Monday, June 30, 2003

Cooked to the Pink of Perfection

Have you ever noticed that it takes forever to cook chicken until it's no longer pink (an hour for the baked garlic chicken on Thursday), but mere moments to overcook the burger or fish that you want to be pink in the center.

Fortunately, this was not a problem for the tuna that Jeff grilled last night. It was marinated in Thai curry paste, lime juice, oyster sauce (substitute for the called-for fish sauce), and sugar; seared until cooked on the outside, pink on the inside; and then drizzled with a fresh ginger-soy-butter sauce. I managed to heat up my very tasty leftovers today just enough to warm it up and melt the butter, but not too much to overcook the fish. Mmm.
Blogger, Refreshed

Blogger has updated its format just after I've updated to Blogger Pro (note the lack of ads now), and I'm struggling with the change. I posted a long write up of my bike ride on Saturday, and tried to upload a picture at the same time. As you can notice from the lack of post and picture, the attempt was unsuccessful.

On another blogging note, Jeff and I were asked to explain the point of blogging to friends a couple of times this weekend. If you've visited several blogs of different types and still don't get the point, then I guess you never will. I know that I was hooked from the first read of one. It's not really something that I could explain (but I tried, valiantly).

Friday, June 27, 2003

Friday Five!

1. How are you planning to spend the summer? Working, cycling, sleeping, reading, cooking, gardening, ...

2. What was your first summer job? I worked at a movie theatre, starting senior year in high school, so spent the summer before college working there.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer, where would you go? Well, I just went to Eastern Europe, so I think Prague and Budapest.

4. What was your worst vacation ever? I can't really think of one that was bad. I've had plenty that were boring, like the first 2 college spring breaks where I went home and sat in front of the TV for most of vacation.

5. What was your best vacation ever? Last summer's Alaska trip might count, so might my first trip to England when I was 14. This last European vacation was awefully good, though, too.
I'm Just Wild About Harry

I finally finished Harry Potter last night. It was definitely the best one yet. No spoilers (I'll save those for the discussion on Kris' page), but do like the way that the characters are becoming a little more 3-dimensional, specifically a little less saccharine Harry, as they grow up.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Pace Yourself

Over the weekend, I decided that I wanted to pace myself as I read Harry Potter, so that I wouldn't finish it too fast. That hasn't been a problem, as I've been otherwise engaged.

Monday night, I went out for a pitcher with my housemates, one of whom is moving East next week. One pitcher turned into two, and then the drinking continued at home well into the evening. Tuesday was spent in a fuzzy daze of meetings, but I left the office early to go on a training ride with some co-workers. Last night, I attended a dinner cruise with work muckety mucks in town from VA. That party continued well after the cruise was over, and once again, I'm having a fuzzy day at work. Add to the drinking the fact that I haven't been able to stop eating since my return from Europe. While I haven't weighed myself in over a month, I can just feel the weigh grow on me (my clothes have literally gotten tighter over the course of this morning).

Tomorrow night is my housemate's going away party. Since I'm planning on going on my longest bike ride ever on Saturday (60+ miles up to Snoqualmie Falls), I must break the pattern, or else hate myself on Saturday.

I just need to pace myself.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Back to the real world

I really want to be at home right now finishing up Harry Potter. Well, only thing between me and the book are 6 meetings, a few dozen emails, a large handful of phone calls, 25 miles up the freeway, and 4 miles around the block. I can make it!

