Saturday, January 31, 2009

Robbery update

I did 6 miles Thursday, and another 4 miler today. My pace is still deadly slow, and I really have to push to complete the run. The stamina just isn't there, and I'm wondering-is it possible I'm still suffering from the flu? That might explain the deep need for a nap in the middle of the day and the complete lack of appetite. Honestly, if Hubby didn't need to eat occasionally I don't think I would eat at all; I just kind of eat with Hubby to keep him company and because I know on a logical level that I have to eat something.

I think it's time, faithful readers, to give you an update on the robbery that occurred at my home last month. My days of schlepping around to jewelry stores and pawn shops in 3 counties has in fact reaped some benefits. Some of my jewelry did show up and I managed to recover a little over a dozen pieces. The local sheriffs department will hold my stuff as evidence but I will eventually get it back. I didn't recover any of the really valuable stuff but I did get some pieces that have a great deal of sentimental value and perhaps that's worth more anyway. Actually I'm grateful that I managed to get anything back-I truly thought I would never see any of it ever again.

And the good news is that the recovery of my property led to some names for the detectives to follow up and hopefully will lead to more property recovery and an arrest or two. So it's now in the hands of the professional crime solvers, and all I can do is continue to visit pawn shops and see if I recognize anything. The wheels of justice grind slow, but exceedingly fine...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

4 Miles, pt.2

I woke up today with no leg pain and no coughing fits. So I said to myself, "Self, today is the day that you find out just how much conditioning you've lost. You will get dressed, put on your Garmin and your new IPod, and go outside and run. You will not concern yourself with distance or pace or anything but putting one foot in front of another". So that is what I did and I completed 4 miles at an excruciatingly slow pace; but I did it with no stopping or walking. It's better than I expected-I would have been happy with 2 miles.

Oh, the joy of the IPod Shuffle! I knew I wasn't going to survive running without music and since certain (insert expletive) jerks stole the charger for my old MP3, I splurged on the Shuffle. It's definitely a better choice than my old Sony. I love the randomness of the music with the Shuffle, a feature the Sony didn't have. Will the next song be Beethoven or the Beatles? Bagpipes or the Rolling Stones? I have eclectic tastes in music, I like almost everything, and my Shuffle reflects that. And wow-I can buy songs for 99 cents! How awesome is that! I know people of a certain age like to reminisce about the "good old days", but honestly, when you can buy songs one at a time for less than a buck, then load them into a little device the size of a matchbook, and then actually listen to those songs-and you can have 100s of songs stored in that cute little matchbook thingy-it just doesn't get better than that. Who else here remembers buying a record album because you really liked one song on the album, and all the other songs were duds? I always felt cheated. Don't get me wrong-I'm kind of happy that I grew up in the 60s. Being a kid at that time was actually a lot of fun. But electronically speaking, it's way better now and I love my gadgets-it makes me wonder what's next?

Friday, January 23, 2009

4 miles

I ran 4 miles on the deadmill yesterday. It wasn't as bad as I expected; I completed the run with a couple of walk breaks so maybe all is not lost and I'm still a runner. I won't be outside for days because of the rain-we've finally started our "monsoon" season which means much needed rain for a few weeks. I wanted to attempt a 6 miler today but my left leg is very painful this morning. I don't know what I did but it hurts. I'm thinking I'll just try walking on the mill and see what happens. If it hurts too much I'll give it a rest and try again Saturday. Or maybe the elliptical? I do, after all, have options. I'm trying to figure out how runners know when they're actually injured and need a rest and when they're just sore and can continue to run. Is that something that comes with experience? Will I finally know my body well enough someday that I can just tell when it's an injury and when it's something else? These are the times when I wish I was independantly wealthy and I had a personal trainer (as well as a chef, house keeper, and pool boy to go with the olympic pool).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still no running

I tried running yesterday for the first time in some time. I started out ok, felt tired but I thought I could tough it out. Then I started feeling dizzy and had some really bad coughing fits and walked a bit. I felt dizzy and really off again and realized I can't run yet. I managed 2 very crappy miles and now I'm scared-what if I have to start from scratch? This is very, very bad. I finally got in to see the doc. The bottom line is I have the bug everybody has right now and basically I have to wait it out. And I have 2 broken eardrums, which explains the excruciating earaches I had over the weekend and the current almost total deafness. Crap.

