Friday, May 28, 2010

Emerald City

Following two straight weeks of Seattle-esque gray rainy weather, we’ve finally been blessed with almost a week straight of sun. It may be a little hotter than a typical May, but I will be the last one to complain. My beloved summer has returned to me. Let the celebration commence.

This was one of the nice surprises I found last weekend in the lilac bush. The momma was squawking up a storm as I tried to take this picture...
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My peonies have been exploding like the fourth of July. Because their glory is so short lived, I’ve cut stems and transplanted them all over the house. Once I felt like enough of the outside was inspiring me inside, I moved on to sow seeds for a bountiful summer. Look at the peaches already growing on Burt!

Last year I underestimated the space I’d need for my vegetable bed. This year I doubled it. I love yard work, tilling the dark wet soil, the sun warming my shoulders, and my puppy lounging in the shade nearby. Sammy even had a new neighbor dog to keep her company.

Meet Maggie - isn't she cute.

When the soil was loose and it was time to relocate my seedlings, I realized my ambition at the store was more than my new vegetable garden could contain. I had the following:
2 heirloom tomato plants
3 varieties of peppers (golden bell, chili and jalapeno)
3 broccoli
3 cucumbers
1 zucchini
1 strawberry

The end result is that the tomatoes peppers and broccoli plants ended up in the bed. The zucchini, cucumbers and strawberries will be my first attempt at container gardening.
With the initial hard work completed, I can focus on relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine.

If my harvest yields like I expect it to, I plan on cooking up many good things. I might even try my hand at pickles to make some of it last until winter (just typing the word makes me shiver – yuck winter)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review

I love to read. I love to read so much that sometimes I avoid starting a new book. I know the minute the spine cracks, I’ve just abandoned every other responsibility for the opportunity to escape. There is something so intimate about a book. While the author may intend a specific interpretation, the reader can take from the text what is most meaningful to them. The relationship between the words written and the takeaway is infinitely dynamic and therefore curious to me.

My most recent escape was being sucked back in time to Jackson, Mississippi. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett was a birthday gift that I just recently allowed myself to indulge in. I was surprised with how quickly this book took me away. The story is of three women, deep in the south during the civil rights movement. Two of the characters are black women, working as the help in Jackson, Mississippi. The third character is wealthy young white woman, struggling to find her way as a writer. The fictional setting was easy to be consumed into considering how far the concept is from my reality.

I was most inspired by the risks that the young writer took to tell a story no one wanted her to write. Also how she discovered her talents and true path, despite it alienating herself from those closest. I also was caught up in the nurturing nature of the two black women, their fierce loyalty to the children they raised and how that translated to the lives they had become accustomed to. Throw into the story a bunch of catty Southern socialites and this book was just the right mix of entertainment and insightful.

It was a great book and it only whet my appetite for summer indulgences. My next treat, Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall.

Oh and I found a new nifty tool that takes you right to amazon to purchase the same books if you so desire. Enjoy...

Monday, May 10, 2010

When Pigs Fly

I recall with a certain clarity all the times Monkers has said to me, ”I can’t run”. I can also recall with similar clarity, the times I responded “If I can do it, ANYONE can”.

I’m not sure I remember when she decided to give it a try, but now you might as well call her Forrest Gump. The weekend before last, she completed her fist Marathon. This wasn’t just any marathon; it was the Flying Pig Marathon, which is known for its un-relenting, gravity-defying, ankle-breaking inclines.

Despite the downpour, the whole family was there to cheer her on. I mean if she can RUN in the rain, the least we can do is endure STANDIND in it.

As with all things, my family took on the challenge of supporting our runner with all the gusto we posses. We were adorned with custom “Run Meg Run” t-shirts, purple helium balloons and one pink pig-shaped balloon. There were signs, route maps and caravans.

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It was a true family adventure, meeting up at our designated spot at 6:00 AM. OK maybe 6:30 is a more accurate report. We parked, shared some coffee under the ONE umbrella, handed out balloons and departed to mile marker 5. We fought the rain for the first 10 minutes. The rain won, and we resigned to be wet, but enthusiastic.

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We almost missed her at mile marker 5, but she saw us. She ran through the racers to give Jack a hug, and we all shared an explosion of screaming and cheering. That got the adrenaline going. The group was off to mile marker 11.

I’ll leave out the part about getting lost and looking for a bathroom... We arrived at the next point in time to meet up with an even bigger group of Monker supporters. After about 15 mins we see her again - two more minutes of screaming, cheering and excitement. It was beginning to feel like a scavenger hunt, the payoff being the quick burst of excitement each time we saw her.

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We were off to mile marker 21, but not before consulting the map AND finding a proper bathroom (more proper than the side of I-71 that is A-hem).

We made it to the next location quickly, which ment a longer wait for the payoff. Lucklily we positioned ourselves under an overpass so we could stay relatively dry. By this point my feet were buckets of water, my jeans had sucking the moisture up to my knees.

We waited. We saw her. We cheered, giddy with excitement.
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We moved on to the finish line.
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I wish I could say I have an amazing picture of her crossing the finish line, but there were too many people milling about.
SHE DID IT. SHE WAS AMAZING, Come to find out, she had a hurt ankle to boot.
We all went back to her house (that had been readily decorated with aforementioned purple balloons) and celebrated.
So proud of you Monkers!
It all inspires me to get back into running – if I can find the time.