Friday, December 31, 2010


No. I'm not going back three hundred years to wish everyone a VERY belated Happy New Year.

One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ten... That's how many driving miles Walter, DramaGirl, Turbo and I have logged this holiday season (according to the iPad Map Ap). First, we went skiing at Mammoth (where we were lucky enough to endure experience the snow storm of the century. (approximately 800 miles round trip).

Recognize this crazy, hatless guy in a blizzard?

Then, on Christmas day, we headed up to my sister's in Manhattan Beach for the family celebration (approximately 250 miles RT).

BIL in a fabulous Chef's apron which lit up like a holiday tree.

My beautiful HAWT sisterz

You'd think that would be enough traveling for one holiday season, especially for one that saw it's share of snow and rain, but I'd been thinking for a few weeks that I really wanted to visit my parents, who live in Las Vegas, so two days after Christmas, we loaded up the car for ONE MORE TRIP and headed to Vegas (approximately 660 miles RT).

My visits to "sin city" are decidedly sin-less and low key. My sister also drove over from MB, so we had a lovely couple of days of eating (OMG! Can we STOP with the cookies and crackers now? PLEASE?), laughing and visiting with my mom and dad.

Thank goodness the Red Rock Has a fitness room. I worked out there twice, one morning before I'd had any was UGLY. I'll never do that again. Also, it was friggen COLD. We almost went skiing on Thursday (Yes Virginia, there is skiing at a small hill called Mt. Charleston, about 45 minutes north of Vegas, but it was windy and the wind chill took it to -11F (cold enough that even my Canadian friends would be cold, I think).

Mom had her Thyroid removed last month and hadn't been able to eat much, so I made her some Matzoh Ball soup and cured her.

Yesterday DramaGirl and my sis went shopping at the Forum Shops at Caesar's

Also, yesterday DG took her first driving lesson with Walter (of course)...OMG, OMG, OMG

Last night, in an another absolute first, I won $60 at roulette!!!!! Let me be clear in saying that I NEVER win (of course I rarely gamble which doesn't really increase my odds of winning...)

So now unlike, what appeared at some points like the rest of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, we are headed out of Vegas for New Year's Eve. (officials were expecting about 400,000 on the strip tonight).

Outside Baker, CA...and rather glad I was headed in the opposite direction

I, for one, will be happy to sleep in my own bed tonight and wake up in my own house tomorrow.

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to another year of health, happiness, love, and laughter to all

Cue music...almost home...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow, Rain ... Are We There Yet?

It's really be quite the week... Here's a recap in bullets and photos.

Last Monday, we skied in low visibility and a partial blizzard (because I absolutely REFUSED to spend another day in a rented condo with four kids)
Turbo and what appears to be a lift behind him
Can you tell from the body language that it'd been a pretty long day?
Luckily, when we woke up on Tuesday morning, it looked like this...
Cue the choir of angels singing "hallelujah" 
With kids in lessons, Walter and I got a morning of skiing to ourselves...Let me just say it was NOT easy skiing. The storm had dumped about 13 feet of snow in three days. Can you say "leg burn?"
Hot Chocolate at the end of a good ski day.
I'd promised DramaGirl (who was just itching for some more boarding) that if we woke up on Wednesday to sunshine like Tuesday, we'd ski another day and drive back after skiing. Unfortunately, Wednesday looked more like this...
The View from 395
I swear...there's a mountain out there...somewhere...
So we drove back to SoCal...a trip that usually takes six hours...only due to the snow and torrential rain in So Cal, it took us about 10...mostly due to this...

395 south...the road less taken?
To get through Adelanto (or BFE for those who are unfamiliar with the area)...three hour
After 10 hours of being on my ASS in the car, I was happy to meet with Betty and Mik...Betty brought the beer hats.
It's amazing how popular you become one you don a holiday beer hat!
Bertha Mae, D-one, and Lola (I swear...I am not making these names up...they already had them) D-one is Betty's D-1. They are now old enough to join us, but they sat at their own table and refused to wear the beer hats...even though we know they really, really, really wanted to...
Hope everyone had a Merry Holiday! I know I did (and it's not over yet).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Called Snow

Our annual family ski trip to the mountains has so far resulted in much snow, but little skiing.

DramaGirl, Turbo, and two cousins, packed in the back with too much gear.

Sometimes DG gets a little bored...