OK, so let's consider this. If I have to start over, I start over. I'm thinking it won't take me as long this time to get back to some decent mileage; I'll know what I'm doing this time instead of being a total newbie and sort of guessing at what I should do. And I'm going to at least try some run/walks on the deadmill in the meantime so I don't lose every ounce of conditioning I had, and I'll be in the safety of my own home in case I get dizzy again. And walking on the deadmill is better than nothing, right? Right. So-I've done it before, I can do it again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're havin a heat wave

I have nothing to report, running wise, because I haven't been running. This is not how I wanted to start my marathon running year. I did 5 miles on Monday and it sucked like a Hoover. I just didn't feel right. I got home and curled up on the sofa under 2 blankets, shivering like crazy. I considered asking Hubby to just shoot me and put me out of my misery, but it would make a terrible mess on the carpet and he would have a lot of trouble explaining his actions to the authorities ("Honest, officer, she asked me to do it!"). I finally feel better this morning, although I still have a really nasty cough. But the good thing is, this is the first morning that I've felt that compulsion to run. I resisted-I'm not going out until my cough is better.

We've had incredible weather lately, even for California. It's been in the low 80s for 3 days and will continue that way into next week. It's funny to watch the news-the local reports show our beaches full of people enjoying the warm weather, playing in the sun; then the national news comes on and cars are skidding off the icy roads and people are all bundled up in heavy coats. If any of you, faithful readers, can possibly manage it, come to central California. Come right now. Bring shorts and bathing suits and flip flops. You can run in shorts and tshirts, as God meant us all to run.

And finally, to the (enter your favorite expletive here) person who broke into my house and stole my stuff-you stole the chargers for my digital camera and my mp3 player, but you didn't take the camera or the mp3 player. What were you thinking? Now, I can't use either item because the batteries are dead, and I can't ask the insurance company to replace the camera or the mp3 player because you didn't steal them. And the chargers can't possibly be worth anything to you. You are an idiot.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Swap Meet Oysters

Hubby and I spent the day wandering around our local swapmeet, looking for our stolen stuff-you never know where it might pop up. So we're walking around, making sarcastic comments about the sellers and buyers. And I notice a sign on the tailgate of a truck that says "Fresh Oysters". Holy Cow. Why would you think that the swapmeet, on a hot day in California, when it's oh, maybe 75 degrees or more, in an open parking lot, would be a good place to sell oysters? More importantly, who in their right mind would BUY oysters at a swapmeet? I can picture some guy coming home after spending the day at the swapmeet and dropping a used plastic grocery bag on the kitchen counter and telling wifey, "Honey, it's oysters Rockefeller for us tonight! And I bought them first thing this morning, before the oyster guy sold out. I've been lugging them all over the swapmeet for hours while I was looking for an Elvis on velvet painting for you. Crack these puppies open and start cookin!".

Now, I'm neither an oyster expert nor a fan. But don't you have to keep shellfish really cold? And isn't it supposed to be really fresh? It seems to me that oysters are a bit like sushi-you sort of want to know where it came from and how long it's been sitting around. I just don't think I would trust tailgate swapmeet oysters.

And we didn't find any of our stuff, either. But I almost bought a Crosby Stills and Nash album because I had the same album in my youth and it has Marrakesh Express on it. Remember the album with the 3 guys just sitting on a sofa? Anyway, I digress. I didn't buy the album because I don't have a record player and I can always just buy the song online and download it to my MP3 player. Swapmeets-ya gotta love them. Odd people, weird stuff for sale, and you can walk away with a little piece of your youth for just a few bucks. Or you can buy salmonella on the half shell for the whole family!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good mexican restaurants for beginners

I ran a lovely 10 miler today. I just let my legs do their job; only had a couple of short walk breaks, and I did stop for a bit to talk to a neighbor. Otherwise, I just ran, and I had a pretty decent pace with a little gas left in the tank at the end of the run. It helped that the weather was perfect-cool with a very slight breeze. So I guess I'm over my cold!

Greentigress asks a muy importanto question-how do you tell if a mexican restaurant is authentic? The first rule is-if it's a chain restaurant, treat it the way you would a bean burrito that's been left in the Tijuana sun for 2 days-stay away-stay far, far, away. Chain restaurants do not know how to do mexican food. I'm convinced that if you check the dumpster behind a chain restaurant, you will find piles of boxes that say "Stouffers heat and serve enchilada dinner".

Rule number 2-if you can't tell the difference between the burrito and the enchilada, it's not an authentic restaurant. You can't just put beans in an enchilada and call it a burrito. It's like putting a saddle on a donkey-you can call him a race horse, but he won't win the Kentucky Derby.

Finally-if the only cars you see in the parking lot are Cadillacs and Lincolns, and the only people in the restaurant are elderly gringos, the food will not be authentic. It will be bland and have no spicy heat. You will get a great deal if you go at 4:30 for the early bird special, but the food will not be good.

