Go!

Unfortunately, my phone died during the rain delay so playing meetup tag with my friend, Tamara, was a bit tricky, but we eventually got together and I spent a couple of days with her.   My last couple of days are a blur of food and friends and it couldn’t have been better.

Looking towards Hancock

Looking towards Hancock

Logan Square

Logan Square

Spicy Bloodies

Spicy Bloodies

elevated

Elevated

I can’t wait to go back!

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

kicks…get back on the horse.  Or something like that.

Thanks to the good folks – Rachel & Wes – at Up & Running Dayton for getting me fitted for my new shoes.  I find you pay a little more at stores like this, but for me, it’s worth the additional expense for the wonderful service they provide.  Now I just need to get off my butt and head to the rec center.  I finally picked up my shoes and my fitness pass this afternoon, so tomorrow is E-Day.

For me, exercise – almost more than food consumption – is all about accountability.  Sure, I’ll check into the center on FourSquare, but does anyone have any apps that they like to use to track their workouts?  I’m so bad, I used to literally put gold stars onto a wall calendar to note the days I made it to the gym.  Those blank squares during the week would shame me into heading back out, more likely than not.  Of course, I could go low-tech but what’s the point of owning all these damn iProducts if I’m not going to get any use out of them.

To that end, does anyone out there use any apps for iPod or iPhone that they love as a fitness/nutrition tracker?  I’ve heard of SparkPeople, RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, Fitocracy & Nexercise – are there any others I’ve missed?  Do you love or hate any one of these?  Any advice would be muchly appreciated!

Now it’s time to go to sleep.  Early morning alarm, banana smoothie then off to the gym!

Theoretically.

rec

 

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Keeping Her

Earlier this month, I finished “Losing It,” the first book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It trilogy.  LOVED. IT.  My friend Kim recommended it highly and she couldn’t have been more right.  The characters were warm and relate-able, but not so sickeningly sweet as to be false or unpalatable.  While I haven’t gotten a hold of “Faking It” just yet, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the preview package for “Keeping Her” – which is a continuation of “Losing It” – and now I get to share it with you!

Click here to access the preview package for “Keeping Her” – the continuation of Bliss and Garrick’s story.

Cora Carmack is also participating in a couple of other online events this week:

June 26 – Goodreads chat w/ Cora Carmack & Jay Crownover
June 27 – “Faking It” virtual book club meetup (Facebook)

If you’re even remotely into Young Adult fiction, I strongly recommend picking up Cora’s books.

Crankypants

HRG wanted to come check out the garden with me when I went to water and weed today.  NOT a good idea.  I wasn’t planning on a full-scale assault; just wanted to water it if it was too dry and do some token weeding.  I knew I’d have to settle in and do some hardcore kneeling and plucking at some point this week, but I also knew it wasn’t going to be today.

From the second we pulled into the parking lot, HRG was critical of my little plot of soil.  I didn’t plant enough.  I didn’t weed enough.  Why did I plant this and not that?  Why didn’t I plant more of that and less of this?  So-and-so’s plot a couple of plots over looks so much better.  At first I acted like a grown-up and everything.  I showed her where my summer squash were blossoming and how there we wee yellow squash growing.  I showed her how my second pea planting was coming along and how the first one was starting to show pods.  I showed her all the baby grape tomatoes that were coming along and how the peppers were starting to sprout.  Her only comment?  “How come you have so many more weeds than the plot next to yours?”

That’s when I left her in the garden and went to sit by the car.

She wants to come back with me tomorrow; I’m not sure I can take it.  Maybe if I have a fully-charged iPod…