Friday, March 23, 2012

My Running Story or Why it's Never too Crazy or too Late

I was not an athletic child...I didn't do any sports and prayed for rain to get out of doing PE.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I started to exercise regularly.  I became a devoted gym member with occasional forays into jogging but never with much conviction.  I always tried to run, mostly because it is such an efficient use of exercise time and you can run with your baby in a stroller but my running never amounted to much. I lacked stamina and had knee aches almost every time I ran.  I was content with a fitness routine that didn't include serious running.

I started doing Bikram Yoga the year I turned 40.  I don't know if it was the stretching or building muscle holding poses but after a while I noticed that I could run without knee pain.  In the summer of 2010 became friends with Krista.  Soon we started to run a little together and next thing I knew she convinced me to sign up for a 10k.  I was skeptical...I had never been a strong runner and was not convinced that I could ever run 10k but we ran together every Saturday morning gradually increasing our distance.

10k finish, yeah, kinda slow but I don't care

After the 10k I felt a little lost without a goal so I decided to try for a half marathon.  It sounded completely crazy but then, so had 10k!  If I could work up to a 10k I was pretty sure I could work up to a half marathon.  I suffered from Achilles tendinitis while training for the half marathon.  Luckily it didn't stop me.

Waiting for the Wine Country 1/2 Marathon to start with my friend Maggie

I put my medal to good use!
After the 1/2 marathon my tendinitis became so bad that I had to stop running.  I concentrated on healing and strengthening, gradually adding the running back in.  It's been touch and go for the last 10 months and it's been hard to put running on the back burner.  Although I have been working out for years nothing ever made me feel as strong as running longer distances.  Nothing ever made me really feel like an ATHLETE until I started running.

Running in the Sierra last summer
Today I ran almost 5 miles with no pain, not even tightness or soreness.  I try not to get excited when I have pain free runs and over do it.  My fitness routine these days is 2 or 3 days of Bikram yoga, 2 or 3 days at the gym and 1 or 2 days running, walking or hiking each week.  I try to work out every day and run when it feels good. 

I don't know what my future holds as far as running but I do know this.  I didn't start serious running until I was 40.  I ran my first half marathon at 41.  If you had told me 10 years earlier or even 1 year earlier that I would run a half marathon I would have told you you were crazy.  It's never too late and no goal is ever too crazy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I ♥ Monarchs

A few weeks ago while gardening I pulled up a clump of nasturtiums that were crowding out another plant and there was a monarch chrysalis on the bottom of one leaf.  I hung the leaf and chrysalis on a rosemary bush and there it stayed until yesterday when I noticed how close to hatching it was.  I love how you can see the beautiful wings folded up inside.

Today the butterfly emerged.

We love Monarchs at my house and lovingly tend to them all year.  My first blog post was an Illustration Friday entry on the painting below.  The word was stripes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The winner is Lara!


Friday, March 16, 2012


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope there is a pot of gold at the end of your rainbows.
All photos from Pinterest, please see captions for sources.






Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Illustraion Friday - Yield

Brier Rose & Honey Bee.  Watercolor, acrylic ink, pen & pencil on paper.

A brier rose whose buds yield fragrant harvest for the honey bee. - Letitia Landon

This original watercolor by me is going to be a giveaway!  Please leave a comment if you would like your name in the drawing.  You must be a follower of this blog.  The winner will be chosen at random.

work in progress

bee practice

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The BEST Beans Ever (Beans in Broth)

The BEST beans ever (Beans in broth)
Chop 1/2 cup yellow or white onions and cook in a 1 tablespoon each of olive and canola oil (I sometimes use coconut oil, too, but it can change the flavor of the beans so you can experiment which oil mixture you like best.)  Cook the onions until they are turning black, not just browned but burned black. You might want to open doors and turn on your fan. In the meantime, rinse 1 cup of dry pinto beans.  No need to soak but do rinse and remove any beans that don't look good. When onions are black add the beans and 4 or 5 cups of boiling water. Be very careful adding water to hot oil! Water should cover the beans. Add one bay leaf. Simmer partially covered for about an hour. Keep your eye on the beans, if too much water evaporates add one cup of water at a time (water should be hot before adding.) After about an hour when beans have softened add 1 teaspoon of salt. Make sure you do not add salt before beans have softened. Continue to simmer, adding hot water when needed for at least another hour or two until beans are cooked. There should be some "broth" left.  If too much water has evaporated, add more to make some broth. Discard the bay leaf. Discard the black onions if you like (I never do.) These beans freeze very well when cooked so I try to make huge batches. Use this recipe to make refried beans by smashing beans and reheating in a bit of oil.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Lately it's all been birds and ocean, ocean and birds.  Here are some drawings from my sketchbook...messing around with drawing faces.