So now that we know what to avoid, what do we look for in a good mexican restaurant? The best ones I've ever been to have some common traits-they're family operated. They're small. They have a lot of hispanic customers. The ingredients used are fresh, often from the cook's garden. The menu is simple and basic and generous. The whole place will carry the scent of garlic and chilies. Hubby and I discovered just such a restaurant in Santa Barbara. It's off the beaten path and very small with nothing more that a chalkboard sign announcing its existence. We found it by happy accident and I think the family's main business is in catering trucks and they've just sort of branched into the restaurant business. I commented to Hubby that the tomatoes that garnished our plates were real garden tomatoes and not store bought; the owner heard my comment and brought extra tomato slices piled on a spatula and added them to my plate. That's service!

It pleases me to think of this little restaurant operating in one of California's trendiest, most expensive and exclusive (translation: snobby) cities. I haven't been there in some time; I hope they're doing well and still serving good authentic mexican food with fresh tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back on track?

I'm hoping that today's 7 miler was a sign that I'm back in the running groove. The week off from running may not have been the smartest thing I've ever done, because the following week when I should have been able to just jump right back into running, I came down with a really bad cold. I did get in a couple of short runs while I was sick but I felt like crap. Today felt better, running wise. I'll take tomorrow off and then back at it Friday..

I have several comments to my post on tamales that should be addressed. Sarah and Greentigress-you guys have never had tamales? Wow! I've lived my whole life in either Texas or California, which means I grew up with tamales, as well as enchiladas, tacos, salsa, burritos-all the yummy goodness that is mexican food. Go find a good mexican restaurant and eat some tamales. Trust me-if they're done properly, they're worth the fat and calories!

Bosco-I know Gilroy well, and they do indeed have a garlic festival with garlic ice cream. I've never been there for the festival, but I know people who have had garlic ice cream and they tell me it's pretty good. If you happen to drive through that area, roll down your car windows. The smell of garlic hangs in the air like perfume!

Stan-Come on over! We'll put you to work wrapping tamales, and you can go home with a dozen or so tamales for your freezer. Bring beer.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Have you ever had fresh, homemade from scratch tamales? I'm talking about the kind where you make the mole sauce from 3 different kinds of peppers that you have to roast, soak and then grind in a blender. And you use fresh pork shoulder, and real masa with a secret ingredient that keeps it light and fluffy. I could tell you what the secret ingredient is but then I'd have to kill you.

We had friends over on New Year's day and made 7 dozen tamales. It takes all day and a whole team of workers, with everyone doing a different task. I was soaking corn husks all night before the party, then I was up at 6 am cooking then shredding the pork. It's lots of work, but oh, those tamales! Spicy with cumin and garlic and onions and peppers; and you wash them down with a good mexican beer-I prefer Negro Modelo. We had scottish shortbread cookies and Russian chocolates for dessert because that's what I had on hand-sounds weird but it was all tasy, rich in all the stuff your doctor would tell you to avoid. Sometimes you have to taste the "forbidden fruits" of life and just enjoy it-calories and cholesterol be damned!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New year, new goals

Let's talk about the new year and goals. I don't believe in yearly resolutions; like most people I usually set a resolution and then promptly forget it. 2009, however,will have to be different. I have a goal of completing the Las Vegas Marathon and that's going to take some hefty preparation. So after some thought, I realized my preparation for the race will have to be three fold and while I can't start training just yet (the race isn't until December!) I can do some things to make a marathon a little easier. My three part plan is a really good diet, stretching and core training, and running. The running won't start until this summer, but I can start a better, healthier diet and stretching and core training today. I used to do those things and then just stopped.

Yesterday I tried my basic stretches and realized how much I've lost since I stopped stretching. And have I mentioned how much I hate doing planks? My goal is 4 days a week, 1 hour a day, until the race. Basically, I want to do anything I can to make 26.2 miles a little easier.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Better day

Today was a much better day than I've had for a while. I ran about 8 1/2 miles, nice and slow and it felt pretty good. I was planning on a 10 miler but called it early. I'll get back up to my 10 long run soon. It just felt good to get outside and run and not think about anything. Well, I did fantasize quite a bit about what I would like to do to the bottom feeding cretin that stole my stuff. As my friend Bosco pointed out, my fantasies did include shooting the creep, shooting him low and in a particularly sensitive bit of anatomy. Whoever it was should hope that the cops find him before I do. Creep.

While I do know I won't get my stuff back, I'm still calling every place I can think of with info on my stuff-just in case. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I've done everything I possibly can to get it back. and I found some old credit card statements that will show the insurance company what I paid for some stuff. It doesn't cover everything but there's a lot there and it will help. And as Alan and some others have said-they didn't touch the cars. Pugsley is safe and sound as well as Casper and Big Blue and all the others. The funny thing is, I'm not sure the bottom feeding cretin would be able to drive my cars. They're a bit touchy, as most British cars are, and you don't just jump in them, turn the key, and drive off. I like to think that Pugsley and the others would refuse to respond to anyone's touch but mine and Hubby's. They know us, you see, and they would'nt take kindly to a stranger.