Sunday, December 12, 2010


Tis the season...

The calendar gods made it so that three days out of Thanksgiving weekend, we found ourselves in the throes of Hanukkah.

Then Hanukkah begat finals, and I became overwhelmed by the number of student papers that needed grading.

And then so forth will come a family ski trip to Mammoth, and a check of available snow-wear revealed that we all need SOMETHING (which is what happens when you haven't skied in two grow).

And also the BIG HOLIDAY that includes the guy in the red suit will follow shortly thereafter.

Thus, Alice has been very, very, VERY busy, which is why, until today, you had no news from heffer-land other than at some point Alice and her family ate LOTS of Turkey and Pie...

So, a quick catch-up in bullets and photos.

Hanukkah - The Day of Potato Latkes
Hanukkah is called the festival of lights, but for this girl, it's really the festival of Latkes. Latkes (for the uninitiated), are a potato pancake made with onions, matzoh, and potato, then fried up in a pan. They are traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream and are incredibly yummy...I mean, it's a fried potato. What's not to like.

That' being said, they are pretty labor intensive and need to be made right before eaten. I've tried making them in advance before, but they never turn out as good as the right out of the pan method. Needless to say, making them for 25 people is quite the day-long effort.
Turbo was my number one potato peeler.
Walter stepped in to help a bit (25 lbs of potatoes is a LOT of potatoes to peel)
Five frying pans, ready for service
As if 25 for dinner is not stressful enough? I went to answer the front door, started talking to a neighbor, and forgot I left the water running in the sink...
Two types of onions - yellow and scallions - for the latkes

My sister-in-law and I fryed up 103 latkes (we had an official counter this year). It was probably too many, and it took waaaaay too long to do. I think we cooked for about an hour and dinner was, sadly, not served until 8pm (sigh)...I will continue to refine my latke plan. One year it'll be perfect

Running at Lake BP
Clearly, a night of potato eating revelry requires a good run the next day, so Walter and I went for a run at Lake BP on Sunday.
Me and Walter after a sweaty run at Lake BP

The holiday season begins
One of the important events of the season is the HAG party. HAGS are the women who work at the high school where I used to teach. They say that once a HAG always a HAG, so I picked up Betty and we went.

A word about our hostess's (Judy's) home. It is really unlike any other house I've ever been in. Judy is a quilter and crafter and every aspect of her house is crafty...quite unlike my minimalist house. I admire those who can look at a space and think "oh, I saw the perfect _____ at a garage sale, if I refinish it and add some _____, it will go perfectly in my ____.

I can do none of that, but Judy can...she's really good at it.
This is one of the bathrooms. Yes, there is a sink there somewhere.
Judy's grandaughters' playhouse in the back yard, fully decorated for Santa's arrival
Daisy (center) and some HAGS. This is an arbor in the back yard
Even the laundry room is decorated (an adorable side-board with antique milk bottles and other things)
Betty, enjoying the event. The piece of furniture in front of her is an antique sewing machine table (I think). Judy had re-envisioned it into a quilt holder. Betty re-envisioned it as a cup holder for her beverage (see the ubiquitous red party cup?)
It's a canoe...doesn't everyone have an old canoe hanging from their ceiling.
This photo has nothing to do with anything...other than we've had some pretty extraordinary sunsets recently. I took this photo as I was driving to Road Runner Sports to get some new tennis shoes.

I wrote in my last post about the weirdness in my shoes, and finally this week, I took a few minutes to drive up to Road Runner Sports to get some new shoes. I bought my Saucony's back in July, so I was well past the 90 day return policy period, so I figured I would be spending a few bucks on some new shoes, and as we all know, running shoes ain't cheap.

But here's why I love RRS...they exchanged my shoes anyway! And more than THAT. They were out of stock of my Saucony's (new model due next week), so they told me I could wait for an exchange with the new model or I could try out some Asics Kayanos, which are a comparable model. If I don't like how they work, I can return them in a few weeks.

How cool is that?

So, Saturday, the Herd (Betty, Mik, Elsie, and I) met for a run at Mission Beach. It was cool, but sunny when I left my house in La Mesa, but by the time I got down to the beach, it was very foggy, like pea-soup foggy. If I didn't know where I was going, I'd have missed an exit or two.

We had a really nice run (about an hour). Elsie and I ran toward Bird Rock, Mik ran toward South Mission, with a plan to run up the beach. Betty said she was going to do sprints on the beach and some core work.

So, Elsie and I ran north on the boardwalk and chatted about life, family, work. It was damp and cool and I was glad that I remembered my running gloves (I HATE it when my hands get cold). About the time I got to Bird Rock however, the sun was starting to peek through and it warmed up. I took off my gloves and my long sleeve shirt to enjoy the warm.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunshine at Bird was this bird (har, har, har...get it, Bird Rock - Bird on a Rock...ok, whatever)
Some people on the beach beating on a large tire with hammers (Biggest Loser style)
Back toward Mission Beach, Mik showed up and we ran back together...or I tried to keep up with speedy Mik. There is an ocean behind them, I promise.
After our run, we headed toward Elsie's Casita Bonita for breakfast and mimosas and some long awaited catching up! now, you're caught up on what I've been up to...

Up this week are a couple of holiday events (including the Heffer Holiday Happening). I've got finals this week. I am eagerly awaiting getting back to regular blogging (both the writing and the reading kind) soon!

Happy holidays everyone!


  1. That's a lot of latkes!

    In another time I was THAT crafty. I just don't have the energy to do that any more, nor the organization I once had, but I'm always amazed to see what other people can do with found things.

    Whew! You're one busy lady! I now work in your neck of the woods. We'll have to meet for an after work run (or drinks) sometimes, when our schedules calm down. :)

  2. Fun post, just a potpourri of all that is FUN in your house!
    Judy's house is incredible, I love the bathroom and the playhouse!
    I can't imagine how RR Sports can stay in business. I've exchanged shoes there four times and inserts, too. That's why I keep going back.
    I hope you can slow down once finals are over, stay sane!

  3. I can't believe Judy's house - wow! It's amazing but I just couldn't cope. Like you I'm not wired that way..

    That's amazing re your shoe shop - really impressive too. Love it.

    Have a great time skiing - I'm jealous!

  4. If you have too many latkes nxt yar - give me a buzz and I'll help demolish them!

    Hope you like those Kayanos. They fit like a glove!

    Have a great skication and Happy Holidays!

  5. betty says,


    I love the pix and your creative explanations. I look forward to reading your blog!

  6. You should record your results and training with this brand new application. Definitely the best one i have seen.

    220 TriLog for the iPhone!

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