She reminds me very much of a girl I knew in Rome

Kind of scary!

No one in particular...

Couldn't resist one little birdie...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Apple Pie

I've always been more of a cook than a baker. I'm all about improvising and experimenting rather than precise measuring. Since I've been trying to lead the gluten free life I have had to give up conventional baked goods so imagine my delight when my local specialty store started to sell gluten free pie crusts by Kinnikinnick.


Gluten Free, Dairy Free Apple Pie with Crumb topping

2 tart apples such as Granny Smith, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon almond flour or meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:
1/4 cup gluten free oats
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance or other dairy free substitute
1 Tablespoon almond flour or meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coat apples with lemon juice.  Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Add apple slices and coat them with mixture.  Put apple mixture in pie crust. 

In another small bowl mix topping ingredients, breaking Earth Balance into small pieces.  Cover pie with topping mixture.

I covered my edges in foil but in hindsight it wasn't necessary.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, remove foil and bake another 25 minutes - or just bake for 50 minutes if no foil is used.


Served with dairy free whipped topping.  So easy and good!  We were fighting for the last piece.

Krista's Kale Salad

My good friend Krista gave me this recipe.  I'm a relative newcomer to the joys of eating kale, especially raw, so I was excited to try this recipe.  It is DELICIOUS!

For the salad:
-kale (mine is from my garden!)
-sunflower seeds

For the dressing:
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-juat about equal parts Braggs Amino Acids and olive oil (you may need to use more oil and less Braggs which is very salty.)
-pepper to taste

Remove tough stems from kale if you like and cut into bite sized peices.  Toss with a good amount of dressings and then use your hands to gently knead dressing into the kale, this helps break up the toughness of the kale.  I let it sit in the fridge for two hours.  Then add the rest of the salad ingredients and more dressing if needed.  I served it salad with fresh asparagus lightly sauteed in Bragg Amino Acids and olive oil.

Yum!  Thanks Krista!

And for dessert...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I want to be a better artist


This was in my daughter's backpack when she came home from school today.

Full Moon Rising

Last night around the time I usually make dinner and the kids do some homework and in between it all I am shooting off work emails, we decided to ditch our responsibilities and go for a walk to the beach.  Sometimes you have to do something unexpected and forget your schedule.  It keeps life interesting and you never know what you will see. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Illustration Friday - Intention

Giving paintings as gifts was a regular practice of mine a few years ago and it has been my intention to start doing that again.  This painting is for Stella's 5th birthday.

These are apple blossoms in my garden.  Despite the wonderful climate I live in I have had terrible luck with fruit trees...I'm hoping these pretty flowers turn into delicious apples.  I had them in mind when I painted the flowers above although I wanted a more bold pink in the painting. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

My bruther hase bugirs.

Seven year old Rose decided to write a poem about her brother.

In case you are not adept at reading a first graders phonetic spelling, here is the translation:

My Brother Has Boogers
by Rose

My brother is nice.
He likes to eat spice.
Sometimes I like to wrestle him,
My brother's new name that I am giving him is Kim.
Tonight we go on my mom's phone and talk to Siri, that is one of mom's apps.
My brother likes songs
 but one thing is wrong,
HE HAS boogers!!!!!

Finally blooming!

This orchid plant entered my home as a house plant bought at a grocery store and was moved outside in it's pot when it finished flowering.  For years it has not bloomed.  Last year it produced one feeble flower stalk but the buds shriveled up and fell off.  This year I moved the plant to a new location and really babied it with water and fertilizer.  Enjoying my lovely blooms!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fluid no. 2

Fluid no. 2

Acrylic on canvas
Number 2 in a 3 part series.  See Fluid no. 1 here.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturdays Sights and Sounds

It's a beautiful day and I spent the morning outside enjoying it.

Forgive the shakiness, I had been running when I decided it would be fun to take a little video, the ocean is so much better when you can hear it, too.

Today was the second day this week I ran without pain!  I didn't wear my Gramin, no obsessing over pace, heart rate, distance.  I ran when it felt good and slowed to a walk when it didn't.  Thank goodness I was running when my hard-core friend Maggie saw me or I would have felt like a wimp!!