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Trail Note

Today was the first ride I've gone on since returning to CONUS. We had discussed a 60 mile ride, but ended up only going a little less than 40. I felt like we went closer to 50; I was tired, with a sore seat and lower back. I think I need to adjust my bike seat; the bike I rode in Europe seemed to fit much more comfortably.
The route was great: we rode through downtown Seattle, over Lake Washington on the I-90 bridge, down along the shore of the lake around the south end and came back up along the western shore trail, past Seward Park, over the Mountlake Bridge, and up to the University of Washington, before hitting the Burke Gillman trail for the final miles to home. We got caught in a little Fremont Festival traffic as we headed over the bridge and up the last, steepest hill.
The weather was perfect for riding. It started out cool and cloudy (high 50's?), but the clouds cleared up an hour into the ride, and there were blue skies and puffy clouds for most of the ride, with a stiff breeze keeping things cool.
I rode with my clip-in pedals again today (like all of our vacation riding). I'm much more confident, but still need to be careful. I tried clicking out of just the right foot for one stop (I usually step down with my left foot), and had a classic slow-motion fall to the left. It's a horrible place to be, knowing that you're going to fall and yet not being able to help it. The only thing that hurt was my pride on that one. After that I clipped out of both feet at each stop.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Open mouth and insert:

(a) foot
(b) cheap wine
(c) good wine
(d) all of the above

A couple months ago I went on a ski weekend with some friends, and we each brought a different contribution to our Saturday night feast. One friend brought a few bottles of wine. At looking at one of them, I made the extremely thoughtless comment "oh, this is a great cheap wine," unintentionally hurting my friend's feelings. I'm always looking for a good deal on wine, and with the selection in stores these days, won't even look at a bottle unless it's less than $10. One of the bottles that he brought was one that I frequently buy.

I still haven't completely gotten over this comment, but I felt a little more justified in my assertions that there is nothing wrong, and a lot right, in buying wines for less than $10, after hearing yesterday's NPR segment on the current wine glut. Apparently the overabundance of wine grapes means an overabundance of wines, and wine makers are creating labels to see their good wines at great prices. Two of the labels that they tasted were ones that I frequently buy (Camelot, initially interested by it's pretty label, and Pepperwood Grove, source of my offensive comment). After all, if a bottle of wine costs less than $10, it's a good deal, and if it's under $5, even if it's not that good, you can't go wrong. Hmm... is 8 am too early for a glass of vino?

UPDATE: Had the Cotes du Rhone with dinner last night; very nice. It sold for almost $11 at the local grocery, however, and it wasn't worth breaking my under $10 rule. I'm looking forward to trying the Pepperwood Grove (found for $6 and change).

Friday, June 20, 2003

Do you have to be married to have a honeymoon?

Your Honeymoon destination is Ireland!
Longing for the old days and fresh air, you would
more than likely find a small town near the
cliffs to vacaction in, spending all your time
in awe of the silence and beauty around you.

Where is your 'dream' honeymoon?
brought to you by Quizilla

Link from the Irish Brigita
The Friday Five

1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short? My hair is naturally wavy. I try to blow dry it straighter. It's very humidity dependent. I suppose it's naturally long, but I get it cut every once and a while, so currently it's about chin length. Right now I'm growing it out a little to shoulder length.

2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime? It gets darker and darker. I started bald, then had blond hair, then it's gradually darkened to the dark brown that it is now.

3. How do your normally wear your hair? It was long for a long time as a kid, then every now and then I'll cut it to chin length, keep it there a few years, and then grow it out again.

4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like? I would like to see what it looks like blond, and then change it right back. No other major changes other than the fact that I would always want it to look like it does when the hairdresser blows it dry.

5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened? Well, there was that bad home perm in 8th grade, but the worst was when I got it cut short before my senior year in college. It was too short. I cried when I got home.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Aaaahhhh choo!

It's official; I am one of those people with outdoor allergies. I've had an indoor one for about 5 years (mold, I think), making me feel sneezy in the mornings and on damp days (including while at sea). The last month or so, I've been feeling terrible in the evenings, same allergic, snuffly, headachy feeling. Today, I went for a run on the trails near the office (first time I've done this route in months), and crunching along cottenwood pods, felt worse and worse as I ran. Usually running clears up any snuffly feelings. Now, after sitting in a filtered ventilated office for 4 hours, I feel fine (not great, but about 100 times better than during the run).