Then it became cloudy on the horizon

Then it started to snow... A lot

But we made it anyway thanks to my mad navigational skilz. (e.g. We took a few wrong turns, which ordinarily isn't such a big deal, but in a snow storm, it is),

This morning since the weather report indicated that there would be winds up to 60 mph at at least 2 feet of snow dropping, we decided to forgo yhe ski adventure, but we did go exploring instead.

Boys on the gondola

DramaGirl and me on the gondola. That's a heap of snow behind us

That's a rather large hill behind Walter, one which could not be seen.

Walter was quite entertained by the snow

For some reason, Walter likes to be a minimalist dresser in the snow ( hat. He wasn't wearing gloves either). It was only about five or six years ago that he, SoCal native, started wearing actual ski pants when we go skiing, and he only wears them because I bought them and then nagged him about wearing them because he just makes me cold looking at him dressed inappropriately for winter Before that? Long underwear & jeans...crazy. Me on the other hand? I'm all about being warm, and I'm the one who grew up in this stuff!

DG and her crazy cuzin. LOVE the hat and there's Turbo trying to jump into the picture.

We heard later that they closed the hill at noon because of the winds and low visibility. We had decided to not ski already, but it was even to windy to sled. We spent the day lazin' around, which is not something that we are used to doing. I did go to the fitness center and spent 30 painful minutes on the elliptical. I blame being at 8000 feet on suckish workout.

The view, such as it is, from our balcony.

This storm had dumped 5 - 7 feet of snow in the last day and a half. We are hoping for a little less snow to fall tomorrow, and mostly less wind!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The "What Ifs"

The semester ended today (imagine something like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing a Hallelujah Chorus...THAT would pretty much sum up my reaction).

You could probably tell by the very small number of posts since school started in September that I was a very, very, very busy girl. It couldn't possibly have been that I'd run out of things to chat about. THAT would ever happen.

But being busy? Yes, that I was... So though I was too busy to write, and far too often to busy to even run, I still managed to run a 1/2 marathon with Walter and the herd in October and our favorite Shelter Island 5K in November.

But I've been holding out on you. The thing that I really haven't written about is how even though I've done minimal training this fall, for some reason, somehow, in some way, I'm starting to get (dare I say it?)...

Faster (shhhhhhh don't tell anyone...)

I'm not much faster mind you, and compared to some of you, I'm still a downright turtle, but it's becoming apparent to me that my comfortable long run pace is now somewhere int the 10:30 - 10:45 pace range and my long-slow-run pace is around 11:00 to 11:30.

Yep, I am a veritable speed-demon. 

When I was doing speed intervals on the 'mill the other morning, I ramped up the top pace was 7mph (8:45 pace) and the recovery pace was (5.6 mph) (10:30 pace)...and the top pace wasn't even all that difficult.

In short, I ran fast (for me) and I didn't go flying off the 'mill like a Biggest Loser contestant in week one (BTW...that's gotta hurt). 

But this marginal success in getting faster does lead me into some rather dangerous thinking about the  "what ifs..."
  • What if I could run a 5K at a 9 minute pace 
  • What if I trained and could run a 1/2 marathon at a 10:30 pace
  • What if I trained and could run another marathon in under five hours (now that is some really crazy talk), but I'd be lying if I said it hadn't crossed my mind.
Now "what ifs" and goals aren't bad mind you, but I was somewhere near this place two years ago where I started gaining some speed. Two years ago, I got hurt...the first time, some big huge hip contusion (I do like saying that word) that happened in a simple training run (only weeks before the Carlsbad 5000, which I stupidly ran anyway, which caused a nearly one year long battle with PF...which continues to this day)

So, I've spent a LOT of time in the last two years either being hurt, or recovering from being hurt, or doing something foolish that would ensure that I would soon be hurt again.

But, I really don't want to go into this round of the SDTC Rockin' and Runnin' program with an injury again (nor do I want to get injured in the third week again), so I do need to be smart about this.

I do have such lofty goals, don't I?

In other news...The annual Heffer Holiday Bash was Wednesday night.
Elsie, Betty, Mik and I each chose four of our favorite running songs and put them on a CD with an invite for everyone to join us for a run this year.

 Clearly, the most photographed heffer of the evening was our newest heffer, Abbey...
Mona and Abbey
Momma and Abbey
Abbey's Mommy (Clarence) and Alberta and (of course) Abbey (who was taking a little nap)

Me and my fave snuggle baby
"Aw mom...the party's just started...I'm not ready to go home yet!"
 So...the semester is over. I am woefully behind on holiday plans. I am looking forward to writing more soon about my running goals and other fun stuff. This blog has been far too boring recently!

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!