I want to feel better, but I am resolved: I will not fear the outdoors! I will not move to plastic sheets and hepa filtratration! Neti, look out; I'm breaking you out for another go tonight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Would you own up if you paid to see this?

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Happy Bloggiversary to Me

I started blogging a year from yesterday. While I haven't done much with design or content over the past year, I do see life a little differently now. I'll see something or make a casual observation, and start thinking about how it might make a good blog entry. This is the longest I've kept any kind of journal, so it's great to be able to go back and see what's been on my mind this past year.
We're back!

Jeff and I returned from the Great Cycling Adventure last night. I managed to stay up until 10 pm last night (Eastern Europe time of 7 am), but still couldn't stay in bed past 3:30 this morning. I was smart, however, and took today off, so I might manage to fit a nap into my busy schedule (which consists of lying in the sun, gardening, reading, watching DVD's, and catching up on my email / internet browsing).

The trip was fantastic; once again, I'll highly recommend REI Adventures for anyone who wants a well-planned, active vacation. We're going to try to set up a page with photos and more detailed notes (this weekend maybe?) on Jeff's site, but here are a few of my takeaways:

- I must return to Budapest (pronounce Budapesht) and spend some serious time there
- I'm a better cyclist than I thought, especially on hills
- I can ride a bike all day, almost every day, and still gain a few pounds if I drink enough beer and eat enough (ice cream, bread, cheese, pork stew, cookies, dumplings....)
- I can get a couple litres of very good beer in Czech for what a pint costs at home
- A 4 hour layover is enough time to visit Copenhagen
- German will get you much farther in Hungary than English will
- I'm a road cyclist, not an off-road rider (at least not when I'm still getting used to clip-in pedals)
- 60 km = 37 miles
- 37 degrees C = 99 F
- People from Colorado and the SW cry at the slightest bit of humidity (I thought Jeff was the only one)
- Sometimes, reapplying sunscreen every three hours is not enough
- People who take REI vacations are very cool
- You can watch a lot of movies on a 10+ hour flight

Friday, June 06, 2003

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

My Kinda Website

Sad, but true.

Link from Suzanne.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Trail Note

Saturday I went for a bike ride with the Cascade Bicycle Club. My friend, Chris, had gone on a ride with them the week before and said that the ride was at a pace comparable to what we normally ride, and it pushed him to go farther than he would normally ride on his own. That sounded like just what I needed, so Chris found a 55 mile hilly ride at a "social pace" on the website, and Jeff, Chris, and I met up with 10 other riders on Saturday morning. I was a little nervous before beginning; this was my longest ride ever, I think, so was afraid I wouldn't be able to go the distance and finish the ride strong (it ended uphill).

The route started downhill, winding down from the "I-90 lid" through the International District, past the stadiums, and over to West Seattle. The pace seemed brisker than the advertised 12 mph as we rode along Alki beach, a long flat stretch without many stop signs or traffic lights, but I was able to comfortably keep up. We then caught the ferry to Vashon Island. After a 30 minute wait for the ferry and a 20 minute ride, I was well rested for the winding, hilly route around the island. I found that I was much better on the uphills than many of the other riders. Since I'm training for a ride through the mountain passes in August, it's good to get a little confidence about my climbing ability. We had lunch before catching the ferry back "to the mainland" and spent quite a bit of time waiting for some of the riders who had fallen behind, so had even more time to rest before the final leg of the ride. While I didn't try to keep up with Jeff as he sprinted up the last few hills, I felt good until the end, keeping up a strong pace throughout.

Comparing bike computers at the end of the ride, we discovered that we rode 58 miles, at an average of 14 miles per hour pace. We left at 9 am and returned at 5, so it was a longer day that I expected; the ferry trip really added a lot of time to the ride. We had perfect weather for the day: sunny with temperatures in the upper 60's / lower 70's, and only a little wind. I'm feeling fine today, although I don't know if I'd have any juice if I tried to ride up another hill. All in all, it was a great way to spend a sunny Saturday!